Posts Tagged ‘break free’

Spirit of the Age

You are invited

The word “another” in the New Testament is translated from two different words in the Greek. They are similar and yet very different. One is allos, which expresses merely a numerical difference. It literally means “another of the same kind”. For example… a second apple would be another apple, but it would be the same kind – both are apples. The other Greek word that is translated “another” in the English is heteros. It means “another of a different kind”. An orange; for example, would be another fruit of a different kind from the apple. Its basic nature is different, even though it is in the same group with other fruits.

So what’s the thought here?

Jesus makes a big deal out of this concept when He defines our calling to become His disciples.  “And another of His disciples said unto Him, Lord suffer (wait for) me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, follow Me and let the dead bury their dead.” (Mt 8:21-22)

At first glance this would seem to be a strange reply. A person could come away with the idea that Jesus was a bit demanding. This man was a disciple of Jesus; not one of the twelve, but he certainly had potential… didn’t he? He was called by the Lord to follow, but was unsure in the immediate future that he wanted to see the impact of Christ’s teaching in his own life, family and community. He felt unable to commit to follow the Lord “at once”, or at this “opportune time”. He felt it was more important to bury his father; who many scholars believe, may not have even been close to death yet. His dedication to Jesus Christ was not great enough to walk away from the cultural responsibilities of his personal life. He was not free to commit.

After all, what would the neighbors say about him not being there to bury his father?

James and John walked away from the life they had as fishermen, to begin a new life with Jesus (Mt 4:21-22); but this man could not. He was a disciple of “another” (heteros) kind. He probably felt justified in his reluctance to follow the Lord. His reasoning was bound to his values and those values were set by natural realities, not Jesus’ invitation. He could justify staying at home and fulfill his duties there and still serve the Lord in some way.

He did not realize, he was enslaved by a “spirit”.

What this helps us to see is that often demonic spirits do not work to get you to reject the Lord. What they tend to do is enslave you to a lower level of discipleship than what God has called you to attain. Jesus tells us, “strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Lk 13:24).

Remember Gates hold authority in Scripture.

The strait gate is the entrance; where a threshold of personal authority and agreement must be stepped over or broken through, in order for us to reach that higher calling… that opportune time in Christ. Many individuals sense their invitation to experience a closer walk with the Lord, but find they are not able to break free from the spirit of the age. Wow, that is an important word, because it tells us of a limitation that is often hidden in our soulish desires and cultural allegiances. The dedication and commitment to the Lordship of Christ will not be great enough to make the transition.

They want to and they seek to enter in, but are unable. They don’t realize a spirit has enslaved them to a lower form of following… “at a distance”.

This “spirit of the age” must be broken.

If we are not guarding our commitment to Christ, stretching our spiritual muscle and growing in our knowledge of Him, we can find ourselves seduced by this spirit of the age. In a media driven nation like America, this is an easier thing to fall into than we would like to believe. I am convinced (as are many) in our conservative Church culture that our lifestyles do not reflect a truly Biblical world view.

The Apostle Paul said this would be based upon the spirit of the age blinding people’s minds through unbelief, so that they do not comprehend the glory in the face of Jesus (2 Cor 4:4-6). Its not a new thing at all; in fact, he also gave this warning to the Church of Galatia, “I marvel that you are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another (heteros) gospel” (Gal 1:6).

This “another gospel” carries the seductive spirit of compromise and will cause you to feel you are doing fine on your present level of commitment and growth. You may never hear yourself say “I do not need to grow spiritually”. It may be that you just lose that fire in your belly… the hunger is gone. Maybe you intend to commit more someday, follow through with that call sometime, but right now your life is just too full to earnestly seek after God. This spirit will lull you to sleep and make you unable to follow God’s original call upon your life. And it does become stubborn.

Breaking free requires radical repentance and fasting!

Radical repentance and seasons of fasting are often needed, to reveal the chains and crush their hold around our ankles. In order to believe the Word of God, we must capture every thought and renew the mind with Truths that will set us free to live for Him and commit to Him. This is the Spirit of Life in Christ that brings joy and peace.

Believing Church

“For indeed the Gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” (Heb. 4:2)

God won’t move in unbelief! Therefore, we must activate faith in His Word, faith in His activity and faith in His prophetic purpose.

Don’t wait… Activate!

Jesus appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart (Mk. 16:14). He did this because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. Unbelief and hardness of heart are at the center of ineffective ministry and powerless Christianity.

