THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE
John 8:32 "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make* you free."
* The word, “make” used here, means to liberate or set free, as from slavery!
John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Ephesians 6:11-13 “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil…Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth…”
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, …meditate on these things.”
This study is written for those who know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior and have thus had the experience of being “born again” by surrendering to Him. Without the “new nature” that God gives at conversion, a person cannot apply the truth of God to their daily lives that will “make them free.”
BASIC HUMAN NEEDS
There are at least six needs that are basic to ever human being no matter his or her background, culture or race. Our happiness is tied to having these basic needs fulfilled.
Affection — the need to be loved which brings with it value.
Nurturing — to be cared for and provided for in all aspects of life and emotions.
Security — stability in relationships, environment, etc. with boundaries and things to believe in and trust.
Acceptance — to be received (with all our faults), to belong, to be known as, to be desirable as a person.
Competence — to have a degree of intelligence, be adequate and capable of providing for ourselves.
Impact — to be significant, matter, have a place in this world with others responding to us.
The above six basic needs may be broadly summed up in the need to receive love/value and the ability to give love/value.
WHAT WE ALL WANT MOST
(Proverbs 1:20) “Wisdom calls aloud outside; She raises her voice in the open squares.”
What we all are looking for is love and value. In fact, this need for love and value is so desperate that some people will do virtually anything to try to obtain it. Even a casual observer may see “in the open squares” that people are unhappy and dissatisfied. They are searching, looking for something, and some people are doing so at an almost frantic pace. Their efforts to find fulfillment and satisfaction are manifest in the cars they drive, how they drive them, the fashion clothing they must wear, their grooming changes, the need to have a “buff” body, big talk, titles, money and on and on. They may go deeply in debt, exhaust themselves and even commit suicide in the hope that THEN perhaps people will finally pay attention to them and consider that they had value. However, none of these efforts really satisfy for more than a short time, and there are reasons why they do not.
First, no matter how much of these we have, we never have enough. Second, these things never last and they are always precarious. Finally, none of them are real! They are only perceived values in the mind of each individual. And therein lies an important clue!
The reason that none of these efforts really satisfy is because they are all based on other people. People are trying to impress and thus get love and value from other people who are trying to impress and get love and value from them! And, as a paradox, sometimes when a person feels that another is giving them value and love, they are likely to become dissatisfied and begin looking for someone else from whom they may get value/love! The reason this happens, when it happens, is that the person seeking value/love feels so poorly about themselves that when someone tries to give them value/love, they relegate that person to a place of not being very astute. They feel (sometimes subconsciously) that if this person was really perceptive, they would see and know that they do not deserve the value/love that is being extended to them, and thus they move on.
Beloved, now we are children of God!
Value is obtained from a higher source than ourselves. We thus need to consider the possibility of receiving value/love from the highest source, and that is, of course, God. What if we were to really receive genuine love and value from HIM? Would that not satisfy! Yes, it certainly would, and we can. Consider what God has said to those who have become His children by faith in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ Who came to earth in human flesh to make it possible for us to become God’s children…
(1 John 3:1-2) "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."
We have become so jaded by advertising words that do not mean what they say that we may miss the true import of the above verses. Therefore, let’s consider them more carefully. God Almighty is willing to call us, who are by nature and action, sinful, powerless, failing human beings…His children! This is marvelous and amazing! That is the greatest and the highest position/relationship that we could possibly hope for…a child of Almighty God!
And what of our future? It will be glorious beyond words!
“…when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”
(Romans 8:18) “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
It is worthy to note that the world will not know us as “a child of God.” That is, the world will not assign any value to us for this. Thus, we should not expect the world to acknowledge our grand status as God’s child. The world did not acknowledge God’s only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, either. In fact, they mocked Him, spit on Him and crucified Him!
(John 15:18) "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.”
God does not offer this grand relationship with Him as a possible reward to us based upon our efforts, but rather, He graciously welcomes us into His family as a gift, a present possession…”Beloved, NOW we are children of God…” And, He promises to also one day make us like Himself. That is the highest love! And that love gives us value! But, there is still something more!
In order to really be satisfied, we not only have to be loved and thus have value, but we have to be able to give love in order to have value. Before we were “born again,” in our pursuit for satisfaction, we were too selfishly engaged in our own needs to be able to truly give love and value as God would have us to. Now, as His child by faith in Christ’s sacrifice that paid the full penalty for our sins, we have become a “new creation!”
(2 Cor 5:17) "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."
Now, as a son of God and a new creation, we have been taught and enabled by God to give real love and value to others.
