Friday, August 6, 2010

Learning to Love the Lord All the Time




What about our Love-Hate relationship with our Lord?

By Abraham Israel


Many a times we want to please the Lord with our whole heart and at other times we hate to walk in His ways, not because we want to but because of the weakness of the flesh that shows up in our soul now and then like a friendly-thief who steals the blessings we have from the Lord by his deceit. At one time we say and feel like falling in to the sin which entices us and after we give in to the desire of sin, we feel like we were used by some dirty person and being thrown away on the way side after our lust has got its fullfillment in and through us (James 1:13-15). Then we say to ourselves why did I ever give in to this temptation to sin (1 John 3:21). Then we say to the Lord, sorry for being unfaithful to you at the heat of the moment of temptation. Lust is a evil spirit and a person who entices us, inorder to get fullfilment for itself through us (1 John 2:16). The spirit of lust will always release a thought of lust [i.e. intense craving for things like food, sex and comfort] in us and will slowly entice us to dwell in the thought, after which it slowly takes control of us when we become addicted to its whims and fancies (James 1:14-15). But, the Lord always with an open arms welcomes us back and is faithful to forgive us all our sins when we confess our fault to Him (1 John 1:9).

At certain times we feel like, will I ever be able to over come this particular sin that is taking me captive over and over again. We become hopeless and desperate. At that point of time the Lord speaks to us through the Holy Spirit and always affirms us, "For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law [to feel sad and guilty for failing and breaking the law] but [you are] under [My] grace [which always makes you more than a conqueror, whether you are faithful or unfaithful. I am faithful to you eternally (Rom 8:37-39; 2 Tim 2:13).]." (Rom 6:14). This is what finally drives us to pursue the Lord more and more (Rom 2:4; Nah 1:7). And finally we come to a point where we say to the Lord like David the man after God's own heart, "I have gone astray like a lost sheep; Seek Your servant, For I do not forget Your commandments." (Psa 119:176). Then we also say to the Lord to keep us from falling in to the same sin again by saying, "Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be innocent of great transgression." (Psa 19:13). The Lord always agrees to keep us and tells us to praise His ability through the confession of our mouth, then we say our faith-confession by saying to Him, "Now to my God who is able to keep me from stumbling, and to present me faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God my Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen." (Jud 1:24-25, Personalized). In this previous verse we do nothing but confess our inability to overcome sin because of our fleshly weaknesses, and are praising Him for His ability to keep us from falling in to sin and save us when we fall in to sin (Psa 119:92)

Once we do it, we will be able to see and feel the mighty deliverance of the Lord from all our past sinful condition that we were in due to our sin nature that is always inclined to sin (Gal 5:17; Rom 7:15). Our mind which might have been fearful of falling again in to the same sin will now feel confident because of being filled full of faith and moving from independence to be in God-dependence (Ps 22:3; Heb 13:6).  The joy of a conqueror comes back to us and we know with in ourselves that we will over come the sin that affects us by the power of God (Rom 10:10, 13, 17; Rom 8:37). When God forgives, He removes the sin and restores the soul (Ps 23:3). It is like pressing a erase history button or a delete button in a computer that erases all the unwanted files. After these unwanted files in the Recycle Bin or history has been deleted, even we ourself cannot find those unwanted bad stuffs that were sitting in our computer memory which we have previously browsed or ventured in to. Actually inside the computer memory [i.e. the chip that stores all information] will be refreshed electronically and kept clean for using it productively. This is what forgive and forget means to God. He flushes out and refreshes the recorded memory of the bad things we have ventured in to, when we confess to Him our failings, weaknesses, sinfulnesses and shortcomings and helps us to use the same memory space in our mind to be used productively and positively (Heb 9:14; 1 John 1:7, 9; Phil 4:8-9).


