Summary of Obstacles to Growth

Shame.
Rejection.
Obstacles to Spiritual Growth.
Painful Memories.
Jealousy.
Inferiority Complex.
Fear.

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Shame

SHAME. Hebrews ch 12 v 1- 2. 2 Sam ch 13 v 1-20. John ch 4.

Hebrews ch 12 v 2. Jesus endured the cross and the shame of being naked. He took not only man’s sins to the cross but also man’s shame to the cross. Crucifixion was carried out by the Romans and their victims were nailed to the cross naked. There was a concession for women. They were hung facing the pole. For a Jewish man this was a shameful action. That is part of what the Romans intended. From the very beginning nakedness and sin go together. It was the Roman Catholic Church who introduced the body of the Lord hanging on a cross with a lion cloth draped over the body. This is not how it was. Actually the lion cloth hid the Jewishness of Jesus. Satan lays shame on a man.

What is shame?
Shame is a painful emotion, caused by a consciousness of guilt or dishonour in one’s conduct or state. It is a cause of disgrace. Is there demonic possession by a spirit of shame? Is there oppression? Whatever it is, it is a potent thing. It impacts on the life of human beings and hangs like a cloud over a man’s life. The enemy comes to rob, steal and destroy. Shame robs people of their potential to serve the Lord. Many people do not reach their full potential due to shame. Shame holds people in bondage, so that they continually fall to temptation. Shame includes embarrassment. Not all people are the same. Some laugh off embarrassment and regard it as a joke. Others are deeply affected by it. People do not respond to situations in the same way. Therefore people ought to be sensitive towards others. Names can hurt. “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” This is a lie. Nicknames can bring shame on a person. Some people change their name because they are ashamed of the family name. A nickname can affect a man’s image of himself. Some may laugh them off, while others are deeply affected. A man may feel ashamed when he compares himself with others. Others may have friends, while he has none. He feels shame. People may feel shame when they are rejected by a boy friend or girl friend.

There are several kinds of shame.
(a) Things done by another person, where there is no guilt on a man’s part. A person may feel a sense of shame due to a drunken father – divorced parents – illegitimate birth – some children are born in shame. Either they are illegitimate or the parents wanted a child of the opposite sex. Actually there are no illegitimate children. There are illegitimate parents. It was not the fault of the child that he was born out of wedlock. It is the decision of the parents. No child chose to be born illegitimate. It was the parents who made the choice. Football hooligans from a town or country – a murder in the village. 2 Sam ch 19 v 1-6. David had brought shame on the people by the way he was acting. The whole nation felt the shame. If an employer embezzles money, the employees may feel a sense of shame. Neh ch 2 v 17. Nehemiah was ashamed of the state of Jerusalem. Is a man ashamed of his country?

(b) Things, which are done to a man, of which he is ashamed. He is shamed. Abuse by another party, whether sexual or mental – rape, bullying or ridicule of a spouse or a child being abandoned. 2 Chr ch 32 v 21. Defeat in battle had brought shame on the people. Ps 31 v 17. When man is ridiculed or belittled he experiences shame. A person made redundant may feel shame. Hab ch 2 v 15. The Babylonians put their captives to shame.
2 Sam ch 10 v 4. Hanun the Ammonite king shaved half of the beards of the prisoners and cut off their clothes at the waist to shame the Jews.

(c) Things, which a man does, which are shameful – lying, stealing, taking advantage of another person or gossip. These are sins of commission. Ps 2 v 4. The kings conspire against God. Men bring shame on themselves when they worship idols. Hos ch 10 v 6. Israel was put to shame because they trusted in an idol. God allowed the shame to come over the nation. By the grace of God there is a promise of a time when Israel will never be put to shame again. Joel ch 2 v 26. Is ch 29 v 22. This is an act of grace. People who worship football are not held in high regard by others, when all they want to talk about is their god, whether it be football or drink or sex. Ps 31 v 17. Arrogant men will be brought to shame. Pride comes before a fall. Nakedness is always associated with sin. Gen ch 3 v 7. Ezek ch 16 v 37.

1 John ch 2 v 28. Men will shrink in shame at the coming of Jesus. Shame acts as a barrier between people, e. g. when a man gossips about another, he may not be able to look at that other person in the face. It is a wonderful thing to be able to walk through life with no shame of meeting anyone, because of what has been said or done. Prov ch 25 v 8. Do not rush to court and face being shamed by defeat in the eyes of others. Those who sue for defamation and lose will be shamed. Name and shame articles about sexual offenders. Often politicians attempt to shame the opposition into resigning out of shame for what they have done. Jer ch 50 v 2. The false gods like Bel will be put to shame. The false god of Islam has brought shame on the Muslims. He has failed to deliver the quality of life, which the God of Israel has brought – standards of education, the dignity of women and material prosperity. Rom ch 6 v 21. Is a man ashamed of things, which have been done in the past? God could expose a man’s shame, if He chose to do it.

(d) Things, which a man fails to do. These are sins of omission. Not taking steps to help another in trouble can leave a man with a sense of shame. Mat ch 25 v 42. “I was hungry and you gave me no food.” The developed World has a sense of shame at the condition of those in the Developing World. Ezekiel ch 7 v 18. When guilt takes a nation, shame follows. The genocide in Rwanda. Mark ch 8 v 38 and Luke ch 9 v 26. Is a man ashamed of Jesus? If so, Jesus will be ashamed of him. Mat ch 25 v 35. “I was hungry and you did not feed me.” Dan ch 9 v 11. People were ashamed due to sin, because they had turned away from obeying God.

The Devil looks for inroads or fertile ground to lay shame on people. Shame repels God’s blessing. Jesus put on a man’s coat of shame on the cross when His body was nailed to the cross. The Cross deals with the past, the present as well as the future. A man is born with eternity inside of him. He needs to be free from shame. He cannot enjoy life in all its fullness, if he cowers before shame. There is a shame issue.

There is a choice to make. Gen ch 2 v 24. “Adam, where are you?” It was addressed to Adam and not to Eve. Adam was the one held responsible by God. Sin leads to shame. He could not face God. When there is shame in the life of a man, he cannot look God in the face. A man cannot be transparent, where there is shame in his life. Couples cannot look each other in the eye, if one of them is ashamed of something done or not done. There is a shame issue.

How should a man live? The simple answer is to live a life where there is no scope for shame in a man’s personal lives. Ps 119 v 6. Those who do the right thing will not experience shame. The World is ready to criticise and complain, but if things are done right, then there is no room for shame to get in. Isaiah ch 45 v 17. “If man puts his trust in God, he will not be brought to shame.” Isaiah ch 49 v 23. “There may be difficulties when man trusts in God, but not shame.”

The woman at the well in John chapter 4 suffered from three degrees of shame.
1. v 9. Ethnic shame. The Samaritans were made to feel inferior to the Jews. They had a bad track record. It was not her fault but she felt the shame.
2. v 27. Gender shame. Women were not regarded as equal with men. Jesus gave women a dignity they did not have in their culture. When a family want a girl and get a boy they may be disappointed and the child may suffer confused sexuality. This can lead to a life of fantasy, always wanting to be someone else, or wanting to be famous or popular. In parts of the World today many women are made to feel inferior. This has fuelled the feminist movement. It was not their fault.
3. v 17. Sexual shame. Women did not go to the well in 40 degrees of heat. The wives in the village will have warned their husbands not to be seen with this loose woman. This shame was due to her actions. She had had 5 husbands and was not married to the one she was living with. Jesus did not condemn her or attempt to lay shame on her. He had come to set the captives free.

The net result is the same. Shame is a power over a life. Alexander the Great in a fit of temper killed a close friend. He was never the same power again. He lost the boldness, which was his hallmark. Others close to him lost respect for him. Shame colours what a man hears. A man with an inferiority complex is conditioned to be suspicious of praise. He expects others to put him down. If a man cannot talk about a matter to another, shame can gain a foothold in his life.

There is healthy shame, as there is healthy fear. If it brings a man to the point of acknowledging his guilt and leads him to confess to God, it is healthy. The fear of being ashamed may prevent people from doing or saying something, which would bring shame on them, e.g. premarital sex, adultery or shoplifting. The concern of being seen undressed in public causes people to keep covered up. Some would be so ashamed of swearing in public, that it keeps them from blaspheming. To be shameless is to be in a position where there is no sense of shame, when there should be a sense of shame. Gradually Western society is moving into a situation where there is little or no shame. Even politicians feel no shame in taking the Lord’s name in vain or using bad language or telling dirty jokes. However they may do so in private. It was shame, which kept homosexuals in the closet for a long time.

What circumstances are people ashamed of? Having been in prison or having a relative or parents in prison. Having surrendered their virginity outside of marriage. Parents who are living apart or are drunkards. Parents who are out of work. Their personal appearance. Some are ashamed of being too tall or too short or having a facial disfigurement or being bald. Some are ashamed that they had an abortion. Poverty. Lack of education. Their home. Their children. Football fans feel shame when their team is heavily beaten. Whole cities can fell shame because of the reputation of their city. Leaders can bring shame on the whole nation. The government makes the people to sin when they pass laws, which are contrary to the laws of God. Prov ch 14 v 34. A law permitting same-sex marriage may bring shame on a nation.

To be shameless is to be in a position where there is no sense of shame, when there should be a sense of shame. The concern of being seen undressed in public causes people to keep covered up. Some would be so ashamed of swearing in public, that it keeps them from blaspheming.

There are various characters in the Bible who experienced shame.
(a) Adam and Eve were naked but not ashamed. Gen ch 2 v 25. Later when they rebelled against God, they were ashamed of the fact that they were naked. Gen ch 3 v 10. Ever since nakedness is associated with sin. They felt guilty for what they had done and before God they were ashamed of their nakedness. Fear also entered their personality for the first time.
(b) Noah was ashamed when he woke from his drunkenness and discovered that Ham had seen him lying there naked. Gen ch 9 v 24. Gen ch 3 v 7. Ezek ch 16 v 37.
(c) David felt shame after his adultery with Bathsheba. Uriah’s presence reminded him of what he had done and brought his shame to his conscience. The murder only made it worse. Psalm 51 v 3 was David’s response. He needed to be purified. David did not feel worthy of being in the presence of God. The enemy comes to rob, steal and destroy as all spirits do. It robs people of their potential to serve the Lord. Shame holds people in bondage, so that they continually fall to temptation.
(d) Saul was ashamed of his attempts to kill David. 1 Sam ch 26 v 21.
(e) Jonah must have experienced shame when he ran from God.
(f) Peter’s denial brought him to feel shame for what he had done. The Jebusite spirit led him to deny the Lord. Shame was there to drive home his misery. Luke ch 22 v 62.
(g) Judas was ashamed of betraying the Lord. Judas was so ashamed that he felt that the only way out was suicide. Mat ch 27 v 3.
(h) Mat ch 1 v 19. Joseph did not want to put Mary to shame and so he married her. To expose sin in others puts them into the power of shame.
(i) The woman at the well was shamed into admitting that the man she was living with was not her husband.
(j) 2 Sam ch 13 v 12 – 14. If a man forces himself on a woman, he places shame on her. “Where could I carry my shame?” After Amnon raped Tamar, he hated her. He transferred his hatred of himself for what he had done to her. Guilt is real and something a man has to deal with. Then he rejected his own sister. The three demons of lust, shame and rejection had done their filthy work and ruined two lives. Rape and adultery bring shame on a life. Some women never get over being raped, because shame has been placed on their life. Their person has been violated. A man who has been burgled has the same feeling. His home has been violated. Boys and girls who have been violated have shame on their life. They may live under shame for the rest of their life. Orphans and children of divorced parents, feel shame. Children in a divorce situation can feel shame as they think that they have caused the divorce. “Did I cause the divorce?” They may blame themselves. If a child has been violated, it is not the fault of the child. The child should not accept the shame, which is placed upon him.

Shame may lead many to suicide. When caught and exposed for sin in public they may feel so ashamed that there is no way forward and no hope for the future. The enemy robs a man of joy and peace of mind. He piles the shame on a man. Shame can shrivel a man. Job ch 16 v 8 and Isaiah ch 33 v 9.

What are the consequences of shame?
(a) Physical consequences of shame. Blushing and stammering, when caught out.
(b) Emotional consequences of shame. There may be lies to cover up the truth. A politician or leading figure exposed for having been seen at a brothel may attempt to cover it up by lying about where he has been.
(c) Spiritual consequences of shame. People are led into bondage. The Devil comes to rob, steal and destroy. A man’s reputation may go.
(d) False identity – hiding behind an imagined personality. It makes a man unable to receive God’s blessing, because he does not feel good enough to receive it.
(e) A man tends to bring shame on others to get his own back. Transference of guilt. Shame accumulates as a cloud darkens.
(f) Shame results in a distorted view of life. Shame keeps a man from feeling worthy of being in God’s presence. He loses his joy of salvation. If joy has departed from a believer, it may be because of shameful things done to him or done by him. Shame robs a man of his power to conquer temptation. If he constantly falls to temptation, he loses the power to deal with it. Shame affects the ability to make lasting relationships. Everything said will be measured. “Do they really love me?” There is double mindedness. Doubt and faith are in conflict. “Will they still like me, if they find out what I have done or said about them?” “Is that what they really mean?”
(g) Some children are born in shame. Either they are illegitimate or the parents wanted a child of the opposite sex. Many live their life under a cloud of shame.
(h) 1 John ch 2 v 28. Shame acts as a barrier between people, e.g. when one gossips about another, he may not be able to look at that person in the face. It is a wonderful thing to be able to walk through life with no shame of meeting anyone, because of what has been said or done.

Is it ever right to bring people into shame? Jesus did it on a number of occasions. Luke ch 13 v 17. Jesus shamed His enemies when He exposed their hypocrisy. They were shown to be worthless. It is right to do this – as it is to be angry – when it has as its objective to prevent lies deceiving the people. Jesus was angry on behalf of His Father when He drove the moneylenders out of the temple. He had to expose the hypocrisy of the Pharisees in order to lead the people into the truth. It is like righteous anger, if it brings dishonour to others. 2 Thes ch 3 v 14. Stay away from serious sinners in the Church in order to put them to shame. 1 Cor ch 6 v 5. Paul was trying to make the Church ashamed of their ignorance with a view to their repentance. 1 Cor ch 15 v 34. Shame is a good thing if it motivates a man into action. Shame can be a tool of God to force a man to take stock and consider his position. Jer ch 13 v 26. There is always a danger that it will lead to a cover up and make matters worse. Then it becomes a tool of the enemy. There is a time for everything under Heaven – a time to expose shame and a time to cover it up. 1 Cor ch 1 v 27. God chooses the weak and foolish to shame the strong and wise.

1 Cor ch 6 v 5. Paul was trying to make the Church ashamed of their ignorance with a view to their repentance. 1 Cor ch 15 v 34. Shame can be a tool of God to force man to take stock and consider his position. There is always a danger that it will lead to a cover up and make matters worse. Then it becomes a tool of the enemy.

There are many reactions to shame. These include resentment, rebellion, self-pity, pouting, withdrawal, self-accusation, insecurity, inferiority, suicide, depression, death wish, criticism, harshness, judgementalism, paranoia, perfectionism (trying to do our best is a readjustment to shame), pride, sexual lust, materialism suppression and finally self-rejection. Shame means that man does not feel good about himself. Some people get a job in an Old Folk’s Home with a view to abusing the elderly inmates. Some get jobs in a boarding school with a view to abusing young boys. Many are afraid to love, because of shame in their past life. There are family ghosts. This can be a spiritual problem in families for generations. Perhaps grandfather was an adulterer. How does a man feel towards God and to himself? Does he have a hang up, which impedes his relationships with others. Does he love himself? Can he enjoy his own company? Can he take an honest look at himself, without feeling downcast. Is he afraid to fail?

Expectations of others may be too high and bring shame on the one who fails to meet the expectations. A person may be ashamed of the success of a brother or sister. “You are not as good as your sister.” Children are not the same and should not be pressurised to meet the expectations of their parents. Shame can arise from unmet needs, when the three basic needs are not met. They feel a failure in a Church, because the leaders never realise their potential and bring them to their potential. Parents bring their children into the World and are responsible for them after that. Parents need to ensure that their needs are met. If a father walks out on his child, the child may feel ashamed that he has no dad.

There is power in shame. Shame leads to addictive relationships. Why do some women keep going back to a man who beats her, if it is harmful? Because it is addictive. Women who are divorced want to go back to a man, even if he is unkind to them. It is addictive – like nicotine. They know it is bad for them but there is a power over their lives. It needs to be broken. It is difficult to make a real and good relationship. Shame suppresses a man’s emotions. Jesus took man’s shame and nailed it to the cross.

Shame can destroy a relationship, if one finds out something shameful on the part of the other party. How does a man deal with the shame? 1 John ch 1 v 5 – 10. “If we walk in the light, then we have fellowship with one another” “Goodness and mercy should follow us all the days of our life.” Psalm 23. After God gives a man spiritual life, he then has to take Him at His Word and deal with the matters, which hang over his life. It is false teaching to claim that a believer is perfect or that he has been baptised in the Spirit and has dealt with everything. It is a process throughout life. Those who persevere to the end shall be saved. God brings conviction concerning sin. The enemy brings condemnation of the sin.

How does a man deal with shame?
1. If it is not his fault, he should reject it and refuse to accept it in the name of Jesus. Satan accuses the believer: “You do not deserve God’s blessing after what you have been doing.”
2. 2 Tim ch 2 v 15. “A workman who does his work well need not be ashamed.”
3. James ch 5 v 16. “Confess your sins to one another.” Confession releases a powerful flood of light into the darkness. 1 John ch 1 v 9. “If we confess our sins He will forgive us.” It can be dangerous if the other person talks. Then the one who has confessed is exposed to what others think of him.
4. It may involve repentance and restitution for theft etc.
5. It may involve an apology for gossip etc.
6. It may involve burning an idol.
7. It may involve confessing Jesus in public.
8. The stain of shame, which has been over a person for 30 years or more, is the most difficult to remove. A man gets used to his coat of shame and feels comfortable in it. It can become his comfort zone. The longer it has been there the more difficult it is to remove it.
It is said that there are three kinds of people in the world: those who make things happen; those who watch things happen; and those who never know what’s hit them. If shame is an issue, a man needs to take action and remove it.

In Freemasonry, the initiate says that, if he reveals any secrets of the Freemasons, others can take his life. A man does not have the right to give anyone the right to take his life. God does not give that right to anyone – God does not even give it to a believer. Life and death belong to God.

When money is our objective, we must live in fear of losing it. This makes us paranoid and suspicious.
When fame is our aim, we become competitive, lest others upstage us. This makes us envious.
When power and influence drive us, we become self-serving and strong-willed. This makes us arrogant.
When possessions become our god, we become materialistic, thinking enough is never enough. This makes us greedy.
All these pursuits fly in the face of contentment and joy and may leave a man with a sense of shame.

Shame. Rom ch 6 v 21. Ashamed of things, which have been done in the past. Locked into the memory.
Jer ch 13 v 26. There is a time for everything under Heaven. A time to expose shame and a time to cover it up.
Nakedness is always associated with sin. Gen ch 3 v 7. Ezek ch 16 v 37.
2 Sam ch 10 v 4. Hanun cut off clothes of the soldiers at the waist to shame the Jews.
Gen ch 9. Noah was discovered to be drunk.
Hab ch 2 v 15. The Babylonians put their captives to shame.
Dan ch 9 v 11. People were ashamed due to sin.
Mark ch 8 v 38 and Luke ch 9 v 26. Is a man ashamed of Jesus? If so Jesus will be ashamed of him.
2 Thes ch 3 v 14. Stay away from serious sinners in the Church in order to put them to shame.
1 Cor ch 1 v 27. God chooses the weak and foolish to shame the strong and wise.
Is ch 29 v 22. Jacob will no longer be put to shame. An act of grace.
Heb ch 12 v 2. Jesus endured the cross and the shame of being naked.
Neh ch 2 v 17. Nehemiah was ashamed of the state of Jerusalem. Is man ashamed of his country?
Shame is a good thing if it motivates man into action.

Verses relating to shame.
2 Sam ch 19 v 1-6.
Neh ch 2 v 17.
2 Sam ch 10 v 4.
2 Chr ch 32 v 21.
Ps 31 v 17.
Hab ch 2 v 15.
Ps 2 v 4.
Hos ch 10 v 6.
Joel ch 2 v 26.
Gen ch 3 v 7.
Mat ch 25 v 35.
Prov ch 25 v 8. Prov ch 14 v 34.
Jer ch 50 v 2. Jer ch 13 v 26.
Ezekiel ch 7 v 18. Ezek ch 16 v 37.
Mark ch 8 v 38 and Luke ch 9 v 26.
Ps 119 v 6. Psalm 51 v 3. Ps 31 v 17.
Isaiah ch 45 v 17.
Isaiah ch 49 v 23.
Gen ch 2 v 24-25. Gen ch 3 v 7-10.
Gen ch 9 v 24.
1 Sam ch 26 v 21.
Luke ch 22 v 62.
Mat ch 27 v 3. Mat ch 1 v 19.
2 Sam ch 13 v 12 – 14.
Isaiah ch 33 v 9. Is ch 29 v 22.
1 John ch 2 v 28.
Luke ch 13 v 17.
2 Thes ch 3 v 14.
1 Cor ch 6 v 5. 1 Cor ch 1 v 27. 1 Cor ch 15 v 34.
1 John ch 1 v 5 – 10.
2 Tim ch 2 v 15.
James ch 5 v 16.
Rom ch 6 v 21.
Dan ch 9 v 11.

Rejection

REJECTION.

Many people in the World feel rejected. For some their life is dominated by a spirit of rejection. This happens in families, in schools, in offices and in communities. Even some of the poorer countries feel they are rejected. None of the large countries is interested in them, because they have no valuable resources. A person may experience a feeling of rejection when his three basic needs are not met. These are the need to be loved, to belong and to achieve.

Rejection undermines, breaks or prevents normal harmonious relationships. These include between family members, marriage partners, fellow workers and social contacts. It prevents a believer from reaching his full potential with God. Rejection is most difficult to eradicate and may continue to manifest itself throughout a lifetime.

Rejection has its roots in the rejection of Satan and his demons of God. Lucifer’s unilateral declaration of independence and rebellion against God is the first act of rejection. God’s immediate response was to Himself reject and then pass judgement on the angelic rebellion. God created Hell for the eternal punishment of the Devil and his angelic following. Satan set about encouraging men and women to follow him in his rebellion. In His plan of salvation God put His rejection of mankind onto Jesus. The purpose was that man could find his way back into relationship with God.

The Bible has a lot to say about rejection and its causes.
A. Favouritism.
Favouritism, where a person or group is given preference to another, often leads to jealousy. Jealousy is a powerful emotional drive. It can on occasions lead to murder – if looks could kill. Jealousy is the feeling of coldness and resentment. It sometimes stirs in a man’s heart when another is praised. Jealousy is normally directed against those who are in a man’s immediate circle.

1. Jacob and Esau. Gen ch 25 v 28. Isaac favoured Esau and caused Rebekkah and Jacob to be resentful and jealous. Isaac ended up rejecting both sons. There have been disastrous consequences for the World. The result was that Esau despised his father and brother. Esau married against his father’s wishes in order to hurt him. He passed the hurt, which he felt onto someone else. This is seen when children who are hurting throw stones at trains. When a parent favours one child as against others, he commits iniquity. There must be no favouritism. Favouritism is iniquity. God has no favourites.

2. Joseph. Like father like son. Jacob favoured Joseph. Gen ch 37 v 3-4. Jacob passed on his problem to Joseph. By making Joseph a favourite, he led the brothers to be jealous of Joseph. Gen ch 37. Joseph was not too wise in telling his brothers about his dream. Perhaps he was just acting like the spoiled child he was. If a man has a dream or vision, he should be careful with whom he shares it. Some will become jealous. People may become jealous of others. The brothers envied Joseph. Envy is emotional pain. v 18. Jealousy can lead to murder – Cain and Joseph’s brothers. Favouritism led to envy, which led to murder. God intervened in the person of Reuben, who persuaded the others not to kill Joseph.

B. Jealousy.
Abraham went along with Sarah’s rejection of Hagar and Ishmael. Gen ch 21 v 10. There was jealousy by Sarah because Hagar could do what Sarah was unable to do. Hagar gave Abraham a child. Hagar and Ishmael were rejected and sent away. The result has been strife between Jews and Arabs ever since.

C. Pride. Haman was jealous of Mordecai and felt rejected by the King in favour of a foreigner. Haman was driven also by pride that he was better than Mordecai. Racial tension is never far from the surface in life. Often the departing colonial power gave preference to one tribe or group as against another. This has fuelled civil unrest for long periods.

David. He was rejected by his father. Jesse never even thought to consider him as a potential king when Samuel called. 1 Sam ch 17 v 28-29. David was rejected by his brothers, who were jealous of him. 1 Sam ch 19 v 10. He was rejected by Saul, who sought to kill him. There is nothing like a spear coming at a man to confirm that he is rejected. Saul was jealous of David’s success and popularity with the people. So were David’s brothers.

D. Circumstances. There may be no fault – like a child losing both parents and feeling rejected. 1 Sam ch 1. Elkanah had two wives. Hannah could not have children. The other wife made her feel rejected. There was a sense of shame for a Jewish woman who was unable to have a child. This is so in many cultures throughout the World. Hannah did the right thing by taking the matter to God. Elkanah gave Hannah twice the portion. He gave her a bigger allowance but money was no substitute for children. People tend to throw money at those who are in difficulty, hoping to make them happy. Hannah felt rejected by God. There was a grieving spirit upon her. The grieving spirit led to sorrow. There is a sense of loss and missed opportunity. But despite the double portion, she was still grieving. Freemasonry may well be behind barrenness. Barrenness is linked to the occult. There may be a curse of poverty over a woman preventing her from having a child. God is a giver of life. The enemy seeks to take life and in this instance prevents life.

Daniel had good cause to feel rejected. He missed out on being king. He was almost certainly made a eunuch and missed out on having children. Even at 80 years of age Daniel was rejected by his colleagues. They were jealous of him and his success.

Sometimes rejection is because of the one who is represented. Samuel felt rejected by the people in 1 Sam ch 8 v 7 and 1 Sam ch10 v 19. Actually it was God who was rejected when the people wanted a king like all the other people.

E. Exclusion. Judas repented after he had betrayed Jesus. Mat ch 27 v 3. He was rejected by the other disciples – all of whom had run away. Peter had denied Jesus three times. Judas ended up committing suicide. It would have been a triumph for the Gospel, if Judas had been accepted back into fellowship. Judas had been chosen by Jesus. Satan entered Judas. There must have been fertile ground in the heart of Judas, which let Satan get a foothold. Judas was the only disciple from Judah. The others were all from Galilee. Perhaps Judas did not fit into the group and felt he did not belong. A clique is where the popular people meet to reassure themselves that they are popular.

F. Society. Zaccheaus was rejected by the religious leaders as an outcast.

G. Physical handicap. Bartimeaus was rejected by society. There was no place for a blind person. All he could do was to beg. The unemployed people feel rejected by a prosperous society.

In the parable of the Prodigal Son the father did not act properly. The older son felt rejected. He was not even informed of the younger son’s return. The father should have involved him in the decision. The older son speaks of “Your son” rather than “my brother”. A man can reject someone by ignoring him and not embracing him in the decisions making process. By conveying that the person is not important enough to be consulted, a man is rejecting that person. It can easily happen within a Church.

The Jewish people rejected God’s provision for them, when they longed for the old life in Egypt. Num ch 11 v 20.

Jesus is the most rejected person who ever lived. Psalm 118 v 22. Jesus is the stone, which the builders rejected. Jesus knew that it would happen. The prophets had always been rejected. Jeremiah was put down a well and left to die. Jesus was rejected by the religious leaders, by the political authorities, by His parents, by many of those He healed and even by His own disciples on occasions. Luke ch 9 v 22. Luke ch 17 v 25. Jesus had been there and knew exactly how it feels. Luke ch 10 v 16. Those who reject you as a believer, reject the Lord and His message. Luke ch 17 v 25. The ordinary sinners ignored Jesus but the religious ones rejected Him, because He exposed their pride. Isaiah ch 53 v 3. There was no room in their doctrine for a personal God. No single person whom He had healed, raised from the dead or delivered from demonic forces stood in His defence. To despise a person is to regard as worthless or inferior and to feel contempt for. Jesus was despised in all its aspects. The cry of the mob “Crucify Him” was the basest act of rejection man could ever have displayed against God’s grace.

Rejection leads to lying and stealing. They tell lies in the hope that people will accept them. They pretend they are better or more valuable that they really are. Walls are built up to cover their feelings of inadequacy. If a man does not deal with rejection, suicide thoughts may come into the mind. When a person suffers from rejection, nothing is ever enough. If rejection does not affect a man personally, he need only look around and he will see plenty of others who are troubled by it.

What are the consequences of rejection?
Emotional turmoil results when a person is rejected. On some occasions rejection can lead to physical injury and even death. When the basic needs to be loved, to belong and to achieve are not met, rejection takes place. People feel hurt and their emotions are disturbed. Society rejects the very people it is designed to serve. The government does not have the answers to make the people feel wanted. They do not really care about the individual – just groups as a whole. “If no one loves me, I might as well be dead.” Self-pity follows when a man thinks that no one loves him. Self-pity leads to depression and apathy. Satan often invites people to a pity party. Inferiority says that man is of no use and that people are better off without him. If rejection is not dealt with, thoughts of suicide are able to enter the mind. Rejection builds a wall of failure and discouragement. It leaves a person with a feeling that he will never be any good or able to cope. The soul is hurt and damaged by rejection. A man needs to build walls of protection against the Perrizite spirit. Walls of protection for the unborn child against abortion. Walls of protection for children of one-parent families. Protect those who are bullied. Man needs protection against pollution in the moral and spiritual realm. If a man feels rejected, then he is inclined to reject others. If a man is hurting he wants to make others hurt also. Sin loves a companion. Instead of being good to his enemies a man does bad to his enemies. Those who are rejected see others as their enemies. The others are popular, while they are not. It hurts.

When a man feels rejected he is inclined to rebel. There may be discouragement and failure. This is the work of a negative spirit. “I will reject you first, before you reject me.” In order to ease the pain, a man rebels in order to show that he is not under the control of another. It is hard to repent but God loves His children. Those in rejection are attention seekers. They are attempting to gain the attention, which they think they will not receive otherwise. Superiority may well cover inferiority. The Jebusite spirit and the Amorite spirit work together to bring about a sense of rejection. In rebellion there is stubbornness. ” I will not change.” The person knows it but will not change. If a person cannot work in a team, it is probably because of rejection. The attitude towards others and to God is usually the same. If a man treats others poorly, he will treat God in the same way. It depends on how much a man cares. Bad attitudes start with children in the home. Start to train children in the home at an early age. Prov 22 v 6. It is a power struggle for control. To give in to the child for all its wants leads the child to become greedy and proud of its control over its parents. Then there may be resentment about the weakness of the parents.

What lies behind all the rejection in the World? The Devil comes to rob, steal and destroy. He needs fertile soil in which to plant his demonic activity. How does he do it? Gossip robs man of his character and reputation. Exclusions from a group can leave a person isolated and hurt. Satan is the accuser of the brothers. God will forgive man’s sins and overlook his faults. But Satan loves nothing better than to accuse a man of both. “You ought to be better.” There is a spiritual power behind rejection, which holds a person in bondage. It is in the character of Satan to rob, steal and destroy.

