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As leaders we lead people to know God. We lead them to become spiritual dwelling places of God’s presence. That dwelling place is seen in their lives as individuals and as corporate expressions of the body of Christ in relationship with other believers in Christ. To do this, leaders must live their lives as men and women that live in and from the presence of God as an example to those they lead. That place of God’s presence is like a watered garden filled with God’s life. The guidance of God in our lives is not so much about information as it is intimacy with God in life. God’s presence in our lives empowers us to be sources of life to the world we live in the same way that a spring of water brings life to formerly dry and barren places in the earth.
Isaiah 58:11 The LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
In the fall of man, aspects of futility were pronounced upon the earth that was initiated by words spoken by God over the serpent, the woman, and the man. Those words pronounced futility as a consequence of man’s exchange of intimacy with God’s presence for knowledge that deceptively promised the power of independence from God and one another. The words of futility pronounced upon the serpent, the woman, and the man were words that called for the manifestation of the sons of God who would one day liberate the earth from its futility.
Romans 8:20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
The first aspect of the fall of man was that wherever there is a dry place, there must be a serpent. That serpent is the flesh manifestation of the Devil as a deceiver, a conqueror, and a devourer of mankind. If the ground is dry, a serpent will be bound there.
Genesis 3:14 So the LORD God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”
The first curse of the fall was that of spiritual warfare for mankind in the earth. The enemy has been bound to the realm of natural dust. As a result, we are in a continual conflict of spiritual warfare with the Devil and spiritual powers of darkness. Spiritual warfare can be defined as a temptation of other life sources. Life is a journey. Without the reality of a relationship with God, we are bound to a journey going from one thing to another thing in search of life. In this perpetual process of searching, we soon find that everything we cling to for life fails to provide us true life. It quickly proves to be a false source of life that cannot satisfy the cry of eternity within our hearts (Eccl. 3:11). What does a dry place look like? A dry place is a place that seeks to fill eternity in our hearts with something less than God. It is bitter and self-seeking in its desire.
James 3:14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.
When we seek the fulfillment of our hearts in something other than God it proves to be earthly, sensual, and even a place of demonic inspiration. The apostle Paul was aware of this when he wrote to the church of Corinth that was looking for life in other sources than Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!
In these verses Paul was writing that the believes should be in relationship with Jesus and not other things. He was concerned that they could be deceived as Eve was deceived. The context was one of being deceived, not sin unto death. Does one know how they have been deceived? They don’t! It is deceptive! That is why it is called ‘deception’. The criteria for being deceived is receiving a different Jesus, a different spirit than the life-giving Spirit of God, and a different good news. Preaching another Jesus, is another God saves – another salvation. It is receiving another means by which to be saved or receiving a different spirit which we did not receive that brought us the life of God. Deception involves a different means of salvation, a different spirit, and a different good news. If something other than a relationship with God through the Holy Spirit becomes a source of salvation, a motivation of our hearts, and a testimony of good news to our lives – it will result in deception.
The victory in spiritual warfare is to be a resting place of dwelling for the Spirit of God. Leaders lead others in being dwelling places for God by His Spirit. This is the power over deceptions, conflicts, and the devouring agendas of every enemy.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson
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House of Bread Ministry
3210 Meridian St.
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