chastening, controlling spirit, discerning the spirits, disciplining, evil spirits, exhortation, experience, false spirits, following Jesus, God's love, Jesus Christ, Michael Clark, obedience, prayer, sin, the fear of God, the new self, the old self
Having got acquainted with being disciplined by God for a long time, I always feel a mixture of cautious compassion and silent awe when I observe that God chastens someone whom I have known personally. While the love of God draws us ever closer to His heart, the fear of God causes fear and trembling in our souls since we realize that our God truly is a consuming fire. He loves us so much that He does not accept ongoing sin in our lives. In fact, God does not take sin lightly.
As for my own experiences on this, just lately I had to recognize a fatal tendency inside me that has caused me submit to “strong self will spirits” in others, even for my whole lifetime. Whether these spirits in several people tried to control my life by continually telling me what to do or not to do or if these spirits approached me in a more innocent and appealing way at first sight, as of late I have been feeling more and more uneasy whenever I had to do with certain people. Knowing that I should love them all, but not knowing how to draw a clear line here and how to submit to God instead of to their controlling spirits has bothered me a lot recently. While I was already able to split up with some of them, there are still people with who I cannot split up the same way because I have to do with them in my normal life almost every day. So, what to do here? 🙄
What I had to realize now is the fact that whenever we submit unknowingly to a spirit in a person which does not come from God, the door to sin is wide open. Imagine you meet someone who usually talks without ceasing, that is, shares every thought coming to their mind with you… not only once… two times, three times, four times…. again and again the same thoughts, you get the picture. You always feel uneasy about that and possibly try to avoid meeting them, but the more you try to avoid them, the more often they approach you. Well, it seems to me there is a lesson to be learned regarding these things.
Have you ever used a white lie in order to get away from people who did not want to let you go? I did and I always felt bad after that, knowing that white lies are still lies. Today I saw that God does NOT accept such things in my life any longer as I fell back into my old patterns. Instead, God’s Spirit took my heart into His hand and squeezed it like a lemon which was very painful. I even knew while beating about the bush that using white lies in order to be able to escape was wrong, BUT… had I not asked God a few minutes before to help me out of this unnerving situation? Did He answer or not? Hmm… at first, I thought He didn’t since He had not helped me the way I thought He should have done. Instead, He let me make a mistake and made me feel His disapproval subsequently in the already described VERY painful way, a pain in my heart of which I could not get rid of until I repented and confessed my sin to God.
But yet, afterwards I had to honestly admit before God that I still had no clue HOW to draw a line in such cases. How then can we take a stand when it is very difficult for us, especially when we have to do with people whom we should love because they belong to our family, for instance? It is indeed easier with strangers or neighbors, but with relatives and friends? 🙄
Well, let us ponder together on the connection between love and obedience, here of course primarily regarding divine matters. Below are some Scriptures that reveal how Jesus defined His love for His Father and how it should be for us today as well. We might also realize that disobedience has consequences, even eternally if we refuse to obey our Lord.
“But I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.” (Jn 14:31 ESV)
“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” (Jn 15:10 ESV)
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (Jn 3:36 ESV)
If someone says He loves God but refuses to obey Him, can his love for God be trusted? Can we keep living in sin and still call ourselves Christians? Dare we? I don’t!!! Oh, how fearful it is to fall into the hands of the living God (cf. Heb 10:31) for He is a consuming fire (see Heb 12:29)!!! These were two Scriptures of which Michael Clark often reminded me. I was very grateful for this reminder since it is really true!
In closing, I want to give you the answer to my prayer as to how to draw a line regarding controlling spirits, an answer God indeed had given me quite some time BEFORE I was tempted to lie. It was in the morning as I awoke and had begun to pray as I surprisingly saw myself before my mind’s eye swimming in the ocean. The water underneath was quite clear, yet it was of a dark yellow color. Not that inviting, indeed… 😛 As another wave was coming up to me, I suddenly saw a big dark fish approaching me from the bottom. I was so startled that I wanted to leave the water immediately, yet, no chance, the shore seemed to be too far behind me…
Actually, my heart was beating like a hammer as I asked Jesus helplessly what to do with that “fish”. He would say, “Let’s dive together, I will help you.”
As I found myself standing on the floor of the ocean with Jesus to my right side, I felt secure. Soon afterwards as the big fish had approached me again, Jesus took him into His hands and kept him there. Then I said, “You can do it, but I can’t.” To this He answered, “You can do it too!” Then He let go of that fish and I tried to get hold of him as well and – it worked! 🙂 I kept that fish between my hands and admitted, “Jesus, when you are with me, I can do everything, but alone? Just think about a whale coming my way, what will I do then – without You??” He just answered, “There is no need to worry about bigger things, either, since all authority is mine. I will always help you.”
I do know that I cannot change anything that still belongs to my old Adam nature unless God helps me out of every blind alley I have reached and I guess it is good to know this, for Jesus also once said,
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:4-5 ESV)
“You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another. If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.
If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.” (Jn 15:14-21 ESV)
I am prepared now, there will be cruel spiritual fights at times. However, all our battles were already won on Golgotha. But it is ours to entrust our whole life to God and then He will act on our behalf, for it is written,
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. (Ps 37:5-9 ESV)