Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bad Behavior by Christians / Right Behavior By Non-Christians

Have you ever noticed in your interactions with people that many who profess Christianity behave badly while often unbelievers seem to behave in ways that seems more Christ-like?

Of course, unbelievers in these last days know how to misbehave better than ever before, but have you ever left your workplace, or Church, or a gathering thinking that the unbelievers present had better manners and were less self-centered than the believers?

I first noticed this situation a couple of years ago and have seen the same phenomena manifest many times since making this initial observation. At the time I was working with two women of the same age, 23, and while one claimed to be a Christian, the other didn’t. This is how the paradox presented itself: the Christian was conceited, self-centered and totally snobby, while the non-Christian, at least outwardly, appeared to be kind, generous, well-mannered, empathetic/understanding toward others and generally seemed to have a decent head on her shoulders.

One way the Christian’s off-behavior would manifest was through her singing loudly in her cubicle (which was part of a pod area of about ten cubes) as she listened to the radio. She had a beautiful voice, mind you, but her assumption that others would want to hear it while working was one of arrogance and pride, and not one of Christ-like empathy for how others might feel. As I write this I’m thinking about just how crazy it was. She was young and this was her first job out of a major state university, but in what environment would that have been proper behavior? Shouldn't her home and university training have taught her otherwise? How could she not sense that it was "awkard and wrong on so many levels" (Jeff quote, for those of you who know him)? I sat right next to her and for me her beautiful voice soon morphed into large dog paw nails tearing into a chalk-board because it was simply not the right place or time for her to do so. I mean, it's not like our cube area was her car or her home. It made no sense at all. Why on earth would she do that?

The unbeliever, on the other hand, seemed to always think about how her behavior would impact others in our area. For example, she was as quiet as a “church-mouse” on her phone and I hardly knew she was doing so even though I sat right across from her. With our Christian friend, however, unless the Christian purposely wanted to keep her conversation private, I knew the content of every conversation she had. I think the person three cubicles away knew as well. All the piped-in white noise in the world couldn’t diminish her booming, self-centered loudness.

Another way I saw the difference between the two was in their basic interactions with others. The Christian, depending on her mood, could be short and at times would practically bite the head off of her victim. I personally didn’t want to speak to her because I never knew who was going to present herself that day, Dr. Jekyll or Ms. Hyde? But the unbeliever was consistently kind and professional in all of her dealings. I hardly ever heard her in a bad mood or saw her mistreat another employee. I learned later on that she had her own edginess, but at the least when she interacted with coworkers or vendors, she was consistently professional while the Christian was not.

Now here’s for me where the rubber really meets the road with regard to their paradoxical behavior because it was personal to me. At the time, I was going through some serious health issues, particularly with my skin. Some eczema and poison ivy that once was only on my hand spread to my entire body, including my face. At the time I didn’t want to take steroids as I knew they had side effects and I was seeking God for deliverance, but at the time deliverance was not forthcoming. I felt as if I was Job, even though I was fighting and praying like mad, my skin was not changing for the better and at the time I felt that this was one of those trials that was meant to test my faith and I was going to try to endure the best I could. Anyway, I went to work every day and just hid in my cube because my face became disfigured with redness and swelling. My eyelids even turned bright red, swelled up and became raw. I literally felt as if I was in hell, but this “Christian” girl, I believe, actually laughed at my condition. I can’t prove that, but I heard her laughing once and sensed it was about me. She was actually laughing with this unbeliever, but I felt as if she was driving the conversation. But even if she wasn't laughing about me, I never had an exchange with her where I felt her exhibit true compassion for my situation. But when the unbeliever talked to me I actually felt as if she pitied my condition, even though we never talked directly about it, I could see in her eyes that she felt sorry for me. She behaved as a Christian would in that case, while the Christian behaved like an unbelieving wretch.

Now, you might say that the Christian was not a Christian at all and I would tend to agree with you. But I heard her talk enough to know that she did indeed believe in Jesus, that on some level she was interested in knowing and serving Him. But the problem was that her mind was too clouded by the demons from whom she had never received deliverance. They had been given way too much ground in her life, and they didn't want to give it up. So they just took the reigns and controlled her and I'm sure will continue to do so until they are cast out by force.

I don’t want to diminish the fact that a great part of these two's separate ways of treating people had to do with their upbringings, but I still can’t help but acknowledge that demons played a major role in the Christian’s bad behavior and that her demon's multi-pronged approach was to make her behave as badly as possible in order to nullify her testimony and to turn her from faith as well. I mean, no one who observed this girl would want to adopt her brand of Christianity. It was phony on every level and there was very little about her that would draw anyone to the Lord, but nevertheless a Christian she was. An unrepentant, undelivered, un-called-out-for-her-bad-behavior Christian, who, if she doesn't get set free, will eventually will probably backslide clear out of the kingdom. (Side note: there is no "once saved always saved." We must stick with our faith in order to enter everlasting life.)

