Monthly Archives: June 2013

Freedom That Lasts

I used to attend a church where every Sunday morning a man would come forward for prayer in response to the invitation. It could be an invitation for salvation, rededication, or any other commonly given invitation. It really didn’t matter. He was always there.

This may seem like strange behavior, but this is an example of a pattern I have noticed among people who profess to have been set free from the power of sin and death by the blood of Jesus, yet struggle in their Christian walk.

It is probably safe to say that in the majority of churches in America there are a host of believers who are bound by pornography, alcohol, drugs, cigarettes… Need I go on? Week after week these children of the most high God come to the alters beseeching Him to deliver them from these demons, and week after week they go back to the strongholds that have kept them bound. We see them in church, fellowship with them, maybe we even are them. These are often “secret sins” and yet they are strongholds which keep God’s people from being effective in their walk with Him. Why is this? Did not Jesus say, “Who the Son sets free is free indeed?” (John 8:36)

Then why do we continue to struggle with sin? Paul paints a vivid picture in Romans 7:21-25. “…Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Why is it that we as believers profess victory in Jesus, but then struggle so much in our personal lives? We all understand that we are spiritual beings trapped in this body of corrupt flesh, but then where is the freedom Jesus promised?

I believe the answer is in our understanding of what it means to be set free. Let me share two passages of scripture with you.

Ephesians 4:22-24; “That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”

Colossians 3:8-10; “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,”

Did you catch those two decisive phrases in each passage? Paul says YOU “put off” and YOU “put on.” We as believers have become so enamored with “feeling” the presence of God, that we expect God to do it all. We have been bombarded with teaching regarding our spiritual birthright, ranging from prosperity to divine health, to the point where we have forgotten that God has given us certain commands and instructions which constitute our part of the deal.

We struggle with strongholds in our lives and can’t ever seem to get the victory, knowing that we have been instructed to “put off” the sin that so easily besets us (Hebrews 12:1).

Is there really freedom in Christ? You bet there is. It starts the moment we believe and then we grow into it… or not. The key to tearing down strongholds can be found in two key verses – Romans 12:1,2 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

God says YOU present your bodies. God says YOU renew your mind. God says YOU get serious about your relationship and YOU determine that YOU will change your actions and your attitudes.

Please understand, I am not saying it is up to us to do it all. Obviously, we can never be good enough. What I am saying is, God wants to set us free from the strongholds in our lives and it begins when we accept that they actually do exist, and in our minds we say, “ENOUGH!”

God will give you the deliverance you seek, but it will not come by responding to an invitation to prayer week after week. It will come because you have determined to change your attitude and to renew your mind away from those things which have kept you bound.

Don’t be conformed to this world.
Transform your mind – change your attitude.
Resist the devil and he will flee.
Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you.

It’s a process and with each new day, our freedom in Christ becomes more and more real, and that thing which had us bound no longer controls us because we have determined that, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, we will think on these things (Philippians 4:8).

What’s next? Contact us at info@fruitbearers.com.

Fruitbearers Outreach Ministry

Advertisements

Temptation

Temptation is defined as the enticement to evil by argument, by flattery, or by offer of some real or apparent good. It’s fair to say that because of the sinful nature we inherited at birth, every one of us has been tempted at one time or another. What is important to remember is that temptation alone is not sin.

Even Jesus was tempted when he walked on this earth. He was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil for forty days and nights and yet he committed no sin. It is not sin to be tempted. Falling into the temptation bringing it to fruition is sin.

James 1:13-15 (NIV) says, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” Death in the Bible refers to separation.

Notice the steps before reaching death. It doesn’t happen overnight. There is some time that lapses before giving birth to death. We need to take a hard look at ourselves before, and especially right after conception. This is where the flirting or plotting with an evil thought is born.

Temptation begins with a thought. If you have ever been tempted with anything, a thought process was active. Our imagination becomes a runaway train and because all sin is pleasurable if not paused or stop, a train wreck will be waiting ahead. Here is a little help when dealing with a sinful thought that pops up at an awkward place or time. Just try saying, “Thank you Jesus. Thank you that you went to the Cross so I don’t have to deal with this evil thought. Thank you that my sins are covered by your blood. Thank you that my past, present and future sins are all forgiven. Thank you…” Just continue to fill in the blank until the temptation is gone or subdued.

If you have a Bible handy then start reading Scripture to overcome the temptation. Like Jesus did in the wilderness, quote Scripture to the enemy. Remember the idea is to intercept the evil thoughts at conception. This is what 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to do. It says we are able to capture these rebellious thoughts and bring them into captivity to obey Christ. Luke 10:19 says that Jesus gave us authority over all the power of the enemy. That means we need to take authority over these temptations and rule them.

Remember, the Scripture tells us that Jesus was tempted in all points; not some or a few, but all and he overcame by just quoting Scripture to the enemy. His Word is the sword of the Spirit that lives in Him and now lives in us. This is how we walk by the Spirit – by submitting to His Word and applying it to our everyday life. His wisdom is about taking the written Word, the knowledge of God, and applying it to any situation that we may face in life.

Remember, Jesus overcame all temptation thrown at Him in the wilderness. You may be thinking, “Well that’s Jesus. You don’t understand how difficult it is for me to handle. I can’t overcome this.” The truth is, you can! That is the very purpose of Him being tempted in all points. It was to erase these comments or thoughts since He lives in our hearts and has given us the ability and authority to overcome. Think about it.

If that is difficult to grasp then consider 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT) “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” Did you read what God said in this verse? He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle. He will show us a way out so we can endure. Why? Because He is faithful. If we fall into the temptation then we have overlooked our escape route, or we may have just ignored our escape route, or it’s even possible we didn’t know there was an escape route. Now, however, because of His Word we are aware an escape route is always provided for us.

When tempted use His Word to overcome the temptation. Make that interception in your thoughts because the longer you flirt with it the closer you get to the fall. Bring those thoughts into captivity and obedience to Christ. Use the spiritual authority given you and be alert looking for that escape route provide by our God.

Remember, we are always here to help. Just email us at info@fruitbearers.com.

Fruitbearers Outreach Ministry