Walking in the Spirit in the Church

 

Scriptural Keys for Overcomers

The Lord guided me to put together this doc years ago. I have functioned in its truths at ever higher levels since my earliest years in congregations of believers. The results: increasing freedom from prejudice, freedom from the enemy’s relentless lies against the saints, and freedom to grow in I Corinthians 13 “charity.” I Peter 2:22 TLB happens: “Now you can have real love for everyone because your souls have been cleansed from selfishness and hatred . . . “ And, too, we have the promise of I Timothy 1:5 TLB: “that all the Christians there will be filled with love that comes from pure hearts . . . clean minds . . . .”

PART A

Confess/declare the following Scriptures aloud before every Body of Christ gathering. Let your mind be renewed to the truth of who your brothers and sisters are in Christ. See them and think about them not as they appear to be but as they are in the finished work of Christ. Envision them according to where they are headed not where they are today. Take every thought about fellow believers (that does not line up with the Word) captive to the obedience of Christ. Cast down every picture, every imagination, every high thing that exalts itself against the true knowledge of God—who they really are in Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5.) Remember the battle to stay in the truth is in your mind. “Call those things that are not as though they were or call things not being as being.” (Romans 4:17 KJV and the Recovery Version.) Pray your brothers and sisters forth i.e. pray and labor that Christ “be formed in them.” Be like Paul in Galatians 4:19 KJV, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.” Walk by faith in what the Word says about the church and not by sight or appearance. Forgive what is not like Jesus. [Remember Satan is “the accuser of the brethren.” (Revelation 12:10.)] Love the brethren higher. War for them—bind and loose in the unseen realm to gain their freedom.

Walk before an Audience of One: the Lord. Minister as if unto Him. Look only to Him for affirmation and reward. Note John 5:44 AMP—“you who [are content to seek and] receive praise and honor and glory from one another, and yet do not seek the praise and honor and glory which come from Him Who alone is God?”

In Christ, there is freedom to become “His masterpiece”—one “recreated in Christ Jesus.” From Eph. 2:10: “For we are his workmanship/masterpiece, recreated in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Romans 12:2 JB PHILLIPS instructs: “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within . . .” But also, don’t let the church world and its less than spiritual culture in spots press you into its mold. The overcomers in Revelation 2 and 3 overcame the carnal church in addition to the world, the flesh, the devil.

Your place in the body of Christ is first of all “in Christ” not in a particular clique or ministry. Abide in the Vine. Stay so very close to Christ Jesus. Let God’s life flow through you to the hurting, needy, lowly. Be “ultra-Spirit-led” as the Lord leads you to one member of the Body then another. Take a low spot. Serve.

From “Overcoming Pride Blindedness” posted on https://bondslavefreedom.wordpress.com:

In and around people, especially around the Body of Christ, 1 Peter 5:5 AMP is mandatory: “Clothe (apron) yourselves, all of you, with humility [as the garb of a servant, so that its covering cannot possibly be stripped from you, with freedom from pride and arrogance] toward one another.” Wear a servant’s garb by praying for the needs of others, and watch any inflated emotion, caused by an inordinate focus on yourself. Always go low in terms of position. Continuously confess aloud Philippians 2:3, “I consider others (name them) more excellent—more highly than myself.” I encourage: keep at this confession until it is grafted into your soul. Verse 4 explains how to obey verse 3: Regard the virtues of others. Look to their interests above your own.

Always remember Jesus, our Pattern Son, loves the church. He gives Himself in intercession for her. He “nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes” her. Jesus died for the church. [Eph. 5 Amplified.]

John 21:15-17: “Jesus said . . . ‘do you love Me . . . ? Then feed My lambs’ . . . Jesus repeated . . . ‘do you really love Me? . . . Then take care of My sheep’. . . Once more He asked . . . ‘Are you even My friend?  . . . Then feed My little sheep.’ [Feed or get nutrients to the Body. Light. Life. The Truth spoken in love. (Eph. 4:15 TLB.)]

And note the Apostle Paul’s words from 1 Thessalonians 2:7,But we behaved gently when we were among you, like a devoted mother nursing and cherishing her own children.”

Ask for the shepherding ability of David. From Ps. 78:72, “He cared for them with a true heart and skillful hands.” PLEASE DON’T BEAT THE SHEEP with your words. Ps. 23:4 describes a shepherd’s tools, “Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” The ROD is the direction, correction, and discipline necessary to lead “the sheep” into the fulfillment of their destinies in God. It’s to be used in / with pure agape love. See also Hebrews 12:5-13. The STAFF represents authority over the enemy. Use your spiritual authority to set free and bring healing to still captive Christians. See Luke 9:1.