(1 Thess 4:9) "But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;"
Everyone desperately needs to know that they have worth.
Everyone desperately wants to and needs to know that they have value/love, or worth. Everyone also needs to and wants to give value/love, or worth, to someone else. The later is not possible without the former. The greatest value is equated to love. When someone loves us, they are bestowing great value on us. When we love someone, we likewise are bestowing great value on him or her. Without this we are nothing.
(1Corinthians 13:2) “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”
The amount of value that love brings equates to the value of the one bestowing the love. Therefore, the greatest value/love is bestowed by the greatest One, Almighty God!
If we were all perfectly honest, outward personality characteristics would reflect our true feelings and emotional conditions. However, we are not all perfectly honest. Part of the reason for this is that we live in a society in which it is considered a weakness, even in the minds of some Christians who should know better, if we do not “have it all together.” Thus some will pretend and cover their pains and inadequacies hoping that others will see them in their pasted on personality traits and consider them as having value. Too many people mask their hurts and cover them with artificial smiles and mannerisms that are designed to hide their real selves.
When a person feels deficient, consciously or subconsciously, they may try to mitigate their perceived lack by taking on any, or several, of a large variety of character traits. The false personality portrayed by these traits is really an effort to obtain value from those with whom they associate. The hope is that others will see this artificial personality as worthy of the value that they do not perceive their real person has or deserves.
No one person has all of the traits listed below. A single person may have one or more of them and may even demonstrate opposing traits depending on the company in which they find themselves at any given time. The personality characteristics are in most cases not consciously invented and the person may be in great denial regarding them. So imbedded is their desire to cover, that it is not unusual for such a person to think that anyone who identifies and exposes their false personality to them is really “out to get them” and thus inventing these things about them.
POSSIBLE EXTERNAL SYMPTOMS
|Aloof||Excessive Talking||Controlling||Very Quiet|
|Easily Offended||Extremely Helpful||Prideful||Apologetic|
|Perpetually Ill||Know It All||Seductive||Promiscuous|
|Critical||Baby Talk||Dim Witted||Sarcastic|
POSSIBLE INTERNAL FEELINGS FUELING THE SYMPTOMS
POSSIBLE CAUSE OF INTERNAL FEELINGS
Lack of Truth
|Personal Shame||Family Shame||Neglect||Laziness|
People may assume these traits and develop a false personality to cover their lack of value…the value that is only fully obtained in the apprehension of God’s love for them (please consider the underlined words again). All human beings, no matter their social status or upbringing, are sinners by nature and action. When Jesus Christ is received into their lives as Savior, He implants within them His nature. This does not cancel out their previous nature and scars. It may take years and years, and in some cases it may never happen in their lifetime, for some people to allow their Savior to become their Lord…the Lord who loves them and thus bestows upon them real value.
The world gives short-lived, and at times, artificial value.
The value that the world gives is artificial and/or short-lived. The most popular people are given applause and accolades because their followers admire some trait in them. The trait may be anything from the foolishness of a rock musician’s attire and actions to the heroism of sacrificing a life to save another. The rebellion of the rock star may be honored by some for awhile until the performer grows old and looks obviously foolish. The meritorious heroism of another may be true and deserve praise, but it is relatively soon forgotten and too late to benefit the hero anyway. There is no lasting value in either case! In the words of Solomon, “I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind” (Ecc 1:14).
EXAMPLES OF ASSUMED TRAITS
One false personality trait is the “always right,” or “opinionated” person. They attempt to obtain value from those around them by showing their superior knowledge or intellect on virtually every subject.
The “cannot be wrong” attitude person may subconsciously perceive themselves as having so little value already that they cannot afford to be wrong regarding yet another subject. They may have been raised with the philosophy that it is sinful to be wrong in any way. They do not want to be sinful, therefore, they reject any possibility that they could be wrong. They therefore transfer the wrong to others…their mate, their job, their parents, brothers and sisters in Christ and especially anyone who tries to help them see that they are wrong. Their conversation may be filled with the failings and faults of others to keep the attention away from any possible failure on their part. They may assign all sorts of negative reasons to a person who is honestly, and in love, trying to help them see that they are wrong in some area of their life.
The shy, very reserved false personality person may feel that they are of such little worth that they dare not speak lest someone criticize them and they feel even less worthy. The braggart, the angry person, the silly class clown, the aloof person, the dim wit and others, are all hiding their real feelings about themselves behind a false front that they hope will keep others far enough away that they will not discover their real weaknesses.
