Why, according to this verse, do people pursue self-righteousness? BECAUSE THEY DO NOT KNOW THE RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT COMES FROM GOD. They do not know who they are in God's eyes nor do they understand God's heart for them. Simple ignorance of God's righteousness always leads to religion - conforming to laws and regulations instead of responding to God's love. (The Foundation Stones, p. 65)
- Why does God love me?
- Who am I?
- What is my purpose in life?
These are fundamental questions. These are the bottom line where I need healing.
Imagine yourself the child of an earthly king. You are born into a wealthy, affluent, and ROYAL family, no less. You do not deserve the rights and privileges you have inherited any more than the son of a pauper deserves the lack of them. But, regardless, they are bestowed upon you in fullness. There is nothing you will lack because there is no limit to the resources of a king. You can stand tall and confident because the king's child is WHO YOU ARE and not something you must live up to or earn. And thus your identity can never be taken away from you.
But let's say that you are separated from your father at birth, and you grow up on the streets. Alongside the paupers, you beg for bread and struggle to survive each day. When your father eventually finds you, you refuse to believe that you are anything more than an orphan and decide that you could never give up your familiar life even if it were true. If you live out the rest of your days on the streets, never believing that you are a child of the king, does that change the fact that you are? Do the rags and dirt nullify your royal blood?
Now imagine a child of the KING OF KINGS, the CREATOR of everything choosing to live in spiritual poverty. God's riches are ours in abundance, and our inheritance is secure in Him. We are eternally His by grace alone. If we are living as paupers, it is because we have refused to believe that we are Who God says we are. But just as the value of a $20 bill does not diminish with age or wear, nothing we do or experience can change our worth in God's eyes. (pp. 72-73)
Most of us, in answer to this question, would probably say, "I was created to serve God." Do you realize that all of nature serves God. Even Satan serves the purposes of God. Sometimes it seems that our highest goal is to be used by Him. But is that really what we desire?
What do you see as the purpose for your marriage? Is it to be used by your husband or wife? It sounds silly, but is it any more so than saying this about God? He created us for His good pleasure, and our purpose is to know Him and to walk with Him in intimate relationship. In Mark 3:13, it says that "Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted." God can USE anybody - even the most ungodly of persons - to accomplish His will. Remember that our "usefulness" to God is in His hands. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather be wanted by Him. And that is what we, His children, are. (p. 73)
"You don't learn God's ways until you become sensitive to His work in your life."
"Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. (Isaiah 59:1-8)
How does a child become calloused? The parents are not sensitive so can't impart sensitivity to God.
In the beginning, Adam's world revolved around God. Everything Adam KNEW to be true, THOUGHT about, BELIEVED in, and LIVED stemmed from his relationship with his Creator. GOD WAS HIS SOURCE. We have used the word "source" several times already in this section. Generally speaking, a source is the beginning and motivation behind everything that follows from it. Suppose, for instance, that we are writing a research paper on a particular subject. We find a single book in the library from which to glean information. If this book is our only source, then our understanding of the subject will likely reflect the opinion of the author, and the paper itself will be limited to the parameters of the book. In other words, we can rationally assume that our research paper will not "rise above its source"
In the same way, our spiritual source will determine the level at which we function. Our source will be either God (the truth) or a lie of the enemy. You see, our own sources have already been tainted. Even from birth, our thoughts and beliefs have been preverted by the world around us, and we simply cannot trust them. If, in any area, we are not referring to God and walking in the truth, then we can be sure we are being motivated by a lie. We must continually check our source and choose to believe God over all else. That is the essence of repentance.
Do you remember the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Guess what this tree became to Adam and Eve when they sinned... their SOURCE. They had exchanged Life for Death when they chose a source apart from God. And it is interesting to note that this simple change in source dramatically & INSTANTLY altered Adam and Eve's perception. For you see, if your source is not God, then God will not have a place in your knowledge, your thinking, your beliefs, or your lifestyle either. For they all flow from the same source. (pp. 74-75)
When Adam's source changed, his knowledge of God was immediately affected. Adam doubted God's heart and His ability to forgive, he began to think and believe that God was not able to meet his needs, and then he ran from God. You see, Adam's actions stemmed not from his experience of God (for God had shown Adam nothing but favor and goodness) but from his new ungodly source (the lies he believed).
Do you ever wonder why it is so hard to trust God even in light of His goodness towards you in the past? Have you recognized in yourself a tendency to hide from God in times of shame or fear? Pay close attention to your thoughts, your beliefs, your actions, and your knowledge of God. They will betray your source every time. (pp. 75-76)
It can be difficult to understand how someone who is a Christian can struggle with strongholds. The reasoning behind this, however, is actually very simple. For we are made up of 3 components - SPIRIT, SOUL, & BODY. When we are ~born again", we are spiritually made alive. But there remains a struggle in our souls for dominion. We are "born again" once, but we must be SAVED every day - from ourselves, from sin, and from strongholds.
Our souls also consist of 3 elements - Mind, Emotion, and Will - and strongholds can exist in any or all of these areas. This means that the lies we believe can manifest in many different ways and affect people differently. (pp. 76-77)
A stronghold, as we have said, is a fortified lie, meaning that it has been reinforced and built up throughout a period of time. When the enemy finds us susceptible to a particular lie (usually at a young age), he will concentrate his efforts in that area, hoping to render us useless for God's purposes. When we have a stronghold, we will filter everything that we see and hear through it. If it is a stronghold of doubt, then everything we perceive will be tainted with doubt. If we struggle with a stronghold of fear, then we can be sure that fear will be at every turn.