Rejection can arise as a result of the birth and lack of bonding. Adopted children may feel rejected. Parents wanting a child of a different sex can lead to the child being rejected. There are many other causes of rejection – physical disabilities, criticism, bullying, injustice, neglect, divorce, pressure to achieve, poverty of family, disinterest, dominance by parents, cruelty, shame, broken engagement, physical disability, refusal of sexual relations and sterility.

Reactions vary but may include rejection of others, criticism, doubt, confusion of mind, revenge, swearing, stubbornness and rebellion.

Who are rejected today in the World?
Babies can suffer rejection while in the womb. Often babies who cry continuously are showing their feelings of rejection. This can occur from protracted labour and by Caesarean or instrumental births. The lack of bonding between parent and child due to illness or other reason can lead to rejection. When another child achieves a better academic standard, a child may lose confidence and feel rejection.
Children of single parent families, who cannot have the same benefits of other children.
Children whose parents abuse them physically emotionally or sexually. Those who have suffered child abuse are usually lonely people. When they get married, they are lonely married people and find it difficult to form lasting relationships. Their very being has been violated.
Children who have not received an education for any reason or whose sibling went to a better school.
Hereditary rejection in parents will automatically show up in a baby.
A child who is bullied, unfairly treated or sexually harassed at boarding school will feel rejection.
Long periods of loneliness because of a lack of interest by parents may cause rejection.
Children who find that their brothers or sisters are favoured or whose elder sibling.
Children who are constantly put down, corrected, or lectured will quickly experience rejection. They will feel insecure and worthless.
Children who wanted a child of the opposite sex will feel rejection.
Regions in a country where the Government gives resources to other parts of the country or another ethnic group.
The black community in Britain and U.S.A. Turks in Germany. Algerians in France.
Nations who are plunged into debt by the rich nations. They feel abused.
People who are not consulted by the leaders of the Church.
Those who are bullied at school or in the office or are excluded from a group.
Those with few skills who are told that they are not required by their country.
The elderly who are told that they are living too long and are pressurised to take part in euthanasia.
Divorced people. Rejection comes with a false expectation. When romance fades and there is no agape love left, there can be a feeling of rejection. Marriage is a process. It has to be cultivated like a garden by selfless acts of love and self-sacrifice. A man goes on being married. When a man does not get what he wants out of the marriage – sexual relations – or the woman does not get what she wants out of the marriage – children and companionship – then the marriage is in danger of falling apart or at least becoming sterile. Then the parties may reject one another and look for a replacement to get what they want. When there is a divorce the parties cannot escape one fact. The marriage, which once meant to so much to them and was the dream of their life, has failed. Most men when they marry only change their mothers. They look for their wife to carry on looking after them as their mother did.

The list is endless.

A man’s body generally reacts quickly and automatically when his comfort or safety is threatened or affected. A man’s emotional and spiritual body reacts in the same way when he is hurt. There are many consequences of rejection: low self-image, inferiority, sadness, fears, and self-accusation.

Self-prescribed remedies.
1. Rejection of others. Especially those who are abused sexually or physically.
2. Thoughts or acts of revenge and isolation.
3. Swearing or foul language, argumentative behaviour, rebellion and fighting.
4. Anxiety, worry and depression.
5. Negativity, pessimism, hopelessness and despair.
6. Self-centredness and promotion of self, either academically or through bad behaviour.
7. Criticism of others, jealousy, envy a judgmental attitude and covetousness.
8. Withdrawal and emotional immaturity.
9. Anger against injustice, striving for excellence and arrogance.
10. (a) Turning to false comforts such as alcohol (drunkenness), food (obesity) sexual gratification whether by oneself or with a partner – male or female (teenage sexual activity), drugs or idol worship of many varieties. (b) escaping into work or hobbies. (c) withdrawal into a world of their own. (d) attention seeking to gain the approval of others. (e) seeking academic excellence. (f) pretending that all is well. (g) doing good works.

Rejection by children of their parents for whatever cause can have the same effects. It is an act of rebellion in breach of the command to honour parents. Satan is very interested in such action and will be on hand to offer alternative life styles and may open the door to the occult.

What can a person do about rejection?
1. Identify the problem. Share it with someone who can be trusted – a pastor or friend.
2. Isaiah ch 1 v 18. Reason it out with the Lord. “God loves you and wants to build you up.” Eccles ch 11 v 5. He created man. He has promised never to reject His children. God has a plan for each life. Jer ch 29 v11. Man should not accept the Devil’s attempts to spoil his life. He has to do something about it.
3. A man should not allow a hurt get a hold of him. Take a stand against the Devil.
4. If it is a spiritual attack, get help to fight it. It is not safe to tackle it alone.
5. If a man sees someone excluded by favouritism or exclusion, make sure that the person is included to prevent jealousy and resentment. This applies to a grandparent, a neighbour, an office worker or a pupil.
6. A man should forgive the person who has rejected him or else resentment and rebellion may set in. Children have to forgive parents for their sins towards them. Parents are not perfect towards their children. All are sinners. Gen ch 50 v 20. Satan planned it for evil but God turned it into good. When a man weighs God’s grace against his disappointments or weighs eternity against rejection or weighs his glorious future against the disappointments in past life, the focus on God’s grace dwarfs the difficulties of the past and present. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Why? Because a man believes the word of God that it can be done. To reject the Word of God is to lose the power to speak – like Zechariah. To reject one’s parents is to reject God. Ex ch 20 v 12. If a person is born to poor parents – a prostitute and a drunkard – it is easy to see how the Devil would torment that person with the words “if only” This breeds discontentment and then resentment against God. It implies that God did not make a good choice of the person’s parents. Those who treat their parents poorly seldom grow as believers. A man must not be ashamed of his family or roots. God brought the man into this World through his parents and family. God chose them for the man. Eccles ch 11 v 5. To reject his parents is an act of rebellion. It is saying that they were not good enough for him. It is saying that God did not provide well enough for him. That would be particularly so for someone born illegitimate with only one parent or with a father who has walked out on him. The test as always is to be an overcomer. Rev ch 2.
7. Jesus took the rejection to Calvary, when He was rejected by the World. Isaiah ch 53 v 3. He nailed the spirit of rejection to the cross on behalf of man. He disarmed the principalities and powers so that man can be free.
8. Jesus was filled with compassion for those who were rejected like Zaccheaus and Bartimeaus. Man is commanded to be kind to one another. Compassion helps the healing power to flow through the hands to the sick person. If there is no compassion for the sick, there will be no healing. People can tell when others are genuine. If there is true compassion, the recipient feels the love towards him and responds accordingly. A basic need of being loved is met. Jesus tends to go to the one who is rejected. If Jesus walked in to a Church today beside whom would he sit? Take a stand alongside someone being bullied. In that way a believer will fulfil Gal ch 6 v 10 and be God’s instrument of blessing to that person. Mat ch 25 v 35-36.
9. Samuel left it to the Lord. It was His business and Samuel was not troubled by it. A curse, which is untrue, has no effect. Prov ch 26 v 2.
10. Daniel and Joseph were secure in God and used rejection to make them stronger. God is able to use believers to help others only if they have gone through a difficult time and overcome it. Believers are then better able to understand where people are suffering. Jesus has been where each man has been. There is a great blessing in Revelation chs 2 and 3 for those who have overcome. If a man can overcome a difficult start in life, there is a blessing for him. Only believers can change their attitude towards God. Non-believers cannot change. Can a leopard change its spots? Jer ch 13 v 23. Jer ch 4 v 22. Prov ch 27 v 22. To do what you know is disobedience to the Lord is a sin and grieves the Holy Spirit. God will do what He tells others to do. He is consistent. What a man believes will determine how he behaves. Spiritual warfare starts at ch 1 v 1 of Ephesians. A man prepares for battle according to what he believes. What he believes affects his behaviour, which is why the enemy delights in false teaching. Children are to obey parents, regardless of age of the children. Their behaviour towards their parents will dictate their life span. This is so in relation to placing their parents in a home and keeping the money rather than providing for them in their own home.
11. If a believer rejects the Word of God, he is rejecting the Lord and is sailing close to the wind. 1 Sam ch 15 v 23. Whatever man is doing in disobedience to the Word of God, he should stop now. A man needs the fear of God. If man rejects the Lord, He may in time reject him. Heb ch 6 v 4. Isaiah ch 33 v 16. Shame will shrivel a man up. Jesus died for man’s shame, but not if a man goes on doing the shameful thing. Because Saul had rejected God, God was rejecting Saul.
12. The key teaching of Jesus is for a man to forget about himself. This is far from easy. The rejected person focuses on self and that increases the pain of rejection.

Isaiah ch 53 v 3. Jesus was despised and rejected by men. He was also oppressed and knows all about our oppression. Many believers do not want to admit that they are oppressed. Others do not accept that believers can be possessed. This is pride that they can cope. Some men are biased towards homosexuality and only God and the Devil know. This is perversion. If there is a secret sin in a man’s life, he should find someone he can trust and confess his sins. There is then no power of Satan over him. But it is dangerous, if that person tells others. Pride says: “I am not like other sinners.” This is pride in my heart. We pray – deliver me from my enemies. Repentance means STOP DOING IT. The Prodigal Son changed his mind and agreed with God that he was better off at home. God promises to deliver us from our enemies. Hate the sin and ask to be delivered.

Others may hurt a man. The man allows it, unless he rejects the hurt. The man must forgive the hurt and not keep it. People take offence, because of rejection. To hold onto a hurt is to sin by holding on to it. It then masters the man. It means that the man has not repented. God wants each man to be free and whole. The Devil knows the secret sins and oppresses a man through them. He robs the man of peace in his heart, because he knows the deep secret sins. Society rejects the people it is designed to serve.

Jesus came to destroy the works of the Devil. That is good news. Those who are rejected can find advice and guidance in the Word of God to identify and deal with their rejection and the rejection of others. God wants to release joy into the lives of those whose lives have been robbed of joy. So it is essential that even when people are innocent victims of rejection, they are still personally responsible for their attitudes and actions. Repentance, forgiveness and confession are very necessary if deliverance and healing are to be effective and permanent.

Rejection is most difficult to eradicate and may continue to manifest itself throughout the lifetime of a man. Believers are targets of demonic activity. In the end times the tribulation will lead to an increase in rejection of believers. If they let their guard down, Satan will win by default. Careless Christian living gives the Devil a foothold. Satan uses false teaching to deceive believers and this in turn can lead to rejection of them by their own brothers – the very ones who should be a support and encouragement to them.

Emotional damage can be caused by various factors.
1. Lack of nurture by parents. Eph ch 6 v 4. This may involve a lack of protection and
affirmation, encouragement and cherishing, discipline and space to be creative. There may have been a wrong motive for conception.
2. Betrayal and false accusation are very deep rejections. Psalm 69 v 19-20.
3. Curses – intentional and unintentional. Parents and teachers may attempt to change the
character of a child rather than accept it.
4. Withdrawal from relationships as a result of adoption, abandonment or hospitalisation.
5. Hopelessness and failure to achieve due to unfavourable comparison with siblings.
6. All forms of abuse – sexual or otherwise. Children may be teased about their appearance.
7. Accident or trauma. Children may blame themselves for a divorce.
8. Bereavement or loss of a loved one.
9. Poverty in the family due to culture and language – e.g. Jewish children or immigrants.
10. Conditional acceptance and disappointments.
11. The rejection of a child on account of the child’s gender is a deep wound.

If there is emotional pain a man may slip into sinful behaviour in an attempt to dull
the pain. There may be physical pain as a result. The man may lack any emotions.
There may be false masks to hide the pain.
There may be behaviour, which seeks attention or the man may be living in a degree
of unreality. Those experiencing emotional pain need to be treated with dignity,
be encouraged and shown unconditional love.
Wounds need healing, sins need repentance and demons need casting out.

The glory of God is seen in a human being fully alive. When a person is rejected he shuts
down and does not let anyone near him. He develops an island mentality. He tends to
transfer his pain onto others. He becomes emotionally distant due to the pain in his heart.
God desires to take such people off the round about, which they are on and place them
on a straight road. God wants to know how a man feels. There are desires in everyone but when
disappointments come along regularly a man stops hoping for a better life. God wants a
relationship first and foremost. He wants to heal a man from his sins and from those evil things,
which have been done to him. Pastoral care should deal with healing broken hearts.
Everyone is damaged to some degree or another. No one truly shows the radiance of God.
Those with a broken heart are unable to give love or to receive love. Many are falling to
pieces and are held captive to inner circumstances. God loves to restore the broken hearted.
Ex ch 29 v 44. God wants to be involved with His people on a corporate basis. Many in
Church do not have an expectation that Jesus will turn up and that something will happen.
There is increasing knowledge about Jesus but not a walk with Jesus.

Obstacles to Spiritual Growth

CHAPTER 1. SPIRITUAL GROWTH.

 

Ezekiel ch 34 v 1-11. In Ezekiel’s day the leaders of the people were described as shepherds. Ezekiel had harsh words to say about the leaders. They were not looking after the people. The people were referred to as sheep. There was the promise in v 11. One would come who would lead the people in the right way, meeting their needs. In John ch 10 v 11 Jesus claimed to be the Good Shepherd.

 

Hosea ch 4 v 1-6. “My people are dying for lack of knowledge.” People need to know how to overcome the obstacles, which are preventing them from growing spiritually.

 

An evangelist may call people to repent of their sins and accept Jesus as Lord and saviour. But which sins? John the Baptist was very specific. In Luke ch 3 v 10-14 John mentions specific sins, which the people had to repent of before him. The people knew what their sins were. Sin is specific and repentance needs to be specific also. Some at a meeting may need deliverance or at least release from oppression. Jesus said that He had come to set the captives free.

 

“Who are you?” You are the total of your experiences in life and your responses to them. That is what forms a man’s character. All that a man can take with him into eternity is his character.

 

Natural growth. If a plant is placed in a pot of soil, watered and placed in sunlight, it will grow. However, if there is no soil, but only rocks with perhaps a thin covering of soil for pretence, the plant, even though watered and placed in sunlight, will not grow. A man born of the Holy Spirit, fed with the Word of God and placed in a good fellowship of believers should grow spiritually. However, if he has “rocks” in his life he will not grow. He needs to have the “rocks” removed to enable him to grow spiritually. There are various obstacles to a man growing spiritually. Some obstacles may be there at the time of conversion. Others, like jealousy, may develop after the time of conversion. In Rev chs 2 and 3 Jesus promised a prize for those who are overcomers. A man has to overcome, the flesh, the World, his sins and the Devil.

 

Three men may come to into a Church on a Sunday morning. One has his leg in plaster and is walking with crutches. The elders would notice him and would probably go to minister to him. A second man may be shouting obscenities and lying on the floor. The elders would notice him, recognising that he was possessed of a demon. They would go to minister to him by casting out the demon. A third man may sit quietly at the back of the Church. He may be suffering from one or more emotional problems such as rejection, shame, painful memories or fear. But the elders would probably not notice him or go to minister to him. Yet the third man is as much in need of ministry as the other two men. Believers are very quick to seek medical help for the slightest physical injury. But they are slow to seek help for damage to the personality and to their emotions. This help should be available in their Church.

 

There is an endless list of barriers to personal growth in the emotional realm.

 

CHAPTER 2. FAULTY SPIRITUAL BIRTH.

 

The Bible outlines the normal Christian birth. If there is something wrong with a physical birth, a child may grow up handicapped. A bad physical birth can affect a baby physically and psychologically for the rest of its life. Many believers are badly birthed and do not grow properly. This is the responsibility of the leadership of the Church or the evangelist. There are four spiritual doors to go through in the process of being born again.

First. Repentance. Second. Faith. Third. Baptism in water. Fourth. Receiving the Holy Spirit.

 

FIRST. Repentance. A man is not responsible for what has been done to him in his life. But he is responsible for the way in which he responds. Repentance is concerned primarily with the mind. A man needs to change his mind about his actions. He agrees with God about what God thinks about his actions.

 

Regret is what a man feels about the consequences to himself. He regrets what he has done to another person. He is sorry about what he has done. But it focuses on himself. “I regret doing it.”

 

Remorse is what a man feels about the consequences to other people. A criminal often says that he feels remorse. He is sorry for the other person affected by his crime. The focus is on the other person.

 

Repentance is what a man feels about the consequences to God. The man has broken God’s law and spoilt God’s pleasure in his life or in the life of another man. He has insulted and offended God. “I have changed my mind and now see it as sin and not a weakness.” Repentance is a man accepting personal responsibility for what he has done and not blaming others. Repentance is always specific. It is not enough to say: “Save me God. I am a sinner.” It is necessary to name the sins – “I have stolen from my employer etc.” John the Baptist called for people to repent and told them what they should do specifically. The Holy Spirit will bring to the conscience those particular sins, which have been offending God. These are the ones, which need to be repented of by the man. After conversion the believer grows and learns more about the word of God. Then he becomes aware of other things, which he has been doing, which also insult God. He realises that he needs to repent of these also.

 

There are 4 steps for a man to take: 1. Identify the sin. 2. Agree with God that it is wrong. 3. Decide in the will not to do it again. 4. Take whatever steps are necessary to eliminate it from his life. Each sin has to be brought to God in repentance in this way. The question, which confronts believers is this: “If you live tomorrow, will you live in your sins or out of your sins?”

 

FAITH. Faith is given by God. It is His gift. Repentance and faith go together like the blades of a pair of scissors. One without the other is useless. Faith enables a man to realise the need to repent and when he repents he is exercising faith. So they go together.

 

BAPTISM in water. There is much debate as to whether this is total immersion or sprinkling. Mark ch 1 v 10. When Jesus was baptised by John He came up out of the water. This implies full immersion or at least more than sprinkling. Baptism in water is a public step to confirm to the World that the new believer has fully committed his life to Jesus.

 

BAPTISM in the Holy Spirit. Without receiving the Holy Spirit there is no birth. Jesus made this clear to Nicodemus in John ch 3 v 5. He said: “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. Paul says in 1 Cor ch 12 v 13: “By one Spirit we were all baptised into one body.”

 

The Biblical teaching clearly presents a picture of all four elements being present at one time. The individual is convicted of sin. He is drawn to repent. He believes in Jesus as Saviour and Lord. At that point he is born again and receives the Holy Spirit. The water baptism then follows as the outward and public evidence of conversion and commitment to follow Jesus. It should take place as soon as possible.

 

CHAPTER 3. MISCELLANEOUS OBSTACLES TO GROWTH.

 

NICOTINE. Luis Palau, the Argentinian evangelist, claims that he had never known any believer grow spiritually in Christ as long as he was still smoking. Nicotine not only hampers the physical health of a person. It also affects spiritual growth. It is a drug. The word for drugs in the Scriptures is the word for sorcery. It is absolutely forbidden. Eph ch 6 v 12. The battle is against principalities and powers. There is a power in nicotine, which prevents spiritual growth. A believer may not fully understand how it works but the truth is – it does work.

 

HIDDEN SINS. They may be secret sins that no other human being knows about. But three people know – God, Satan and the person himself. Sin is specific. It is not a case of not being the person a man should be. Each sin is a personal insult to God. There may be a particular area of a man’s life, which the Holy Spirit has brought to light. If there is no repentance, then there is a blockage to growth. Repentance is an ongoing process. It is not a great theological matter. Repentance is simply a man agreeing with God that God is right and the man is wrong.

 

Pornography is widely available at the click of a mouse in the privacy of a man’s home or child’s bedroom. There are ten aspects of pornography.

 

Pornography deeply offends many people. It forces its way into something, which is right and beautiful in private, and turns it into a public performance. The human body is not meant for public exhibition in order to stimulate sexual desire.
Pornography isolates the consumer. It locks a man firmly into a world of sterile, self-centred fantasies. Magazines are usually read in private, such is the shame attached to them. It often leads to self-abuse and is an incitement to lust.
Pornography degrades women. It portrays women as a thing for erotic enjoyment and nothing more. Pornography invites mental rape.
Pornography brutalises and coarsens the characters of those who take part or watch. The conscience becomes hardened to moral evil.
Pornography leads consumers into baser activities and perversions and violence.
Pornography ruins family relationships. It is often a cause of divorce as it changes the attitude of a man towards his wife.
Pornography is linked with corruption. There is a huge amount of money to be made from pornography.
Pornography often leads to sexual assault. It is only to be expected that some men take the nearest woman for their pleasure when the opportunity presents itself.
Pornography is addictive like a drug or alcohol.
Pornography is a tool of the Devil. Pornography takes a man’s mind away from thoughts of the great matters of life and concentrates it on one tiny area of sexual pleasure. The Devil is behind the obscenity trade.

ADDICTIONS. Addiction is perhaps the major issue today. What does it mean to be addicted? The dictionary definition is “one who has become dependent on something and is unable to do without it.” The activity assumes a greater importance than it merits. It is important to differentiate between a habit and an addiction. A habit is a tendency or practice. There are good habits and bad habits, but the bad habits are not dangerous to health or to others. Good habits, like making the meals at the same time each day, are helpful. Addictions are harmful to the individual and may also be harmful to others. Some habits are not sins e.g. nail biting. But they are still hard to give up.

 

ABORTION. This is applicable for both the mother and the father of the child. A man may feel responsible for the death of his wife, if he put pressure on her to have an abortion and she died in childbirth. Abortion is a sin, which has to be repented of by both parents. Perhaps there needs to be forgiveness asked by one parent of the other and also of the wider family. Otherwise the guilt will linger there separating a man from God and a man from the woman. That is one of the consequences of sin. God is the One who is insulted by the parents terminating the life gifted to them by God. It is murder.

 

FAILED MARRIAGE. If a marriage fails, there is no way that the word failure can be avoided. The parties who once loved one another and vowed to commit their lives to one another separate. Children, if there are any, other family members and the parties themselves are affected. There are legal, moral and physical consequences. There has to be guilt on the part of both parties and even on the part of the parents. The parents may have allowed their children to marry without proper guidance and advice. The person who conducted the marriage ceremony may also feel a degree of responsibility. What counselling did the parties have before the marriage? Did they realise that they were making a commitment before God and taking an oath in His presence? It is a serious matter. Marriage is at the very essence of faithfulness and commitment. God is a covenant God and He expects His children to keep their vows to one another. How does a man continue to grow spiritually after breaking an oath like that? The answer is – with difficulty. The same is true for any broken relationship. There is always an area of guilt where parties, who were once in a close relationshi, are now strangers. There is a place where Satan can get a foothold in the lives of both parties.

 

LOST OPPORTUNITY, disappointment or personal injury. Satan’s favourite words are “if only.”

Daniel may have thought: “If only Babylon had not invaded Judah.” This can easily lead to bitterness, if a man lets Satan get a foothold in his life. There may be a business failure. What caused the failure? Was it circumstances, which were unforeseen at the time? Was it a competitor who forced the business to close? Was it carelessness or negligence? If there are debts unpaid, restitution applies. Injustice can leave a real hurt to the personality. Bitterness so easily slips into the heart almost unnoticed. A man may have failed to respond to God’s will in an earlier time of life. This can lead to accusations by the enemy that the person has failed God and is now useless. A good preacher may be passed over in favour of a poorer one. This can lead to frustration and resentment. He may stop growing spiritually.

 

POOR LEADERSHIP. If Church leaders do not encourage members to seek the gifts of the Spirit they hold back their growth. If they do not teach the deeper things of God and a balanced diet, the members will be starved of spiritual food for their growth. Poor leadership plays a part in poor teaching and ignorance of what God expects for His children. If leaders do not give members an opportunity to testify that will prevent their growth. A believer overcomes the Devil by the blood of the Lamb and the word of his testimony. Rev ch 12 v 11. Testimony plays a significant part in spiritual growth. It encourages the believer who testifies and it challenges those who hear the testimony. Lack of doctrine and false teaching – especially about Israel contribute to a lack of spiritual growth.

 

FAMILY LIFE. Where a believer is living in a family situation and his wife or husband is not a believer that person has special difficulties. The person cannot spend as much time as others at Church. A man has obligations to his wife in terms of the marriage vows. In particular a young person whose parents are not believers has obligations to his parents. These obligations may hinder his growth.

 

GENERATIONAL SINS.There is a law of generational iniquity. Iniquity means lawlessness, a wrong desire or a perverseness. When an ancestor sins this results in a flaw or weakness and a tendency to sin in that particular area by the whole family. Lam ch 5 v 7. “Our fathers sinned and are no more but we bear their iniquities.” This is one reason why God ordered the sin bearers to be stoned to death. He wanted to stop the flow of iniquity passing down the family line. There remains a place of individual responsibility. One does not exclude the other. Neither does one excuse the other. Both are valid. For sexual sin that will be for 10 generations. Sexual sin brings a curse on the person and the family. To dishonour parents is very serious in the eyes of the Lord. Deut ch 27 v 16.
Gen ch 12 v 11-13. Abraham lied about Sarah being his sister and not his wife. Gen ch 26 v 6-7. Isaac did the same thing. The weakness was passed onto his son Jacob. Jacob hated Leah and repeated his grandfather’s sin. Jacob dishonoured and deceived Isaac. When he did this he brought a dishonouring of parents into the family line. Jacob’s sons deceived him about Joseph. It stemmed from Ham dishonouring Noah and exposing his nakedness. A weakness or flaw had entered the generational line. It became worse and worse until God told the Hebrews to wipe out the people in the land – the descendents of Ham.

 

Murder. Cain murdered Abel and Lamech – one of his descendents. Cain opened up a generational door of murder and violence. Esau’s descendents did much killing and were known as a violent people. Esau did not kill Jacob but he harboured murder in his heart. Mat ch 5 v 21-22. Jesus referred to the Pharisees and Scribes as those who murdered the prophets. They carried the flaw or weakness of their fathers.

 

Idolatry has a serious potential of spreading throughout the generations.

 

The words of a parent to a child are very forceful as well as powerful. They can keep the children under a curse for years. Prov ch 18 v 21. The words of Jezebel to Elijah brought him under a curse. The words went into his spirit and crushed him. A bruised reed Jesus will not break.

 

Some families struggle with continued infirmity. Sometimes there is a pattern of marriage breakdown. Sometimes there is a proneness to accidents or a pattern of untimely death. There is a need for repentance and forgiveness of the ancestral sin. Abuse, alcoholism, adultery, abortion, rejection, anger, shame, suicide, stealing, idolatry, infidelity etc often run down the family line, although not inevitably. Familiar spirits will seek to transfer from one family member to another at the moment of death. Ezekiel ch 16 v 44-45. “You are your mother’s daughter, loathing husband and children.” Some women put down their men in their family.

 

JEALOUSY. Jealousy is the feeling of coldness and resentment, which sometimes stirs in a man’s heart when another is praised. This is often somebody with whom he matched himself in thought and to whom he imagined himself to be superior. Jealousy keeps a man silent when he hears people unfairly criticised. Jealousy makes a man feel glad when they stumble or fall. Jealousy is unmitigated misery – it is poison. Jealousy is normally directed against those who are in a man’s immediate circle or those who just outstrip his best. It is like a boomerang. When he throws it at someone it comes to frustrate him. Jealousy in the heart usually leads to murder, if not physical, then emotional. Inferiority is a breeding ground for jealousy. The main cause is an insecure self. Jealousy emerges out of insecurity. An awareness that God is watching over a man ensures that jealousy has no ground for growth. Jealousy has to be rooted out but it can creep in at any time, when a person meets a big disappointment in life.

 

CHAPTER 4. GOSSIP.

 

The gift of speech, like all other gifts from God, is capable of being used for good or for evil. The dictionary definition of gossip is: “Idle (malicious) talk about other persons.” It embraces criticising one another and running another down.

 

There is good gossip – gossiping the Gospel. When is talking about another person gossip and sinful and when is it permissible? Passing on facts can be simply that. Will the words used of a man lower the standing of that man in the eyes of another. The purpose is that the one who hears the gossip thinks less of that man than he did previously? That is the basis of slander or gossip. The test is – the intention of the one who speaks. If a man tells another that a man has been in prison to enable that man to pray for the former prisoner, that is acceptable. However, if the motive is to lower the man in the eyes of the hearer, then it is gossip. The motive is wrong. Jesus is always interested in a man’s motives and He tests the motives. What is the objective when a man passes on facts? Is it to elevate self or help the other person? Gossip is not limited to words. More than half of communication is by body language. Even silence can amount to gossip, if it suggests that a lie about another person is true.

 

The whole World is involved in gossip. Politicians tear each other apart. The press are like sharks, when they have a politician or public figure exposed. The media are prepared to tell lies about a person to sell their papers. They know that they will face a court action for defamation. The sale of papers will exceed the costs of the court action. “Woe to others.” Isaiah chs 1-5. He lived among people with unclean lips. He realised that his lips were unclean and he came to realise that he was guilty of gossip. Isaiah ch 6 v 5.

 

Where did gossip start? Satan was the choirmaster in Heaven and was tired of praising God. He wanted someone to praise him. OUT! There was no discussion or trial. Jesus said: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from Heaven.” The rebellion in a man is not all dealt with at conversion. The fallen nature still lurks in there. Paul explains that a man needs to work out his salvation. It does not all come at once at conversion.

 

There are 3 aspects about gossip.

First. Part of the fallen nature of a man is the desire for praise. It is running down others to make the one who gossips appear in a better light. Then his self is elevated and he gets praise as being better than others.

Second. There is within gossip the element of what psychologists call transference of guilt. If a man can point out the sins of others, it eases the guilt when he thinks of his own sins. A man may try to blame others for his sins. Adam tried that. “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit.” At times a government will offer the people a scapegoat for their own failings. Governments often blame the policies of the previous governments.

Third. There is a desire for power or control over others. It is a sort of blackmail. “You cannot speak about my deeds, because I know something about you, which could put you in a lot of trouble.” Only a morally pure person can speak out without fear of being called a hypocrite. Jesus was able to do it.

 

Sin separates a man from God and a man from another man. Gossip in its more serious aspect is known as “defamation.” A famous person is one with a good reputation. Each person has a right to fame – a reputation and a place of honour. When gossip is serious and leads to financial loss, it gives rise to an action of defamation. Veritas or truth is a defence to such an action. Gossip takes away a reputation in five ways:

1. Implying criminal actions.

2. Attacks on financial reputation – unable to meet debts.

3. Suggestions of unfitness for the job or occupation – useless or unqualified.

4. Insanity or disease.

5. Attacks on moral character, e.g. indecency, sexual immorality lack of honesty.

By gossip a man may defame others, though he may never land in a court of law.

 

What does God have to say?

Mat ch 15 v 19. “Out of the heart the mouth speaks.” A man’s fallen nature desires to destroy others and elevate self.

Mark ch 7 v 22. Jesus: “Slander defiles a person and makes that person unfit for God.”

Lev ch 19 v 16. “Do not gossip. Do not falsely accuse your neighbour of some crime, for I am God.”

Prov ch 17 v 9. “Love forgets mistakes: nagging about them parts the best of friends.”

Prov ch 11 v 9. “With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbour.” That is exactly what happens. The reputation of others is destroyed by slander.

Prov ch 11 v 13. “A gossip goes round spreading rumours, while a trustworthy man tries to quiet them.”

Prov ch 16 v 28. “Gossip separates the best of friends.” It is the work of the enemy to rob, steal and destroy friendships. A man feels hurt and angry, if he finds out that someone has been talking behind his back?

Prov ch 10 v 18. “To slander is to be a fool.” It is un-godlike to slander another. God honours a man and seeks to bless him. It is the enemy who seeks to destroy a man. So if a man slanders another person, he is acting contrary to the intentions of God. That is what makes slander so serious.

