FREEDOM FROM SELF I
by: Gary R. Kane
|There are some in the body of Christ today that are consistently falling prey to the
sin of anger and control. What I want to share with you is one of the reasons I believe
this is happening and the way to be delivered from it.
There are some who feel they always have to be in "control." They fear that they won't have "domination" or control over someone or some situation. They walk in the feeling and mind set that, "I must be obeyed and have MY way or else." The "or else" is the "punishment" or "condemnation" that is inflicted on the person who will not "conform" or "respond" to our desires. This person will set up Certain standards of behavior and certain "outward" rules arid "expectations." If there is no conformity or visible behavior or evidence toward that standard or "legalistic" expectation, then they become offended and angry because they were not "obeyed" and after all they "must be" in control. The next step is to react by punishment. This usually comes in the form of verbal abuse, "condemnation." This is to "assure" them, they think, of future conformity and obedience to their set of rules, standards, and to satisfy their flesh that they are in control.
All this is a spirit of control and insecurity, manifesting from selfishness and pride. Fear also joins in, it helps to regulate all this, after all, working with pride, fear knows that it can not afford to lose it's place of authority and "position" and control over the person or situation.
This is the same attitude that the Pharisees had. They did not want to lose their "imagined" place of authority and power. They continued to separate themselves from the hurt, the lost, and the dirty, for fear that the darkness would overtake and defeat the light. So, rather than extend "grace" and mercy, (something the Pharisees know nothing about), they inflicted abuse, harshness, unforgiveness, Separation and condemnation to those who did not "measure up" to their idea of holiness, and conform to their fleshly standards, rules and regulations.
As one good brother puts it, "the Pharisees had, (and still have), a perverted sense of "sacrifice." This perversion of the ways of God produces two "destructive" views of life. First, when we fear the power of evil, this tends to lead to a lifestyle of "avoidance." in other, words, we tend to "separate" in love and ministry to the one not responding to our expectations. This mind set determines "righteousness by evil that is avoided, rather than good that is expressed, (that is expressing the grace of God.)"
Second, the focus is placed on proper external behavior, resulting in condemning the individual while protecting "self." The "legalists" make the accusation that extending grace will lead to licentiousness, (excessive or undue freedom or liberty, intentional deviation from rule.) It is in fact the "legalists" who presumes on the grace of God, with an emphasis on "outward" actions. This is made very clear when Jesus quoted an Old Testament passage to the Pharisees, Hosea's statement that "God desires mercy not sacrifice."
The "cure" is to first "repent" then to rest in the knowledge that Jesus is the one to be in control. He has already set the "standard", it's the word of God! We are to react only to the leading of the Holy Spirit in every situation. The Bible clearly gives us this instruction in I Peter 2:20-25:
"For what credit is there, (or benefit), if when you sin and are harshly treated, (reap what you sow), you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right, (walk in love extending grace), and suffer for it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in his footsteps, (walk like he walked), who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in his mouth; and while being reviled, (this is an outward attitude in another to attack our flesh), He did not revile, (strike back in anger), in return; while suffering, (in the flesh), He uttered no threats, (in other words He did not use verbal abuse or punishment by condemnation), But, (here is the key, Don't miss it), entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly; (the King James says, "He committed Himself to the one who judgeth righteously"), the word used there "committed" is the Greek word Paradidomi, it means to "give over to", and specifically in this verse and context, it means to "give over to the grace of God." Now it is very important that we understand at this point that the grace of God is, "an enablement", the power of God to the believer who "committeth" or "gives himself over" to God's care and wisdom. (I no longer have to be in control). I "give myself over to die to my own will". Then God fights my battles for me. Now I have declared that the situation belongs to God's control. This does not mean that I do not instruct or respond in any situation, but when I do, (1) it will be the spirit of God leading me to respond, (2) it will be in gentleness from grace, not seeking my own desire but the will of the One whom I am entrusted to. This "self life", this legalism and pride can be overcome by receiving by faith what Peter tells us in vs.24-25: "and He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, (the victory was won there), that we might die to sin, (this certainly includes self imposed standards), and live to righteousness, (this is giving over to the grace of God), for by His wounds you were healed, (from legalism, pride, selfishness, fear and all bondage of sin). For you were continually straying like sheep, (lost sheep), but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls."
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