The Fight to Inherit His Glory 


The first century Church which was on fire for the Lord went in to a state of religiosity even before John the last of all apostles who was the only one left alive died in the prison. When the love for the Lord and people grows cold, all we will have is a dead religious duty of devotion which initself become a burden for us to carry on (Rev 2:3, 4; Matt 24:12). Jesus has clearly warned the end time generation of such a period of dead religious life which will become dominant around the world to fill the empty void in the hearts of men. God hates religion but loves relationship with His chosen people. To God obedience based on the Love that His people have for Him is the only requirement which is mandotary. He does not require any other service or sacrifice that people do it out of their own fleshly strength (1 Sam 15:22). But whatever service that we do as unto the Lord with hearty cheerfulness and joy, he rewards us now and for eternity (Col 3:23-24; Mark 10:29-30). The Lord is not unjust to forget all the work we do and the "labor of love" that we do to the saints especially in the household of faith and even to others who are in desperate need in the world (Heb 6:10; Gal 6:10). Always the reward for us comes in due appointed season that God has already appointed in our life to be blessed. Until that exact season arrives, we should encourage ourself in the Lord and walk in faith with patience (1 Sam 30:6; Heb 6:11-12).  
  
The time before the season of God's favour and blessings comes, we will go through a refining process of trials, tribulation and constant attack of the evil one, all alone with nobody else to help us but the Lord (Gal 1:17-18; Gen 39:21; Ps 105:18-19). These are the training period in the very school of the Lord to make us apostolically fit for all our future battles with Satan and his cohorts, as an apostolic warrior in the kingdom of God. Some people who are very much afraid of persecution, loneliness and hardship are the people who have not passed this training school of the Lord (Matt 10:33-34). Persecution-phobia affects them to be mentally unstable and double minded, it also will fill them with unbelief as time goes by (Ps 119:113; James 1:6-8). These are the times in which the Lord's presence will make our double mindedness and fickle mindedness to be noticed by ourself and will help us not only to humble ourselves before the Lord but also realise who we are in the natural without the Lord's tangible strength in us (1 Peter 5:6). These are the times of repentance in which we will lose confidence in our own ability and with a broken heart will truly say to the Lord, "I've been out of step with you for a long time, in the wrong since before I was born. What you're after is truth from the inside out. Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life." (Psa 51:6, MSG). In such times of God's revelation of our true self, we will come to know of the deceitfulness of our sinful nature which we have have inside us in the natural fleshly state (Jer 17:9; 11:8). It will cause us to weep for our judgemental attitude  towards others when we ourselves have the same potential to do the same sin as others who fall before us. We will come to know God personally and will start to call him as "My God of mercy" (Psa 59:10). Not only we will cry to God for mercies to be shown for our sinfullness but also for the people around us who are going through such similar problems in their life. This is when God seeing the groaning cry of His people for being in sin and bondage will be moved with compassion and will begin to unveil the glory of God's awesomeness over sin, sickness and death (Exod 3:7; Ps 102:19-20; 2 Cor 5:2; Rom 8:23). C. H. Spurgeon beautifully says, "These very eyes which have wept for sin shall see the King in his beauty."

From this point of time the beauty of the kingly splendor of God will be revealed to us from one level of "glory to [another level of] glory" by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Cor 3:18). This is the greatest place in God where a man can constantly draw God to live in himself (Isaiah 66:2b; James 4:8a). David called this protected place in God as the "shelter...[and] a strong tower" (Ps 61:3) and the "secret place of [God's] presence" (Ps 31:20). We will not just know about the king of glory in our head, but will know Him heart to heart, the very king of glory upclose and personal. It is not just us knowing Him that matters, it is the king of glory and the Lord fo Hosts knowing us personally that really matters (2 Tim 2:19). Once we know Him or rather be know by Him, we will be empowered supernaturally to command the gates of bondage to open up for the king of glory to come in and dwell in us more and more (Ps 24:7-10). When we command the gates, the Lord himself will come and break the gates of iron in to pieces (Ps 107:16). Once He enter in His glory he puts a gate around us in those areas where we have been weak and then strengthens the gates and then blesses our children within us (Ps 147:13; Heb 7:9-10; Malachi 2:15). O what a blessing for a righteous man's children. No wonder this is the reason I believe the Bible says, "The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him." (Pro 20:7). Praise the Lord!


