Wednesday, 7 September 2016
Avoiding Spiritual Lnad Mines!
Land-mines: A deadly inheritance! Land-mines represent "an insidious and persistent danger" to children affected by war, says a new United Nations report on the impact of armed conflict on children, by Graça Machel, the UN Secretary-General's Expert on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children. Children in at least 68 countries are today threatened by what may be the most toxic pollution facing mankind — the contamination by mines of the land they live on. Over 110 million land-mines of various types — plus millions more unexploded bombs, shells and grenades — remain hidden around the world, waiting to be triggered by the innocent and unsuspecting, the report says. Afghanistan, Angola & Cambodia have suffered 85 per cent of the world's land-mine casualties. Overall, African children live on the most mine-plagued continent, with an estimated 37 million mines embedded in the soil of at least 19 countries. Angola alone has an estimated 10 million land-mines & an amputee population of 70,000, of whom 8,000 are children. Since May 1995 children have made up about half the victims of the 50,000-100,000 anti-personnel mines laid in Rwanda.
I also believe that spiritual landmines are something we need to consider… When you are in the heat of spiritual battle, it does not take long to realise that Satan will do anything to prevent you from becoming the person God has planned. However, he does not always employ an all-out frontal assault. Sometimes the danger comes in subtle schemes--landmines hidden along our paths.
These landmines, once detonated, can paralyse us spiritually & stop us from living an abundant & obedient life. Paul warns us “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:10-13 NKJV
COMMON SPIRITUAL LANDMINES!
There a number spiritual landmines that I would like to consider....
1. THE LANDMINE OF PRIDE! Pride is one of those areas in our lives...hard to see…Pride causes us to put ourselves first…Devil wants to destroy your ministry & life! It is when we forget who we really are & where we come from…
-Prov 13:10, By pride comes nothing but strife…
-Prov 14:3, In the mouth a fool is a rod of pride…
-Prov 18:16, Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.
A leader who has stepped on the landmine of pride does not consider how the Lord has gifted him for his calling. Instead, he looks at his accomplishments & thinks, Look what I’ve done!
Pride is when you start believing your own publicity… Nebuchadnezzar was such a man! He was quoted as saying, …look at this great Babylon… Then God reminded him by giving him 2 years in the open fields, he dwelt as an animal.
God may let him get away with pride for a season, but ultimately, it will end in destruction…
Gal 6:2-4, Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
James 5:, GOD RESISTS THE PROUD! But on the other hand he EXALTS THE HUMBLE…
Prov 29:23, A man’s pride will bring him low, But the humble in spirit will retain honor…
Humility will always take you far!
Roms 12:16, Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
2. THE LANDMINE OF ENVY…we live in a world of comparisons, where we are trained by the media to watch those ahead of & behind us. Am I keeping pace? Am I reaching my goals quickly enough? ENVY & JEALOUSY CAN BLOW IN YOUR FACE WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT!
The story if told of a priest who lived in devotion in a cave in isolation and refused all temptation that the devil brought his way. Finally the devil said, "tell him how his brother has been promoted and how he has been forgotten!" It was then the priest was filled with jealousy and envy quitting the ministry.
Pas 75:7, But God is the Judge: He puts down one, And exalts another…
Problem is when we are filled with jealousy & envy…focus on self. The Devils goal is to DISTRACT…affects our vision…unclear…
God is primarily interested in one thing: a correct focus. He wants us to focus on Him & His will for our lives….not on what he is doing in others…
When our thoughts are focused on him…He provides the discernment we need to locate the Enemy’s landmines & disarm each one as we turn away from temptation & sin. We are tempted to gauge our spiritual success on the number of souls saved each week…number of members…amount of money! How do we do that? COMPARE! The truth is, God’s approval is based on His unconditional love for us. We end up beat ourselves up!
