The Ridiculously Easy Way God Taught Me To Break Bad Habits

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    There is no Scripture in the entire Bible that commands the believer to crucify the flesh. There’s nothing that tells him to die to self. There isn’t even one verse telling the Christian to fight or wrestle against his flesh. In fact, the New Testament says the exact opposite. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood (Eph 6:12).

    What I’m about to tell you I have used in multiple areas of my life to curb both unhealthy, and even sinful habits.

    If you’ll follow the simple principles you read here—-even halfway—many of you will see notable change.  If you follow them completely and consistently, you will experience supernatural freedom.

    How can I be so sure? Because it’s God’s Word and God’s Word will work for anyone.

The Addiction

    For the greater part of my adult life I was addicted to soda. I don’t mean I really liked it. Or even loved it. I mean I was literally addicted to it.

    At some point I began to recognize how big of a problem this had actually become. So I decided it was time to stop.  First, I tried limiting soda to only the weekends. But that didn’t work because now, instead of drinking fifteen or twenty a week, I’d drink fifteen or twenty in two days. On top of that, I started adding Friday evenings  as part of the weekend. Then I figured if I was adding Friday, may as well throw in Monday. And as you might guess, I was soon back to all week long.

    I finally came to my senses and realized I was struggling needlessly. I remembered that the flesh isn’t something we wrestle with or try to put to death, but actually, according to the Word,  the flesh has already been crucified, and the body of sin already put to death.

And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

(Galatians 5:24)

knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

(Romans 6:6)

    Notice the tense in these passages. It isn’t something that is going to happen at some point in the future—it’s something that has happened. And it happened without any struggle or effort on our part. It’s something that happened as a result of our being in Christ.

    I knew the Word of God wouldn’t profit me unless I mixed it with faith (Heb 4:2). So I wrote down these verses and would meditate and confess them out loud multiple times a week to help insure I was exercising my faith in them.

    I’d say out loud, “Father I thank you that not only the flesh has been crucified but also the affections and lusts (that’s the part I was having issues with). Therefore I know I don’t have to desire soda anymore.”

    This went on for about six weeks with no improvement. I just kept desiring soda and kept drinking it. I’d try not to. I’d set limits just like before but I just couldn’t keep it under control.

    As a side note, this is the point where most Christians would just shrug and say, “Well, I tried that and it didn’t work.”—- I don’t believe God put a bunch of useless information in His Word. If something isn’t working, we need to figure out why instead of just rolling over for the world, the devil, or anyone else.

    So I went to God and just spoke very frankly about it. “What’s going on, here? I’ve done this in the past with other things and it’s worked. Why isn’t this working?” And He answered very plainly back, “The reason it isn’t working is because you’re not taking my Word seriously. Hebrews 2:1 says to pay the more serious attention otherwise what you’ve heard will slip away.” I looked back over recent weeks and realized He was right. I really hadn’t given it much thought. I sort of just parroted that I believed what the Word said, but really wasn’t being serious.

    Then He said something else, “You’ve also allowed yourself to begin believing that this is a mental issue. Like it’s merely the power of positive thought and that you could just will yourself out of the addiction. My Word is not the same as will power.” He was right about that too! I realized I had convinced myself on an unconscious level that I could break bad habits simply by thinking positively. Positive thinking is a good thing, but it certainly has no comparison to the power of God’s Word.

    Once I saw where I was going wrong I changed directions. I began to daily meditate in the Scriptures and take them seriously. I never tried to stop drinking soda. In fact, I drank all the soda I wanted. But one thing I was sure to do was each time I took a drink I’d confess what God’s Word said and I would meditate on the truth of it.

“This is Your Deliverance”

    Three or four days later  I was driving down the street minding my own business and suddenly I heard an audible voice speaking in another language. For a second I didn’t know where it was coming from. Then I realized it was me! The tongues were coming fast and furious with no effort of my own. It felt like a geyser had gone off on the inside of me. In my mind I said, “Lord, what is this?” And He answered, “This is your deliverance from soda.” (First World problems, I know.) Anyway after He said this I don’t really know how to describe what happened next except that I felt a physical power, or energy descend over me. Then He said, “All you have to do is say, ‘I’ll never drink soda again’ and you’ll be free.” I answered back in my mind, “Well, now wait a second. I didn’t say I never wanted to drink it again, just tone it down a little . . .”  He didn’t respond. Silence. Then that power that had come over me, I felt it beginning to lift. I realized how foolish I was being. So I quickly repented and shouted, “Okay, okay! I’ll never drink soda again!”

    And that was it. Quit cold turkey.

Follow Up

    To show you this was not the power of mind over matter, after going about 5 years without soda I became distracted, lost sight of my priorities, and stopped praying and reading the Word. Around this time I developed a desire for drinking soda again. And, like before, I tried to control it on my own, with no luck. I was back to being addicted.

    However, eventually I got back into prayer, back into the Word, and one day I realized that over the span of about a week, my soda intake began to dramatically decrease. This happened on a totally unconscious level. I wasn’t trying to stop. I wasn’t even thinking about it. It was simply a byproduct of the Word.

It Will Work For You

    Stop struggling in your own power.  Find some passages in God’s Word that deal with your situation. Write them down. Then, be purposeful and serious every day to meditate, believe, and confess them.

    You may not have the same exact experience of speaking in tongues and all that jazz that I had. And that’s okay. That only happened just that one time for me. In most of the cases that I’ve used these principles, the desire or frequency of the habit would simply just begin to wane over a short period of time until I was able to easily subdue it.

     Did you know we now have a website? Check it out! https://www.theobjectivebeliever.com/

The Talk Everyone Needs to Have With God

The first time I ever prophesied I was about 16 years old. I was part of the leadership for a local youth group and I was invited up on stage to pray one night. While I was praying I heard these words well up on the inside, “If you’ll get real with Me, I will get real with you.” Prophesying is downplayed today, just like the Bible warned against (1Thess 5:20). But those words have stuck with me all these years. I know what God meant when He said that. And it’s that most of us, when you get right down to it, are not really dealing in reality when it comes to our relationship with Him. It’s kind of fake. Kind of imaginary. It just has the feel of one-sidedness. Almost as if deep down, we don’t even really know if we believe there is a God, but we carry on somehow convincing ourselves otherwise.

 

Some may be offended I’m even saying these things out loud. But I don’t think it does anyone any good to avoid talking about it.

After seeing a lot of my friends and family fall away, or fade off into oblivion concerning their Christianity, I think it’s finally time that this be addressed head on:

 

God feels fake for a lot of us because the majority of Christians have never actually benefited from believing in or serving Him. Now, I understand the churchy cliches’ about how we shouldn’t serve God for our own benefit. Or how we should just be happy that we’re not burning in hell (and we should), but the reality is, there’s a lot the Church has downplayed in this area and it’s been to our own detriment.  

