Through prayer, meditation, and suffering I believe the Lord has led me back into Canaan. He is bringing healing and maturity to my mind, will, and emotions through the fellowship of His Spirit and His people. However, I know my stay here is not guaranteed. My flesh is always lurking and has an accomplice in the devil. The only way to deal with my flesh is to DAILY take up the Cross (Luke 9:22-26), appropriate by faith the death of the old man and the new life in Christ (Rom. 6:11), and emotionally connect up with God(2 Cor. 13:14). Whatever controls the mind controls the walk, so I spend a lot of time in Scripture, prayer, and study.
Crucifying the flesh is also a necessary step to overcome Satan. “And they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” (Rev. 12:11). Just as Israel had to take back the land from their enemies, so Satan wants to once again throw me out of the Spirit-filled life. The devil doesn’t mind Wilderness Christians, but those dwelling in Canaan – walking in the Spirit – are a threat to him. Once the flesh is crucified there are two main ways I have learned to do battle with the Enemy. One is to put on the armor of God and the other is to resist the devil.
I put on the armor by praying over and quoting verses associated with each piece (Eph. 6:10-18). The armor begins with the Belt of Truth. The truth that sets me free is that I am forgiven, my old man is dead, and I have a new identity in Christ (John 8:32, Gal.2:20, Rom. 6:1-4, Luke 9:22-26, Col. 3:1-4). The Breastplate of Righteousness has to do with justification and sanctification. Both are by faith and not works. Sanctification (holiness) is made operable as I reckon myself to be dead to sin and alive to God. (Rom. 6:11, Eph. 2:8-9, Rom. 1:17;14:23;5:1). The Gospel of Peace refers to the peace I have now with God because Christ fulfilled the law for me (Rom. 5:1, Rom. 8:1-4, 8:15, 1 John 5:18). The Shield of Faith is the most important of all. Satan twists the truth in an attempt to bring about anxiety and fear which are never of the Lord. I quench the fiery darts by praying about all my anxieties and experiencing His peace(Phil. 4:4-7). The Helmet of Salvation has to do with the renewal of my mind which occurs through mediation and study (Rom.12:1-2, Col.3:1-4, Eph. 4:22-24). Finally, the Sword of the Spirit is the offensive weapon of praying over Scripture for others and myself (Heb. 4:12, 2 Cor. 10:4-5).
The key verse to resist the devil is James 4:7: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” I submit to God by placing my agenda at the Cross and acknowledging His plan is best, appropriating by faith my position in Christ, and resisting the devil in the name of Jesus. He really does flee! One of Satan’s tricks is to stir up my emotions through lies and then accuse me – as if there was something wrong with me! When that occurs I resist him. Sometimes the emotion stays in which case I know it is from the Lord. Mourning and sadness are feelings we should feel from time to time as God uses them to humble us. Bitterness and anger are dealt with through forgiveness (“Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do”). The fear of negative emotions is usually worse than the emotion itself. In the past I ran from the feelings in fear. Now I am learning to submit to them, allowing “patience to have her perfect work” (James 1:2-4). In a short time joy and peace return. Fear and anxiety are never from the Lord! (Phil. 4:6-7).
A couple of months after learning to walk in the Spirit I faced my first significant rejection. I found myself losing my contentment and was coveting a relationship with a woman. Previously, this wiped me out. Through Solomon’s books and Scripture I was now prepared to deal with the rejection. God just happened to have me reading Joshua about the sin of Achan. The first defeat Israel suffered after entering Canaan was due to Achan’s coveting. Just as Israel ‘s first defeat after entering Canaan was due to coveting, so it proved to be my first significant defeat as well. The solution for Israel was to kill the coveter, and so it is the same for me. Achan was stoned – I had to go to the Cross again. God used the rejection I felt from the relationship to bring me to the Cross.
God was showing me how to deal with rejection. The rejection leads to loss of self esteem, then frustration, hostility and depression. Through surrender and forgiveness the anxiety, frustration, hostility and depression I felt were dealt with. The remaining emotions of rejection – sadness, isolation, loneliness, etc., were then used by the Holy Spirit to bring me to death on the Cross. I then once again identified with Christ’s death and EXPERIENCED His acceptance. His love enabled me to overcome the rejection and corresponding low self esteem. I once again experienced the reality of the fact that I am a new creature in Christ – accepted, significant and loved by God beyond anything I can imagine. So what if people reject me?
The way of the Cross is the way to Canaan, the Spirit-filled life: “The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests, and be slain, and be raised the third day. If any man will come after Me let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it. For what is man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?” (Luke 9:22-25). As I have experienced the death of my old man (loss of my life) by submitting to the suffering brought on by rejection, I have been able to experience my new life and His wonderful love and acceptance. The Lord has led me back to Canaan through the Cross.
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