On the other hand, the perfectionist and the workaholic are on a works program trying to derive their value by superior accomplishments. The whiner, the perpetually ill person and the frequent or exaggerated apologist are all trying to generate words of encouragement from others to bolster their inner lack of value or to escape responsibility.
VALUE GIVERS OR TAKERS
Parents are the first givers or takers of value in a child’s life. When the parents have little or no value themselves, they may prey on their children and others to obtain value by a variety of means. In extreme cases, they may make their children feel that all failures in the home are the fault of the children. When mommy gets angry its because the child did not do such and such. When dad comes home drunk its because the child did such and such.
Parents prepare their children to received God's love … or they don't!
Perhaps the worst kind of parent is the one who just ignores the child…never acknowledging the child’s interests or accomplishments but rather is fully and only occupied with the parent’s own interests. This tells the child, without ever saying it in words, that the child has less than zero value.
There seems to have been a generation of parents who somehow had the philosophy that if they complimented their children, their children might slack off. Therefore, no matter how well their child may have accomplished a task, the parent often told them something they could have done better. This generation also did not tell their children that they loved them nor did they compliment them. These parents may have felt that they were demonstrating their love toward their families by providing food, clothing and shelter. Since there is more to life than these necessary physical needs, their children left home feeling inadequate and unworthy or perhaps even angry and frustrated.
Unconscious negative programming
Some people are not aware that they have been programmed negatively toward themselves and toward life. A dear Christian woman in her 50’s had been struggling most of her life with such thoughts. When asked to recall her earliest memories, she described a scene when as a very little girl she had taken her crayons and made a picture for her father. With anticipation she gave her gift to her dad when he came home from work. He looked at it and his only comment was, “Who ever heard of a green sun!” She had been thus programmed by such events that even after many years and noteworthy accomplishments, she thought of herself as having less than zero value.
Another Christian who was also encumbered was asked to recall some positive comment her father had made about her. She could recall none! In yet other circumstances, the only positive input by the parents was when the child had accomplished some task. Thus their value was attached to what they could produce. They had no value otherwise.
One of the longest lasting imprints that a parent may impose on a child is the imprinting of “co-dependency.” I am using this term to mean the deep need for the attention/approval between the parent and the child, even if both have very strong negative attitudes toward each other. The need may be so strong that even when the grown child knows that contact with the parent(s) will result in various emotional and spiritual harms to themselves and/or their own family, they cannot sustain long without doing so. While the child may have a long list of complaints of the way the parent(s) have hurt them in the past, the detrimental way the parent(s) are now living and how the parent(s) presently act toward them, the child continues to make or allow contact!
Sometimes the parents perpetuate this problem by placing “guilt trips” on the child, such as, “If you truly loved me you would…” or “You call yourself a Christian but I don’t see…” Since the parent has trained the child by the imprinting during their formative years, the child tries to get the approval of the parents even to the extent of harm to themselves. Of course, the approval NEVER comes! No matter what the child does at the coercion of the parent, it is never good enough…and never will be because the parent is using this technique to keep the child in that co-dependency mode.
The child may say or do something to try to thwart the parent’s continued grasp on them, such as, “You are always blaming me so I’m not going to call you any more” or they may fulfill a parents unjust demands and inform the parent that “This is the last time I’m going to do this.” This may be followed by a call from the parent a few days later telling the child that they forgive them for their insolent attitude. Or, the child may call back a few days after they said that they would not, “Just to check on the parent.” The real reason is that they are so imprinted that they are seeking the parent’s approval for what they said in the original phone call declaration. Of course, the parent never approves but may tell the child that they knew the child did not really mean what they said and they are willing to overlook the child’s poor behavior just as they have been doing for years. Ah, what martyrs the parents portray themselves! Only the truth will set the child and the parents free from this awful merry-go-round!
In the above circumstances, it was no wonder that each person had a very difficult time in truly accepting God’s love by grace. They had mood swings that were mostly down. Only when they felt that they had accomplished something that God would accept did they feel that God loved them. Most of the time they lived in one or more of the characteristics listed earlier, much to their own pain and the deep concern of those who loved them. In addition, their inner struggling for love/value made them feel inadequate to serve others. This lessened the times when they felt that they did something of worth. In all this, Christ their Savior was not glorified for only as we serve Him and others through love and gratitude does it bring honor to Him.
(1Peter 1:22) Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,
There are many other examples, of course, that could be given of value taker parents. These kinds of homes may produce children with little or no value who may repeat the cycle with their children by doing the very things that they disliked or even hated in the home in which they were raised. These parents prepared their children to feel incapable of receiving the love and value that God wants to and indeed already has given them.