The Ambiguity of Love Hate   


There is a ambiguity that always exists when I try to explain our Love-Hate realtionship with the Lord. This is because we have two exactly opposite nature that exists in all the true born again Christians. Apostle Paul called this as old man and new man (Eph 4:22, 24). The new man is guided by the Holy Spirit who lives inside us and the old man is driven by the fleshly nature which is controlled by self, sensual gratification of the physical and especially the sexual appetites, and then finally the demonic realm of Satan and his minions (Gal 5:25, 16; James 3:13, 15). These two natures cannot co-exist. As the Bible clearly describes the paradox of living with the two. The Bible says, "The sinful nature does not want what the Spirit delights in. And the Spirit does not want what the sinful nature delights in. The two are at war with each other. That's what makes you do what you don't want to do." (Gal 5:17, NIrV). It is like Abraham living with both Sarah and Issac the son of promise on one side, along with Hagar and Ishmael the son of flesh together in one home. Sarah is represented by the godly desires of the Holy Spirit who has brought the new spirit-man Issac in to existence by God's will (John 1:12-13). The new spirit-man in us is "born of the Spirit" (John 3:6)

Hagar is not Satan, but Hagar is the fleshly selfish desire of the old soul-man apart from God which has been brought in to existence by Abraham's own fleshly will of buying her as a slave maid when he stayed in Egypt outside of God's will (Gen 12:10, 19-20; Gen 16:1). This Hagar was born in Egypt, in other words our fleshly self came in to existence when Adam our forefather sinned in the garden of Eden and fell short of the glory of God (Gen 3:6-7; Rom 3:23). As a result of it all humanity in the natural became the progeny of Hagar the bondwoman because of Adam's sin (Rom 5:12; Ps 51:5; Rom 7:17-18). From that point of time Hagar started to operate by the law of sin and death (Rom 7:23). The Law of Sin and Death clearly refers to the self-willed soul operation in every man which functions with out God (Rom 8:2). The soul-man in the Jew operates by Ten Commandments (Matt 19:16-20), and in the Gentiles their conscience acted as the law (Rom 2:14-15, 12). In other words, Hagar is the selfdesire of sin and lawlessness which is instigated  by Satan and his demonic cohorts making man to be independent of God, which has come from Egypt "the house of slavery [of Satan]" and is outside of God's will for a believer (1 John 3:4; Exod 20:2; Deut 5:6). Hagar conceived Ishmael who is the son of the fleshly self. And that son of the fleshly self is the old soul-man in us who is hellbent to fullfill his own will apart from God. This old man is attached to Hagar the fleshly self because he is her babyboy (Gen 16:15). As a result of it, once we give in to Hagar's impulse of fleshly self of I, Me and Myself attitude consistently in our life, we will only see the works of Ishmael's donkey nature manifested through our life (Gen 16:11-12; Eph 4:22). Ishmael's fleshly nature only produces the works of the flesh which are "19...adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like..." (Gal 5:19-21). This old man Ishmael is also called as the carnal mind (Rom 8:6-7). All those unbelievers who live by this fleshly nature, will consistently practice these things freely without restraint and will not feel guilty about doing it. These will not inherit the kingdom of God unless they are born again by the Spirit (Gal 5:21; John 3:5; Rom 8:9).

For a believer who is born in to the kingdom of God by God's will, his spirit-man Issac will be a baby inside him intially. But Sarah fed Issac with milk intially for him to grow (Gen 21:7-8). Just like Sarah, the Holy Spirit's godly desires in us feeds us with the pure milk of the word of God intially as we start to hunger for it (1 Peter 2:2-3). Once the new spirit-man gets weaned and continue to grow strong, literally like Ishmael the old soul-man will start to laugh, scoff and mock against the growing influence of the new son of promise (Gen 21:9). The Holy Spirit's godly instruction and voice will come clearly to all maturing believers to throw away the flesh induced Ishmael's life out of the body system just like Sarah instructed Abraham (Gen 21:10). This will be greatly displeasing and a time of great turmoil for the believer, who will find it hard at this point of time in one's life just like Abraham (Gen 21:11). Because Ishmael was also the son from the physical seed of Abraham's own body, he had an attachment to him in the natural. The believers will find it hard to let go of the soul life at this point of time in their life because it has actually been grown by them apart from God's promise and will naturally. In the natural realm, this Ishmael may be a job, place of stay, friendship with an unbeliever, wrong relationship, sex, power, money, fiancee or anything that takes the first place in your life and keeps you away from God's plan and purpose to be fullfilled in your life. It is very hard feeling that comes to a believer when Sarah the godly desire of the Holy Spirit within us instructs us to throw away all these Ishmael's which outrightly mock our friendship with God and his purity of character in our spirit-man inside us (Gal 5:22-23). This situation of predicament to extricate onself from our fleshly soul-life is what Jesus described when He said, "If your first concern is to look after yourself, you'll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you'll find both yourself and me." (Mat 10:39, MSG). In other words, when a believer fails to cast away his own soul-life which is one's own thinking, emotion and will apart from God's will for him, he will lose the joyous and exciting life of satisfaction that God had planned for him to enjoy and live on earth, and also the cumulative rewards for walking in it for eternity ahead (Jer 29:11; Col 3:23-24; Gal 6:8-9; Rev 22:12)

