Tuesday, June 9, 2015

PART 3: Keeping Our Wits About Us

     Who was the first person deceived by Lucifer?  If you answered Eve, you would be correct.  The man, Adam, was not the first to be deceived by him.  No, it was Eve...A woman.

"And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression." 
1 Timothy 2:14

     I do not share this fact, in order to berate or belittle my fellow women.  I share it, because it is a fact.  It is also a fact that we women are more easily deceived than men; and, due to our influence upon them, we can lead them astray, if we are not wise (according to God's wisdom).
     Yes, Adam sinned.  However, he did so with complete knowledge of what he was doing.  Eve, on the other hand, was beguiled by the deceptive, alluring, and seductive words of Satan.  

"And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die...Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." 
Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-6

     Corrupting the word of God.   Lucifer did not wait long to do so.  He just waited until he could have Eve to himself.
     Oh, the offer to be as gods.  Ever since that day, we can see that mankind has been obsessed with being "as gods."  Study mythologies, for example.  You have mankind always seeking the "food of the gods," or other ways in which to reach the status of godhood.  You have the gods offering immortality to the mere mortals, in exchange for some great fete, or some other great sacrifice.
     Even today, we all seek to live in such a fashion, as to avoid death.  There are "miracle" drugs, supplements, and the like, promising longevity.  Scientists are constantly seeking advancements, for the elusive immortality.  However, no one has been able to cure death.

     Now, what about the corruption of God's word, today?  Again, the devil is not slack regarding his corruption!  Without fail, he is apt to start with the women.
     Why women?  Well, generally, we are motivated more by our hearts than our heads.  I mean, we do have intelligence, but God gifted us especially with a malleable heart.
     With that knowledge in mind, Satan easily can creep in unawares, and subtly seduce us...Particularly in regards to spiritual matters.  Women do tend to be more receptive to spirituality.  Look at Mary, at Jesus' feet.  Look at the women at the cross, and at the tomb.  Look at the witch of Endor.  
     Look in today's "Christianity."  Oh, my.  What a field day the devil is having!  So many Jezebels, running the show amongst the churches.  How is this possible?
     There is a time and a place for women to teach, share the Gospel, and so forth.  In the church meeting is not one of them.  Yet, much to the displeasure of our Lord, many women are saying that they have been "called" to preach, "called" to pastor, "called" to be in church leadership.
     It is not my opinion, that says that women are completely out of order, when they seek to fulfill positions that God ordained are only to be qualified by men.  Hey, I am a woman.  Does it offend me?  No.  It is simply the way God wants His institution of the church to be delegated.

"Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church." 
1 Corinthians 14:34-35

"Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence." 
1 Timothy 2:11-12

"This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus. These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." 
1 Timothy 3:1-15

     These are the words of our most gracious, loving Lord, through His apostle, Paul.  Many women do not like Paul, for these very reasons.  They believe he hated women, or some such garbage.  Yet, an apostle he was, and these are the words God wanted recorded, for all the saints' benefit.  For those who would challenge the authority given unto Paul, here is what God had him say:

"If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord." 
1 Corinthians 14:37

Yet, I digress.

     I share these verses, because they seem to be predominantly ignored today.  I am so thankful for churches who do not ignore these words of our Lord; who do not label them as "antiquated; misogynistic; chauvinistic;" who do believe that God was capable of recording what He wanted to be established, regardless of era, culture, and the like.  It seems to be rarer and rarer.
     This is one reason that we, as professed believers in Jesus Christ, must keep our wits about us.  Ladies, are we studying as we ought?  Are we readily receiving the preaching of God's word, and searching the scriptures, to see whether those things be so?  Are we gladly respecting the structural plans established by the Lord; or, are we seeking to circumvent them, because we "feel" a certain way, or experienced a certain "divination?"
     Are we filling our minds with sound teaching and preaching?  Are we filling our minds with the word of the Lord?  Are we allowing His word to trump our emotions?
     Believe me, it does not "feel good" to be the odd ball.  Well, partially.  It actually feels great to know you are in alignment with God; it just does not feel all that spectacular, to be a spectacle in the eyes of the world, or even churches.

     Do you have a godly husband?  Do you seek out his God-given wisdom?  I cannot emphasize enough, what a wealthy woman you are, if you have a man who loves the Lord.
     Maybe he is not as studious of the scriptures as you are.  Are you asking him questions at home, as the scriptures say to do?  Or, are you seeking out others all the time?  Just maybe, by sincerely wanting his position on a matter, he will be encouraged to give you a studious, Biblically-accurate answer (to the best of his ability).
     I often wonder what might have happened, if Eve told that old, wily serpent:  "Let me go discuss this matter with Adam.  I need to know his mind about it.  Or, better yet, why don't you ask him, yourself?"
     Do not yourselves the great disservice, by not seeking your husband's mind on the matter.  In fact, you will be doing you both a great disservice.  You are called to help him.  Whether or not you, or both of you, realize it, by truly wanting his heart on a doctrinal matter, you are helping him be a better student of God's word.

