The darkness of self - Indulgence - or - The light of self-denial

Jesus said – (John 7:17) if any man will do His will he shall know of the doctrine. The Lord makes it obvious that spiritual knowledge is not based on intellect or education. It is received only by Divine revelation and the key is obedience. It is (James 3:17) wisdom from above.
I have a physical condition that makes it necessary for me to watch my weight. But – But – sometimes I am tempted to snack and somehow (?) the snack gets bigger than I first intended. I get a message from Solomon (Proverbs 23:2) put a knife to your throat if you are given to appetite. KNIFE ??? This is not a suggestion to commit suicide but a command to cut off everything that is not beneficial to the temple (2 Corinthians 6:16) of the Living God or for the life of the Son of God within us.
What actually is that knife which Solomon thrust at me? It is a principle that applies not just to food but to every form of self-indulgence. I have felt this knife before – it is a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12) alive and full of power. It penetrates to divide the soul and spirit. It detects the soulish desires and indulgences – what we watch or read – where we go – how we choose to fill our time, etc. It also detects the God-given desires of the spirit. The sword (the Word) analyzes and judges our thoughts and purposes and motives.
Fasting is not to be just from food but from everything that puts the focus on me instead of on Jesus. Such as - - self-vindication – proving that I am right – nobody is going to take advantage of me - - and all such things that make me god in my life.
Jesus said (Matthew 16:24) if anyone desires to be My disciple let him deny himself. LET HIM – his choice, his call – nobody will force him. Let him forget himself and lose sight of his own interests. That requires a cross and a purpose – whether by life or death – to be totally involved with the interests of our beloved Master and be wholly conformed to His will.
Jesus spoke of light (Matthew 6:23) and warned of darkness. Obedience always brings more light but disobedience, darkens the light we already have. The response of the Holy Spirit to our choice to take up the cross of self-denial – is to flood (Ephesians 1:18) the eyes of our hearts with light until we are (Ephesians 3:19) filled and flooded with God Himself and we have the richest measure of the Divine Presence.
Think of the tremendous, out-of-this-world privilege we have to experience close friendship with God. Shall I hide from Abraham (Genesis 18:17) what I do? With Moses (Exodus 33:11) face to face as a friend. Jesus said (John 15:15) I call you friends. We need to get to know God better (John 3:30). He must increase and I must decrease if I truly desire to be (John 3:29) a loyal friend to the Bridegroom. As part of His bride – who should be a better friend to my beloved Bridegroom? Then I can make my decisions in perfect delightful friendship with God. The secret of the sweet satisfying companionship of the Lord (Psalms 25:14) is for those who revere and worship Him.
Oswald Chambers - Intimacy with Jesus results in a life of strong, calm sanity. It is a friendship based on the new life created in us which has no affinity with our old life but only with the life of God. It is unutterably humble, unsullied, pure and absolutely devoted to God.
Exodus 33 is a thrilling account of the friendship of the Almighty Sovereign God with a man – a man who had been (Exodus 2:12) a murderer. Take time to mine its treasures. Let’s listen in on this particular conversation.
Vs.1-5 – The Lord said to Moses - Go and take these people with you to the wonderful rich land I promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I will send an angel before you and drive out the heathen nations. But, I will not go with you lest I destroy these wicked disobedient Israelites.
Vs.7-10 – Moses went to meet God in prayer.
Vs.11 – (One of my favourite verses – drink it in).
Vs.12-13) – Moses based his prayer on what God had said and asked that he would become more deeply and intimately acquainted with God.
Vs.14 – (This goose-bumpy verse is another of my favourites).
Vs.15-16) – Moses said we can’t go without You. Your Presence is what distinguishes us from all other nations.
Vs.17 – Prepare to be stunned as you hear the Creator of Moses tell him that He will do what MOSES asked.
Vs.18-23) Moses loved the Lord and wanted more knowledge of God and closer intimacy with Him - - so he dared to ask God to show him His glory.
As we pursue deeper friendship with God, did you notice that Moses did not have one selfish request? Every prayer was for God God’s glory among the nations and for the benefit of the people.
As the deer longs for the water brooks (Psalms 42:1-2) so I long for You O God. My inner self thirsts for God, for the living God.
If we are serious about friendship with God – we get an essential caution from (42:10) our old pal Job. Job received healing and restoration WHEN he prayed for his know-it-all friends. Humanly speaking Job had plenty of reason for bitterness against them. If he had spitefully refused to pray for his undeserving critics – I think the Book of Job would have a very different ending. We cannot experience loving friendship with God if we hold a grudge or harbour unforgiveness and bitterness in our hearts.
