To walk with God means to walk in a perpetual state of faith. Faith is total confidence in God, walking with Him in a state of trust. Remember those exercises we used to do where one partner stood behind you and you, as partner number one, stood with your back to partner number two? You were then required to rigidly fall backward without looking where you were going to land, trusting partner number two to catch you. Those whose bottoms sagged downward to touch the ground first, were not operating in faith. When we walk with God, relying on our own human possibility, we cease being His children, we cease walking in faith. We pay Him court visits now and again, tipping our hats as we bow, curtsying as we swish our skirts to the side, but we don’t walk as a son or daughter. We don’t rely on His possibility, which is always out of the range of human endeavor.
Our walk with God must expect to be tempted. The man who does not believe in God has life so easy. We look at him, and we see him accomplish much in life because his expectations fall so short of God’s possibility. He can do everything he plans to do. But we, like Noah, are given insurmountable tasks to accomplish, things we cannot accomplish on our own. We’d like to pull down the level of expectation so that our faith in ourselves can perform well. But God wants our faith in Him to operate well. What He can accomplish through us is so much greater than what the gentleman who relies on himself can accomplish, and God asks for that kind of acceptance, that kind of trust. In fact, He will accept nothing less. Walk with God, side by side, building the particular Ark He asks you to build, according to His dimensions, His blueprint, and not according to your own. Your plan has “common sense” as god, His plan has God Almighty as God.
There is one evolution I believe in; I believe in the evolution of evil.
Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Genesis 6:5).
Evil can become so bad in a man that he actually takes pleasure in his exercise of depravity. There is a point of no return. The further away from God that the depraved man descends, the more animalistic he becomes, the more society rushes to accept him and his neuroses, the more society becomes corrupted. In our world today evil is blatantly expressed. We watch it on our tellys, cluck our tongues, and change the channel. Why do we do this? Because deep down we know we are the same. We have the same capacity to respond to the devil as the one who practices what the devil wants. When a man becomes brazenly fixed in doing evil, he has assumed a character trait of Satan. If a man persistently tries to justify himself in this, then he destroys the justice of God, and consequently, destroys his own personhood.
We can’t even say “The devil made me do it.” God did not invite Satan into the world; man did. Jesus defeated the devil, but it is man’s job to search and destroy. It is man’s job to send the devil packing, and the place to start is with ourselves. God has already done all He is going to do about the devil. With the authority we have through the Holy Spirit, we sweep that unholy one—the one who did influence us that is for certain—we sweep him out of our existence, out of our territory. The earth we cleanse from his filth is the earth we live in, ourselves. We know now that we want to love “good” and despise evil.
Evil is so easily taken care of. We tell it to go, in Jesus’ name, and it is obligated to leave us alone. Jesus gave us that authority. I have so many personal testimonies of using that authority, for myself, that I know evil lives in terror of me. Is he afraid of you? He should be!
Being born again is death. We pass from one life to another. Scripture tells us that through this death we are given a new spirit, one that can now communicate with God. The Bible tells us that in this new spirit there is even a new language that only God understands. In this new spirit the Holy Spirit now lives with us as a constant companion, a soul brother, a best friend forever. Now the learning process starts all over, only now we learn how to go from independence to complete dependence until we don’t even move our head without the Holy Spirit nodding His approval.
My grandson relates stories to me of his experience on the climbing wall in his school gymnasium, and I am struck by how similar that is to spiritual growth. We start at rock bottom, no matter who we are, we are in the lowest depths of hell, yet when we meet Jesus, we know we can make it to the top. We know that the Holy Spirit will be there encouraging us every step of the way, catching us when our sweaty hands slip, or our shoe gets caught on a rock. We know that with every grip we take on the sure wall of God, a grip we had on ourselves will fade. As we climb we prove the sentence, “The joy of the Lord is my strength!” Every sentence that started with “Yes, but…” goes away. No more “Yes, but You don’t know what I suffered.” No more, “Yes, but they made me do that.” No more, “Yes, but who can control the words that come out of our mouths?” No more self-defense. We were guilty, and our guilt was wiped away.
The story of Adam and Eve explains death. Eve told the serpent they would die if they ate the fruit, and that is exactly what happened. They instantly died spiritually because their communication with God was cut off. No more long walks and talks. Gradually, their bodies died. They were designed to live forever in their glorious state in the magnificent garden, but their bodies returned to dust. Man, in his crowning glory of having learned to control his world, at his peak of dominion, starts to decline and finally ends in a mad dash rush for death.
Am I saying that if we learn to obey God, and we relinquish all our worldly knowledge to obtain all the spiritual knowledge in the Bible, if we take responsibility for the mess we’ve made of the life we were given, and we submit our lives to living like the Bible says, that we will live forever? Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. The first lesson we find is that we must be born again. We must become a baby in the arms of our triune God. How do we do that? By humbling ourselves in front of our Heavenly Father and receiving Jesus Christ, His Son, as our Lord, as the one who saves us from ourselves.