If you see yourself in any of the above or similar circumstances, take heart! Many have found the joy and peace that comes from a close personal relationship of love with Jesus Christ. They have not only found these inner satisfactions, but because of these, they may now serve their Savior and others as a channel of His love without need for reciprocation.
(John 13:34-35) "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
Parents who grasp the love and value that God gives them, pass this on to their children.
On the other hand, parents who have an understanding and grasp of the love and value that God gives them are able to pass this on to their children by proper encouragement and praise. This love and value is supported by a discipline for a wrong that never denies the value of the child but only corrects the wrong action. The child is loved/valued so much that the parent does not want them to do wrong and is willing to spend the time and effort to lovingly correct them. At the same time, they show an interest in and value for the things the child says and does, but in a balanced way that does not make the child spoiled. These parents are value givers who are preparing their children to receive the only truly fulfilling value/love…the value/love of God!
We may take a simple self-test to assess our need for love/value, or to put it another way, our lack of grasping God’s love for us. As we converse with others, notice how often we change the subject to ourselves when a person is relating a story or some facts about themselves. For example, John is telling us about how his car broke down on the way to work and his boss was unfairly angry at him. Do we show sympathy for John and interest in his predicament or do we immediately change the subject to how our car broke down once or how our boss is even more unfair to us.
Me, my and Mine!
When we have little apprehension and grasping of God’s love for us, although we may have the mental knowledge, we will very frequently change any conversation to center on ourselves. Because we are so needy, we have little true concern for others but instead are trying to fill our own needs by drawing concern from them toward ourselves. We will never be successful in this endeavor. In fact, we may drive others away from us and may never know why.
Here are a few other conversation self-tests…Mary likes a particular dress style. Do we compliment her even if that is not a style that we like for ourselves or do we tell her of another style that we like or have seen that we think is better? Harold has an idea on how to make something at work be more productive. Is our first thought of how we can show that his idea will not work (or perhaps even undermine it!), or do we sincerely help him develop his idea? If our opinion has to be more valuable, more important, and thus we are negative towards other’s opinions, we may be very lacking in our appreciation of God’s love for us and trying to gain this love/value from others.
A caution is needed at this juncture. A person may see and acknowledge this failing and change their conversation habits without having their heart first changed by the love of God. This kind of human pattern change will only result in taking on one or more of the other false traits listed earlier.
THE “SAFETY ZONE” ROAD BLOCK TO SUCCESS
Be willing to step our of your “Saftey Zone”
Most people do not relish change, and this disdain for change increases as people grow older. A person inflicted with the problems we have been discussing has a particular reason not to change. As miserable as they may be, there is a “safety zone” in the familiarity of the misery. Any suggestion at change carries with it the fear of the unknown and possibly failure with more hurts and disappointments. They feel that if they try the suggested changes and do not obtain success, it will be yet another defeat and wounding to their being. To them it feels safer to just stay as they are in the familiar and consistent “safety zone” of their present unhappiness.
While parents are the first value givers (or takers) in a person’s life, the most lasting, meaningful and true value comes ONLY from Almighty God. Real, genuine, lasting and satisfying value is a gift from God to all of His children.
(John 1:12) But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.
There is no greater identity in the universe than being a “child of God”! No movie star, no billionaire, no Nobel Prize winner, no head of State is greater than this. When the Lord Jesus Christ returns from glory to catch away His beloved ones, He will be very selective. He will only rapture those who are “children of God.” When in the beginning of the Kingdom Age the Lord sits on His throne and judges the nations, He will only allow His sheep (“children of God”) to be on His right hand. To them only He will say, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34). This is real value!!!
VALUE AT THE GREATEST PRICE
This gift of God’s love toward us came at the greatest price to Him. One day the Son of God left the throne on which He was seated at the right hand of His Father and made the long condescending journey to reside in the body of an infant child in the womb of a young Jewish virgin. He was born into this sin-cursed world not in a magnificent palace, but in a lowly stable surrounded by the odors and excrement of animals. While angels and shepherds paid homage to Him at his birth, some two years later King Herod tried to kill Him! His youth was spent in obscurity. All we know of this time is a single incident in His pre-teens when He confounded the wisest Jewish men.
When He completed some 30 years of His perfect law keeping life by partaking of John’s water baptism in the river Jordan. God the Father spoke words regarding Him that Almighty God had never uttered about any other human being…”This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.”
