Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Why am I Under Attack Again?

VIDEO: Why am I Under Attack Again?

Freedom from attacks upon our health, emotions, or finances can come off in layers: it is often like peeling an onion. At other times, the process to receive freedom may seem like we are wading upstream. We try to find out what is coming against us, what is hindering us, or what is the cause of an issue, but over and over again, we are constantly coming under attack. It feels like nothing seems to work; if it does, it doesn’t work for long. Instead of walking to freedom, it feels like an uphill slog through a foot of snow.

Through the core classes (101-401) at the free online school, many of God’s children have come to understand that our actions can open doors to the enemy’s attacks. There are far too many ways that the enemy moves into our lives to list them all. If it isn’t linked to sin, Jesus is our healer, provider, and protector for the glory of God. Suffice it to say, if there is a hindrance in our life preventing us from moving closer to God or doing His work, the enemy may be involved. Scripture shows us how to remove the enemy.

Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed.( James 5:14-16 AMPC)

At the time this was written, lepers and other people who had been healed were anointed with oil as a sign to others that healing had occurred (Leviticus 14:17). The ingredients required for healing are: 

  1. A prayer of faith
  2. Confessing sins

There are many opportunities for prayer from the Elders at Agape as you progress through the core courses at the Academy and additional prayer is available after completing the 401 classes. However, we have come to realize that many people are still under attack even after many prayer appointments. A common thread has emerged as a primary cause of continued attacks: a need for full repentance.

In the 101-1 class you learned that confessing our sin means seeing it the way God sees it. If we see our sin as our Heavenly Father does, we will refuse to be a part of it. We will have the desire to repent and to turn away from our sin. When we receive prayer, our heart often does want to turn from the sin, however, actually removing it from our lives can be much more difficult. To effectively remove sin, two steps should be taken:

  1. Understand what sin is
  2. Close all doors associated with that sin

By doing both of these we come into full repentance and then we can remain free of the enemy’s attacks.

Understanding Sin

Violation of the Ten Commandments are sin but there is a pointed list of activities that also lead to destruction in the New Testament:

  • Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21 ESV)

Some of these are very easy to recognize as sin: those associated with sex, drinking, and sorcery. We know these actions are wrong. Others can be more difficult to define, especially idolatry. 

Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as idolatry and teraphim (household good luck images). (1 Samuel 15:22-23 AMPC)

If we are stubbornly going in a direction and placing something above God, then we have committed idolatry. The action we are doing doesn’t necessarily have to be a sin. It is a matter of what is in our hearts:

Son of man, these men have taken their idols into their hearts and set the stumbling block of their iniquity before their faces... (Ezekiel 14:3 ESV)

We create an idol in our hearts when we repeatedly turn to something instead of to God. Ask yourself these questions to find any idols:

  • Do I HAVE to have something every year or almost every day? 
  • Do I NEED something to feel better?
  • Is something absorbing a great amount of my TIME and FOCUS?

If we give an activity that does not accomplish anything a dominant place in our lives, then that activity can become an idol. Time and focus are two of the four steps to seeing Jesus face-to-face. It is easy to create an idol by honoring an activity with half of what is necessary to visit with your Lord. 

The Holy Spirit can reveal any idols to you or they can be revealed through appointments with elders. When you know you have given an action a place in your life, you will need to turn completely from that action. Jesus put it this way:

And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire. (Matthew 18:8-9 ESV)

Jesus uses hyperbole, exaggerated statements not to be taken literally, to emphasize the importance of staying away from anything that may lead us into sin. God doesn’t expect us to mutilate ourselves, but He does expect us to do everything humanly possible to avoid sinning. Our salvation is obtained by accepting Jesus as Lord, but freedom from the enemy often comes from removing sin from our lives. If we have opened a door to sin, we need to cut that activity out of our lives along with any connections to that sin. 

Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame. (1 Corinthians  15:33-34 ESV)

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. (Romans 12:9 ESV)

For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.. (1 Peter 3: 10-11, Psalms 34:15 ESV)

These scriptures are from the New Testament which was written after our Lord died. Paul and Peter urge Christians to hate evil, to turn from it, and to have no communion with it. When we discover that an activity has led us into sin, we cannot even crack that door open to peek inside or we may come under an attack from the enemy. Consider an alcoholic’s idol is drinking: Once someone has repeatedly given alcohol a place, they cannot even take a single drink. For example, if your idol was:

  • viewing pornography - “R” rated movies may result in an attack
  • gossiping with friends - listening to others speak negativity may open a door.
  • watching the news every night - searching YouTube may bring backlash.

Watching the news is not a sin, however, if you place great importance on knowing what was going on in the news or if you are continually emotionally stirred up by it instead of relying on God, that activity has become sin to you. It may be necessary to remove it for a season.

Years ago, I had an open door to video games. I would start playing a game and end up losing track of time as hours passed by. They absorbed so much of my time as I hid from the world. It was a way of feeling like I accomplished something though the outcome of the game had zero benefits. 

When the Holy Spirit gave me gentle nudges that I needed to stop playing them, it wasn’t easy. First I removed all the console games (Xbox, Playstation). Then I uninstalled them from my computer. Finally, I had to even stop playing the simple little games on Facebook or on my phone. None of these things were necessarily sins, but focusing on them to feel accomplishment instead of spending time with God to find my destiny became an idol. 

If you have had an open door to an activity, you may need to cut it out of your life. The sooner you do, the sooner you can move forward with God. Like me, you may need to take baby steps. Quitting something “cold turkey” is not for everyone but if you are frustrated with your progress toward freedom, you may want to consider it! 

Paul gave sound advice to his young disciple: 

Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the Master of the house, ready for every good work.

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. (2 Timothy 2:20-23 ESV)

When you want to move forward with God, it is time to let go of what we pursued when we were younger. Our focus must be on rightly aligning ourselves with God - that is pursuing righteousness. Calling on God with a pure heart means without ulterior motives. Why do you want to be free? Do you want to walk closer with your Lord and do His work? 

And as He entered a village, He was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When He saw them He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. (Luke 17:12-14 ESV)

When the sick cried out to the Lord, all were healed at the word of the Lord as they went to present themselves to the priests. Sometimes we are healed as we obey what Jesus tells us to do. He is the Word of God, so learning God’s ways may be necessary.

Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving Him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:15-19 ESV)

Only one leper returned and fell at the feet of Jesus when he discovered he was healed. Nine out of ten lepers who were healed did not. This may be why 95% of people lose the instant miraculous healings they receive in church, conventions, or even in the Courts of Heaven. They do not return to God and submit to Him and His ways.

Ask yourself, are you pursuing healing or breakthrough or pursuing a deeper relationship with Jesus? Removing idols and other sins is a change in lifestyle, not a quick fix. Surrendering our will to God’s purpose will bring lasting results and we will be healed along the way!

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