Psalm 50 v 20. “A person will slander even his own brother.” He will also slander his parents – the very people whom God has chosen in His infinite wisdom to be a blessing to that person.

Psalm 41 v 5. “My enemies say: ‘May he soon die and be forgotten.’” The ultimate in slander is to bring about total destruction – suicide can be the result of a systematic slandering. Satan needs fertile ground in which to plant his deadly seeds. Defamation can be that ground in which to plant the seed of suicide. By gossip a man could even bring about the physical death of another person. The nation of Israel is slandered by the Muslims, who want her total destruction.

 

A man should watch what he says about others in public and even in private. Eccles ch 10 v 20. “Never curse a king, for a little bird will tell him what you have said.”

Prov ch 26 v 20. “Fire goes out for lack of fuel and tensions disappear when gossip stops.” Gossiping creates tensions.

Jesus gets right to the point in Mat ch 15 v 11. “You are not made unholy by the food you eat. It is what you say and think that makes you unclean.”

Mat ch 12 v 36. “You must give account on the day of judgement for every careless word you speak.”

James ch 4 v 11. “Do not criticise and speak evil of one another, brothers.” James is speaking to believers.

Prov ch 18 v 8. Gossip is pleasant to the ear. “What dainty morsels rumours are. They are eaten with great relish.”

 

If someone says: “Have you heard what so and so has done?” does a man sit up ready to receive the gossip or does he decline to hear it? Why is it so appetising? 1 Pet ch 4 v 15. Says: “Do not let me hear of your being a busybody and prying into the affairs of other people.” Knowing about the business of another man, especially his secrets, gives a sense of power over that man. There is an opportunity to blackmail him. The newspapers feed the readers information about people’s private affairs. Their readers thrive on it.

 

One result of gossip may be a curse, which needs to be broken. There is nothing necessarily sinister about a curse. It can be simply words spoken, which result in the well-being of that person being reduced. If a man said that his secretary was unreliable or careless, the prospects of her future employment are reduced. She is under a curse – she has a problem, which he has created. Criticism of a Church leader, implying wrong motive, lowers the leader in the eyes of the members. It eats into the relationship between the members. It has to be dealt with in order to break the curse. Repentance by the person who made the remarks and by those who chose to receive them is essential.

 

In the sight of God gossip is serious.

Num ch 12 v 1-16. Miriam was judged by God for her slander.

Num ch 21 v 5-7. When the people spoke against Moses, the Lord sent fiery serpents amongst them. They were also judged for speaking against the Lord.

2 Sam ch 19 v 27. Telling a lie about another person is slander.

Rom ch 2 v 24. God’s name is blasphemed among believers because of the way believers live. They also reduce the authority of God, if they claim that there has been a word from God, which is not true. Then when it does not come to pass, the World thinks less of God than they ought. They lower the standing of God in that way.

2 Pet ch 2 v 1-2. Jesus is scoffed at when believers are hypocrites. They claim one thing and behave in another way. In that way they deny the authority of the teaching of Jesus.

Jude v 10. “By mocking and cursing whatever you do not understand, you bring about your own destruction.”

Rom ch 1 v 28-30. When people give up on God, they plunge downhill morally. God lets them go and their lives become full of every kind of evil, including gossip. Backbiting is like knifing someone in the back, giving them no chance to defend themselves. Wolves bite one another on the back.

2 Tim ch 3 v 3. In the last days people will be lovers of self and slanderers. This shows that they have no love of others. To destroy the reputation of another is the very opposite of love for that person.

Psalm 109 v 2. “The wicked will slander me and tell their lies.” Those opposed to God will slander the believers and seek to destroy their credibility. It is a mark of the work of the enemy. He will imply a false motive and seek to criticise them in other areas. He does this to take away the spotlight of truth on the particular issue.

1 Tim ch 5 v 14. “Give the enemy no opening.” Be careful not to do or say anything, which could be wrongly interpreted, e.g. staying overnight with a member of the opposite sex. Even if nothing happens there will be innuendoes and insinuations implying that something happened. A Church leader might wisely avoid being alone with a female.

Acts ch 23 v 5. “You shall not speak evil of a ruler of the people.“ God has established those who rule over men. To reject them is to reject God, to whom they are accountable.

Eph ch 4 v 31. “Dislike of others should have no place in our lives.” Instead be kind to each other. Man is designed to complete others and not to compete with others.

Col ch 3 v 8. “In the transformed Christian life, put away all anger, malice and slander.”

1 Pet ch 2 v 1. A positive command. “Be done with dishonesty and talking about others behind their backs.” It is something, which has to be actively worked out of a man’s life.

1 Tim ch 3 v 11. “Wives of Church leaders must not take part in gossip.”

1 Tim ch 5 v 13. “Young widows are likely to be lazy and spend their time gossiping from house to house, prying into the business of other people.

Mat ch 15 v 4. It is a command to honour parents. Parents were given to a man by God when He sent the spirit into the tiny body in the womb. Eccles ch 11 v 5. To run down parents is very serious. It is rejection of God.

Psalm 15 v 3. “Who may approach God? Only those who do not slander others.” In other words, those who slander others, do not have the ear of God. He will not listen to them.

Jas ch 2 v 7. People cannot throw stones at Jesus any more, so they hurl insults at His followers. They told lies about Jesus. They will tell lies about His followers. Believers should expect it to happen.

Prov ch 20 v 19. “Do not tell your secrets to a gossip unless you want them broadcast to the World.”

Psalm 101 v 5. “I will not tolerate anyone who secretly slanders his neighbours.”

Jas ch 3 v 5-12. “Hold your tongue. With the same tongue man blesses God and curses his neighbour and fellow believer. This ought not to be so.”

God clearly takes a serious and solemn view about gossip.

 

Repentance is simply a man agreeing with God that He is right and the man is wrong. There are certain practical steps to be taken. It may take a while to establish the correct attitude and pattern of speech. There are some good tests to apply.

(a) Is a man prepared to say it in the presence of the person himself? If not, then he should not say the words behind his back.

(b) Does what a man says lower the person in the eyes of another?

(c) A man should do unto others what he wants them to do to him. If he would not like it said about him, then the man should not say it about another.

(d) If a man has nothing good to say about a person, he should say nothing.

(e) God hates the sin but loves the sinner. A man should learn to see the person as God sees that person and give him a chance. God is not finished with that person. A man should make it his concern to take the log out of his own eye, before he picks the speck out of his neighbour’s eye.

(f) Moses did not get into the Promised Land, because he misrepresented God to the people.

(g) Small minds talk about people. Larger minds talk about events. Expanded minds talk about truths.

 

Gossiping usually means passing on information when a man is neither part of the problem nor part of the solution. It is like accepting stolen property. It makes him just as guilty of the crime. “People who gossip to you will gossip about you.” They cannot be trusted. When a man entertains gossip he is a troublemaker. Prov ch 17 v 4. It is sad that in the flock of God the greatest wounds are caused by other sheep and not from wolves. Gal ch 5 v 15. Prov ch 26 v 20.

 

CHAPTER 5. INFERIORITY COMPLEX.

 

The disability or disease known as an inferiority complex affects many believers. The Dictionary definition is: “An inferiority complex is a mental state involving a suppressed sense of personal inferiority.” There is a lack of confidence and self-reliance. To be self-conscious is to be embarrassed by a morbid sense of personal inferiority – real or imaginary. An inferiority complex causes damage to the personality. Most people who come to God do so when they realise their need. The Children of Israel were 400 years in Egypt. For a long time all went well. It was only when they cried out in their distress that God answered them. God had longed to meet with them earlier but they had no need of God. The effects of this disease are as crippling to the personality, as deformed limbs are to the body of a man.

 

One of the most telling promises of God is found in Exodus ch 15 v 26. “If you will obey me completely by doing what I consider right and by keeping my commands, I will not punish you with any of the diseases that I brought on the Egyptians. I am the Lord, the one who heals you.” This is a promise repeated throughout Scripture. Jesus said that He had come to give life and life in abundance. God does not want any of His children crippled in their personality. Jesus came to set them free, so that they may be free to serve their God and not be restricted in this way.

 

The expert psychologists believe that this disease is not inherited but develops usually in early childhood. Every man is born with 3 basic needs: 1. A need to belong. 2. A need to be loved. 3. A need to achieve. When a child is belittled, and constantly told that he is stupid and useless, he gradually comes to believe it. This is especially so if it said by a parent whom he ought to be able to trust. When a child is congratulated and complimented, his personality thrives. But when parental love, acceptance and compliments are absent, damage occurs to the child. The child then develops a negative self-image. “I cannot” dominates his thinking. The fear of failure can haunt the child. While success breeds success, failure breeds failure.

 

Constant unfavourable comparison with others can damage the child’s self-image. When a parent is always making decisions for the child, this can take away his confidence to make decisions. All of this creates in the mind feelings of inadequacy and of being unworthy – not a person of real worth. So the child grows up subject to a constant unhealthy emotional push from the past with a damaged personality. So many adults approach adulthood unable to cope with some of the pressures, which come upon them.

 

Some parents make a child feel unwanted or unloved. Some tell the child that he does not measure up. Some adopt a negative approach towards their child. All of these will help to produce in their child a negative self-image, a feeling of inadequacy and being unworthy. The child is filled with a great sense of personal inadequacy, fear, and inability to measure up to the standards of other people. This shows itself in many ways – seeking attention, jealousy of other people, self-consciousness, the inability to cope with criticism, being easily embarrassed and upset and over-sensitivity.

 

Conversion is not an instant cure? What happens when a man is converted? A man is in three parts – a body, a soul or personality and a spirit. The soul comprises the mind, the emotions and the will. Conversion is a renewal of the spirit. In John ch 3 v 3 Jesus told Nicodemus: “You must be born again, of the Spirit of God.” But conversion does not affect deformed limbs in the body nor does it affect the personality – not at once. As a believer grows, there should be a life-changing process, which affects the physical and emotional life. So initially a believer takes into his new Christian life his emotional problems. Those who expect to have no further emotional problems and find that they have, may do one of two things. They may either repress the problems, denying their existence or be plagued by disorders and become disillusioned with the Christian life.

 

It is a sin to retain an inferiority complex. Jesus said: “Forget about yourself.” Being self-conscious or inferior is just the opposite – concentrating on self. A man is relying on himself instead of relying on God. It amounts to enforced ego-centricity. So while it may be excusable for the non-believer, for the believer it is a denial of the command of God to “forget about yourself.”

 

Some people who suffer from an inferiority complex attempt to cover it up by appearing superior and often manifesting delusions of grandeur. This is designed to hide the inadequacy of the personality. Those who boast and talk loudly are usually unpopular. Few people admit to having this disease because they do not want to be branded a failure. They feel small enough already. They cannot face the fact that others will take advantage of their condition to promote themselves, thereby making them feel even smaller.

 

The Bible records instances of people suffering from this disease. Ex ch 3. God asked Moses to do a task for Him. Moses responded in v 1: “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?” In v 13: “What shall I say to them?” In ch 4 v 1: “But they will not believe me.” In ch 4 v 10: “I am not an eloquent speaker. I am slow of speech and tongue.” In ch 4 v 12: “Send someone else.”

 

Moses was the meekest of men. He was a humble man. Humility is an honest evaluation of a man’s abilities. Humility must not be confused with feelings of inadequacy. It was these feelings of inadequacy, which Moses revealed in response to the call of God. God would not ask Moses to do a task, which he was incapable of doing in order to humiliate him. It would be totally out of character. God knew that Moses was able and ideal for the task to which He was calling him. Moses had to come to terms with his feelings of inferiority. Would God ask a man to read from the Bible, if he was unable to do it? It is a sin for a believer to say: “I could not do that”? It is a denial of the power of God. It would be dwelling on an inferiority complex to refuse to speak at a Church meeting.

 

Inferiority refers to a persistent dwelling on the inabilities of a man. Moses had nursed the image of himself as a failure. Once he was a prince in Egypt. Now he was a shepherd. He had to turn his eyes from himself and his own inadequacies to the adequacy of God. There lies the key to overcoming the disease.

 

The Bible gives practical advice to overcome this disease.

1. Face up to it realistically. There is no easy way out. God is a scientist. A man gets nowhere if he pretends that the problem or sin does not exist or if he covers it up. A man must face up to his responsibilities to God. If there is a problem in life a man has 4 choices. (a) flee from it (b) fight it (c) forget it or (d) face up to it. Only by facing up to it can a man overcome it. Physically no man was ever healed by his doctor, if he did not consult the doctor. So a man must take this disease to Doctor Jesus and not cling to the problem for the sake of sympathy. “Do I really want to be well?”

 

2. God made man in His image. He designed man for creative achievement. When a man does not achieve, his need is not met and he crumples in his personality. So if a man refuses to overcome an inferiority complex and does not achieve, he hurts as a consequence. “I cannot” and “Tomorrow” are twin evils. There is no word “Cannot” in the Bible. The power of the human mind and body is nothing short of incredible. The insignificant plus Jesus becomes significant. To have a sense of significance it is necessary to feel eternally significant. John ch 1 v 23. John the Baptist knew who he was in God’s plan for his life. He was the one spoken of by Isaiah in Isaiah ch 40 v 3.

 

3. Be realistic. The truth is simply seeing things are they really are. So close the mind to all ideas of grandeur. A man is neither a worm nor a cosmic wonder. He is – himself. Rom ch 12 v 3. The Bible shows a man to see himself as God sees him. He is worth a tremendous amount to God – enough to die for him. God has great plans for the life of each person, if he will let God have His way.

P B P W M G H N F W M Y. Please be patient with me: God has not finished with me yet.

 

4. Discipline the aspirations to sensible possibilities. By flying too high there is a danger of being discouraged by failure again. A man should put himself and his abilities at God’s disposal every day. God will give a sense of mission and direction. God told Jeremiah to heed: “The words I will give you.”

 

5. Do not let disappointments discourage. A man’s disappointments are God’s appointments. He wants a man to go through a particular door so he should not worry about the doors, which shut. Rather a man should seek another door and knock on it to see if it is the one God wants him to go through. Disappointments are still very real and leave a man with hurt in his emotions. God has a purpose for each man’s life and he must seek that or else he will flounder along from one disappointment to another.

 

6. It is essential that a man should be ready and willing to forgive those who have caused the damage to his emotions. It may be a parent, a sibling, a teacher or a Christian brother.

 

7. God has given each man the gift to do one thing really well. A man should find it and do it. God has created each one for a unique purpose. A man should stop comparing himself unfavourably with others. Each man can feel himself a person of unique worth to God. All are precious in His sight.

 

8. God does not call those who are equipped but rather He equips those whom He calls. The Bible is full of people who began their lives with deep feelings of inferiority and insignificance but were later delivered from them by the power of God. God achieved His plan through Moses and countless people down through the ages. Moses had nursed the image of himself as a failure. Initially he was not humble but inferior. He had to turn his eyes from his inadequacy to God’s adequacy. If God calls, do it, because He wins every argument. Amos lacked culture and academic training but although he had many reasons to feel inferior, he did not. He knew who he was in God and spoke out what God had put on his heart. It is a great thrill to achieve what was once thought impossible. It can be achieved only in the strength of God and by His Holy Spirit. Paul said: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

 

CHAPTER 6. GAMBLING.

 

1. Gambling is an agreement between two parties whereby transfer of something of value is made dependant on an uncertain event in such a way that one party will gain and another lose. Gambling is an activity in which wealth changes hands, mainly on the basis of chance and with risk to the gambler. There are three legitimate ways in which wealth can change hands – 1. Giving. 2. Working. 3. Genuine exchange. Gambling is a kind of robbery by mutual agreement. Gambling creates nothing. It is an unproductive method of distributing wealth.

 

2. Gambling directly appeals to coveteousness and greed. It breaks the eighth commandment. It enthrones personal desires in place of God. Gambling depends on others incurring financial loss. Mat ch 7 v 12. “Do unto others what you want them to do to you.” Gambling is the opposite. The gambler does not seek the good of his fellow man but seeks to bring him into financial loss. In any honest business transaction it is the intention that both parties will benefit. This is not so in gambling. It is contrary to the injunction in Gal ch 6 v 10 to do good to others. Luke ch 12 v 15. “Watch out and guard yourself from every kind of greed; for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Eccles ch 5 v 15. The Bible teaches that a man’s life is one of grace. God has provided for the sinner who deserves nothing.

 

3. Gambling denies the Biblical work ethic, which links honest labour with reward. Gambling holds out the dream of getting something for nothing. A man’s salvation cost Jesus His life. It encourages laziness rather than work.

 

4. Gambling undermines the obligation for a man to be a steward of God’s resources. Gen ch 1 v 28. Gen ch 9 v 1-2. Possessions are on trust from God. At the end of his life a man must give account to God for what he has done with what God has given to him.1 Cor ch 3 v 13. Mat ch 12 v 36. Eccles ch 12 v 14.

 

5. Gambling is a form of escapism, rather than facing reality. Chance is glorified and God’s sovereignty is denied. Isaiah ch 65 v 11. The whole of life is governed by chance, fate or providence. The Bible calls chance the false god of Gad, and fate the false god of Meni. By gambling a person is putting his trust in the false god of chance, hoping that he will be “lucky” and prosper. Believers should have nothing to do with false gods. The Lord is the One who provides for man and for the whole of His creation.

 

6. Gambling affects the poor in society. Prov ch 30 v 8-9. They are tempted to see a quick way out of their financial difficulties.

 

7. The evidence is that gambling is addictive and has caused great distress to many people and their families over the years. 1 John ch 3 v 8. Gal ch 5 v 1. A compulsive gambler may lose control of his life. Eph ch 5 v 18 teaches that part of the fruit of the Spirit is self-control – the ability of a man to say ”No” to himself. Luke ch 12 v 20. 1 Cor ch 6 v 12 ” Do not let anything make you a slave.”

 

8. Gambling encourages discontentment and dissatisfaction. Mat ch 6 v 31-34. By gambling a man is stating to God that he is not satisfied with what God has provided for him and wants more. 1 Tim ch 6 v 10 says that the love of money is one of the roots of evil. Money is the only thing man has created out of nothing. Mark ch 7 v 20-23. 1 Cor ch 6 v 9-10. Gambling has at its base a desire of something for nothing. The believer is called to sacrifice to serve God and his fellow man. Greed and charity are incompatible. Rom ch 12 v 1. Malachi ch 3 v 10. A sale suggests something for less than its true cost. Religion appeals to man on the same basis – reward in Heaven for personal endeavour without self-sacrifice

 

9. Gambling does not cease to be wrong because a proportion of the profits is given to good causes. The end does not justify the means.

 

10. God is the God of order and not of confusion. Everything was made in an orderly way. The preparations for Jesus’ coming were meticulous. God leaves nothing to chance. Gambling leaves everything to chance. A man should imitate God. Gambling is not a God-like activity. Eph ch 5 v 1.

 

 

 

CHAPTER 7. SOUL TIES.

 

Marriage is like salvation. It is a process. On his wedding day a man started being married. As a plant needs water to grow a marriage continues to grow with acts of kindness, patience and self-sacrifice. It needs to be cultivated or it is in danger of becoming sterile and may die. This may be the cause of so many divorces. Marriage is central to God’s plans for mankind. The first miracle was at the Wedding at Cana. The Bible finishes with the marriage of the Church and Jesus.

 

God designed man with 3 basic instincts. 1. To eat. 2. Not to be eaten. 3. To reproduce. In other words God built into man a sexual drive. But God always intended that a man should live under the control of the Holy Spirit. Part of the fruit of the Spirit is self-control or the ability of a man to say “No” to his fallen nature. The man of the World is aware of his sexual drive but does not have the Holy Spirit to control his sexual drive. For the man of the World it is like driving a car with no breaks. T V fuels his sexual desire.

 

Man comes in 3 parts. The body, the soul (which embraces the mind, the emotions and the will) and the spirit. Marriage is planned when the parties are driven together emotionally. Then they exercise their minds and think they would like to live together. Then they exercise the wills and plan to be married. They make a commitment in their souls and their souls are tied together. After the ceremony the act of sexual union seals the marriage. They then begin being married. The “flesh” is not just the skin but the word embraces the soul and the body. The parties are sealed together in their souls. Deut ch 6 v 5. No man can have two wives and be one flesh.

 

One party to the marriage may have been married before and divorced or lived with another person unmarried or had sexual relations with others before marriage? 1 Cor ch 6 v 16. A man or woman is one flesh with the person with whom he or she has had sexual relations.

 

Marriage is all about commitment and faithfulness. It was always God’s plan that marriage would be for life and that sexual relations would only be within the framework of a marriage. All other sexual relations outside of marriage are described under the words adultery and fornication. Rev ch 22 v 15 is a solemn warning of the consequences of un-repented fornication. God hates divorce. Mark ch 10 v 2-12. Jesus made it clear that divorce was only allowed by Moses because of the hardness of the hearts of the people.

 

Where adultery takes place there is a soul tie between the parties. A part of one enters into the other. There are then three people in the marriage. There may be many in one marriage in a promiscuous society. Before a marriage takes place any existing soul ties should be broken. Man has authority over evil spirits but not over other men. There needs to be genuine repentance by the person with a soul tie before God with a request that God will break the soul tie. This applies to those who are married but had sexual relations with one another before the marriage ceremony. There is a flaw in the marriage. The parties broke the marriage law of God. There is no sin that is too great for God to forgive.

A pastor owes it to those who ask him to marry them to advise them of this matter.

Parents owe it to teach their children of the importance of not losing their virginity before marriage.

Young people who are in love owe it to the other to break any soul ties before marriage.

In each instance it is vital that there is no flaw in the marriage.

 

CHAPTER 8. PAINFUL MEMORIES.

 

Memory is a wonderful gift from God. Precious moments in the past like the birth of a child, or being awarded a prize and the moment of conversion are recorded in the memory. Memories are like a diary, which is carried around by a man wherever he goes. But some memories can sting and hurt. Many people find themselves trapped and unable to put their lives together due to a painful memory. The memories may be submerged in the subconscious. Proverbs ch 10 v 7 says that: “We all have happy memories of good men gone to their reward, but the names of wicked men stink after them.” God remembers everything, which happens on the Earth. Isaiah ch 49 v 15-16. “Even if a mother should forget her child, I will never forget you. I have tattooed your name on the palm of my hand.”

 

In the Bible there are many who have had difficult pasts with bad memories. Moses killed a soldier and fled. David was involved in the murder of Uriah. Paul held the jackets, while Stephen was stoned to death. Peter had denied the Lord Jesus. Despite their sins, God loved them and dealt with them, freeing them from the consequences of the bondage of the memories. Jesus has some awful memories. He was put down by His family. His very birth was questioned. He was doubted by His Disciples. He was rejected by the religious leaders. He watched the rich young ruler go away sad, and saw crippled people who would not come to Him for healing.

 

God says: “Do this in remembrance of me.” God wants to use memories and especially the memory of Jesus and the blessings, which He has given. There are many people in need of healing of their memories. Toxic memories actually poison the body and may lead to illness.

 

Satan can use these memories to bring people down. Bad memories can be one of Satan’s sharpest tools. Conversion does not erase memories, good or bad. They are still there in the conscious or sub-conscious mind. Yet, if given the opportunity, Jesus can take the poison or sting out of the memories. Jesus still bears the scars in His body but the pain has gone. He considered it worth it. When God heals memories, it does not mean that the memory is lost. The memory of the situation is still there, but the pain of it has been healed. It is possible to laugh at what was once a very painful experience. Satan makes no promise not to bring the memories up again. He delights to rekindle these memories to bring a man down and prod the poison in these memories. Satan delights to cause a man to think “If only” things had been different.

 

What events or situations can cause painful memories?

1. People in the past, who have caused painful experiences. Parents who have neglected children or walked out of their life. Bullies at school or at the work place. A child may be jealous of the success of a sibling, when that child is failing or not achieving to the same extent. Younger children at school are often compared unfavourably with more successful elder brothers or sisters. Prov 22 v 6.

2. Dishonest actions in the past leave a feeling of guilt. There are things, which were done wrongly and, which have never been put right.

3. Wrong attitudes towards others – blaming others for personal mistakes or hardships. This may result in a man having affected the life of another man by his attitude, leaving him with a sense of guilt.

4. Injury, which was caused to others – like a road accident, causing the disfigurement of another person, perhaps even a death. Some people can never get over it.

5. For some people the loss of one dear to them seems to stop the clock in their life. They may say; “I will never get over the loss of my child.”

6. Financial loss can deal a blow to the pride of a person so that they are never the same again.

7. Lost opportunities. There are times when a man could have obeyed God but refused. He is left feeling how different his life might have been, had he not rejected the call of God.

8. Difficult circumstances in early life can leave a man with bitterness that he did not have the opportunity in life, which others have had. Life would have been different for an orphan, if his parents had not died.

9. Injustice and certainly imprisonment can scar a person for life. Millions were imprisoned without cause in Soviet prison camps for years. The victims of the Holocaust, who survived, still have scars on their personalities as a result of the awful experiences of the extermination camps – many years later.

10. Being the victim of a crime of theft, an accident or assault or even a house fire. Many lives are ruined by war. These can inflict a powerful memory, which causes loss of confidence. Sexual abuse is on the increase, leaving memories, which scar the personality, both of the abused person and also the abuser.

11. A broken relationship. If a man fell out with another and left not on speaking terms, he would be embarrassed to meet the person again.

12. “Train up a child in the way he should go and, when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs ch 22 v 6. That Scripture applies in the negative sense as well as the positive sense. Children, who are trained on a diet of criticism and negative attitudes, will grow up with these negative attitudes and a sense of resentment against society. A parent, who will never forgive others, brings up his child to have the same unforgiving attitude.

 

All these situations can trap a man into a life style from which he cannot break free. God does not say that He will forget the memories. He promises that His children will never be confronted again by Him with these memories. Satan is the accuser of believers. He will accuse believers of sins, which God has forgiven and memories, which God has healed. It is not wise to tell others of sins in the past. Satan will use these to accuse believers through others. God forgives but the World does not forgive.

 

There are different ways of tackling the memories, depending on the nature of the memory.

1. If it is as a result of sin, repentance is necessary before God’s forgiveness will flow into the personality. Then the memory will be healed. God Himself will remove the poison from the memory, as His love fills the heart of the believer. Rom ch 3 v 23. Isaiah ch 1 v 18. The sins red as scarlet shall be white as snow. Psalm 103 v 12. “As far as the East is from the West, so far has God removed our transgression from us.” Heb ch 10 v 17. “Your sins and iniquities I shall remember no more.”

 

2. If there has been sin directed toward another person, restitution may be necessary. Many believers choose to disregard this. God may forgive but the other person will probably not forgive. This is important for prisoners, coming out of prison. If the memory is to be dealt with conclusively, then the offender must repay the injured party, if he can. If it is physical injury, that is more difficult to repay. The injured party may forgive following an apology.

 

3. If the injury has been by another person to a believer, then the principle in Scripture is that the believer must forgive. “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” In direct proportion to the degree of forgiveness by believers will be the forgiveness by God. If a man harbours a grudge, he prevents the flow of grace into his life. Lack of forgiveness is a barrier to healing in many different ways, including healing of the memories. A man’s concepts of forgiveness and understanding in the formative years make it difficult to accept the Biblical concept of forgiveness. The World’s view of forgiveness is conditional forgiveness. “If the other person will do this or that, I shall forgive him.” God’s forgiveness is conditional only on repentance. There is nothing asked of the other party. If a man forgives someone who has hurt him, it is not conditional of that person doing anything towards him. A man does not have to be worthy of forgiveness.

 

4. A believer may have to forgive himself. A believer must not be harder on himself than God is.

 

5. 1 Pet ch 1 v 6. Welcome trials and difficulties. Nothing happens to a man that God does not permit. Man lives in a sin-ridden society and must expect to be affected by the sins of others. Sin spreads and engulfs others. Sin loves a companion. However disappointing life has been, it could have been a lot worse. Jesus did not promise to make His followers happy. Joy is different from happiness. Happiness depends on outer circumstances. Joy wells up from within as part of the fruit of the Spirit. The World preaches a message that a man should be happy and that there is something wrong, if he is not having fun. This can lead people to feel that they are missing out in life.

 

How can believers be healed of bad memories?

1. The first step with any problem is to identify the problem. It may be blurred in the sub- conscious. It is important to identify what it is in the past, which is troubling the man.

2. Take the problem to God and work with Him concerning it. Isaiah ch 1 v 18. God knows but invites believers to talk it out with Him and to work it out in His presence. Imagine walking down a long corridor with many doors on either side. Each door is labelled – this is the memory of ……. Go inside and let God deal with each one in turn.

3. Meditate on the situations of others in the Scriptures – Moses – David – Paul etc. How did they deal with the situation? All of them overcame the problem and went on in their service to God.

4. Is there a desire to be finished with it? Some people actually enjoy being miserable. In that way they gain attention. If there is a grudge or unforgiveness, the memory will continue to trouble the mind.

5. If the memory is as a result of sin, repentance is the first step. There may be wounded pride, as in bankruptcy. If the sin was directed towards others, it may be necessary to make restitution.

6. Put the memory into Biblical perspective. Focus on eternity. In light of eternity – of being with the

Lord forever – in view of the promises in Revelation of all the things, which will be excluded from

Heaven – the disappointments and hurts in the past do not seem to be so overwhelming.

7. Reflect on the grace of God. It could have been much worse. Count the blessings in life. By comparison the bad memories are small in relation to the many good memories.

8. Realise that the battle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers. Perhaps it was not the boy, who was doing the bullying, or the person who was doing the abusing, but the demonic spirit who used the individual person to rob of peace and happiness. Direct the anger against Satan and not the one who was used by Satan.

9. Welcome trials and difficulties. Remember that the ultimate purpose of God is to make each man to be like Jesus. He allows or brings difficulties into the lives of His children in order to forge their character. He could have prevented it happening. Jesus has experienced every emotional and physical situation each believer has had.

10. Paul speaks of pressing on to the goal of being like Jesus. Phil ch 3 v 13-14. That was his objective in life. He was able to forget all the difficulties, which had once hindered him in this life. A vision of the risen Lord helps put past difficulties into perspective. Paul directed all his energies on being like Jesus. Paul had memories aplenty. Paul was committed to being like Jesus and he did not have time to dwell on the past painful memories. Phil ch 3 v 14. The Christian life is an ongoing process of forgetting the past, using the problems in life to build character and pressing on to the goal of being like Jesus. Suddenly the memories grow smaller and less hurtful.

11. The book of Remembrance of those who feared the Lord’s name, thinking on His name. Mal ch 3 v 16. God speaks of such people as being a special possession on the day when He acts. Believers should count their blessings and testify to the goodness of the Lord.

12. Man owes it to himself to break free from bad memories, which hold back his spiritual growth.

 

When God forgives, He forgives fully, freely and eternally.

Luke ch 22 v 19. “Do this in remembrance of me.” It is important to God and to man to remember the saving work of Christ. 1 Cor ch 11 v 24.

Deut ch 7 v 18. The believer should remember what the Lord has done for him.

Esther ch 9 v 28. The Feast of Purim was established to remember that the Lord had saved the Jewish people. To omit to remember the occasion devalues the saving grace of God.

Exodus ch 3 v 15. God is to be remembered throughout all generations.

Eccles ch 12 v 1. It is all about the grace of God and remembering His goodness to undeserving sinners.

 

CHAPTER 9. ROOTS.