 

God is a Pragmatist

 

From the very beginning when God first spoke to Abraham it was about giving him land and making him rich (Genesis 12:1). Later, it was the same promise for the Israelites. In fact, God creating Covenant was an introduction to a legal partnership with Israel which involved all kinds of material and observable benefits. If you read in Deuteronomy (chapters 27-28) you see that tangible blessings were God’s way of manifesting His end of the Agreement. The Jews had a palpable way of knowing if they were holding up their end of responsibility.

 

Then we go to Proverbs and find a book packed full of practical wisdom on how to avoid tragedy, how to stay healthy, live long, and be rich (1:33, 3:15-16, 22:4).

 

In the New Testament, Jesus is going around manifesting signs and wonders in response to faith in Him (Matt 8:9-13, 9:2, Mk 5:34).

 

In Acts, when the Jews saw the Gentiles filled with the Holy Ghost and speaking in tongues, they knew He was at work (Acts 10:44-47).

 

Over and over again, we see observable ramifications due to actual encounters with God.

 

What am I getting at? God has always expected certain actions from man, and in response, He has promised to act.

 

In a lot of ways, that makes God a pragmatist.

 

A pragmatist is someone who is concerned with measurable results. They don’t like being tangled up in ideas that don’t produce definitive outcomes.

 

On the other end of this spectrum are idealists. Most believers really fall into this category. An idealist likes to be occupied with things that might seem right, or feel right, in theory—even if there is no tangible reality or benefit behind them.

We pray. But our prayers are generic. So generic that our culture has begun to switch out praying for someone with the words, “our thoughts are with them.” What does that even mean?! Prayer has become so indistinct and ineffective in our minds that the whole concept has been reduced to little more than an abstract thought.

 

We witness. But there are no signs or wonders to accompany the message. Instead of the people being filled with fear and awe in the presence of the Living God, they’re filled with dread hoping and wishing that we stop talking so they can get away.

 

We go to church. But most of us walk away with nothing. When we say, “it was a good service” at best it means it gave us a good feeling. It made us feel nice. At worse, it means we lied and can’t even remember what it was about.

 

Obviously, there are exceptions to what I’m saying—but by in large, I just described the majority of our experiences. And the truth is, most people are not going to continue down this road forever. People crave substance. They crave real. And you know what? That’s okay because God does too.

 

What is Normal?

 

I used to think this was normal until one day someone told me about a guy by the name of, Smith Wigglesworth. I found out that there were multiple reports of people literally being raised from the dead under his ministry.

 

You know what my response was when I first heard this?

 

“Was he a witch?!”

 

Imagine that! Being so programmed to expect so little, that any manifestation of the supernatural, I automatically assumed was from the devil!

 

Then I began hearing about others. People who essentially just said, “The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it!” And would live as though the book of Acts never had a conclusion.

 

And that was when God and I had the talk.

 

I told God one day (and since then, I’ve told Him this multiple times), “I can’t do this. I can’t live normal. What I’ve experienced can’t be all there is to Christianity. If you’re real—-The same God I read about in the Bible—- then I refuse to settle for average things. I’m not going to put up with it anymore. I want what I read about in this Book. And I won’t accept anything less.”

 

Some people are afraid to talk that way to God. But I was just being 100% honest.

 

Then things began to happen:

 

Healings.

 

Exorcisms.

 

Crazy answers to prayer.

 

Even supernatural knowledge of events before they took place.

 

It all starts with what you’re willing to be satisfied with. Don’t be afraid to get painfully—-brutally honest with God. This was all His idea anyway. He is the one who brought up healing. He’s the one that brought up miraculous answers to prayer. He’s the one that told us to expect and believe for the fantastic. It’s time to get real with God.

Have that talk.

Did you know we now have a website? Check it out! https://www.theobjectivebeliever.com/

Mark 11:23, The Secret to Donald Trump’s Success

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While political talking heads struggle and scramble to explain the Trump phenomena, there is something all of them (and all of us, for that matter) seemed to have missed. And that is the fact that the universe is governed not only by physical laws, it’s also governed by spiritual laws. One of which Jesus tells us about in Mark 11:23

Whoever should say to this mountain, “be removed and be cast into the sea” and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he says will come to pass, he will have whatever he says.

I’ve been watching Trump (who hasn’t, right?). But not for the same reasons most have. After a while of listening to what he was saying, I noticed the level of confidence he has is almost unprecedented in any other human being I’ve come across. So I told my wife six or seven months ago that I suspected there was more at work here than just a guy running for president.

As many of you may or may not know, as a child, Trump’s pastor was Norman Vincent Peale, author of the famous book, “The Power of Positive Thinking.” Mr. Trump has accredited his worldview, and accomplishments heavily to what he learned from this man.

While watching Donald this campaign season, time after time you have seen confessions of victory in the face of contradicting circumstances.

MEDIA: “Your numbers among hispanics are down, what are you going to do to get them up?”

TRUMP: “Hispanics love me.”

MEDIA:”Your numbers among women have never been lower.”

TRUMP: “No one respects women like I do. And I’m doing great with them. They love me.”

MEDIA: “You have the highest unfavorable ratings of any candidate.”

TRUMP: “I’m gonna win, and I’m gonna win big. And we’re going to make America Great Again.”

No matter the stat, or poll, The Donald has remained unmoved and has stood steadfast in confidence about what he will do. While it’s not uncommon for presidential candidates to say delusional things, there seems to be a difference, here. Trump really believes it, and circumstances over time seem to somehow align with what he has said.

New Age, and Christians Who Don’t Read the Bible

We unfortunately have a lot of Christians who don’t understand this, and never will because they have decided the Bible needs layers of theological commentaries in order to clarify it’s meaning. So when they come across Mark 11:23, they just can’t accept what it actually says. There’s gotta be some hat trick to it that will essentially convert it’s meaning to, “It’s not as incredible as it sounds. Relax, and go back to being normal.”

People can explain it any way they want, but in a nutshell, that is the outcome of both our interpretations of Mark 11:23, and the majority of other spectacular claims made in the Bible.

And when you don’t understand something, human nature is, and always has been, to fear it, and label it as evil. So people say it’s of the devil. It’s New Age. It’s demonic, etc. But regardless of what you think it is, God created the principle, and it still works. 

For Those Who Want to Understand It

The context of Jesus’ words about speaking, and having, was the cursing of a fig tree. As many of us are aware, Jesus walked up to a fig tree one day, found that it had no figs, and responded by saying to it, “let no man ever eat from you again.” When the disciples saw that the tree had withered, they were shocked. This is when Jesus said, “If you have faith, not only will you be able to do what was done to the fig tree, but . . . Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, be removed and be cast into the sea, and shall not doubt in his heart but shall believe that the things he says will come to pass he will have whatever he says.”

Many argue that this would never work for Donald Trump because he isn’t a Christian. Firstly, I don’t know if he is a Christian or not. Eric Metaxas, author of the book, Martin Luther said, “Martin Luther makes Trump look like Mike Pence.”—He was alluding to how brash, bold, and rude Martin Luther was. Yet Christians regard him as a great man of God.

