When someone gets saved, it is quite likely that that person expects to feel something emotionally or physically. If this does not happen, they may not “feel” like they are saved. It is true that one may experience something on an emotional level, but this is not always so, and in any case emotions do not last.
Because the new believer wants to “know” that what has happened to him or her is real, they look for something tangible that they can relate to; like an emotion. Now, since there may not be some tangible manifestation to make them “feel” saved, they compensate by doing something that will give them a “feeling” that they are saved. Doing something is not a bad thing in itself, except that if it done from the flesh it is a religious thing the Bible calls “Dead Works.”
This “doing something” is sometimes encouraged by many churches; and often enforced as a legal requirement to “prove” that you were well and truly saved. New believers are vulnerable and eager to please God, and so Scriptures about tithing, bearing fruit etc, are used to get them into action; and soon they are on their way to becoming a well-meaning Pharisee. Why?
Because you end up in the place where you depend more on what you do, than on the finished work of the cross. Churchianity teaches that you have to work at being a Christian instead of simply being who you already are in Christ. This can make one feel that one cannot reach a level of “spirituality” and enthusiasm like the rest of their fellowship. This finally results in the believer feeling like a hypocrite.
This feeling of inadequacy causes them to disqualify themselves from the race. They eventually tire of working at the Christian life and failing at it consistently.
Others who feel the same way simply continue to go to church and remain involved, but they know that they are not what they should be. They maintain a sense of hypocrisy, but they would be too ashamed or too afraid to leave, because the church is all they have to cling to. Their connection to God is through the church, and the church is all that they have to lean on. They do not know that their Christian life is not dependant on what they do, or dependant on the church; their Christian life is rooted in Christ only. Nothing else can give them love, peace, joy and a deeper, personal relationship with God the Father than the Christ in them.
Relying on the Holy Spirit for eternal life is not what the Holy Spirit came to do. He came to reveal the Christ in you, in order that you might express Christ who is the real life within you.
Expressing Christ within You Is Living the Christian Life
The Church of Christ
Now, before this writer is charged with being “anti-church,” let me hasten to add that the church, (that is the true church which Christ is building,) was ordained of God, and we are to assemble together as one body. I am a strong supporter of the church that Christ is building, because I belong to that church by virtue of the fact that I was born into it. I did not join this church, nor did any of its member’s; they were all born into this body of believers. None of the members of this church can separate themselves from each other, or from Christ who is the head of the church.
This church does not have fellowship on the basis of their agreement on doctrine. Their fellowship is on the basis that they are in Christ, and Christ is in them. They all have the Spirit of truth in them, and they have relinquished the right to be right for the sake of petty doctrine. (“Doctrine” in this instance is not the sound teaching of the Apostle’s doctrine.) This church trusts the Holy Spirit to lead them into all truth; they look for, and see Christ in their brethren.
The Importance of Dry Seasons
More than ever before, there are a great number of God’s children who have been hurt by the ruling religious systems of our day. They feel abandoned and rejected by the very people that were there supposedly to support and nurture them. Some do not fellowship anywhere, and others are going through the motions of “church” even though they do not feel comfortable with their current status quo.
Others still, move from one church to another seeking that which they cannot find. In reality they are lonely. Not lonely in the sense that they have a melancholy feeling brought about by being without the companionship of others, but lonely in the sense that they feel separated from that which was familiar and comforting to them. This aloneness could possibly be the process of making one holy.
The Gk. word hagios is translated “holy” in our Bible. It means…To be, separated or ceremonially consecrated. This separation process produces a loneliness, the duration of which is determined by God alone. There are two types of aloneness found in the Scriptures. One is by actively seeking solitude. This is done to separate one’s self from other people in order to pray alone or meditate, as in the case of Jesus.
Matthew 14:23: “When He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.”
The second form of aloneness is that which you have no control over. This comes about by circumstances and situations. It is this form of loneliness that we refer to here. Again consider Jesus in…
Matthew 27:46: “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’”
At this point Jesus was suffering the ultimate in “aloneness.”
A Dry Season is a time of testing. God seems far away and when you pray, the heavens are as brass; cold and silent. Your immediate reaction is to find out what you have done wrong. If it is a Dry Season, you have not done anything wrong, in fact God is separating you to draw you to Himself.