 

The definition of root is: “Part of a plant below ground, which acts as a support and nourishes the plant.” “The basic cause of a problem.” “Roots are an attachment to a place or country.” 2 Sam ch 7 v 10. “I will plant my people Israel in the land.” Amos ch 9. “They will never again be plucked off the land.” The people of Israel are rooted in the land of Israel. Israel is you and me on a national scale. Psalm 92 v 12-13. “The righteous will be planted in the house of the Lord.” Prov ch 12 v 3. “ The root of righteousness will not be moved.”

 

You will know a tree by its fruit. The outward signs of a tree tell what kind of fruit it will bring forth. The type of fruit depends on the nature of the root of the tree. The root controls the life of the tree.

 

THE FLESH. The root of the tree of the fleshly life is the nature of Satan. The basic cause of the problem for a man is his fallen nature. Man received the nature of Satan by joining Satan in his rebellion against God. When Satan rebelled against God, he was rejected by God. There was no way back for Satan into the presence of God. Satan’s desire was to spoil God’s World and His created beings. When Adam ate of the forbidden tree he received the fallen nature of Satan. When anyone loves the flesh nature, Satan will be his master. Satan controls the heart and life of a man through thoughts and suggestions. These fulfil his selfish desires.

 

The powers of darkness will lead a man to seek the selfish opportunities of the World, because he lives for himself. He is the centre of his own World. Since he loves selfishness, the powers of darkness will also begin tearing down all his relationships. They will do this with suggestions and thoughts of jealousy, distrust, rejection, suspicion and un-forgiveness towards his neighbour. Fallen man will welcome these thoughts. He seeks an advantage and his own self-interest rather than the interests of his neighbour. He will be deceitful in all his deeds like his master, Satan, until he has a change of heart and repents.

 

When anyone loves the nature of Satan, he does not love his neighbour. God demands that a man loves his neighbour. Every act or word that does not show love for God or for his neighbour is sin and rebellion. Man is designed by God to complete his fellow man and not to compete with him. God made a provision through the last Adam, Jesus Christ. The purpose was to restore man to fellowship.

Rom ch 8 v 5. The unbeliever sets his mind on things of the flesh – the ways of the World.

1 Cor ch 15 v 50. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. If a man loves the flesh nature more than God, the selfish motives of the flesh nature will fill his heart.

 

The evidence of the fruit of the flesh nature is:

Jealousy. Envy. Rejection. Anger. Impatience. Greed. Stealing. Unmerciful. Slander. Hatred. Criticism. Sarcasm. Worry. Malice. Retaliation. Rebellion. Revenge. Negativism. Fear Scoffing. Grumbling. Irritable. Boastful. Bitterness. Murder. Unforgiveness. Stubborn. Coveteousness. Approval of man.

 

PRIDE. If someone comes to God and does not repent and turn from pride, he is still walking in rebellion. He is really saying in his heart: “I will not give up pride. I love pride more than I love God.” When a man has a root of pride in his heart, the root becomes a mighty fortress for the powers of darkness. Satan uses pride to deceive the body of Christ. He builds many strongholds of deceit. If a man has a root of pride, his motive will be to build an image for himself. He will take part of the glory due to Jesus. He will exploit relationships with others to achieve his selfish ambition. He will flatter and deceive others. He wants to look good and receive the approval of men. Pride receives glory from men. Pride is always right. It loves the approval of men rather than approval of God.

Mark ch 7 v 22. From the heart comes pride. Out of the heart the mouth speaks.

1 Sam ch 15 v 23. Arrogance is idolatry.

1 Cor ch 13 v 4. Love is not arrogant.

Prov ch 16 v 5. The proud are an abomination to the Lord.

Ezekiel ch 16 v 49. Sodom was arrogant.

Prov ch 8 v 13. I hate pride and arrogance.

 

The root of pride exalts self and shows the following characteristics.

Vanity. Rebelliousness. Masterful. Man-pleaser. Rude. Attention seeking. Arrogance. Conceit. Self-interest. Always right. Ego. Presumptuous. Superiority. Insensitive. Insolence. Haughtiness. Self-love. Overbearing.

I, Me, My. Name for self. Boasting. Unloving. Control. Self-righteous. Selfishness. Self-glory Unsubmissive. Selfish ambition. Looking down on others. Self-justification.

 

GREED. Greed does not love his neighbour. Greed loves the things of the World. A man controlled by greed hoards and spends his whole life living for himself. Greed encourages a man to act as if he is going to last forever. He is deceitful and manipulates his neighbour to fulfil his selfish ambition. A salesman who loves greed will exaggerate to his customers and withhold information from them. He will apply pressure, manipulate and intimidate his customers to make a sale. The god of this World has trained the World to love greed. He helps them to get to the top, regardless of who suffers. This is called success by the standards of the fleshly World. When anyone loves greed, he will love the thoughts and suggestions from the powers of darkness. They will tell him how to deceitfully manipulate and exploit his neighbour. Greed hates and uses his neighbour.

Col ch 3 v 5. Greed is idolatry.

Eph ch 4 v 19. Gentiles practised impurity with greed.

2 Peter ch 1 v 4. The permissive society simply surrendered to lust.

Eph ch 2 v 3. We formerly followed the lusts of our flesh.

Eccles ch 2 v 10. Whatever my eyes desired I did not refuse them.

 

If a person has a root of greed, the following characteristics will manifest themselves.

Manipulation. Flattery. Cheating. Strife. Selfishness. Lover of money. Stingy.

Discontent. Control. Jealousy. Lying. Covetousness. Exaggeration. Envy.

Possessive. Deceit. Hoarding. Pride. Material lust. Selfish ambition

 

LOVE. The man who in repentance accepts Jesus as Lord and Saviour becomes a totally different man. The Spirit of God then leads him to be perfected in love. He has seen the judgement and destruction that is on each man who loves and walks in the ways of Satan and the flesh. He knows that God demands him to love God with all his heart instead of loving the flesh nature of Satan. His motives are changed from selfishness to love. Previously the root or motive of his heart was to please the selfish desires of the flesh. Now it is to please the Lord Jesus with all his heart.

 

Jesus leads a man by His Spirit to overcome sin, the flesh, the World and the Devil. The purpose is to purify a man’s heart and perfect him in love. The Spirit of God will lead the man to put to death the deeds of the rebellious flesh one by one. When his mind is renewed by the Word of God, he will walk and talk like Christ instead of like Satan. With the mind of Christ instead of the mind of Satan, he will bear a new kind of fruit. This fruit is the fruit of the Spirit, the fruit of a pure heart – the fruit of love. He has a new heart and a new mind and no longer walks according to the flesh. Gal ch 5 v 24. Gal ch 5 v 14.

 

The root of the heart is the love of Jesus. The following characteristics of Jesus will manifest themselves:

Peace. Honesty. Mercy. Patience. Gentleness. Sincerity. Thankfulness. Excellence. Joy. Truth. Wisdom. Humility. Forgiveness.

Kindness. Self-control. Devotion. Faithfulness. Edification. Purity. Goodness.

Love. Grace. Justice. Fairness. Compassion. Steadfastness. Diligence.

 

CHAPTER 10. TEMPTATION.

 

Gen ch 3 v 1 – 7. Gen ch 39 v 6 – 23. James ch 1 v 2 – 15.

 

The dictionary meaning of temptation is to persuade a man to do something, which he does not want to do or which is unwise. When it comes to the area of moral choice, temptation is an attempt to persuade a man to do something, which is morally wrong. For a believer it is an attempt to persuade him to do something, which is either against the moral law of God or against the will of God for him.

 

James ch 1 v 13 makes it clear that God does not tempt anyone. How could He? God wants a man to obey His will for his life. Therefore God would never attempt to persuade a man to do something against that will. God wants a man to be morally perfect. From the story of Adam and Eve Satan clearly took the initiative and tempted Eve to break the command of God to Adam and to Eve.

 

James ch 1 v 14 implies that each person is tempted, when he is lured or enticed by his own desire. There is a war going on within each man. The old nature wars with the new nature. Temptation is the pull of a man’s own evil thoughts and desires. If they are allowed to dwell in the mind, these thoughts will lead to action. It is the action, which is the sin, if it breaks the moral law of God or the will of God for that man. It is so easy to blame Satan for everything, when sometimes it is all a man’s own fault. Man is naturally inclined to stray off the path, without any help from Satan. There are areas of a man’s life, which have yet to be submitted to the Word of God. This is particularly so for new believers, where there are many areas of sinfulness not yet realised. There are areas of life, which are not openly evil but are still displeasing to God. As the believer matures in his walk with God, more and more areas will appear to be displeasing to God. Therefore changes will be necessary in life-style. That is all part of the ongoing process of salvation. Mark ch 14 v 8 says: “Watch and pray in case the tempter overpowers you. Though the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak.” The flesh is the word used in Scripture for the old, fallen man. There are times when a man can identify that Satan and his demons are deliberately attempting to drive him off course in his life. There are other occasions when he has to stand up and take responsibility for his wrong decisions.

 

A man cannot blame Satan, if he deliberately places himself in the place of temptation. If he chooses to associate with others, whose lives are hostile to God’s ways, then he will be open to greater temptation to sin. Believers are often careless and ill-prepared in the matter of spiritual warfare. As a result they fall easily into temptation. It is vital not to give the enemy a foothold.

 

It is important to remember that temptation in itself is not a sin. Yielding to it is a sin. Believers should be determined to resist. James ch 4 v 7 says: “Submit yourself to God. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you.” That is the basis of victory over temptation – submission to God and active resistance of the Devil. That takes knowledge of God’s ways from a study of the Scriptures and active, positive turning away from temptation. If Satan dared to tempt Jesus, he will tempt all of the followers of Jesus from time to time. He knows their weak spots.

 

God in His mercy gives new spiritual life to believers who are adopted to be part of His family. When a man becomes a believer temptations increase. Satan attacks him mercilessly in order to spoil his Christian life. Satan is particularly active against new believers. Moses was attacked at birth. Herod killed all boy babies under two years of age in an attempt to kill Jesus. It is important to provide angelic cover for new-born believers of whatever physical age. Temptation shows Satan and God in their true colours. Satan is the liar and deceiver. God is the one whose love overcomes the disappointment of rebellion in mankind.

 

When a man has freedom of choice, temptation is inevitable. If God does not tempt man, why does He allow Satan to do so? Love and force are opposites. God loves each man and invites him to worship Him, but He will never force a man to do that. As a man resists the temptation he becomes stronger. Actually temptation is basic training in the army of God. If a man joins the army, he is subjected to physical training to make him physically fit for combat. He also gets training in warfare. The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted. God had to be sure that Jesus in His humanity was capable of completing the task God was asking Him to do. That was to lay down His life for the sins of the World. God has to be sure that His children are able to take on responsible tasks for Him. If they are unable to cope with simple temptations, then they are of little value. God will never allow a man to be tempted beyond what he can handle. It is part of God’s process of sanctification. Satan is powerless, until a man says: “Yes”. Actually, temptation becomes harder to combat every time a man gives in to it. 2 Pet ch 2 v 19. The thought hardens into word, the word into deed, the deed into habit, the habit into character, and the character into destiny. When the invitation comes, recognise it as from the enemy and refuse it.

 

Satan does not require that a person be evil. They can even be kind or generous. Satan may encourage a generous person to work his hardest for a charitable purpose. That in itself is worthwhile in humanitarian terms, but it may be out-with the will of God. This is so if it prevents the man from being obedient to the will of God for his life.

 

James is able to say in ch 1 v 2 – 3 welcome difficulties and temptations. A man must not wriggle out of the problem but be steadfast – stand firm in the face of temptation – and then that man will be ready for anything, strong in character. God rejoices every time He sees the man resisting the temptation and growing in character. Then God can use that man.

 

There is a prize for the one who overcomes temptation. Rev ch 3 v 10 – 11. If a believer is faithful in little temptations, God will protect him when the Tribulation comes. There will be a time of tremendous pressure to compromise and deny God by going against His will. In the last days the love of many will grow cold. Materialism comes at a man in the form of advertising. “You need this.” This is usually a lie.

 

The weapon Satan chooses is blindness. He blinds the minds of unbelievers. Satan will use everything he can to prevent a person responding to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He has certain favourite stratagems.

 

1. Scepticism. He discredits the message of the Bible by means of the charade of a School Assembly. He may point out the narrowness of mind of some believers. He may point out the broadmindedness of other believers. He will use eulogies of Church people, who are known by all and sundry to have vices.

 

2. Silence. A silent Church is ineffective. 1 Pet ch 2 v 9. “You are a chosen race that you may declare the wonderful deeds of Him who called you out of darkness into His glorious light.” Satan is very anxious to keep believers from declaring God’s word to the World. It may be fear of others and what they might think of them. It may be the lack of a carefully thought out statement of what they believe. It may be a lack of love for others. If believers really believe that non-believers are bound for Hell, surely there is a concern for their spiritual well-being.

 

3. Disunity. Satan loves to keep believers divided by way of gossip and class-consciousness in Churches. 2 Pet ch 3 v 5ff and ch 2 v 1ff. Satan’s principal line of attack against believers is false teaching – the two letters to Timothy. He highlights arguments over doctrine. Paul talks about doctrines of demons. 1 Tim ch 4 v 1. “In the end times there will be deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.” Well-meaning believers lacking in sound teaching are often led away into false doctrines. If the branches of the Christian Church spent a fraction of the time they spend arguing amongst themselves, in spiritual warfare against the enemy, many may be interested in following Jesus. Believers should watch out for false teaching. They should always test what the speaker says against Scripture. The Holy Spirit makes for unity. The unholy spirit makes for disunity.

 

4. Seduction. Marrying a non-believer, divorce and sexual activity outside of marriage. By putting a hook in the nose of a man’s sexuality Satan draws him away from obedience to Christ and into a compromise. This will effectively quash any witness to the Gospel.

 

5. Coercion. State persecution, torture, social pressures and economic disadvantage can all be applied to force a believer to be silent. The loss of a job, or home, or freedom for self or family.

 

Fiery Arrows. Satan has many strategies to deceive a man.

 

1. Pride. Pride is a strange illness. It makes everyone sick except the one who has it.

 

2. Lust. The permissive society simply surrendered to lust. All sexual desires out-with marriage are the result of lust. It is a difficult decision for a man to follow Jesus, if he is living in a relationship outside of marriage. Lust also includes homosexuality and pornography. The sexual drive is a really powerful force within mankind. There are casualties amongst believers. Some may fail to grow due to the blight on their lives through falling to temptation.

 

3. Doubt. It is only by exercising faith that a man can please God. Faith is believing the Word of God and acting upon it. Satan will use those closest to a believer, such as family and even other believers.

 

4. Disaster. Job is the classic example. “Will you still love God, if real difficulties come upon you such as a serious illness or the l Loss of a loved one?” A man may not understand why it has happened.

 

5. Depression. It is highly probable that some of the supposedly depressive illnesses are caused by demonic attack. Satan is the master of discouragement. Elijah had a great victory over the prophets of Baal. The he fled before Jezebel’s curse into the wilderness and wished he could die. This was the Hittite spirit of fear. It is impossible to work out the providence of God and why certain things have happened. The correct response is not to ask why did this happen but what is God showing through the experience.

 

6. Fear. The link between fear and Satan is very strong. Many are fearful of confessing Jesus in their home or place of work. A very real fear grips them.

 

7. The suit of dirty clothes. Eph ch 4 v 22ff and Col ch 3 v 5ff. There are also the secret things of the heart and mind, which no one else knows about in public. God knows, Satan knows and the individual knows. Unless a man is transparent, Satan can work in this area – accusing him of immoral actions and thoughts.

 

The lessons from the Garden of Eden story are that Satan attacks:

(a) The body. Eve was hungry. Satan often attacks when a person is hungry and weak in physical ways. A great deal of evil comes through the misuse of perfectly natural bodily functions, such as the desire for food, drink, sex, sleep and strength. Drunkenness and gluttony always go together in the Bible. If the physical body is not in a healthy shape, it is harder to fight spiritual battles. Over-eating is a major problem. It adds stress on the human body and makes it a less affective weapon in the hands of God.

 

(b) The mind. A man is called to love the Lord his God with all his body, soul and mind. Satan caught Eve’s attention and interest with something intriguing and supernatural – a talking snake. Eve knew that man had been created in a position of authority over the animals. She should have had nothing to do with this trick of Satan. Satan does the same today with a moving glass and a prediction as to the future, which comes true. Hypnotism. A seance. Magic tricks. It does not take much to take the mind of a man off the Word of God. Satan invited Eve to doubt God’s goodness towards man. He cast doubt on the Word of God. He is doing the same thing today in casting doubt on the Bible. He said to Eve: “You will not die.” God is not so unkind to make good His threats. All will turn out well in the end. This is the basis of Universalism. That lie – that God is no more holy than they are – had destroyed millions, who have accepted the lie. Their thinking has become confused. Christianity is the great thinking religion. A man should think through the consequences of every action he does and each word he speaks. Satan appealed to a man’s rights as against his responsibilities. God had given Adam responsibility for the Earth. He should have consulted God first before giving attention to an animal. Eve had been created to be a helper to Adam. She should have sought out Adam to take his views on this strange thing without acting on her own initiative. It would have been a good “excuse” for Eve to say that she wanted to discuss it with her husband. This avoids impulse decisions.

 

(c) God knew that man could not handle certain hidden things and so He forbade certain activities. The occult is the word for the hidden things. Faith in Jesus is a hidden thing. A believer’s life is hidden with Christ. All other hidden things are forbidden. Faith is the only hidden thing, which is good for a man. All other hidden things are bad for a man. Satan invites a man to go through the open doors into the hidden World. Then Satan ensnares the man – speaking to the dead. In Eve’s case it was the prospect of additional knowledge. Some things a man is better not to know. God has told man all he needs to know about salvation – the process of being Holy and fit for Heaven. The New Age is flooding the markets of the mind with new information about channelling of spirits and other matters, which are harmful and are not from God. It is the same Satanic lie – you shall be like gods. Eve declared open rebellion on God. Satan had achieved his objective. Temptation had become sin. Every time a man does what he knows from the Word of God is wrong it is rebellion against the Word of God. The man commits sin. In the process he personally insults God.

 

In Genesis ch 39 it seems clear that the wife of Potiphar was the instrument of temptation to Joseph. He was probably a teenager – 17 years of age. The woman waited until Joseph was alone in the house with her. She arranged that to trap Joseph. She fancied Joseph physically but was she interested in the welfare of Joseph? He was just a plaything for a bored rich woman. Sex outside of marriage is only selfish satisfaction and not love for the other person. As soon as Joseph ran away she was angry with him and hated him, enough to have him put in prison. There is nothing to suggest that Joseph was encouraging her. He was faced with the clear temptation to break the moral law and commit adultery with the wife of Potiphar. Joseph had had plenty time to reflect on life after being sold into slavery and exiled from his native land. He has a clear sense of duty to his new master and to God. God had His hand on Joseph. She transferred her guilt onto him. The woman was responsible for enticing the man. But God always puts the major responsibility on the man as head of the household. Joseph had settled the matter before the event. He did not have to make moral decisions on the spur of the moment. That is where regular Bible study is essential. The wise man built the house on the rock of God’s word. He also built the house while the weather was fine and not as the rains lashed down and there was pressure upon him. Joseph had built his moral house in this area of his life. Today is the time to settle moral issues.

 

Success is anything, which is pleasing to God. Joseph was a successful slave. Seven times the Bible says that the Lord was with Joseph. Joseph had a better understanding of sin than most of the people who live today. God allowed the temptation. A crisis in life can be a great gift from God, if it is used to strengthen character. This situation made a man of Joseph. All are tempted sexually at some time in life.

 

A man cannot always see the consequences of his actions. But it is true that what he does today affects his life in the future. If Joseph had succumbed to the temptation, he would have had difficulties in his marriage in later years. He would always have known that Potiphar’s wife could have brought up the incident. That would have undermined his relationship with his wife and children. How many people today have a clear conscience in this area of their life? v 9. Joseph knew it was evil. So many people today do not know what is right and wrong. They are forced to compromise. Sexual sin creates a bond or soul tie with the other party, which must be broken.

 

Joseph had not the benefit of Paul’s teaching in Phil ch 4 v 13. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” but he knew the one who would one day inspire Paul to write that verse. The woman was in a position to deny any word from Joseph. Who would have believed a slave against the word of Potiphar’s wife? No one believed Joseph. There are lessons.

1. Joseph refused. His will was settled long before the temptation came along. A man must crucify his ego on the cross.

2. Joseph said that he would be disloyal to God and to the wife he would one day marry. A man cannot always see the future but he lives in the future with the consequences of his actions in the past.

3. Joseph’s intellect was clear. “You do not belong to me. Only one person will ever belong to me.”

4. It was evil and Joseph recognised this. Immorality hurts all sorts of people. Be holy.

5. Joseph ran away. Sometimes it is best just to run and not stay and debate.

6. To receive Christ means power over temptation. Be an over-comer over sexual temptation.

 

What a man does with temptations will determine his happiness and spiritual growth. Sin shall not have dominion over him. The woman was shameless and coveted Joseph. She persisted day after day. Some men are flirting with women. She waited until there was no one else in the house. The serpent waited until Eve was alone. On his own a man is more vulnerable.

 

Before giving in to temptation there are 4 stages.

When a man neglects prayer and Bible reading he becomes callous and insensitive to danger. He is easily drawn to the flame like a moth.
A man begins to rationalise: “Nobody knows and what harm will it do?”
As carnal appetite increases, conscience erodes.
A man surrounds himself with others of the same mind or who are willing to look the other way.

The battle is not only about a man’s future but the plan God has to use that person to bless others. Flirting with temptation makes defeat inevitable. Yielding to temptation may not cut a believer off from God’s grace but it can limit his usefulness to God. Any weakness constantly indulged in, excused, denied or hidden can enslave a person. Ignoring a weakness makes defeat inevitable. Satan will assign certain people to feed the weakness. The weakness has an agenda – to take over the life and sabotage God’s plan for that life. The weakness can emerge at any time and even in later years.

 

As a result of yielding to temptation, there were for Adam and Eve and there are for all human beings today seven consequences of sin.

 

1. Eve involved somebody else. Sin loves a companion. Children love to involve others in shoplifting. People like others to laugh at their dirty jokes. Eve involved Adam and as a result she felt better for it. Sin not only separates a man from God but also a man from another man.

 

2. They felt dirty and guilty. Their sexuality suddenly became something of which they felt ashamed. Guilt is something, which troubles a man as he tries to get rid of his guilt. It may involve a dirty business trick, a lie, fiddling the income tax return or gossiping about another person. Many people end up in mental hospitals because they failed to do anything about their guilt. They were insensitive to God’s presence and became ignorant of the things of God. They also lost their confidence and integrity.

 

3. Adam and Eve hid from God. Companionship with God lost its charm. They were unfit for God’s presence and unable to do His will.

 

4. Fear arose within Adam and Eve. Fear was the first emotional result of sin. Before that, fear was unknown. God had provided everything needed by Adam and Eve and they knew no fear. Perfect love casts out fear. Fear of death is the last great enemy of mankind.

 

5. Moral cowardice. Adam blamed someone else for his sin. “Eve gave the fruit to me to eat.” Adam claimed that it was not his fault. Today that is evident as a man blames others for his sins and difficulties. It was the teachers who did not teach well. The parents were poor. The Government did not provide a job. It is all the fault of the manager, the directors or the employees. A man looks for someone else to blame for his ills. A man may even blame God for some things. He calls it an act of God. Man is called to repent and to stand up and accept responsibility for his actions. “I did it.” Psalm 124.

 

6. Spiritual death. Adam and Eve did not die physically, when they ate of the fruit, but they did die spiritually. That was the first death. They no longer had a clear conscience before God. The fellowship with God terminated at once. There was nothing they could do to restore that relationship with God. They were dead in their sins. They were spiritually cut off from God, although they lived mentally and physically. Eph ch 2 v 1. Man is dead in trespass and sin. All men are born dead spiritually. It is the second death, which is vital in determining a man’s role in eternity. Eternal life is that relationship restored. Gen ch 15 v 6. That was one of the purposes of Jesus in dying for a man’s sins. Satan is determined to prevent a man being born again to new life. 1 Cor ch 1 v 30.

 

7. Judgement. They had brought judgement on themselves by disobeying God. They did not have to obey Satan. There was no benefit for them. They had everything to lose and did lose their relationship with God. When a man says: “No” to Jesus as the only one to die for his sins, he is passing judgement on himself. He is choosing to live out-with God’s presence. That is the free choice of every human being.

 

The tempter described God as being mean. In fact God has proved Himself to be unbelievably generous. He clothed Adam and Eve with skins. For all men God offers to clothe them with righteousness – the righteousness of Christ. Temptation is something every man has to cope with throughout his life.

 

CHAPTER 11. SHAME.

 

Hebrews ch 12 v 2. Jesus endured the cross and the shame of being naked. He took man’s shame to the cross. Crucifixion was carried out by the Romans and their victims were nailed to the cross naked. For a Jewish man this was a shameful action. That is part of what the Romans intended. Nakedness and sin go together. Satan lays shame on man.

 

1. What is shame? Shame is a painful emotion, caused by a consciousness of guilt or dishonour in a man’s conduct or state. It is a cause of disgrace. Shame is a potent thing. It impacts on the life of human beings. The enemy comes to rob, steal and destroy. It robs a man of his potential to serve the Lord. Many people do not reach their full potential due to shame. Shame holds people in bondage, so that they continually fall to temptation. A man ought to be sensitive towards others. All do not respond in the same way.

 

2. There are several kinds of shame.

(a) Things done by another person, where there is no guilt on a man’s part. A person may feel a sense of shame due to a drunken father – divorced parents – illegitimate birth – some children are born in shame. Either they are illegitimate or the parents wanted a child of the opposite sex. Actually there are no illegitimate children. There are illegitimate parents. It was not the fault of the child that he was born out of wedlock. It is the decision of the parents. 2 Sam ch 19 v 5. David had brought shame on the people by the way he was acting. The whole nation felt the shame. If an employer embezzles money, the employees may feel a sense of shame. Neh ch 2 v 17. Nehemiah was ashamed of the state of Jerusalem. 2 Sam ch 10 v 4. Human cut off clothes at the waist to shame the Jews.

 

(b) Things, which are done to a man, of which he is ashamed. Abuse by another party, whether sexual or mental – rape, bullying, ridicule, spouse or child abandoned. 2 Chr ch 32 v 21. Defeat in battle had brought shame on the people. Ps 31 v 17. When man is ridiculed or belittled he experiences shame. A person made redundant may feel shame. Hab ch 2 v 15. The Babylonians put their captives to shame.

 

(c) Things, which a man does, which are shameful – lying, stealing, taking advantage of another person, gossip. Ps 2 v 4. Men bring shame on themselves when they worship idols. Hos ch 10 v 6. Israel was put to shame because they trusted in an idol. God allowed the shame to come over the nation. By the grace of God there is a promise of a time when Israel will never be put to shame again. Joel ch 2 v 26. Ps 31 v 17. Arrogant men will be brought to shame. Pride comes before a fall. Nakedness is always associated with sin. Gen ch 3 v 7. Ezek ch 16 v 37. 1 John ch 2 v 28. Shame acts as a barrier between people, e. g. when one gossips about another, he may not be able to look that person in the face. It is a wonderful thing to be able to walk through life with no shame of meeting anyone, because of what has been said or done.

 

(d) Things, which a man fails to do. Not taking steps to help another in trouble can leave a man with a sense of shame. The developed World has a sense of shame at the condition of those in the Developing World. Prov ch 25 v 8. Defeat in a public court will bring a man to shame in the eyes of others. Often politicians attempt to shame the opposition into resigning for what they have done. Jer ch 50 v 2. The false gods like Bel will be put to shame. The false god of Islam has brought shame on the Muslims. He has failed to deliver the quality of life, which the God of Israel has brought – standards of education, the dignity of women and material prosperity. Ezekiel ch 7 v 18. When guilt takes a nation, shame follows. Mark ch 8 v 38 and Luke ch 9 v 26. Is a man ashamed of Jesus? If so Jesus will be ashamed of him. Mat ch 25 v 35. “I was hungry and you did not feed me.”

 

3. How should a man live? He should live a life where there is no scope for shame in his personal life. Ps 119 v 6. Those who do the right thing will not experience shame. The World is ready to criticise and complain, but if things are done right, then there is no room for shame to get in. Isaiah ch 45 v 17. If man puts his trust in God, he will not be brought to shame. Isaiah ch 49 v 23. There may be difficulties when a man trusts in God, but not shame.

 

4. Shame is a power over a life. Shame colours what a man hears. A person with an inferiority complex is conditioned to be suspicious of praise. He expects to be put down.

 

5. There is healthy shame, as there is healthy fear. If it brings a man to the point of acknowledging his guilt and leads him to confess to God, it is healthy. The fear of being ashamed may prevent people from doing or saying something, which would bring shame on them, e.g. premarital sex or adultery. Shame kept homosexuals in the closet for a while. Shame is a good thing if it motivates a man into action.

 

6. What are people ashamed of? Having been in prison or having a relative or parents in prison. Having surrendered their virginity. Parents who are out of work. An abortion. Poverty. Lack of education. Their home. Their children. Whole cities can feel shame because of the reputation of their city. The government makes the people to sin when they pass laws, which are contrary to the laws of God. Prov ch 14 v 34.

 

7. To be shameless is to be in a position where there is no sense of shame. The concern of being seen undressed in public causes people to keep covered up. Some politicians feel no shame in taking the Lord’s name in vain or using bad language or telling dirty jokes.

 

8. There are various characters in the Bible who experienced shame.

(a) Adam and Eve were naked but not ashamed. Gen ch 2 v 25. Later when they rebelled against God, they were ashamed of the fact that they were naked. Gen ch 3 v 10. Ever since nakedness is associated with sin. Fear entered their personality for the first time.

(b) Noah was ashamed when he woke from his drunkenness and discovered that Ham had seen him lying there naked. Gen ch 9 v 24.

(c) David felt shame after his adultery with Bathsheba. Uriah’s presence reminded him of what he had done and brought his shame to his conscience. The murder only made it worse. Psalm 51 v 3 was his response. He needed to be purified. David did not feel worthy of being in the presence of God.

(d) Saul was ashamed of his attempts to kill David. 1 Sam ch 26 v 21.

(e) Jonah must have experienced shame when he ran from God.

(f) Peter’s denial brought him to feel shame for what he had done. The Jebusite spirit led him to deny the Lord. Shame was there to drive home his misery. Luke ch 22 v 62.

(g) Judas was so ashamed of betraying the Lord that he committed suicide. Mat ch 27 v 3.

(h) Mat ch 1 v 19. Joseph did not want to put Mary to shame and so he married her. To expose sin in others puts them into the power of shame.

(i) The woman at the well was shamed into admitting that the man in her life was not her husband.

(j) 2 Sam ch 13 v 12 – 14. If a man forces himself on a woman, he places shame on her. “Where could I carry my shame?” After Amnon raped Tamar, he hated her. He transferred his hatred of himself for what he had done to her. This is transference of guilt. It takes the pressure off the guilty one. Then he rejected his sister. The demons of lust, shame and rejection had done their work and ruined two lives.

 

Rape and adultery brings shame on a life. Women never get over being raped, because shame has been placed on their life. Their person has been violated. Boys and girls who have been violated have shame on their life. Peer rejection can have the same result. Unwanted conception can lead to shame. Children in a divorce situation can feel shame as they think that they have caused the divorce. If a child has been violated, it is not their fault. They should not accept the shame, which is placed upon them. Shame leads many to suicide. When caught and exposed for sin in public they may feel that there is no hope for the future. The enemy robs a man of joy and peace of mind. He piles the shame on a man. Isaiah ch 33 v 9.