For the next three plus years, He traveled the Palestine regions preaching the prophesied hope of Israel, “The Kingdom of God.” His message was “the Kingdom is at hand” and that He was the long awaited Messiah. His credentials were His ability to heal the sick, raise the dead, multiply food to feed thousands, speak words that “never a man spoke” and forgive sins. In spite of this, those He loved so dearly, those He wanted to save and bring into His marvelous Kingdom here on a refurbished earth, rejected Him. With this, His path changed and He headed for the cross to die for the sins of all mankind.
When the mob came to take Him in the garden by the betrayal of one of His apostles, He spoke and they all fell to the ground. He was in full control! They had no power against Him. He allowed Himself to be taken. At the mock trial when only insufficient witnesses came forth, He Himself spoke up and gave the truth that they deemed blasphemy. He could have called twelve legions of angels (60,000) but instead He withstood the mocking, spittle and beating from cruel finite men and permitted them to impale him to a cross where he hung in pain and thirst for hours. His “It is finished” cry signified His end here on earth, but the beginning of His payment in hell where the billows of God’s wrath poured over Him until His resurrection morn (Acts 2:25-31).
The Lord Jesus Christ did it all for us!
Why did the Son of God do this? Why did God the Father allow it? All this was accomplished for you and for me. How valuable are we then to God? We are worth all of this to Him.
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Ro 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
However, too many “children of God” have only a head knowledge of these marvelous facts. While they may acknowledge all this to be true, they do not apprehend it (grasp and make it their own) in their hearts and allow it to comfort, motivate and guide them. Instead, they are enslaved by the past…past sins, past imprinting by value taking parents, past failures…and so they FEEL unworthy of being a beloved child of God and act accordingly. Their lives are controlled by their feelings rather than by the word of God Who bought them at this awful price!
If you are one among this group, we urge you to take serious thought to the things being brought to you in this study. You owe it to your Savior to find and live the victorious life. If by faith in the work of God’s Son Who took your place, you are God’s child, principalities and powers are watching you. You are either glorifying Christ by the way you live or not.
Eph 3:8-12 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.
THREE CONTAINERS OF GOD’S LOVE
What is wrong with this picture?
If each container above represents a Christian and the contents of the containers are the amount of love that God has for each of them, is this picture accurate?
David apparently grasped God's love when he wrote, “My cup runs over”
To understand the truth, we have to first define God’s love. His love is infinite, unmerited, constant and non-reciprocal. This means that He loves ALL of His children the SAME at all times, even when He is disappointed with them or must discipline them. All of the containers, if illustrated correctly, would be full and overflowing with God’s love for them!
Psalms 139:17-18 “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.”
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Proverbs 3:12 For whom the LORD loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights.
We must grasp God's love, not just know of it!
The human tendency is to think that if we have failed God and He is thus displeased with us, then God’s love for us has diminished also. This may be a human trait at times but it is not a divine one. Sin in all its ugliness, does obstruct a child of God’s fellowship with our Lord and it inhibits our opportunities to be used by Him and to glorify Him, but it does not lessen His love for us as His blood bought and washed children.
It is extremely important that children of God more than just mentally understand this! We very much need to GRASP and APPREHEND God’s love for us. We need to be deeply convinced of His love in our inner most being so that it becomes a part of us. We need to be comforted by, assured by and guided by the fact that God infinitely loves us. When we are honestly and deeply convinced of this, we may then make decisions and live every day based on His love rather than based on our perceived or real inadequacies. Without this assurance in our hearts, we put ourselves on a “works program,” ever trying to gain God’s love for us. This may go on throughout our lives and may cause us much frustration and pain while it inhibits God’s use of us for His purposes. In some cases, this lack of grasping God’s love and making it our own may even result in some of His children just giving up and turning away from God.
The truth is that God infinitely loves His children! He constantly loves us! We cannot earn nor work to keep His love. He loves us even when we do not love Him in return as we should! He has demonstrated His love for us in the highest, most infinite way possible…
“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” (1John 4:9)
The cross of Jesus Christ is the ultimate demonstration of God’s love for all mankind! God gave His only begotten Son to leave heaven for all sinners. God placed the sins of every human being on His Son because of His great love for them.
John 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
Isa 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
Resisting the solution!
The solution to all of the above problems is the same and really relatively simple. God has made it that way. However, getting people to even consider that they have a problem, let alone that they need to apply the solution, can be a major task. The problem/solution may have to be discussed and considered many, many times over a lengthy period, perhaps even years, before the afflicted person will allow themselves to yield to that which will solve their problem.
