Faith, Chapter Sixteen
In the last chapter I talked to you about being free from the Law because we are no longer living under the rule of Law but we are living under the grace of our Father. He said in Heb. 8:10-12,
"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more!"
If God has no memory of our sins then why do we have such a problem with our mistakes of the past. We have all made mistakes and done things that we are ashamed of. Why, then, do we want to remember all the things that we have done and want to constantly talk about them or even more detrimental to our well being, we want to always talk about what others have done to us? Why do we allow others to make us feel guilty about something we may have done in the past and allow them to constantly make us feel guilty of something that the Lord has forgiven us of and has no memory of?
The carnal mind loves to dwell in the past and if we allow others to stir up our carnal minds about something we did in the past we will be under condemnation all the time. The problem with the carnal mind is that it wants to cling to these awful things that we have done for which we are ashamed of. Have you ever been around someone who wants to live in the past and talk all the time about what someone has done to them or feel sorry for themselves because of some past mistake?
We all have done things in our past that we are ashamed of and if the truth be known would probably do the same thing again if put in the same tempting circumstances. Jesus said in Matt. 26:45,
"Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
He also made a very powerful statement in Jn. 8:32,
"If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
For the most part, we know the truth. Then, why are we constantly plagued by these memories of the past? Why is it that we allow mistakes we have made in the past to have such powerful control of our lives. And why do we allow what others say about us to have such powerful control of our lives. Do we really know what Jesus was talking about when He said that the truth will set us free?
Well, then, if the truth will set us free from the mistakes of the past and from what others have done to us, what is the truth? The truth is so simple and yet so hard for the carnal mind to accept and it never will but if we will learn to live in the spirit and not in the flesh these problems will have no control of us. If we will allow ourselves to be governed by just two truths that the Lord gave us then we will be set free from the past.
Let's take a look at the first truth that will set us free! They asked Jesus just what are the greatest of the commandments and His reply was this as recorded in Matt. 22:37-39,
"Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
You say, "Well, I love the Lord with all my heart!" Ok! But what about your neighbor? What about that friend of yours who did you wrong and is now saying all manner of evil things about you? What about that friend of yours that is always bringing up the past and throwing it in your face and reminding you of just how bad you are?
Paul had a lot to say about love in 1 Cor. 13. He said that love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self–seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
The truth that Jesus talked about says this in Matt. 5:42-46,
"You have heard that it has been said, Thou shall love thy neighbor, and hate your enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love them which love you, what reward have you?"
That makes absolutely no sense to the carnal mind. No matter how hard you try to train your carnal mind to love those who despitefully use you it will not be able to do that. All you have to do is to just let that person say the right words and your carnal mind with go nuts and out of your mouth will come all manner of bitterness and judgments against that person. Your carnal mind will not love that person but will actually hate that person.
Then why did Jesus tell us to do something that is impossible to do? This is only impossible if you operate out of your carnal mind. But, if you are led by the spirit all things are possible. Paul said in Rom. 8:4-9,
"The righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you."
The carnal mind is selfish, unforgiving, revengeful, and hateful. If allowed it will make our lives miserable and those around us miserable. I think that you will agree with me that all of us have a ways to go in being a loving person. Start today by asking the Lord to teach you how to love the way He loves and it may come to your surprise that He will draw you closer to Himself because He is LOVE!
What, then, is the second truth that will set us free? You are not going to like this truth because you have not learned to practice it. The second truth that will set you free is that of forgiveness! Un-forgiveness is the fly in the ointment that causes most of the misery in our lives. First of all, we refuse to forgive ourselves and as a result we always hang our heads down and wallow in self pity and self condemnation. We often feel so ashamed of what we have done and to us it is just unbelievable that we would stoop so low. As a result we never forgive ourselves! Our pride has been so devastated by what we have done and we just can't forgive ourselves or actually admit that we did such a thing.
As a result of our not forgiving ourselves, every time some event takes place or something is said that reminds us of what we did, we get depressed and down on ourselves. Actually, this is nothing but selfishness because if we can't forgive ourselves we will never be able to forgive others. It is one thing to forgive ourselves but an entirely another thing to forgive others. We are usually pretty protective of ourselves and will defend ourselves at the drop of a pin. However, when it comes to forgiving others it is just too enjoyable to pour out our judgment and criticism and opinion of what they did to us or to one of our friends.
We constantly try to mold others to what our image of them is. If they fail to live up to our expectations of what they should be doing then we are so quick to judge them. It is a very difficult thing to learn how to allow others to be themselves without trying to change them to be what we think they should be and yet, we hate it when others try to manipulate us into being what they expect out of us.