 

9. Consequences of shame.

(a) Physical consequences of shame. Blushing and stammering, when caught out.

(b) Emotional consequences of shame. Lies to cover up the truth. A politician or leading figure exposed for having been seen at a brothel may attempt to cover it up by lying about where he has been.

(c) Spiritual consequences of shame. Bondage. Reputation may go.

(d) False identity – hiding behind an imagined personality. It makes a man unable to receive God’s blessing, because he does not feel good enough to receive it. Then he is inclined to pretend.

(e) A man tends to bring shame on others to get his own back. Shame accumulates. It brings others down in order to elevate self. It can lead to distrust of authority.

(f) Shame results in a distorted view of life. Shame keeps a man from feeling worthy of being in God’s presence. If a believer’s joy has departed from him, it may be because of shameful things done to him or done by him. Shame shrivels a man up. Shame robs a man of his power to conquer temptation. If he constantly falls to temptation, he loses the power to deal with it. Shame affects the ability to make lasting relationships. There is a lack of staying power. Everything said will be measured. “Do they really love me?” There is double mindedness. Doubt and faith are in conflict. “Will they still like me, if they find out what I have done or said about them?” “Is that what they really mean?”

(g) 1 John ch 2 v 28. Shame acts as a barrier between people, e.g. when one gossips about another, he may not be able to look that person in the face. Gen ch 2 v 24. “Adam, where are you?” It was addressed to Adam and not to Eve. Adam was the one held responsible by God. Sin leads to shame. He could not look God in the face. Couples cannot look each other in the eye, if one of them is ashamed. If a man has been speaking about another, he will be ashamed and unable to speak to the person face to face.

 

10. The Cross deals with the past and the present as well as the future. A man is born with eternity inside of him. He cannot enjoy life in all its fullness, if he is not free from shame.

 

11. Is it ever right to bring people into shame? Jesus did it on a number of occasions. Luke ch 13 v 17. Jesus shamed His enemies when He exposed their hypocrisy. They were shown to be worthless. It is right to do this – as it is to be angry – when it has as its objective to prevent people being deceived. Jesus was angry on behalf of His Father when He drove the moneylenders out of the temple. He had to expose the hypocrisy of the Pharisees in order to lead the people into the truth. 2 Thes ch 3 v 14. Stay away from serious sinners in the Church in order to put them to shame. 1 Cor ch 6 v 5. Paul was trying to make the Church ashamed of their ignorance with a view to their repentance. 1 Cor ch 15 v 34. Shame can be a tool of God to force a man to take stock and consider his position. There is a danger that it will lead to a cover up. Then it becomes a tool of the enemy.

 

12. There are many reactions to shame. These include resentment, rebellion, self-pity, withdrawal, self-accusation, insecurity, inferiority, suicide, depression, death wish, criticism, harshness, judgementalism, paranoia, perfectionism, pride, sexual lust, materialism suppression and finally self-rejection. Shame means that a man does not feel good about himself. Many are afraid to love, because of shame in their past life. There are family ghosts. This can be a spiritual problem in families for generations.

 

13. Names can hurt. “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” This is a lie. Nicknames can bring shame on a person. A man may change his name because he is ashamed of the family name. A man may feel ashamed when he compares himself with others. Others may have friends, while he has none. People may feel shame when they are rejected by a boy friend or girl friend.

 

14. Expectations of others may be too high and bring shame on the one who fails to meet them. A man may be ashamed of the success of a brother or sister. “You are not as good as your sister.” Children are not the same and should not be pressurised to meet the expectations of their parents. Some people feel a failure in a Church, because the leaders never realise their potential.

 

15. Shame can destroy a relationship, if a man finds out something shameful on the part of another. How does a man deal with the shame? 1 John ch 1 v 5 – 10. “If we walk in the light, then we have fellowship with one another.” Goodness and mercy should follow a believer all the days of his life. After God gives a man spiritual life, he has to take Him at His Word and deal with the matters, which hang over his life.

 

In Freemasonry, the initiate says that, if he reveals any secrets of the Freemasons, others can take his life. No man has the right to give anyone the right to take his life. God does not give that right to anyone – God does not even give it to a believer. Life and death belong to God.

 

How does a man deal with shame?

1. If it is not his fault, reject it. Refuse to accept it in the name of Jesus.

2. 2 Tim ch 2 v 15. A workman who does his work well need not be ashamed.

3. James ch 5 v 16. “Confess your sins to one another.” Confession releases a powerful flood of light into the darkness. 1 John ch 1 v 9. “If we confess our sins he will forgive us.”

4. It may involve repentance and restitution for theft etc.

5. It may involve an apology for gossip etc.

6. It may involve burning an idol.

7. It may involve confessing Jesus in public.

 

CHAPTER 12. IDOLATRY.

Rom ch 1 v 18-28 and Ezekiel ch 8. Exodus ch 20 v 3. “You shall have no other gods before me.” That is a commandment from God. It carries weight as a word from God. Isaiah ch 48 v 11. “I shall not share my glory with any man.” There is a desire to bring in things, which aid worship, like bowing, statues, crossing, clothing etc. Any such thing is an abomination to God. John ch 4 v 24. A man should worship the Lord in spirit and in truth. He comes to God in faith. He believes God is present, because God says so.

 

Four Questions. 1. What is an idol?

2. Why do human beings have an idol?

3. What kinds of idols do human beings have?

4. Can a believer have an idol as well as God?

 

1. What is an idol? The dictionary definition is; an image of a deity as an object of worship. An object of excessive devotion. An idolater is one who worships an idol. Mat ch 6 v 31 – 33. Whatever comes first in a man’s life – that is an idol. Whatever is most in his thoughts – that is an idol. Whatever consumes most of his energy – that is an idol. Whatever consumes most of his money – that is an idol. The subject he talks about most – that is an idol. In Isaiah ch 44 v 9 – 20 Isaiah uses sarcasm to show that it is utterly useless. “With one piece of wood you cook the meat and then you bow down to the other piece.” The purpose of Satan is to dethrone God in the heart of man. The Kingdom of God is the rule of God in the heart of man. Satan will use any means to replace God’s rightful place in the heart of man.

 

When the Israelites entered the Land they were told to wipe out the seven peoples in the land, who were guilty of idolatrous practices. God said that, if they did not do so, the people would be a snare to them and lead them astray. That is exactly what happened, and is happening to this very day.

 

2. Why does a man need an idol? God designed man to worship Him. The chief end of man is to worship God and enjoy Him forever. Fallen creatures need someone or something bigger than themselves in order to give significance to their life. By looking at the stars a man realises how insignificant he is. When a man is controlled by the Holy Spirit, he is in harmony with God. When he is not controlled by the Holy Spirit he is out of control. Then he is driven by his emotions and his bodily appetites and bodily desires.

 

The thrust of Scripture is of people, who once worshipped the living God. They fell away and ended up worshipping the creature, rather than the Creator. History shows that countries can also reject God and impose an idol in His place.

Russia rejected its Christian revelation of God and His Messiah Jesus Christ. It replaced them with Communism and its messiah Lenin – and tens of millions died.

Germany rejected its Christian revelation of God and His Messiah Jesus Christ. It replaced them with National Socialism and its messiah Hitler – millions died in World War II.

China rejected its revelation of God and His Messiah Jesus Christ. It replaced them with Communism and its messiah Mao Tse-Tung – and tens of millions died.

 

If the West continues to reject its revelation of God and His Messiah Jesus Christ, it will ultimately replace them with something else and its messiah – and tens of millions of people will die. Is that happening right now? What are the false gods, which are replacing the revelation of God and His Messiah Jesus Christ and are claiming the allegiance of millions in the West?

 

1. Sport. 2. Sex . 3. Money. If a man was on Satan’s staff, what idols would he target to draw believers away from their worship of God? These three would be top of the list.

 

The basic reason why people need an idol is that they feel so small and insignificant in such a vast World. This feeling has been increased by the population explosion – now 6.8 billion. Before people lived in small communities but now 80% live in cities. That increases a feeling of helplessness and a lack of control over their own destiny. Cities are a foreign environment. God told the people to spread abroad over the face of the Earth. Nimrod defied God and built a city. God confused their language and scattered the people over the face of the Earth. There is such injustice and godlessness that people look for meaning in life. They look for a sense of worth. This allows for competition. If a man can perform better than others in any one area of life, he thinks that he is worth more than them. If he has better appearance than others, he is worth more than them. If he has more possessions than others, he is worth more than them. If he has a better job than others, he is worth more than them. The more he is thought of by other people, the more praise he receives from men.

 

Praise of men is not part of God’s plan. Competition is not part of God’s plan. God designed men to complete one another and not to compete with one another. Jesus chided the Disciples for arguing amongst themselves as to which one was the greatest. Mark ch 9 v 35. In Mark ch 10 v 35 the same thing is found. v 43. “Whoever would be the greatest must be the servant of the others.” Satan tempted Jesus by offering Him the kingdoms of the whole World. Deut ch 6 v 13. “You shall not go after others gods.” The fallen nature desires the praise of men, rather than of God. That was Satan’s desire, when he was thrown out of Heaven. It is his purpose to dethrone God in the hearts of men and replace the throne with anything else, which is available. The only reference to competing in the Scriptures is when Paul talks about running the race. There he is using the illustration to show how a man should be pressing on to the goal of holiness. He should do so with the same determination the athlete shows. Holiness and integrity should be the only goals of a man’s life. Seeking to please the Lord is the objective of life.

 

There is nothing inherently wrong in sport, sex and money. It is good to relax and exercise the body. God gave man that instruction. Sex was designed by God for companionship and procreation. It was His idea. Money is simply the control of resources. God gave the resources to man to steward the Earth for Him. Money is not evil. It is the love of it, which is the root of evil. What matters is how a man gained wealth and what he does with it.

 

1. Sport. Who is dying? Those who worship the false gods of sport are dying spiritually. Vast sums of money are paid by people to watch sport and as a result the poor are getting poorer. The money spent on sport could be spent on other things to eradicate poverty. The stars are earning vast sums of money. Men are looking for a saviour to lift them out of their mediocre life – to save them from the boredom and anonymity of their life. Sport first appeared with the Olympic games in the days of the Greek Empire. There the thought pattern was Hellenism. Today it is called humanism. It is a rejection of God and His Messiah. It has been replaced with glory to man and a worship of the created thing – man – rather than the Creator. The child of God should know that he is precious to God. He is worth so much that Jesus died for him. Non-believers are looking in all directions for a sense that they are worth something. Whether a man plays sport or watches it, the better he performs or the better his team performs, the more worthwhile he feels. At the heart of sport, especially organised sport, is competition. If a man can defeat the other competitors, he is better then them and is therefore worth more.

 

2. Sex. There is a sexual explosion in the West. There is nothing new. Jer ch 2 v 23-24. Who dies? Over 7 million babies who have been sacrificed in the incinerators of the hospitals of Britain. Their parents want to enjoy their sexual life style without the responsibility of bringing up the children conceived as a result of their sexual activity. The sin of Manasseh was the sin, which drove the Jews into Babylon. Jer ch v 15 v 4. He brought in child sacrifice to the god Molech.

 

Homosexuals tend to die in their forties. Aids will continue to claim millions of lives, if there is not a change of attitude. It takes 8 years for the symptoms to show up in the body. There can be only one cure for sin. God has provided it in the man Jesus. Despite vast sums of money trying to educate the public to take care, there is little sign that the incidence of sexual activity is being reduced. Nudity has always been associated with sin from the time of Noah and his sons. Sex used to be boys using girls as play things. Now the girls are using the boys as play things. Girls flock to see male strippers. Images of male bodies are used to sell products. Sexual exploitation has as its basis personal attention. The sexual drive was intended by God to be subject to the control of the Holy Spirit. When a man rejects God and His control over his life, the power of the Holy Spirit is lost and the drive belt runs free. Part of the fruit of the spirit is self-control – the ability to say “No” to self. The sexual act was intended to be one of giving to one’s mate the ultimate in affection and privacy. Now it is reduced to self-gratification.

 

There are underlying reasons for the fascination with sex.

1. Wherever they turn, sex is thrust upon young people – long before there is a natural inclination to be interested. There is a sex-saturated culture. The constant impression is that fornication and adultery are normal and unless a man is actively involved, he is not normal. There are vested interests for inflaming the passions of the watching population. Satan is interested in undermining marriage.

2. Peer pressure especially on the young is enormous. It is almost an irresistible force. The peers put down all those who think differently. Whereas girls are looking for emotional love, boys are looking for satisfaction for their urges. She wants love and plays at sex. He wants sex and plays at love. Statistics prove that marriages are much more likely to last if the couple have never practised premarital sex. Self-restraint is not a popular concept in the World today. The overwhelming message is – if it feels good, do it. Real love is the willingness to put someone else’s happiness and welfare before personal desires. Passion has no morals, no standards, no control, and no compassion. It seeks immediate satisfaction. In its worst instances it leads to depravity. Depraved people have lost the ability to discern between good and evil. They have a seared conscience.

 

3. Money. Who is dying when this god is worshipped? The poor. Lack of resources to tackle famine and health care is diverted into the hands of the rich. There is enough food in the World to feed every human being 1 1/4 times over. There need be no hunger or poverty in the World. The love of money is the root of all evil. Money can bring a degree of happiness and relief from poverty. Wealth is worshipped and respected in the West as a god. People go into debt to acquire more possessions. It gives them a sense of worth. The whole of the banking system is based on people borrowing and paying interest to the banks. The borrower is in debt to the creditor. Gambling is a part of the desire to acquire money, especially the lottery. It is said to be a tax on the poor. There is no obligation on the poor to take part. Many poor see it as their only hope of getting out of their poverty. They live in a World, which worships wealth and despises poverty. The poor spend a greater percentage of their income on gambling than the rich. So the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. In that sense it is a tax on the poor. God does not want a man to be poor. Poverty is a curse. Deut ch 28 v 15 – 67. The gap between the rich and the poor is increasing. The rich countries give economic aid but charge interest on the aid, which the poor countries cannot afford to repay. The Lottery has become the god of many nations. It is talked about. It consumes time. It eats up income. The desire for money leads many into gambling and dishonest activities. Coveting is a major sin.

 

When fame is the aim of a man he becomes competitive. He is concerned that others will upstage him. That will make him envious. When money is his objective, he lives in fear of losing it. That will make him suspicious. When possessions are his god, he becomes greedy, because he never has enough. When power and influence drive him, he becomes self-willed and arrogant. All these go against the command of God to be content. By working hard to prove that he is worthy a man is accepting the hidden message. It is that he can be righteous by his own efforts without needing a saviour.

 

Can a believer have an idol as well as Jesus? Jer ch 2 v 24. One of Israel’s idols was sex. It is a powerful weapon in the hands of the enemy. What other idols do people have? What do they talk about? What do they spend their money on?

Family. Many worship their family. Women in particular can grow so attached to their children, that the children become the very centre of their life. They talk about them all the time. Some mothers become possessive of their children. Their lives revolve round the children. They cannot bear to let them go.

Drink. People in Western countries spend more on alcohol than on food.

Food. Does a man live to eat or eat to live? Gluttony and drunkenness are always together in the Bible.

Football. Football and other sports can be a healthy exercise or worshipped as an idol

Motor car or some other material symbol of wealth.

Clothes. A fashion freak spends all his money on clothes and jewellery? That can become an idol. Some people admit to being addicted to shopping. They even like to window shop.

A person, such as a pop star or a sporting star. Pictures on the wall. Hero worship.

Politics. Religion. The garden, hobbies. Walking. When it comes to Sunday, that is where they are. That is what has filled their minds all week.

The Office, the shop, the hospital, the garage. Talking shop. That is their god.

Even Christian activities. The Church. The Fellowship.

An idol is whatever claims the loyalty, which is due to Jesus alone.

False gods. 1 Chr ch 16 v 23-36. They are gods of the imagination. “I think god is like this!” God reveals Himself to man through the Bible and in Jesus. Those who worship false gods, do so on their own terms. The error of religion is that it scales down its gods, so that they pose no threat to the people. The people make their own decisions as they see fit. They are as gods. Gen ch 3 v 5. The original lie by Satan.

 

A picture of Jesus. What is wrong with that? Nowhere in the Scriptures is man told about the physical characteristics of Jesus. He may have been not too tall, since Zacchaeus could not see Him over the crowd. He had a beard. That was customary in the land. The soldiers pulled it. The body is but a vehicle to contain the soul and the spirit. It is character, which is of concern to God. The body returns to the grave dust to dust and the spirit returns to God. In the West the body is worshipped. It is given undue attention. People are concerned more with what they look like physically than where they are in relation to God. Mat ch 6 v 31-33. What a man sees with his eyes registers in his mind. A picture of Jesus hanging on the cross speaks of a defeated man. The empty cross speaks of one who has risen. Countries want a strong image e.g. a lion or a bear or an eagle. It conveys the idea of strength. God chose a lamb as His symbol. A film showing a face of an actor as Jesus is an image, which is forbidden.

 

4. 1 Cor ch 10 v 14. “Carefully avoid idol-worship of every kind.” That is a negative command. There is a positive command in 2 Chr ch 15 v 8 and v 16. If something is keeping a man away from worshipping the Lord, he should get rid of it. That is the advice from God. It is stealing love from the heart. It has serious consequences. Psalm 106 34-42. The goddess of sex has several names in the Bible – Astarte, Astorath, Nina in Assyria. 1 Thes ch 1 v 9. These believers had turned away from idols to worship God.

Esau worshipped his life style. He was a hunter who loved shooting and fishing. He despised the more serious aspects of life, such as leading the family worship. He regarded it lightly.

Pilate put his career before Jesus. “You are not Caesar’s friend.”

In Ecclesiastes it says: “I tried, building, gardening, etc.” A man tends to fill his mind with anything but the Word of God.

The Bible teaches that there is a history of people falling into idolatry. Something or someone comes along and captures the heart or imagination of the man, who used to worship God. When the thoughts are turned away from God, there is a vacuum to be filled and the enemy rushes in to fill it. Man was designed to worship and focus on God.

 

Isaiah ch 46 v 1-2. God holds the worship of wood or metal images in derision. Most would agree. Logically, they have no power. “Where’s the harm in it?” But there is power. There is power in the name of Jesus. Demons flee before that name. People get very upset, if a man keeps talking about Jesus. There is a spiritual reality. There is power in baptism and confession. Jer ch 2 v 5. Hosea ch 9 v 10.

 

There is a very real temptation for a believer to transfer his allegiance away from Jesus to other gods. Salvation is a process and not a once and for all event. Idolatry of any kind interferes with the process. The process grinds to a halt. He who perseveres to the end shall be saved. Was this what Jesus had in mind when He said that? The people with whom a man spends time will lead him to worship one of their idols. Choose friends carefully. People become like their idols – unfaithful and unreliable. An idol dishonours God and takes away His greatness.

 

CHAPTER 13. REJECTION.

 

Many people in the World feel rejected. For some their life is dominated by a spirit of rejection. This happens in families, in schools, in offices and in communities. Even some of the poorer countries feel they are rejected. None of the large countries is interested in them, because they have no valuable resources. A person may experience a feeling of rejection when his three basic needs are not met. These are the need to be loved, the need to belong and the need to achieve. Rejection undermines, breaks or prevents normal harmonious relationships. These include between family members, marriage partners, fellow workers and social contacts. It prevents a believer from reaching his full potential with God. Rejection is most difficult to eradicate and may continue to manifest itself throughout a lifetime. Believers are targets of demonic activity. In the end times the tribulation will lead to an increase in rejection of believers. Careless Christian living gives the Devil a foothold. Satan uses false teaching to deceive believers and this in turn can lead to rejection of them by their own brothers.

 

Rejection has its roots in the rejection by Satan and his demons of God. Lucifer’s unilateral declaration of independence and rebellion against God is the first act of rejection. God’s immediate response was to Himself reject and then pass judgement on the angelic rebellion. God created Hell for the eternal punishment of the Devil and his angelic following. Satan set about encouraging men and women to follow him in his rebellion. The Bible has a lot to say about rejection and its causes.

 

A. Favouritism. Where a person or group is given preference to another, it often leads to jealousy. Jealousy is a powerful emotional drive. It can on occasions lead to murder. In Gen ch 25 v 28. Isaac favoured Esau and caused Rebekkah and Jacob to be resentful and jealous. Isaac ended up rejecting both sons. When a parent favours one child as against others, he commits iniquity. There must be no favouritism. God has no favourites. In Gen ch 37 v 3-4 Jacob favoured Joseph and passed on his problem to Joseph. By making Joseph a favourite, he led the brothers to be jealous of Joseph. God intervened in the person of Reuben, who persuaded the others not to kill Joseph.

 

B. Jealousy. Abraham went along with Sarah’s rejection of Hagar and Ishmael. Gen ch 21 v 10. There was jealousy by Sarah. Hagar could do what Sarah was unable to do. Hagar gave Abraham a child. Hagar and Ishmael were rejected and sent away. The result has been strife between Jews and Arabs ever since.

 

C. Pride. Haman was jealous of Mordecai and felt rejected by the King in favour of a foreigner. Haman was driven by pride that he was better than Mordecai. Racial tension is never far from the surface in life.

 

D. Circumstances. There may be no fault – like a child losing both parents and feeling rejected. 1 Sam ch 1. Elkanah had two wives. Hannah could not have children. The other wife made her feel rejected. There was a sense of shame for a Jewish woman who was unable to have a child. Hannah did the right thing by taking the matter to God. There is a sense of loss and missed opportunity. There may be a curse of poverty over a woman preventing her from having a child. God is a giver of life. The enemy seeks to take life and in this instance prevented life.

 

David was rejected by his father. Jesse never even thought to consider him as a potential king when Samuel called. 1 Sam ch 17 v 28-29. David was rejected by his brothers, who were jealous of him. 1 Sam ch 19 v 10. He was rejected by Saul, who sought to kill him. Saul and David’s brothers were jealous of David’s success and popularity with the people.

 

Daniel had good cause to feel rejected. He missed out on being king. He was almost certainly made a eunuch and missed out on having children. Even at 80 years of age Daniel was rejected by his colleagues. They were jealous of him and his success.

 

Sometimes rejection is because of the one who is represented. Samuel felt rejected by the people in 1 Sam ch 8 v 7 and 1 Sam ch10 v 19. Actually it was God who was rejected when the people wanted a king like all the other people.

 

E. Exclusion. Judas repented after he had betrayed Jesus. Mat ch 27 v 3. He was rejected by the other disciples – all of whom had run away and had denied Jesus. Judas ended up committing suicide. It would have been a triumph for the Gospel, if Judas had been accepted back into fellowship. Judas had been chosen by Jesus. Satan entered Judas. Judas was the only disciple from Judah. The others were all from Galilee. Perhaps Judas did not fit into the group and felt he did not belong to the group.

F. Society. Zaccheaus was rejected by the religious leaders as an outcast.

 

G. Physical handicap. Bartimeaus was rejected by society. There was no place for a blind person. All he could do was to beg. The unemployed people feel rejected by a prosperous society.

 

In the parable of the Prodigal Son the father did not act properly. The older son felt rejected. He was not even informed of the younger son’s return. The father should have involved him in the decision. The older son speaks of “Your son” rather than “my brother”. A man can reject someone by ignoring him and not embracing him in the decisions making process. By conveying that the person is not important enough to be consulted, a man is rejecting that person. It can even happen within a Church.

 

Jesus is the most rejected person who ever lived. Psalm 118 v 22. Jesus is the stone, which the builders rejected. Jesus knew that it would happen. The prophets had always been rejected. Jeremiah was put down a well and left to die. Jesus was rejected by the religious leaders, by the political authorities, by His parents, by many of those He healed and even by His own disciples on occasions. Luke ch 9 v 22. Luke ch 17 v 25. Jesus had been there and knew exactly how it feels. Luke ch 10 v 16. Those who reject a believer, reject the Lord and His message. Luke ch 17 v 25. The ordinary sinners ignored Jesus but the religious ones rejected Him, because He exposed their pride. Isaiah ch 53 v 3. There was no room in their doctrine for a personal God. No single person whom He had healed, raised from the dead or delivered from demonic forces stood in His defence. To despise a person is to regard as worthless or inferior and to feel contempt for. Jesus was despised in all its aspects. The cry of the mob “Crucify Him” was the basest act of rejection man could ever have displayed against God’s grace.

 

Rejection may lead to lying and stealing. A man may tell lies in the hope that people will accept him. He may pretend he is better or more valuable than he really is. If a man does not deal with rejection, thoughts of suicide may come into the mind. When a person suffers from rejection, nothing is ever enough.

 

What are the consequences of rejection?

Emotional turmoil results when a person is rejected. A man will feel hurt and his emotions are disturbed. “If no one loves me, I might as well be dead.” Self-pity follows when a man thinks that no one loves him. Self-pity leads to depression and apathy. Satan often invites people to a pity party. A man’s body generally reacts quickly and automatically when his comfort or safety is threatened or affected. A man’s emotional and spiritual being reacts in the same way when he is hurt. Rejection builds a wall of failure and discouragement. It leaves a person with a feeling that he will never be any good or able to cope. The soul is hurt and damaged by rejection. If a man feels rejected, he is inclined to reject others. If a man is hurting he may want to make others hurt also. Sin loves a companion. Instead of being good to his enemies a man does bad to his enemies. Those who are rejected see others as their enemies. The others are popular, while they are not. It hurts.

 

Those in rejection are often attention seekers. They are attempting to gain the attention, which they think they will not receive otherwise. Superiority may well cover inferiority. The attitude towards others and to God is usually the same. If a man treats others poorly, he will treat God in the same way. It depends on how much a man cares. Bad attitudes start with children in the home. Start to train children in the home at an early age. Prov 22 v 6. It is a power struggle for control. To give in to the child for all its wants leads the child to become greedy and proud of its control over its parents.

 

God will forgive a man’s sins and overlook his faults. But Satan is the accuser of the brothers and loves nothing better than to accuse a man of both. “You ought to be better.” There is a spiritual power behind rejection, which holds a person in bondage. It is in the character of Satan to rob, kill and destroy.

 

Rejection can arise as a result of lack of bonding at birth. Adopted children may feel rejected. Parents wanting a child of a different sex can lead to the child feeling rejected. There are many other causes of rejection – physical disabilities, criticism, bullying, injustice, neglect, divorce, pressure to achieve, poverty of the family, disinterest, dominance by parents, cruelty, shame, broken engagement, physical disability, refusal of sexual relations and sterility.

 

Who are rejected today in the World?

Babies can suffer rejection while in the womb. Often babies who cry continuously are showing their feelings of rejection. This can occur from protracted labour and by Caesarean or instrumental births. The lack of bonding between parent and child due to illness or other reason can lead to rejection. Children of single parent families, who cannot have the same benefits as other children.

Children whose parents abuse them physically, emotionally or sexually. Those who have suffered child abuse are usually lonely people. Their very being has been violated.

Children who have not received an education for any reason or whose sibling went to a better school.

Hereditary rejection in parents will automatically show up in a baby.

A child who is bullied, unfairly treated or sexually harassed at boarding school.

Long periods of loneliness because of a lack of interest by parents may cause rejection.

Children who find that their brothers or sisters are favoured and achieve a better academic standard may lose confidence and feel rejection.

Children who are constantly put down, corrected, or lectured will quickly experience rejection. They will feel insecure and worthless.

Children whose parents wanted a child of the opposite sex will feel rejection.

Regions in a country where the Government gives resources to other parts of the country or another ethnic group.

People who are not consulted by the leaders of the Church.

Those with few skills who are told that they are not required by their country.

Rejection comes with a false expectation. When romance fades and there is no agape love left, there can be a feeling of rejection. Marriage is a process. It has to be cultivated like a garden by selfless acts of love and self-sacrifice. A man goes on being married. When a man does not get what he wants out of the marriage – sexual relations – or the woman does not get what she wants out of the marriage – children and companionship – then the marriage of in danger of falling apart or at least becoming sterile. Then the parties may reject one another and look for a replacement to get what they want. When there is a divorce the parties cannot escape one fact. The marriage, which once meant to so much to them and was the dream of their life, has failed.

 

There are many consequences of rejection: low self-image, inferiority, sadness, fears and self-accusation,

If there is emotional pain a person may slip into sinful behaviour in an attempt to dull the pain.

There may be false masks to hide the pain. There may be behaviour, which seeks attention or the person

may be living in a degree of unreality. Wounds need healing, sins need repentance and demons need

casting out. A man who is rejected may become emotionally distant due to the pain in his heart.

 

Self-prescribed remedies.

1. Rejection of others. Especially those who are abused sexually or physically.

2. Thoughts or acts of revenge.

3. Swearing or foul language, argumentative behaviour, rebellion and fighting.

4. Anxiety, worry and depression.

5. Negativity, pessimism, hopelessness and despair.

6. Self-centredness and promotion of self, either academically or through bad behaviour.

7. Criticism of others, jealousy, envy, a judgmental attitude and covetousness.

8. Withdrawal.

9. Anger against injustice.

10. (a) Turning to false comforts such as alcohol (drunkenness), food (obesity) sexual gratification whether by oneself or with a partner – male or female (teenage sexual activity), drugs or idol worship of many varieties. (b) escaping into work or hobbies. (c) Withdrawal into a world of their own. (d) attention seeking to gain the approval of others. (e) seeking academic excellence. (f) pretending that all is well. (g) doing good works.

 

Rejection by children of their parents for whatever cause can have the same effects. It is an act of rebellion in breach of the command to honour parents. Satan is very interested in such action and will be on hand to offer alternative life styles and may open the door to the occult.

 

What can a person do about rejection?

1. Identify the problem. Share it with someone who can be trusted – a pastor or friend.

2. Isaiah ch 1 v 18. Reason it out with the Lord. “God loves you and wants to build you up.” Eccles ch 11 v 5. He created man. He has promised never to reject His children. God has a plan for each life. Jer ch 29 v 11. Man should not accept the Devil’s attempts to spoil his life. He has to do something about it.

3. A man should not allow a hurt get a hold of him. Take a stand against the Devil.

4. If it is a spiritual attack, get help to fight it. It is not safe to tackle it alone.

5. If a man sees someone excluded by favouritism or exclusion, make sure that the person is included to prevent jealousy and resentment. This applies to a grandparent, a neighbour, an office worker or a pupil.

6. A man should forgive the person who has rejected him or else resentment and rebellion may set in. Children have to forgive parents for their sins towards them. Parents are not perfect towards their children. All are sinners. Repentance, forgiveness and confession are very necessary, if deliverance and healing are to be effective and permanent. Gen ch 50 v 20. Satan planned it for evil but God turned it into good. When a man weighs God’s grace against his disappointments or weighs eternity against rejection or weighs his glorious future against the disappointments in past life, the focus on God’s grace dwarfs the difficulties of the past and present. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Why? Because a man believes the word of God that it can be done. To reject the Word of God is to lose the power to speak – like Zechariah. Luke ch 1 v 22. To reject one’s parents is to reject God. Ex ch 20 v 12. If a person is born to poor parents – a prostitute or a drunkard – it is easy to see how the Devil would torment that person with the words “if only” This breeds discontentment and then resentment against God. Those who treat their parents poorly seldom grow as believers. A man must not be ashamed of his family or roots. God brought the man into this World through his parents and family. God chose them for the man. Eccles ch 11 v 5. To reject his parents is an act of rebellion. It is implying that they were not good enough for him. It is implying that God did not make a good choice of the man’s parents. That would be particularly so for someone born illegitimate with only one parent or with a father who has walked out on him. The test as always is to be an overcomer. Rev ch 2.

