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yuehan
Member



Joined: 2011/6/15
Posts: 510


 Re: Needed: Godly Counsel

I'll post three posts which Dustin Horstmann shared some years back, which I believe are relevant to the various points you raised (particularly with respect to the motives and desires of the heart):

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When I was a younger Christian I used to have a serious addiction to pornography.

To fight it, I would carry around Bible verses to help me keep my mind off of lust and on the Lord.

Years later God freed me by unveiling to me the purpose of His Son's death. Before that revelation, I could not see that I was trusting *my ability* to desire holy things over evil things: I was trying to use those Bible verses to reform my *self*.

I didn't know that Christianity is not the reformation of self, but the manifestation of Christ in you--and me crucified.

Later, when God brought me to Romans 7 and showed me that apart from Him, I am in helpless bondage to evil desires, and that's *why* I need Christ, I learned that all those years I was not turning to Christ with those verses, but to myself, even though I was handling God's word--because I didn't have a good foundation of Christ.

How?

I believed I couldn't turn to Christ because my part was to try to desire holiness before Christ would be for me. Thus I could never turn to receive with confidence.

I haven't looked at pornography since March of 2009. I've learned that we turn to Christ because we can't stop desiring evil and this shows the depth of God's love for us, and the depth of our need for Him.

When we turn to Him like this, He gives us what we do not have on our own, by the Spirit, to the praise of God, because there is no credit to self.

Romans 3 & 7 - God gave the Law to give to us the knowledge of our sin (He already had it). Without the brilliant, exposing light that the Law shines, we think we are pretty good people, and so don't think we need Christ so much.

But God would humble us so that we cry out with Paul, "Who will save me from this body of death?"

The answer is not you or me. It is Jesus Christ.

Have you heard of Him--the depth of His love for you and the depth of your need for Him?

Believe the good news today and receive the transforming power of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 3). Amen.


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When repentance is about your ability to stop desiring each and every known sin, it's about your trustworthiness.

When repentance is about turning to Christ to save you from sin's power (because it is too great for you), it's about Christ's trustworthiness.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This morning I was tempted to look at a picture of a scandalous woman on my Facebook feed.

As I was going down the feed, I saw the picture and quickly scrolled past it, but I felt this strong urge to think about it after I passed it by. And I could not easily shake it. So I looked to the Lord for insight and the response was immediate and simple.

I will write what God spoke to my heart in this form, though it wasn't words:

"In that moment, more was happening than you being tempted with lust. The enemy tempted you with the idea that you are accepted by the quality of your desires and decisions. You began to agree with this and *that* is what strengthened the power of the temptation [it wasn't about my personal goodness--apart from Christ I have none]. The strength of sin is the law. When you use the Law as a ground for acceptance (the quality of your desires and decisions), the Law will show you how untrustworthy you are."

When I saw this, I immediately turned from my self-righteousness back to the Lord, and the evil desire *instantly* vanished. I no longer had an unclean desire to see the picture. Instead I had life and peace. This is walking by the Spirit: as you received Christ, so walk in Him (Col. 2). We received Him by faith alone. And that is how we received the Spirit (Gal. 3), and we are to continue to receive Him in this way. God was calling me to walk by the Spirit, not just have a profession of faith from the past.

You see, when I began to trust myself, I began trying to figure out if I really wanted the lust, or if I had crossed the line from temptation into sin. Why was I trying to figure this out? If I want to stand on my own righteousness, I need to assess myself to see if I am righteous or not. And of course, when you begin to doubt your righteousness, you begin to make excuses for yourself, especially if you feel you *must* rely on yourself. A lie appears better than absolute hopelessness.

In the past, I would have thought my battle was this: will I love God more than lust? It would have been all about my quality response, my love.

But because I have the light of the gospel in me, my spiritual senses can be trained to take part in *the real fight*: faith in Christ. So I could see the other temptation the enemy came to me with.

The issue was obedience. You might say, "But isn't choosing purity over lust obedience?" It is. But when you trust in your choosing and your character to be able to choose rightly as a ground for acceptance, you are being *disobedient* to God who said "I only justify the ungodly through faith in My Son alone." Moreover, those who will not submit to Him in this (Rom. 10), He will give no grace to grow (Gal. 5).