In the spiritual life, we can look a little more closely and see that every decision we make is our responsibility. Every word we say is our reality. Our independence in the natural has placed us as guilty before a holy God because we have learned to operate in a filthy world, and so spiritual maturity requires one more spurt of growth. We must learn to be dependent once again. We must learn to lean on God as Adam and He leaned on each other. We must learn we cannot make one decision without asking the Lord what He wants, and lovingly, admiringly, wait for our best-friend-forever’s counsel.
When I first encountered the Lord in my life (He’d been there all the time, I just looked right through Him), and He told me I must say with my mouth that He was my Lord, my answer was this: “No one is going to be my Lord but me!” I did not realize at the time that there is no deeper section of hell than that. The essence of sin manifests itself by declaring it is god and not God Himself. We don’t have the right to be our own gods, or anyone else’s for that matter. We cannot spend our lives lavishing our attention on ourselves or any other icons we make.
When God made Adam, the two of them did not have to take the time to get to know each other. Adam had been aware of every pat of that Hand that put him together. God knew Adam in more detail than Adam knew he had. They started out as soul brothers, best friends forever, inseparable. It was only when Adam sinned that he became afraid of God. That’s the purpose of sin—to separate us from God. We don’t run to someone we fear. What was Adam’s sin? He disobeyed. Then he blamed his action on Eve. Two sins in a row sent him running for cover in the bushes, hiding from God.
In the natural life, we are born as such weak babies that we can’t even lift our head by ourselves. But we grow, slowly it seems to us, as we want to be so independent. “Mine,” is one of the first words we learn. “I’ll do it myself,” is one of our first sentences, and our parents are proud when such vocalization takes place. After all, we raise our children to be independent, able to take care of themselves, individuals with a sense of self-worth. But the child of God takes it a step further.
Underneath all those negative attributes I saw in myself, like Competition, I saw one stone on which they all rested: Murder. It is no accident that the story of Cain and Able is in the Bible. That one incident of Cain killing Able is the example of every action we take against someone else, when all we’re trying to do is promote ourselves. And that’s the whole point. We don’t have to promote ourselves. Our God has planned everything, if we’ll just follow His directions. He is the lifter of our heads.
As a young woman I loved playing tennis, but I don’t remember ever winning a match, or even a game. I loved the action it took to play, and I was happy for whoever won. That’s the only activity I could say that about; for the rest I was out for “the kill.” I don’t want that kind of competitive spirit to be in me; I don’t want to defeat anyone, so I asked the Lord how to get rid of it. He said to starve it. Don’t feed that spirit, and it will go away. When I participate in life by enjoying the action, promoting other people, without focusing on who will win, my Creator enjoys me, and He is the one who wins.
What did I see in myself? Competition. Manipulation. Defiance. Control. Self-Interest. Pride. I mustn’t forget Greed! And many more. I tried to put up a good argument, after all Lord, these are human attributes. Society teaches us that if we want to succeed, we'd better develop these things in ourselves. But Society is wrong. Let me paint a picture for you.
My daughter-in-law sent a picture of my grand-daughter, age six, standing on a dais, waiting to receive her gold medal for having won a lengthy foot-race. Her stance on the dais was humble, almost embarrassed to have won, although happy to have won. Then I looked at all the children surrounding my grand-daughter. Not a single face reflected love, peace, or joy. No one celebrated my grand-daughter’s win. There was anguish, anger, despair, envy, rage, and a few other negatives I could name, on every single face. That’s what competition does. That’s why the Bible says to prefer your brother. Let the other guy have the best seat. Am I saying don’t compete? Certainly not. I’m saying that when I lose, I want my face to shine with love and joy for the one who won, just like Jesus would do.
Because of attitudes, words, and actions formed against me by others, when I was first born again, I was filled with lies that I believed about myself—lies that had haunted me from my early childhood. Because of the turmoil within me, I asked the Lord to help me sort things out. He said, “It’s not what has happened to you that created this turmoil (I was an illegitimate child, my stepfather raped me for years, etc.); it’s because of the lies you’ve believed about yourself that has created the chaos.” He then gave me a prayer process to expose the lie (one at a time), recognize the damage it had done and where it came from, and then to receive the truth, pull out the lie, and plant the truth in its place. I used that process to pull out more than 200 lies.
I have been changed, and yet I could see quite clearly that I was not the very image of Jesus Christ. Though my mind was renewed and my emotions were healed, where was the nature of my Lord? I wanted to be like Him. What more was required of me? Then I saw it. Beneath that layer of lies lay the mass of myself. No one had inflicted on me the disgusting matter that I saw; I had created myself to be like that. I probably entered into a state of what the old-timers called “Dying to Self.”
To be continued. . . .