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Biblical Foundations for Freedom

Chapter 2 - Discernment:

By Carole West

 

Introduction

One and a half years ago I found out about Resurrection Life of Jesus Church through my friend Karen Leach, who discovered it on the Internet. We studied the written material available at the web site and we visited the church, which is a four-hour drive. We rejoiced at the things we read and requested the deliverance ministry. I had been a Christian for 38 years, and baptized in the Holy Spirit for 35 years. In my church we had a deliverance ministry, which I fully utilized.  However, our church did not have the light about the curses and the narrow, holy walk required of Christians. Neither did we get to the root causes of problems.    Iím thrilled to learn that there is real liberty in Christ, and that He whom the Son sets free, is free indeed! The deliverance and counseling ministry at Resurrection Life of Jesus Church is unique. Praise the wonderful Lord!

Following is a Bible Study done in response to Art Mathiasí book, Biblical Foundations of Freedom, I followed Pastor Johnís study guide that he also uses when people respond to the Christian Dynamics Course 3 after receiving deliverance.

New Concepts or Not-so-New-Concepts That I Need to Apply

q     Artís definition of discernment is kind of a new concept to me. I always thought of it as spiritually discerning evil spirits or maybe discerning the presence of the Holy Spirit or of angels. The scripture in Hebrews 5:14, about having their senses exercised by reason of use is very applicable for the gift of discerning of spirits. The more it operates, the keener the discernment. I did not think of it as simple identification of what is good and what is evil, but I can see that this is another application of the word discernment.  After being a Spirit filled Christian for 35 years, itís sad to say that Iím still learning to recognize when the devil has lied and painted some elaborate picture for me to swallow. For years, I didnít even question the lies that Iíd heard all my life. Now, when I recognize it, I refuse it, and Satan does flee. But unfortunately, it has taken revelation from Pastor John and others for me see some of the lies. Hopefully, now I wonít have to depend on others to identify Satanís lies.

q     On page 27, Hebrews 5:11 is quoted saying that the people were dull of hearing. This is because, Art says, ďour wrong attitudes are blocking the kind of teaching that we really need.Ē I can see some major blocks of my learning: 

1.      The belief that God didnít favor me; I sort of slipped in, and He just tolerates me. 

2.      I have to demonstrate or prove to God and significant people that Iím acceptable or good because of my works. I had these unscriptural attitudes for years without actually being aware that I was guided that way. I was a captive of these lies because of lack of understanding of the truth and because of being bound by demons from early childhood.

q     Likewise, it is a new concept to me that Godís rewards are directly related to obedience to His Word. Iím now trying to be obedient to God, and certainly have peace as never before. Before my deliverance a year ago, I didnít have a concept of God as being holy and requiring obedience. I knew, of course that He is holy, but I was quite confused about the obedience part. First of all, I didnít know that we were still required to keep the Ten Commandments, including the Sabbath and eating regulations. Then I assumed that the things we needed to obey were either the obvious ones of not being unequally yoked, or that He told certain people things to obey, like a call to the ministry. I really didnít think there was much for me to obey! He didnít call me or give me any special directions! I was quite off! I didnít think God really expected us to be holy since it was impossible! Satan is very clever at deceiving us, making us blind to Godís requirements, and to our departure from them. People have come up with elaborate systems to rationalize not obeying Godís commandments. Iíve seen how disobedience puts me at a stop in my growth and cuts off fellowship with the Lord. Itís definitely something I donít want to do.

q     We need to seek Godís face diligently (2 Chronicles 7:14 and James 4:8). He doesnít give us His treasures unless we ask with care and obedience.

q     We need to be surrendered to God in all we do. I especially notice this when dealing with the Old Nature, or Flesh. We need to resist the carnal temptations but at the same time yield to the Lord.

q     When weíre confronted with difficulties or things we donít understand, we usually reason in our minds instead of simply trusting in His Word. This gets us into big trouble! We must not trust in the arm of flesh! We need to subject our reason to Him. An example of this in my life is when I was interceding for someone to be delivered, and saw no change in that person, then I rationalized in my mind, ďThis person does have free will. Maybe I canít expect God to do anything about this situation.Ē Now Iím asking God to cause me to grow in faith to obtain this petition. I know it is His will, so I know He hears me. According to 1 John 5:14, I have the petition that I desire. I will not try to do things myself or interfere with Godís timing and work. Iím just praying and waiting on Him. Aina also gave me this gem, ďItís a matter of focus. Donít focus on the negative, but on what God can do.Ē Then I heard Carter Conlon say, ďItís not about me, or about anyone else or something else; itís about Jesus and what Heís doing.Ē So this is my faith lesson or trial.