Don't you see the oddness of this? God will give you grace only if you stop trusting in your effort for acceptance and rather trust in Christ. God is a God of trust. He is the God of our heart.

You see, it takes a wrestle to stand firm and not submit to the slavery of self-righteousness (Gal. 5). Faith is a fight. And I need the Spirit to *even walk*. I don't try to walk (have loving desires and make loving decisions) in order to get the Spirit. Justifying faith is the same faith through which the Spirit is ever supplied to us (Gal. 3). I need the Spirit *to be* a loving person, and that is one of *His fruits* (Gal. 5).

This is how I walk free of sin and grow out of any sin I become aware of. It is because of the Gospel. I perfect in the Spirit what began by the Spirit (Gal. 3).

The righteous are as bold as a lion.

May more men *obey* God's gospel.


 2016/5/23 6:54Profile









 Re:

Quote:
by AlmostHome on 2016/5/23 1:37:27

Thanks for responding, Julius. I appreciate you taking the time out to lovingly be so thorough and thoughtful.



You're welcome. :-)

Quote:
The scars that I DO still carry, mostly come from churches and ministries that abused their authority. These places affected how I viewed God, to the point that I believed He couldn't possibly love me anymore. I was a constant volunteer wherever I was needed. I was known for it. Cooking, cleaning, parking lots, nursery, set up and tear down for conferences, etc., Unfortunately, they were Word of Faith churches. (Brutal egos and power trips!) All of my volunteering ended up getting me involved with the likes of Joyce Meyer and Benny Hinn. Behind the scenes of those ministries is... scary. It took me a VERY long time to trust God again. And it's taking even longer to heal.



The above paragraph is concerning to me. As a Christian you will be abused by men. It just goes with the territory of being a "God-pleaser" and there is a balance in the "motivation of doing". We serve God because we already have love and acceptance and this is our motivation. DOING is an EXPRESSION of LOVE rather than DOING to RECEIVE LOVE. WE ARE RECEIVED! There is rest in love and absolutely no rest in rejection.

"Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child. Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever." (Psa 131:1-2)

A common problem with Christians is that they set high standards for themselves in wanting to please God. Then, they don't reach those standards, fall back and feel rejection, again. This breeds an unstable spiritual relationship with the Lord. You said that you received deep scars from churches and ministries to the point of it damaging your relationship with the Lord and that it took you a very long time to trust God again...even longer to heal. This should not happen. If you are not received, it is because they do not receive Jesus and you have to know that Jesus is being rejected, not you. The religious world, built on performance and works is a very dangerous place to be, anyway. It eats up people and spits them out. Jesus was able to walk amongst the religious and the sinners delivering truth to both. He was rejected severely but not to the point where He received deep scars and had His relationship with His Father damaged. This is where the Lord wants us to be in Him. Totally secure in Him, knowing our identity is in Him and not in man's approval. You received scars because you were looking for man's approval and there is still a root in you that needs to have the axe laid to it.

Quote:
So, the rejection damage that remains has been, and is being, dealt with by God.



Continue to let God work in that area of your life that seeks approval from men. Once you are healed of that, you want receive hurts which causes us to harbor unforgiveness and bitterness and not trust people.

Quote:
My post is more to do with my struggle with the rewards and blessings God promises.[ I examine my motives in everything I do. I tremble at the thought of having wrong motives! That's what the enemy has latched onto and whispers in my ear several times a day. I'm not interested in "payment" or rewards, but I know I don't have right thinking in this area, thus the torment of the thoughts that run through my mind.



I believe you are still seeking approval from God based on performance and have not come to a place of complete rest in His love for you. When you have, you will not even think about rewards and blessings. You will be satisfied in Him.

Isa_58:8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.

Quote:
Where the thoughts about "only doing this for the reward" come in, it's for doing things like setting aside time to worship, reading the Word, examining my life, being conscious to display works worthy of repentance and displaying the fruit of the Spirit. Like I said, the enemy knows how careful I am of my motives and wanting them to be right!



Yes, the enemy knows each of us intimately and knows how to "pull our strings".