7. Jesus took the rejection to Calvary, when He was rejected by the World. Isaiah ch 53 v 3. He nailed the spirit of rejection to the cross on behalf of man. He disarmed the principalities and powers so that man can be free.

8. Jesus was filled with compassion for those who were rejected like Zaccheaus and Bartimeaus. Man is commanded to be kind to one another. Compassion helps the healing power to flow through the hands to the sick person. If there is no compassion for the sick, there will be no healing. People can tell when others are genuine. If there is true compassion, the recipient feels the love towards him and responds accordingly. A basic need of being loved is met. Jesus tends to go to the one who is rejected. If Jesus walked into a Church today beside whom would he sit? Take a stand alongside someone being bullied. In that way a believer will fulfil Gal ch 6 v 10 and be God’s instrument of blessing to that person. Mat ch 25 v 35-36.

9. Samuel left it to the Lord. It was His business and Samuel was not troubled by it. A curse, which is untrue has no effect. Prov ch 26 v 2.

10. Daniel and Joseph were secure in God and used rejection to make them stronger. God is usually able to use believers to help others only if they have gone through a difficult time and overcome it. Believers are then better able to understand where people are suffering. Jesus has been where each man has been. If a man can overcome a difficult start in life, there is a blessing for him. Only believers can change their attitude towards God. Non-believers cannot change. Can a leopard change its spots? Jer ch 13 v 23. Jer ch 4 v 22. Prov ch 27 v 22. For a man to do what he knows is disobedience to the Lord is a sin and grieves the Holy Spirit. God will do what He tells others to do. He is consistent. Spiritual warfare starts at ch 1 v 1 of Ephesians. A man prepares for battle according to what he believes. What he believes affects his behaviour, which is why the enemy delights in false teaching. Children are to obey parents regardless of age of the children. Their behaviour towards their parents will dictate their life span.

11. If there is a secret sin in a man’s life, he should find someone he can trust and confess his sins. There is then no power of Satan over him. But it is dangerous, if that person tells others. Pride says: “I am not like other sinners.”

12. If a believer rejects the Word of God, he is rejecting the Lord. That is a dangerous position for a man to be in. 1 Sam ch 15 v 23. Because Saul had rejected God, God was rejecting Saul. Whatever a man is doing in disobedience to the Word of God, he should fear God and stop at once. If man rejects the Lord, He may in time reject him. Heb ch 6 v 4. Isaiah ch 33 v 16. Shame will shrivel a man up. Jesus died for a man’s shame, but not if the man goes on doing the shameful thing.

13. The key teaching of Jesus is to forget about “yourself.” This is far from easy. The rejected person focuses on himself and that increases the pain of rejection.

 

CHAPTER 14. THOUGHTS AND STRONGHOLDS.

 

Pure thoughts. A man cannot prevent the birds from flying overhead but he does not have to allow them to build a nest in his hair.

 

Man is composed of three parts – the body – the soul (the mind, the emotions, the will) – and the spirit.

 

Thoughts influence the mind and the mind in turn controls behaviour. First there is a thought. Then there is an emotion triggered off by the thought. This forms an attitude and that dictates behaviour. Satan uses his demons to saturate the thoughts of humans with many tempting suggestions in the hope of a more rewarding life. There is a constant battle going on in the thought department of a believer. If Satan succeeds in corrupting the thoughts of a believer he has captured him. Satan tried the trick on Jesus in the wilderness but he lost the battle to Jesus. Toxic thinking is when a man allows thoughts from Satan to enter the brain (mind) and influence his behaviour.

 

It is the human mind, which distinguishes man from the animals. The mind is a man’s greatest resource. The mind is a truly complex and powerful faculty. It was through the mind that Satan attacked Eve and tempted her to sin. When he sinned, Adam sold his mind to Satan. Paul says to Timothy in 2 Tim ch 1 v 7. “God has not given us a spirit of fear – but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” A sound mind is a mind not filled with confusion and fear. It is faith, which conquers fear, in the battleground of the mind.
Fear operates on the human mind. Before a man became a believer his life and actions were determined by his senses. He acted on the information he received without any reference to God. This what the Bible calls being carnally minded. The carnal mind is the natural mind without any spiritual perception. The carnal mind is open to fear and anxiety, because it thinks that there is no one in control of the World. With no knowledge that God is in control of his life, a man has no assurance that things are under control. Eph ch 4 v 17 speaks of those whose minds are empty. Believers know that Jesus ever intercedes for them and is in control of every aspect of their life. When believers allow their carnal mind to take over and not the new spiritual mind, they too become fearful. Romans ch 12 v 2. “Be not conform to this World but be transformed by the renewing of the mind.” Conformity to the World is allowing the mind to be influenced by the floating mass of thoughts, opinions, maxims, speculations, theories, hopes, impulses, aims and aspirations at any time current in the World. It may not be possible to seize and accurately define these ideas, but they constitute a real power.

 

The brain is a phenomenal creation. A man uses only 0.01 % of the capacity of the brain. Einstein used only 8 % of his brain. The brain is active 24 hours a day. At night during sleep it processes the information received and deposits the non-essential information into a recycle box. This is the sub-conscious part of the brain. Anxiety causes damage to the brain, wiping out information. Normally the brain expands like a tree growing and putting out new branches. The average man has about 60,000 thoughts in during a day. 87% of illnesses are psychosomatic, coming from the thought life. The Word of God says that a believer should have the mind of Christ and renew his mind. “My people are dying from lack of knowledge.” Hosea ch 4 v 6. The brain takes 18 years to grow and a lifetime to mature.

 

STRESS. Thoughts come into the mind all day long and during sleep. “Do not give the Devil a foothold.” To allow a thought from Satan to lodge in the mind gives him a foothold. Stress is the result of toxic thinking. “That which I have feared has come upon me.” Job ch 3 v 25. Fear is at the root of stress and can cause 51 diseases in the body. Faith and fear cannot live together. Perfect love casts out fear. Jesus proved it. Fear in the mind releases chemicals from the brain into the body. The very memory of an event like a fire or abuse can trigger off the release of chemicals. Stress is an unmanaged response. What a man hears and sees enters his mind. There is external stress – like a threat or the brandishing of a knife. There is also internal stress – rejection or insults. The brain scientist Doctor Caroline Leaf in her book “Who switched off my brain?” explains that negative or toxic thoughts release harmful chemicals into the body. These cause physical diseases. Eating disorders stem from a thought – “Things would be different (better) if I was thinner.” “I would look better and be worth more.”

 

The book of THOUGHTS is one of the thirteen books, which will be opened on the day of judgement. It was because the thoughts and imaginations were only worthless continually that God sent the Flood. Gen ch 6 v 5. God says in His Word that He has a record of every thought of the mind and the heart. They are kept in a book. The Bible has a lot to say about thoughts and the consequences of a man’s thoughts. The many references to thoughts indicate the importance God attaches to the thoughts of a man.

 

Job ch 21 v 27. God says that He knows a man’s thoughts. “I know your thoughts.”

Psalm 94 v 11. “The Lord knows the thoughts of man.”

Luke ch 6 v 8. Mat ch 9 v 4. “Jesus knew their thoughts.”

Mat ch 15 v 19. “Out of the heart come evil thoughts – jealousy, greed, hatred, revenge, etc”

Gal ch 5 v 19 – 21. Mat ch 12 v 36. 2 Cor ch 10 v 5. “Take every thought captive to obey Christ.”

Prov ch 12 v 5. “The thoughts of the righteous are just.”

Isaiah ch 66 v 18. “I know their works and their thoughts.”

David and Bathsheba. What was she thinking about? What was David thinking about? What thoughts would a man not like others to know?

Isaiah ch 55 v 8. “My thoughts are not your thoughts.”

Amos ch 4 v 13. “God declares His thoughts to man.”

Psalm 40 v 5. “Many are your thoughts toward us.”

Psalm 144 v 3. “What is man that you think of him?”

Ezekiel ch 11 v 5. “I know your thoughts.”

Prov ch 12 v 5. “The thoughts of the righteous are just.”

Prov ch 15 v 28. “The righteous ponders how to answer.”

Heb ch 4 v 12. Discerning the thoughts and intentions.

Joshua ch 1 v 8. Meditate on the law day and night.

Isaiah ch 55 v 7. “Let the unrighteous forsake his thoughts.”

Mat ch 16 v 23. “You do not think God’s things but man’s.”

Psalm 19 v 14. “Let my meditation be acceptable to you.”

Isaiah ch 66 v 18. “I know their works and thoughts.”

Rom ch 12 v 3. “Do not think more highly than you ought.”

Gal ch 6 v 3. “If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing.”

Psalm 139 v 17. “How precious are your thoughts to me, O God.”

 

The fact that God takes a man’s thoughts into account distinguishes Christianity from all false religions. Mat ch 5 v 27-28. Jesus widened immorality from actions to thoughts. He says that it is equally bad to desire to commit adultery or to steal as to actually do the physical act. Eph ch 4 v 17-20. Mat ch 5 v 28. To lust after a woman is also a sin. In the days of Jesus the Pharisees taught that it was only the act of adultery, which was a sin. Jesus confirms that the very thought of committing adultery is also a sin. This is also the case with planning to steal, even if the plan is frustrated. All the moral laws are broken with a thought in the heart. There may be many thoughts, which never develop into action. However, God records them. A man cannot hide from God, even in his thoughts.

 

Col ch 3 v 2 urges man to set his mind on things above. If a man gives no thought to God and His Heaven why should he expect to enter Heaven after death? When a man is planning to visit a foreign country he usually spends time thinking about what it is like and what he needs to take with him for the journey. Luke ch 2 v 19. Mary pondered these things about the birth of Jesus in her heart. She thought often about their significance. Luke ch 1 v 29. Luke ch 2 v 51.

 

STRONGHOLDS. 2 Cor ch 10 v 3-5. 1 Sam ch 23 v 14 and 19. Psalm 94.

Paul is speaking about destroying the Devil’s strongholds.

1. What is a stronghold?

2. How does it affect a man?

3. How does it come about?

4. Is a stronghold the same as possession?

5. What kinds of strongholds are there?

6. How does a believer defeat a stronghold and break free from it?

 

Believers speak a lot about Satan. But where does Satan operate? God usually gives a physical picture to teach truth or to help a man understand the truth.

 

Jude v 6. The Devil was cast out of Heaven into prisons of darkness. Satan operates in the realm of darkness. Light is a symbol of what is good and pure. White is always a colour, which symbolises good. Nurses wear white uniforms, signifying cleanliness. Darkness is a symbol of evil. It is difficult to see in the darkness. A light turned on in a dark room dispels the darkness totally. It is a physical picture of the spiritual reality. 1 Pet ch 2 v 9. God called believers out of darkness into His marvellous light. Col ch 1 v 13. Jesus has delivered believers in Him from the domain of darkness. If believers tolerate darkness within their life they allow the enemy to move in. Jesus warned His followers in Luke ch 11 v 35. “Be careful lest the light in you be darkness.” Mat ch 6 v 23. “If the light in you is darkness, how great the darkness.” When a believer harbours sin in his life, the light in him is in darkness. 2 Cor ch 6 v 14. “What fellowship has light with darkness?” They are opposites. There is no middle ground. In 1 Thes ch 5 v 5 Paul advises believers that they are not in darkness and so should not be taken by surprise when the Lord comes.

 

Acts ch 26 v 18 speaks of people moving from darkness into light. By way of contrast God is light in whom there is no darkness and therefore the absence of God means the absence of light. 1 John ch 1 v 5. Jesus said: “I am the light of the World.” John ch 8 v 12. “He came to His own but men preferred darkness to light.” John ch 1 v 11. John ch 12 v 35-36. John urges believers to walk in the light while they have the light. He who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. Luke ch 1 v 79. Jesus will be a light to those who sit in darkness.

 

There is a physical picture to teach the spiritual truth. LIGHT and DARKNESS. LOVE and HATE. TRUTH and LIES. This is the WARFARE spoken about in Rev ch 12 v 7. The domain of light and the domain of darkness. Adam disobeyed God when he ate of the tree of knowledge – a physical picture of a spiritual reality – and Adam stepped into darkness. Fear entered his personality for the first time.

 

Where there is an area of darkness the enemy will have access to a believer – even the darkness left in a believer’s heart. James ch 4 v 7 says that the believer must submit the areas of darkness to God. Jesus told Peter in Luke ch 22 v 31-32 that Satan had been allowed by God to sift Peter like wheat. Peter had pride in his heart. After supper Peter had talked about being the greatest. Peter was lifted up by pride and pride comes before a fall. When Satan sifts a believer Satan always gets the chaff and God gets the wheat but it can be a painful experience.

 

Jude v 6. The Devil was cast out of Heaven into prisons of darkness.

Lev ch 24 v 2. A light must be kept burning continually.

Psalm 27 v 1. The Lord is my light – my salvation.

Psalm 43 v 3. Send out your light – our truth.

Psalm 97 v 11. Light dawns for the righteous.

Rev ch 21 v 23. In Heaven there is no need for lights – sun and moon – the glory of the Lord is the light.

John ch 1 v 5. God is light and in Him is no darkness.

1 John ch 1 v 7. If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship.

1 John ch 1 v 6. If we are walking in darkness and claim fellowship, we are lying.

Ps 119 v 130. Your Word is like a light to my path.

Isaiah ch 5 v 20. It is perverseness to call light dark and dark light.

Micah ch 4 v 16. The people who walk in darkness have seen a great light.

2 Cor ch 4 v 6. We are to follow God’s example and let our light shine out of the darkness.

Acts ch 26 v 18. Turn from Satanic darkness to God and light.

Mark ch 6 v 45-56. Jesus watched the Disciples struggle in the darkness.

Luke ch 11 v 35. Be careful lest the light in you be darkness.

Gen ch 15 v 12. Dread and darkness go together.

Joel ch 2 v 2. The day of the Lord descended as a day of darkness and gloom.

Mat ch 8 v 12. The rebellious are thrown into outer darkness.

 

The Bible describes a stronghold as a place, which is easy to defend. 1 Sam ch 23 v 14 and 19. A cave in the mountains is easy to defend. On many occasions in Scripture God is referred to as a man’s stronghold. Psalm 18 v 2. Psalm 27 v 1. Psalm 94 v 22. God is a strong tower. This is the physical picture of the spiritual reality. The other picture is a strong tower or city walls. When the enemy attacked, the people moved from the outlying area within the city walls and they were safe. Joel ch 3 v 16. In the last days, God will be a stronghold to Israel. There are good strongholds and bad strongholds. The mind focused on God brings about a good stronghold.
The Kingdom of God is the rule of God in the heart of man. God wants to be first in a man’s life and consulted in relation to every decision to be made. Satan seeks to dethrone God from the heart of a man and will use any means at his disposal to persuade the man to place Satan or anyone or anything first in his life.

 

The real battle is in the mind. Thoughts originate in the mind. Mark ch 12 v 30. Jesus said that the greatest commandment is for a man to love God with all his heart and soul and mind. Thoughts come to the mind seeking entrance all the time. Are they from God? Are they from Satan? Are they just harmless thoughts? The mind is like the reception desk of a hotel. If a man goes to Reception and has not booked and, if the hotel is full, he will not get in. The receptionist filters the guests and allows in only those who have the right to enter. So it is with the mind. It is the duty of a man to reject evil thoughts and not to let them dwell in the mind, where they can become strongholds in the mind. Satan attacked Eve by addressing her mind with a thought. “Did God really say?”

 

Satan seeks to have strongholds in a man. The strongholds of Satan are the thought processes and ideas in the mind of the individual, Church or nation. 2 Cor ch 4 v 4 confirms that Satan is the god of this World and keeps people blinded from the light of the Gospel. It is not Satan who defeats a man but a man’s openness to him. Isaiah ch 26 v 3 says that God will keep a man in perfect peace when his mind is focused on God. The devil is a liar. The Devil sows lies into a man’s thought pattern. As a man thinks so he will behave. This is the basis of brainwashing. The theory of evolution is a thought, which has entered the minds of the people in the nation and is a stronghold of Satan. It is taught as fact. A man needs to be renewed in his mind. 2 Cor ch 10 v 5. The believer must take every thought captive to Christ so that he has the mind of Christ. That is one reason why believers attend Church. Believers need to have their brains and minds washed regularly to cleanse them from the contamination of the thinking process of the World. When the Church is passive, indifferent and carnal, the powers of Hell increase their rule over the affairs of men. Marriages break up, crime increases and ignorance takes control.

 

Three major sources of strongholds for Satan.

1. The World. The thought patterns of the World surround each man as he grows up and brainwashes him. Television, magazines, peer pressure, parents and newspapers all shape a man’s thinking. Many of a man’s opinions in life are simply because he knows of no other way to think. Rev ch 12 v 15. Water is a symbol for words. In the World there is a flood of words through the media and literature. These are used to build strongholds in the mind. The number of demons is the same as it was in the first century but the population of the World has increased dramatically. Television and films give the same number of demons greater access to a far larger number of human beings. A film director and a producer can affect the lives of millions of people. The devil is the prince of the power of the air and of the airwaves. Whatever a society agrees on and establishes through consent, compromise and constant use will in the end become reality to them. It is their culture or tradition. A house made of thoughts is a dwelling place for Satan. When a man’s thought life is in harmony with the ways of the World, there is a stronghold for the enemy. The challenge for the believer is to be living in the World but not to be conform to the thinking patterns of the World.

 

2. A man’s experiences. A man can only speak from his own experiences. They arise from life as he knows it. But if they are based on a life without a knowledge of God, they will colour his thinking. Circumstances can lead a man to be bitter or cynical, especially if he is disappointed or let down by family. These will form his opinions. What is man? He is the sum of all that has happened to him in life taken together with his responses to the events. The essence of a man is determined in his thought life. For the unbeliever life comprises his thoughts, experience and knowledge. His thoughts are conditioned by the thoughts and opinions of those of the world around him. His knowledge is based on the facts of the World and those who have taught him. Proverbs ch 22 v 6 encourages parents to train up their children and they will go in that way. This principle also works in the negative. A child living with parents who are negative, critical and abusive will be trained to grow up to live with the same attitudes. Like father – like son. A man’s experiences may have been hurtful or painful or pleasurable and self-satisfying. Abuses and afflictions hammer a man in one direction. Encouragement and praise lead him in another direction. This is why there is a command to encourage one another. 1 Thes ch 5 v 11. Satan seeks to discourage a man. A man’s reaction to each event, whether positive or negative is poured into the creative marrow of his individuality, where it is blended into the nature of his character. That habitation becomes a stronghold. Wrong thoughts and attitudes to protect the old self-life or flesh become strongholds for the Devil. John advises that Satan had nothing on Jesus. John ch 14 v 30. Thoughts captured by Satan change lives. In the case of abortion the thought that the foetus is a thing to be disposed of leads to action when the baby is aborted – killed. The thought followed by the action becomes a stronghold. Rather than confess the killing as a sin by the man or woman there is determination to hold onto the belief that this was not wrong. Then it has become a stronghold. If on the other hand the mother thinks that it is a living human being waiting to be born, she is more inclined not to abort the baby.

 

3. False teaching. This is Satan’s principal line of attack on believers. Believers must know their Bible for themselves and not rely entirely on any teacher. Test the spirits. 1 John ch 4 v 1. Paul and Peter both warn their readers that this is the danger. In 1 Tim ch 4 v 1 Paul calls false teaching doctrines of demons. Infant baptism gives the enemy a stronghold. The fact of having been christened deceives a person into thinking that he is a believer and does not have to do anything else. False doctrine leads to denominations.

 

Are strongholds the same as possession? Jesus cast out evil spirits. He never cast out strongholds. It was by His teaching that Jesus broke down strongholds in the mind. He taught the Kingdom of God. He called people to repent. Repentance means a man changing his mind and agreeing with God that God is right and the man is wrong. The mind of Christ begins to exercise control over the mind of a believer.

 

What kinds or types of strongholds are there? How does the teaching of Jesus knock down the Devil’s strongholds? Paul says; “We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”

 

When the Children of Israel went into the Promised Land they were told to utterly destroy the seven peoples living there. Each of the peoples had a name, which represented a spiritual giant. The Israelites never fully destroyed the peoples and as a result they never lived as the Children of God or brought salvation to the World. Jesus taught the people of His day to finally destroy the strongholds of the enemy.

 

The stronghold of looking back and hankering for the old life. This is the Gigashite spirit. Memory is a man’s spirit gazing at the substance of his soul. The memories become part of his nature. “Who are you? You are the total of your experiences in life and your responses to them.” A man is what the past has made him. He is not responsible for the circumstances of his life but he is responsible for how he responds to them. Memories can lock a man into his past, especially if he dwells on painful memories. This is the danger of always looking back and not forgetting the past and pressing on to the goal of being like Jesus. Phil ch 3 v 14. God has to redeem a man from the negative reactions of the past. Some people never get over what has happened to them. In Luke ch 9 v 62 Jesus teaches that if any man puts his hand to the plough and looks back he is no use in the Kingdom. Life is a progression towards the goal of meeting Jesus face to face.

 

The stronghold of fear. This is the Hittite spirit. Fear is a really powerful stronghold – a giant. Many people live their lives overshadowed by fears and phobias. Jesus teaches that perfect love casts out fear. Jesus proved this by His life. Although living through what for any man would have been a most frightening experiences, Jesus never experienced fear. He was so full of love for His Father, with a desire to do His Father’s will, and the people He had created – including His enemies – that there was no room for fear in His life. 124 times Jesus taught the people: “Fear not.” Fear of failure prevents a man from achieving his best in life.

 

The stronghold of speech. This is the Amorite spirit behind the language a man uses – complaining, negative speech, criticism, boasting, putting people down with gossip, using foul language, cursing and the use of slang. Every word Jesus spoke was positive and constructive. Mat ch 12 v 36. The words a man speaks reveal his character. As Jesus teaches: “Out of the heart the mouth speaks.” Jesus taught people to use only positive words and not negative words. If a man wants to be like Jesus, he has to learn to use positive speech and to stop using negative speech.

 

The stronghold of pleasure. This is the Hivite spirit. The desire for pleasure and popularity is a real stronghold. Paul says in 2 Tim ch 3 v 4 that in the last days people will prefer pleasure to worshipping God. Most people in the World want to be happy. There is a craving for pleasure. Holiness is something they might consider in the life to come. Jesus did not come to Earth to make a man happy. He said: “Be holy.” He guarantees that if a man seeks holiness in this life, he will be happy in the life to come. Jesus teaches in John ch 12 v 25. “He who loves his life on this Earth will lose it.” But if he hates his life on this Earth he will keep it for eternal life. When asked most people will say that they are satisfied with the quality of their life. Jesus came that a man might have the best quality of life. If a man just wants to be happy, then he will miss the best in life. It shows that he is not serious about eternal life.

 

The stronghold of lust. 2 Sam ch 13 v 2. This is the Canaanite spirit. The permissive society of the 1960s in Britain simply surrendered to lust – lust for material possessions, lust for sexual experiences, lust for fame and reputation and lust for success and power. Jesus tears down this stronghold when He teaches a man to be content with what he has and not to put his trust in possessions. Mat ch 6 v 33. “Do not be consumed about your appearance and what you will eat. The heathen take pride in these things. God will gladly meet your needs if you give Him first place in your life.” You cannot serve God and Mammon – the Canaanite god of prosperity. Materialists have a stronghold of lust in their mind.

 

The stronghold of condemnation and failure. This is the Jebusite spirit. Some people are so negative in their thinking that they expect to fail. Failure breeds failure and success breeds success. Many go through life feeling condemned and intimidated with an inferiority complex, trapped by their circumstances and sins. Jesus said to the woman caught in the act of adultery. “Neither do I condemn you. Go free but do not sin again.” John explains that God did not send His Son into the World to condemn the World but to save it. Defeat of the stronghold of failure allows the stronghold of faith to take over.

 

The stronghold of loneliness and isolation. This is the Perizzite spirit. Some people go through life being lonely and find it hard to make lasting relationships. Inferiority and a lack of confidence are real barriers to making relationships. Jesus taught people not to rely on themselves but to rely on God and to belong to the Church He was building. In Church people should find friendship, fellowship and healing and have their basic needs met. Mat ch 11 v 28. “Come to me all who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”

 

The stronghold of cold love. Mat ch 24 v 12. “The love of most people will grow cold.” Cold love is a demonic stronghold. It shuts down the power of prayer. To retain a hurt or bitterness increases coldness in the heart. To forgive is to go in the opposite spirit and to break down the stronghold of cold love. When a man stops caring, he is finished and becomes self-centred. Every self-centred person without exception is an unhappy person. God designed the human personality to be fuelled by love – love for God, love for his fellow man and love for the created World. Love involves commitment. The greatest commandment is to love. Antichrist opposes Jesus. The antichrist spirit hardens the heart and keeps it from love. Antichrist sits over a people exuding an aura of coldness. Perfect love casts out fear. Joy banishes depression. Faith cancels doubt. It is essential to go in the opposite spirit from the enemy.

 

The stronghold of anger. Eph ch 4 v 27. Some people hold onto an angry spirit and flare up very easily. They cannot tolerate any criticism.

 

The stronghold of un-forgiveness. 2 Cor ch 2 v 10. Un-forgiveness is a real barrier to healing and to growing spiritually.

 

The stronghold of pride. When a man is full of his own importance the enemy has established a stronghold in his mind. Pride is the only disease, which makes everyone sick, except the one who has it.

The stronghold of pride must be the first to go. God distances Himself from the proud. Ps 18 v 27.

 

The stronghold of unbelief. Some believers do not believe what God has said in His Word about His intentions concerning the Jewish people. As a result they forfeit the blessing, which the Lord has promised to those who bless Israel. People can be full of doubt and very skeptical. Tolerance is the catch-word of modern society. This stifles new revelation.

 

The stronghold of the ways of the World. The World in the Scriptures represents man organised in community without reference to God. The way everyone else seems to behave determines the way a man will act. Advertisements contribute to the thought pattern. If everyone else has one as the advert suggests, then the man watching the advert should get one also.

 

The stronghold of culture and tradition. The last seven words of a dying Church are: “We have always done it this way.” Tradition is the faith of the dead. It leaves no room for the Holy Spirit to operate.

 

The Jezebel spirit. This spirit is the source of obsessive sensuality, unbridled witchcraft and hatred for male authority. It is fiercely independent and ambitious for pre-eminence and control. It will not dwell with another unless it can control that person. It targets women who are embittered against men, either through neglect or misuse of authority – women who because of insecurity, jealousy or vanity, desire to control and dominate others. It is behind a woman who humiliates her husband and controls him by fear of public embarrassment. While she uses sexual perversity, immorality her real purpose is control. A seductive glance is enough. Once it gets a hold of the mind of a man it becomes a stronghold of Jezebel.

 

How are believers to bring down strongholds? God never brings a problem to light but He provides a solution. Believers must knock down the strongholds. In 2 Cor ch 10 v 4 Paul teaches that “the weapons of our warfare are not Worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds.”

 

A. Identifying the problem. If a man finds it difficult to be free in an area of his life, perhaps there is a stronghold, which has gained a foothold in his life.

B. Confess it to the Lord. God knows but wants to bring the area of darkness into the light.

C. Exposure to the Word of God. What does God have to say about this area of his life? As each area of sin is exposed by preaching, repentance will deal a death blow to the stronghold in that person’s life. It may not be the fault of the believer that he believes certain facts, but it is his fault, if having had the truth declared to him, he holds onto the untruth in his life. Repentance is simply agreeing that God is right and the man is wrong. When Satan sees the possibility that strongholds will be cast down through repentance, he is quick to cast doubt on the word of the preacher or to distract the believer who loses the opportunity to repent and bring down the stronghold.

D. When a believer confesses a sin to a brother he is no longer in darkness and the enemy has lost his power over him. The darkness has been rooted out. Faith in God is believing the truth of what God says against the lies of the Devil. There is of course an element of risk. What if the brother talks to others?

E. Worship is at the centre of life. God made man to worship Him. In the midst of the battle, before whom shall a man bow as Lord? God taught the Israelites in the desert to worship Him. Without true worship of God there can be no victory in the battle. Satan hates real worship of Jesus.

 

Creation and Evolution. Depending on what a man believes he has moral choices to make.

CREATION. EVOLUTION.

Father God. Mother nature (who does not exist)

A personal choice by God. Impersonal choice.

A designed purpose by God. Impersonal chance.

A supernatural production. A random pattern.

An open situation – open to God to change. A closed system.

Providence. Coincidence or chance.

Faith based on facts. Faith based on fancy.

God is free to make man in His own image. Man is free to make God in his own image.

God is Lord. Man is lord.

There is divine authority. Man has autonomy and can make his own decisions.

There are absolute standards. There are relative situations.

There is duty and responsibility. Man demands his rights.

There is infant dependence. Man is proud of his independence.

Man is fallen. Man is rising and getting better.

Salvation of the weak. It is the survival of the strongest.

Right is might. Might is right. The powerful win.

This brings peace. The result is always war as time has proved.

Obedience to God and man. Self-indulgence of man.

Faith, hope and love prevail. Fatalism, helplessness and chance are the result.

HEAVEN is the end result. HELL is the end result.

 

CHAPTER 15. DECISION TIME.

 

John ch 10 v 10. Jesus said: “The Devil comes to rob, kill and destroy. I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly.” To enjoy life in its fullness it is essential to overcome the obstacles, which prevent spiritual growth. This book has been written to help people understand the obstacles, which may be confronting them. It gives practical guidance how to overcome the obstacles. One of the reasons Jesus came to Earth was to set the captives free.1 John ch 3 v 8. It has been with that statement in mind that this book has been written. Deut ch 30 v v 19. “Choose life.”

 

David Masson

Memory

Malachi ch 3 v 13-18. Rev ch 21 v 3-4. Prov ch 10 v 7. Psalm 103 v 1-22. Esther ch 9 v 23-28.

 

Memory is a wonderful gift from God. When God created man He installed a computer in the brain to keep a record of everything, which happens. It is packed full of memories – some in the conscious level, some in the sub-conscious level and some in the sub-sub-conscious level. Precious moments in the past are recorded in the memory and, as they are recalled, they give great pleasure and satisfaction. Events like the birth of a child, or being awarded a prize, memories of people close to a man, the moment of conversion and places, which have been visited in the past. Loss of memory can be a very stressful situation. Memories are like a diary, which is carried around by a man wherever he goes. However, memories can sting and hurt. There is an increasing problem in the World for many people, who have had a difficult past with bad memories. It is of particular significance for those, who have been abused. The abuse lingers in the memory and many people find themselves trapped and unable to put their lives together. The loss of a loved one or a child can be harmful and lock people into a time from which they never move on. The enemy taunts them with his favourite words “if only.” Memories can be triggered by a smell, a piece of music or the sight of a place, where the incident took place or a person, who has caused hurt or just the mention of a word like “gun” or “knife.”

 

God Himself remembers everything, which happens on the Earth. Every single fact and event in the lives of 7 billion people not to mention the animal, birds and fish. Isaiah ch 49 v 15-16. “Even if a mother should forget her child, I will never forget you. I have tattooed your name on the palm of my hand.” Is God interested in our memories? Jesus said: “Do this in remembrance of me. Remember my death until I come.” God wants a man to use his memory of Jesus and of the blessings, which he has received. What practical help can be found in the Word of God to break out of the power, which bad memories have over a man? There are many people in need of healing of their memories. God wants to heal the bad memories. Painful memories can be a real obstacle to spiritual growth.

