Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Carpe Diem - Seize the Day!

Many people see the words 'Carpe Diem' and interpret it to live as they please. Do what you will. Pursue pleasure. Experiment so that you can say you have no regrets, nothing you haven't tried. You only live once, so try everything you desire. Give no thought to tomorrow. Those in the world live influenced by the spirit of lawlessness in the world, but for those in the body of Christ, I believe it has another meaning altogether. 

Seize the moment you live in right now. None of us are promised tomorrow. Therefore, today becomes the day of our salvation. Today becomes the day of change and evaluating our choices. Today is not the day for living lazy or unproductive lives. and it's not the day we can afford to spend carelessly. 

  Living with no regrets 

A life without regret includes living in such a way that insures that we don't feel sad knowing that there were things we wanted to accomplish but failed to achieve. We can either align our relationships, words, actions and lifestyle with those things that produce death, or we can align ourselves with things that produce life. Our relationships should produce life. Even our habits should be sanctified enough that they don't end up subtracting spiritual strength. If we align ourselves with things that subtract from our joy, peace, vitality and spiritual life in Christ then we have aligned ourselves with things that produce death.Sometimes it really takes discernment to know the difference, because not everything that feels good to our flesh are things that produce life. Sin feels good to our flesh, but sometimes the effect it has on our life isn't immediately recognized. That is why we cannot evaluate the things in our life simply by our own judgment or emotional attachments. We must evaluate those things by the word of God, for His word of truth is the only accurate way to measure the fruit that is produced. It takes wisdom to know the difference, and strength of character to part ways with things, people, relationships or habits that have death attached to them. 

There is a fine line between not walking under a spirit of condemnation and legalism, and grace. That "line" may be in a different place for each person at any given time. It's not that God has different standards for everyone, but His grace and level of discipline is sufficient for the level of understanding for every individual, depending on where they are in their own level of personal growth. We are held accountable to the truth that we know. 

There is a lie that the enemy circulates that sounds so believable. Indeed, our flesh wants to believe it, and thus avoid accountability to what we already know. The lie is that we can do what we wish, when we want, and stand upon the scriptures that cite grace vs. law. The lie is we are under grace and can therefore adopt a lazy, non-compliant attitude towards the truth of God's word, fooling ourselves into thinking that there are no consequences because "we are under grace." THAT is a dangerous line of rationale and if one is not careful, a person can be lulled to sleep under a false sense of grace. 

I do not wish in any way to diminish the gracious goodness of God. Truly, He extends grace far beyond what any of us deserve. God does not condemn us, but He will convict us of a need for change. That is the job of the Holy Spirit, and it's done with love. If necessary, His love can take the form of a stronger rebuke, but again, it's done out of love. Please don't take this as legalism. I do, however, wish to issue a word of caution to BEWARE of the adulterous spirit that attempts to lead people astray. It is a seductive, enticing spirit that has a hypnotic effect. It can cause a person to feel quite desensitized to things that the enemy uses to lull a person to sleep. Satan has supernatural ability to produce this demonic magic that acts drug-like on a person's senses. It dulls spiritual intuitiveness and discernment, resulting in spiritual blindness and slumber. Proverbs 23:26-28 says it like this: "My son, give me your heart and let your eyes observe My ways. For a harlot is a deep pit, and a seductress is a narrow well. She also lies in wait as for a victim, and increases the unfaithful among men."

The way of a seductress is to tell people what they want to hear. She whispers her lies ever-so-softly in her victim's ear, comforting them with thoughts that they are not doing anything wrong or finding ways to justify certain behaviors. The seductress will even agree with scripture in order to use it to her advantage. She will tell you that you are not under the law. She will remind you that you are under grace. There is no condemnation for those that are in Christ. Relax. Enjoy life. Don't take things so seriously. You deserve your pleasure. Indulge, for a few moments. God isn't going to be mad at you. 

This is true, to a degree, but it's not a universal law that one can adopt and apply it to every situation or individual at all times. There is a fine line between enjoying life the way God intended, and being tempted away by a seducing, lying spirit to live in false grace. False grace makes room for disobedience, and disobedience is rebellion. 

"Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts." (Prov. 21:3).

Spiritual laziness casts one into a deep sleep. (See Proverbs 19:15). 

Many in the body of Christ have likened the church to a sleeping beauty or even a sleeping giant that needs to awaken. This is true. The church is awakening, but as God's people, we need to repent from allowing seducing, lying spirits to lull us to sleep and tempt us into straying from obedience. "Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days..." (Prov. 19:20).

In Matthew chapter 5, Jesus made a statement saying, "You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt loses it's flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men." (Vs 13). The church must regain it's flavor. The body of Christ must wipe the sleep from our eyes and shake off the lethargy produced by a false sense of security. We can't afford to make pets of things that feed our flesh while creating leanness of soul. A pet is something we feed and take care of. We nurture it and feel protective of that pet. For many people, a pet becomes something so dear that it is like family. You wouldn't think of getting rid of it! People tend to act that way in regards to things they've compromised with also. They protect their sin and want to hold on to it, coddle it, and allow it to hold a place in their heart. It becomes familiar, comforting and eventually, something that a person doesn't want to part with. What people fail to realize is that spiritual 'pets' often come loaded with parasites. They feed off a person's soul. They suck life out of them without them even being aware. The person becomes spiritually sick, infected and emaciated without realizing it. Some of the things people tend to justify actually act as spiritual parasites, eating away at a person's health, vitality and weakening them spiritually. Those 'parasites' are cloaked in deception and what seems like harmless thoughts, behaviors or activities on the surface slowly but deliberately blind a person to their need for repentance. The longer a person lives in compromise with those secret agreements with the enemy, the more difficult it becomes for them to actually repent and turn away from compromise. 

 Repentance restores life 

The reality is, our lives don't belong to us; we've been bought with a price. We don't get to live as we please. We have assignments to fulfill. People to reach with the gospel. When we choose to live in compromise, we can lose our saltiness, our flavor of godly influence. We can lose our ability to influence others because we no longer have the evidence of power, anointing or the presence of God. In Psalm 51, King David was lamenting his sin to the Lord and pleading with God to renew a right spirit in him. He had a healthy fear of the Lord and understood that he did not want to lose the presence of God in his life. He begged God not to take His Holy Spirit from him. Now, please understand that I am not trying to put anyone back under the law, neither do I wish to make anyone feel condemned. Each man must judge their own life by their conscience. However, I would say this. If a person has had an extended period of time where they have lived in prayerlessness, the enemy will exploit it by trying to counterfeit the voice of God and lead the person further away from God. The result of prayerlessness is to become power-less.If a person fails to read the word of God and apply it to their life, the enemy will exploit what ever he thinks he can get away with. If a person lives in selective obedience, they are already living in self-deception and the enemy will exploit that weakness. This is how the church loses it's salt, or it's flavor. The warning is that those that chose to live this way will become trampled underfoot and in danger of judgment by fire. Trials. It's not always the enemy that needs to be rebuked; sometimes we simply need to rebuke ourselves before the Lord steps in to do it. Some people reading this today need to understand that they are walking dangerously close to the edge of a cliff. Turn back now. God does not honor meaningless words that are not followed up with action. We must each bear fruit worthy of repentance. The sacrifices that are pleasing to the Lord are a broken and contrite heart that truly repents and does not continue in what the Lord has shown you is something He wants you to change.

 We cannot afford to lose the words of life.

There will always be those that decide not to go any further with the Lord than they are right now, but what we each need to understand is, that decision to place limits on our relationship with God WILL have consequences. We might not understand how great those consequences are until that final day when some people will hear "Well done my good and faithful servant, and others hear the frightening words, "Depart from Me; I never knew you." I pray that you never have to hear those words.

In John 6:67-69 Jesus questioned His disciples, after others chose not to go with Him. "So Jesus said to the twelve, "You do not want to go away also, do you?" Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. "We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God."… Beloved, this is the day that has been given to you. None of us know what tomorrow holds. If you need to repent, do so. God is waiting with open arms of love. Carpe diem. Seize the day.

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