A TUTORIAL ON EFFECTIVE SPIRITUAL WARFARE
Teaching, Training & Commissioning
Chapter 12, Episode 4
We are told by the Holy Spirit in Romans 12:2 that, as disciples of Jesus, you are not to be conformed to this world, but you are to be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is: that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
There are obstacles to (1) being transformed into a Child of God and (2) becoming a disciple of Jesus (3) entering the Kingdom of Heaven, now, and (4) walking in the power of His Spirit. Galatians 5:19-21 tells us of these obstacles and that those who practice these things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
The Teachings of Jesus are antithetical to worldly standards, practices and norms. Jesus was crucified as a sacrifice for our sins. But, as far as the unbelieving world was concerned, it was for His controversial and counter cultural teachings.
Jesus made it clear that if you choose to follow Him, you will have to pay the price of a disciple, and that cost is high. Both the religious and secular worlds persecuted Jesus and His followers because of His teachings. And, they will persecute you, too, if you choose to be His disciple.
Jesus came to show us the way to Life, and He warned that the gate is small and the way that leads to life is both narrow and difficult, and there are few who find it.
These next episodes will lead you to the “small gate which is narrow” and we will continue to identify the obstacles to our transformation for their removal from your life.
(For our convenience, I have coded the Obstacle in green, the penalty in purple and the Remedy in Blue.)
Episode 4: Removing the Obstacle of Secrecy & Lies requires Transparency and Truth.
Matthew 5:33-37 says, “Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FALSE VOWS, BUT SHALL FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO THE LORD.’
“But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING. “Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. “But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’;
anything beyond these are of evil.”
When you brag about what you can or will do and fail to do it, you look like a fool and a liar. This is not the representation a Christian can make as a follower of Jesus.
Deuteronomy23:21 helps us understand the gravity of an unfulfilled pledge or vow: “When you make a vow to the LORD your God, you shall not delay to pay it, for it would be sin in you, and the LORD your God will surely require it of you.
“However, if you refrain from vowing, it would not be sin in you.
“You shall be careful to perform what goes out from your lips, just as you have voluntarily vowed to the LORD your God, what you have promised.”
James 4:13-17 picks up on Jesus teaching and reiterates, “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet, you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
Proverbs 6:16-19 tells us that,
There are six things which the LORD hates,
Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:
Haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
And hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that run rapidly to evil,
A false witness who utters lies,
And one who spreads strife among brothers.
Finally and conclusively, Jesus tells us, in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
The remedy for making false vows is, at the same time, both simple and difficult. The only way to the stop living in secrecy and living in lies is to begin, now, telling the truth in all matters.
You may, at first, think others will regard you lightly. But, the cloak of humility and honesty brings honor, both to you and to God.
Your Brother and Friend,
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