The truth is that most Christians have never been totally set free and do not operate in deliverance power on a daily basis in order to maintain their freedom. But because they believe in the Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit of Truth has come into their lives (insomuch as they have been willing to give Him ground), and being that this is the case, the demons who have not been cast out are now experiencing torment from God’s presence. All they want to do is to get back full ownership of the Believer so they can have their sin party in peace. In order to accomplish this they must get the Believer to fall into unbelief and to, of her own volition, tell God to leave, thereby rendering the “house” entirely theirs. So these demons do their best manipulate the undelivered Christian into misbehaving.

One problem with getting these poor, tortured, hypocritical, undelivered Christians delivered is that they are very self-justifying and completely unaware of their foolish behavior. Even if you tell them of their behavior with many examples, they often cannot see or at least fail to admit that they have behaved badly. It is oxymoronic that their lack of deliverance blinds them to the truth about themselves and thus prevents them from receiving deliverance. They have to be able to see the truth in order to be set free by it.

What they really need is for delivered Christians who recognize their bad behavior to be honest with them (an explosive argument in which the person is told what he's really like without compromise and with both barrels firing would help break up that fallow ground) so that the Christian hypocrite can have the opportunity to change, but very few people are willing to take that chance because often these hypocritical Christians are loud bullies who can act more like pigs who would rend you for throwing this pearl of wisdom their way. Nevertheless, the job of telling them the truth belongs to us, as long as they claim Christ, as well is the job of offering to pray deliverance over them to help them get free from their oppression.

But back to our well-behaved unbeliever: why is it that she can behave in a way that is at least outwardly proper? A lot of it has to do with upbringing. If her parents raised her to behave well and with discipline, she can exhibit that behavior as an adult. Good childhood training can produce fruit even for unbelievers, and if one is so raised, her demons are happy to allow her to be so because they would rather that person exhibit her good behavior while they continue to hide in the darkness so that they can package her for the world to see as a person whose beliefs should be adopted. Demons are clever and will even use the seemingly good behavior of unbelievers to glamorize their unbelief, to make it seem like the right path. They love to make their unbelieving victims feel like they’ve totally got it together, especially in public, while they torture them in private. Consider all the well-trained Hollywood types who publicly appear perfect but end up embroiled in divorces, alcohol and drug addiction, or even seek to end their own lives. They can behave really well in public, but their private lives are a shambles.

Thus, these unbelievers can appear to be sweet and kind and even outwardly loving (though we know that without the Lord there is no true love only selfish lust), and they can at least have a form of the way in which one should behave and treat others, while the real form and function of love is actually lost on them. It’s all smoke and mirrors, which makes it even more of a shame when they actually appear to behave better than we do as Christians. This knowledge should truly cause us Christians to want to amend our ways and get delivered, especially when we can’t and don’t even meet the standard that unbelievers do. If Jesus said, "For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:20), how on earth can we expect to enter into the kingdom of heaven when our righteousness doesn't even exceed that of the world, much less people who were trying to adhere to some sort of law? Please, please consider this question and do your best to change your own life and to influence others to as well. God is very serious about this matter.

So what’s the moral of all this? The moral is that we as Christians NEED DELIVERANCE and we need to get it fast. We can’t continue behaving in such “off the chain” ways and expect to be “living epistles” of the good news of the Gospel. We are supposed to be the ones who are free and behaving like Christ.

Just remember that as long as we claim the name of the Lord, demons are going to do everything in their power to cause us to behave as hypocrites. It’s high time we cast them out so that we can at the least live the lives of righteousness and holiness that God expects and requires, and so that we can actually minister truth to those around us while exhibiting behavioral traits that are representative of Him. The main theme of this blog is that this will be impossible to do if we do not daily take up our swords and fight the enemy in our lives, as well as in the lives of the people God brings our way. May we all do so every day! A-men!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Without Spot or Blemish Ministry Establishes Blog Spot

Dear Saints and Friends of Without Spot or Blemish Ministry,

I hope this first blog finds all of you doing well in the Lord as this year draws to a close and a brand new year commences.

