- 4) MORTIFY THE FLESH (SANTIFICATION)
Gal 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
Gal 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
WALKING IN THE SPIRIT simply means to live according to the TRUTH of God’s WORD, and then to systematically reject the lies of the devil. See REPENTANCE in PART 1 of this article!
Rom 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do MORTIFY the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
MORTIFY: G2289, thanatoō, than-at-o'-o
From G2288; to kill (literally or figuratively): - become dead, (cause to be) put to death, kill, mortify.
Our FLESH consists of our body, soul, and spirit, when they are disobedient to God. We are not separated from God by our sin, but by our UNBELIEF in His Word…sin is the fruit of our unbelief…but UNBELIEF is the root of all our problems.
Col 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
Col 3:6 For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
We can MORTIFY our flesh slowly, kicking and screaming, or we can deal with our flesh quickly, and as painlessly as possible, mortification of the flesh is up to each one of us individually. First, let me warn you that reaching spiritual maturity is a difficult process, no matter how quickly we mortify our flesh…nobody wants to die! Think of your flesh as “Count Dracula”, every time you think he’s dead and buried, he pops up to tempt you in some other area of your life.
However, if we recognize that it is a process that we ALL MUST GO THROUGH, then if we are wise, we will get through the process as quickly as possible.
We all start out at the same “come to Jesus moment” when we finally recognize that we are seriously missing something in our lives. Different people are dealing with different issues and problems, but EVERYBODY has some problem or problem(s) that they just can’t solve by themselves. Unfortunately, this is also when we are at our most vulnerable.
We can compare it to when we look in the mirror after the holidays and realize that we are seriously out of shape and need to get healthy again. Often times, we look for an expert or a guru that “appears” to know what they are doing. There are plenty of people who are willing to “sell” us their book(s), their program(s), their seminar(s), and their special formula(s), which are guaranteed “quick and easy” methods to get us back in shape. However, there is no “quick and easy” way to get back in shape, and there is definitely no “quick and easy” way to reach spiritual maturity.
The main problem with “paying” somebody to teach you how to get back in shape is that they have very little incentive to actually teach you how to get in shape. As long as you are sick and overweight, the “expert” can keep you on the hook and “sell” you their latest “health” products forever. Like I have mentioned in previous articles, “money” is a very bad bases for a long lasting relationship, especially for a spiritual mentor.
Mat 10:7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Mat 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: FREELY ye have received, FREELY give.
Now let me tell you the BIBLE METHOD to be delivered from sin and to reach spiritual maturity!
Joh 17:15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
Joh 17:16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
Joh 17:17 SANCTIFY them through thy truth: thy WORD is truth.
SANCTIFY: G37, hagiazō
From G40; to make holy, that is, (ceremonially) purify or consecrate; (mentally) to venerate: - hallow, be holy, sanctify.
Therefore, instead of being separated from God, we separate ourselves from the world, and join ourselves to God through His truth (God’s WORD IS TRUTH).
1Jn 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1Jn 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
1Jn 2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Unless you are a very rare bird indeed, you were raised by your parents and your teachers to be a success in the world: i.e. to study hard, to work hard, to strive to be successful in your chosen field of endeavor, and to gain wealth, power, and the esteem or your family, friends, and neighbors. Of course this is exactly the opposite of everything that Jesus taught.
Mat 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Mat 16:25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
Mat 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
God wants us to totally renounce your dreams and aspirations in this world, and to pursue His agenda for your life…mainly he wants us to pursue JESUS. SEE the Book of Ruth.
Mat 6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
Mat 6:32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
Mat 6:33 But seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God, and HIS righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
- 5) THE NAME OF “JESUS”
Mar 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; IN MY NAME shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
Mar 16:18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
NAME: G3686, onoma, on'-om-ah
From a presumed derivative of the base of G1097 (compare G3685); a “name” (literally or figuratively), (authority, character): - called, (+ sur-) name (-d).
If you are a BELIEVER in the LORD Jesus Christ, you have every right to liberally use the name of JESUS on your own behalf, and on the behalf of anybody else you might choose. The name of JESUS CHRIST is more than sufficient to deal with any problem we might encounter, spiritual or otherwise, but there is one caveat…you must BELIEVE!
They shall do wonders in Christ's name, the same NAME into which they were baptized, in the virtue of power derived from him, and fetched in by prayer. Matthew Henry’s Commentary.
There is an interesting story in the Gospel of Mark where Jesus endorses the right of ANY BELIEVER to use His name for good.
Mar 9:38 And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.
Mar 9:39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.