Dry Seasons are often used by God to strengthen our relationship with Him. Allow me to explain. Sometimes we will not receive the things that God is trying to convey to us if our lives are cluttered with “noise.”
“Noise” in this sense being those things that preoccupy our thinking, and keep us focused on things other than what God is trying to tell us. People can believe an untruth as strongly as the truth if it is security to them. Millions are prepared to die for a cause that is based on a falsehood. Sometimes the things we find security in are not truth as God sees it.
It becomes necessary for God to bring about circumstances that will force us to re-evaluate our relationships, particularly our relationship with Him. The circumstance that God brings about in our lives is what could be termed the dark night of the soul.
Consider Job 30:26: “When I looked for good, then evil came unto me: and when I waited for light, there came darkness.”
Job 19:8: “He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and he hath set darkness in my paths.”
Other Scriptures convey the same idea of a time when God seems to abandon us.
Lamentations 3:8: “Also when I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer.”
1 Kings 8:12: “Then spake Solomon, The LORD said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.”
Exodus 20:21: “And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.”
Psalm 18:11: “He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.”
God will bring you to a place where there is no support system from the “religious” community, no fellowship, comfort, and no encouragement. This can often be accompanied by a feeling that God, too, has abandoned you. The times when you feel “abandoned” by God can become the greatest asset you have—because the struggle you have in the aloneness is just as important as finding the comfort of true fellowship.
God has not abandoned you; you have simply come to the place where you feel alone because your relationship with God is being strengthened. This is the point of the loneliness, to bring you to a new and deeper relationship with your Father. It is a relationship that is not based on other people supporting you, but complete trust that God alone who is your only source of supply.
Your faith is strengthened and matured; it survived intact and strong even when life is unexplainable and circumstances are out of control.
Isaiah 49: 15, 16: “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.”
The Dry Seasons bring you to the realization that He and He alone is your life, you cannot depend on anyone or anything else.
If there were no church, no other humans on this planet, your trust would be totally on Christ. God’s relationship with you is not on a corporate level, it is intensely personal, and He wants you for Himself. Churchianity has sought to interfere in the one-on-one relationship with your Father. When there is no interference, you are faced with the issue of who you are in Christ.
Going through the Valley of the Shadow of Death is an excellent vehicle for this purpose.
Your relationship with God is unique and personal, as if there was no one else in the world.
The product of the dry period is that it forces you to relate to God as if you were His only child. Gone are the other influences that made you dependant on anything other than the Christ within you.
If you are in a dry place right now, be aware that you are not abandoned and that God is dealing with you in a positive way. If you feel abandoned by God, it is because your relationship with Him has changed, and you have come to rely on other “things” that do not nurture a deeper personal relationship with Him.
God will rather let you suffer through this period, than allow your heart to stray by becoming cluttered with non-essential things.
These dry spells can be God’s way of redirecting your thinking from a horizontal, to a vertical position. Philippians 4:8 is an example of vertical thinking. A final thought on this matter…
You cannot measure what God is doing in your life by what you see Him doing.
Do not limit God by what you see or feel.
And remember perhaps one of the most powerful verses in the Bible…Romans 8:28: “All things work together for good to those who love God, who are the called according to His purpose.”
Cuckoo’s and the Renewed the Mind
Where I live we have a bird that visits every summer called the Red-chested cuckoo.
The distinctive summer sounds that it makes, has earned it the Afrikaans name “Piet-my-vrou.” Because of its secretive nature, it is a bird that is heard more often than seen. This bird has distinctive behavior which that I want to compare to the human mind.
The “Piet-my-vrou” is a “brood parasite.” This means that it uses another species of birds to rear its young. This is achieved by watching the movements and habits of the host bird; whilst waiting for an opportunity to quietly slip into the host bird’s nest, remove an egg and lay one of her own. Incidentally, the egg she lays looks so much like the original egg that it seems as if the host bird cannot tell the difference.
The host bird now has a “foreign” egg in its nest, yet the host will happily keep this egg warm and protected until it hatches. The cuckoo egg is designed to hatch first, and the moment it does, it deploys what is called an “eviction instinct,” this means the shoving out of the nest, any of the host bird’s original eggs. Should it happen that one of the host bird’s eggs hatches first, the cuckoos eviction instinct is so strong that it will either kill or evict the defenseless chick.
In ornithology this is called “Cainism,” named after Cain who killed his brother Abel.
