2 Peter 1:9:
But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
It’s a known fact that we need to have a good healthy relationship with ourselves. This is one of the most important things we are to do in order to have good relationships with others. However, it’s the one area that we fall short in and that’s why we have so many problems in relationships. I’m not talking of self-conceit or self-righteousness. I’m talking about accepting oneself, loving self, and forgiving self every single day. The same compassion you may have toward a lost puppy on the road, or a child crying, or even one of your own children who lost their way, is the same compassion you need for yourself. I recall a lady saying that she really has lots of great friends, and treats them well but she really doesn’t like herself all that much. I had to tell her the truth, because how we treat and feel about ourselves, is really how we treat others.
We can be self-deceived thinking we are doing good, but truthfully if we don’t love ourselves and accept ourselves, how can we really love our neighbor properly? And we can take that one step further and say, how can we really love God properly? As indicated in the previous sessions, we have been using Matthew 22:38-40 as our reference scripture. "We are to love the Lord God with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our mind, and the second is like it, we are to love our neighbor as we love ourself..."
Before we can have a good healthy relationship with others we need to have a good and healthy relationship with ourselves.
In order to get a clear revelation, first we need the relationship with our Father in Heaven established. As addressed in the previous session. Matthew 22:38-40 says that we are to love God with all our heart soul and mind, and then love others as we love ourselves. So the first and foremost thing to do as a believer is to love God. (If you have not received revelation on God’s love, go back and re-review the sessions on God’s love, accusations, fear, guilt and forgiveness.)
Then once you have begun in these areas (because every teaching is a life-long process) you are now ready to face yourself and think!
We can see what’s wrong in other people, we may even have a 7-step plan for their breakthrough, but we just don’t see inside ourselves as clearly. (We think we do, but we really don’t.) If you really want to know what is inside you, really want to know, ask one of your family members or closest friend to tell you. Believe me, they know. I like to ask people to repeat something I learned from Pastor Henry Wright in Pleasant Valley Church, and that is, “I don’t care what the devil says to you about me, it’s probably true.” See we can clearly see into other people’s lives, but we just can’t see clearly in our own. If someone says to you, “Gee, weren’t you a bit hard on that person?” And you reply, “I don’t think I was hard, as a matter of fact, that was the nicest I’ve ever been.” Then you need to go back and ask God if you were hard on that person. Don’t let yourselves be deceived any longer – start listening to what others say to you and take it to God. If it’s something God agrees with, He will let you know, because not everything people say is correct either.
Matthew 5:25 says to agree with your adversary quickly, while you are in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and you be cast into prison. How many of us have been judged and cast into a prison? I'm not talking about bars... I'm talking about your own living hell. Jeremiah 5:25 says that we prevent good from happening to us because of us. This scripture says that if someone says something to you that you may not believe or agree with, just take it to the Lord in your quiet time to see if it's true or not.
I remember working for a Jewish boss many years ago. He didn't like the fact that I was sharing the gospel and leaving tracks around the office. So one day he had each person I worked with write down what they didn't like about me. He met with me and gave it to me. As I read through the list, tears welled up in my eyes as they said horrible things. I didn't get defensive, I was too crushed too. So I excused myself and went into the bathroom to recompose myself. While I was in there, I knew this wasn't the place for me to be working, but I wasn't going to leave on a sour note with hurt and bitterness in my heart. So the next day I marched into his office and said, "Bob, thank you for sharing that information with me." He was stunned! It wasn't what he expected from me. But the truth was, I did take all those things to the Lord and almost every one of them were true!!! So this was the beginning when God began working these things out of me. I thank God for this because what the enemy meant for evil, God meant for good.
There is stuff in us that God wants us to see, and now is the time to see it all. It’s the truth about what we see in ourselves that helps make us free. Once we recognize (which is the first step to freedom) what is in us, then we can cooperate with God as He begins purging those things from our lives.