Mar 9:40 For he that is not against us is on our part.
Mar 9:41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.
Here was a man using the NAME of JESUS to cast out devils, who apparently had no association with Jesus or His ministry. He must have seen one of the disciples using Jesus’ name to cast out devils, and he must have BELIEVED in its sufficiency and authority because he proceeded to exercise that same authority without asking anybody’s permission. The disciples took exception to the man’s actions because they ordered him to stop casting out demons in Jesus’ name.
Jesus told His disciples to “FORBID HIM NOT”. He then explained something that is very important for every Christian to understand…”HE THAT IS NOT AGAINST US IS ON OUR PART.” Here is the New King James Version’s interpretation: Mar 9:40 For he who is not against us is ON OUR SIDE.
There are so many Christian organizations, and different religious sects/denominations, that will insist that you be a member in good standing for a specific length of time before you start a ministry, or that you must have years of training, or that you need some board’s permission, or letters of recommendation, or worst of all, they will say there is no such thing as demons because nobody has cast out a demon, or healed anybody in their Church, for several centuries.
Here is my take on the subject: there is a REWARD for doing ANYTHING good in the name of Jesus! Jesus said that even if you give somebody a glass of water in His NAME, you will be rewarded! I suspect that if you cast a demon out of a person in the NAME OF JESUS, the reward is better than if you give them a glass of water in His name…but you should start somewhere.
Col 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the NAME of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
It seems like these days the only time anybody uses the name of Jesus Christ is when they are cursing somebody out…maybe because so few Christians are using the name of Jesus when they are blessing somebody!
There will always be people who warn us of the dangers of “playing” with demons, who bring up the story of the sons of Sceva in the Book of Acts:
Act 19:13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, "We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches."
Act 19:14 Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so.
Act 19:15 And the evil spirit answered and said, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?"
Act 19:16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
It is important to understand that these “itinerant Jewish exorcists” did NOT recognize the Lordship and divinity of Jesus Christ, they appeared to be testing whether the name of Jesus was of some sort of value as a talisman, enchantment, or a magic spell with power over demonic entities. Their father, Sceva, was the head of one of the twenty-four courses of priests that served in the temple at Jerusalem. Instead of serving in the temple with their father, these men were travelling the countryside practicing Babylonian style exorcism… probably for money.
The story of the sons of Sceva beautifully illustrates that the name of Jesus may not necessarily be of any benefit to us unless we actually BELIEVE and CONFESS that Jesus is our LORD and SAVIOUR! Therefore, my advice is to first be saved, and then ANY CHRISTIAN can “generously” practice using the name of Jesus for the benefit of themselves, for the benefit of others, and simply for the joy of it. I must confess that I have too often spoken the name of “Jesus” like a magic word at the end of my prayers, but His name could be on my lips a thousand times a day, and still it would not be enough. Speaking the name of JESUS does not cost us anything, but His name surely carries the promise of a great reward. We only need to BELIEVE!
- 6) PRAYER AND MEDITATION
Mat 17:18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.
Mat 17:19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?
Mat 17:20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your UNBELIEF: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
Mat 17:21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by PRAYER and FASTING.
First, let me say that the Bible says that Jesus has already won the war.
Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, ALL power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
We simply need to take possession of what is rightfully His AND ours.
1Co 3:21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For ALL THINGS are yours;
1Co 3:22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;
1Co 3:23 And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.
Similar to the children of Israel when God gave them the Land of Canaan, we still need FAITH to enter in and take our inheritance from the people and demons that continue to defy us and God. Unfortunately, Satan (the adversary) and his demons, the world (the Babylonian system), and even our own flesh (our carnal nature), is constantly resisting the TRUTH OF GOD’S WORD!
Once we get a handle on our own UNBELIEF, then Satan, his demons, and the Babylonian system is a cakewalk…this is where PRAYER and FASTING come into play.
PRAYER: G4335, proseuchē
1) prayer addressed to God
2) a place set apart or suited for the offering of prayer
2a) a synagogue
2b) a place in the open air where the Jews were wont to pray, outside the cities, where they had no synagogue
2b1) such places were situated upon the bank of a stream or the shore of a sea, where there was a supply of water for washing the hands before prayer
God does nothing except in response to believing prayer. John Wesley
PRAYER is simply mankind’s acknowledgment that there is a creator, and that He created all things, both in the heavens and in the earth, both the visible and the invisible, and He is keenly interested in our present and eternal welfare, whether physical, mental, or spiritual. According to the Book of Colossians, His name is Jesus:
Col 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
Col 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
Col 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
Jesus made an interesting statement to His disciples:
Mat 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ASK in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t see any limitations on the power of prayer. As a matter of fact, Jesus specifically gives an example that appears impossible!