I’ve pointed out many times how fluid our standards for, “fruit inspecting” are, so I won’t get into that here. But even if we assume Trump isn’t a believer, this principle is not just for Christians. Jesus did not say “Whichever Christian should say . . .” He said, “whoever.” —-That’s anybody.

It works for saved and unsaved, alike. Short, tall, skinny, fat. Arrogant. Bad hair. It’s whosoever.

Now, ready to be shocked?

Jesus never said faith in God was required for this to work.

He actually tells you what you have to believe in in order for it to work. And what he said was, “believe that those things which he says shall come to pass.” Belief that it will actually work. That what you say will really happen. This is the requirement Jesus put on this principle, and it is unfortunately why so many Christians can’t understand it. Because they want to turn everything into a generic faith in God. “Just trust God.” But Jesus corrected this type of thinking and told us we need a specific belief for a specific outcome. People don’t like that because it puts responsibility on them, but that’s what it says.

It can also work for good, or it can work for bad.  See, we have over-spiritualized many of these things. We understand, for instance, that God created and gave us our hands. And that our hands can be used for working, for loving, for helping, or for hurting. We live in a world of God-given gifts and principles that we operate in every day. Sometimes we use them for good, sometimes for bad, but they’re all gifts from God. In Mark 11:23 Jesus tells us another gift God has given to us, and He tells us how to use it. Christians get confused and think because it’s abstract that it must be some weird isolated concept from the rest of the physical world we live in. But why?

I’ve used this principle all my life and I know hundreds of people who have as well. I’m not perfect, of course, so there have been times I tried to use it and failed. But I could tell you story after story of miraculous outcomes from operating in Mark 11:23.

Will Trump Be President?

My guess is that he will.

He has spent his life practicing and developing the concepts of Mark 11:23 much like a musician does on an instrument. The end result is an uncommon level of success–and yeah, probably of pride too.

Even with all the odds against him, he has consistently risen above them.

Many are concerned that if he gets elected, he will ruin the country.

My opinion?

He has said all along that he will make America Great Again, and I think that he truly believes it.

Did you know we now have a website complete with a video library and all kinds of other cool stuff? Check it out! https://www.theobjectivebeliever.com/

6 Tenets of the Religion of Leftism

I often like to think of my positions in terms of science. In science, something qualifies as a theory if it can, among other things, make accurate predictions, or foresee outcomes to scenarios.

This is how I happened upon my understanding of Leftism in the first place. I began to see patterns in behaviors. Before long I realized I had stumbled upon an ideological dynasty that runs deep in this country, and apparently all over the world.

Before starting, it cannot be emphasized enough that a person can be a Democrat, or even Liberal in their political views and have little to nothing to do with what I’m talking about, here. One is a political view another is a worldview or, a religion. We will talk more about this below.

One other thing that should be noted about Leftism is that it seems to be the natural default of all of us. We all seem to tend that direction. In other words, unless you make a purposeful effort to avoid these characteristics, you will end up exhibiting them. For this reason, you will notice that many of these attributes are seen in people from all walks of life. No one group has a monopoly on them.

That being said, just like any religion shares some qualities with others,  it’s those who embrace, and consistently practice the values that are considered disciples of them.

 

What is Leftism?

 

Well, Leftism is what I call it. Or, you could say, the Religion of Leftism.

I use this term because it seems to be a magnified and extreme version of many views traditionally associated with the political Left. The use of the word, “religion” is the level of zeal among it’s followers which really has no other comparison.

 

Like any religion, Leftism has some basic tenets that most of it’s followers adhere to. Here they are.

 

 

1. Humans are basically good.

That is, they believe that by nature, we are born mostly good. That if we were not influenced by outside forces, every human being would grow up to be a moral, productive member of society.

This, of course, is at odds with other worldviews (particularly Judeo Christian) that essentially teach that it is self that is the greatest enemy. The biggest obstacle to goodness, success, and true happiness is you. But instead, Leftism tends to say, “No, it’s not you. It’s someone, or something else. There is some outside force that causes you to be in the position you’re in.”

Which leads to another tenet . . .

 

 

2. Deflection of Personal Responsibility

If you do not believe that the greatest hurdle to success and achievement is self, then it would follow that when you fail, the blame would be placed on something, or someone else:

It’s an oppressive government.

It’s white people.

It’s homophobia.

It’s your childhood.

It’s racist police.

It’s poverty.

And on and on and on.

Now, it should be noted, many of these things are legit concerns. There is racism. There is sexism. There is homophobia. But it all depends on where you put the emphasis. Leftism spends most of  it’s time focusing on these things as the primary reason for personal failure. Magnifying them as some sort of justification for the lack of responsibility. Where common sense would say, “Yeah, those things are bad and should change, but you just gotta rise above it” Leftism essentially says, “It’s too big a mountain. It’s too complex a problem.  I don’t need to change. I’ve done all I can do. People need to change. The government needs to change. Society needs to change. And until it does, I’m stuck where I am.”

 

 

3. Feelings Above Fact

This one is a bit hard to explain because, to be honest, I still can’t wrap my head around the level of irrationality that it involves but . . .

When it comes to the religion of Leftism, feelings rule above all else.

“If I feel like I am a man, then I am a man, regardless of my genitalia.”

“If I feel like I’m a woman, then I am a woman regardless of my genitalia.”

“If I believe the thing growing inside of me is a human being, then I will give birth to it. If I decide it isn’t, then it becomes garbage and can be disposed of. If I change my mind about this five times in a day, the thing in my womb will also change . . . Garbage, to human, to garbage, and back again. And nobody can take that right from me.”

No regard to science. No regard to biology. No regard to facts. In the world of Leftism, emotions decide reality.

This is also why people who subscribe to Leftism have no problem with a plurality of religions.Just as long as you don’t claim to have the correct one. Because for them, it does not matter whether the religion is true or not. It does not matter whether the belief is true or not. All that matters is how it makes you feel. If it makes you feel good, then this trumps reality.

You also see this in their approach to morality. The famous saying, “If it feels good, do it” is nearly a spiritual mandate in their minds. The moral compass is not decided by a higher power, or even common sense. It’s feeling.

 

 

4. A Child-like Intolerance Toward Those They Disagree With

As mentioned, we are not dealing with logic or reason, here. Therefore, in an argument, regardless of whether what is being said is true or not, the reaction will essentially be, “that hurts my feelings.” Or, the more sophisticated term, “that offends me.” Because feelings play such a big role in Leftism, it only makes sense that the way they deal with conflict, and disagreements would mimic the behavior of a child who has not yet developed the ability to curb their emotions.

So if you can imagine how a four or five year old would react to hearing something they don’t like, you can pretty much understand how those who subscribe to this worldview react to conflict:

Name calling.

“Racist”, “bigot”, “homophobic”, “sexist”, “xenophobic” etc.

The use of these terms in response to an argument is usually for one purpose: Terminate any productive dialogue.

In other words, if I can label you something terrible, it justifies me in ending the discussion. Because, “why should I even talk to a racist?” “Why even try to communicate with a bigot?” “What’s the point in trying to change the mind of a homophobe?”

So the end result is you don’t have to worry about having your ideas challenged.

Tantrums.

Raising your voice, screaming, crying, displaying weird or erratic behavior, physical intimidation and sometimes even violence. You especially see this on college campuses.

Run away crying.

Basically, this is a conscious decision to ignore, or close yourself off to anyone who says something you don’t like. Those steeped in Leftism often refuse to have any dialogue with a person they disagree with. They’re living in an intellectual vacuum, consisting of only people who will affirm their beliefs. The goal is to create a reality around you that will never threaten, but instead  reinforce. Remember, truth doesn’t matter, here. If it did, they would seek out other points of views and challenge their own. But it’s all about how it makes you feel. “Conflict and confrontation makes me feel uncomfortable. Therefore, I avoid it.”

 

 

5. Categorizing by Race, Gender, and Sexuality

There’s an obsession in Leftism. All the world is viewed through the lens of race, gender, and sexuality.

“You do what you do because you’re white.”

“You say what you say because you’re black.”

“This happened because that guy is gay.”

“That happened because she’s a woman.”

“You think that way because you’re a Mexican.”

There was a time where society judged the character of a person based on their actions. But in Leftism, who you are, and your value, are all found in your feelings, race, gender, and sexuality.

In regard to sexuality and transgender people, it’s seen as the ultimate claim to identity. “This iswho I am. I’m out of the closet and I accept myself.”

When it comes to gender and race, I cannot tell you how many times I have been told by people, “What do you know? You have no right to say anything. You’re a privileged white male.” In other words, depending on which of these categories you belong to, you are either morally superior, or inferior and should be treated as such.

Discrimination, racism, and sexism, are all big parts of the religion of the Left. The irony, of course, is they don’t see it. For instance, they don’t see any problem with a university, or company, accepting someone because they’re black, instead of someone better qualified who happens to be white.

It just doesn’t register for them.

In their minds, there seems to be some sort of Time Transcending, Universal Arm of Justice that essentially says, “Because you’re white, and your ancestors did some bad things (although I don’t even know that for sure. But I’ll just assume it based on the fact that you’re white), you will now be punished for it. And even though it’s racist, it’s okay . . . . because you’re white.”

 

 

6. Government is God

Just like any religion has a god or gods—- a near almighty being, so does Leftism. Of course, there are some differences. Such as the fact that they don’t literally worship government, but there are also many similarities.

Government is seen as never being too big. It can never have too much power. The bigger, the better.

Government seen as the ultimate provider for everything. Cell phones, health care, insurance, college tuition, cars, loans, food, utilities etc etc.

Government seen as the ultimate force for good and justice. This is why the average person who is refused business somewhere would simply say, “Okay, I’ll give my business to someone else” Leftism says, “Government must get involved and solve this injustice.” So you have a high frequency of lawsuits about the most absurd things. In their minds, all of the aforementioned tenets, are not enough to live by. It’s not enough just to believe these things. They want the Government to force everyone else to embrace and believe them.

Similar to Christianity’s belief that one day God will make every knee bow, and every tongue confess the Lordship of Christ, so their belief is Almighty Government will make every knee bow to this worldview.

Did you know we now have a website complete with a video library and all kinds of other cool stuff? Check it out! https://www.theobjectivebeliever.com/

“Fruit Inspecting” Really Means Grading on the Curve

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Fruit inspecting. ie, passing judgement on someone based on sins that are observed.

The way it exists today, always ends up grading on the curve.

Take as an example, the following list of passages from a recent article on desiringgod.org regarding the topic of foolishness and who not to vote for.

  • The foolish look with haughty eyes (Proverbs 6:17).
  • The foolish engage in slander (Proverbs 10:18).
  • The foolish joke about their wrongdoing (Proverbs 10:23).
  • The foolish make great boasts (Psalm 12:3).
  • The foolish are stubbornly right in their own eyes (Proverbs 12:15).
  • The foolish are quickly annoyed by insults (Proverbs 12:16).
  • The foolish lash out in rash words like sword thrusts (Proverbs 12:18).
  • The foolish express no shame over their folly (Proverbs 13:16).
  • The foolish speak and act with recklessness and carelessness (Proverbs 14:16).
  • The foolish spew folly from their mouths (Proverbs 15:2).
  • The foolish despise instruction and reproofs from those who are wiser (Proverbs 15:5).
  • When the foolish try and speak in a dignified manner it feels artificial (Proverbs 17:7).
  • Rebukes just bounce off of the foolish (Proverbs 17:10).
  • The foolish love to boldly pronounce their opinions (Proverbs 18:2).
  • The foolish have repeatedly been ensnared by their words in their past (Proverbs 18:7).
  • The foolish are often characterized by quarreling (Proverbs 20:3).
  • The foolish frequently disregard wisdom (Proverbs 23:9).
  • When others stoop to engage the foolish according to their folly, they end up looking foolish themselves (Proverbs 26:4).
  • The foolish have a history of repeating their folly (Proverbs 26:11).
  • Those known to be wise are concerned and burdened by the words and actions of the foolish (Proverbs 27:3).
  • The foolish rage or mock when arguing with others (Proverbs 29:9).
  • The foolish love to give full vent to their spirit (Proverbs 29:11).
  • The foolish are quick to speak (Proverbs 29:20).
  • The foolish are often characterized by shouting (Ecclesiastes 9:17).
  • The foolish may consider themselves religious, but their unbridled tongues show that religion to be worthless (James 1:26).

Now, at first, you may be inclined to think these passages apply to a certain candidate but the more you read through them, you have to concede that most of them not only apply to every candidate running, but actually, to every person alive.

So now what?

Well, since we can’t locate anyone who is not guilty of these, we gotta go another route. And the chosen route is that we have to start asking “who sins more compared to the rest of us?” Which is where the grading on the curve comes in.

But this actually gives rise to another conundrum:

Since a large portion of sin cannot be observed, we ultimately end up asking who hides it better?

By the way, have we ever considered that the people who are the most honest would inevitably be the ones who seem to have more sin? They’re transparent. They’re not trying to hide it for fear of other’s opinions. So think about it . . . This means the process of, “fruit inspecting” is designed in such a way as to punish honesty, and reward deceit.

Just Ignore Christ’s Words?

Obviously this does not mean we disregard what Jesus said about knowing people by their fruit. It doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition.

“Either we apply it in a questionable and completely subjective way, or we’re ignoring what Christ said.”

Wrong.