There are a number of reasons for this…
1. They may not understand that they have a problem.
2. They may feel that the problem is really their mate, their parents, their children, their friends, their job, etc.
3. They may have lived so long with their problem that they fear abandoning it
4. They may think that the solution is too simple
5. They may think that they are already living the solution (but they are not) and it is not working for them.
6. They may be embarrassed to acknowledge that they have a problem
No success will be attained until a person is willing to commit to an all out reliance on the One Who is truth, the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6)! They must be willing to trust in the One Who bore their sin penalty and rescued them from hell and is even now preparing a place in heaven for them.
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”
John 14:2-3 "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
Nothing will change or really improve until the person makes a commitment to allow the Lord to have His way in their life, even if they are fearful and/or do not initially understand. Only when they become so miserable that they are sick of living as they are, with the personal hurts and/or the damage they are inflicting on themselves and others, is the person likely to make the necessary commitment.
Nothing will change until there is a commitment.
James 1:5-8 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
SIX STEPS TO FREEDOM
There are six steps in the process that will result in the solution to these problems once the honest whole-hearted commitment and intent is made to apply them.
The first step is found in the context of these next two verses:
James 4:4-5 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously"?
Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.”
God jealously wants His children’s entire affection. He is not willing to share it with another and He is especially not willing to share it with “the god of this world,” satan (2Corinthians 4:4)!
1John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
This step requires the giving up of any part of satan’s world that has the affections of a child of God, if they truly want the relationship with Jesus Christ that will give them “the fullness of God” (Eph 3:19). God jealously will not share their affections. One of the most severely judged sins of Israel was that of serving another God (Deut 17:2-6). Loving the things of the world is tantamount to doing this very thing for satan is the god of this world! Some people may need assistance to see where and how they are “loving the things of the world.” They may have been doing this for so long that it simply is a part of them.
In order to truly accomplish this, they may need to substantially change their lifestyle… where they live, where they work, with whom they associate, how they spend their leisure time, etc. They will have to answer the question as to whether or not these changes are needed, and if so, is it worth it to bring glory to their Lord, to have the blessed close relationship with Jesus Christ and to have the peace and fulfillment that it brings.
The second step is closely related to the first. It has to do with restored fellowship with God. When a person is in the conditions reviewed above, they have sinned many times, knowingly or unknowingly, in their false positions. In order to have a meaningful relationship with Him, they must go to where He is (in the light) and allow Him to cleans them.
The truth of the cleansing from sin by the blood of Jesus Christ is freedom!
1John 1:6-10 “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”
A problem may be present in the heart of an abused person at this step, particularly a sexually abused person. The perpetrator of this sin may have lied to them and said that it was their fault. The victim may have been told that they caused the perpetrator to sexually desire them and thus it was their responsibility. Another area is in the fact that even abusive sexual stimulus can be physically pleasurable. The victim may feel guilty because they may have had a degree of pleasure in the acts that were imposed upon them and, in some cases, may even have looked forward to them to some degree. These superimposed false guilts may be so greatly disdained by the victim that they have subconsciously suppressed parts of the abuse and honestly forgotten them, but the burden may still be there. They may need to be helped to understand that all sin has been laid on Jesus Christ. He paid the full penalty for all sins. There is nothing left for anyone to pay, whatever their true or false responsibilities may be.
The third step requires that a person not only read but meditate on, grasp and believe a specific aspect of God’s word…His love for them. It is important to see, grasp and believe in the infinite, unmerited, constant and non-reciprocal love of God for them.
Blessed with every spiritual blessing that heaven has to offer.
Ps 1:1-3 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.
There is a version of the scriptures that translates Ephesians 1:3 thus…
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing that heaven has to offer.”
The book of Ephesians goes on to give us a list, as it were, of well over a hundred of these wonderful spiritual treasures. That being the case, one method of truly knowing and grasping the love of God is to take a paper and pencil and with thoughtful thanksgiving, carefully read through the book of Ephesians. Write out each blessing that is given to us by Almighty God as a demonstration of His great love. Stop and consciously thank Him for each of them. Here are some examples…
List those things that He has already done for us…
Eph 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
This is a marvelous blessing and a clear example of His unmerited and infinite love for us. We should pause to think of it! We are holy and without blame in Christ. Our sins have been placed on the Lord Jesus and thus blotted out forever. Does God love us? There is no question that he does (John 3:16). We should stop a moment and allow this to grip our souls as we give sincere thanks to Him!
List verses that speak of what He is presently doing for us…
Eph 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Everyday there is a need for God’s grace in our lives and He is ever ready to extend it, and does! When we receive His grace, it is followed close behind by peace…peace of soul that gives deep assurance of His compassion and love. These are ours for the taking…love gifts from God!
List verses that speak of what He will yet do for us…
Eph 1:10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth--in Him.