It’s absolutely necessary to abide in God—to remain connected to the Lord as  your Life Source—ever drawing from Him. Stop and refuel in God; don’t keep going when you are out of “oil.” See Matthew 25. Practice radical leaning and great dependency on the Beloved at all times. See Song of Songs  8:5.

Do let Colossians 3:14 rule your heart:

“And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.”  Declare to the enemy—the accusing spirits: “NO breaking the bond of perfectness.”

And do say “yes” to 1 John 3:16 KJV: “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

PART B

Insert the name of your church in the blanks below. // Claim and apply these Scripture references to the Body of believers.

Romans 8:17 _______ are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.

Romans 8:23 _______ has and enjoys the firstfruits of the [Holy] Spirit [a foretaste of the blissful things to come]

Romans 8:37 We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

Romans 8:38-39 neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future nor any powers neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Cor. 5:20 Christ’s ambassadors.

Gal. 3:26 sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

Gal 3:28 for you are all one in Christ Jesus

Ephesians 1:5 He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ.

Eph. 2:6-7 And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together – giving us joint seating with Him – in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus, the Messiah, the Anointed One. He did this that He might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable (limitless, surpassing) riches of His free grace (His unmerited favor) in kindness and goodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus.

2 Cor. 10:12b However, when they measure themselves with themselves and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding and behave unwisely.

1 Cor. 12:27 Now you (collectively) are Christ’s body and individually) you are members of it, each part severally and distinct—each with his own place and function.

1 Thess. 2:12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else just as ours does for you.

Phil. 2:4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others.

Phil. 2:13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.

Gal. 5:26 Let us not become vainglorious and self-conceited, competitive and challenging and provoking and irritating to one another, envying and being jealous of one another.

Gal. 6:4 without [resorting to] boastful comparison with his neighbor.

Psalm 84:11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows [present] grace and favor and [future] glory—honor, splendor and heavenly bliss! No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Eph. 2:10 For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us, (taking paths which He prepared ahead of time) that we should walk in them—living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live.

Col. 3:10 have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

Col. 3:12 God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved.

Rom. 6:14 not under law but under grace.

Rom. 6:18 slaves to righteousness.

Rom. 7:6 dead to what once bound us; now we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

Rom. 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life has set us free from the law of sin and death.

Rom. 8:4 do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

Rom. 8:14-15 those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. We have received the spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry Abba (Father)! Father!

Eph. 1:1 to the saints (the consecrated, set-apart ones)

Phil. 1:6 that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Jude 24-25 Now to Him who is able to keep you without stumbling or slipping or falling and to present [you] unblemished (blameless and faultless) before the presence of His glory—with unspeakable ecstatic delight—in triumphant joy and exultation to the one only God, our savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory (splendor), majesty, might and dominion, and power and authority before all time and now and forever—unto all the ages of eternity. Amen—so be it.

Phil. 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ who by the power that enables him to bring everything under His control will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His heavenly body.

1 Cor. 6:17 united with the Lord and one with Him in spirit.

Eph. 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

1 Cor. 15:22 in Christ all will be made alive.

1 Cor. 15:57 He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Eph. 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Jesus Christ.

Col. 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Col. 1:22 But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation.

Col. 1:11 being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.

John 1:16-17 For out of His fullness (abundance) we all received—all had a share and we were all supplied with—one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing, and even favor upon favor and gift [heaped] upon gift.

For while the law was given through Moses, grace—unearned, undeserved favor and spiritual blessing and truth came through Jesus Christ.

1 Cor. 3:16 Do you not discern and understand that you [the whole church at Corinth] are God’s temple (His sanctuary) and that God’s Spirit has His permanent dwelling in you—to be at home in you [collectively as a church and also individually]?

2 Cor. 1:21-22 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Eph. 2:19-22 fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him, the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.

2 Cor. 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!

Gal. 2:6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages, He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

Rom. 14:1 Accept him whose faith is weak without passing judgment on disputable matters.

Eph. 4:32 And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tender-hearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted) forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.

1 John 4:10 This is love: not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Heb. 10:24 Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

Heb. 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.

Heb. 13:1 keep on loving each other as brothers.

James 2:1 don’t show favoritism

James 2:8 love your neighbor as yourself

I Peter 1:22 love one another deeply from the heart.