3. THE LANDMINE OF DISCOURAGEMENT…devil’s primary goal is to discourage us. He wants us to give it up…QUIT!
This has been the biggest battle I faced in my ministry! When I took the church I am currently pastoring. It had been through splits, there was no money & was filled with immorality, rebellion & debt… there came a time…felt helpless & hopeless. I WANTED TO QUIT!
If the devil can get you to feel HELPLESS…VICTIM…you may not leave but you are gone! In iso,ration you become a manger instead of a leader. The results are devastating—not only for ourselves, but for our family, friends, & congregation.
Listen, No one is a spiritual island. We need each other…need fellowship!
Ecc 4:9-10, Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.
Ask God to bring into your life a friend who sticks closer than a brother, who
can encourage you when you are weak (Prov. 18:24).
Whatever you are struggling with, you are not alone… Get the help you need before discouragement undermines your ministry.
HOW TO NAVIGATE YOUR WAY THROUGH!:
The only way through a mine field is carefully or with a map! Dr Stanley, "Avoiding serious trouble is not difficult, especially if you follow the route God has given you to travel. God knows the way through every minefield.
Consider with me how to navigate your way through this minefield!
1. SURRENDER your life to the Lord. YOUR relationship with God is the most important line of defense that you have.
If you are still trying to control certain areas of your life, then you are already standing in the middle of a minefield. The next step you take could be deadly. Without thinking of the consequences, people become jealous, controlling, or unforgiving.
On God’s battlefield, surrender is not waving a white flag of defeat. Instead, it is a bold step taken toward victory…peace & blessing. You must determine right now to submit your will to God on a daily basis.
2. LEARN from the Word of God. Ephes 6 Paul lists the full armour of God. There is only one offensive weapon that He has given us, & it is all we need to stay firm in our faith against the attacks of Satan. It is the same weapon that Jesus used when facing the Enemy’s temptation—the Word of God, which is God’s eternal truth spoken to man.
2 Tim 2: Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.
GET INTO THE MAP!
If your private time with God frequently turns into sermon preparation, try reading a different translation of the Bible or using a paraphrase. No matter what, find a way to read God’s Word for your own benefit, not just for your congregation’s. PRAY THE WORD OF GOD!!
3. BE COMMITTED to following Him, even in times of difficulty. There is no escaping disappointment & pain in this life. WE All go through seasons of hardship, but we do not have to become discouraged. IT’S A CHOICE…
Adversity is a powerful tool in God’s hand. Usually, the difficulties we face provide perfect opportunities for God to prove His faithfulness. When Moses went through disappointment & frustration the WILDERNESS BECAME GODS TRAINING GROUND. To lead the Israelites. All those years that he spent in the desert were a season of preparation for something greater.
Don’t waste your life & time by harbouring feelings of unforgiveness & jealousy. STOP WAITING FOR THAT ELUSIVE LUCKY BREAK! Remove the belief that whatever you do…doesn’t matter!
April 1970, the Apollo 13 spacecraft was seriously damaged, an IMPOSSIBLE SITUATION. They were Low on oxygen and time was running out. For the 3 astronauts how could they bring them back alive? RE-ENTRY??? Any miscalculation to send the ship miles off course. NASA director, “It will be the worst disaster NASAS ever experienced! The flight director, “With all due respect, sir I believe this is going to be our finest hour!
This could be your finest hour! You may feel as though you’ve been overlooked or pushed aside, but God is not finished with you.
-If you will trust Him, you’ll experience His goodness at the right time & in the best way.
4. PRAY…Ask the Lord to give you godly discernment & wisdom. Prayer is absolutely essential if you want to avoid landmines. God knows every landmine the Enemy has hidden along your path. Trust the Holy Spirit to make God’s will clear to you—& to teach you to follow only His voice. The problem is THERE ARE TOO MANY VOICES SCREAMING AT US! YOU HAVE TO FIND WHRE GOD LIVES FOR YOURSELF!
Then, be willing to obey His call. Obedience to God will not only expose any landmines hidden in front of you, it also prepares a safe way for you to travel straight through any difficulty. Roms 8:37, You are more than a conqueror in Jesus Christ…