Exposing Our Self Deception

James 1:22 (NKJV) But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

The self-deception that James is talking about is the accumulation of knowledge without practicing it. It causes us to think we know what we are talking about without ever living it. Just because we can quote scripture and have an entire library of memorized verses does not mean we know the truth.

When we teach what we don’t practice, we not only deceive ourselves but do an injustice to those we are attempting to teach. Until we are doers of the word, we do not know the word. Even if we memorize every scripture in the Bible, we only know those things we have put into practice.

Suppose we were to read and memorize every piece of information on the planet about flying a jet. Can we call ourselves a pilot? No! We can’t say we know it until we have practiced it. If we were to memorize every bit of literature about brain surgery, can we be considered brain surgeons? No! Doctors and pilots must work with other skilled professionals to gain experience in a safe and controlled environment where mistakes get no one hurt or put in danger.

It is ONLY the word we put into practice that we truly know.

Only by being doers of the word and obeying what we learn can we express and reveal our faith knowledge. This is how we come to know the truth intimately, causing us to grow in grace and the authority and power of the gospel. Obedience to the word of God is the way we express our love for Him.

John 14:24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.

We must ask ourselves; Are we learning from our relationship with the Lord and His written word, or are we just learning from the opinions of preachers and teachers? Are we studying to show ourselves approved by God, or are we just listening to the latest revelations from our favorite ministers? Do we rely on the understanding of respected theologians, or do we know God intimately for ourselves?

2 Timothy 3:14 (NKJV) But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them,

Quoted from the book, The Spiritual Warfare Manifesto

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Written vs. the Spoken Word

Ephesians 6:17 (NKJV) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

It doesn’t take very long when reading the Bible to realize that it is much harder to read and digest than any other book. It requires spiritual and mental effort, as well as physical stamina, to read and understand the truth contained in it. The reason? The Bible is the only book that is alive. The word of God is a living sword of truth. Every time we read the word it does surgery on our hearts and minds, discerning our thoughts, intentions, and motives.

Don’t be confused. The sword of the Spirit is not just the written word; it also applies to the spoken word. Without the spoken word, we will never get the specifics needed to wage victorious warfare. Look at what the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy.

1 Timothy 1:18 (NKJV) This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare,

Paul instructs Timothy to pay close attention to the spoken words of prophecy made over him so that he may wage a good spiritual warfare.

The spoken word of God is just as valid as the written word. Yet, there are entire denominations that reject prophecies and claim that such gifts ceased in the time of the original apostles. Others argue that the written word is the only sure word. In Paul’s writings to the Thessalonians, he made this explicit statement.

1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 (NKJV) Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies. 21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

I make this point, so we don’t get trapped into wrong thinking about our spiritual sword and limit ourselves in our ability and knowledge of how to use it. We must not take lightly the words that the Lord has spoken to us, whether it be the written word, a word spoken to us directly, or through prophecy from other saints.

The Bible describes the word of God as a living sword, but in other places, as a seed, a mirror, a light, water, food, a fire, and a hammer. Jesus Himself is called the Word.

The point is that the word of God contains anything and everything you need in any given situation. Let’s be diligent to read and study the written word daily so we can recognize and rightly judge the spoken word when we receive it.

Quoted from the book, The Spiritual Warfare Manifesto

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Why God Tests Us.

Every test and trial provides an opportunity to show God how much we love and trust Him. It is not enough to say, “God knows my heart.” Instead, we should strive to show Him our hearts through the sincerity of our faith.

Spiritual warfare is “faith school.” No matter what trial, battle, or testing we go through, our faith is the target of the testing. God wants to see if we fear Him, if we believe Him, if we will indeed follow Him, and if we love Him enough to obey Him even when we don’t understand. At the same time, our enemy wants to prove that we do not believe.

The Father searches our hearts to find the treasure of a living faith. Faith without works is a dead faith. It is only by our words and actions during testing that our heart is revealed.

Exodus 20:20 (NKJV) And Moses said to the people, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.”

Quoted from the book, The Spiritual Warfare Manifesto

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Be Careful What You Teach,

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

All scripture is profitable for reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness, but not necessarily our interpretation or delivery of it. Handling the word of life without humility and the fear of the Lord can result in people being cut, hurt, and offended. It brings reproach on Christ, discrediting His name, harming the Church, and devaluing His word.