It could happen that the other chicks hatch before the cuckoo chick. This is particularly sad, because the cuckoo chick is so aggressive, and grows so quickly that the host’s chicks simply starve to death.
The cuckoo chick is much larger than the host’s chicks, and in a very short time grows even larger than the host parents. This means that the tiny thug is far more demanding for food than the host bird’s chicks would ever have been.
The “adopted” parents are truly hard pressed to feed the little monster that has hatched in their nest. In the bird world some species are reared by a single parent; so the cuckoo, knowing the demands of its chick, chooses a host bird species where both parents work to feed the young.
And in this case it really needs both parents to slave all day long to satisfy the demands of this “brat from hell.”
The little thug is relentless in its demands for food, and the parents cannot help but comply with this bloated and growing brute. Nature has provided them with the instinct to care for a chicks cry for food. The cuckoo takes advantage of these natural instincts and desires of the host bird, by perverting what should have been taking care of their own, to taking care for what is alien to them.
The same principle can be applied to the un-renewed mind of the believer.
Ephesians 4: 27 says, “…give no place to the devil.”
If we entertain thoughts that should not be in our mind, we too play with fire because the continuous nurturing of these thoughts can become a stronghold in our mind. It is true that Satan can and does use the power of suggestion to influence our thought life. However the enemy within, that is, the un-renewed mind, needs to be brought into subjection to the things of God.
Romans 8:5-7: “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace, because the carnal mind is enmity with God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.”
Notice that one must not set one’s mind on the carnal nature, giving it preeminence in your thought life.
WHEN YOU FEED THE WRONG THOUGHTS
THAT SEEK WARMTH AND COMFORT IN YOUR MIND,
YOU WILL BE FACED WITH THE SPECTRE OF WHAT YOU’VE BEEN FEEDING.
Romans 12:2: “And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Colossians 3:2: “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”
If allowed, the enemy will flood our minds with his ideas and thoughts that will distract us and enslave us in unrighteousness. The mind is the battleground for good and evil in every Christian. The enemy has set his sights on the hearts and minds of the masses. He has already made tremendous progress through the media. He is relentless is his attack on the mind of mankind, knowing that to control the mind, is to have absolute control. As a believer, you can either control what you entertain in your thought life, or it will control you.
Ephesians 4:23: “Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.”
The more we exercise control over our thought life, the more we will be reconciled to God, because we are freed to express the Christ within us. The sinner makes decisions based on external mental input. It is through these manipulated mind decisions that Satan operates through the sinner.
1 John 3:8: “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”
You need to see that Satan once used you as a vehicle for sin, and as such he controlled you as a sinner. Satan sinned through you before you were born again. You need to understand this in order to see that Christ lives through you now as a believer. If you cannot see Satan as your nature before you were born again, you will struggle to see Christ as your nature now. Once we are birthed of God, we have the power to redirect the manipulative, destructive thoughts that can so easily become strongholds.
Colossians 1:21: “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled…”
It is not sin to have evil thoughts. It is sin to entertain these thoughts by giving them place in your mind where they can grow. They will grow into monsters that you do not have control over if you do not evict them when they first appear in your head. We need to exercise a certain mental discipline when it comes to these “cuckoo thoughts.”Once these thought patterns gain root in the nest of our mind, they can grow up to be what the Bible calls “strong holds.”
You had no choice as to what your skin color would be, whether you would be male or female, tall or short, big or small. But because you have a soul, you made choices based on information you received throughout your life. Look into a mirror, and you will see a person who is the sum of all the choices you made throughout your life.
All those choices were the result of thoughts, some were good thoughts, resulting in good choices, and others were the wrong thoughts resulting in poor choices.
Strongholds can take the shape of many problematical manifestations in our thought life if we nurture the wrong kind of thinking.
Jealousy, greed, unforgiveness, racism and resentment, which can manifest as a root of bitterness, are just some examples.
One that I would like to discuss here is the stronghold of taking offence. Basically the taking of offence is the result of pride. It was pride that put Satan out of heaven.
To take offence is like saying “I am better than you, how can you, especially you,dare to challenge anything I say. Don’t you know that I am superior to you in this area.”
Most Christians do not know the depravity of pride. Unless it is revealed to you, it is difficult to know how ugly pride is. Perhaps you could ask God to give you a revelation of true pride, you will be shocked, and stunned at just how vile pride really is.
GOD HATES PRIDE.