{quote]But, again, I do tend to overthink and over-analyze things since I'm prone to perfectionistic tendencies.


Perfectionism is a manifestation of a rejected spirit, which is the root.

The Holy Spirit is preparing the Bride (Church) for the Bridegroom. The ministry of inner healing is beautification of the Bride. The Spirit desires to take away the "spots and wrinkles" and bring the Church together, united in one body. But, the Church must receive the beautifying work of the Lord in their lives.

Instead of you always searching yourself, let the Lord do it, in His time at His pace. You will cripple yourself in analyzing everything about yourself and the enemy knows this.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psa 139:23-24)

Christ gave Himself for the Church to sanctify and cleanse her and to have for Himself a glorious Church. A Church without "spot or wrinkle". Christ wants a Church without BRUISES, free from the past (wrinkles). A church cleansed of all defilement.

"Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." (2Co 7:1)

A Bride that is fully mature (Until we all attain to...a mature man, Eph 4:13-15). The fullness of Christ is received by a mature Christian but immaturity makes one vulnerable to deception and dominion of men. And that is where the scars come in. Root of bitterness, pride, etc. Growth comes through "speaking the truth in love".

Forgiveness releases the past (hurts), people are released and YOU are released. Jesus Christ transcends all time so let Him minister to you regarding the hurts of the past that you many still be holding. Ask the Holy Spirit to search you. Don't try to do it yourself as we tend to stay away from deep pain. The fact that you are always doing it yourself may mean that you are fearful to let the Holy Spirit go deep within. Stop trying to be in control and allow the Lord to go into all areas of your heart.

Remember, the Lord is gentle and it is His gentleness that makes us great (whole, mature).

"Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great." (Psa 18:35)

He will not hurt -
"A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory." (Matt 12:20)

Jesus takes us places we often do not want to go. We think He is wanting to inflict pain on us but He actually wants to deliver and heal us.

"Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." (Pro 27:6)

"The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether." (Psa 19:9)

 2016/5/23 7:32
AlmostHome
Member



Joined: 2016/4/26
Posts: 120
U.S.A.

 Re:

Thank you for caring, Brenda. Your encouragement is a gift and I'm grateful!

My sensitivity to sin is something I'm definitely cultivating as a habit. The overthinking part is something I have to continually surrender and be careful with because it can easily turn into works or stagnation from thinking the situation to the point where I "freeze" and fear making ANY decision in case I make the wrong one.

-------------------------
YOU SAID: "How is that possible some would say?"
-------------------------

Reading/Hearing phrases like that ALWAYS puts a smile on my face! I LIVE for impossible moments! That may sound like my driveway doesn't go all the way to the road, but it's true.

I grew up VERY naive and sheltered. That resulted in immediately trusting people. Yes, I got burned and learned lessons the hard way, but the woman who led me to Jesus told me something I've never forgotten: "Jesus is the best friend you'll ever have. (She knew I didn't have any friends.) He will never let you down. You can trust Him."

When I came to Jesus at 17, it was most definitely with the faith of a child. In fact, when I think of Jesus, that's the first thing I think of is how safe I am with Him and that childlike, immediate trust that "My Dad can do ANYTHING!" has never faded.
God's definitely honored that and I've experienced many miracles and times of rewarded faith!

So, when I hear something is "impossible," I get to believing! Even if the thing doesn't happen, I know I grew in the process and that any faith put into action never comes back void when you also trust Him for the results.

------------------------------
You said: By the way, l also experienced not understanding how people were so at ease socially and knew the right thing to say but found out much later it was not just though abuse but also because of being on the autistic spectrum.

Huge anxiety issues there which the Lord takes away when we are in full union.
------------------------------

That's a lot rougher situation than I had to go through. I was never socially awkward, didn't know what to say, or experience anxiety issues. I just stopped saying anything because it usually met with abuse. It just made me sad, not anxious.

