Sunday, April 21, 2013

Stop Listening To Sir Hiss A Lot!

A picture is worth a lot, don't you think? Do you notice how the King seems mesmerized by the snake's voice? The voice we listen to the most is the one that has the power to influence us. Although it's a funny way to make a point, the issue is not so comical. Allow me to address some more serious issues of the heart that prevent a person from drawing close to God.

Have you ever prayed, "Lord, deliver me from this anger?" How many times we have said things like, "Deliver me from my fears! Deliver me from this sin!" Or you cry out wondering why surrender seems to cause such difficulty and double-mindedness?" Our spirits are indeed willing but oh how often the flesh withstands us! Fear is the root of all anger, but often it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what the lie is that has us all twisted up inside. Then anger and impatience are often the result. Anger and impatience go hand in hand. Anger is often the result of a heart that is not submitted to the Lord. I am not talking about the sort of anger that comes from seeing someone abused, neglected or injured. I am not talking about anger that comes from someone doing something painfully unjust to injure or attack a person without provocation. I am referring to habitual anger that comes as a result of allowing it to become a lifestyle of uncontrolled responses. I am referring to the slow simmer that always seems to be inherent in a person's general attitude and character. This anger can often be so deeply rooted in a person that the individual can simply say, "I cannot change, for this is the way I've always been."

You can change. I know your head may be shaking "No," and you may be thinking it is impossible; I've tried before and never had success for very long. And even others would say, "I have learned how to have a measure of self control but I find that inwardly I am still irritable, angry and impatient," and so the lack of real peace drives them to self medicate or try to find an emotional upgrade through other equally addictive things such as shopping or unnecessary spending, drivenness towards success or approval, emotional eating, and other things. Anger doesn't always manifest in outbursts of rage; sometimes it is the quiet, deliberate plotting of vengeance that waits to pounce upon the unsuspecting.

The reality is, the individual is living in a form of rebellion somewhere in their lifestyle or in an attitude towards God. Their heart is resistant towards the change that God wants to produce in the individual, and that can only come from being truly submitted to Him. The place of that rebellion can often be pinpointed in the thing that you don't want to give up. Perhaps it is a certain vice, or an attitude of judgment, unforgivness or bitterness towards someone. Perhaps it is a behavior such as lying or dishonesty. It could be a number of things, but you can be sure the enemy will be there to validate all the reasons why you feel justified in retaining that position of compromise. He will use the scriptures to condemn you just as much as he will use the scriptures to convince you that grace covers everything and there is room to allow for sin and compromise. But at some point, you know what it is that God is trying to weed out of your life. It is at that point when you know what it is that God is pressing you to give up and refusal becomes sin. That is where the enemy gains a foothold, for the principle of James 4:7 holds true. IF a person is truly submitted to God, then they can resist the enemy and he MUST flee. But the enemy knows when a person is not truly submitted to God and is still enjoying the pleasures of sin. No amount of trying to resist the enemy is effective when the heart is still in rebellion. That place of resistance to God has given the enemy a legal right to stay and form a place of bondage in the person's life. They actually become a slave of it, which is why they cannot seem to renew their mind or break the bad habit they have accumulated.

God works in a myriad of ways to bring people to a place of genuine surrender so that we can yield our hearts to His, but He won't take it by force. He won't take our heart if it is offered begrudgingly or in resentment. He only receives our heart when it is truly our choice and of our own free will to trust Him and allow ourselves to come to a place of real surrender. But oh, how painfully frustrating it can be to go through the process of getting us to that place of real surrender!

It's the enemy's job to lie, deceive, mock God, confuse, accuse, and instill fear, anger and resentment towards God, for the heart that feels these things cannot reach a place of genuine peace or surrender. Genuine surrender is what the enemy fears most. When we truly understand the lies are there to keep us from trusting God, it is then we have to make our own decision. Is the sin really worth it? Does the sin produce anything that does not ultimately lead to regret, self condemnation, frustration and separation from ourselves and God, or separation between us and others? The answer to that should be enough to convince oneself of the right answer. The enemy is still the serpent from the garden that whispers in our ear, always about our head, whispering accusation, leading into temptation and suggesting all manner of justification to do whatever we please. My kids remembered the snake from the old Disney movie, I think it was Robin Hood, and the snake's name was Sir Hiss. We laugh and say that's all he does, so we call him Sir Hiss A Lot. Now when one of us is acting badly or saying something that isn't truthful, we help hold each other accountable and issuing a gentle reminder by saying, "Have you been listening to Sir Hiss A Lot again?" It makes us laugh, but it's a great way to get us back on track.

So I'm giving you each a little nudge today to stop listening to that old snake, Sir Hiss A Lot. He's nothing but trouble, and if we listen to his suggestions we will always end up separated from God and others. It's when we realize how deeply our Father loves us, and the ultimate sacrifice Jesus paid for our sins, that we again bring ourselves to the foot of the cross, look up and wonder how on earth we are again crucifying our Lord and accusing Him of being unfair, unloving or uninvolved in our lives. It's the revelation that He is nothing BUT love, that it makes us feel sheepish and embarrassed for listening to the snake and fighting against God that we can finally, with all sincerity, offer up our heart in our hands as an act of mutual love, trust and surrender to the One who gave it all up for us. THIS is where we are truly In Christ to such a degree that we are actually hidden in Him. The enemy can no longer see us, but he sees only Christ, and the Christ that defeated him before defeats him again and again and again as we remain hidden in the Lord. We are literally cloaked in invisibility but full of all power and authority. This is the enemy's nightmare, because Satan must obey the word of the Lord from His servants. This is how we cut the head of the serpent off and claim our victory; through submission to the Lord. You see, a submitted heart is at peace with themselves, God and others, even if the world is not at peace with them. A submitted heart is not angry or fearful and doesn't take out their frustrations on others. A submitted heart yields to the Holy Spirit and learns how to demonstrate gentleness, kindness and love.

I pray that today is the day of revelation, truth and freedom from all the lies of the enemy. God's only desire in asking for your complete submission and for you to surrender yourself to Him is so that He can give you the exchange of His power, and to be so lost in Him that you truly overcome all that has beset you. His desire is to bring you to a place of greater intimacy, to know His heart, His secrets and His strategies. What a great exchange. Our anger, fear, sin and twisted insecurities for His love, power and abundant life. May this be YOUR day for inner transformation and lasting change!

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