 

Giant trees when felled display the rings. These show years of drought or forest fire or when a tree was struck by lightning. Other rings indicate normal growth. The history lies embedded within the tree. Many people look happy on the outside but bear painful scars within them. These scars are not touched by conversion. Painful memories can be locked within the individual. Salvation is not an instant cure for damaged emotions.

 

The memories may be submerged in the subconscious. Proverbs ch 10 v 7 says: “We all have happy memories of good men gone to their reward, but the names of wicked men stink after them.” The Bible is full of people who have had difficult pasts with bad memories. Moses killed a soldier in Egypt and fled, leaving his own people in slavery for forty years. David was involved in the murder of Uriah. Paul held the jackets, while Stephen was stoned to death. Stephen was not alone in being killed. Paul’s record could have reduced him to despair, when he realised at conversion the terrible pain and injury he had inflicted on innocent people. Peter had many bad memories, as when he denied the Lord Jesus. These events enable a believer to relate to these people and to see that, despite their sins, God loved them and dealt with them, freeing them from the consequences of the bondage of the memories. Jesus has some awful memories. He was put down by His family, His very birth was questioned, He was doubted by His Disciples, rejected by the religious leaders, He watched the rich young ruler go away sad, and He saw crippled people who would not come to Him for healing.

 

Satan can use these memories to bring a man down. Bad memories can be one of Satan’s sharpest tools. Conversion does not erase memories, good or bad. They are still there in the conscious or sub-conscious mind. Yet, if given the opportunity, Jesus can take the poison or sting out of the memories. A man may look at a cut on his body and remember the pain at the time of the event. Now the mark of the cut is still visible but the pain has gone. Jesus still bears the physical scars in His body but His physical pain has gone. He considered the pain worth it. When God heals a man’s memories, it does not mean that he loses the memory. The memory is still there, but the pain of it has been healed. He may even be able to laugh at what was once a very painful experience.

 

Is God interested in the memories of His people? He says: “Do this in remembrance of me.” God wants to use memories and especially the memory of Jesus and the blessings, which He has given. What practical help is there in the Word of God to break out of the power, which bad memories have over people? There are many people in need of healing of their memories.

 

When God forgives, the sins are forgiven but man may still have to ask forgiveness of the people he has offended or make restitution for the damage done. If not, he blocks the healing power of God. Satan makes no such promise. Satan delights to rekindle these memories to bring man down and prod the poison in these memories. Satan delights to cause man to think “If only” things had been different.

 

What events or situations can cause painful memories?

1. People in the past, who have caused painful experiences. The World would be a wonderful place without people. Parents who have neglected children or walked out of their life. Bullies at school or at the work place. Brothers and sisters can make life difficult for a sibling. They may cause a child to be jealous of their success, when that child is failing or not achieving to the same extent. Younger children at school are often compared unfavourably with more successful elder brothers or sisters.

2. Dishonest actions in the past, which leave a feeling of guilt. There are things, which were done wrongly and, which have never been put right. Satan delights to bring them back into the mind. The memories may be tinged or coated with a sense of shame.

3. Wrong attitudes towards others – blaming others for personal mistakes or hardships. This may result in a man having affected the life of another man by his attitude, leaving the man with a sense of guilt. Satan quickly brings these matters to mind to cause a believer to falter. The Bible is full of unsavoury characters like David, Paul and Moses. They all did terrible things.

4. An injury, which was caused to others – like a road accident, causing the disfigurement of another person, perhaps even a death. Some people can never get over it.

5. Loss of a loved one. For some people the loss of one dear to them seems to stop the clock in their life. They may say; “I will never get over the loss of my child.” They may even erect a shrine to the child’s memory.

6. Financial loss or bankruptcy can deal a blow to the pride of a person so that they are never the same again. It may mean that a man does not have the opportunities in life, which others have and which he could have had.

7. Lost opportunities. There are times when a man could have obeyed God but refused. He is left feeling how different his life might have been, had he not rejected the call of God.

8. Difficult circumstances in early life can leave a man with bitterness that he did not have the opportunity in life, which others have had. How different life might have been for an orphan, if his parents had not died. Some children do not get an education because their parents cannot afford the school fees.

9. Injustice and certainly imprisonment can scar a person for life. Millions were imprisoned without cause in Soviet prison camps for years. The victims of the Holocaust, who survived, still have scars on their personalities as a result of the awful experiences of the extermination camps – 65 years later. A Holocaust survivor will still cry as he retells his story. The pain is still very real in the memory.

10. Being the victim of a crime of theft or assault or even a house fire. These can inflict a powerful memory, which causes loss of confidence. Those, whose lives are ruined by war, are often also deeply affected. Today sexual abuse appears to be on the increase, leaving memories, which scar the personality, both of the abused person and also the abuser. No one can do such a thing without the event being imprinted on the memory.

11. An accident.

12. A broken relationship. If a man fell out with another man and left not on speaking terms, he would be embarrassed to meet the person again.

13. “Train up a child in the way he should go and, when he is old, he will not depart from it. Teach a child to choose the right path and, when he is older, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs ch 22 v 6. That Scripture applies in the negative sense as well as the positive sense. Children, who are trained on a diet of criticism and negative attitudes, will grow up with these negative attitudes and a sense of resentment against society. A parent, who will never forgive others, brings up his child to have the same unforgiving attitude. It is very hard for such a child to forgive others, doubting that God can freely forgive and forget.

 

All these situations can trap a man into a life style from which he cannot break free. When God forgives, the sins are forgiven. Isaiah ch 43 v 25. “I will not remember your sins.” That does not mean that God forgets the sins. But He promises that His children will never be confronted again by Him with these memories. The Living Bible puts it this way: “I will never think of them again.” Satan also remembers them and he does not promise never to bring them up again. He is the accuser of the believers. He will accuse believers of sins, which God has forgiven. Satan delights to rekindle these memories to bring a man down and prod the poison in these memories. Satan delights to cause a man to think “If only” things had been different. It is not wise to tell others of sins in the past, which God has forgiven. Satan will use these to accuse believers through others. God forgives but the World does not forgive. It declares: “Once a criminal, always a criminal.”

 

There are different ways of tackling painful memories, depending on the nature of the memory.

1. If it is as a result of sin, then the sin has to be repented of and God’s forgiveness will flow into the personality and the memories will be healed. God Himself will remove the poison from the memory, as His love fills the heart of the believer. Romans ch 3 v 23. God promises to forgive a man, if he truly repents. Isaiah ch 1 v 18. The sins red as scarlet shall be white as snow. Psalm 103 v 12. “As far as the East is from the West, so far has God removed our transgression from us.” Heb ch 10 v 17. “Your sins and iniquities I shall remember no more.”

 

It does not mean that God has forgotten the sins, but He promises never to bring them up again or confront His children with them. However, Satan also remembers them and he does not promise never to bring them up again. He is the accuser of the brethern. He will accuse believers of sins, which God has forgiven. It is not wise to tell others of sins in the past, which God has forgiven. Satan will use these to accuse believers through others. “Once a criminal, always a criminal.” This is the attitude of the World. God forgives but the World does not forgive.

 

2. If there has been sin directed toward another person, restitution may be necessary. God may forgive but the other person will probably not forgive. Restitution is an important principle in the Scriptures, one, which many believers choose to disregard. This is particularly important for prisoners, coming out of prison. If the memory is to be dealt with conclusively, then the offender must repay the injured party, if he can. Perhaps it was theft, or injury to property. It will be costly. Serving time in prison is to compensate society for the offence to society but it does not recompense the one who suffered loss as a result of the crime. If it is physical injury, that is more difficult to repay. The injured party may forgive following an apology.

 

3. If the injury has been by another person to a believer, then the principle in Scripture is that the believer must forgive. “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” God’s forgiveness is in direct proportion to the degree of forgiveness by believers. If a man harbours a grudge, he prevents the flow of grace into his life. Lack of forgiveness is a barrier to healing in different ways, including healing of the memories.

 

4. A believer may have to forgive himself. If a believer refused to obey the call of God in his life, he may be left with a feeling of missed opportunity in his life. A believer must not be harder on himself than God is. Memory can be used to be a learning process. There is a good motto to have. “We never have failures, only learning experiences.” A man’s concepts of forgiveness and understanding in the formative years make it difficult to accept the Biblical concept of forgiveness. The World’s view of forgiveness is conditional forgiveness. “If the other person will do this or that, I shall forgive him.” God’s forgiveness is conditional only on repentance. There is nothing asked of the other party. If a man forgives someone who has hurt him, it is not conditional of that person doing anything towards him. A man does not have to be worthy of forgiveness.

 

5. 1 Pet ch 1 v 6. Welcome trials and difficulties. Remember that nothing happens to a believer that God does not permit. Man lives in a sin-ridden society and must expect to be affected by the sins of others. That is the nature of sin. It spreads and engulfs others. Sin loves a companion. Others delight in drawing a man into the sinful areas of their lives. It is also helpful to consider that, however disappointing life has been, it could have been a lot worse. That is not difficult to imagine. Jesus did not promise to make His followers happy. He came that men might be holy. Joy is different from happiness. Happiness depends on outer circumstances. Joy wells up from within as part of the fruit of the Spirit. The World preaches a message that a man should be happy and that there is something wrong, if he is not having fun. This can lead people to feel that they are missing out in life.

 

How can believers be healed of bad memories?

1. The first step with any problem is to identify the problem. The memory may be blurred in the sub-conscious. It is important to identify what it is in the past, which is causing the trouble. Is it guilt, or anger, or shame, or disappointment, or loss, or failure, or injustice?

 

2. Take the problem to God and work with Him concerning it. Isaiah ch 1 v 18. Of course God knows but He invites believers to talk it out with Him and to work it out in His presence. Jesus healed all who came to Him. He did not go to them but waited for them to come to Him. They had to come in faith, believing that He could heal the disease. Disease is simply not being at ease. That is just as true in the case of trouble in the mind as a result of a bad memory. Take God into the corridor of the bad memories. Discuss them with Him one by one. Imagine walking down a long corridor with many doors on either side. Each door is labelled – this is the memory of ……. Let God deal with each one in turn. When God forgives, He does so fully and eternally

 

3. Meditate on the situations of others in the Scriptures – Moses – David – Paul etc. The Bible is full of people who have had difficult pasts with bad memories. See how these people dealt with the situation. All of them appear to have overcome the problem and gone on in their service to God. How did they cope?

 

4. Is there a desire to be finished with it? Some people actually enjoy being miserable. In that way they gain attention. As long as there is a grudge or unforgiveness, the memory will continue to come up into the consciousness like an artesian well. A grudge prevents the flow of grace into a man’s life. The principle in Scripture is that a man must forgive. “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” It is never easy to forgive. But it is essential, if there is to be healing of the memory.

 

5. If the memory is as a result of sin, repentance is the first step agreeing with God that it was my responsibility. Repentance is basically a man taking responsibility for his own actions. A man should not blame it on his family, his husband or wife, his children, his temperament, his background, or even on demons, although there may well have been demons tempting him into the situation. A man must own up for his own sin. “Be merciful to me the sinner.” He could have said: ” Be merciful to me – my father was a brutal man.” He could have said: “You know my wife.” “I have a whole lot of colleagues, who are all crooked. I am sorry I got mixed up with them.” But he said: “Be merciful to me the sinner. I got into this mess through my own foolishness.” I have sinned. I am responsible. I am the sinner.” I cannot blame anyone else but accept that the pain I feel is the result of my sin. Jesus said that God justified that man.

 

God promises to forgive us, if there is true repentance. It doesn’t mean that God has forgotten the sins, but He promises never to bring them up again or confront us with them. Perhaps there is a need to apologise to someone in order to bring the matter to an end. Family feuds are very real and very painful. There may be wounded pride, as in the instance of bankruptcy. It may be necessary to repent of pride. If the sin was directed towards others, it may be necessary to make restitution, or at very least an apology. Make a list of the wrongs to others and plan to make restitution where possible.

 

6. Put the memory into Biblical perspective. Focus on eternity. In light of eternity – of being with the Lord forever and in view of the promises in Revelation of all the things, which will be excluded from Heaven – the disappointments and hurts in the past do not seem to be so overwhelming. Rev ch 21 v 4.

 

7. Reflect on the grace of God. It could have been much worse. Count the blessings in life and see that by comparison the bad memories are small in relation to the many good memories. In the Scriptures it is clear that all mankind deserves condemnation. If there is a case of injustice, remember that the Gospel is not about justice but about mercy.

 

8. Realise that the battle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers. Eph ch 6 v 12. It is Satan who comes to rob, kill and destroy and loves to remind believers of their bad memories. Every good gift is from God. Perhaps it was not the boy, who was doing the bullying, or the person who was doing the abusing, but the demonic spirit who used the individual person to rob of peace and happiness. Is anyone innocent? All have sinned and ignored the advice of the Scriptures in relation to the enemy. Peter and Paul both advise: “Beware the wiles of the Devil.” In that sense is anyone less guilty that the one who inflicted the hurt? Direct the anger against Satan and not the one who was used by Satan.

 

9. Welcome trials and difficulties. Remember that the ultimate purpose of God is to make each man to be like Jesus. He allows or brings difficulties into the lives of His children in order to forge their character. He could have prevented it happening. God is sovereign over every event in the life of a believer. He chose the colour of his eyes while he was in the womb and knows the number of hairs on his head. God may allow His children to experience a painful situation, so that they will learn from it and be of use to others. Believers can then encourage others from their own experience. In every situation praise God. Jesus experienced every emotional and physical situation each believer has ever had.

 

10. Paul speaks of pressing on to the goal of being like Jesus. Phil ch 3 v 13-14. That was his objective in life and he was able to forget all the difficulties, which had once hindered him in this life. A vision of the risen Lord helps put past difficulties into perspective. In light of the gift of eternal life, what place does a bitter disappointment have or an incident of bullying? Paul directed all his energies on being like Jesus. Paul had memories aplenty. Paul was committed to being like Jesus and he did not have time to dwell on the past painful memories. Phil ch 3 v 14. The Christian life is an ongoing process of forgetting the past, using the problems in life to build character and pressing on to the goal of being like Jesus. Suddenly the memories grow smaller and less hurtful.

 

11. The book of REMEMBRANCE of those who feared the Lord’s name, thinking on His name. Mal ch 3 v 16. God speaks of such people as being a special possession on the day when He acts. Believers should count their blessings and testify to the goodness of the Lord. The people who feared (respected) the Lord spoke to one another about the Lord, remembering the grace of God to them. Their testimony pleased the Lord and He recorded what they had said about Him.

 

12. A man owes it to himself to break free from bad memories, which hold back his spiritual growth. God is a God of grace, always providing for His people and always longing that they enjoy the best quality of life. He longs to help His children with memories, which hurt. He will set them free from them. The last thing God wants to do is to raise expectations and leave a child of His with a painful memory.

 

MEMORY.

Malachi ch 3 v 16-18.

Isaiah ch 49 v 15-16.

Proverbs ch 10 v 7.

Prov 22 v 6.

Isaiah ch 43 v 25.

Romans ch 3 v 23.

Isaiah ch 1 v 18.

Psalm 103 v 12.

Heb ch 10 v 17.

1 Pet ch 1 v 6.

Isaiah ch 1 v 18.

Rev ch 21 v 4.

Eph ch 6 v 12.

Phil ch 3 v 13-14.

Mal ch 3 v 16.

Luke ch 22 v 19.

1 Cor ch 11 v 24.

Rev ch 21 v 3-4.

Deut ch 7 v 18. The believer should remember what the Lord has done for him.

Exodus ch 3 v 15. God is to be remembered throughout all generations.

Eccles ch 12 v 1.

Esther ch 9 v 28. The Feast of Purim was established to remember that the Lord had saved the Jewish people. To omit to remember the occasion devalues the saving grace of God.

Gen ch 8 v 1. Isaiah ch 49 v 15. Isaiah ch 44 v 21. Luke ch 12 v 6. Heb ch 6 v 10.

Hos ch 7 v 2.

Remember God. Luke ch 22 v 19. 1 Cor ch 11 v 24-25. 2 Pet ch 1 v 12-15. Ezek ch 6 v 9.

Reminders. Ex ch 12 v 14. Joshua ch 4 v 7. Heb ch 10 v 3. Mat ch 26 v 13. John ch 16 v 4.

Remember. Luke ch 17 v 32. Gen ch 40 v 14.

Remembering. Psalm 137 v 1. Mat ch 26 v 75. Ezek ch 36 v 31.

Luke ch 22 v 19. “Do this in remembrance of me.” It is important to God and to man to remember the saving work of Christ. 1 Cor ch 11 v 24.

God remembers. Gen ch 8 v 1. Isaiah ch 44 v 21. Luke ch 12 v 6. Heb ch 6 v 10.

Remember God. Luke ch 22 v 19. 2 Pet ch 1 v 12-15. Ezek ch 6 v 9.

Jealousy

There is good and bad jealousy.

Good jealousy. Love for someone, like a wife leaves a person jealous for him or her i.e. jealous for their highest good. Prov ch 6 v 34. God is a jealous God. Ex ch 34 v 14. God’s name is jealous. Nah ch 1 v 2. God is a jealous God. God is concerned for all He has created and He wants the highest good for all of it.

Ex ch 39 v 25. God is jealous for His name and His reputation. God is a God of grace and will be gracious to the Jewish people in the last days in order to prove that He is gracious. Psalm 138 v 2. He exalts above everything else in all of creation His name and His Word.

Joel ch 2 v 18. God is jealous for the reputation of His land. No one is going to be able to say that God is not able to look after His own land. He will water it.

Zech ch 1 v 14 and ch 8 v 2. God is jealous for His city – Jerusalem.

James ch 4 v 5. God is jealous for His Spirit in His children. He is responsible for them.

Zech ch 8 v 2. God is jealous for Zion. This includes the city, the nation and the people.

 

Bad jealousy. Jealousy is the feeling of coldness and resentment, which sometimes stirs in the heart when another is praised – somebody with whom a man matched himself in thought and to whom he imagined himself to be superior. Gen ch 30 v 1. Rachel was jealous of Leah. Rachel was the chosen bride of Jacob but could not conceive. Jacob did not help her but blamed God instead. Jacob could have prayed for Rachel. Rachel was so desperate that she offered her servant girl Bilhah. She justified her decision saying that God had heard her prayer. But she did not pray right to God. He did not give her a child. In v 22. Leah had 6 sons and a daughter before Rachel received her gift. In time Leah’s children were jealous of Rachel’s child – Joseph. Gen ch 37 v 11. Saul was jealous of David. 1 Sam ch 18 v 9.

 

Jealousy keeps a man silent when he hears people unfairly criticised. Jealousy makes a man glad when they stumble or fall. Jealousy is unmitigated misery. It is poison. Jealousy is normally directed against those who are in a man’s immediate circle or those who just outstrip his best. It is like a boomerang. When it is thrown at someone it comes back to frustrate the thrower. Jealousy in the heart usually leads to murder, if not physical, then emotional. Acts ch 5 v 17. The Sadducees were violently jealous of the apostles. It was bad enough having Jesus there in their midst but these young men were both young and poorly educated. They were able to do what the Sadduccees could not do.

Acts ch 13 v 45. The Jewish people were jealous of Paul. He was one of them and now the crowds were flocking to hear Paul speak. However they did not flock to hear the religious leaders speak.

Num ch 12 v 1-16. Aaron and Miriam were jealous of Moses. Moses was the leader appointed by God.

1 Cor ch 14 v 1. Do not be jealous of the gifting of another person but seek your own gifts.

 

Jealousy always resents another’s good fortune. Teachers and others should be cautious of elements in their make up, which lead to subtle forms of favouritism. Conditional love will ultimately work against the welfare of the ones a man professes to love and at the same time may stir deep and sinful emotions in those who feel neglected. Joseph was tactless in recounting his dreams to others. The tawdry sale of Joseph was the point of Joseph’s deepest rejection. However God often uses the strangest ways and the most unlikely people to accomplish His purposes. It can be more difficult to be faithful to God in the midst of prosperity and success than during a time of failure, real or apparent. Sexuality is a strong biological and emotional drive with great potential for abuse. In an act of supreme strength of character Joseph literally ran from sin. Gen ch 39 v 12. If he had succumbed to the temptation, Joseph may never have been used by God. He would have missed his opportunity. Moral and spiritual integrity outrank everything else in God’s plans. Dreams should always be measured against the broad sweep of Scripture’s teaching and the ethical fruits of Scripture. The mood changes and whims of a despot breed fearful consequences for any who fall foul of authority. There may be events in the life of a person, which made no sense at the time but which could later be seen to be part of God’s unfolding plan.

 

Inferiority is a breeding ground for jealousy. The main cause is an insecure self. Jealousy emerges out of insecurity in people who are not sure of the love of God. An awareness that God is watching over man ensures that jealousy has no ground for growth. Jealousy is part of the thinking of the World. 1 Cor ch 3 v 3. Jealousy is one of the deeds of the flesh. Gal ch 5 v 20. Jealousy has to be rooted out but it can creep in at any time, when a person meets a big disappointment in life.

 

How to cope with jealousy.

1. Jealousy will only poison a man. Jealousy is self-defeating. It rebounds on the jealous one.

2. Face it and acknowledge it. Failure to do so drives it underground and it comes to the surface as suspicion and mistrust.

3. Share it with a close friend. Many problems would be handled more effectively if a man did as the Bible says and confessed them to one another.

4. Confess it to God and ask for help. Work with God to tackle it. God blesses people in different ways. It is important to count the blessings and realise what God has done.

5. Meditate constantly on the truths of God’s wisdom. If a man is sure of his place and position in God he will not be jealous of those who have something, which he does not have.

6. If a man catches the vision of how deep is God’s love for him and realises that God actually likes him, it will bring security. God chose the very moment of the birth of each person and chose their parents.

7. A man should decide to speak only good to the one of whom he is jealous. He should look for opportunities to boost the person and wash his soul free from all jealousy. James ch 4 v 11. Paul advises to say only what is good for edifying the individual. 1 Cor ch 14 v 26.

8. Love is not jealous. Perfect love casts out jealousy. 1 Cor ch 13 v 4.

Inferiority Complex

Exodus ch 3 v 11-13. Exodus ch 4 v 1. Ch 4 v 10-13.

 

The disability or disease known as an inferiority complex affects 70% of all believers to a greater or lesser extent, yet hardly anyone admits to having it. It may seem surprising at first glance that the figure should be as high as 70%, since the percentage of the population at large affected is not as high as that figure. Most people who come to God do so when they realise their need. The Children of Israel were 400 years in Egypt and for a long time all went well. It was only when they cried out in their distress that God answered their cry. God had longed to meet with them much earlier but they had no need of God. It is clear that when God richly blesses people, they are often the last people to respond. It is the needy who end up on their knees before God.

 

The authority for this figure of 70% comes from Selwyn Hughes, who was a Christian psychologist of many years experience and his teaching is exceptionally helpful in a number of areas and especially in this area. The effects of this disease are as crippling to the personality, as deformed limbs are to the physical wellbeing of a person. On an office door was this statement: “42% of people are terrified at the thought of speaking in public. 100% of our members are determined to do something about this state of affairs.” The notice was an advert for the Speakers Club. This is not a bad idea for a Church. People who would not profess to be believers recognised a problem and did something about it. Jesus promises, that if a man goes in His name, He will be with him.

 

One of the most telling promises of God is found in Exodus ch 15 v 26. “If you will obey me completely by doing what I consider right and by keeping my commands, I will not punish you with any of the diseases that I brought on the Egyptians. I am the Lord, the one who heals you.” This is a promise repeated throughout Scripture. Jesus said that He had come to give life and life in abundance. God does not want any of His children crippled in their personality. Jesus came to set them free, so that they may be free to serve their God and not be restricted in this way. There are many believers not achieving what God wants them to achieve because they are not free from this disease.

 

What is an inferiority complex? A disease simply means that a person is not at ease. The Dictionary definition is this: “An inferiority complex is a mental state involving a suppressed sense of personal inferiority.” There is a lack of confidence and self-reliance. To be self-conscious is to be embarrassed by a morbid sense of personal inferiority – real or imaginary. While believers are very quick to seek medical help for the slightest physical injury, they are desperately slow to take advantage of the help, which is available for damage to the personality. That is what an inferiority complex is – damage to the personality.

 

How does the disease start? Is it inherited through the genes or is it experienced? The expert psychologists believe that it is not inherited but develops usually in early childhood. Every person is born with certain basic needs: 1. A need to belong. 2. A need to be loved. 3. A need to achieve.

 

When a child is belittled, and constantly told that he is stupid and useless, he gradually comes to believe it, especially if it said by a parent whom he ought to be able to trust. Whereas when a child is congratulated and complimented, his personality thrives. But when parental love, acceptance and compliments are absent, damage occurs to the child. The child then develops a negative self-image. “I cannot” dominates his thinking. The fear of failure can haunt the child. While success breeds success, failure breeds failure.

 

Constant unfavourable comparison with others can damage the child’s self-image. When a parent is always making decisions for the child, this can take away his confidence to make decisions. All of this creates in the mind feelings of inadequacy and of being unworthy – not a person of real worth. So the child grows up subject to a constant unhealthy emotional push from the past with a damaged personality – every bit as real as a deformed limb. So many adults approach adulthood unable to cope with some of the pressures, which come upon them. An inferiority complex is an unhealthy push from the past.

 

Parents who make a child feel unwanted or unloved or who tell him that he does not measure up or are always comparing him unfavourably with others or using nicknames, and adopting a negative approach will help to produce in their child a negative self-image, a feeling of inadequacy and being unworthy, not a person of real worth. The person is filled with a great sense of personal inadequacy, fear, and inability to measure up to the standards of other people. This shows itself in seeking attention, jealousy of other people, self-consciousness, the inability to cope with criticism, being easily embarrassed and upset and over-sensitivity.

 

Satan’s greatest psychological weapon is an inferiority complex. Low self-esteem sabotages Christian service. The man with low self-esteem is always trying to prove himself. He is inclined to become self-centred. Low self-esteem paralyses a believer’s potential and destroys the dreams of a believer – making him feel like a grasshopper. It also destroys relationships with God and with other people. A nagging sense of inferiority and inadequacy isolates a man. One way of coping is for a man to withdraw within himself and to have as little contact with other people as possible. This robs God of many opportunities to show off His power and ability through the weakness of the believer.

 

Healing takes place when the three basic needs to be loved, to belong and to achieve are met. There are factors at work, which impact a man’s image of himself:

1. The outer World or circumstances. The outer World depends on experiences of how a man is treated by family and others by their words and facial expressions. A man responds in his behaviour as to how others treat him. A father who rejects his child is in effect saying: “You are not worth my time. I have more important things to do with my time than spend it with you.”

2. Satan and his demonic influence.

4. The Word of God. “Who are you? You are the total of your experiences in life and your responses to them.” That is what forms the character of a man. All that a man can take into eternity is his character

 

A number of basic questions arise.

1. Is conversion the cure? It is a danger to think that it is. What happens when a man is converted? Man is in three parts – a body, a soul or personality and a spirit. Conversion is a renewal of the spirit. Jesus told Nicodemus: “You must be born again, of the Spirit of God.” Nicodemus was alive physically but Jesus knew that he had been born in sin as everyone is and he needed to be born again of the spirit of God and be able to know God. But conversion does not affect the body or deformed limbs nor does it affect the personality – not at once. However, as a believer grows, then there should be a life-changing process, which affects his physical and emotional life. Initially a believer takes into his new Christian life his emotional problems. Those who expect to have no further emotional problems and find that they have, may either repress the problems, denying their existence or be plagued by disorders and become disillusioned with the Christian life. So conversion is not an instant cure.

 

2. Is it a sin to have an inferiority complex? What did Jesus have to say? He said: “Forget about yourself.” Being self-conscious or inferior is just the opposite – a man is concentrating on himself – relying on his own self instead of relying on God. It amounts to enforced ego-centricity. So while it may be excusable for the non-believer, for the believer it is a denial of the command of God to “forget about yourself.” Ecclesiastes ch 7 v 29. “I made things to be simple but man has made them to be complicated.”

 

Some people who suffer from an inferiority complex attempt to cover it up by appearing superior and often manifesting delusions of grandeur. This is designed to hide the inadequacy of the personality. Those who boast and talk loudly are usually unpopular. Why do so few people admit to having this disease? Nobody wants to be branded a failure. They feel small enough already and cannot face the fact that others will take advantage of their condition to promote themselves, thereby making them feel even smaller.

 

3. Does the Bible record instances of people suffering from this disease? Yes, there are plenty people in the Bible who suffered from this disease. Ex ch 3. God asked Moses to do a task for Him. Moses responded in v 1: “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?” v 13 “What shall I say to them?” Ch 4 v 1 “But they will not believe me.” Ch 4 v 10 “I am not an eloquent speaker. I am slow of speech and tongue.” Ch 4 v 12. “Send someone else.”

 

Moses was the meekest of men who ever lived. He was a humble man. Humility must not be confused with feelings of inadequacy or inferiority. It was these feelings, – feelings of inadequacy – which Moses revealed in response to the call of God. Would God ask him to do a task, which he was incapable of doing in order to humiliate him? God would not do that. It would be totally out of character. God knew that Moses was able and ideal for the task to which He was calling him. So it proved to be. Moses had to come to terms with his feelings of inferiority. Would God ask a man to read from the Bible, if he was unable to do it? He gave each man eyes to see and a tongue to speak with and He asks him to trust that He will be with him. Is it not a sin for a man to say: “I could not do that”? It is a denial of the power of God. Humility is an honest evaluation of a man’s abilities.

 

It would be dwelling on an inferiority complex to refuse to speak at a Church meeting. Inferiority refers to a persistent dwelling on the inabilities and weaknesses of a person. For forty years after leaving Egypt Moses had nursed the image of himself as a failure. Once he was a prince in Egypt. Now he was a shepherd and a nobody. He had to turn his eyes from himself and his own inadequacies to the adequacy of God. There is the key to overcoming the disease. A believer must rely on his own inadequacies but trust in the adequacy of God. Trust in God and be in a right relationship with Him.

 

4. What practical advice does the Bible have for this disease and its sufferers?

A. Face up to it realistically. There is no easy way out. God is a scientist and not a magician. It is the same with all problems. A man gets nowhere if he pretends that the problem does not exist or if he covers it up and tries to bluster his way through. It is the same with any sin. A man must face up to his responsibilities to God. If there is a problem in life a man has 4 choices. (a) flee from it (b) fight it (c) forget it or (d) face up to it. Only by facing up to it can it be overcome. As in the physical realm, no person was ever healed by his doctor, if he did not consult the doctor? So a man must take this disease to Doctor Jesus. “Do I really want to be well?” Do not cling to the problem for the sake of sympathy.

 

B. Remember that God made man in His image. He designed each man for creative achievement. When a man draws back he frustrates himself. “I cannot” and “Tomorrow” are twin evils. There is no word “cannot” in the Bible. The unemployed man becomes frustrated. So does the teacher who tries to teach children who will not learn. This is simply because God designed each man to achieve and when he does not achieve, his need is not met and he crumples as a person. So if a man refuses to overcome an inferiority complex and does not achieve, he hurts as a consequence. The power of the human mind and body is nothing short of incredible. The insignificant plus Jesus becomes significant. To have a sense of significance it is necessary to feel eternally significant. John ch 1 v 22. John the Baptist knew who he was in God’s plan for his life. Isaiah ch 40 v 3.

