Discernment and the Spirit of God

I hope you will put up with me in a little foolishness. Yes, please put up with me! 2 I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. 3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. 2 Corinthians 11:1-4

The history of false teaching goes back 2000 years. It’s not new to our society, and the manner of the teaching changes with each generation. The bottom line, though, is that false teachers are a different spirit.

I was in a meeting to be trained as a prison counselor. As one man spoke, what he was saying almost made sense but there was just something askew with his teaching. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I was new enough in the faith to think that maybe it wasn’t such a bad teaching after all. I waited for someone else to speak up since most were strong, spirit-filled Believers. One man did stand up to question something that was said. And as spoke all attention in the room turned toward him. Then I noticed the main speaker was edging towards the exit. He was leaving because he didn’t want the confrontation! What I had perceived in my spirit was right after all! I may not have been able to identify the error in the teaching, but the spirit behind it was bad.

Praise the Lord that the Spirit of God still guides us into truth.

Please follow and like us:

Our Spiritual Leaders

7 You are judging by appearances. If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do. 8 So even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than tearing you down, I will not be ashamed of it. 9 I do not want to seem to be trying to frighten you with my letters. 10 For some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.” 11 Such people should realize that what we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we are present.

12 We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. 13 We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us, a sphere that also includes you. 14 We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the gospel of Christ. 15 Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others. Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our sphere of activity among you will greatly expand, 16 so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you. For we do not want to boast about work already done in someone else’s territory. 17 But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” 18 For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. 2 Corinthian 10:7-11-18

Obviously there had been quite a bit of discussion about Paul’s previous letter to the Corinthians. Paul didn’t seem to like idle chit chat in his letters, and he was probably the same in person. His ultimate goal, however, was to build up the church and to preach where the Gospel had not been preached yet. He said that very thing in this passage.

Good leaders weigh what their critics say about them, but they don’t let it deter them from their mission. Leaders know that they are not infallible and can (and should) be corrected, especially as it pertained to doctrine.

I think the bottom line here is, be careful when criticizing your spiritual leaders. Their task is difficult enough without needless complaints and whining over mannerisms and minor issues. If doctrine is involved, a good leader will want to know if it seems like he’s straying or is in error.

Pray for those over you in the Lord by name. Pray for their families. We don’t quite understand the spiritual attacks they are under constantly.

Please follow and like us:

We Are Free

6 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete. 2 Corinthians 10:6

Taken in context, this verse is talking about the standing we have in Christ. Because we have taken captive every thought and made it obedient to Christ, we have legal justification over our past disobedience.

What does that mean exactly?

It means we are no longer slaves to sin, as Paul pointed out in Romans 6-8. We don’t have to conform to our old ways. We are not bound by that sin anymore.

We are free.

Are you free?

Please follow and like us:

Every Thought

and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5b

This has to be one of the most challenging verses in the Bible.

Every thought.

Sometimes our thoughts are not good thoughts. Often they’re downright horrendous, thoughts that should never be shared. That’s certainly not the case for all of them, but more than I’d care to admit!

Solomon wrote: “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).

How can this be? We live in a fallen world. We see and hear things every day. Our minds are influenced by those sights and thoughts. We could certainly lock ourselves in the house all day every day but we haven’t dealt with the root issue: our thought life.

Fortunately, the Holy Spirit can assist us with this thought life. Immersing ourselves in the Word of God helps. Memorzing Scripture helps even more. Neglecting both of those disciplines can be detrimental to our spiritual health.

Taking captive every thought is certainly challenging, but not impossible. More than anything, though, it’s definitely worthwhile.

Every. Single. Thought.

Please follow and like us:

Worldly Knowledge

5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, 2 Corinthians 10:5a

Worldly knowledge has a significant role in our society. When very intelligent people make their arguments against God, they will invariably fall short. They, of course, will convince themselves that they are superior in every way because they have God all figured out. God must shake His head when He sees this. It’s like a 6-year old telling a 6’10” man that he’s going to get whooped in basketball. Cute, but hardly relevant or realistic.

Those in the past who have opposed God at every turn are right now in the grave.

And where is God?

Yes, on the throne.

Self-righteous speeches masquerading as worldly knowledge doesn’t stand a chance against an omniscient, omnipresent God.

Please follow and like us:

Identifying Strongholds

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 2 Corinthians 10:4

This chapter is a vivid lesson on spiritual warfare that is quite different than Ephesians 6. Paul introduced the topic of war in the last few verses. The war we wage is spiritual. The weapons we fight with are also spiritual. But it goes beyond that. These weapons have divine power. In plain language, these weapons are from the Triune God.

Demolishing strongholds in our lives is a good thing. They’re called strongholds for a reason. It’s a heavily guarded area that protects the area that is the most sensitive and the most valuable in a person’s life. For example, Fort Knox is a stronghold. Fort Knox is where there are significant quantities of gold reserves. The Army post itself is guarded. Presumably the area the gold is kept is heavily guarded. You would need a small army to penetrate its door, and an even more powerful army to get past the security measures inside. Similarly, many of us have strongholds that have built up over the years. It’s “protecting” your freedom, peace, joy, or walk with Christ. Try as you might, but you just can’t get past the strongholds the enemy has built up over the years. You desperately want what’s inside but the stronghold is just as hard to penetrate as Fort Knox is. You’re satisfied with not having that freedom, peace, or joy.

You need a friend, a fellow Believer you can lean on and tell your deepest, darkest secrets, someone you can trust. You need accountability and encouragement. The first step is a difficult one, but you’ve got to do it.

Please follow and like us:

At War

By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away! 2 I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 2 Corinthians 10:1-3

Just a gentle reminder that we are at war. The enemy is unseen and uses other people to wage war against us. We didn’t choose the battle, but we must fight it. In the next few verses we’ll discuss how and when we fight these battles, but for now just know that the enemy doesn’t give up just because we do. He is relentless and will use anything he can to sabotage your walk with Christ. If that sounds serious, it’s because it is very serious. It’s light and death serious. Don’t lose heart just because that’s true.

Know that we have an advocate ready to help us in the battle.

Please follow and like us:

Generous Giving Revisited

6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:

“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever.”

10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:6-15

The last few days I’ve been writing about the need and benefits of generous giving. Today it was all brought home by a missionary couple from the Dominican Republic. They, much like the Apostle Paul, thanked our church for prayers and generous giving. They were specific in the areas the giving and prayer helped. They were so grateful for the kindness specific members of the staff and congregation showed towards them and the ministry.

It was literally this passage in action. Please read this passage at least twice. What is it saying to you?

Please follow and like us:

His Fountain is Always Overflowing

12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:12-15

Paul concluded the chapter on generous giving by re-emphasizing the unseen benefits of their giving. When churches are struggling or in their early beginnings, they are willing to accept help from anyplace they can get it. It’s tough growing a new ministry. While they can’t repay financially at the moment, they are able to bless the givers in prayer. It’s exactly how the church is supposed to work! After the new church is established, then they can also help newer ministries, and even begin building schools, hospitals, orphanages, and more churches.

God’s “economy” is much different than ours. We hold on and hoard; He gives and gives and gives. The fountain of grace and giving is always flowing in His economy.

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Please follow and like us: