By Robert Wurtz II
The Seven Fundamentals of Spiritual Growth
(The Seventh Requirement)
By Robert Wurtz II
As we bring to a close this series on spiritual growth, it is imperative that we practice the first 5 fundamentals that we have learned thus far. Not for merely a week..., a month..., or a year..., but for the rest of our lives. They are not optional, they are mandatory. Failure to follow the teachings of God's word that are required to bring spiritual growth and spiritual victory over sin, will leave us believing that the blood of Christ can only free us from the penalty of sin, and not it's effect on our lives. As you follow the despair to it's final end, you will find yourself convinced that your- very will- is in bondage to sin, and that your Born Again spirit man (the new man) is as depraved as was the old man which was bound to sin and corrupt.
Obviously to believe that we cannot be free from the power of Sin, 'fly's in the face' of all that was accomplished at Calvary, and contained in the Gospel. It is a perverse concept of Grace, that teaches that God merely seeks to forgive and does not seek to liberate from sin. As it is written: See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:25-29) and again....For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished (II Peter 2:4-9). God has promised us a way to escape in times of temptation, and that way of escape begins with us making the preparation to fulfill -His Will -rather than making provision for the flesh to fulfill the lust thereof (Romans 13:14).
Having done all....Stand!
When we began looking at the Book of Ephesians in the first few lessons, we said that those lessons contained the 'having done all' of Ephesians Chapter 6. For if you have not done all, you are not prepared for what awaits you in your Spiritual life. Because the ultimate end of our need to grow in strength and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ is wrapped up in the fierce spiritual warfare that every born again believer is engaged in. That warfare is described by Paul in Ephesians 6:12 saying: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places....and again... The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy (I John 10:10).
Satan and the powers of darkness are literally out to convince us that we should join him in eternity in hell. He would not waste his time merely harassing us for the fun of it; he has a definite plan of destruction. He is strategic and tactical- literally plotting our demise like a veteran chess player on the board of life and death. Knowing that he cannot pluck us out of the mighty hand of God, he engages us in a battle of the mind that is designed to allure us by a seducing Spirit or a doctrine of the Devil, hoping that we will give heed. As it is written: Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron (I Timothy 4:1-2).
They hear lies from seducing spirits and repeat them as hypocrites. They have a conscience that is seared with a hot iron and propagate the lies that they have believed, by teaching them to others. This thing is happening mostly in areas of extreme teachings that make unattainable promises. They are easily recognized, because they hinge on a mere hand full of Scriptures and require the blatant reinterpretation of other scriptures that are easily taken literally. 'That's not what that really means' is the hallmark statement of a person who revises the meaning of a Scripture that is easily understood literally, so that they can subvert their audience. The First principal of true hermeneutics is that - Scripture's that are easily understood literally- should be taken so.
Whether it be a seducing spirit, in whispering lies into your mind, or 'a devil in men's clothing' their teachings are to be cast down as vain imaginations..., as it is written..., For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (II Corinthians 10:3-5). When a devil tries to convince you that God did not mean what he said, he is revealing himself as the serpent that he really is. The tactic is as old as the Garden of Eden. We must take a stand for God's Word as it is written in plain English (Hebrew or Greek). That is the premise from which you will conduct your warfare with Satan if you have any intention of being successful. You must STAND on God's word!
Utilizing the Whole Armor of God for all it's worth
If you have bought into the lie that your spirit man (the new man) is immortal, this side of eternity, you will never feel the need to take the 'Whole Armor of God.' After all, if you cannot be spiritually separated from God no matter what happens, there is really no reason to talk about an armor that metaphorically protects a persons vital spiritual organs from destruction (heart, mind, etc.).
Love for God (as a Father) will not always be enough reason to cause a person to consistently wear the whole armor, because foolishness is bound in the heart of a child (and we are God's children). Children often are not motivated to do the right thing by love, it is frequently by the rod of correction. So it is with us, and we are chastised by God as His children. Nor is our born again nature enough to compel us to put it on by nature, for if it were, everyone would be wearing it at all times no matter what. No, these things will not compel a person to put it on. However, what will do it, is an awareness of impending danger that 'if I don't wear that armor......(?????)' Some have forgotten that God even told them to put it on, so they are being slaughtered in battle and are either backsliding and miserable, or backsliding and adjusting their beliefs and theologies to account for their condition. To negate the whole armor of God, will result in a person not believing that a Christian can possibly live a victorious life. And without the whole armor...you can't.