 

C. Be realistic. The truth is simply seeing things are they really are. So close the mind to all ideas of grandeur. Do not swing to the other extreme. Man is neither a worm nor a cosmic wonder. He is – himself. Rom ch 12 v 3. One of the blessings of reading the Bible is for a man to learn to see himself as God sees him. He is worth a tremendous amount to God – enough to die for him. God has great plans for the life of each person, if he will let God have His way. P B P W M G H N F W M Y. Please be patient with me: God has not finished with me yet.

 

D. Discipline the aspirations to sensible possibilities. By flying too high there is a danger of being discouraged by failure again. A man should put himself and his abilities at God’s disposal every day. He will give a sense of mission and direction and open the mind to new opportunities. Jeremiah was told by God to heed: “The words I will give you.”

 

E. Do not let disappointments discourage. A man’s disappointments are God’s appointments. God wants a man to go through a particular door so he should not worry about the doors, which shut. Rather a man should seek another door and knock on it to see if it is the one God wants him to go through. Disappointments are still very real and leave man with hurt in his emotions. God has a purpose for each man’s life and each man must seek that or he will flounder along from one disappointment to another.

 

F. A man must be prepared and willing to forgive those who have caused the damage to his emotions. It may be a parent or a teacher or a sibling or a bully.

 

G. God has given each man the gift to do one thing really well in life. Find it and do it. God has created each one for a unique purpose. Find out what it is and work at it. A man should stop comparing himself unfavourably with others. There are many things in life a man will not be able to do as well as others. Each one is unique in God’s sight and can feel himself a person of unique worth to God. All are precious in His sight. It is a great thrill to achieve what was once thought impossible. It can be achieved only in the strength of God and by His Holy Spirit. Paul said: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

 

H. God does not call those who are equipped but rather He equips those whom He calls. The Bible is full of people who began their lives with deep feelings of inferiority and insignificance but were later delivered from them by the power of God. God achieved through Moses and countless people down through the ages. Moses had to turn his eyes from his inadequacy to God’s adequacy. If God calls, do it, because He wins every argument. Amos lacked culture and academic training but although he had many reasons to feel inferior, he did not. He knew who he was in God. If God has spoken, then deal with the matter. It is a great thrill to achieve what was thought to be impossible. It can be achieved only in the strength of God and by His Holy Spirit. Paul said: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” God chooses the weak to confound the strong.

 

Exodus ch 3 v 11-13. Exodus ch 4 v 1. Ch 4 v 10-13.

Exodus ch 15 v 26.

Eccles ch 7 v 29.

Ex ch 3 v 1. Ch 3 v 13. Ch 4 v 1. Ch 4 v 10. Ch 4 v 12.

Rom ch 12 v 3.

Mat ch 9 v 12. “It is the sick who need a doctor – not the people who are well.”

Jer ch 29 v 11. “I know the plans I have for you. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. When you pray I will listen. I will end your slavery and restore your fortunes.”

Exodus ch 15 v 26. “If you will listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and obey it, and do what is right, then I will not make you suffer the diseases I sent on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord who heals you.”

John ch 1 v 22 and Isaiah ch 40 v 3.

1 Thes ch 5 v 11. Participation in the Church is vital for growing confidence. The one man ministry works against this.

Fear

It has been said that the human race is a fraternity of fear. For a long time the greatest fear was of a nuclear war. Then there was fear of an economic collapse. For many there is fear of famine, disease – with no medical facilities to assist, aids – with no cure in sight, loneliness, persecution, unemployment. Increasingly it is other people and not the Government, who make decisions affecting a man’s financial well-being. In the days of the Old Testament the most frightening thing was a soldier on horseback with a sword. There was no defence against that. The only security was to build a city wall with gates, which closed at night. It has been said that the human race is a fraternity of fear. There is no doubt that there are many people who experience fear, including believers. Some believers have in the past. Some will experience fear in the future. Believers, who have less to fear than others, are often the most afraid.

 

The word fear is often used incorrectly. It is vital to define what is meant by the word. There are many references to the word “fear” in the Bible. The Collins dictionary defines fear as “dread, alarm, anxiety, unpleasant emotion caused by coming evil or danger.” To have that feeling is being afraid – being full of fear. There is a difference between fear and anxiety.

 

Fear is the emotional distress, which a man feels when his well-being is threatened by something or someone specific. Anxiety is different. That is the emotional distress when a man’s well-being is threatened by something vague or unspecific. He has a feeling of foreboding or unease. The man cannot put his finger on it. The man cannot identify specifically what is causing the anxiety. Fear is specific. If someone broke into the bank and pulled out a gun, the man in the bank would experience fear. He would fear being shot. His well-being is under threat. The sight of a scorpion or a wild animal close at hand will result in fear of being bitten or killed. Fear can be of an individual. Mark ch 11 v 18. The chief priests were afraid of Jesus. Jesus had the ability to expose their hypocrisy. John ch 19 v 8. Pilate was more frightened than before when he heard that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God.

 

Jesus knew all about the fears of the people in His day. They lived living under the rule of the Roman Empire. Fear dominated their lives. If Roman soldiers needed spear practice, they would grab some Jewish boys, tie them to a pole and have their practice. One soldier may have been drinking the night before and was not too accurate. If a boy was killed, well – it was only a Jewish boy. Like soldiers the World over some want to gratify their sexual desires while they are away from home. It was routine for soldiers to take Jewish girls at random for this purpose. The Jewish people took a stand against the Roman Empire in A. D. 70. The Jewish historian Josephus estimated that over one million Jewish men, women and children were killed – many in horrific circumstances. There were so many crucifixions that the land was bare of trees for miles around. Is it any wonder that the Jewish people lived in fear of the Romans?

 

The command used most often by Jesus – 124 times – is: “Fear not. Do not be anxious.” Now every word spoken by God is truth and is important. So, if God says something twice, it is very important. If He says it 124 times, it is essential to pay attention. It must be vitally important.

 

There are four steps, which a man needs to take when interpreting what the Scriptures are saying. Firstly, God always gives a physical picture to teach a spiritual truth. Look for a physical picture. Moses sent out spies to see what lay ahead in the Promised Land. The spies reported that there were giants in the land. There were 7 peoples living in the land of Canaan, who seemed like giants to the Israelites. That is the physical picture to teach the spiritual truth. Secondly the spiritual truth is that there are spiritual giants. They are known as principalities and powers. Each name of the seven peoples living in the land of Canaan represents a spiritual giant opposed to human beings. Thirdly, how does this relate to the Israelites? Well – the Hittites were the military power in the region. Uriah the Hittite was one of David’s best soldiers. He came from a fine military tradition. The word “Hittite” in Hebrew means: “fear.” The Hittites were powerful. The Israelis were a poorly trained army. Therefore they were afraid of the Hittites. Fourthly, how does the spirit of fear affect the life of a believer? Fear is a powerful force and can tower over the life of an individual like a giant.

 

Where did fear come from? Was it within the purposes of God? Genesis chapter 3 tells of an incident at the dawn of time. Adam and Eve lived in Eden. God designed the human personality to be fuelled by love – love for God, love for one another and love for the created World. When Adam and Eve were enticed by Satan to rebel against God’s rule, fear flowed in to the human personality. Love for God left Adam and fear flowed in to replace it. At that moment Adam was disconnected from God. God is love but His wrath is a fearful thing. Wrath is the other side of love. The root cause of unhealthy fear is isolation from God. Conversion is not a cure for everything. Fear still surrounds believers. Satan has used fear to rob, steal and destroy man ever since. When sin came in fear followed. It is one of Satan’s chief weapons.

 

Picture the scene. Eve succumbed to the temptation. Satan still disguised as a talking snake looked towards the darkness of the vegetation close by. There half submerged in the darkness stood one of Satan’s princes of darkness. He is known as Fear. Satan gave the nod to Fear. The body language said; “Go get them.” Like a fly caught in a spider’s web Adam and Eve were trapped in bondage. God came to speak to Adam. Adam lowered his eyes and said: “I was afraid.” Ever since that moment mankind has been ruled by fear. Fear was the first demonic principality to manifest itself to mankind. The little demons called “fearlettes” have been at work sowing fearful thoughts into the minds of human beings. “It could be you next.” “What will people think?” “You will fail.” The sheer professionalism of this Prince of Darkness and his minions has to be appreciated. They have dominated the lives of millions of people throughout the centuries. They have carried out the task of the master by robbing, stealing and destroying. Sadly the human beings are so fickle and so ignorant that it is so easy for Fear to do his devilish work. This includes even those born of God’s Spirit.

 

The trouble is that in the English language the same word is used for different meanings. So it is with fear. Fear is also described as reverence. The Scripture says: “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Proverbs ch 1 v 7. There are very many other Scriptures, which advise man to have reverence for the Lord. This is a healthy respect and awe of the Lord. Eccles ch 12 v 13. “Fear God and keep His commandments.” Mat ch 10 v 28. “Do not be afraid of those who can kill only your bodies, but cannot touch your souls. Fear only God who can destroy both soul and body in Hell.” Phil ch 2 v 12. “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling. There is a blessing for those who fear the Lord.” Psalm 112 v 1.

 

When people say: “I am afraid that it is going to rain tomorrow” there is no question of fear. They are only expressing disappointment, concern or frustration. They are actually using the word out of context.

 

It needs to be said that fear and anxiety is a sin. People say that their situation is too urgent or too complicated for God to help. Really? What a man is really saying is this: “I accept that God created the whole World out of nothing and devised and created the human body with 3 trillion cells. However I do not believe that God can do anything about the situation.” That is sin. It denies the concern and the power of God.

 

Not all fears are unhealthy. There are many healthy fears. The fear of being burned prevents a child from putting his finger into the fire. The fear of falling makes a man careful on a mountain precipice. Fear of an accident makes a man drive more carefully. The fear of being knocked down on the road makes a man take care. Parents train their children to take care for their safety. God has built into man all sorts of aspects, which are for his good, e.g. the stream of natural healing. Healthy fears are like an instinctive alarm system to protect a man from harm. It is like preventative medicine. What would happen if the alarm system broke down? It can be seen it when a drunk man walks down the middle of the road. It can be seen when young people take drugs and lose the fear of death. Sometimes a child is described as having no fear. That is a dangerous situation – to override natural fears for personal safety, designed by God for a man’s protection.

 

The first thing to do in relation to fears is to deal with unfounded fears – fears of the imagination. Many are afraid of things, which will never happen. The fears are in their imagination. A husband is late home for one of any number of reasons. As the time passes a fiery arrow is fired by Satan into the mind of the wife: “Perhaps he has had an accident.” The wife fears that he is in hospital or lying by a roadside. By the time he arrives home 30 minutes later than normal she is crying hysterically and shaking with fear. Perhaps there were road works or a traffic jam. The wife had listened to the thought in the imagination. She had persuaded herself that some harm has befallen her husband. She has already phoned the police and the hospital. The enemy has done his work again of robbing her of peace of mind. These fears of the imagination are entirely a man’s own fault. These are quite unnecessary. Reject the thought. It is not based on truth. God operates on truth. The enemy operates on deception. Know this – nothing can happen to a believer without God being aware of it. God is in control of the nerve centre of operations in Heaven and knows everything, which happens. God will never allow anything to happen to a believer but that it is within his interests.

 

However, if a man does not conquer the fears of the imagination, he will experience what Job experienced. Job ch 3 v 25 – “that which I have feared has come upon me.” There is a very real power in fear. Isaiah says in ch 26 v 3. “The Lord keeps him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee.” Faith feeds on facts. The fact of the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus are the basic facts on which a relationship with God is built. God is in control of the tiniest matter.

 

Television is a major factor in feeding thoughts into a man’s imagination. Gen ch 6 v 5. “The thoughts and imaginations were only evil continuously.” There were no worthwhile thoughts. Generally television presents a picture of life, which is not in touch with reality. It suggests that what is being seen is reality. Then a man feels disappointed that life is not as exciting as it appears to be for others – only it isn’t. It never was. But television also feeds the imagination. A husband phones home to say that he cannot make it home that night and has to stay in another town. The wife has just recently seen a film or play about adultery. Her imagination goes to work again. “Does he really have to stay away? Could he have made it home tonight?” So the enemy uses a man’s imaginations to sow seeds of doubt and fear. A man must ensure that his imagination stops at God. The mind is like a reception desk in a hotel. Not everyone who comes to the desk gets in. A man has to have a booking. Not every thought, which comes into the human mind is worthy of entering and lodging in the mind. A man has to train his mind to receive thoughts from God and to reject thoughts from the enemy.

 

Phobias. Dictionary describes them as abnormal fears. Some people are affected by fear of flying, fear of heights, fear of being outside or fear of being unclean. The Devil comes to steal, rob and destroy. Jesus came that men might have life in all its fullness. Phobias are the focal points of fears within the human personality. A phobia is like a boil, which is the point where the poison in the body tries to get out. Fears, which are rattling around in the personality, find a focus. Phobias can have a powerful negative influence on a person.

Phobias bring about a lack of peace and security. By accepting fears a man allows Satan to rob him and destroy his well-being.

 

Where do unhealthy fears come from? Guilt as a result of sin. Fear of being found out. Many grow out of the soil of inadequate relationships in early life. A child deprived of love, affection and warmth in his formative years has a void in his personality. Fears can flow into the void. An inferiority complex is a breeding ground for fears.

 

What sort of events bring harmful fear to individuals? Pain. Dying. Heb ch 2 v 15. Those who feared death were subject to lifelong bondage. Death is the last great enemy of mankind. Fear of failure. Fear of being exposed as worthless. Fear of pain. Fear of embarrassment. What others will think of a man. Fear of insecurity. Fears of unemployment. Fear of sickness. Fear of rejection by others – especially in their peer group. Fears of uncertainty. Fears of insecurity. Political fears – what will voters say? Fear of men. The preacher may fear that the congregation will leave, if they disagree with what he is preaching? Fear of what to eat. Will it be safe? Who has never experienced fear? The Bible is full of people who experienced real fear. Fear is real and can have a crippling effect on the human personality. It can limit a man’s actions, thought processes and relationships with others. It can prevent spiritual growth.

 

How does Fear operate upon a man? Fear operates on the human mind. It is the human mind, which distinguishes man from the animals. The mind is a man’s greatest resource. The mind is a truly complex and powerful faculty. It was through the mind that Satan attacked Eve and tempted her to sin. When he sinned, Adam sold his mind to Satan. Paul says to Timothy in 2 Tim ch 1 v 7. “God has not given us a spirit of fear – but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” A sound mind is a mind not filled with confusion and fear. It is faith, which conquers fear, in the battleground of the mind.

 

So many hospital beds are occupied by people with problems of the mind. Guilt operates on the mind. Eph ch 4 v 17 speaks of the emptiness of the mind. Unbelievers have shut their minds and cannot understand the things of God. They are driven by their evil or fallen minds. Man is called to worship God in body, soul and mind. Those who are concerned for God are referred to as spiritually minded. 1 Cor ch 2 v 16. The believer has the mind of Christ. At conversion he receives a new spirit. This enables him to know God and understand the things of God, including the Word of God. Then he should be transformed by the renewing of his mind. Rom ch 2 v 12. The mind of the believer is not perfect. It must be transformed and changed to be brought under the Lordship of Jesus. This is the responsibility of every believer – as he works out his salvation. The believer is allowing his mind to be washed by the mind and Word of God. Sometimes Satan actually speaks a thought into man’s mind. It is an idea, which is not of God. Prov ch 3 v 25. “Be not afraid when sudden fear comes.”

 

There is a battle of the mind. Before a man became a believer his life and actions were determined by his senses. He acted on the information he received without any reference to God. This what the Bible calls being carnally minded. The carnal mind is the natural mind without any spiritual perception. The carnal mind is open to fear and anxiety, because it thinks that there is no one in control. With no knowledge that God is in control of his life, a man has no assurance that things are under control. Believers know that Jesus ever intercedes for them and is in control of every aspect of their life. When believers allow their carnal mind to take over and not the new spiritual mind, they too become fearful. Romans ch 12 v 2. “Be not conform to this World but be transformed by the renewing of the mind.” Conformity to the World is allowing the mind to be influenced by the floating mass of thoughts, opinions, maxims, speculations, theories, hopes, impulses, aims and aspirations at any time current in the World. It may not be possible to seize and accurately define these ideas, but they constitute a real power.

 

What causes fear? Many fears stem from an unhealthy family relationship. A dominating, critical attitude by parents can cause their children to be afraid. They may develop phobias of all kinds. Equally an over-protective mother can induce in her children a multitude of fears. By over-pampering a child, a parent can hinder the development of the child’s personality. A mummy’s boy may be unable to develop a relationship with a girl through fear. He may then look to a boy who shows him affection. He may sell his soul as a result. Many of the fears mentioned have developed in earlier life. Often parents feed fear into children by talking about the bogie man or letting them see horror films. Maybe they took them to the fair ground and put them on a big dipper and it frightened the life out of them – literally. Many fears may still bristle in the personality despite conversion. How many would admit to having fears still?

 

Many people are afraid to reveal their true personality, because they were so badly hurt in the past. Other causes of fear include accidents, sickness, business losses, grief, burglary, flood, fire and serious traumatic experiences. These are the fertile grounds for the fear to develop. “It may happen again.” This is whispered into the mind. What fears hold a man back from spiritual growth?

 

Also many fears grow out of the soil of inadequate relationships in early life. Those with an inferiority complex are filled with fear that their relationships will not last. That very fear comes to pass through lack of confidence that they will be accepted by other people. A child deprived of love, affection, warmth and acceptance in the formative years has a void in his personality where fears can flow in. The personality deprived of love fails to function effectively. Many young people feel that their marriage will not last for a lifetime and that divorce is inevitable. Here is the good news. When a believer comes to terms with the fact that he or she has God as a Heavenly Father and Jesus as a brother, the spiritual fear can be removed and the way is open for the permanent removal of unhealthy fear. It is necessary to walk in the Word of God. It is not enough to hear the Word in the mind but to let it sink into the heart.

 

The Bible is full of people who experienced real fear and who were living in fear of another person or persons.

 

Judges ch 6 v 27. Gideon was afraid of his family. Jacob was afraid of Laban. Gen ch 31 v 31. Herod feared John. Mark ch 6 v 20. Saul was afraid of the people. 1 Sam ch 15 v 24.

 

Fear attacked Abraham when he lied about Sarah. Gen ch 12 v 10-20. He was afraid that if the Egyptians knew that Sarah was his wife, they would kill him. He put his wife’s life at risk through fear.

 

Jonah knew what it was like to be afraid of the Assyrians. He feared for his very life. The Assyrians were brutal in their dealings with their enemies. Fear led Jonah to disobey the Word of God.

 

Luke ch 2 v 8. The shepherds were busy discussing the weather or whatever, when a huge spiritual being appeared before them and they were surrounded by the glory of the Lord. No wonder they were filled with fear. They were very frightened. The angel said; “Fear not.” It is not clear if that would be enough to deal with the fear, if the same thing happened today. That was bad enough for the shepherds. Then the angel was followed by a multitude of the Heavenly host. What would that look like? It is as well that the one angel came first. If they had all appeared at once, it might have been too much for the shepherds.

 

Matthew ch 1 v 18-25. Joseph was just a young man. His girl friend was pregnant and he was not the father of the child. People would be talking. They were not married. He was afraid of what people would think of him. This is hardly surprising. What was he to think of her? God intervened and sent an angel. “Fear not. Take Mary as your wife.” When a man experiences fear, he should let God speak into the situation. God knows the source of the fear and the harm it can do, if it is allowed to grip a man.

 

1 Samuel ch 15 v 24. Saul feared the people rather than God and did not kill Agag the King of the Amalekites. He had been commanded to do so by God. That disobedience resulted in God tearing the Kingdom from Saul. Many Church leaders are more afraid of men than they are of God. It is better to refuse to sanction something in the name of God, that to offend the Lord by bringing His name into the situation. Many ministers bury a person hinting or indicating that they have gone to be with the Lord. They may do this even though they have no evidence that the person was ever a believer? Is it because they are afraid of the consequences of refusing to take part in the burial? They fear men rather than God.

 

Did Paul ever experience fear? Surely not! The great evangelist! 2 Cor ch 7 v 5. “Our hearts were full of dread and fear.” Paul is truly human. He experienced the whole range of human emotions and experiences.

 

Consider the consequences of fear.

Firstly, fear has physical consequences. Goose pimples appear on the body. A man can feel fear coursing through his body. His hair may stand on end. There was a boy who was going blind because he was being bullied at school. The muscles of the eye tightened up to cause blindness. Fear did that. Fear of going into court can make a man physically sick. Fear can trigger off all kinds of physical diseases. It may well be the cause of cancer in those who fear getting cancer. The very fear of it brings it about. Jesus speaks about men fainting with fear at the time of His Second Coming. Mat ch 24 v 21. This is a big giant. Luke ch 21 v 26. Dan ch 5 v 5. Belshazzar saw the writing on the wall and fear gripped him. His face went white, his knees knocked and his legs gave way. A leading psychologist states that the emotions are very often the root cause of physical illness. A book called “None of these diseases” suggests that fear can produce up to 51 diseases in the body. Fear can even kill. It can cause a heart attack. Old people have been known to die from fear when they knew that there was a burglar in the house. The fear releases toxins into their body. The flood of adrenalin into the heart overloads the system and brings about a heart attack and death. Did Ananias and Sapphira drop dead because of fear? Acts ch 5 v 1- 11. Ananias and his wife had done what Adam and Eve had done. They had disobeyed God. They had no need to give their money to the Lord. He would not press them to do so. They had said to the Holy Spirit that they would give their money and had lied to the Holy Spirit. The thought of the consequences paralysed them with fear and their heart stopped.

 

It is well known that a large proportion of illnesses, perhaps as high as 80% are psychosomatic. They are fostered and activated by the mind. Fear heads the list of mind-originating sicknesses. Headaches, asthma, ulcers, high blood pressure and arthritis can all be caused by fear. Physical results of fear include shaking, sweating, upset stomach, increased heart-beat and ulcers. Fear can cause loss of sleep, panic attacks and can paralyse the will and lead to a broken spirit.

 

Secondly, fear has emotional consequences. Fear of failure can paralyse a person from achieving his full potential. No one is at his best unless he is free from unhealthy fear. Fear puts man behind closed doors. It can lead to an introvert and ingrown person. What caused the woman with the flow of blood to be sick for 12 years? Was it tension due to fear? “We never have any failures – only learning experiences.” God does not mind if a man tries his best and falls flat on his face. That is how children learn to walk. It is a man’s attitude that the Lord is watching, rather than what is achieved. Acts ch 22 v 29. The Roman commander was filled with fear, having ordered Paul to be whipped, when he found out that Paul was a Roman citizen. Fear of being found out or failing in a duty can cause a threat of being disciplined and exposed as a failure. Saul was filled with fear when Goliath challenged his army. 1 Sam ch 17 v 11. David met the situation with faith in God. His zeal for God overcame natural fear of one so much bigger than himself. This was not a situation of Saul’s choosing nor to his liking. He hid himself in his tent through fear.

 

Thirdly, it has a spiritual side as well. While fear affects the emotions, there are instances of demonic activity. Demons have names. One of the demons is called fear. A demonic spirit called fear may invade a person and control his life. Demons need fertile soil in which to operate. If there is a person with a personality deprived of love in an earlier life, there is the fertile soil on which to operate. When a person has an accident or illness often the spirit of fear hovers over that person whispering: “It could happen again” and so the evil spirit accomplishes its work by robbing, stealing and destroying a life. That is why, if there are fears in a man’s life, they ought to be dealt with. If not the enemy may gain a foothold. The Hittite spirit is the spirit of fear. Fear is one of man’s deadliest enemies. It comes to rob, steal and destroy. If a person has a road accident or experiences a fire or abuse, there is fertile soil for the enemy to plant a spirit of fear, which can grip a person for years.

 

This spirit is used to encourage believers to deny the Lord. The Hittite spirit of fear can overshadow that life and prevent the person from achieving his full potential. In that way the spirit robs and kills and steals. To the new believer the spirit of fear whispers: “What will your friends and family say? Think how they will laugh and ridicule. What a fool you will look.” Many believers say nothing, struck down through fear. Fear often rules the life of a new believer. It may hold him back from witnessing, from baptism and from praying in public. There is so much to inherit from the Father. It is tragic that many never possess their true inheritance. It was the spirit of fear, which caused the Hebrews from entering the land for 38 years and receiving their inheritance.

 

Fear is real and can have a crippling effect on every area of a man’s life including the human personality, restricting spiritual growth. It can limit his actions, his thought processes and relationships with others. A man can end up being ruled by fear. If he fails to deal with it, it will destroy him. How many people in a mental home are afraid to come out? Job ch 3 v 25. “That which I feared has come upon me.” Fear brings on man the subject of his fear. Fear of failing will bring failure to pass. Lack of confidence is a real deterrent to success. “I knew that I would fail.” Luke ch 12 v 4. The spirit of fear may well work in hand with the Amorite spirit, speaking fear to the mind and then speaking it out.

 

Even in the midst of the most frightening circumstances, Jesus was never afraid. He was the Lord of every situation He faced. Jesus said: “My peace I leave with you.” The spiritual mind is full of peace and life – the very opposite of fear. Fear is also dispelled by joy. Grief cannot dwell where joy is present. When Jesus was tempted by thoughts from Satan, He had to first think about the Devil’s proposals. Jesus identified each thought and then exposed each thought to the Word of God. A man either accepts fearful thoughts or takes them captive and utterly destroys them. Just because certain thoughts come knocking at the door of a man’s mind, does not mean that he has to entertain them. A man protects his home and family. In the same way he has to protect his mind against the intrusion of Satan. He should not let the thoughts in but should shut them out as dangerous. Beware the media and its influence on the mind. Be careful what is fed into the mind.

 

It is essential to grasp the fact that God is in total control – of the weather – fire – storms – flooding – drought – and financial crisis. The bowls of wrath may be being poured out but God is still in control of the pouring. It is God who is shaking the nations. God the Saviour shakes the nations for a purpose – to call men to repent. But He still loves the people just as much. When there are wars etc Jesus warns in Mat ch 24 that these are but the beginnings of the birth pangs.

 

Mat ch 12 v 34. “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” When a man begins to talk about his fear of sickness, his unworthiness or any other fear, it eventually becomes part of his personality. When he thinks and talks about sickness, that is what he will get. What he fills his mind with is what he talks about and what he receives.

 

Fear has creative power. It has the power to create the thing a man fears, just as faith has the power to create the thing a man believes. Fear is believing something bad. Fear is actually something a man does not want to happen. Fear cancels out faith and faith cancels out fear. Heart attacks occur most frequently in those who are emotionally upset. They also occur in those who are depressed and shunned by society with no place to turn. Sudden death is often caused by dejection, discouragement and overwhelming or sudden fear. Drowning victims are often found to have no water in their lungs. The fear of drowning stopped the heart. A boy was tied to rail tracks in a siding and told that a train was coming. He died of fear of the train, which passed by on tracks away from where he was tied. Perfect love casts out fear. Faith is the antidote to fear. They cannot live together. A belief is something, which a man holds. A conviction is something, which holds him. God is in control. That ought to be the conviction of each believer, delivering him from fear.

 

What advice does Scripture give to deal with fears?

1. Identify the fear. “What is it I am afraid of?” If it is unknown, a man is entitled to ask the Father who knows everything, if there is a fear locked in his sub – conscious or sub – sub – conscious. That may be holding him back in his growth as a believer. Perhaps there was an event in childhood, which he does not remember. It may have a grip on his emotions. A twin, separated at the time of birth for a short time from his twin, can experience a shock. Perhaps this is a little far fetched, but God knows the emotional life also. Perhaps an experience at a fair ground as a child has left its mark. Perhaps a horror movie. Perhaps bullying at school. Insecurity in life leads to a fear of being able to cope. If a man has fear, he owes it to himself to deal with it.

 

2. Face it squarely. So often a man puts it off and hopes it will go away. How many men put off going to the doctor? When they do they find out that there was nothing to be concerned about. The problem may not be as serious as was thought. Fear had gripped the man and had convinced him that he had a serious illness. It was not so. Until the problem is identified, it cannot be dealt with by God or by anyone else on His behalf.

 

3. Separate the imaginary fears from the real fears. Reject the imaginary fears as from the enemy and deal with them in the name of Jesus. A man is entitled to use Jesus’ name for that purpose.

 

4. Put the fears into proper Biblical perspective. Isaiah ch 41 v 1-14. Scripture always gives a negative command along with a positive command. Do not do this. Do that instead. Exodus ch 14 v 10-13. “Fear not.” Is negative. “Stand firm” is positive. Fears are reduced in size when a man realises the vastness of God’s love for him as an individual. There is no time when God does not care for the man. God does not let anything happen to a believer unless it is for his good. The antidote for fear is love. Perfect love casts out fear. When a man recovers his love for God he casts out fear. 1 John ch 4 v 18. Circumstances are those nasty things, which hedge a man in, unless he focuses on God. A child of God has no right to be living under the circumstances. Neh ch 6 v 13. Tobiah tried to frighten Nehemiah with threats. Nehemiah recognised that this was not of God but of the enemy.

 

5. Speak to the fear. Do not pray about it. Speak to it. What is the authority for such a statement? Mark ch 11 v 23. Say to the mountain of fear – “depart from me.” Use the authority of the name of Jesus. A man may not take the name of the Lord in vain. But he is permitted to use it in worship, in prayer and in driving out the enemy from his life. Jesus said that believers would do what He had done. So believers are entitled to do that. Command it to go in the name of Jesus. There is power in the name of Jesus. God does not want His children to live in a state of fear but in a state of love – love for God and for their fellow human beings. Jesus came to set man free – that includes freedom from fears. Mark ch 5 v 36. Jairus had just learned of the death of his daughter. Jesus told him: “Do not be afraid, only believe.” Faith is the antidote to fear. They cannot live together. There may be shaking going on in the World. It is the Lord who is doing the shaking. He is in total control of the affairs of the World.

 

What a man submits to has spiritual authority over him. When wives submit to the covering of their husbands they are protected from fear. Parents cover their children but lack of parental covering opens a child up to fear. The Kingdom of God is not a place of fear. Luke ch 12 v 32.

A phobia is an irrational and excessive fear of some particular thing or situation.

Agoraphobia – fear of being outside the house.

Claustrophobia – fear of being enclosed.

Monophobia – fear of being alone.

Social phobia – fear of being the centre of attention and being embarrassed.

Arachnophobia – fear of spiders.

Tonitrophobia – fear of thunder.

Apiphobia – fear of bees and wasps.

Insectophobia – fear of insects.

Nosophobia and Trypanphobia – fear of illness or injections, doctors, dentists and blood.

Zoophobia and Ornthophobia – fear of animals or birds.

Pantophobia is a fear of everything.

 

Fear is mentioned 365 times in the Bible. Fear may be passed on through the generations. A parent who has a nervous breakdown may pass it on to a child. The Times did a survey and the 5 most significant fears are (in reverse order) 5. Flying. 4. Debt. 3. Deep water. 2. Health. 1. Public speaking. Fear is a robber. It steals.

A. Self-respect. A minister is often afraid of men. He is afraid that the people will not come to Church. As a result he may become a manipulator or a controller. He will have low self-worth.

B. Destiny. Missed opportunities. “I cannot. ”

C. Loss of joy. Brethren have had a joy by-pass.

The remedy is in 1 John ch 4 v 16-18. There is no fear in real love. Jesus never experienced fear. A man who is afraid of heights will scale a cliff to rescue his child. Fear motivates people to act in a certain way. Love also motivates people to act in a certain way.

 

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and soul. Love your neighbour as yourself. If a man does that fear will ebb away from his life and the giant will be slain.