In order to see what is in us, we need to stop and turn around and face ourselves. So take a minute and look inside your heart. What is in there? Write those things down, and by the way, these are your sins. It may be that as you begin writing, you had no idea you had so many! I had over 50 when I started my list, but it grew as the Lord revealed more. There was a lady I shared this with and after making her list came running toward me saying, “I have 145 sins on my list” and then paused a moment to write something else down, “no I have 146 sins on my list.” Once we stop and reflect on what is in us without any fear of what we see, that is the first step to our healing.
We need to get cleaned out before we can truly live clean lives. We are to clean out what is inside the cup so the outside will be clean (Matthew 23:25-26). Another scripture we hear so often is, “Remove the beam that is in thine own eye before removing the mote in your brother's” (Luke 6:41-42). I learned by personal experience, that when I finally get the beam out of my eye (purging from sin and iniquities), I don't even see the mote in my brother's eye. It's not even an issue! What I realized is that the beam I had was what I "filtered" through what we see. So when our beam is gone, there really isn't anything to see because if we are cleaned up in those areas all that is left is love and forgiveness, compassion and mercy toward others.
We need to get our lives right with God, and we do that by confessing ALL our junk and allowing Him the freedom to clean every bit of it out. It doesn’t mean we are perfect. It means that we are willing to “see” everything inside us and cooperate with Him to clean us up!
OK, for those Bible scholars. You are thinking, "What about the fact that we are forgiven of all our sins already? Why do I have to do this?" Look at it this way, do you like the way you are? Are you living free from guilt, shame, anger, fear, etc.? If you are free, then why are you reading these teachings? The truth is we all carry around stuff, what will make a big difference is facing each one and committing them to the Lord... THEN they are forgiven. We have to know what we are being forgiven for before we can be forgiven. God already knows your sins, but He wants you to know. He doesn't just say, "OK, I've removed all your sins and now go and be free." He won't do anything we have not agreed to doing. Otherwise we would be robots. He gave us free will. It's like when you discipline your kids, don't you want them to know what they are being disciplined for? God can purge us, but if we don't know what he's purging us from, how do we "resist" it if we don't know what it is. So to make a long story short, we need to know what God has forgiven in our lives, and when we confess them to Him, we are giving Him the high-sign to remove them.
So now take your “rap” sheet to the Lord and confess your sins, then receive forgiveness. I John 1: 9 says that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and JUST to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This is a new testament scripture, and written after Jesus rose from the grave. So even John knew we still needed to confess.
Once the sin is recognized and confessed, God purges. Now the work of God in your life has begun in the areas you confessed. Until we see what is in us, God cannot deal with these individual things. He doesn’t force anything on us, but has to wait until we are ready to see.
This is how God works: Let’s say we received forgiveness of our anger. But within minutes you find yourself angry again. Instead of getting mad at yourself, or wonder why you are still angry when you just confessed it, stop right there and confess your sin of anger. Ask God to show you where the anger is coming from so you can get to the root. See anger (and many others) are a manifestation of another deeper issue. In the instance of anger, fear and pride is behind it. By confessing to God, we give Him permission to work it out of us. The anger can be there in layers. Once you confess your sin of anger, now you’ll need to confess the sin of anger in every area of your life. It may be that I have anger when I drive my car, when I talk with a friend, when I have to make a decision, when I see something horrible happen, etc. These are “layers” of anger that has to be removed. The same way the anger came, is the same way it has to be removed, one at a time.
Many times the anger (or thing we are dealing with) will get worse and worse before it is completely out. I find that when God starts working in an area, the sin intensifies! It’s not time to fear, doubt, or run, it’s time to buckle your seatbelt, hold on with both hands and go for the ride. I no longer fall into fear, guilt and condemnation, or despair, when I feel like things are getting worse, I start rejoicing now because these are signs God is doing a work! I am “co-operating” with God by not fighting the process of purging.
The lady that told me she had 146 sins had a problem with a co-worker who was a teacher. She just couldn’t get along with her and didn’t know why. It’s not that this person did anything to her; she just didn’t like her. While ministering, we began talking about her husband. It appears that when we dealt with the issues of her husband (who was a teacher also) and forgave him from her heart as I described in the forgiveness session, her feelings toward her co-worker changed. She no longer had a grudge against her, and all within minutes of forgiving her husband! It was because her relationship with this woman was filtering through the issues with her husband, and whatever was in that woman reminded her of her husband, so it transferred to this woman, hiding the real issue.