James 4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

Romans 5:11 We also rejoice in God through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Romans 5:17 how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

Rom. 6:5 if united with [Christ] like this in His death, we also are certainly united with Him in His resurrection

2 Cor. 2:15 For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other the fragrance of life.

Eph. 5:25 just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water by the Word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

Rom. 9:26 sons of the living God

Rom. 9:30 have obtained a righteousness that is by faith.

Rom. 9:33 the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.

Rom. 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Rom. 12:16 Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Rom. 12:18 Live at peace with everyone.

Rom. 13:9 Love your neighbor as yourself.

Rom. 1:6 called to belong to Christ Jesus.

Rom. 1:7 loved by God and called to be saints

Rom 3:24 justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Rom. 5:1-2 We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.

Col. 3:12-14 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved; clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Rom. 6:6 the old self crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

Rom. 6:11 alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Rom. 6:13 brought from death to life.

Ephesians 4:15-16 TLB Instead, we will lovingly follow the truth at all times—speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly—and so become more and more in every way like Christ who is the Head of his body, the Church. Under his direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly, and each part in its own special way helps the other parts, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

See Basilea Schlink’s series of short writings. The truths she’s penned are most helpful in gaining healing and deliverance for the human heart.  Go to Basilea Schlink. Don’t miss “Criticizing: Judging” by Basilea.

"THE SON OF GOD BECAME A MAN TO ENABLE MEN TO BECOME SONS OF GOD." C.S. Lewis

I welcome your suggestions of additional verses pertinent to 
"Walking in the Spirit in the Church." Thanks. Katherine

 

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Overcomers are Ultra-Spirit Led

A succinct way of thinking about those the Bible terms the overcomers is this: they are the ones who find the union life with the Lord and function according to *Romans 8:2.

*Romans 8:2 [AMP] “For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death.”

Living by this “law” is living by means of the life of the Indwelling Christ now in union – Spirit-to-spirit – within those born-again of the Spirit of God. Those with regenerated spirits. [See Titus 3:5 AMP.]

A key part of their identity is found as well in *Revelation 14:4 [The Living Bible].

*Revelation 14:4 [The Living Bible] “…For they are spiritually undefiled, pure as virgins, following the Lamb [the Lord Jesus Christ] wherever He goes.”

How do the overcomers stay so close to the Lord? For one thing, they posture their hearts and guard their hearts to stay sensitive to the Spirit’s communications and leadings.

A chief means of maintaining such sensitivity is to stay ever so sensitive to the Word. If the Word seems dull or fails to penetrate the heart, hardness of heart is setting in. The overcomers recognize this and are quick to invite the searching gaze of the Holy Spirit so as to ascertain the reason for any dullness, hardness, or distance from God that may be occurring. The operative truth is: “For the Word that God speaks is alive and active; it cuts more keenly than any two-edged sword: it strikes through to the place where soul and spirit meet, to the innermost intimacies of a man’s being; it exposes the very thoughts and motives of a man’s heart.” [Hebrews 4:12-13 J.B. Phillips]

Also, a practice that brings the constant companionship of Christ is that of inviting Him into every relationship and every situation. Invite His wisdom, invite His thoughts according to *[Psalm 139:17-18 The Living Bible], and invite His full orchestration of events.

*[Psalm 139:17-18 The Living Bible] “How precious it is, Lord, to realize that You are thinking about me constantly! I can’t even count how many times a day Your thoughts turn toward me. And when I waken in the morning, You are still thinking of me!”

Revelation 3:20 [J.B. Phillips] promises a spiritual feast inside by way of this practice. Christ’s promise is, “See, I stand knocking at the door. if anyone listens to My voice and opens the door, I will go into his house [manifest Myself within his inner man], and dine with him, and he with Me.”

And a word picture from the Psalms well portrays this sensitivity that God is after in His saints. Psalm 123:1 [The Living Bible] reads, “We look to Jehovah our God … just as a servant keeps his eyes upon his master or a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal.” The overcomer desires close places in Christ; in a word – intimacy. Thus they choose to walk in an ultra-Spirit led way. Like David, their heart cry is, “As for me, I get as close to Him as I can!” [Psalm 73:28 The Living Bible] They say to the Lord, “Tell me where You want me to go and I will go there.” [Psalm 86:11 The Living Bible] Also they declare, “I long for Your instructions more than I can tell … Make me understand what You want; for then I shall see Your miracles.” [Psalm 119:20 The Living Bible] [Note the Psalm 119:20 key to the in-breaking of miracles out of God’s glory realm.]