The best approach is to recognize that the current application is deeply flawed and therefore we need to work on a better, more biblically accurate way of applying it. And until we do, we need to realize we are dealing with some very delicate issues of judgement, here. Issues, that, if we’re wrong (and remember, you fit that list of foolish characteristics, too), we are the ones in sin.

Did you know we now have a website complete with a video library and all kinds of other cool stuff? Check it out! https://www.theobjectivebeliever.com/

It’s Time Christians Admitted the Truth About Tithing

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I used to be the poster boy for tithing. I preached it as a mandate from heaven. The, “anointing” that would, “break the yoke” of financial hardships. The key to rebuking the devil and opening the windows of heaven. There was no one I knew that believed in it more than I did. Once, I even told someone that the reason they weren’t healed was because they didn’t tithe consistently enough (sorry about that, dad).

Yup . . . I was one of those Christians.

Then I went into a new season in my walk with God and big changes started taking place.

I made the decision that moving forward, I would no longer consciously accept something as true unless I could read it for myself in the Bible. I was upending every doctrine I could think of, throwing it onto the biblical conveyor belt, and watching to see what was left at the other end. And for a while, the concept of tithing flew under the radar. Like so many ideas we accept and hold dear, I just never thought to question that one. It was so ingrained I unconsciously put it above scrutiny.

Until one day, like cleaning out the attic and grabbing stuff piece by piece to see if it’s time to throw it away, I grabbed hold of tithing.

I knew it couldn’t be avoided any longer. It was time to confront the subject head on:

Does the Bible Command the Christian to Tithe?

By this time I had read through the New Testament at least a dozen times. And it occurred to me . . . God hardly (and I mean, hardly) ever mentioned it.

Once, in Matthew 23:23, when Jesus was talking to the Pharisees, (who were, keep in mind, teachers, and examples of keeping the law) He told them they should be tithing. And I realized that under the Old Covenant, if Christ had told them anything less, He would have been advocating the breaking of God’s Law. He commanded Jews not only to tithe but to keep ALL of the teachings of the Pharisees which would have included animal sacrifice along with every other mandate in the Torah (Matt 23:2-3).

So I quickly realized that unless we were trying to prove that Christians should be practicing all the Jewish ordinances, then this particular event in the Gospels could not be used for the tithe discussion.

Then the only other passage I knew of was in Hebrews 7:1-9. And it was pretty vague. I also noticed it merely mentioned tithing. It did not command Christians to do it.

And we need to be careful, here. Just because something is mentioned in the Bible does not mean God is commanding you to do it. It sounds like common sense, but this is exactly what people do with the passage in Hebrews. They assume that because God said the word, “tithe” that this is proof He wants them to do it. Just think how weird things would get if we consistently made that assumption about every word we read in the New Testament.

So, I had to be honest with myself and admit that just because the word, “tithe” was mentioned, does not justify the creation of the doctrinal dynasty we see today.

It was just too big of a stretch.

Tithing Before the Law

Now, some folks mention the fact that tithing took place before the Law. Abraham, for example, tithed.

True.

But Abraham also had multiple wives, including his sister, made animal sacrifices, and killed a bunch of people.

Again . . . Just because it is mentioned, does not mean God is commanding you to do it.

I understand the temptation to scramble and reach for something . . . . . . . . . . Anything—- to keep a dying idea afloat, but you have to look at the broader picture. A sloppy approach to the Bible such as this is only going to open the door for all kinds of weird ideas.

Something else I had to confront about this idea is the fact that even if we were to assume the New Testament Christian was commanded to tithe,—tithe what and to whom? So, as you can see, there are multiple assumptions that would have to be made before you could arrive at the type of system you see being taught in many of our churches.

What Does the New Testament Say About Giving?

Whenever I talk about this, there is always at least one person who thinks I am against giving to the local church, or other ministries. I am not. I’m not even against tithing if that is what you want to do. I’m merely pointing out the absence of it being a command to Christians. God says we should be giving, but that it should be according to what we purpose in our hearts and not grudgingly (2Cor 6:7).

That is the New Testament instruction on the matter.

Good News For Those Who Love Tithing

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.”

(Romans 10:4-5) 

Notice how it says Moses writes about the righteousness of the Law. Another translation says, “Moses describes” the righteousness of the Law. When you can find a term that the Bible itself actually defines, it’s a good thing. So the righteousness of the Law is described here as a person who does the commandments and lives by them (ESV). Now, we know the Law, among other things, included a command to tithe. So keeping in mind that tithing is included, we could read it like this,

“Moses describes the righteousness of the Law as the person who practices the commandments, including tithing, shall live by them.”

Follow so far?

Now read this and watch for the same term, righteousness of the Law, to be used.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done

what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteousness of

the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

(Romans 8:1-4)

So you see . . . The righteousness of the Law  (the doing of all the commandments, including tithing)  has been fulfilled in those who are in Christ Jesus.

Fulfilled.

That’s past tense.

It does not say, “will be fulfilled if you try real hard.” It does not say, “You meet Jesus halfway with your efforts, and He takes care of the rest.” No, it says it already has been fulfilled. In who? Those who are in Christ Jesus.

So that’s you and me, right?

Remember what we’re talking about, here—-keeping the law, and in this case, tithing. That means the requirements of tithing have already been 100% fulfilled and completed in you by virtue of the fact that you’re in Christ Jesus.

Now, if you want to still try to tithe, that’s fine. But it’s important you know that it’s already been done for you.

So next time someone tells you there’s a Covenant Promise and the windows of heaven will open if you’ll just be faithful enough to give ten percent of your income, you can tell them, “I know! And I’ve already met the requirements!”

Did you know we now have a website complete with a video library and all kinds of other cool stuff? Check it out! https://www.theobjectivebeliever.com/

7 Facts From the Gospels That Would Get Jesus Thrown out of Your Church

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Even after two thousand years of attempting to adjust to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, it would seem the Church still finds the literal life and ministry of Jesus Christ too extreme to follow (or even teach).

Initially, none of the following may sound too radical— But strip your mind of the fairy tale-type mentalities that surround these instances. Imagine these literally happening today—-in your church on a Sunday morning. What I think you will realize is that when we remove centuries of caked on commentary, and religious jargon, it quickly becomes apparent that there is little place for the Jesus of the Gospels in our churches. In many ways, He was and is everything the modern Christian disdains.

Don’t believe me?

Have a look:

1. He both taught, and demonstrated speaking to inanimate objects to make them obey you (Matt 21:20-21).

Theologians can explain it away all day (and they do). If there were any doubt about what Jesus was referring to when He told His disciples to talk to mountains, the preceeding verses remove it. When read in context, we see Jesus had just spoken to a real tree, and says “not only will you be able to do what was done to the tree but if you say to this mountain . . . “

2. He taught 100% success in prayer (Matt 7:7, Matt 21:22, John 16:24).

This was before the days of, “sometimes God says yes, sometimes He says no, sometimes He says wait a while.

The idea of not receiving what you ask in prayer is completely foreign to the life and teachings of Jesus.

