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COMMUNION WITH THE HOLY GHOST (PART 3)
The Middle of the Mind
In our previous chapter we ended by asking a most riveting question, ¬ďWho will have the courage to do their Lord¬ís will?¬Ē The reality is, it takes a lot more than courage to do GOD¬ís will. His will is diametrically opposed to this world system. Most Christians subject themselves almost continually to the philosophy of Satan, through worldly associations and as a result they struggle between two opinions (¬Ďwill¬ís¬í - God¬ís and Satan¬ís). This is not a new problem for God. All throughout the Old Testament God was not so much contending about the wickedness of the Amorites, Hittites, etc.- He was contending for His people Israel and why they would not love Him and do His will. This has carried over into the Church and is why the name of Balaam and Jezebel appear in the writings to the seven churches in Revelation 3-4. These are old issues for God and His people. Whose will- will they submit their will to?
Our previous chapter explored the beginnings of the majesty of God and demonstrated that He is worthy of having His will obeyed. But in order to obey God¬ís will our will must come into agreement with His will. To understand this we need to establish a little model. First let us say that the heart is the center of the mind and the will is the center of the heart. The will is at the very center of man¬ís conscious existence. What comes into the mind influences the heart and what comes into the heart influences the will- the will then influences the heart, which determines what will dominate the mind. It is a vicious circle. If you do not cast down imaginations in your mind and renew it in the word- the vile thoughts will enter the heart and then influence the will. The will then influences the heart to allow more sin and evil to come into and dominate the mind. This process happens over and over until the will is bent and the only hope is Divine intervention.
The Heart Distributes the Zeal
Everyone has a zeal for things. The word zeal simply means intense enthusiasm caused by emotional passion. You have a zeal for the things you delight in. Zeal is what drives a person to action. Zeal is distributed to the things we love. When the will is turned to God, the heart and mind will be turned also- and so will be the zeal. A person who has been genuinely saved (turns to God and is born again) now has a two-fold ¬Ďdrive¬í fueling them. First they have the Holy Spirit that empowers them to walk in communion with God and second they have a great portion of their zeal directed at God. This causes them to dwell upon God and desire the things of God where they once desired worldly and sinful things. This, to a great extent, is what comprises our first love experience in God. When we are first born again we love God and our zeal is for Him. But in time many Christians slowly begin to give their heart back to the things of this world and their zeal goes with it. Some who were once on fire (zealous) for God are now on fire (zealous) for sports, fashion, business success, popularity, or even their old besetting sins. This is why Jesus told the Church at Ephesus, ¬ďYou have left your first love¬Ē- or perhaps more excellently- ¬ďThe love you had at first.¬Ē Slowly but surely Christians allow the cares of this life to steal their zeal for God. The will has changed and the heart has changed. This is known as backsliding. Anyone who has left their first love is in a greater or lesser state of backsliding depending on how far from God they have turned. You don¬ít have to be committing gross outward sin to be in a state of backsliding- all you have to do is give the love and zeal that rightly belongs to God to something else. This in itself is sin- the sin of idolatry. Jesus gives the remedy- REPENT and do your first works or else I will remove your candlestick. Why? Why the candlestick? Why the anointing of the Holy Ghost? Because your backslidden and don¬ít realize it.
The Touch of a Message
Some bible messages we hear touch the mind, others touch the heart, but few touch the will. The one touches the mind and makes us think. The other touches the heart and makes us feel. The last touches the will and makes us change. God¬ís desire is to always reach the will. This requires the sword of the Spirit. The Sword of the Spirit is the Holy Ghost powered word of God and it pierces even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and the joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. When the Holy Ghost backs the word of God with great power it will touch the will.
Some messages tickle the ears- others tickle the conscience. Yet in times of hardness and declension and backsliding the conscience must not be tickled. When God¬ís word comes forth with great power and anointing piercing through the darkened mind and into the hardened heart the conscience will rise up in a backslider like a scorpion. This is what happened to the Pharisee¬ís that killed Stephen. They rose up to gnash their teeth upon the man of God because of the foretaste of hell they felt inside their own hearts. Stephen¬ís message touched their will- and yet they would not. Yet not all was lost. For there stood a man in their midst whose name was Saul- and their was something that happened inside Him that day that prepared him for that road to demascus. Saul had a zeal for God but not according to knowledge. God redirected that zeal and with all that was in him he served Christ. His zeal for God never burned out. He never gave that zeal to the world or any other thing. Paul never backslid. He loved his God with great zeal to the very end.
Communion or Compromise
If there is one thing that will destroy a new convert it is an atmosphere of Christians who have lost their first love and zeal. It is one thing to deal with great zeal- but only God can resurrect a dead church or Christian that has lost it. This is why revival is not an option. When a newborn believer is full of zeal the people of the church have to be able to encourage that zeal and not try to stomp it out. Lukewarm Christians give deadly counsel. They pass off compromise as spiritual growth and slowly become the tool of Satan to kill a new convert¬ís love and passion for God. A zealous Christian walks with God and repulses compromise, but a lukewarm Christian hardly finds time for anything about God. The zeal of a new-convert irritates the lukewarm and makes them feel bad in their compromise. They want to talk about God all the time. This is normal Christianity according to the book of Acts. But abnormal has been the norm for so long- new Christians appear eccentric and overzealous. They say things like, ¬ďDon¬ít worry in a few months you¬íll settle down.¬Ē Settle down and what- leave their first love?
When There is No Fire- The Candle Will be Removed
Mundane Christianity gives birth to no new Saints. Children of God are born under conditions that require enormous sacrifice and dedication. This is why the term of being ¬Ďborn¬í is used and words like ¬Ďtravail.¬í It is not an easy process. They have to be prayed for in a vigorous way. It takes fasting and casting off compromise and sin. The overall spirituality of the church must increase greatly. Babies are born into a sterile environment because they are susceptible to be afflicted with what sicknesses and diseases the adults working on them have. In the born again experience it is no different. The environment should be one where everyone is walking in victory as not to influence the new convert in a way that would mar his/her spiritual growth. Babies are hungry and take in everything they can put in their mouth. So it is with new converts. They take in everything they see Christians say and do. If there is compromise- they will both be confused and waver in the faith or they will be encouraged to do likewise. If they see Christians full of zeal for God and love they will feel right at home. If they can talk about God and feel a kindred spirit with other Christians due to a similar zeal of heart- they will grow in Christ and be encouraged to keep on burning up for God. IF the church is bored with God it will sift the faith of a new convert and may possibly overthrow it. Would God send new-converts into an atmosphere such as this? Absolutely not in most cases. If providence should find them in our midst we must be ready. We must feed their love and zeal. We must keep their focus on God and encourage their dedication. We must get back to our own first love and zeal for God- lest our love for the world would tempt them to the same.