We would all like to believe that we are entirely submitted to God, but submission is only revealed when there is a conflict of free will. We never know if we are submitted until we disagree with God. Even if we agree, it can still be challenging to follow orders. Jesus shows us exactly what that looks like.
Luke 22:41-44 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in agony he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
There is so much wisdom and instruction to glean from this passage of scripture. Jesus knew His calling. He knew it wasn’t going to be easy. After He declared, “not my will, but yours be done,” an angel appeared to strengthen Him. Even then, He was in great agony and had to pray more earnestly to settle this in His heart.
How intense was this prayer? What kind of conflict was going on in His soul that caused Him to sweat blood? How hard was it to see and know the terrible torture and death He must endure and still obey the Father? He could not do this on His own. Without humility and intimacy with the Father, even Jesus would not have been able to endure it. We must follow His example.
Prayer is vitally important in spiritual warfare, but praying a lot does not make us “prayer warriors.” Humble submission to the will of the Father and Spirit-empowered prayer does.
1 Corinthians 2:16 (ESV) For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
Notice it says, “we” have the mind of Christ, not “you” or “I.” Understand this about the mind of Christ; “I can do nothing of myself” does not just mean that I can do nothing without the Father. It also means that I can do nothing without relationships with my brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. I will need others to help me accomplish all God has planned and wage the good warfare.
Posted on02/20/2022|Comments Off on Spiritual Warfare #3 ~ The Mind of Christ
Those that have been in the military know that following orders, no matter what they are, is non-negotiable. There is harsh punishment for disobeying orders. Authority that is questioned or challenged in the heat of battle endangers everyone. Insubordination is not tolerated at any level. The higher the rank, the harsher the punishment. The more military authority one has, the more casualties are caused by disobedience.In like manner, the more authority and influence we have in the body of Christ, the more people get hurt from our disobedience.
I have seen churches split, and even destroyed because of the disobedience of a leader. The damage was compounded when that disobedience was exposed publicly.
A soldier must trust in the orders he is given and obey even when He does not agree. Even if it means his death.Understanding can wait, obedience cannot.
Philippians 2:8And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Jesus was a good soldier. What we see in His life, we should model in ours.If our doctrine does not line up with what we see in Christ’s life, it is time to change our beliefs.Jesus, and His life is perfect theology.
Understanding the mind of Christ is foundational in spiritual warfare.The mind of Christ is summed up in one profound idea. One simple thought.
“I can do nothing on my own.”
John 5:30 “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.
John 5:19 So, Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.
John 6:38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.
John 4:34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.
Jesus completely submitted His will to the will of the Father. He not only emptied himself of His divine rights and privileges as God, He also emptied Himself of His rights and privileges as the Son of Man. This is how He walked in divine authority on the earth. He laid down His crown as King of the Universe to be crowned as the Son of Man, then He laid that crown down as well at the feat of the Father. It is mind boggling!It is our example to follow.
Our ability to say “no” to the Creator tells us that we are sovereign beings as well. We must cast our sovereign crowns at His feet daily, understanding that we are here for His good pleasure, no matter what that looks like.
The blood of Christ has purchased our lives. We have been redeemed. He is worthy of our life, and He is worthy of our death. Until we die to self we are not completely submitted to His authority.
We would all like to believe that we are completely submitted to God, but submission is only revealed when there is a conflict of wills. We never know if we are completely submitted until we disagree. Even if we don’t disagree it can still be very difficult to follow orders. Jesus shows us exactly what that looks like.
Luke 22:41-44 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
There is so much wisdom and instruction to glean from this passage of scripture. Jesus knew what He was called to do. He knew it wasn’t going to be easy. After He declared “not my will, but yours be done,” an angel appeared to strengthen Him. Even then He was still in great agony and still had to pray more earnestly to settle this in His heart.
How intense was this prayer? What kind of conflict was going on in Jesus soul that caused Him to sweat blood?How hard was it to see and know the terrible torture and death He must endure and still obey the Father? He could not do this on His own. Without humility and intimacy with the Father, even Jesus would not have been able to endure it. We must follow Him.
Prayer is vitally important in spiritual warfare but praying a lot does not make us “prayer warriors.” Humble submission to the will of the Father and Spirit empowered prayer does.
1 Corinthians 2:16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
Notice it says, “we” have the mind of Christ, not “you” or “I.” Understand this about the mind of Christ; “I can do nothing of myself” does not just mean that I can do nothing without the Father. It also means that I can do nothing without relationship with others in the body of Christ. I will need others to help me accomplish all that God has planned for me.
God has called us to community. Many times what He asks us to do will require a whole village.This prevents us from becoming an Island unto ourselves with no accountability.It requires us to be relational with one another. Being in relationship with others in the body of Christ is one way we have relationship with the Father.We are parts in His body. One single part cannot live and function on its own apart from the rest of the body.
Even Jesus needed John the Baptist to go before Him to prepare people for His coming. He needed the disciples to help Him with His earthly ministry while He was alive, and continue His ministry after His death and resurrection.
There is nothing more connected or co-dependent on planet earth than the body of Christ. We are more connected than the molecules that makes up the human body.Maybe this is why He used man’s body to explain how the kingdom of God works.
Effective spiritual warfare requires us to have the mind of Christ. Understanding that we can do nothing of ourselves puts us all on a level playing field concerning our faith, from the faithful saint who has served God for decades, to the newborn babe in Christ. We can all engage in community and bring our supply while gleaning from the supply of others.
A babe does not have the same level of authority, but has the mind of the Spirit. As we renew our minds to Gods wordwe grow in knowledge and understanding. As our faith is tested and we gain experience fighting the good fight, our kingdom authority increases, our contribution to the body and the world increases, and our capacity to receive from the body increases as well.
