Gary Carpenter Ministries
Pretty much all Christians are familiar with the teaching Jesus gave concerning the devil's war against them. He comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But Jesus came that we might have life, and life more abundantly.
Joh 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
But most of us do not combine that teaching with the one Jesus gave in Mark chapter four concerning HOW the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy.
Mar 4:14-20 The sower soweth the word. 15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. 16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended. 18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. 20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred. It seems the enemy is aiming his attack at us ... and in a sense he is ... but in fact his real target is the Word of God that has been sown in our hearts.
The enemy is using these tactics to steal the Word of God from our hearts. That is the only way he can win. We must not be ignorant of Satan's devices.
In this letter I would like to focus on "the lust of other things." Many mighty ministers who served God faithfully for decades sometimes have fallen to things like adultery, alcohol, or greed. They often lead double lives of being anointed in the pulpit but defeated in private. Hypocrisy chokes the Word and many simply quit the ministry. Many continue in their double-lives but eventually get exposed and their ministry is discredited and they bring shame on the name of Christ.
Oftentimes these ministers stood strong as they made it past everything the devil could throw at them externally in the form of persecutions, afflictions, and the cares of this world. Many made it past greed and the love of money no longer controlled them. They simply could not be bought. But how does one escape his own flesh? It is the lust of the flesh for "other things" that is so relentless. Pastor Dave Roberson compares living with temptation of the flesh as being similar to the steady drip of water onto a rock, day after day, year after year, decade after decade. The steady drip of the temptations of the flesh … drip, drip, drip … until finally the rock is penetrated and sin is conceived. That is how the lust of the flesh works and it is relentless until the day we receive our glorified bodies. (I'm REALLY looking forward to that day, aren't you?) The lust of the flesh is the most powerful weapon in Satan's arsenal because there is no way to escape our fallen flesh and remain on planet earth. Our flesh cannot be saved. It must be crucified every single day.
Luk 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
The only way to "crucify" (mortify = put to death) the flesh is to WALK IN THE SPIRIT. Notice how the apostle Paul describes this process in his letter to the Galatians:
Gal 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
When each of us were born again, we were literally born of the Spirit of God. The very nature of Christ resides on the inside of us. Every moment of every day we either yield to the righteous nature of Christ or we yield to the lust of the flesh. The war is between our reborn spirit and our fallen flesh. Through the power of our reborn human spirit we are supposed to keep our flesh on the cross every day. Our flesh doesn’t like that one bit. It is much like a spoiled child and throws a tantrum when it doesn’t get its own way. But we must hold to the truth of the Word of God sown in our hearts and keep our flesh on the cross each day. We do that by choosing to walk in the righteous nature of Christ within.
Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!
Your friend and co-laborer,