Mat 21:21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
Jesus also made an equally interesting statement:
Mat 6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
Mat 6:8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, BEFORE ye ask him.
Therefore, according to Jesus, God knows what we need BEFORE we ask, and NOTHING is impossible. So, why isn’t everybody on earth rich, healthy, happy, and as wise as Solomon?
First, it appears that even though God knows what we need, according to the Book of James, God requires that WE ASK HIM for what we need before He will answer our prayers.
Jas 4:2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because YE ASK NOT.
Second, apparently God will NOT answer a prayer that is directly opposed to His sovereign will:
Jas 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
Third, we must have FAITH, and we cannot DOUBT God’s ability, or His desire, to answer a request.
Jas 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
Jas 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
Jas 1:7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
Jas 1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
Finally, there are spiritual forces that are continually opposing God and us; therefore, we should be persistent when we pray.
Dan 10:12 Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for FROM THE FIRST DAY that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.
Dan 10:13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.
Just because we do not receive an answer immediately does not mean that God did not answer our prayer immediately. We need to recognize that we are in a spiritual battle, and if we do not receive an immediate answer, we need to KEEP PRAYING!
2Co 12:7 But I must not be too proud of the wonderful things that were shown to me. So a painful problem was given to me--an angel from Satan, sent to make me suffer, so that I would not think that I am better than anyone else.
2Co 12:8 I begged the Lord THREE TIMES to take this problem away from me. Easy-to-read Version.
The Apostle Paul continued praying until he received an answer; although, it might not have been the answer he expected!
What do we know about prayer so far?
- We must audibly ASK God for what we want. Jas 4:2
- Our prayer must NOT OPPOSE God’s sovereign will. Jas 4:3
- We must have FAITH without doubting. Jas 1:6
- We must be PERSISTENT. 2 Cor 12:8
How can we be sure that our prayer follows God’s guidelines?
We should search the scriptures and determine what the will of God is concerning the subject of our prayer, whether it deals with our physical or mental health, or our finances, or our lack of wisdom, etc.,…then we can be assured that our prayer aligns with God’s sovereign will. Then we can ASK in FAITH, and we can be assured that God will answer us.
God has established a positive feedback loop, if we will search out the promises in His Word and then confess His Word, God has vowed to fulfill His Word:
Isa 55:10 For as the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, and giveth seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
Isa 55:11 so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
What if God doesn’t seem to be answering our prayers?
MEDITATION: I have written an entire book on Biblical meditation called: Speak, Hear, and Believe. However, I will write a small amount about the subject because more often than not, it is our own lack of BELIEF that hinders the answer to our prayers and NOT God’s willingness to act on our behalf.
PRAYER is when we converse OUT LOUD with God…we can praise Him, or ask him a question, or make a request, or intercede on behalf of somebody else, etc., but MEDITATION requires us to locate a promise from God in a verse and chapter in the Bible, and then speak the scripture verse OUT LOUD, over and over again until we have the verse memorized, and it actually begins to build up our faith within our spiritual man.
Rom 10:17 So belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
Think of PRAYER as having a dialogue with our Father IN HEAVEN, while Bible MEDITATION is a method of knowing God dwelling WITHIN us, which strengthens our FAITH that God is only, and always, acting for our welfare, no matter how dire our circumstances might appear.
Are we afraid of the love of God? God is love. Christ is love. God invites you and me in love. He says, Come, and I will bless you. Come, and I will pour My Spirit upon you. Come, and I will make you happy, and call you sons and daughters. Come, and I will save you, and I will soon put you in possession of heaven. The Biblical Illustrator.
- 7) FASTING
Mat 6:16 "And when you FAST, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
Mat 6:17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
Mat 6:18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
FAST: G3522, nēsteuō, nace-tyoo'-o
From G3523; to abstain from food (religiously): - fast.
Jesus said, “WHEN” you fast, not “IF” you fast. If we are serious about getting our prayers answered, then God expects us to fast. The patriarchs, kings, and prophets in the Old Testament fasted, and Jesus, His Apostles, and ordinary Christians fasted during fervent prayer in the New Testament.
2Co 11:27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in FASTINGS OFTEN, in cold and nakedness.
We see that the Apostle Paul shows that there is a difference between simply being hungry and fasting, FASTING is when we willingly abstain from food as a religious exercise.
