SEEK PERFECTION OF THE SPIRIT, NOT OF THE FLESH!!!
I Corinthians 13:8 – “Charity never faileth, but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail, whether there be tongues, they shall cease, whether there be knowledge, it shall pass away.”
I once read an article in a leading newspaper about women who commit adultery, cheat on their husbands. One of them stated that her reason for choosing to commit adultery was “No longer being able to live up to the pressure of being perfect.” I never saw a follow-up story on this woman, but I wonder if exchanging the pressures of “trying to be perfect” with the pressures of dealing with the effects of her adultery on herself and family was a worthwhile trade. This woman’s problem is the same that afflicts so many Christians. We think that because we are saved – or because we are religious – that we are supposed to be better than everyone else. We think that we are supposed to never make a mistake or be deceived. Those of us from the charismatic tradition feel that if we receive a revelation or prophecy, it always has to be true. Those of us with more fundamentalist or mainstream beliefs and practices feel that our works and faith should always bear fruit in every instance. We compare ourselves to the heroes of the Bible: Noah, Abraham, Moses, Samuel, Elijah, David, Daniel, etc. We read the Bible and think that because they never failed, we should never fail. We think that because God is perfect, that we should be. And so, we desperately fear falling short. We fear reaching ourselves out and putting ourselves on the line, so we just stick to what we feel comfortable with. Or we take a big risk, things do not pan out, and we withdraw ourselves into a shell. The reason is that we are so afraid is that we think that if we are not perfect, then it means that we are not really saved. Or maybe we are saved, but we are not someone “special” to whom has been given great power, anointing, and responsibility. Or just maybe God is not real after all? Just as the pressure to be perfect in a marriage can drive a person to adultery (or stress, divorce, abuse, depression, and suicide) the pressure to be perfect in Christianity can destroy your faith. It can turn your relationship with Jesus Christ into mere religion; a person who seeks righteousness through works rather than relationship. It can also make you an accuser; one who concentrates on the flaws of others as a distraction from their own. It can make you a hypocrite: one who is pretend righteous in public but a sinner in private because you lack confidence in God’s transforming grace to deliver you from both your private sin and your need to appear publicly sinless. Or it can make you mediocre; someone who never aspires to do great works, to build anything, to be exceptional, or to receive a revelation or use a fruit or gift of the Holy Spirit because you fear failure, and what is more you fear that your failure will bring to the front of your mind the nagging doubts that are in the back of them. And whenever you fall short in your own eyes (for you are judging yourself and not allowing God to judge you, and you are trying to improve yourself through religion and works rather than allowing God to transform you in the spirit through His Power, Love, and Grace), you enter this vicious cycle of guilt, self – recrimination, and self – flagellation. This, of course, makes you feel rather bad about yourself. That opens doors for demons to enter into or gather around you. The combined effect of your own low self – esteem and the demonic influence that your low self – esteem made you vulnerable to and attracted will make it impossible for you to break this cycle unless God comes in and saves you. If it continues, you will begin to think that following God is impossible. You will hate yourself and hate God, and then you will develop dual personalities or realities. In one of them God loves you and uses you to do great things, and you imagine yourself as some great servant of God. In another God hates you, you hate God, and you are some loathsome wretch unworthy of God’s love or help and incapable of doing or receiving any good. Believe me, so many false doctrines and false teachings that have done so man people so much harm have come out of Christians trying to make themselves perfect through or because of religion; trying to mind their flesh rather than surrendering to God their spirit! Well, I can say that such people who have these fears – as I once did – simply have not carefully studied the Bible. (For one, if you had, you would have seen the verse at the top, which explicitly states that sometimes Believers fail but to nonetheless have no fear because where people and their gifts may fail love in God never does!) Such people only know the Bible from the Bible stories, sermons, and traditions that the religious system have fed them. These are not lies per se, but they suffer from the lack of context. First of all, the religious system talks about the great accomplishments of the heroes of the faith, but they seldom talk about their failures. Even when the failures are discussed, they are only done in the context of magnifying their accomplishments even more! We portray it as how a Bible hero OVERCAME their failure and got the job done for God, when the truth is that the said Bible hero just flat out failed just like we do. And just like we do, they were restored not out of their greatness but because of God’s mercy, love, and grace. And the great deeds that they went on to do was not their works but rather God choosing them as vessels to work His Power through! The result of failing to properly put the deeds and failures of the heroes of the faith into context leads to idolatry. We put the heroes of the Bible on a pedestal, and feel that we should either measure up to their unattainable ideal, or that we should not even try and accept our mediocrity. And yes, some strains of Christians directly worship these people, especially Mary mother of Jesus Christ! We forget that the angel did not come to Mary and say “God would be honored if you would bring His Son into the world because you are so righteous.” The angel said “God has chosen YOU for this honor!” That is the problem. We have turned Christianity into idolatry. Instead of looking to God, we look to some image of man, some image of ourselves, which is not even real! The reason is that it is easier to worship the flesh man, whether that man is dead (Mary) or living (a priest or pastor), than it is to worship God in the spirit. It is easier to talk about what some person did than it is to talk about what God is doing to you. It is easier to talk about how God spoke to somebody else than it is to talk about how God ought to be speaking to you! That is what the religious system does. It replaces the infallible perfect God with the fallible imperfect man, and to make it possible it denies the fallibility of man! We have seen those old action TV shows where the hero makes an apparent blunder and then sneers “It was all part of the plan to make the villain overconfident.” So, when we start talking about how our religious idols messed up, we pretend “It was all part of the plan! Committing that act of depraved sin only made him even more righteous; his turning and following God even more noteworthy!” No, committing