WALK THIS WAY, EPHESIANS 4:17-32, ENJOY GOD 41

WALK THIS WAY

Slogans: we have all had them and have been influenced by them.  Like, God helps those who…  He who ceases to be better, ceases to be good… the problem is life isn’t lived by slogans.  Life is lived by walking in the way of the LORD.

The New Man

This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.  20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

When we allow Christ to be formed in us, we repeat Mary’s experience of yielding when she prayed, be it done to me according to your word.  Whatever we yield to the LORD of ourselves, we free up for Christ to fill with Himself.

 Do Not Grieve the Spirit

25 Therefore, putting away lying, Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. 26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

RENEWED MINDS WORSHIP AND INVITE: IT USHERS IN THE GLORY

When we begin to worship from the heart, we extend an invitation to the abundance of “kabod,” the weight, substance, blessing and presence of God’s glory to make its presence known to us.

The reason why worship is important relates to the fact that the glory of God’s presence, which was lost with Adam, is restored to us only through worship. Through the lives of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, God taught man that He—and His attendant glory—will walk with those who walk with Him. Through Moses, God issued precise instructions to the Israelites about how to worship Him in the tabernacle to bring His presence and glory into their midst.

The way we worship is related to the presence of the glory of God

God’s glory is manifest as a result of worshipping God and doing it God’s way. This is a biblical standard, not a denominational approach. The two fundamental issues related to worshipping God’s way are the presence of His glory and the answering of human need. The foundation of it all is a people who will commit to worship God His way.

Worship comprises our total being, made alive in the Holy Spirit

Worship is a way of life, not just an hour on Sunday. The totality of our being becomes a spiritual sacrifice to the Lord. We are to worship with our words, our bodies, our hearts and our spirits. David writes, The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise (Psalm 51:17). It doesn’t mean that God is looking for shattered or brokenhearted personalities, but a person whose will has come under His dominion, whose heart has been shaken free from the dominating forces that would keep us from real worship. (Hebrew 13:15; 1 Peter 2:5)

Jesus perfected the Old Testament sacrificial system in His death. As a result, there is a New Testament counterpart to Old Testament worship. We see this in Romans 12:1-2. (Hebrews 9:22-24; 10:14). We are implored to worship Him in a three-fold dimension:

  • With our bodies, not only “in our heart” Present your bodies a living sacrifice
  • With our minds (Greek word logakos meaning intelligent and spiritual)…which is your reasonable [intelligent and spiritual] service…
  • With our spirits (same Greek word logakos) Be not conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind… We are to worship in distinction from the way the world functions, and unlock the discovery of God’s purpose in our lives.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ  (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

Casting down: To throw or hurl; fling: to throw off or away. There is a reality of spiritual conflict and battle in the invisible realm that is attested to by Jesus Himself, then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” 18 And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven… (Luke 10:17-20)…” and has characterized the life of the Church since the time of the Book of Acts, for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12). In order to live successfully, we need to realize there’s another arena and a vicious adversary who is set on our destruction.

People often see adversity or difficulty as “circumstances” but Jesus unmasked the reality that they are foisted on you out of another realm. Don’t get me wrong, we human beings are capable of doing dumb things on our own without satanic intervention, but there are some things that are direct assaults upon us from the adversary who seeks to steal and destroy the possibilities of purpose and joy in your life. Most people don’t recognize those things and consequently, don’t know how to declare war and return an attack:

  • According to flesh (v. 3) This does not mean a carnal commitment to indulgence. It does mean that even though we walk in a material realm, the conflict we’re engaged in transcends that realm, for though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh;
  • Weapons of warfare (v. 4) Our resources are not found in or limited to human reasoning. Their dynamic comes from God, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds;
  • Strongholds (v. 4) are barricades against your future, against your life being fulfilled according to God’s creative purpose for you. An example is the walls of Jericho (Joshua 6). Israel’s successful attack defies human logic, and it illustrates the victory of people who move in the purposes and resources of God, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds;
  • Imaginations and thoughts (v. 5) are said to be things that exalt themselves. They are personified—meaning, they are beings exalting themselves against God’s purpose in you, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy

(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. Everything the adversary does is intended to reduce to rubble the image of God’s purpose in you. God has something in mind for you. The adversary wants to erase that prospect from your mind by seeking to sell you what is his mind for you. He does that by something the Bible calls thoughts and imaginations that have another source than our natural thoughts or imaginations, or the divine gifts of insight and perception. Do not be deceived, these thoughts come from Hell.

