“The Spirit clearly says that in latter times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” 1 Tim, 4:1-2 NIV.
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.” 2 Tim, 3:1-5 NIV.
How easy it is to read these scriptures and initially apply them to the people of the world, exempting our own selves from them in the process. A closer look however confronts us with the unpleasant realization that Paul was actually addressing those within the church. Paul possessed a distinct prophetic vision of the last days, and as a faithful watchman he cried out a warning for all to hear.
Clearly the end times are unfolding around us, but equally clear is the unfolding of greater outpourings of God’s presence and power. Many can testify of being touched by the Holy Spirit in a greater measure than they’ve previously ever experienced. Many can also testify of encounters that opened wide their eyes to clearly see, and receive, the Gospel message. With this outpouring however comes a new level of accountability in the sight of God.
It is disturbing to see so many who, instead of glorifying God and basking in His marvelous light, become self-focused. A self-focused individual pursues their own agendas, goals and soulish desires and resists accountability to others within the Body. The gifts and call God places upon an individual he will not retract (Romans 11:29) therefore the decision is ours to either use the gifts to glorify Him, or misuse them to pursue selfish agendas. The sad end to self-focus is becoming deceived, as well as becoming deceivers. The hallmark of this state is lawlessness and that of resisting authority. Math 13:41.
We are instructed in the scriptures to be self controlled and alert because our enemy is like a roaring lion searching for someone to devour (I Peter 5:8). As God’s Spirit continues to be poured out in increasing measure, so too, will increased deception be released by the adversary. As we are touched by the Spirit of God in greater measure we must pursue abiding in Him. The potential to fall into deception increases in proportion to the extent we are touched of the Spirit of God. The Gospel of John and his epistles tell us that if we do not continue to abide in what we heard through the Spirit at the beginning, it will lead to deception (1 John 2:23-29, 2 John 6-11, John 14:23-24). When we turn away from the things we heard at the beginning, our conscience becomes branded as with a hot iron, and any former light received is then replaced with self-focused ambitions. Self-focused ambitions degenerate into a web of deception which further feeds our striving to gain our own ends.
The magnitude of this type of deception has no equal, even the lost in all their selfish motivations do not fall to this level of deception. The Romans killed Christ, but as merciless as they were, they would not have touched him had it not been for the fact that His very own people condemned Him. His people were able to condemn him on subtle misleading charges because He was first betrayed by one within His own inner circle.
A person entrenched in such deception will always hide behind the false pretence of having the best interests of others in mind, however, upon the slightest provocation they will betray and wound any, and all, around them. These are people who forge a path of destruction leaving many wounded souls along the way, all in the name of Jesus. The path they forge ends in shipwreck as God will not be mocked. God does not impart His precious Spirit for our selfish agendas. The Spirit is imparted for the sake of His people, for their salvation, and for the glory of God.
Relatively few of us pass the initial tests as we mature in grace and in our knowledge of the Lord. It is through these failures that we learn the wisdom of waiting upon the Lord for only He can lead us to victory. Failing to wait upon God is perhaps one of our greatest downfalls, when we so recklessly step out into uncharted territory prematurely (see 1 Samuel 13:6-14, Hebrew 10:35-37). The temptations and the pitfalls of this learning process is shared by all equally, from the most articulate and charismatic individual to the lowliest of servants none are exempt.
As we navigate through this learning process and search for answers, there is a profound and authentic principle so often overlooked. By design this principle is wrapped within a simple, plain, package that is easily overlooked by those unwilling to wait upon the Lord, and most notably, by those consumed within their own selfish pursuits. Though wrapped within a plain, unappealing package this principle is the only way to our true inheritance and destiny. This principle is called….humility. The reason we shy away from this principle–if it could be seen in the natural, it would look like a faded and uninviting old mantle, that none of us would want to wear.
The grace of humility is imparted to those who are willing to wait upon the Lord despite the severity of their circumstances and the pressures around them. Our destiny rests upon the humility that comes from abiding in Him alone.
Lucifer fell in the height of his glory in heaven because he began looking at himself even deeming himself equal to God (Isaiah 14:12-13). Pride remains the hallmark of our fallen nature, none possess humility in our own strength. The impartation of humility is a process and can only be accomplished by the Holy Spirit as we grow in increasing levels in our walk with the Lord. Without this Divine impartation, we lose our way.
There have been times in my life where I have found myself barren, seemingly void any anointing. It would be during those times that I suddenly discover a measure of pride within myself. Pride will always cause the Holy Spirit to withdraw as He will not operate within the same house Lucifer has access to. Every sin we contemplate will in some measure buffet us before we commit it, not so with the sin of pride. Pride is subtle, operating silently within us without our knowledge or even our consent, but blatantly and shamelessly it invades our hearts unbidden. Pride is exposed only when we find the grace to humble ourselves (Job 42:1-6). When pride is exposed we have before us a choice of either laying aside our self-focus and turning from our pride, or hiding. Just as the sin hidden within Adam and Eve drove them into hiding, exposed sin that is not repented of pushes us into hiding from both God and man. There is no provision of grace available for those who presist in this state after being exposed. 1 Peter 5:5, James 4:6.
Whenever we find ourselves in this pit resulting from our pride, we need to go back to our first encounter with the Lord, and begin from that point once again. It is here, where full restoration for our lives is realized. 1 Jn, 2:23- 25. Allow me to quote that scripture: “Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either, he who acknowleges the Son has the Father also. “Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. “And this is the promise He promised us—eternal life. There is no other option available to remedy our error. Tragically, many attempt to do so without returning where they first missed it, this never works for its out of principle. It is at this point where an unconditional surrender to the Lord alone, can fully restore us, all other efforts end in the flesh.
As mentioned previously, humility is not an inherent quality in any of us, this makes the exposure of pride in our lives exceptionally bitter. For those who do possess a measure of humility in the natural, that measure is quickly depleted when the real tests come. The real tests invariably involve God utilizing others in our lives to expose the pride within us.
With this said, I confess that the scriptures quoted at the beginning of this newsletter have found me out.………I am guilty.
The greatest pain I carry in my bosom, is in knowing the pain and anguish I have caused others in the past through my insensitive actions and words. It is a haunting truth. I know God is merciful, and He graciously forgives, even so, there are always consequences that cannot be ignored.
My hope and my joy is in knowing that God is restoring the losses and reversing all that the canker worm and locusts have destroyed in our lives. There is a shining beacon of hope emerging for all those who continue to abide in what they heard through the Spirit at the beginning. If you will but abide in him your valley of tears will be fully recompensed and your prayers answered. The lonely dark path you’ve trod will be redeemed and fully restored. There is an emergence of true relationships founded on the Word of God, and nourished by an intimate relationship in Christ which will strengthen us in these end times. Many are graduating from the school of suffering and adversity with honor and nobility, always living for others–at their own expense. Col, 1:24. Their faith rising above the the earthly realms of doubts, fears, rejections, and above all the clamour round about them–silently walking in the realms of peace and serenity in heavenly places. Heb, 4:11. Eph, 1:3.
As the end times unfold around us, may we all press in with diligence and abide in Him who is our strength, our hope, and our victory. He is coming into the hearts of all those who unselfishly serve Him with great power and might. To him alone, be glory, power, and dominion forever! AMEN!
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