Biblical Foundations for Freedom
Chapter 2 - Discernment:
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,
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
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.
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:
belief that God didnít favor me; I sort of slipped in, and He just
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
is a fallen and cursed world, so bad things will happen.
having free will make bad choices that will harm innocent people. Unless a
person is saved, he is a servant of the devil.
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
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.
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
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!
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
I need to diligently seek God so that I can operate in this
2 Chronicles 7:14; James 4:8
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.
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.
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.
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!