Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
~I Corinthians 10:29
Paul was writing to the Galatians, a group of churches known as Galatia. His concern was that in the early church some legalists, called Judaizers, taught that certain Old Testament laws were still binding upon Christians. They reasoned that God’s promises extended only to Jews, and that Gentiles must be circumcised before they could fully experience salvation. I imagine they were citing back to times like when when Moses was nearly killed by God because he hadn’t circumcised his sons ((Ex. 4:24-26), when he had just made camp in Egypt as he was starting on assignment to set the Children of Israel free, or some such. (When the enemy of our souls tries to attack us through a legalistic spirit, there is no end to the lengths they will go to make the story sound believable.) Knowing this, Paul wrote:
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. (Galatians 5:1)
Evidently some had fallen for this line of thinking and had found themselves struggling with their faith because Paul went on to tell them:
You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law, you have fallen from grace. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision or uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love. (Galatians 5:5-6)
Then Paul asks a question…
You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?
And he gives the answer…
This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you.
There is a great footnote in my Bible. It says: The Galatians must make a clear choice between law and grace. Those who opt for justification by the works of the law have fallen from grace, because it is impossible to have it both ways. In other words, the effective operating power of God’s grace becomes ineffective in the life of anyone who trusts in his own efforts for salvation. (New Spirit Filled Bible Footnotes, Galatians 5:2-4)
Who Can Bring a Charge Against God’s Elect?
Thinking on the scriptures I’ve shared with you today, reminds me of what I experienced earlier this week. I was struggling emotionally, and I realized that somehow in the spirit I was feeling weighed down or burdened. On top of that, the experience was similar to a religious movie I watched were the task masters were whipping the slaves and shouting words of condemnation into their ears. Subconsciously I was hearing all of this condemnation basically telling me what error I am in, how wrong I am , etc. Finally this really destructive thought dropped into my mind out of nowhere, and then I knew this was beyond myself. This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you.
I stopped what I was doing and headed to my den to pray.
When I sat before God, it wasn’t long before the question that began to form in my mind was so much like Paul’s question to the Galatians today. What happened? What stopped my joy and began this struggle? You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?
I laid what I had been feeling and thinking before the Lord, and spent time with Him. It didn’t take long as I looked through my prayer journal and prayers until I realized that the Lord and I have been on the right track for many months and I have reason to praise Him. It has not been an easy journey, in fact it would seem to defy my own logic sometimes. Then it dawn on me: the instance when I decided surely my logic was in tune with God, even though in the past I would have been acting dead against Him. The thing is, there are times when God gives us words of knowledge and wisdom. These are great gifts, and we do well to remember that He has given us these insights for a purpose. That He loves us so much He would share information that will protect us from future spiritual attacks is amazing and true. In this case. I had been warned and put a personal relationship above my relationship with God. I misjudged what I was walking into and opened myself to more spiritual attack and a temptation in the spirit to slip back into a type of bondage. I didn’t take time to go before the Lord in prayer because I was beat down enough to believe that I wouldn’t have known how to cope with what He might tell me to do. I was afraid it might not meet with the approval of others. I can look back now and see this spiritual attack had a subtle beginning.
None of this realization came to me in a harsh way. No, not at all. The Holy Spirit helped me see that I sinned against the Lord. It was unbelief. Fear, fear of man. Pride, pride of self. What I call little worm holes of sin that enable Satan’s cohorts to enter and wreak havoc with the faithful. These are the things legalistic spirits use to worm their way in and begin to taunt. Condemnation is their trademark.
I began to speak my sins out to God and ask Him for forgiveness in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, one by one. As I prayed, I began to feel strength begin to enter back into my spirit. I finished praying with thanksgiving and praying by I John 1:9: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Opening my Bible to Romans Eight, I picked up the weapons of a Christian’s spiritual warfare the shield of faith and the sword of the spirit, or the word, of God, then one by one I called the name of the spirit revealed tormenting me, bound it, told it all assignments against me were now null and void, and that it must go to the feet of Jesus Christ for Him to decide what was to be done with it. This completed, I began to read Romans Eight out loud verse by verse, stopping to praise God along the way. Sometimes rejoicing, sometimes weeping. Every verse resonated with my soul. Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. As we speak the words, the nature of the word of God is so powerful that it enters even to the deepest and most inward and secret parts of the heart and openly revives believers. (Hebrews 4:12) I found myself always thanking the Lord, and sometimes just breaking out in the spirit because really there just aren’t enough words in the word to say, “Thank you,” to God!
James said to submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. ~ James 4:7-8. I think often times we just are not aware how close God really is to us. He is not far, far away. Please don’t ever think He is so far away he isn’t close enough to find you. Consider how close He must have been to me when I was so set free this past week when you read the following words of Jesus. Jesus had just cast out demons and healed the sick. In response to the Pharisees He said, “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.” (Matthew 12:28-30)
Once again I’ve found a song that speaks to me and evidently to masses of Christians because it hasn’t been out long, and it is already number two on my Christian Top Twenty app. It’s called The Reckless Love of God. This video was taped live and the composer shares his testimony at the end. I needed the reckless love of God this past week. It sustained me. My prayer for each of you who read this page is that the word of God will find its way into your heart and into your spirit. May the Spirit of Truth lead you ever deeper into the Kingdom of God. Jesus is the lover of your soul, may you always find Him here.
In Him, we live and move and have our being,
©2018 Nancy H. Montgomery