q     Sometimes our present responses are controlled by our past experiences. We can break these unhealthy patterns in Jesusí name. An example of this is the pattern in my life that I did not see at all until it was revealed by Pastor John and confirmed by Karen and Sotiris: Early in my childhood, I felt rejected, this lead my childish mind to become guilty, thinking I caused it. Then the guilt caused me to try to earn love by performance of whatever my parents or others wanted. So I became a real strong people-pleaser and a hard worker, all so that I could earn love. This pattern can be broken by casting out the lies of rejection, by healing of the rejection, and by renewing my mind so that I do not try to earn peopleís love.

q     Discernment is the tool that can start our freedom from destructive emotional and behavior patterns. We need to exercise our God-given discernment to be able to identify the lies of Satan, then to cast out those imaginations that dare to exalt themselves against the knowledge of God. 

q     If we have any unconfessed sin, Satan has a right to bind us, and to give us sickness.  So we need to always ask the Holy Spirit to do a search in us to find any unforgiveness or disobedience to God. Thatís why itís so good to praise God all the time. If weíve got sin, praise is difficult or impossible.

q     It is great to have this cleared up about God not allowing evil. If God allowed evil that would imply that He doesnít have control over things. It is a sin for us to allow evil when we can do something about it. Likewise it would be sin for God to allow evil to happen. Instead evil happens for three reasons:

1.      This is a fallen and cursed world, so bad things will happen.

2.      People having free will make bad choices that will harm innocent people. Unless a person is saved, he is a servant of the devil.

3.      When we sow evil, we reap evil (Galatians 6:7; Proverbs 1:27-30). God is not working against us! Satan tries to deceive us into thinking that weíre not good enough for God to bless or that God doesnít favor us, but these are lies that contradict the truth in His Word.

HOW   I PLAN TO IMPLEMENT THESE CONCEPTS

q     One thing that is needed to do in all these concepts is to continually check my thinking and emotional responses to see whether or not they line up with Godís Word. That is the discernment part that I must exercise daily, which will enable me to cast out all imaginations that arenít true. I can ask God to put a watch on my mouth and my mind. Also as I praise the Lord, He will show me if something is not right, and will put His finger on it so it can be corrected. If all this still doesnít get through to me, the Lord is faithful to reveal it to the Church, who can instruct me! This has already been done several times for me.

q     For a couple of weeks, I was sad and felt rejected by God because I had some hidden things in me that I hadnít seen, but several others had. I thought that it was almost like God and everyone else knows about me, but I myself am ignorant. But this doesnít bother me at all now because I see that I needed help to see that. In the future, I hope that the Lord will be able to communicate to me directly as I will be listening! Another reason that I felt sad and rejected by God is that the physical symptoms of arthritis on my fingers still remain, and have grown larger even though Iíve done all I can do to cast out and deal with the root cause. Iíve decided that He wants me to just wait patiently on His timing.

q     I believe that the reason that I never had a revelation of this pattern of rejection/guilt/performance is because I buried it and hid it. It must be related to the Ďfrozen emotionsí that I had as a child. I was still in denial!

q     In addition to discerning my thoughts, I need to check to see if I am obedient to Godís Word. Disobedience cuts us off from obtaining the promises. So I need to spend much time in the Word of God so that I always have the Truth before me. This is where itís helpful to put key scriptures on cards and read frequently until the change and healing is accomplished.

q     I need to diligently seek God so that I can operate in this discernment.
2 Chronicles 7:14; James 4:8

q     I need to yield to God in all actions and surrender to Him at all times. If I donít, sin will happen, and Iíll be miserably stuck.

q     When confronted with puzzling problems such as hindrances to prayers, I need to go to the Word of God, instead of figuring things out in my mind. The mind needs to be submissive to Godís Word.

q     I need to understand my past responses to life so that I donít repeat damaging reactions to events in life. I need to break the bondage of the lies that I was listening to and to replace the lies with the truth. It is important to ask the Lord to heal the wounds so that I donít draw demons to festering wounds.

q     I need to remember that all good things are from God, Satan is the author of sin, and he tries to get us to believe that God doesnít love us, isnít fair or isnít kind to us. The enemy is Satan, not God or me. So for example, if Iím feeling like God hasnít chosen or favored me, I need to recognize the lie from Satan, who is trying to get us separated from Godís love.