After this God spoke to Abraham to obey the voice of Sarah and cast out the son of the bondwoman (Gen 21:12). In the believers life too, our Father God from heaven will bring tough and tiring trials to prune us of all our Ishmael's out of our body system, season after season as long as we are present in this earth, so that we can really be fruitful and glorify our Father in Heaven (John 15:1-2; 1 Cor 10:13; ; 1 Peter 4:1-3; Matt 5:16). Here Abraham as a man of God chose to do what God instructed, because he loved God more than he loved Ishmael. Ishmael was a product of Abraham's lust for progeny when he could no more wait for God's promise to be fullfilled in His time. C.S. Lewis have beautifully said, "Love is the great conqueror of lust." The believer also goes through this difficult time of love-hate relationship with the Lord, where God clearly says, "17So, come out from among [unbelievers lifestyle], and separate (sever) yourselves from them, says the Lord, and touch not [any] unclean thing [willingly and consistently as a way of life]; then I will receive you kindly and treat you with favor, 18And I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. 1THEREFORE, SINCE these [great] promises are ours, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that contaminates and defiles body and spirit, and bring [our] consecration to completeness in the [reverential] fear of God." (2 Cor 6:17-7:1, AMP). These above verses do not threaten us to live a holy life or else die in our sins, but it is a compassionate command of the Father God to the believers to reciprocate a life of thankfullness for all the things He has already done through Jesus Christ our Lord (Ps 103:13; 130:3-4). Because we are already God's children through all the great promises we have believed, God says to us, by the power that works with in you cleanse your body system from getting mocked and defiled by the consistent working's of Ishmael's [i.e. soul-life] (1 Peter 1:22-23). At this point of time, if we choose to let the love of God control us, it will restrain us from all the lust of the eyes, flesh and pride of life which are not of the Father but of the world (1 John 2:16), and will help us live more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:37). Because "... Christ's love controls us now.” (2 Cor. 5:14, LB), we as a child of God can now wisely choose to walk in the newness of the Spirit and serve God in a pleasing way (Rom 7:6; Gal 5:16). When we walk in the Spirit, automatically we are not walking by our own strength against the flesh, but in the strength of the Lord whom we have put on over our mind (Eph 6:10). When we walk in the Spirit we are closing the provision given to Ishmael whom we had made to grow up in our lives to mock the Issac instead of supporting and rejoicing with him. When we are walking in the Spirit, we are actually casting out the son of the bondwoman out of our body system which is the temple and the house of God (John 2:19, 21; 1 Cor 6:19) and are giving it wholly for Issac to inherit it for eternity (Rom 13:14). When we are walking in the Spirit, we are loving the Lord more than we love ourselves and our temporal comfort.


So what are you waiting for?


It is time to wake ourselves from our slumber and ask God to fill us with His Spirit again and again. The apostles were all baptised and filled with the Spririt on the day of pentecost (Acts 2:4). But they did not stay put over there in their spiritual lives and become useless to God. But they obeyed God and were filled with the Spirit again and again by casting out Ishmael consistently and feeding Issac to inherit the glory of God increasingly day after day till the end of their lives on earth (Eph 5:18; Acts 5:32; 4:8, 31; 9:17; 13:9; 2 Cor 3:18). The LORD is near to whose who are broken in heart because of facing the reality of Ishmael's soul-life head on to cast them off regularly and He will look on them who will walk the Issac's spirit-life and will strengthen them to succeed in this earthly life (Ps 34:18; Is 66:2; 2 Chronicles 16:9). So praise God for this life which he has given for you to enjoy the Spirit's life on earth as it is in heaven, inherit the blessed Spirit's life in this present earth and also in the new earth and heaven forever in eternity ahead as a result of walking in our daily walk in this present earth (Matt 6:10; Mark 10:29-30; Acts 26:18). Praise the Lord!


   





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