The weird thing is, I can't tell you how many times I heard in my life - and still do - "It's hard for me to be around you because I always feel guilty and uncomfortable." I never tried to correct, scold, or tell people they were wrong about things. But I knew right from wrong and was never afraid to stand up for what's right. When people asked me questions about my life, I would just answer them. To some I was a goody-two-shoes and it made them mad. Some, I've come to understand, felt convicted of their sin. I've even been seriously asked several times if I was an angel! ROFL

So, for me, growing up, I think God's hedge of protection around me was SO strong that people saw Jesus in me -- all to His glory because it had nothing to do with me whatsoever!


_________________
Keith

 2016/5/23 13:24Profile
AlmostHome
Member



Joined: 2016/4/26
Posts: 120
U.S.A.

 Re:

Thanks yeuhan. I appreciate you taking the time to dig up those posts from Dustin.

QUOTE: I could not see that I was trusting *my ability* to desire holy things over evil things

This is definitely a struggle of mine. I hate it so much. When I learned that I had been trusting in my own ability, strength and ways - and that the root of that is pride - I was horrified. I tear up whenever I see this happening and will stop in that moment and repent.

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QUOTE: "I believed I couldn't turn to Christ because my part was to try to desire holiness before Christ would be for me. Thus I could never turn to receive with confidence."

I can relate. The classic, "I have to fix myself first before coming to Him." But also never before, "I have to punish myself for awhile first." I see the enemy's hate for God and His people in those lies now. I think people find this so hard because Jesus's way of just running into His arms as we are sounds "too good to be true." And we live in a world today where, if something sounds too good to be true... it usually is.

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QUOTE: "The answer is not you or me. It is Jesus Christ."

TRULY realizing this broke me. And then it freed me.

--------------

QUOTE: "Have you heard of Him--the depth of His love for you and the depth of your need for Him?"

The depth of my need? Most definitely. The depth of His love for me? Honestly? I believe it but I'm too scared to receive it. After 50 years of rejection and no love, I think if I received and felt His love for me, it might literally (yes, literally) kill me. This is my biggest struggle. In fact, I wouldn't even begin to know HOW to receive it.

--------------

QUOTE: "When repentance is about your ability to stop desiring each and every known sin, it's about your trustworthiness. When repentance is about turning to Christ to save you from sin's power (because it is too great for you), it's about Christ's trustworthiness."

That BLESSED me and hit the nail on the head. I will be taping that one on my wall. I needed to hear that.

--------------

QUOTE: "In that moment, more was happening than you being tempted. The enemy tempted you with the idea that..."

and

QUOTE: "But because I have the light of the gospel in me, my spiritual senses can be trained to take part in *the real fight*: faith in Christ. So I could see the other temptation the enemy came to me with. The issue was obedience."

This is exactly my thought process when temptation and sin arise! As I've said before, I'm a bottom line kind of guy. What's REALLY going on here right now? I picture the unseen war in the atmosphere around me and that helps me to be obedient.


_________________
Keith

 2016/5/23 13:53Profile
AlmostHome
Member



Joined: 2016/4/26
Posts: 120
U.S.A.

 Re:

Hi Julius!

QUOTE: "The above paragraph is concerning to me. As a Christian you will be abused by men. It just goes with the territory of being a "God-pleaser" and there is a balance in the "motivation of doing". We serve God because we already have love and acceptance and this is our motivation. DOING is an EXPRESSION of LOVE rather than DOING to RECEIVE LOVE. WE ARE RECEIVED! There is rest in love and absolutely no rest in rejection."

I completely understand why it would concern you. I HAVE matured and healed in this area a great deal. I'm not afraid of being abused by people anymore. This happened when I was in my late 20's and early 30's, when I was still very naive to the world. I'm a person who is very quick to forgive others... except when it came to this. The abuse I endured from these churches and ministries hurt FAR WORSE than the physical and emotional abuse I went through with my family growing up! That's saying a lot because I constantly heard (from my family) things like: "We hate you! We wish we never had you! You're so ugly no one will ever love you!"

I resented these "Christians" because they "took God away from me" and put themselves (authoritatively) in God's place in my life. God was the ONLY joy I had ever known and to have Him ripped from me was like tearing open my chest and ripping out my heart. Forgiveness and healing from this took 16 years. But, with that forgiveness and healing, came the understanding and maturity that you described in much of your post.