In conclusion, a couple of writings further illustrate this ultra-Spirit led existence. The introduction to Bill Britton’s classic essay, “The Harness of the Lord,” defines the overcomer as one in “absolute confinement to the perfect will of God” i.e. the overcomer’s will is “harnessed” to that of the Lord. And in Britton’s parable, though “the training got harder than ever… he [the colt] was rapidly learning more and more how to obey the slightest wish of the trainer, and to respond to even the quietness of his voice.” Wearing the harness turns out to result in rest in God and a secret feeding and drinking from Him.

In Blessing Your Spirit by Sylvia Gunter and Arthur Burk, the ultra-Spirit led life with its instant obedience to the movements of the Lord also turns out to be a life of blessing. They write:

“I bless you with fulfilling the call of God on your life and living out the fullness of His will. I bless you with being in your Father’s time, not running ahead and not lagging behind, but knowing His will and doing His will in the right time, the right place, and the right way, with the right people alongside you. I bless you with knowing the things that He has called you to do. I bless you with … doing God’s work, God’s way….

Your Father will bless you with the right closed doors, because your enemy will try to get you to do the things that God has not designed you to do – good things, legitimate things, profitable things, honorable things, but your Father has not designed you to do them….I bless you with…being able to invest fully where God is positioning you….Your Father will bless you with open doors to walk forward in in His time, in His calling, for you to experience the joy of fulfillment of being everything He has called you to be at the right time and in the right place.”

“…I will guide thee with Mine eye.” [Psalm 32:8 King James]

For further reading:

“The Harness of the Lord” by Bill Britton. Search online.

Blessing Your Spirit by Sylvia Gunter and Arthur Burk. Available from https://thefathersbusiness.com. 

How to Walk by the Spirit by Mark and Patti Virkler. Available from www.cwgministries.org.

The Great Mystery The Heart of Christianity: We no longer live – Christ lives through us by Mark and Patti Virkler. Available from www.cwgministries.org.

Led by God; Led from Intimacy. Strategic verses from the Psalms compiled by Katherine Bell. Request by email from katherinefbell@me.com.

How pure?

Just how pure a walk does the Lord call us, His followers, to? Several passages raise our sights in this matter. 1 Thessalonians 3:13 tells us the Lord wants to remake our hearts “faultlessly pure and unblamable in holiness.” And 1 Corinthians 3:3 declares that we are not to “behave after a human standard and like mere (unchanged) men.” “For this is the will of God,” 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 states, “that you should be consecrated (separated and set apart for pure and holy living): that you should abstain and shrink from all sexual vice, that each one of you should know how to possess (control, manage) his own body in consecration (purity, separated from things profane) and honor.

Admittedly holiness is an acquired taste. It’s delicious, though. The seductions of the world, the demonic, religious practices, and the appetitive flesh feel so strong. However, once it’s discovered that increase in holiness results in a precious and so valuable kindred spirit relationship with Jesus Himself, all defiling lures pale. John 14:21 makes it expressly clear that obedience to Holy Writ leads to the experience of His presence and His love: “The person who has My commands and keeps them is the one who [really] loves Me, and whoever [really] loves Me will be loved by My Father. And I [too] will love him and will show (reveal, manifest) Myself to him – I will let Myself be clearly seen by him and make Myself real to him.” Jesus said on the Mount, “the pure in heart…they shall see God.” And Proverbs 22:11 instructs, “He who loves pureness of heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king (a type of the King of Kings) as his friend.”

The rewards of purity are great. The first chapter in the Song of Songs reveals that it is the chaste believer who can sing, “Your anointing oils have a pleasant fragrance; Your name is like ointment poured forth; therefore the virgins love You.” In Revelation 4, the first overcomers are also described as virgins: “For they are spiritually undefiled, pure as virgins, following the Lamb wherever He goes.” The pure among us are able to love the Lord with the whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. Plus those who “live and walk in the Light” have “true, unbroken fellowship with one another” according to 1 John 1:7. The pure experience pure pleasure in God.

So how does a carnal or flesh-dominated believer get pure? At the cross, Jesus’ triumph broke the power of sin in our human natures. Now we, in Him, must die to our flesh nature; we must crucify it. [See Watchman Nee’s The Normal Christian Life for a clear teaching on the believers’ co-crucifixion with Jesus.] Jesus’ spilled blood has the power to instantly and continuously cleanse us from sin in all forms. And the Lord cleanses us, too, “by the washing of the [spiritual] water in the Word.” [See Ephesians 5:26.] Upon turning to Him, the Lord’s very presence brings recovery. Peter preached in Acts 3:19, “So repent – change your mind and purpose; turn around and return [to God], that your sins may be erased (blotted out, wiped clean), that times of refreshing – of recovering from the effects of heat, of reviving with fresh air – may come from the presence of the Lord.