Let me address two biblical aspects of the battlefield, thoughts and imaginations, as every one of us has suffered and fallen prey to the wearying mental attack of the enemy. The thought processes are so relentless and subtly sown into our minds causing us to we conclude that, something must be wrong with me.

Thoughts: The word thought (noema) means a plot, plan or design, something calculated. It has to do with things that have been designed just for you. The idea is to neutralize what you know with lies designed that follow and blend into your own line of reasoning so that you assume that the thought came from you. Doubts as strongholds don’t automatically generate themselves—there is a spirit behind the doubt that can be entertained or confronted.

Among believers there is a tremendous gullibility to swallow the noemas—thoughts sown by doubt—without recognizing the plot to erode your faith. The Bible declares those noemas are to be confronted, cast down.

Imaginations: The same spiritual warfare is to be applied to imaginations (logismos). This has to do with systematic lines of reasoning (consider our word “logic”). It’s a word that relates to mathematics, referring to the orderly presentation of a philosopher making his case for what he sees as truth in a logical presentation. With logismos—the presentation of his case—is also diatribo (consider “diatribe”), the philosopher’s attempt to wear down through debate any argument presented by a challenger.

How do thoughts and imaginations work?

The Lord created us in His image and has something specific in mind for the life of every individual. In our hearts, a vision of that begins to rise; you feel there’s something you are to be and become. That vision constantly expands the longer you walk in it; it isn’t an idle dream. You test whether it is of God or not by two things:

  • You have faith in your heart that pursuit of your goal can be realized; and
  • Everything in your dream or vision aligns with the Word of God.

But there are other “visions” not from God—imaginations which are really fantasies and notions. They include things that would make you wretch inside as a believer, when you realize that they ever found a place in you, We can break their wearying syndromes:

  • Dreams of becoming” that don’t align with the Word of God
  • Accusations against you
  • Seductions away from God’s purpose for your life
  • Fantasies and impure thoughts that pollute your mind
  • Internal statements that intimidate you
  • Condemnation making you feel worthless and inadequate
  • Covetousness that makes you keep wanting more
  • Defeating self-expectations that go back to childhood
  • Recurring memory of past failures
  • Disappointments and guilt you wish you could shake free of

Continuing to entertain these thoughts and imaginations instead of casting them down is the equivalent of making them idols. According to the Corinthian epistles, wherever there is an idol, there is a spirit behind it. These idols are not “graven” but they are images that come to impose themselves on you—i.e., the image of the world, of other suppositions, of what you feel you are supposed to become in human energy but can’t.

When we “bow down” to those idols by entertaining them in our minds, we become chained into patterns of thought from which we just can’t seem to break free. The blood of the Cross of Jesus applied to those chains of bondage will dissolve them.

You need to declare war!

These fabrications and contrivances constitute the strongholds the adversary intends to build against your progress in the way and the will of God. Those strongholds need to be confronted and overthrown—cast down and defeated in your life, finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 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. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak  (Ephesians 6).

Victory is contingent upon recognizing the tactics and strategy of the adversary. He is relentlessly seeking to cut down anything of God’s purpose in you by wrestling your mind, pinning you to the ground with impure thoughts or with destructive notions about yourself until he erodes your sense of confidence and purpose in the way and will of God. Unless you come to terms with that, you will be dictated to by notions never intended for your life by God who created you.

The Lord is calling us to make up our minds about the spiritual arena and declare war against the adversary of our soul. When you are confronted at the mental and emotional level, the Word of God says fix your mind on Him (Jesus), and He will keep you in perfect peace because you’ve chosen to trust in Him (Isaiah 26:3, paraphrased).

 

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