It's exciting for me (and a little intimidating though I rebuke that in Jesus name!) to consider all that the Lord has done in my life as well as in all of your lives in the past year. Think about it, every person reading this right now (due to the email notification) has experienced the hand of God moving in his or her life in a MAJOR WAY. I could spend so much time writing of God doing the following in our lives:

  • Answering major prayers: think about it, I mean SERIOUSLY CONSIDER the specific prayers God has answered for all of us this year. In several of my recent prayer sessions with the Lord I found myself spending a lot of time thanking Him because He has been SO GOOD TO ALL OF US in 2008! Let's all be incredibly grateful for those answered prayers, even though for many of us challenges still remain, these challenges will provide more reason to stay in prayer and draw closer to Him. He wants to show His hand strong in our lives, so let's keep seeking Him out! He loves to answer!
  • Delivering us from deception and clearing our understandings: consider the changes in all of our minds that have occurred this year about who God is and how He operates. Think also about how much our minds have changed with regard to what He thinks about us and how much He loves us (my mind was majorly changed this year in that regard)! Consider the different way of thinking many of us experienced in terms of understanding what He expects from us, especially with regard to fighting the enemy as well as in the area of what it means to be a leader in the kingdom of God. Without a doubt, we ALL have experienced major revelations in these areas. I can't get over how much we all have matured this year. God is so good and I know to the extent that we have received His leadership He is incredibly proud of us. Let us all take a moment to receive that love that He bestows on us as He says, "Well done my good and faithful servants." Many of you need to realize that God is saying that to you. Sometimes in our tribulation we think He has abandoned us, but believe me when I say that He hasn't. God is with you right now and He wants to minister His love to you and the gratefulness He feels toward you for loving and obeying Him. The love He's showing you now for that, even if you're not feeling it, cannot be contained. I pray right now in Jesus name that all who read this would experience that love in its entirety as they read.
  • God's endorsement and backing of our spiritual warfare: God has totally backed up every prayer we have said against the enemy! Consider that for just a moment. Every time we have fought spiritually against demons God has absolutely dropped the hammer on them. As I write this I consider the witches covens that have been prayed against and whose spells have been defeated; I am reminded of people with illness and disease who have either been completely healed or who are seeing major improvement, improvement no medicines could provide, but only the Lord and His powerful Word against the demonic forces who brought the maladies, Words that DO NOT return to Him void. I am reminded of people who were emotionally hammered by others in their life who were behaving as children of Satan, and yet God stood with the sufferers as they actually grew stronger in the Lord than they were before because they took up their spiritual swords and fought the demons who were attacking them through those people. We should praise God all the day long for these amazing blessings. This is a major way He shows His love for us, by giving us this power over beings who before they fell were actually above us. Now for their sin He has rewarded them with the shame of being put under our feet. See Genesis 3 and Luke 10:19 for more on that. God is too good and we need to seriously praise Him for all He's done for us in terms of giving us power over the powers of darkness.
So we see that God has been wonderful to us all in 2008. Sure, a lot of us have had financial troubles, but look, we're still here aren't we? We're not dead, we're not sleeping on the streets, we're not without food. Almost all of you know about the Seattle Blackberry-fest God gave me as well as the Tennessee fish catchin' bonanza. Come on now, let's celebrate God's bounty. I know for me I hadn't caught a fish since I was eleven, and if God didn't help me catch those fish, I don't know who did because I've never been blessed in that area before! But seriously, God has provided so miraculously for each one of us. Sure there are bills and bill collectors, but somehow they get paid. There used to be saying in the Church that God may not come through in your timing, but He's always ON TIME. So we do what we can and God provides the rest. We "seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness..." (Matthew 5-7) and all these things are provided for us. Let's be grateful for the miraculous way God has provided for us all and let us also continue to seek Him and His righteousness first, before we seek after money!

So let's all make it our goal, indeed our requirement, to "set our faces as flint" (thanks, Jeff) going into this next year and to be grateful to God for His amazing spiritual bounty that He daily pours out on us. Let us also continue to fight every sin and every demon that would try to attack and overtake us and the people we minister to.

We've all made tremendous progress this year, but let's not rest on our laurels, let's keep up the good work and shore up the areas in our lives in which we have weakness. We all have weak spots, so let's fight to strengthen ourselves in those areas. Let's also remember to pray for the strengthening of each other's weaknesses in the coming year.

Right now I bless each and every one of you in the name of Jesus, and I pray in Jesus' name that all of you would find in 2009 a closeness and intimacy with the Lord that you've yet to experience. That you would find His love to be all encompassing and the place in which you can find protection from the world's troubles. I beg all of you to pray for me as well. Believe me when I say I "covet" your prayers because I know God is hearing you and helping me as a result.

I believe with my whole heart that this coming year of 2009 is going to be unbelievable. I imagine that what we've seen in 2008 in terms of troubles in the world will seem tame in comparison to what is to come, but also what we will see from God in terms of His spiritual leading and in the victories He will provide for ourselves and others (if we continue in His love and do NOT depart from His Truth, His Word, and the life of holiness God wants and expects from us) will also be even more evident, to the point that we will be AMAZED by what God is doing. Considering this I can't wait for 2009 and I know you can't either. Do whatever you can to make your spiritual walk with the Lord the best it can possibly be through spending much time in prayer and fellowship with Him (oh how He loves to hear from you and to talk with you, don't neglect that), and also by staying in His Word. May God bless all of you in this year to come. I look forward to hearing many more praise reports as we all press forward in Him! A-men!