Is it possible to be so washed or cleansed that one’s memories – even body memories no longer defile? Yes, it is! King David’s plea in Psalm 51 after his grave transgression with Bathsheba attests that God can do miracles in the way of the restoration of a soul. A few verses give us the truths we need. David cried, “According to Your steadfast love, …mercies, and lovingkindnesses, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly [and repeatedly] from my iniquity and guilt, and cleanse me and make me wholly pure from my sin! For I am conscious of my transgressions and I acknowledge them; my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only have I sinned…. Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean…wash me, and I shall [in reality] be whiter than snow.” Then King David adds, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me…. Take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation….” The mention of hyssop, a medicinal plant used to paint doorposts with the blood of the Passover lamb in order to mark the Hebrew families saved from God’s destruction the night of their Exodus, signifies that David looked ahead to the cleansing blood of Jesus – the real Lamb of God. Jesus’ blood cleansing can be so profound that a heart response of pronounced love happens. In Luke 7:47, Jesus stated that because the woman cornered in adultery truly had experienced great forgiveness, “she loved much.”

Practically speaking, where are we as the Body of Christ corroded? A few areas come to mind. I am sure others will occur to you. [Feel free to post your thoughts.] First a note from 1 Corinthians 3:17 re: how valuable our very bodies are to the Lord: “For the temple of God is holy (sacred to Him) and that (temple) you [the believing church and its individual believers] are.” Because we are His “sacred space” we must discern whether we are indoctrinating ourselves in carnality with the internet, video, music, and print matter we ingest. The truth is: Jesus in Living Word and Book form offers “the true refreshing.” He is “the true rest [the way to true comfort and happiness given to the weary.” Most of the words and sounds out there come from people whose souls are not governed by the Word and the Holy Spirit. This is even true of the likes of Walt Disney movie characters and family-type TV reruns. The characters do not “walk in the spirit” or operate in “the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 5:16 and Romans 8:2.) So consider that we really do tend to copy the media personalities we watch.

Re: food. Ezekiel 16:49 speaks to us today: “Behold, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: pride, overabundance of food, prosperous ease, and idleness were hers and her daughters’; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 13:25 seconds the call to temperance: “The good man eats to live, while the evil man lives to eat.” There are such things as demons of gluttony, and there is deliverance in Christ.

Re: relationships. Are we trying to find life through emotional feeding off of one another when Jesus said in John 6:48, “I am the Bread of Life [that gives life—the Living Bread].” Is there an excess of social activity at the expense of solitude and bonding with Jesus? And, too, the warning from the Bible re: going even further astray speaks for itself. I quote 1 Corinthians 6 from the Amplified first and then The Message. It’s a heavy duty Bible truth that spiritual adultery vis a vis our Bridegroom God precedes actual sexual adultery. We first turn from the union with God we are made for before we fall.

But the person who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him. Shun immorality and all sexual looseness – flee from impurity [in thought, word or deed]. Any other sin which a man commits is one outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is the temple – the very sanctuary – of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, you were bought for a price – purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your Body.

There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.” Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever – the kind of sex that can never “become one.” There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.”

Finally, I commend three writings to further you in your response to the Lord’s heart cry to come and experience kinship with the Lover of your soul. A cry that is bound to His directive in 1 Peter 1:16 to “Be holy, for I am holy.”

Biblical Foundations of Freedom by Art Mathias [Go to www.akwellspring.com to order.]

How to Get Rid of Self by Betty Green [Go to www.bettygreenministries.com to order.]

The Veil of Self by Art Katz [Go to www.artkatzministries.org/articles/the-veil-of-self/ to read online.]

And I leave you with three quotes to ponder re: the path of purity. They hail from a deep and beautiful study of the Song of Songs by Father Juan G. Arintero. (1860-1928).

“Inner beauty is nothing else but purity.” P. 275.

“As soon as she surrenders herself completely into the hands of the Lord that He might work in her whatever He wishes, she resolves to sacrifice for love of Him the things that cause imperfection in her or prevent her from being united with Him. She then begins to experience Him as her sweet Lord and most loving Spouse, Who is so pleased to take recreation in souls that are pure.” p. 282.

“Happy the soul…who has been made God’s garden, adorned and beautified with a variety of virtues! There He finds entertainment and recreation…” p. 288.

1 Corinthians 4:20 “For the kingdom of God consists of and is based on not talk but power (moral power and excellence of soul).”

Thanks to Janie McManus for editorial suggestions.