Without Belief there is no Faith! (Mk. 6:3-6)

According to God’s Word without faith, the Gospel will not profit you. After seeing His ministry in action; hearing His prophetic voice and experiencing three years of signs, wonders and miracles, the eleven apostles sat in unbelief and hardness of heart. Why? Because they found nothing inside of them to energize their vision! All they could see was their plight.

Activating Faith is a Choice to Believe Something!

The idea of belief must be taken seriously, because it is what engages our hearts to move in faith (Heb. 11:1). Though their Friend and Master had died, He had spoken of a plan in the midst of this moment (Jn. 14:3). Fear had them paralyzed! They were wanted by the authorities and scared for their lives; yet, they should have been able to step into the promises Jesus had left with them (Jn. 14:29). They needed to bring to their memory the words that encouraged them so many times before. But once again, we see them huddled around the table discussing their plight.

Hardness of Heart:

Suddenly Jesus appeared and rebuked them for their hardness of heart. And why? Because they needed to make a choice… they could have engaged their faith by believing what Jesus had said and seen God’s prophetic purpose. Hardness of heart is the inability to move on what you know!

Did you catch that… “Hardness of heart is the paralysis of analysis!”

The Capacity to See:

Believing awakens our capacity to see what Jesus sees. Instead of lecturing His disciples and beating them over the head with Scripture, Jesus calls them up higher. Its as if Jesus was telling them to just take the leap and obey… make the choice! His purpose of reaching the nations was about to become their lifelong quest (Mk. 16:15-16) and He needed them to break free from distractions. He needed them to awaken their capacity to see, and embrace what He could see. What could we see - if we were truly free from distractions?

If we would just lay aside our fears, our agendas and our desire to please one another, the world would feel the impact of an energized vision and Jesus would soon return for a glorious Believing Church.

Unmasking Idolatry

“And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.” (2 Cor. 11:14)

The issue of idolatry in the Body of Christ creates an enormous distraction from the True Light of God’s Love. We are told in this Scripture that the Devil masquerades as an angel of light. His goal is to bring confusion and hide himself in the stuff God values. He wants to destroy the Truth with lies and pervert the grace of God with false promises, false leaders and false worship. What makes Satan hard to defeat is that he appears as attractive, engaging and persuasive …but its all poison.

  • Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. (1 Cor 10:14)

Here Paul is saying that we should avoid any sort of idolatry – run from it. We must not be involved in loving or valuing anything more than God. We often think of idolatry as wicked things we actually worship in place of God; but I want to propose to you that anything that impresses us more than obeying God is an idol. Things can carry influence and give Satan access to our heart.

  • Let me repeat: “…anything that impresses us more than obeying God is an idol”

Take notice of the stuff you protect (1 John 5:21).

The fault does not fall only on the leaders of our congregations. When we esteem others more highly than we should, idolatry has taken root. Priorities can get out of focus and prevent us from hearing or seeing with clarity. Our organized religious model often promotes leadership as those who “hear from God”, give teaching and fight the spiritual battles for us. We tend to enjoy the role of spectator… “service” has been turned into a word that means “entertain us” and we sit rather than do much of anything spiritually.

Called to Do as Jesus Did!

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” (Jn. 14:12)

Being a Christian is a calling to become an ”anointed one” and live in relationship with Christ, The Anointed One (Jn 14:6). Jesus is to be the supernatural resource of light that shines through us. He is the One we emulate and want to reflect to the world around us. Our faith is not about rituals or traditions or relying solely on teachers or pastors. In fact there are no buildings, pews, alters or communion cups that offer deliverance from sin or power over the Devil. The Bible tells us it is the anointing that is given by the Holy Spirit that breaks the yokes of bondage (Isa 10:27) and teaches us all things (1 Jn 2:20).

  • Trusting Christ is the best way to flee from idols!

Do we need accountable relationships? Absolutely, but only Christ offers the power that overcomes darkness and brings peace in the midst of the storms of life. Trust that is not placed into God’s hand is misplaced and falls into the grasp of convenience, neglect or worse… idolatry.

Spirit of Unbelief

Crushing the Spirit of Unbelief

Many followers of Christ have a limited “believer”. I know that sounds like a strange statement, but sometimes unseen barriers, like brick walls hold us back. I am convinced that there are irrational issues inside of us; demonic in nature, that limit our ability to engage faith. 

Faith & Spiritual Life:

Its similar to the ignition of a car. We might turn the key and get some sound, but if the engine has no spark it will never start and never move us down the road. Ignition is simply the spark that starts an engine. Faith is the spark inside that ignites the heart to trust God, to love God and believe in His promises for our lives. 