As thrilling as it was for Moses back then – there is something right up-to-date and just as thrilling for us. Jesus said (John 14:14, John 15:7, John 16) if you love and obey Me---
Jesus chose to empty Himself of all He was (Philippians 2:7) in order to become like us. We need to choose to empty ourselves of all we are in order to become like Him.
This started off as just a few notes for myself but as more thoughts came I hoped it would encourage someone else also. Oops!!!
I was sure I’d come to the end of this meditation but then the Holy Spirit said there was something to be added.
As Christians we know that there is only One Almighty Sovereign God and He is Omnicient, Omnipotent and Omnipresent. He is absolute Monarch of the universe and none can gainsay His Word.
But Adam opened a door which allowed another king to enter our world – the king of darkness – and he set up his kingdom within our world and that kingdom is the world system. Satan is (2 Corinthians 4:4) the god of this world system. As we look at our culture, education, business, finance, greed, selfishness, government, music, entertainment, world religions, horoscope, fortune-telling, and the like, humanism, etc. etc., we see the wide-spread deceptive poison of Satan everywhere. He is called (John 14:30) the prince of this world – the prince (Ephesians 2:2) of the power of the air – Jesus said (Matthew 12:26) he has a kingdom – he had (Hebrews 2:14) the power of death and (Luke 22:53) the power of darkness – and he blinds the minds of the unsaved (2 Corinthians 3:14) so they will not come to a knowledge of the truth.
So - - do we run scared?
Definitely not – no way – not a chance!
There is no power (Romans13:1) but of God and what He ordains. Satan is a supernatural being and has supernatural power but this Scripture makes it plain that his power is limited and permitted. Satan commits only when God permits.
Someone has to (Luke 11:22) overcome the strong man. YES – Satan was shattered at Calvary.
Right now through His persecuted Church, Jesus is invading the kingdom of darkness – crashing through the (Matthew 16:18) gates of hell and (Luke 11:22) binding the strong man. He is rescuing the souls that Satan thought were his for eternity and translating them from the power of darkness to the kingdom of LIGHT. He is making known to the principalities and powers His manifold wisdom through His church (Ephesians 3:10).
But – sad to say – in the so-called free world, more and more we see the Church playing right into the hands of the strong man with its divisions – splits – unforgiveness and departure from sound, unchanging BIBLICAL TRUTH.
Oh, let us wake up – repent – seek the Lord while He may be found (Isaiah 55:6) and call upon Him while He is near.
We have been delivered from the power of darkness (Colossians 1:13) and translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son. We know that the whole world (1 John 5:19) is under the power of the wicked one. Therefore we must (1 Corinthians 16:13) be watchful and stand fast in the faith – put on (Ephesians 6:10-13) the full armour and (2 Corinthians 10:4) pull down strongholds. We are not ignorant (2 Corinthians 2:11) of his devices. Satan is not stupid – when he tempts a maturing Christian he comes (2 Corinthians 11:14) as an angel of light. If God allows temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13) He will provide strength, a way out and spiritual growth. Why did Satan (Luke 22:31) ask permission to sift Peter? Because he was a threat to Satan’s kingdom. Why did God allow it? To equip Peter to be that threat. Satan has the same prayer for you if you are an obedient Christian. But remember WHO (Hebrews 7:25) is interceding for you.
We are not to fear the devil but to submit to God (James 4:7) resist the devil and he will flee from us. Why? Because we have greater power within us (1 John 4:4) than he has so we need never fear him.
We do have to live in this world and to some degree operate within the world system. But we are not to be of it with its changing culture – fads – ideas – pressures – all from the same evil source. Be on guard (1 John 2:15) if anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in him.
We must always take our stand on the authority of God’s eternal and unchanging Word. We are commanded (1 Peter 2:13-17) to obey the laws of our land and respect all governing authorities. The only exception to this would be if government laws would cause us to disobey God. In such a case we know (Acts 4:19) what our choice would be.
Jesus saw (Luke 10:18) Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
Jesus crushed (Genesis 3:15) the serpent’s head.
Through His death (Hebrews 2:14) Jesus destroyed him that had the power of death, that is the devil.
Jesus is manifesting His wisdom through His Church (Ephesians 3:10) to the principalities and powers in heavenly places.
Jesus will destroy (1 John 3:8) the works of the devil.
THEN Satan will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10) for eternal torment.
If we are faithful witnesses for the Lord Jesus (Acts 1:8) we can be tools in God’s hand to call people out of darkness (1 Peter 2:9) into His marvellous light.
Dr. Charles Stanley: “It is out of character when a Christian sins”.
Dr. V. Raymond Edman:
“Tradition is the living faith of people now dead.
Traditionalism is the dead faith of people still alive.”
This is the victory that overcomes the world system (1 John 5:4) even our faith.

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