So we find that the power of a lie is in its ability to blind us to the truth. We CANNOT alk victoriously in Christ if we are deceived in any area, and so knowing and believing the truth is half the battle. But it is important to keep this in mind regarding lies:
Believing a lie does not make It the truth. (p. 77)
Isn't it nice to know that you are who God says you are even if it doesn't seem that way? Be careful, however, that you don't stop there. It is one thing to know the truth, but believing it is entirely different. For to believe as the Bible calls us to believe, we must TRUST, RELY ON, and CLING TO the truth. And this is where we are deceived most often. If we were to MEMORIZE the entire Word of God from cover to cover yet fail to respond to it as the truth, we will prove that we really don't believe God. The sad reality is that many of us, by simply not believing, miss out on EVERYTHING that God has for us. For it can be received only through faith (choosing to believe) and not mere knowledge.
And to make matters worse, the power of a lie is fueled by our responses to it. Have you ever been awakened in the middle of the night by a noise and faced the possibility that there was an intruder in your house? Of course, 99% of the time there is not. But the thought alone can be enough to drive anyone mad. And if you give it place in your mind, you will find that the house comes alive with noises to support the notion. Don't lies always work this way - like a giant snowball of evidence in our minds? For you see, when we choose to believe a lie, it begins to manifest in our lives. And it will become our reality.
If lies are so menacing, why do you think that we are so reluctant to separate ourselves from them even after they have been exposed? It is because we have believed all along that the bad habits, mood swings, temperment, critical spirit, etc. ARE WHO WE ARE! Over time, the lies we believe become intermingled in our personalities so that we recognize them as part of us. And so we protect them as we would protect ourselves - even from the truth. Too far-fetched to believe? Think about it... When is the last time you've said something like, "That's just how I am" or "I've always been like that" or even "I've inherited (some trait from my father/mother" ? The truth is that anything in your personality that does not line up with the character of God IS NOT WHO YOU ARE but a lie that you have embraced. Until we are willing to accept this, we will walk in deception. (p. 78)
In the verse above (Romans 12:2), we are told that the renewing of our minds will TRANSFORM us ("metamorphosis"). Why do you think we must first separate ourselves from the thinking of this world and be renewed in our minds before we can be transformed? It is because we have believed lies, and our sources are tainted. Every chance we get, we must go back to God as our source, and He will transform us by His truth. The Bible tells us that, as we look to God, we are changed "from glory to glory" into His likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJv).
Lies can be intimidating because of the power they have in our lives. There is certainly good reason to be wary of their deceiflulness. But it is even more important to understand that we, as the children of the Almightly God, have no need to fear them. For the truth of God's Word possesses the power to transform, make new, and even CREATE what God speaks into our lives. So what do we do about the lies? We must simply recognize them for what they are - LIES - and treat them as such. (p. 79)
My lies started in my infancy. I wrote once a long time ago that I think that Satan has been pursuing me since before I was born. Lies don't always get communicated with words, but they can be put into words. What are the lies that I believe? They cause me to look to sensuality.
I wrote about overcoming by the word of my testimony... Telling my story forces me to focus on what God has done for me. It forces me to become aware of His work in my life. It makes me sensitive.
It all boils down to this: If we experience fear, unbelief, hopelessness, worry, tension, concern, depression, and the like in our day-to-day lives, then we are simply !~ established in righteousness.
Now, stop for a moment and consider the place in which you find yourself. What is our first instinct as humans when we see that we are lacking - even spiritually? When you fail to measure up to God's standards, what is your response? This is the point at which the path splits before us. For the Law was established to make us conscious of sin - to identify our separation from God. But what we DO with this revelation is up to us, and it is the determining factor in our walk with Christ. (pp. 84-85)
Why, when we are truly standing in the righteousness of God, will we experience peace, quietness, and confidence as the verse says? It is because we are resting in the works of Jesus instead of our own to be right with God. It is the assurance that comes from knowing that God is keeping me and not my own strength. It is a wonderful place to be - understanding that I can do nothing to earn my place with God. Only the cross of Christ can give me a right standing with God - not what I've done today or will do tomorrow. Therefore, NOTHING can make me UNRIGHTEOUS (not even sin - the result of believing a lie), and NOTHING can make me MORE RIGHTEOUS!! That is where true security comes from. Our only responsibility is to ABIDE (rest) in Him. (p. 85)
Satan attacks in three areas of belief: the abundance of God, our freedom in Christ, and the goodness of God. ...</p>
The first thing Satan does is to REMOVE OUR BOUNDARIES so that we don't even know what is ours. If we don't know what belongs to us, we don't have much hope of defending it, do we? We could never even identify when the enemy was on "our land" without a right to be.
Second, Satan ROBS OUR TREASURES (joy, peace, etc.) so that we believe ourselves to be spiritually poor. And in case you ve never noticed, poor people don't live and think as rich people do. Those who are poor often take on a victim mentalitv. They expect nothing good and often receive just that. If we truly believed that we are spiritually rich (as the Bible tells us we are), would we be hanging our heads and singing laments as we do?
Last. Satan ROBS US OF GOD'S PROMISES. Do you know that God's promises become ours as we hold onto them? Just as one would gather ABANDONED eggs, the enemy of our souls has robbed us. It is important to understand that abandoned eggs are hard to come by in everyday life. Animals defend their eggs with their very lives because they know that their eggs will bring forth life. And God's promises are no different - they produce LIFE in us if we hold onto them. We abandon them simply because we are deceived. (p. 88)