Saturday, December 19, 2009

Life of Repentance

In listening to Sam Soleyn's teachings on the elementary doctrine of repentance, I'm suddenly realizing a deep rooted issue and seeing beyond the surface in some matters.

The Six Elementary Doctrines:
  • Repentance from acts that lead to death
  • Faith toward God
  • Baptisms
  • Laying on of hands
  • Resurrection of the dead
  • Eternal Judgement

He shares that Christians that engages in fornication and adultery have very serious spiritual troubles and desperately need correction and instruction in righteousness.  To continue engaging in such activities without a true turning away to never revisit this again is vital.

Repentance means to turn from or to change direction.

Dead works are works that have activities but no life in them.

Why do we need to repent of dead works?  The works God has prepared for us in advance are mentioned in Ephesians 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]
When you are saved, it is the intention of the Lord to bring you through many things and reconcile you to the many works God has planned for you to do.  Works that you create on your own have no purpose.

The enemy has a way of entrapping your soul in dead works.  It is the feeling that you have never done enough or are good enough.  Some try to earn God's favor by doing dead works.  Rather than hearing the works God has planned to do with them, they create their own to-do list.

Often though, those that are entrapped by fornication and adultery carry some deep roots of abuse in their life.  Outside the boundaries of marriage, these works are clearly not even dead/religious, but in opposition to God.  As long as this is not healed, they cope.  Such mechanisms can be anger towards or fear of God and fleeing any sense of emotional intimacy with Him or others. By pursuing sexual activity they cope by feeling great in the moment, and also have an outlet for making an effort to be good enough.  Yet - the cycle of repeated activity is a constant way of avoiding the pain and treating the wound.  Without being willing to expose the root issue, and take any and every measure needed for healing, this repeated patter will keep them entrapped.

What I find myself pondering most now in light of this is if someone is entrapped by this - what are the implications to the rest of life?  I've observed others rationalize by compartmentalizing their struggle.  My lifestyle choice has no bearing on the success of my business.  Yet - it does have a far more profound reach than just knowing if your thought life or schedule interferes with work.  People can keep themselves disciplined in their work, or whatever other category of life it may be, and still the consequences of knowingly walking out of integrity and refusing to repent carries grave consequences to the bigger picture God has planned.  Sure, many successful people have reached their success through questionable practices lacking integrity.  They can even continue on in their success as their dirty laundry is aired for all to see.  Yet - there are also those that will see life entirely collapse around them, or continue treading water when they could be swimming a marathon. 

The enemy continues to draw the shortcomings and failures of the past making the wounds worse, yet attempting to lure us to believe the best salve for it is to try something on our own accord.  Self-reliance and and unwillingness to repent destroys everything connected to it.  Remaining off balance keeps the feelings of never good enough always close enough to cloud over our vision of who God has called us to be.

When you feel you can't measure up to God's expectations of you, the thoughts or feelings from before come back.  By pleasing God based upon our works, our own efforts to be good enough we do not live a fully surrendered life.  If you've tried all that you know to do, and that's not enough, and alternative is that God is angry at you, where do you go from there?  Many turn back to the things that they found to be convenient to distract them or divert them through another day or another night.  When you return to this, you open once again an opportunity for the enemy to beat you up.

As an unbeliever, if you were trapped in a cycle of sexual activity, you will be reminded of it when you feel inadequate.  If you are open to it, the enemy will reintroduce that spirit to you.  Repentance from acts that lead to death is a way of canceling your association with the former life.  If the enemy has gained this foothold in in you, by repenting from acts that lead to death you now have the freedom to expel that spirit and to continue to pursue your place in God.

Believers can have demonic spirits in them controlling their emotions in certain areas.  It is true that they Holy Spirit lives in you when you are saved, and it is true that the Holy Spirit and an evil spirit will not dwell together in the same place.  But, the demonic spirit does not live in you in the same place that the Holy Spirit lives.  1 Thess 5:20 says that we have a body, soul, and spirit.  The Holy Spirit dwells within our spirit man,  whereas the evil spirit lives within the soul. When you discover that an evil spirit has taken control of your emotions, the only way to deal with it is to repent.  When you repent, that evil spirit no longer has the right to dwell in you.  During repentance, you expel that spirit and retake that emotion.  Your enemy will tempt you with the same things you were tempted with before you were a believer.  And, when he ties the present with your past, he will manage to convince you that you really haven't changed and you are not a new creation.  When you give in to that temptation, he will simply come back to where he used to be and previously was expelled.  By repenting of that control, you can get rid of the demon.  Do so all the time and for one another.  It is not a shame to have a demon living in you, but only a shame to have a demon in you that you won't get rid of. 

That freedom means learning that it is no longer about being good enough, but truly catching sight of who God has called you to be.  How and who He sees you to be is far greater than your own expectations or ideas.  It is as His son, a rightful heir to freely do business under His name.

At what point do believers need to sever ties with an unrepentant person entrapped by adultery and fornication?  How do we lead a life of repentance, and how do we handle those that choose not to but know admittedly better?

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