As you know, I've recently had a personal revival (which still thrives)! Part of this was being healed of people pleasing and acceptance. Of all the miracles that God has wrought in my life, this is the one I treasure most, right after salvation! I have never, EVER felt so FREE (bold, italics and underline FREE)!!!!

Even so, I'm SO grateful that you did the mature, loving thing and laid everything out the way you did because it was right to do so. That's what love does when it's put in action. As someone who has never received real love, I recognize it from a mile away, brother. (Which means I am well versed at spotting false encouragement, pretty sayings, and Chrisianese lingo spoken to exhort the speaker instead of the receiver.)

I get glimpses of God's love for me periodically. I've gotten glimpses of it through you because I can discern what's gone in (and is behind) your posts. (If that makes sense.) I think He allows me to see it in bits and pieces right now to prepare me for when He fully reveals it to me personally (and I know He will). I know that might sound ridiculous (even "wrong") to some people but when you haven't been given or felt love for 50 years, the idea of receiving God's pure love in all it's fullness is PETRIFYING. I seriously question whether or not it would LITERALLY kill me. So, I'm grateful for the glimpses right now. They help build me up and strengthen me.

------------------------

QUOTE: "I believe you are still seeking approval from God based on performance and have not come to a place of complete rest in His love for you. When you have, you will not even think about rewards and blessings. You will be satisfied in Him."

Without question, that's true! That comes from seeking approval and acceptance from my own father and mother. I see that. I may not seek approval and acceptance by people anymore (praise His name!) but recognize that I still do from God. The difference now is that I SEE that and have made preparations to battle it when the Holy Spirit brings it to my remembrance.

Through all of my hardships in life, the Holy Spirit has wisely walked me through learning patience and trust. I trust God's timing and His ways, as well as the Holy Spirit's guidance. And I know I WILL come out on the other side of this victoriously because of Him!


_________________
Keith

 2016/5/23 14:28Profile
yuehan
Member



Joined: 2011/6/15
Posts: 510


 Re:

AlmostHome,

I can relate to a lot of your struggles.

(For the record, I shared a partial testimony here, c.f. posting time 18:42 -
https://img.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic_pdf.php?topic_id=53630&forum=34 ; there are also links to Dustin's testimony snugged in there)

It is easy to focus on ourselves and what is wrong with our performance or desires. But these are but symptoms, rooted in wrong beliefs or unbelief.

I have found that having good doctrine helps a lot - that forms the foundation for a correct understanding of God and how we relate to Him. Apart from Dustin's writings, I believe these are excellent resources:

1. "The Power of Right Believing" (by Joseph Prince)

2. "The Rest of the Gospel" (by Dan Stone and David Gregory)

3. "Lifetime Guarantee" (by Bill Gillham)

 2016/5/23 14:47Profile









 Re:

Thank you for your response, AlmostHome. Communicating in text is not always easy and I appreciate you filling in the blanks for me. I rejoice with you in all that God is doing in your life and encourage you to continue to be open to the Lord to receive His grace in your life without which we would all be lost.

 2016/5/23 15:16
AlmostHome
Member



Joined: 2016/4/26
Posts: 120
U.S.A.

 Re:

yuehan and Julius,

Thanks again. Attentiveness to sin and surrender is exhausting work. By 6pm, I'm usually so tired I'm ready for bed! But, come 4am, I'm ready to get up and do it all again! Perseverance leads to the crown of life. (James 1:12)


_________________
Keith

 2016/5/23 19:04Profile









 Re:

Mine own testimony is that I have found if you spend the day loving the Lord and singing and making melody in your heart to Him you will end the day refreshed and you don't have to give so much attention to sin or introspection. Try being attentive to HIM instead of sin.

"For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not." (Isa 30:15)

 2016/5/24 16:51
AlmostHome
Member



Joined: 2016/4/26
Posts: 120
U.S.A.

 Re:

Quote:
by Julius21 on 2016/5/24 15:51:51

Try being attentive to HIM instead of sin.



Oddly enough (i.e., confirming), that is what the Holy Spirit got through my thick head today. It was quite a moment!


_________________
Keith

 2016/5/24 18:28Profile





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