THINGS I DISAGREE WITH

There is something that I think Art Mathias did not complete when he told the three reasons that bad things happen, he failed to mention that sometimes God is judging people or a nation, and that sometimes Satan is accusing a person like Job, so God gives permission for that person to be tested in order that he may be further blessed. Nevertheless, we need at all times to submit to God and not blame Him. Job is a beautiful example of this submission, ďThough He slay me, yet will I trust Him.Ē

PAINFUL HURTS THAT I DISCOVERED

It was painful when I discovered that I had that very crippling pattern of behavior from the rejection as a child. It was painful because I hadnít seen it and because I had no clue what to do about eliminating the problem. Iíve been praying about this for about a month now and the Lord is healing me as I am no longer feeling like junk and hating myself. I am able to feel Godís love. I pray for a daily increase here and that seems to be happening. Furthermore, I have stopped trying to earn approval from God or people. Instead, the Lord is giving me patience and peace. I am learning to wait for Him, not to fix it by myself.

HOW I PLAN TO HAVE THESE HURTS HEALED

Every time I recognize a hurt of any kind, I need to come to the Lord for healing, wisdom and anything else He needs to do to fix it. That means to pray and to search the Bible for appropriate scriptures to apply.

THINGS I DONíT UNDERSTAND

I have a question about my healing of arthritis on my fingers. This is becoming a situation for learning as the actual arthritis is not really a big hindrance. I wonder why I still have symptoms when Iíve already renounced unforgiveness and bitterness. I remember the example in Henry Wrightís book, A More Excellent Way, of the five women that went to him for arthritis in their fingers, they had to go home and repent of unforgiveness. When they returned to the next meeting, having forgiven and repented, they all had immediate manifestation of healing. I do know that not all healings are immediate, but Iíve been praying for this for a few months. Itís been seven months since I had the revelation of being bitter about life. There is no evidence of the arthritis being healed. In fact, it is growing bigger, more painful, and increasing in other finger joints! My attitude is just to keep open to further revelation and then to wait on His timing. But I just donít understand what is happening in this situation.

Iím confident that the Lord will heal me in His time. The Lord healed me in the past from some very painful arthritis in my back and at the end of my tailbone. I started praying about it as soon as symptoms came. It got worse. I couldnít walk any longer than 15 minutes without such pain that I would have to get off my feet. I went to the doctor and even had physical therapy. Their prognosis was arthritis, with which I would have to learn to live. But the Lord knew differently. Throughout a period of probably six months, the Lord gradually healed my back, until now there are absolutely no signs of arthritis in my back. I have been totally pain free for at least four years! God is still in charge of things, and He is teaching me to trust that He is faithful to answer prayer in His time and in His way.      

Also a situation has come up with a long time friend of mine. There is a woman who has been an acquaintance of mine for about thirty years. But she does not want to grow in the Lord. I cannot have fellowship with her except at a shallow level. I always thought there was some reason that the Lord wanted me to continue friendship with her because she is persistent and considers herself a good friend of mine. But Karen said that maybe I shouldnít be her friend because we are unequally yoked. I know for sure that I cannot fellowship with her about most of the things that Iím learning about the Lord. However, she is a Christian. I am having a hard time hearing what the Lord thinks about this. Maybe because of my strong tendency to be a people pleaser, I am unable to see that this relationship is a disobedience to God! Furthermore, she occasionally gossips about people. I always try to steer her away from that, but have found myself in a bad position a few times because she tells me things that I donít want to hear. I can see that I need to get very firm. I need to stop being a people pleaser! So, I shall do so at the next opportunity. Iíve had to confess to the Lord that I listened to gossip, which I very much didnít want to do, but didnít know how to be strong enough to tell her to stop. Now that Iíve written all this, I believe I will be able to be strong enough, since I donít want to be guilty of gossip!


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