We may think that someone in particular is a problem to us, but the truth may be they may just be the “escape goat” or the representation of the real problem at hand. Remember, it’s not flesh and blood we wrestle against, it’s spiritual, all of it! That’s why it’s so important to ask God to show us clearly what is in us because some things may be hiding the real things that need to be dealt with.
Believe me, this is a process, but the best road you can be on. As you begin getting purged from within, your life improves in your relationship with your Heavenly Father, relationship with yourself and relationship with others. I found myself in the store one day just talking away with myself. And yes, I answered. I heard the Holy Spirit say, “It’s nice to see you enjoy yourself, you are becoming your own best friend now.”
What is it that keeps good things from happening to us? (Jeremiah 5:25) Our own sins and iniquities, the very things we are talking about here.
Even David wrote, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting." I think this is something we should pray to the Lord often. This is giving God permission to continue working and cleansing us. Yes, we are forgiven, but now we need to appropriate that to our individual lives.
The reason I know this to be true is that I have been on this path of being purged and cleansed for these last 10 years, since I've been teaching what I teach. I can say that I am not moved or pushed from side to side because of sin. It no longer has a hold on me because it's being exposed. Once it's exposed and brought into the light, it looses it's power. The only way it has power is if we hide from it. So as I repented, and fell out of agreement with it, I actually have a peace that passes all understanding! I enjoy my life now without feeling guilty all the time. My mind is no longer racing with thoughts every time I lay down to go to bed. I'm getting along better with people and if someone rejects me, I don't fall to pieces. I forgive them and move on. It's an awesome existence... This is what it means to be free. Yes, at first it may seem a bit grueling.. but give yourself time, it took time to get you into this mess, give yourself time to get out. You will see a huge difference in your life as you come before God each and every time you recognize something in you that is not of His nature and character, take responsibility for it and repent, and allow God to purge it. How awesome is that!
Closing Prayer for you to pray:
“Father, I have to admit that I may have been deceived in many areas of my life. I didn’t see myself clearly and I pray that you help me see within my own heart so that I can become free of those things that don’t belong there. Even David prayed for you to reveal any evil in him, because he too knew he could be self-deceived. Thank you for forgiving me of the sins I recognized, and if there are any others, please let me know. I want to be clean before you Father. I desire to be used of you to help others and I know if I am full of “junk” then I’ll only give junk. I can only give to others what I have, but if you purify me, and fill me with your love every single minute of every single day, then I’ll have what I need to love you properly, love myself and love others. Guide me and direct me in this Lord, remind me that when I do sin, simply confess them, receive forgiveness and by faith, release them to you no matter how large or small. Let me experience the peace that Linda talks about, I want that. Help me to trust you more and more and to know you to the depths of my soul. I want to know you more and more Lord, to understand your ways so that I can choose wisely for my own life and direction. Let me be free from all fear of making wrong choices, and that whatever choice I make, you will be there to work things out for good. I love you Father, and thank you for loving me. In Jesus name, Amen.”
I will remind you at the end of each session to stop and reflect on what you have learned, not rush on to the next teaching before it has had time to really do a work in your heart. All head knowledge is only going to cause you to be top heavy! We need to allow time for the seeds planted to grow and take root into our hearts. We not only need the "knowledge" but the understanding. Understanding gives revelation, and revelation makes it a reality in our own lives. Not just head knowledge, but heart knowledge that changes us. By doing this, you are "receiving." We not only need to "know", we need to "believe and receive."
Praising God is crucial to having all you learn take permanent residence in you. We remain in peace when we are strengthened in our spirit and that happens when we thank the one we are doing all this for.
And lastly, all work and no play is not scriptural. If you become overwhelmed or "heavy" spirited, stop and take a breather. It reminds me of flooding. If the water comes too quickly it doesn't have time to absorb into the soil, causing flooding and all that water is wasted. But if the water comes softly, and just enough that the ground absorbs, then it does great good!
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