Saturday, October 20, 2012

Giving The Devil A Foothold

When you live with clutter and garbage long enough you stop seeing it. It simply becomes part of your life. Have you noticed that we are failing to live by the standard Jesus set for us? Of course not. We have lived with it for so long we have stopped seeing it. Jesus' teachings:

You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. (Matthew 5:21-22)

You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28)

Just two quick thoughts. Look at them again. How far below this standard are we living? I am not talking about self-improvement here. I am not suggesting we have it in ourselves to live this standard but with Jesus in us we have been given the freedom of choice, been given the power to live this standard. We are no longer slaves to sin. We now have the power to say no. We have the ability to choose Jesus over temptation.

Some would argue "grace" but we have become grace abusers. We have been called to holiness and have been warned not to use grace as an excuse to sin. The problem is that we have been living with it so long we don't even notice it. We don't notice the bitter and angry heart. We don't notice the mean words we speak. We don't notice the hateful and lustful thoughts we have.

In Ephesians 4 Paul warns us, "do not give the devil a foothold", but we do all the time. Every time we allow a wrong thought to build a nest we are inviting the enemy in. Every time we choose not to reject a thought but instead to mull if over we are inviting temptation.

It is natural to feel anger with someone when something is done against you but the love and grace of Jesus is our standard and quickly overcome that moment. However, it is when we decide to hold on to that thought, to go over that moment again and again in our thinking, that we invite the enemy in. He makes sure that our thoughts turn into hatred which is an ugly thing in a Christian. Our immediate response to anger in us should be forgiveness born of love.

It is natural to admire the beauty of a person, which hopefully goes deeper than the skin, but the love of Jesus is our standard and provokes respect in us. However, it is when you concentrate on the physical aspect of a person and start imagining things that you invite the enemy in and he makes sure that these thoughts lead to other things. Once you give lust a foothold it becomes a very destructive force in your life.

Actually examine and pay attention to Jesus' teachings and you will soon discover that God is not concerned about appearances as much as the condition of our heart. Our inner condition is what he came to transform and Jesus warned us that it is by our fruit that we are known. Not a surface thing that we do in conforming to a set of standards, but the fruit that is produced by the standard we become due to the transformation of Jesus in us. But we have a choice. We can still slip back to what we were simply by giving the devil a foothold, by not rejecting those thoughts that do not belong to a disciple of Jesus. Before Jesus we had no power to reject such things but with Jesus we possess the power to do exactly that; reject.

We have to stop living with the garbage and the clutter we are failing to see. Ask the Spirit to open your eyes to your real condition and then surrender it all to Jesus. Ask the Spirit to show you the various footholds in your life that you have given the devil, and surrender them to Jesus. He set before us a standard to measure ourselves against so we will know whether we are living a surrendered life or a selfish one. It's about the heart. It has always been about the heart. Make sure it belongs to Jesus and nothing or no one else.

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