He also rejected weird religious idioms that still surround the concepts of prayer today. Such as the Monkey’s Paw Mentality that claims if you ask God for something, you can never truly be sure what to expect (Matt 7:8-11).

3. He made, “cruel and heartless” statements in times of tragedy that connected sin to physical calamity (Luke 13:4-5).

Jesus uses a recent accident in which 18 people were killed by a falling tower, and warned that unless there was repentance, more would perish. Young’s Literal Translation says they would perish in like manner.  He also told a man who had been crippled for 38 years to stop sinning otherwise a worse thing would happen to him (John 5:14).

4. He scolded His disciples for not being able to perform a miracle (Matt 17:15-20)

A man’s son is suffering from seizures. The disciples try, but are unable to help him. Upon seeing this, Jesus could have said something like, “It’s okay guys, you’re only human. I shouldn’t expect so much from you. The reason it didn’t work was because it was all part of God’s sovereign plan. He has decided to use the suffering of this child for His glory.“—Let’s be honest—- if it were 21st century jesus, that’s what it would have sounded like.

Instead of such comforting strokes that we so often hear in times of hopelessness and unanswered prayers, Jesus straight-up rebukes His followers. “You perverse and twisted generation! How long do I have to put up with you!?” (punctuation added).

5. He said the devil was behind disability (Lk 13:11-16, Mk 9:25).

In a world where God and Satan have apparently switched jobs (now a days God is blamed for sickness and disease and miracles of healing are often attributed to Satan) this would not go over well. And it wouldn’t even need to happen on multiple occasions. Just once and someone would catch it on video or audio, and it would be thrown onto YouTube where it would likely be deemed heartless, and ridiculous.

6. He emphasized faith for miracles (Mark 11:23-24).

And no, it was not some kind general faith in God as sovereign, or that it’s, “all in His hands.”

It was purposeful, specific faith in the desired outcome. Contrary to popular opinion, Jesus very seldom (and one could argue—never) spoke about faith in God when it came to answered prayers.

On another occasion He even said to a person, “your faith has healed you.”

We don’t even have to guess how such a claim would be received today. I have seen it taught on multiple occasions that, “faith doesn’t heal anyone—Only God can do that” and to believe otherwise is somewhere in the same vein as blasphemy, or idolatry.

7. Most of His teachings on prayer were centered around how to get things (Mark 11:24 John 16:24)

He didn’t talk about how we are supposed to spend hours, “listening” for God’s voice in prayer (although I think we should). And He didn’t talk about how we should spend more time just thanking God in prayer (although I think we should.)

Now a days, all of us are trying to downplay asking God for things. Always coming up with reasons why prayers aren’t answered. How He isn’t a, “Cosmic Bellhop” etc etc. . . And yet—–When we actually read the accounts, we see that time and time again, Jesus is teaching us how to get what we need, and even what we desire by prayer. And He does it unabashedly and with great frankness.

Jesus

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Living In Sin: An Accusation That Really Just Means, “I’m Better at Hiding My Sin Than You”

hiding

 

So I think we’ve all heard the term. It’s a label pretty closely resembling the Scarlet Letter. A sentence that gets passed upon unfortunate souls who we feel have strayed from the paths of righteousness: Living in Sin.

 

I don’t really know why more Christians are not concerned about this topic.  I mean, the claim has been that if you’re, living in sin and die that way, you’ll go to hell. Others aren’t willing to say you’ll go to hell, but they’re also not willing to say with any certainty that you won’t. Then you have some folks who will tell you that as a Christian, you can’t lose your salvation at all—-comforting, right?  I thought so too . . . Until I found out that there is often a fine print disclaimer on this one that basically says, “oh, by the way, if you sin too much, you probably never were saved to begin with . . .  So you’re going to hell anyway.”

However one wishes to pronounce, “tomato” or, “potato”, the train of thought here is:

“living in sin” = “soul in jeopardy”

So, I think it’s time we stopped giving this subject the, under the rug treatment, and got some real answers.

 

M.I.A.

 

The issue I ran into almost immediately when investigating this topic in the Bible is that some of the greatest dynasties we have erected—-doctrines that are fundamental to our Christianity, are largely Missing in Action:

For instance,

The Bible really doesn’t mention or refer to a, “Hierarchy of Sin”–where some are worse than others.

Nor is there a, “Sin-O-Meter” which measures whether or not the number of sins exceed the, “allowed daily amount” by grace.

There’s also that weird Variety thing that no one has ever spoken out loud but sounds something like, “A variety of sins here and there is fine. We all do it. But when one sin is committed in a higher frequency than all the other average sins, well then I’m afraid you’ve crossed over into, living in sin.”——- In other words, diversity of sins won’t damn you but a concentration of any will.

So, apparently with this idea, you just need to make sure your vices are proportional to one another.

Then you have probably the most popular of these ideas; what I call the, “Heart Monitor.” This is where we convince ourselves that if we are sorry for our sin, or feel bad when we do it, that this is somehow different from a person who sins without feelings of remorse . . . Once again, this is seems to be an artifical distinction not actually made in Scripture.

 

 

So Then —What’s The Bible Really Say?

 

 

All of these concepts are actually quite difficult to find and extract application from in the Scriptures. I mean, sure, they are kind of . . .  sort of———— ish in there. But they are certainly not as clearly outlined as most of us have been led to believe. And they are not anywhere close to being a measurable criteria for us to live by.

No, instead, it would seem that upon searching God’s Word what we find more than anything else is simply that sin is sin—- Either you do it or you don’t.

Some may point to Scriptures that talk about, practicing sin  such as 1 John 3:9 as if this is the dividing line between believers and non believers. But then gloss over the other part of the same verse which says a born again person cannot sin—–period. Not just practice sin, but sin at all. Even if that part wasn’t in there (or you decided to avoid the versions that translate it that way), there’s another problem we run into with this. And that’s the fact that nearly every professing Christian on the planet says they sin multiple times each day. One minister I recently heard on the radio said we sin, “constantly.

Yet . . . We’re suppose to believe this does not constitute practicing sin?

A little hard to swallow.

Now, some will wonder if we all violate this passage that speaks about practicing sin, then what does it mean?  Why would God write such a thing to us? It’s not the subject, but God actually tells us why He said what He did—- Chapter 2 reads, “I write these things to you so that you won’t sin.”  That kind of sounds like what Paul said in Romans 6, doesn’t it? He tells the believer they are dead to sin, and then says therefore, do not let it reign in your mortal body. He tells us to reckon and act, as if it’s true, because it is true. John tells us those who are born of God do not sin, then says he writes these things so we don’t sin. We are to act in line with the reality that those who are born of God, do not sin.

 

What’s it all About?

 

This being the case, where does the whole, living in sin, thing come from? As previously pointed out, the Hierarchy, Sin-O-Meter, Heart Monitor, and Variety doctrines are largely bunk.

My theory?