The Bible says in James 3:1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. And yet the world is full of Bible teachers that do not rightly divide the word of truth. We should all realize that teachers of the word of God are held to a high level of accountability. A stricter judgment. Teachers should teach from the overflow of their intimate relationship with the Lord, for these are the only things they truly know. Accumulation of knowledge about the word of God is not the same as knowing the Word. A true teacher is not only anointed to teach, but also anointed to learn.

In the age of abundant information that we live in, it is easy to accumulate knowledge about God and reduce ourselves to just relaying information. Unless we put that knowledge into practice, we don’t know the truth we are trying to share. The common practice of merely sharing information results in teaching and preaching that lack spiritual authority with demonstration and power. Many try to compensate for this lack of authority and power by being funny and entertaining or by being dramatic and forceful in their delivery. These are poor substitutes.

We should keep in mind that the Word is a person. When we share the word with others, we are to share from our understanding of that person we gain from the relationship, not the knowledge we have accumulated about God through academic efforts. If we are not practicing what we know, we cannot teach it with the authority and power it deserves.

Obedience is God’s “love language.” It’s only the word we obey that we truly know. Jesus IS the word. If we do not obey Him, we not only don’t know Him. He said we don’t love Him.

John 14:23-24  Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.

It is important to be doers of the word. Let’s make sure that is all we are teaching, not our own opinions, our denominations practices, or any other thing that does not bring forth life and liberty.

James 1:22 (NKJV) But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

Quoted from the book, The Spiritual Warfare ManifestoThank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

I’m Dead I Reckon

Romans 6:11 (NKJV) Likewise, you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So, what does it mean to “reckon yourself to be dead indeed to sin?” Many translations render this phrase “consider yourself to be dead,” but what does that look like?

Another good word for “reckon” is “believe.” We must believe that we are dead to sin. But that is not the end of the verse. We must also reckon (believe) that we are alive to God in Christ Jesus. It means we need to stop judging and thinking of ourselves as “sinners” and start believing and thinking of ourselves as forgiven, redeemed sons and daughters of God. The problem is, thinking and believing do not change automatically; they are changed by what we continually look at and meditate on.

Without daily intimacy with the Lord and continual exposure to His living word, we will stay focused on our failures and shortcomings, never actually becoming all Jesus paid for us to be. Reading and hearing the word of God, fellowship with other believers, and listening to good preaching are all good things. However, nothing will transform us faster than spending time with God when no one else is looking. Intimacy is where the most extraordinary transformation takes place. It is where grace has its perfect work.

Intimacy with the Father builds faith, dispels doubt, and corrects wrong thinking. Beholding Him and His glory shapes our perspectives, confirming and strengthening our identity by changing how we see Him.

          The Bible says that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45 Matthew 12:33-37)

What is in our hearts and minds (believer and thinker) will eventually come out of our mouths, and that is the other thing that must change.

We will never be free from sin while allowing it to reside in our thought life and keeping it in our conversations.

We must not talk about how normal it is for us to sin. Saying things like, “We all sin, everybody sins, we are always going to sin,” strengthens a sin consciousness and reinforces the strongholds of wrong thinking and wrong believing.

There is a time and place to confess our sins and weaknesses to others for needed ministry, restoration, and accountability. However, filling our prayer life with wrong declarations of our sinful and unworthy nature is counterproductive and anti-finished work. That is not humility; it is blasphemy. He made us worthy.

Talking and thinking that way is “reckoning” ourselves alive to sin. It is saying in our hearts that sin still has power over us and therefore suggests that the finished work of Jesus did not accomplish anything.

Sin only has power over us when we empower it.

If we miss it and sin, run to God in prayer and declare.

“Lord, I thank you for your mercy. I am sorry; that is no longer who I am Lord. That is certainly not what You look like in me. Thank you for making me clean and transforming me into your image. Thank you for perfecting your work in me and bringing me to the place where this is not an issue anymore. I am so thankful that you don’t see me as dirty or unworthy. Thank you for redeeming me. I so appreciate your work in my life, thank you for Fathering me.”

You won’t pray like that without a healthy understanding of who you are in Christ. Spend some time with Him alone today.

Quoted from the book, The Spiritual Warfare Manifesto

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