     "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 
2 Timothy 2:15

     Before you know it, you will be a student with your husband.  Oh, the protection that affords, too!  When Satan seeks to twist the word of God, you are both on better guard, one for the other.  

"Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken." 
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

     Ladies, we must protect our minds.  The only way in which to do so, is by filling our minds with God's precious word:

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" 
2 Corinthians 10:3-5

How do we bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ, if we do not know what His word says?  Is that not where we learn obedience?

     Let us not be, as is described in 2 Timothy 3:6-7, "...Silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."  I see a lot of those women.  They are not being students of the Bible, comparing scripture with scripture.  They are not seeking to rightly divide the word.  They allow their thoughts, their emotions, their teachers, their preachers, their fill-in-the-blank-anything-else-than-the-proper-use-of-the-Bible, to guide them.  
     Many times, I cringe when I see such behavior.  Some of it is downright embarrassing.  Much of it is frustrating.  Having learned the great importance of letting God lead me through His word, rather than another, I cannot stress this issue enough.  Struggling for years, due to heresies and neglect of proper Bible teaching and preaching, I can now appreciate the good study of God's word, and the filling of it in my mind.  

The next question is, "What will you do with the knowledge, once you receive it?"

     It simply is not enough to have the information in our minds.  Are we going to let it rot in there?  Or, will we properly utilize it?
     It is not enough to know we are to dress modestly.  Are we going to apply it to our lives?  Are we willing to take our wardrobe unto the Lord, and allow Him to say "Yea," or "Nay?"
     It is not enough to know that salvation comes to us in no other way, than the Lord Jesus Christ.  Are we willing to defend that truth, in the light of those who say it can come another way?  Are we willing to graciously, but confidently, speak the truth (in the midst of temporary discomfort)?
     It is not enough to know the liberty and rest we have in Christ Jesus, thanks to the new covenant in His precious blood!  Are we willing to live in them, in spite of those who would seek to keep us chained unto the old covenant, or self-righteousness?  Are we able to show the proper division of the old and new covenants?  Are we able to show the futility of establishing one's own righteousness before God?
     It is not enough to know we are to love our brethren in the Lord.  Do we know how to apply true charity?  Are we willing?
     It is not enough to know how to interact with those who share not our faith.  Do we know how to share with them the glorious truth, that they might be saved?  Do we actually believe that if they are not born again, they will be destined for Hell, then the Lake of Fire?  Does that belief motivate us into proper action?
     Are we filling our minds with the word of God?  Are we challenging everything we hear?  Do we seek to ensure that what we read/hear, is indeed the proper teaching(s) of Christ?
     Are we relying upon others to be our spiritual gurus?  Or, are we reliant upon God to be our guide?  Are we able to protect our minds against the attacks of the devil, or are we easy prey?

     We have no excuse as to our lack of study, save our own selves.  We must take personal accountability.  Oh, blessed soul liberty!  Yet, with liberty comes responsibility.
     Ignorance can be cured; being willingly ignorant; well, let us not even attempt it.  Do we want to be "dumb on purpose," as one evangelist coined the phrase?  Oh, how sad!
     What happens when doubts and fears assail us?  What happens when confusion comes?  What happens when challenges arise?  What happens when we sit, day by day, year by year, listening to teaching/preaching, and never study to make sure that what we hear is indeed truth?  Oh, trouble, let me tell you!
     Yet, a warning.  Do not allow your knowledge to ignite pride within you!  Do not lord it over your husband, your children, your friends, your foes...ANYONE!  Use the knowledge God gave you, according to the purpose He gave it to you!  If you are in a position in which you know something, but cannot speak or do, pray.  Trust me, God can do much more, than we ever could.  Maybe He has imparted that knowledge unto you, for the sole purpose of your prayers!

     I pray that this latest installment in the "Spiritual Warfare Series" has been an aide to you.  I pray that it encourages you to be a student of God's word.  There will be times in our lives, in which we are better students than at other times.  Study as you can.  Try to make it of importance.  Even if you are only focused on one verse, one chapter, one book...let it fill your mind.  Let God guide you from His word.  He promises to give wisdom unto those who so ask of Him, without rebuke.  Why not take Him up on His offer?
 "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." 
James 1:5



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"Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." Colossians 4:6

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