I’ve  noticed that as I progress in my Christian walk, I’ve gotten pretty good at hiding my sin——-Come on . . . You know what I mean. Us seasoned folk have learned to talk the talk and walk the walk— in front of the right people.  In other words, sin tends to go underground and undercover over the life span of the average believer. We get so good at playing the game that we can be overly critical, judgmental, lustful, hateful and selfish—— inwardly, without skipping a beat (or should I say a, “Hallelujah”?) outwardly. As we become experts in this field, it seems we also become more aware of those who aren’t. 1 Corinthians mentions folks who compare themselves with and among themselves.  So if you think about it, the only way the, “living in sin” thing really works is if we compare ourselves with another human being.  I mean, we’ve already admitted to sinning, “constantly” and on a daily basis, so we certainly can’t compare ourselves to Christ and come away feeling like we’re not living in sin, can we? At least not without a couple hundred theological jumping jacks.

But when comparing ourselves to one another, it inevitably creates a lesser-of-two-evils type scenario. Then those who sin different from us, and aren’t quite the pros at hiding it that we are, will stand out. And let’s face it, there is a part of us that enjoys pointing these folks out. Just like looking at someone who is fatter than you (yes, I’m going there) makes you rationalize how fat you are, so this makes you feel better about your sin.

 

 

Conclusion

 

I have a feeling the Holy Ghost has been dealing with a lot of us about this. Maybe finally hearing it out loud will cause us to think twice before accusing others of what we ourselves are still guilty of on a, “daily” and, “constant” basis.

Did you know we now have a website complete with a video library and all kinds of other cool stuff? Check it out! https://www.theobjectivebeliever.com/

The Achilles’ Heel of the Grace Movement: Why Many Won’t Survive it

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What has come to be known as the Grace Movement/Message holds a very special place in my heart. For years I felt like a lone voice heralding the life changing power of Grace, through faith, apart from works.

Long before most had ever heard of Andrew Wommack, Joseph Prince, and others, I was having Bible studies in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s teaching what I had found by myself with nothing but the Holy Ghost, and a Bible. As far as I knew I was the only one on the planet preaching this message.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a lot of things I don’t know. There’s plenty that I have learned and continue to learn from other grace preachers. But I mention this so that folks understand that what I’m about to say does not come from a critic of this message. Nor does it come from a person who has just caught wind of the doctrine. On the contrary, I’ve been beating this drum longer than most.

A Disturbing Trend

Having said this, I’m beginning to see that as the Movement progresses, it is encountering what seems to be the inevitable fate of every sound doctrine—a mutation, or perversion of the authentic.  Many, with little knowledge of what God’s Word has to say on the subject, are jumping on board and attempting to teach it. But even more alarming than these folks who lack biblical knowledge is the fact that they don’t appear to even care that they lack it.  As a result, we are now seeing large amounts of, “grace” people who don’t want to talk about other important aspects of God’s Word. Sin, judgement, hell, wrath, and the devil have all but been completely removed from the vocabulary.

God is Not a Two Thousand Year Old Book

Upon inquiring about the seemingly lack of respect for the Bible, I have heard variations of the tired cliche’, “God is much bigger than a collection of two thousand year old manuscripts. My allegiance is to Jesus, not a book “

So, let’s explore this idea a bit . . .

There are some things that we, as Christians, have been practicing for so long that many don’t know why there was a necessity for them in the first place. So it’s pretty much inevitable that there’s going to come a point in time for people who were not around when the foundation was laid, to challenge these practices. Which is fine. I’m all for the challenge of long held traditions. And it sounds great to say, “Jesus is a real Person, not an old Book. If you want to know about Him, just ask Him.” Seriously, such a statement sounds revolutionary, right?  Man, lets get rid of the way these old farts in stuffy suits have been doing it for centuries and lets get back to Jesus!

So why is it so important for people who have Jesus living on the inside of them to follow the Bible?

Well, anyone who has even a basic understanding of the history of Christianity knows that almost the exact moment Jesus ascended to heaven, false doctrine began to infiltrate the Church. The Bible speaks about different gospels, and even a different jesus that slowly crept into the fellowship of believers and began leading people astray. When we look at the New Testament, we see nearly every book is jammed packed with warning after warning against false doctrine and exhortations to hold firmly to the original teachings of Jesus and His Apostles.

So you see, as nice and fluffy as it sounds to claim you don’t follow a book because all you need is Jesus, it really makes no sense. If first century Christians who personally knew the apostles needed their supervision and constant course correction, why would we think we don’t?

Well, we have the Holy Ghost and so He leads us into all truth.

All of the first century Christians had the Holy Ghost too. But even more than that, many of them received the Spirit directly through the laying on of the hands of the apostles, themselves. Are we supposed to believe that these Spirit-filled, tongue-talking, believers, who rubbed shoulders with Jesus and the apostles, somehow required more oversight than us?

. . . I mean——really?

“The Bible isn’t the Answer”

All of this usually segues into the objection: “Well, obviously following the Bible is not the answer. There are thousands of denominations and no one can agree on the right interpretation.

But we can all agree you don’t need to be circumcised to be saved, right?

We all agree you shouldn’t get drunk at communion, right?

We all agree you shouldn’t curse Jesus, right?

All of these things and many, many more, first century Christians were confused about.

See, it’s easy to point to the diversity in the Body of Christ now and say, “They’re all reading the same book but they can’t agree on anything” but you’re not comparing it to the time before the apostle’s doctrine was widespread.

Christians literally needed to be told that a person isn’t inspired by God if they say, “Jesus is accursed.”

They literally needed to be told not to get drunk at communion.

They literally needed to be told that a man having sex with his father’s wife is not something you should be proud of.

Think about it . . .

Spirit-filled Christians!

Tongue-talking Christians!

Direct disciples of Peter, Paul, James and John!

Yet they needed clarification on things that you and I wouldn’t think twice about today.

No, if you think the diversity is bad now, you have no idea what the Body of Christ would look like if we didn’t have the Bible. You think you do, but all the evidence points to absolute and total chaos.

Ol’ Faithful

Another unfortunate and bizarre element to this whole thing is the treatment these, “Grace Christians” show towards those who disagree with them. You’d think that for a people who promote grace there would be a lot of patience, understanding, and love toward those on the outside. But half the time they treat you like an enemy if you’re not willing to go along with everything they say. They’ll scorn, ridicule, and mock you. And rather than attempt to combat your ideas with reason and logic, they take the ol’ faithful route of  simply shunning you from their groups.

It’s a shame. What they heralded as a revolution is slowly turning into just another divisive group in the Body of Christ.

The Beginning of the End

So here is my prediction: There are many riding the bandwagon of this message that will be destroyed for a lack of knowledge. Because the Bible isn’t central to their understanding of the Gospel, they’ll leave themselves wide open for false and erroneous doctrines with no means of detection. There will be no way to prove or disprove what is being said in their fellowships. And the certainty of truth will slowly decay into New Age Thought, where anything goes, and every person simply does what is right in their own eyes.

