Behind The Scene – spirits
By Richard Manus
Speaking in a general sense for the most part, man doesn’t think in terms of “spirits” being at work behind the scene of everyday life. We have become so natural minded that we hardly have any discernment at all when it comes to the spirit-world. I am not suggesting that we should go out and look for a spirit hidden behind every tree in the forest, but I will say, it is easy for us to file everything under the working of men’s flesh and say, “there is no devil, it’s just the carnal mind working in the thoughts of men.”
Now I would like to ask a question here for the sake of balance, though there is a place where the pure in heart see God, does this mean that there is no devil and it is only the carnal mind working in men as some would have us to believe? Let me answer this question with another question, what about Christ? His eye was truly single unto his Father if ever there was a man whose eye was single unto God. Scripture says, he would only do what he saw his Father do, and would only say what he heard his Father say. “I and my Father are one”. (John 10:30) Our Lord would say to Phillip, when you see me you have seen the Father, and yet, with his singleness of heart and mind unto the Father, he nevertheless had a keen discernment when it came to devils, and how they were at work through the fallen self-nature of man.
I think it was a bit more than the carnal mind that spoke out of the man in the tomb saying, “my name is legion, for we are many”! The pressing need is, how do we minister to the many who are wrestling with devils, to those who are fighting addictions, those who are dealing with the works of the flesh, to those who are caught up in the cares of this life and the love of this world? How do we minister to those who have been made captives to the spirit of fear, of lust, and the love of money? How do we address the lack of love among brethren? What about the doctrines of devils which are upon us, and have become even more predominant through the use of FB and internet?
Many times we fail to acknowledge that there is indeed a “spiritual” problem. Pride for an example is a spiritual stronghold which can cause divisions and separation among brethren. John also speaks of the world laying in wickedness. (1John 5:19). In Galatians 1:4 Paul speaks of “this present evil world”. Paul also speaks of our “wrestling not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers or the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”. (Ephesians 6:12). Peter speaks of the world being corrupt through lust. (2 Peter 1:4). John speaks of all that is in the world, “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life”. Consider Galatians 5:19-21, which speaks of the works of the flesh, and see how they are akin to spiritual darkness. Then we have the words of Christ our Savior, “I have given them Your Word; And the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world”. (John 17:14-16). I would like for us to see, while there is a world which is still under the influence of darkness and the wicked one, we as believers, have been chosen out of the world, (called out) and translated into another kingdom, the kingdom of God’s dear Son!
By reason of sin, there is a spiritual delinquency in all men. When I came to Christ at the age of twenty, I was in need of a spiritual Savior. I needed help spiritually. At the root of my carousing was a “spiritual” problem. I needed help from within, wherefore Christ would come into my heart and I was born again! And now, greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world. Christ gave me a new heart with a new beginning. Christ gave me a spiritual birth with a quickened and regenerated spirit.
“…that which is born of the Spirit is spirit”. (John 3:6). In Christ, I was made alive unto God.
When it comes to spiritual strongholds there are attitudes, behaviors, and dispositions, which cannot be written off so easy as to say, that is just the flesh or the carnal mind at work in the hearts of men. There is something at work behind what we call “flesh”. For instance, when Peter spoke out of the carnal mind to deter Christ from going to the cross in Matthew 16, Jesus turns to Peter and says, get thee behind me Satan, you are an offense to me, for you are not saying the things that be of God, but the things that be of men. There are many examples in scripture which reveal how the carnal mind and the devil are one. There is also the example of the man who offered Peter money if he would give him power to lay his hands on men and they would receive the Holy Ghost. See how the carnal mind was at work. Peter rebuked him strongly, speaking to him as a child of the devil, and charging him to repent and pray for forgiveness, that God may forgive him for having such a thought in his heart.
Though it is the flesh at work, may we ask, what is “the flesh”, and what does it speak of? The flesh is the degenerate self-nature of fallen man, but it is also the feeding ground for the serpent! It is where the soul was thrust outward to take on carnality, and death, through the fall of man in the garden. Man became “flesh”.
We can spend much time on reforming the soul with self helps and different programs of advancing the natural life, but to get to the root of our problem we must go deeper, we must look to the spiritual realm. Many times there are strongholds which have developed over a course of time, which began with one single thought or desire. A thought becomes a desire, a desire becomes an action, an action becomes a habit, and a habit seeks to lay claim to your identity.
Though the problem goes deeper, and is related to the spiritual realm, our faith in Christ goes deeper still! God wants us to live in the freedom and joy of His Spirit. If we sin, let us confess and be cleansed by the precious blood of Christ. There are many today who are struggling with addictions of some sort. The depth of Christ reaches deeper still! Oh the depth, the width, the breadth, and the height of Christ’s love!
When sin, the flesh, the world, or the devil, would seek to lay claim upon us, we must look again to the root of our salvation and our new identity in Christ, proclaiming Christ as our life, and taking the flesh to the cross being crucified with him. Romans seven reveals a real struggle with the body of sin. Notice how Paul came to realize that if he does that which he doesn’t want to do, it is no longer him that is doing it, but it is sin dwelling in him. Then he exclaims, who shall deliver me from the body of this death! The answer is, “I thank God through Jesus Christ.” I am delivered! Christ has taken the body of sin to the cross and was crucified. Your old identity with the flesh was crucified with Christ.
“Knowing this, that our old man/self is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.” (Romans 6:6&7).
Hold your flesh to the cross, crucified with Christ! Since the problem is spiritual, there is a way spiritually speaking, that you can nip it in the bud, or should we say, lay the ax to the root of sin. God gives us repentance whereby we can call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for his saving grace, and the remission of our sins. Repentance is a gift from God. One of my very favorite scripture verses is found in Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”.
Now I truly do believe that there is a place in the Spirit where no vulture’s eye has seen, a place where we walk in the light as He is in the light, it is a place where your eye is single unto the Lord, a place where you are no longer fighting devils but are learning to abide in Christ who is your very life. It is the same place where Jesus said, the prince of this world comes but has nothing in me.
To be continued…. blessings in Christ
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