One day in glory there will be a grand reunion of all those who have been washed in the blood of the lamb. It will be a time of unheard of rejoicing and abandonment of all that is false, wrong and contrary to God. There is a place reserved there especially for each of His children. It has our name on it, as it were, for He “calls His sheep by name.” He personally knows and loves each of us!
The Holy Spirit's conviction or satan's condemnation!
The forth step is to stop all negative thoughts about ourselves. Some of these thoughts are what we think about ourselves. Other negative thoughts are what we think some other people may think of us. In either case, these negative thoughts can and must be stopped. We have the ability to control our own thoughts (more on this in a moment). However, if we have been entertaining negative thoughts for sometime, it has likely become a part of our “safety zone.” Here’s how it works…
To constantly put ourselves down creates a place in our minds where we feel that we cannot be expected to perform well. After all, we are __________ (fill in the blank with a negative thought about yourself). This gives us a “safety zone” in which we have no responsibility and thus do not even try to change. However, this happens to be a lie, for in truth, we are a very valuable “child of God” and are able to call on the Lord Jesus Christ to strengthen us to make needed changes!
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Some will wonder if these negative thoughts are the Holy Spirit trying to help them to understand their sins. There is a simple test to determine if it is the Holy Spirit or indeed a satanic attack!
John 10:10 "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
In the first part of the above verse, we see that satan and his followers come “to steal, to kill and to destroy.” If the negative thoughts we are thinking have as their end the harm, immobilization or destruction of us, the origin of these thoughts are satanic. For example, if we have a thought that is something like this: “The world (your family, etc.) would be better off without me,” this is without a doubt satanic! They may be better off without possible hurts you are causing, but this can be accomplished by making godly correction that brings honor to Jesus Christ.
Like the above “safety zone” of self made negative thoughts, self destruction too can be a place of false “peace.” It takes effort to rise above our bad habits and sometime it is difficult to be what God wants us to be. Satan offers a way around this uncomfortable effort to change, but it is a shame to God to follow satan’s will of harming God’s property (remember 1Cor 6:19-20). “Children of God” are called to glorify Jesus Christ by following Him and allowing Christ to control their lives (2Cor 5:14-15). We need to be encouraged to not fallow satan’s lies when success is ours for the taking. We can be a glory to our Lord!
(Ephesians 1:12) that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His
(Ephesians 3:21) to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
(2Peter 3:18) but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
On the other hand, the Spirit of Christ within His children is always remedial. He wants to help us be right and LIVE for Him. There is no glory to God to have His child drop out in failure. Christ came that we “might have life and have it more abundantly”! He is here to help us have it.
If you RESIST stan, he will flee from you!
RESIST satan! When negative thoughts come to our minds, we need to learn to purposefully refuse to entertain them. We may resist them by singing a hymn, praying, reading our Bible, calling a faithful Christian friend…and satan will flee from us. With consistent effort, satan will come less and less often and with diminished power to have his way and burden us.
James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Proverbs 16:3 “Commit your works to the LORD, And your thoughts will be
To be a whole person with our basic needs met, we must have Impact (be significant, matter, have a place in this world with others responding to us). “Impact” is attained by truly loving others with the unmerited, consistent love we have received from God. Look for ways of doing this, ways that will not bring praise to ourselves. Do things for others in ways that no one knows that we are the responsible party. Do things for others that some people refrain from doing. Do things without being thanked or reciprocated in any way from others. Isn’t that how God loves and does many, many things for us!
At first, we may do these things with the intentional purpose of being a part of fulfilling our own need for “impact.” However, as we “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2Peter 3:18), we will begin to do these things because we just want to. When our cup is full and overflowing, the love from God that we possess supernaturally will be unselfishly extended to others.
Consistent with your age, martial status, experience in life and especially the talents given to you by God, develop a ministry that serves others.
Acts 20:35 "I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
Do you know of a mother of young children who could use some extra help? Are you handy at repairing small appliances? How about mowing lawns for older folks, reading stories to small children, calling to brighten someone’s day? These may seem like small things, but remember the Lord’s praise of those he addresses in Matthew the 25th chapter…
Matthew 25:34-40 "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 'for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 'I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 'When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 'Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' "And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'
Record your progress. It can be very helpful and encouraging to make a list of improvements. For example, if you have been plagued by negative thoughts in the past and have determined with God’s help to stop this and you have done so for a period of time, put this on your list…(date) “I resisted all negative thoughts for four hours.” If you have thought through your talents and used them to help others, put this on your list…(date) “Helped Helen with her ironing.” Keep this list in a private but easily seen place, like on the back of your bedroom door. Keep it up to date and consider the entries from time to time. This will help you see that your are making progress!