The purpose of God giving us the whole armor of God is so that we can take our STAND, and fight the good fight of faith, laying hold on eternal life. It is up to us to take that armor and fight in PREVAILING PRAYER; God will not do it for us. He will never leave us or forsake us, but it will be up to us to make the conscious decision to FIGHT a good fight against the powers and rulers of the darkness of this world. Jesus already carried His cross, met with Satan to be tempted in the Wilderness, saw Satan's influence in his friends and family; and even watched as one of His closest followers believed the lie's of hell and became possessed of Satan himself. Will you persevere and prevail in this battle for your soul? Will YOU fight the good fight of faith and lay hold on eternal life?
The Sword and the Shield
The prerequisite for fighting the good fight of faith, is that we must exercise a verifiable faith in every Jot and Tittle of God's Word. For it is 'faith in every word' that makes up the very fabric of our shield. Likewise, it is the rightly interpreted (divided) word that will make up our sword. We must start today living not by mere bread alone, but by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God. Any compromise hereafter will present you with a weakness and a vulnerability to sin and Satan. Never again will you be able to succumb to a falsely interpreted or compromised meaning of what God said. If it is plainly understood, you will look for no other meaning, whether you like what God said or not!
Imagine a shield that is comprised of scripture verses; each one taking up it's own place in the hedge. These scripture verses make up nearly all of the faith that we can possibly have. Each one that we exercise a verifiable faith in, will protect us in that particular area. God literally gave us the word of God as a shield against sin. That word stands between us and a sin. For each verse that we negate to exercise a verifiable faith in, there is a hole in our shield. That is why it is called the SHIELD OF FAITH. It is not 'faith in our own faith,' it is faith to LIVE by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God. Literally, it is a shield of faith in God and His word.
We leave holes in our faith all the time and don't realize it. Every time we make the word of God of no effect by explaining a commandment or a exhortation away, we unknowingly become inconsistent in our beliefs. We pray for the sick and believe the promise of God as if He spoke them with an audible voice, but when we see a principal or function that we are told to do by the very same God, we suddenly become hard of hearing. No longer will a believer be able to be selective in what Scriptures that desire to place on their 'Faith' list, but rather must take them all as God spoke them. How could a person ask God to see their faith (as Jesus saw so many peoples faith) in the promises, but turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to their unbelief in an exhortation or commandment?.
Quenching all of the Fiery Darts
The darts that the enemy shoots at you are temptations to sin. Each temptation is shot with an accompanying 'LIE' with which to sedate the conscience. This tactic is as old as the Garden of Eden. The word of God will rise in the conscience- so the devil shoots temptations with a lie to counter the conscience. This is exactly what happened to Eve. The enemy drew the attention to the forbidden thing and then began a series of lies that induced a temptation to partake of the forbidden thing. He still uses this same tactic.
On the battleground of our minds we are bombarded with evil thoughts and imaginations that oppose and exalt themselves against God (I Corinthians 10:3-5). Those thoughts come into our minds as fiery darts. James told us that there is a fire that came from God, and a fire of hell (James 3:6-10). The fire of hell in this case is the power(s) of darkness that demons and Satan use to give FORCE and POWER to their darts. The darts are demonically empowered and they must be extinguished or quenched according to Ephesians 6. Now, Satan will fire a demonic thought into your mind that opposes God and His word; you must respond by exercising unwavering faith in that word. In other words, you must throw up your shield of FAITH.
Jesus (as the Captain of the Host) showed us how to defend ourselves against Satan's lies and twisted scripture, and put Him to flight by the sword of His mouth. Satan's tactic is to suggest we do something sinful; we must exercise faith in what God REALLY said and then we must counter with a rightly divided scripture. When the devil gives a twisted compromise to the scripture that we well know the true meaning of, we must raise our shield of faith. If you do not throw up the shield, that dart will lodge in your heart and attempt to take root in your life. If you are drawn away in your own lust to believe the lie of the tempter, that lust will conceive and eventually bring forth sin. If it goes unchecked it will bring forth death. In the day that ye eat of the Tree thou wilt surely die is as true today in our lives, as it was in Adam and Eves'. The tactics (wiles) that Satan uses are the same as well. If he cannot get you to doubt the meaning of what God said, he will work on undermining the penalty and punishment for the sin. If He cannot do either of these he will lie and tell you that judgment may be coming, but it's a long way off! NAY! God will avenge speedily! BE STRONG in the LORD and in the power of His might! This will ensure that your will and resolve we be to stand and FIGHT and not easily give in and succumb to sin. Are you doing all the things needed to stand? Are you ready to use your shield of faith and FIGHT! If not you need to be about it- because the thief is coming! He is coming to steal and kill and destroy you. Stand to you feet and quit ye like men!