It is interesting that the original sin of Adam and Eve centered upon EATING the forbidden fruit. Even more interesting, I think, is the fact that Satan’s FIRST temptation of Jesus in the wilderness was focused upon EATING bread.
Also, complaints about God, by the Israelites in the wilderness, were centered upon FOOD:
Num 11:4 And the mixed multitude that was among them lusted exceedingly: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat?
Num 11:5 We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt for nought; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic:
Num 11:6 but now our soul is dried away; there is nothing at all save this manna to look upon.
It is difficult to imagine a more ungrateful group than these former slaves, who had just recently been oppressed by Pharaoh, and witnessed the plagues of Egypt, and had just been miraculously delivered through the Red Sea, and had been supernaturally provided for with water and manna from heaven. It also helps me to recognize that the scriptures are obviously true because most of the time they shine a light on how creepy and ungrateful many people can be, especially after God has just given them a winning lottery ticket …Christians should not act like this!
Psa 78:18 And they tempted God in their heart By asking food according to their desire.
Psa 78:19 Yea, they spake against God; They said, Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?
Psa 78:20 Behold, he smote the rock, so that waters gushed out, And streams overflowed; Can he give bread also? Will he provide flesh for his people?
Complaining about food seems to be one of our favorite pastimes; whether the food is too hot or too cold, or too bland or too spicy, or too much or not enough, very few people are thankful to God simply because He has provided food enough to nourish their body. Everybody wants food to tickle their taste buds and titillate their palates. However, Christians should be the exception to the rule and we should always be thankful…thank you Jesus!
1Ti 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain:
1Ti 6:7 for we brought nothing into the world, for neither can we carry anything out;
1Ti 6:8 but having food and covering we shall be therewith content.
Therefore, our experience and the inspired Word of God informs us that FOOD is one of mankind’s weak spots, and FOOD is one of God’s sore spots. God does not want us to spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about FOOD or worrying about FOOD. There are far more important things that we need to be focused on.
Mat 6:25 Therefore I say unto you, be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body than the raiment?
FASTING is basically how we emphasize the fact that WE are NOT capable of solving a problem, and that we are looking ONLY to God for the solution to our problem.
I would be remiss if I did not also mention the importance of FASTING, when seeking a RHEMA Word directly from God. FASTING is basically how we emphasize the fact that WE are NOT capable of solving the problem, and that we are looking ONLY to God for the solution to our problem.
RHEMA: We will always treasure the fact that the Lord still speaks today. He not only spoke in the Scriptures, He not only spoke to Paul and John, He is also speaking to us today. The word of the Lord has never ceased. Whenever someone who is working for the Lord stands up to speak for Him, he must expect the rhema. If the Lord does not speak to us today, we are really failures. How many times have we preached, yet the Lord did not speak a word? It is not that there was something wrong with the message, but it was all the general word of the Lord; there was no rhema in it. The problem with the church today is that it lacks the living word of the Lord; instead there are only dead doctrines. There is a real shortage of direct communication from God. There is only a passing on of man's preaching. It is pitiful that so many people have died under good doctrines! May God have mercy upon us and give us rhema. May He speak personally and directly to us today. Only when we have rhema can we move ahead and have the living water to supply to others. What we need is rhema. Watchman Nee, The Glorious Church.
A COMMON FAST is simply drinking ONLY water and not eating ANY food…that does NOT include drinking tea, coffee, cola, or juices. (I usually do this type of fast when I am seeking a Word [RHEMA] from the LORD). If you are addicted to caffeine, it is very difficult to fast for more than a couple of days.
If I did not have any experience fasting, I would start off slow. First, I would try fasting for twenty-four hours. Usually, I fast from 6 P.M. to 6 P.M. the next day. I avoid fasting when I am working unless I decide to start fasting at 6 P.M. on a Thursday night and then fast through to 6 P.M. on Sunday night; thereby, fasting three (3) days with only one (1) fast day while I am working on Friday.
The most I have personally fasted (drinking ONLY water) has been ten (10) days. Expect your dreams to be more vivid, and you may even have a vision. You should keep a notepad and pen close by (day and night) to write down any revelation, dream, or vision that God may give you during this time of fasting. Also, it is very important that you spend time reading and meditating on the Word of God while you fast.
If you fast without praying and meditating on God’s Word, it is called “dieting”…NOT FASTING!
Most important, FASTING has nothing to do with getting God to feel sorry for us and deciding to answer our prayers after we have suffered enough. GOD ALWAYS WANTS TO ANSWER OUR PRAYERS!
FASTING is mainly about quieting our flesh and our carnal mind so that God’s message can finally get through to us.