Yet, in spite of all of this, the True Gospel of Grace must, and will continue to prevail and become more and more widespread as it leaps forward on the backs of men and women who know God’s Word.

Did you know we now have a website complete with a video library and all kinds of other cool stuff? Check it out! https://www.theobjectivebeliever.com/

Exorcisms: Are We Doing Them Right?

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I recently read a book, “The Day Satan Called” by Bill Scott. It’s a true story of his experience with a demon possessed girl who called his radio station and the supernatural, unbelievable chaos that ensued in the year and a half following.

Reading the book and hearing this man describe what he had gone through brought back to my mind an encounter I had about fifteen years ago.

One evening I received a phone call from a close friend of mine. His voice over the line was trembling. He sounded out of breath, almost like he had just run a marathon. “Scott, I need you to get over here, my friend has a demon!” Without even really thinking about it, I hung up the phone, threw on my shoes and  jacket and drove about a mile down the road to my friend’s house. I remember walking up to the front door being excited. I had never cast a demon out of someone before. This was going to be a night to remember (boy, was I right about that! Unfortunately not in the way I thought.) My friend answered and walked me over to his room. There I was, Bible in hand, chest puffed out, ready to confront the forces of darkness.

Nothing in the world could have prepared me for what I saw next. It was literally like something you’d see in a bad horror movie. First I noticed that it looked like a tornado had blown through. The room was in total shambles. This wouldn’t have been so surprising if i hadn’t visited multiple times before and knew what his room normally looked like. My eyes quickly glanced around and I saw blood smears in different spots on the walls. You hear rumors from other Christians about their encounters with demons and they always describe a thick, almost tangible presence of evil. Let me tell you—-there is no better way to describe it than that. Then I saw him. A man 1crouched down in the corner like some kind of animal. His eyes were blood shot, his hands were bleeding, and he was foaming from the mouth. He cocked his head my direction and with a grin on his face, spoke in a sinister voice, “Hi, Scott!” Where he was located at in the room, to his left were two rolling closet doors made of mirror. After he called my name he sprang from his crouched position, slamming his head into one of those doors and the whole thing shattered. Then he crawled closer, with a smirk on his face, staring me right in the eye. I was still trying to process what I was seeing when suddenly he jumped forward and knocked me back. At that moment I was filled with a level of fear I had never experienced before and without even thinking I ran out of there.

What ensued after that was a long, grueling, battle with the devil. Part of the time he was hopping all over the room. Other times he’d be on the floor in contorted positions. The evil spirits in him laughed at us and gave different names of demons that were present. They claimed they had been there since this man’s childhood and had no intention of leaving. Every time we thought we were gaining ground he would smile and say “There’s still more of us!”

After about four hours, he lay passed out on the floor in a deep sleep, almost as if he were dead. It was exhausting. I thought it was all over, but soon realized once I got back home that at least one spirit had followed me. As I got ready for bed I was hearing audible voices in the room. Fortunately, this must have been a last-ditch effort on their part because they quickly left once I began praying.

 

Why Are Exorcisms So Hard?

 

That event in my life has always bothered me. Both me, my friend, and two other friends I had called over had commanded the demons to leave multiple times in Jesus’ name. Yet they continued to laugh, making a mockery of us and of God. To make matters worse, in the days ahead it began to become clear to us they had either never left, or there were more that still needed to be cast out.

Why did it happen like that? I went into the situation expecting to see the same results Jesus had seen and instead fell flat on my face.

Even apparent, “experts” on spiritual warfare will tell you how long these battles can last, and how often their successes are short lived. And don’t even get me started on the Catholic Church. Those guys are always getting beat up and thrown around like rag dolls by the devil. I heard a statistic a while back that priests who handle exorcisms have a significantly shorter life span than those who don’t.

Looking into the reasons for this, I’ve been unsatisfied by the answers I received.

Why does such a seemingly easy practice in the Scriptures translate to so much difficulty for believers today?

 

An Enlightening Moment in my Research

One day as I was surfing the Internet I began to come across websites of pagan religions that spoke about demon possession. I was a bit surprised because I had always been taught that this was something exclusive to Christianity (at least the recognition of it was.) What was even more amazing to me was these people had stories of casting demons out as well! Unbelievers, casting out demons? Turns out it isn’t such a wild idea and dates back even before Christianity. But here is what really concerned me: the stories I read about and the methods these pagans used to expel devils were extremely similar to the methods Christians use. They spoke about finding out the name of the demon, reasons for why it was there and it often took hours, weeks, and even months before seeing success.

This I found really bizarre!

But it prompted me to search the Bible for an explanation. What I soon realized is the idea that only Christians can expel demons really isn’t present. I know the story of the Seven Sons of Sceva. But I’m not sure if we should use that as a universal template to arrive at a doctrine.

For years I had been puzzled by this until one day I was reading the passage from Mark 16 about believers casting out demons. Jesus said, “And these signs will follow them that believe: in my NAME they will cast out devils . . .”

 

Are We Doing It Like Jesus?

 

In the Greek, Name isn’t just a title given to identify a person. Christians have sort of unconsciously used it like a lucky rabbit’s foot, tacking it on to the end of their prayers in the hopes of getting results. But  in the original language, it carries much stronger ramifications. One of which is authority, and like manner.

See, when you cast a demon out, or pray for the sick in Jesus’ Name, you’re not just adding that word like its a some sort of proper grammar to end religious sentences with. It means you are taking upon yourself the authority of Jesus Christ, and doing it in His manner. In other words, you’re doing it like He would if it were Him physically present. This would explain the existence of pagan exorcisms.  Jesus was not saying casting out demons would be a unique trait of the believer, but the ability to do it in His Name, or, in the same manner He expelled them.

This is where the title of the article comes in. If we are not casting demons out in the manner that Jesus did, are we really doing it in the Name of Jesus? I understand we are verbally speaking His Name but if we are not seeing the same results, are we really using His authority?

 

In Conclusion?

 

Now, to clarify, I am not implying that Christians have some kind of evil spirit they are substituting for the Name of Jesus in these situations. Nor that God isn’t involved when it takes hours upon hours to expel a demon. But could it be that just like you could take a pill and make a headache go away after a while, or go through radiation therapy for months and overcome cancer, so some methods to rid a person of demonic possession are more—— normal? It isn’t that the practice is wrong or ineffective, it’s just not God’s best.

This is what I think could be happening in regards to spiritual warfare. Most of us are not truly using the authority of Jesus Christ. If we were, I don’t see how anyone could argue we should be getting better results. I have a feeling that we have sort of just been going with what others have told us, and settled for spiritual engagements which leave us exhausted, spiritually drained, and with questionable results.

This is definitely not a conclusion. This is a theory, a hypothesis, if you will, that I’m submitting for scrutiny, or confirmation. I definitely want to hear what others have to say on the subject.

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