Most of us do not make straight-line progress. We may have our down times or times of regression. A list such as the above can be an encouragement to not give up but rather to seek the Lord’s help and get back on track.
Mt 25:21 "His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'”
The apostle Paul prayed in the book of Ephesians (read this carefully and prayerfully):
Eph 3:14-21 “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend (grasp or apprehend) with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height-- to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
Know and be persuaded of the love of Christ that passes knowledge.
This is so important! The “inner man” is that part of a “child of God” that makes the decision to either live according to the Spirit of Christ in us or live by the dictates of our flesh and/or emotions (“old nature”), and thus follow satan. Paul prayed that our “inner man” may have the strength to make the right decisions that will cause us to have Christ dwelling in us in a practical way and thus be…” rooted and grounded in His love.” All children of God today have the Spirit of Christ dwelling in them (Romans 8:9). However, not all children of God are allowing the Spirit of Christ to control, protect and guide them. Their feelings of inadequacy and false personality traits are controlling many.
As God’s beloved child, we may cry out to God to strengthen our “inner man.” We may consciously make the decision to allow Christ to dwell in us practically and thus grasp and apprehend His love for us. By doing this, we will be “FILLED WITH THE FULNESS OF GOD”!
1. Stop worldly activities and sinning against God.
2. Confess to God and allow Him to cleans you.
3. Grasp God’s love by making a list and meditating on verses that speak of it.
4. Stop all negative thoughts and resist satan.
5. Develop a ministry of service to others.
6. Record your progress.
OUR OWN RACE
Everyone is running his or her own race through life. No two people began at the same place with the same circumstances. Even two identical twins have personality differences that affect their race. Therefore, it is a mistake and a tool used of the devil when we compare ourselves with other Christians to determine how well or how poorly we are doing. The comparison is to Jesus Christ!
2Corinthains 10:12 “For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”
Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Before the last point of this study is made, carefully consider the following amazing verses. Were it not that they were literally God breathed (inspired) for us, they would be too amazing and fantastic to apprehend and believe what they actually reveal!
John 15:9-11 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”
John 17:23 "I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
Note the words in bold face type particularly. Do you see it? Do you believe it? The Lord Jesus Christ loves YOU just like the Father loves Jesus Christ and, the Father loves YOU just like He loves His Son! That, my friend, is the GREATEST VALUE/LOVE IN THE UNIVERSE and it’s all YOURS!!! Grasp it! Apprehend it! Believe it! Live in it! It is the truth that will MAKE you free!
If you can identify any of your false personality traits in the above (or perhaps others not listed), you have been on a path laid out for you by satan and your “old nature” agrees with it. You now have the knowledge and the tools so that you can choose to change paths. Change to the path that God has been trying to get you to walk that will give you “fullness of joy” and “pleasures for evermore,” while you bring glory to your Savior!
Psalms 16:11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
God’s path is a walk of peace in the midst of the imperfections of life. No matter how you may stumble, God’s infinite, constant and unmerited love is there to pick you up and embrace you again. Even as salvation is given to us by God’s grace, so is His love/value and peace. John 15:10 is not a works program but rather a place where a relationship with God and His love may be enjoyed. No one may continue a life of sin and expect to enjoy the love of God in a practical way.
John 15:10 "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.”
GOD DID NOT LOVE US BECAUSE
WE HAD VALUE.
WE HAVE VALUE BECAUSE GOD LOVES US.
John 15:11 "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”
The less that we grasp (apprehend) God’s love for us, the more we will be dependent on others for love/value…and thus, the more we will exhibit the traits listed earlier. The more that we grasp (apprehend) God’s love for us, the more we will be a channel of God’s love and thus truly love others.
As a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ, by His grace, I have had the privilege of being closely involved in many people’s lives for over 30 years. I have also had the opportunity to discuss these truths with others that likewise have been used of God to work with troubled “children of God.” These notes are a compi-lation of many such experiences. I have seen Christian lives change to the “full joy” that Christ promised to us as His children have wholeheartedly turned their lives over to Him and believed His word. Their relief from burdens, abiding peace within and glory to Christ has come as they have submitted to and allowed their Lord to be their Lord. As they have grasped that they are indeed immeasurably loved by Almighty God and thus have infinite value as a gracious gift from God, a real personal relationship with their living Lord has given Him the opportunity to work within them as ONLY He is able. The greatest service a human being may be to another is to point them to Jesus Christ! I hope I have done that.