Romans 12:1-2 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Being a good soldier takes training, discipline, diligence, and above all, sincere humility. The Lord will test us to see how ready we are for battle. We should always embrace testing. It is the tests and trials that refines us, perfecting our faith. Some of our most significant testing will come when we don’t even realize we are being tested. Remember that a test of character will always come in the form of a “pop quiz.” This is just one of many reasons we must fight to maintain the mind of Christ.
The Lords prayer takes on new meaning when we have this perspective. This is how Jesus taught us to pray. He is the greatest spiritual warrior that ever lived.
Posted on10/13/2018|Comments Off on Submission and Authority
Rom. 13:1-7Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.3For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.
1 Peter 2:13-17Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme. 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
We must settle in our hearts that allgoverning authority comes from God, in whatever form. Not just our spiritual authority that we see in church leadership, (pastors, associate pastors, ministry department leaders, etc.) but the natural governing authorities as well. (Local government, state government, the president, law enforcement, commanding officers, bosses, teachers, parents, landlords, etc.)
All of these people are appointed and graced by God to fulfil a certain role in the lives of people. Not just Christians, but all people. Whether we agree with that authority or not, it doesn’t change the fact that God put them there for a specific purpose, to fulfil a specific role, and we are to honor that person as God’s representative. Yes, even the ones that you didn’t vote for, and the ones you think are evil.
Titus 3:1-2Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.
In the last century we have lost much concerning honor and respect for authority. In our society today, people have no problem speaking evil about the President, their parents, teachers, law enforcement, or anyone else that they don’t agree with. It is dishonorable, unholy, and shows the absolute depravity of our generation, not to mention a complete absence of the fear of the Lord.
It is amazing to me how many “Christians” believe that they have the right to tear down anyone they do not agree with. The right to automatic respect, the right to speak any way, about anyone they choose. The fact is, you can be right in your position and sacrifice being righteousness altogether. Being right and being righteous are not always the same.
If we truly give our life to Christ, we lay down our personal rights and personal preferences. It’s no longer about us, it’s about God and others. It’s about Love that never seeks its own benefit or agenda. Being born again means that we were purchased, paid for, redeemed.
If we buy a house and pay for it in full, we have the right to move in and do what we wish with the house. God the Father purchased us with the precious blood of Christ so that He could come and live in us. He placed the Holy Spirit in us to clean up the house and prepare it for His habitation.The biggest thing that makes our house a defiled temple is the things that come out of our mouths.
Matthew 15:11 Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Obedience to God’s authority is just one of the things that enables us to host the presence of God. Look at what Jesus said to His disciples just before the crucifixion.
John 14:21He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
John 14:23 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.
FAITH WORKS BY LOVE!
We can’t be completely submitted to Christ and refuse to submit to authority. They go hand in hand. To be submitted to one we must be submitted to the other. If we don’t submit to one, we are not submitted to the other. They are the same.
If we don’t come to this realization we will live a powerless, frustrated Christian life. The measure of Christ’s authority expressed in our life is in direct proportion to the authority we understand and are submitted to. If we are not under authority, we will have no authority.
Submission to authority is not submission to a person. It is submission to God. It is an act of love and honor for God and His appointed, delegated authority, as well as the anointing upon that person. It is an act of faith that shows our trust in God’s way of doing things.
1 Peter 2:18-19Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. 19 For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.
Many Christians believe that they are submitted to authority and yet they speak negatively about their President, government officials, law enforcement, their boss, their pastors or leaders, and they think its ok. It is not! When we speak against authority, we speak against God Himself! We actually subvert our own authority when we speak against those over us.
Some of us may say, “I didn’t vote for that person so I don’t recognize their authority.” That just means that we don’t understand submission, we don’t understand authority, and we don’t understand who we are, and who’s we are.
Until we disagree with authority we don’t have the opportunity to practice submission. Submission can only occur when we don’t see things the same way as our authority sees them. Disagreement is when submission is tested.
To believe is to obey. Obedience is the act of faith. Disobedience is the act unbelief. Until we submit to our natural authorities, we will never have true spiritual authority. That means authority over sickness, devils, poverty, oppression, the elements, nature. Jesus had authority because He was in perfect submission. Even unto death! This is exactly what we are called to.
God has called us to maintain His authority through obedience. God’s plan is for us to submit to His authority and to all the authorities He has established. This covers our home, our government, our school, the church, and so forth.
Jesus established God’s Kingdom through submission. Whatever the Lord did on earth was entirely based on submission. He did nothing that opposed God’s authority. Everything was in submission, and in perfect cooperation with the authority of God. In this way the Lord set up the Kingdom of God. The church today must also allow God’s authority to have its way and manifest His kingdom through our submission.
There is no authority that is not of God. To resist authority is to resist God. God will not overlook this. Those who oppose will bring judgment on themselves according to Romans 13:2.
Faith in God is made evident by honoring His position as creator, His authority as our Lord, and by obedience to His word. When these conditions are met, the power of God becomes readily available, and easily accessible.
Honor releases the power that authority contains!
Authority creates boundaries and establishes identity.
Our submission defines our Authority
Submitting to authority empowers us to thrive.
Willing obedience to the King expands and increases the Kingdom within.
Opposition to authority is opposition to God.
Understanding authority, and functioning within authority enables great faith in God’s authority.
Submission to authority is simply coming into agreement with the authority above us.
All of man’s problems are due to living outside the realm of God’s authority.
Only those who submit to authority will have great faith.
When we disregard, despise, speak against, or deny authority, we sacrifice and subvert our own authority.
If the matter of authority is not settled, all other matters will remain unsettled.
The One above us is now INSIDE us because we declared belief in Christ and submitted to His authority.