We are all in different places in this journey of life and as a result of this fact we must learn to allow the Lord to deal with other people just the way He has chosen to deal with us and to lead us into His presence. There are many roads that lead us to what the Lord wants us to be and we must learn to allow Him to deal with those we come in contact with. I could write a book on the many ways the Lord has ordered my life in order that I might be in the right place at the right time so His will for me might be revealed to me and come to pass. I am sure that you could write a book also of the many ways in your life that the Lord has chosen for you to walk in and there would be many differences and different paths that you had to walk through in order to come to the place you are today. One of the greatest prayers given in the Bible in my opinion is the prayer of Paul in Eph. 1:16-19, (NIV)
"I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe."
Brother T D Jakes recently wrote a book on "Let It Go!" and I would like to quote just a few lines of wisdom from this book.
people who can walk away from you. And hear me when I tell you this! When
people can walk away from you: let them walk.
I don't want you to try to talk another person into staying with you, loving you, calling you, caring about you, coming to see you, staying attached to you. I mean hang up the phone. When people can walk away from you let them walk. Your destiny is never tied to anybody that left.
The Bible said that, they came out from us that it might be made manifest that they were not for us. For had they been of us, no doubt they would have continued with us. [1 John 2:19] People leave you because they are not joined to you. And if they are not joined to you, you can't make them stay.
Let them go. And it doesn't mean that they are a bad person it just means that their part in the story is over. And you've got to know when people's part in your story is over so that you don't keep trying to raise the dead. You've got to know when it's dead. You've got to know when it's over. Let me tell you something. I've got the gift of good-bye. It's the tenth spiritual gift, I believe in good-bye. It's not that I'm hateful, it's that I'm faithful, and I know whatever God means for me to have He'll give it to me. And if it takes too much sweat I don't need it. Stop begging people to stay.
Let them go!! If you are holding on to something that doesn't belong to you and was never intended for your life, then you need to . . . . . . . .
LET IT GO!!!
are holding on to past hurts and pains . . . . . . . . .
LET IT GO!!!
If someone can't treat you right, love you back, and see your worth . . . . . . LET IT GO!!!
If someone has angered you . . . . . . . .
LET IT GO!!!
are holding on to some thoughts of evil and revenge . . . . . . . .
LET IT GO!!!
are involved in a wrong relationship or addiction . . . . . . . .
LET IT GO!!!
are holding on to a job that no longer meets your needs or talents . .
LET IT GO!!!
If you have a bad attitude . . . . . . . .
LET IT GO!!!
If you keep judging others to make yourself feel better . . . . . . . .
LET IT GO!!!
If you're stuck in the past and God is trying to take you to a new level in Him . . . . . . . .
LET IT GO!!!
are struggling with the healing of a broken relationship . . . . . . . .
LET IT GO!!!
If you keep trying to help someone who won't even try to help themselves . LET IT GO!!!
If you're feeling depressed and stressed . . . . . . . .
LET IT GO!!!
If there is a particular situation that you are so used to handling yourself and God is saying "take your hands off of it," then you need to . . . . . . . . LET IT GO!!!
Let the past be the past Forget the former things. GOD is doing a new thing for 2012!!! LET IT GO!!!
Get Right or Get Left. think about it, and then . . . . . . . .
LET IT GO!!! "The Battle is the Lord's!"
I don't know about you but I have difficulty in letting things go. I usually drive my cars and trucks to the point that they just won't function any more and I am always keeping things and very seldom throw away things that I no longer have a use for.
We hold onto so many memories in our lives where someone has hurt us and did us wrong or of mistakes that we have made. LET THEM GO! They are just putting you into bondage and you are not free because of them. There is nothing you can do about things in the past so just LET THEM GO! Paul had a very strong comment about this in Phill. 3:8-14,
"I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Forgiveness is just like learning to love like our Father, it is something that we can only accomplish through practice. For too many years we have allowed our carnal mind to have control of our thoughts and have stored up so many hurts that other people have cause us. As a result, revenge and bitterness have been allowed to run rampant in our carnal minds and we have been taught by preachers that we must endeavor to control these thoughts and through sheer will power overcome these evil thoughts and learn to forgive others and yet Paul said in Rom. 8 that it is impossible for the carnal mind to be subject to the Law of God.
Jesus had a lot to say about forgiveness. He said in Mk. 11:24-25,
"What things so ever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them. And when you stand praying, forgive, if you have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses."
Wow, that is a powerful statement. If I don't forgive the people that have offended me then my Father cannot forgive me when I offend Him! Wow! That's putting the ball in my court, so to speak! I can control the forgiveness of my Father by the exactly the way that I forgive you! Ouch! That means that if I am unwilling to forgive you then I am in trouble with my Father!
This is the same principle in judging you because Jesus said in Matt. 7:1-2, (NIV)
"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
Wow! Did you know that you can control the way the Lord will judge you by the way you judge others? The measure of forgiveness you give others is the same measure of forgiveness our Father will use to forgive you!
Freedom always cost us something! If you want to be free you must learn to set others free.