New Wine for New Wineskins May 2014

By , May 1, 2014 7:23 am

loosingthestrongman5logoLoosing The Strongman (Part 2)

Matthew 12: 29

29 Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.

In Part One we saw that although it is commonly accepted that in this instance Jesus was speaking about binding the strongman of darkness there is a principle here that also reveals that as the strongman of darkness is bound, the strongman of righteousness and faith is loosed.

Colossians 1: 21 – 22

21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.

I have been meditating a lot on the things that hold the strongman bound…..

One of the things that I believe has been most effective in binding the strong men and women of righteousness and faith is the forming of ‘dirty little secrets’ in the lives of many of God’s people – hidden places of shame that are stuffed away out of sight.

I believe that God is calling us – the strong men and women that he designed us all to be when he created us in his own image and likeness – to have dominion and to exercise authority and to take responsibility to release blessing in the earth.  I believe that he is calling us to arise out of the places of bondage to sin, guilt, shame and dirty little secrets, and to escape the confines of powerless religious tradition and the fear of man.

A few months ago I was in a church where we sang a powerfully anointed song.  The chorus of the song declares:

I believe you’re my healer…I believe you are all I need….I believe you’re my portion…..I believe you’re more than enough for me…..Jesus you’re all I need…

As we were singing I remembered hearing the story behind the song.  I remembered seeing a video clip of the songwriter – wearing an oxygen  appearing on a stage before thousands of people while connected to a breathing machine to sing this new song that he had written from his life experience of what he was dealing with at the time.  He had told everyone, including his family, that he was battling cancer and was receiving treatment..

However, the truth revealed later was that he didn’t have cancer but he was in fact having a raging battle with pornography addiction. He had a dirty little secret that had him so bound up that it was negatively impacting his whole life including his physical health so that he actually looked like someone with cancer.

The reality is that in the church it is acceptable to tell people that you have cancer, but it is not so acceptable to share about your addiction to pornography, and so the strongman remains bound and the goods are plundered.

We need a church environment where there is no condemnation for having cancer or for having an addiction to something as morally unacceptable as pornography – an environment where the same compassion is extended to everyone regardless of what they are battling.

What kind of church would we be if we ostracised or disciplined someone for having cancer?  Remember – under the law, people suffering from certain physical conditions were considered unclean and so they were excluded from society.

Now that we like to think of ourselves as being under grace do we not still make a difference between physical afflictions and sicknesses of the soul, and treat people accordingly?

No wonder so many of God’s people – especially leaders – hide away their guilty little secrets rather than having to endure being exposed to the rock-carrying mob.

Think about how someone might contract cancer.  They might be told they are genetically predisposed; or they may have been exposed to a carcinogenic material of some kind; they possibly smoked for years or have been excessive drinkers;  or perhaps they have had a consistently bad diet;  or had some other kind of environmental exposure.

In a church setting would such a person be blamed for their condition?  I would hope not.

What about someone who is caught up in some kind of moral failure?  Do they receive the same treatment?

Could not such a person be looked upon as perhaps being genetically predisposed through generational strongholds and familiar spirits;  or could any allowance be made for the environmental effects of living in a world where one is often exposed to all manner of pressure from temptation that is reinforced by a new moral relativism and where to have moral absolutes is no longer politically correct?

Personally, I have had several junk emails recently stating, “life is short…have an affair…”  and including an invitation to sign up to their agency in order to be hooked up for a no-commitment fling.  However, I would have thought that the fact that life is short is a very good reason for not having an affair, and so the emails have been consigned to the trash.  But the fact that these agencies exist is an indication of how many people are being bound up in a web of deceit and bogged down in a quagmire of immorality.

The good news is that in the midst of all of the assaults and attacks on our lives, the same Healer who heals physical diseases like cancer that attack the body, also heals afflictions and addictions that enslave the soul, including the newly categorised sex addiction.

That song is so anointed because the truth it proclaims applies to pornography addiction or serial adultery or bitterness and resentment just as much as it applies to cancer or any other human affliction.

I believe you’re my healer
I believe you are all I need
I believe you’re my portion
I believe you’re more than enough for me
Jesus,  you’re all I need…

The truth is that Jesus demonstrated a no-blame policy and simply set people free to live life as they were created to live and enjoy it in all of its fullness.

And in Colossians 1 we are reminded that there is no apportioning of blame in God’s presence.  There is only forgiveness and mercy and grace to help, grace to empower and transform our lives.

Sadly, just as Adam hid following his transgression and made a feeble attempt to cover his nakedness, many of God’s people still hide because they don’t think that God or his church will want any more to do with them in their failure, and so they attempt to cover up their dirty little secrets and merge with the darkness in a shadowland of outward religiosity that barely masks the pain in their soul.

Remember, it takes strength and courage (in the face of fear, pain, or grief) to believe that after all that we have done and every way in which we have drifted and blown it, that simply as a result of what has been accomplished through the blood of Jesus, our God will bring us into his presence to stand before him as holy, blameless, and completely without fault.

As I recalled the images of the songwriter with his breathing apparatus I began to see him as a prophetic picture of the church.  I saw a church beginning to breathe in again the life of God, to breathe in his presence and to breathe out his praise and to realise that because He lives, we live.

Remember the safety instructions that are given before a flight.  If the air supply fails we are told that oxygen masks will appear from above our heads.  The strict admonition is given to attach our own oxygen mask first so that we will then be able to help others who may need assistance.

Do you need to reconnect to your heavenly supply?  To breathe in his presence and to breathe out his praise.  To receive the word of life that produces a testimony to God’s goodness and faithfulness and that will enable us to help others to become reconnected with the fullness of life that Jesus came to provide them with.

Under the law it was all about getting clean enough to enter his presence, but under grace it is about the freedom to enter his presence and be declared clean.

If we continue to respond to shame by hiding or holding back from God’s presence we will never experience the cleansing that can only happen in his presence.

The best thing that ever happened to the Samaritan woman who had a history of failed marriages was meeting Jesus and having her past brought into the light where, in the presence of God’s love and mercy and grace, her shame lost its power to hold her and the strong woman of blessing was released to announce salvation, healing, and deliverance to her city.

The best thing that ever happened to the woman caught in adultery was actually getting caught and being brought to Jesus where, in the presence of God’s love, mercy, and grace she is set free to sin no more, and a husband gets his wife back and her children get their mother back as her dirty little secret is no longer able to hold her captive and she is released to be a blessing to her family and her community.

Do you have any hidden places of shame, dirty little secrets, that have kept you bound by guilt and condemnation?

If so, are you ready to reconnect through the word of life, and to allow the truth of Colossians 1 to impact and supernaturally transform your life?

The power of God is present with you right now to heal you as he declares you holy, blameless and completely without fault as you stand in his presence.

I believe you’re my healer
I believe you are all I need
I believe you’re my portion
I believe you’re more than enough for me
Jesus,  you’re all I need…

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