The Stubborn Heart:

The inability to obey the instructions of Jesus and trust in the Promises of God, often leads to frustration. We want to please the Lord and experience all that God has said, but something in us resists faith. We find we “cannot” believe even when we want to. This can be due to a spirit of unbelief. Lies, deception, fears or offences can find their dwelling in the heart and be controlled by a demonic spirit that paralizes the heart in unbelief.

The Frustration:

My ”old man” was unbelieving to the bitter end, but I remember receiving Christ and being confident that all things would become new (2 Cor 5:17). The carnal part of me was now fully engaged in a battle with God’s truth, and I recall feeling that I could not submit to God’s ways (Rom 8:7). I couldn’t please God, because I had no faith in His purpose for me (Heb 11:6). The spirit of unbelief made me feel like I was living in a fog.

Deliverance from Unbelief: 

Praise God, there is deliverance from the spirit of unbelief, but it doesn’t come without a fight. Those controlling spirits get into our ”believer” and go unchallenged until we learn to break covenant with their activities. While Satan will do all in his power to resist the Word of God and get us to accept mediocrity, God has a destiny of freedom in store for us. Our history does not have to be our destiny.

My Personal Testimony: 

I remember feeling tormented in my soul as I struggled with my own unbelief in relation to the Word of God. I would listen to lots of great teaching and study the Bible with other strong believers. Yet the truth would make little impact upon me. Every revelation was encountering resistence in my mind and heart. I noticed it most when I chose to make spiritual commitments to obey God. There was no power within my life to release faith.

Break Covenant:

It wasn’t until I made a decision from the heart to love God and fight for His Fatherhood in my life, that I really came to understand the problem. Even though this was only the first step to victory, it was a powerful step. I broke the covenant I had made in my heart to trust Satanic lies. I needed to become violent in order to break the demonic control and sever the spiritual captivity in my heart. What I could renounce and break free from just kept giving me more freedom. Soon I found a boldness to believe God and trust His promises that I had never experienced before.

Release the Spirit of Faith: 

Overcoming unbelief came as I gained the ability to release the Spirit of Faith. I could rest in the power of the Holy Spirit and experience Him as the Spirit of Faith spoken of in Scripture. Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit, as well as a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It was released more and more as I allowed the Spirit of God to penetrate my thoughts and permeate my prayer life. It was an amazing process that required a few seasons of fasting, but awakened my heart to enormous breakthrough. It literally crushed the spirit of unbelief.

Fleeing from Idolatry

My heart burns for Him

Christ is My Light

The issue of idolatry in the Body of Christ creates an enormous distraction from the True Light of God’s Love. We are told in Scripture that the Devil masquarades as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14). His goal is to bring confusion and hide himself in the stuff God values. He wants to destroy the Truth with lies and pervert the grace of God with false promises. What makes Satan hard to defeat is that he appears as attractive, engaging and persuasive… but its all poison.

 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. (1 Cor 10:14) 

 Here Paul is saying that we should avoid any sort of idolatry; run from it. We must not be involved in loving or valuing anything more than God. We often think of idolatry as being things we actually worship in place of God; but I want to propose to you that anything that impresses us more than obeying God is an idol. Things can carry influence and give Satan access to our heart.

Take notice of the stuff you protect (1 John 5:21).

 The fault does not fall only on the leaders in our congregations. When we esteem others more highly than we should, idolatry has taken root. Priorities can get out of focus and prevent us from hearing or seeing with clarity. Our organised religious model often promotes the leadership as the ones who hear from God, give teaching and fight the spiritual battles for us.

We tend to enjoy the role of spectator.

   Being a Christian; however, is a calling to become an ”anointed one” and live in relationship with Christ, The Anointed One (Jn 14:6). Jesus is to be the supernatural resource of light that shines through us. He is the One we emulate and want to reflect to the world around us. Our faith is not about rituals or traditions or relying solely on teachers or pastors. In fact there are no buildings, pews, alters or communion cups that offer deliverance from sin or power over the Devil. The Bible tells us it is the anointing that is given by the Holy Spirit that breaks the yokes of bondage (Isa 10:27) and teaches us all things (1 Jn 2:20).

Trusting Christ is the best way to flee from idols!

 Do we need accountable relationships? Absolutely, but only Christ offers the power that overcomes darkness and brings peace in the midst of the storms of life. Trust that is not placed into God’s hand is misplaced and falls into the grasp of convenience, neglect or worse… idolatry.

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