that act of depraved sin only made him a depraved sinner; his turning and following God only makes GOD more merciful and gracious, and it only makes GOD more powerful in that He can use murderers (David), cowards (Elijah), blasphemers (Peter), thieves (Jacob), naked drunks (Noah), and just a total troublemaker (Samson) to do His Will. Consider Abraham; the Father of Faith. Abraham lied, calling Sarah his sister, and gave his wife to men who wanted to have sex with her because he feared for his life and did not trust God to deliver him. Further, Abraham did not believe God when God told him that he and Sarah would have a son, and therefore sired Ishmael with Hagar. And Abraham did not trust God to resolve the domestic situation with Ishmael, Hagar, Sarah, and Isaac, and heeded Sarah’s command to abandon Hagar and Ishmael in the desert. Abraham even tried to deter God from His righteous desire to punish Sodom and Gomorrah, and even suggested to God that He might unjustly cause the innocent to perish with the guilty (not trusting God to be able to deliver the righteous or even that it would be better to die while still righteous if they were living in an environment so corrupt; to lose their lives for the salvation of their souls). Indeed, Abraham was a flawed individual who did bad things just like everyone else save Jesus Christ. And yes, that includes even virtuous Mary, who pushed Jesus Christ to do His first miracle at a wedding before His time, and insisted even after Jesus protested. Jesus honored her request because Jesus came to fulfill the law, and the law commands that we honor our mothers and fathers, even when our mothers and fathers are wrong! But make no mistake, it was not God’s Plan. Yet, despite this clear example (included in the Bible for a reason), Mary worship persists for so many Christians, with some even claiming that Mary is practically a part of the Godhead, was born free of original sin, and remained a virgin (which incidentally is CERTAINLY not God’s plan for married people!). It is time for the church to come out of this idol worship of men where we make people in the Bible out to be comic book figures. No, we need to look at the villains of the Bible and say “There but the grace of God go I” and then we need to look at the heroes of the Bible and realize “that could be me if only I had more faith in God’s grace!” So what if Samuel did not let a word from the Lord fall to the ground. If you receive a prophecy and fail to preach it, or if you THINK that you have gotten a prophecy but have merely been seduced by a lying spirit, so what. Do not look to Samuel. Look to God! Jesus Christ said that we would do greater things than He did (John 14:12). So if you can do greater things than the Son of God, of course you can do greater things than Samuel! Your problem is that your religious idolatry is more prominent in your spiritual identity than your faith and relationship with God. Even if Samuel was perfect – and he wasn’t – so what; he was still a man, which means that God is greater and His Word is greater. And the thing is, it isn’t even about Samuel! You are just using Samuel as an excuse to justify believing that God and His Word are more powerful than your mistakes and your flaws. You cannot even conform to your own idolatry, because if you did, you would think that your failures would make your successes – and you by extension – more notable! But no, the same flaws that you glorify in others you yourself use as an excuse to quit. The solution is to quit elevating other people over yourself! Worship God only. Stop thinking that people who have a great anointing and do great things are great people. They are ordinary people that God has decided to use! Even if it is not the Will of God to use you in that fashion (as God does give 5, 2, and 1 talents as told by Jesus Christ in the parable), you should still have faith in God that He can use you however He will if you would only have faith and obey, and that God can still use you no matter your flaws; no matter how many times you fail! God is sovereign. His greatness does not depend upon man’s righteousness. Were that so, God would be thoroughly powerless because man is inherently unrighteous! Not only does man carry the stain of Adam’s original sin, but you have to consider the fact that Adam made the conscious choice to be a sinner (meaning that Adam was a sinner with a sin nature before he ever even sinned), and every man since save Jesus Christ is like him. So since God’s righteousness does not depend upon man, God does not need your help to make you righteous! God does not need your help to make you suitable to go to Heaven! God did that by Himself by virtue of Christ’s sacrifice alone. All you have to do is accept Christ’s sacrifice and leave it alone. Accept Christ’s sacrifice, and God can use you to do whatever God wants to do with you. Stop trying to be perfect in the flesh with your actions and accept that God has already made you perfect in the spirit through grace. You have accepted Christ into your life; that is enough. Give up the religious idolatry act. Quit looking up to men and women. Look to God, submit yourself to God, and follow Him! You want to know a secret? God is using you already! He has been using you all along without you even knowing it. God began to use you in the spiritual realm to work all sorts of good ever since you surrendered your spirit to God by accepting Christ as your personal Savior! The only thing that remains is your being conscious of that fact, your claiming that fact, and your continuing to walk in that fact no matter what happens to you! Look, John 14:12 is true. It does not depend on you. Your falling down and getting a bloody nose (or even a fractured skull, a broken back, and cracked ribs with internal injuries) does not negate the Word of God! God can use you not because you are outwardly righteous, but because HE is God and because YOU have accepted Him by accepting His Son in your heart. Now, if you are unsaved (whether not a Christian at all or a pretend one) none of this applies to you. You have a bigger problem that merely having your faith challenged by occasional failures. Why? Because if you do not have Christ, your whole life is a failure, no matter what else you have done! So please, accept Christ in your life today. Say the Salvation Prayer, and if nothing else let your motivation be that you do not have to be like that woman who committed adultery, because you will be freed of the burden to be perfect in action because God will have already made you perfect in spirit, and that once you accept Christ there will be nothing that you or anyone else can do to take your perfect spirit away from you! Prayer:Father God in the Name of Jesus Christ, may people stop trying to be perfect in the flesh and accept being perfect in the spirit!Deliverance:The demons that work in this area are false burden, false religion, and idolatry. All of which work to destroy faith, and when that is gone many more demons enter in and assert their influence. Please read the Basic Spiritual Warfare guide to learn more about how to go against these demons to help set captives free and win battles in the name of your God through the power, authority, and victory given to you by his Son Jesus Christ and by his blood shed for you!