Posted by: Rina | October 18, 2009

The Will of God defeats the schemes of the Devil

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

These three actions keep the focus in the Kingdom of Heaven.  If we are to maintain and grow in our identity in Christ, we must do all in our power to remain centered in the Kingdom.  This verse is paramount in guarding us from being distracted by the enemy.  These three actions protect and guard against the schemes of the devil. (1)  There is a reason why this is the will of God for us.  God desires us to complete these three actions to keep us focused on the goodness of God and who we are in Christ.  To continue to grow and maintain our identity, we must keep the will of God in our hearts and minds.  Examine the following study on this verse.

The Rejoicing Factor

The scripture states, “rejoice always.” How is that possible?  How can someone rejoice always?  In order to fully explain, biblical hope is the place to start.  The biblical idea of hope is this, “the joyful anticipation of good”.  Bill Johnson states, “Any area of your life that does not have a joyful anticipation of good is living under a lie from the enemy,” (2)  In all things, the Christian can have an anticipation that good things are going to come.  Regardless of the present circumstances God assures the believer in scripture that :

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to     those whose the called according to His purposes.” (Romans 8:28)

If God is good, all the time (Psalm 73:1) and God is love (1 John 4:16), all the time,  this remains a fact regardless of my circumstances.  God is incapable of evil.  No matter what the circumstance, the Christian can have the joyful anticipation of good. This reality is based on the character and nature of God.  It has been said,

“God is too wise to be mistaken,
God is too good to be unkind,
so when you don’t understand,
when you can’t see His plan,
when you can’t feel His Hand,
Trust His heart.”

Knowing this, gives the believer a reason to bless God and to rejoice in Him regardless of the circumstances.  The reality of God’s character impacts the soul in such a way that rejoicing in this knowledge never need cease.  The praises of God are continually before the throne in heaven.  It should be the same for Christians whose citizenship is in heaven.  We should be praising and worshiping God despite our circumstances.  Merlin Carothers writes, “God is calling us to praise Him, and the highest form of praise is the one Paul exhorts us to give in Hebrews 13:15, ‘Therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.’ The sacrifice of praise is offered when all is darkness around us.  It is offered of a heavy heart, unto God because He is God and Father and Lord.” (3 emphasis mine)

The Prayer Factor

“Pray without ceasing”.  There are two types of prayer that need discussion.  They are praying in tongues and praying in faith.  The effects of praying in tongues impact the believer in such a way to fit the context of the verse. (I Thess 5:16-17).  Scripture describes what takes place in the human soul when it prays in a tongue.  “For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries…He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself…” (I Corinthians 14:2,4).

Commenting on this scripture, Kenneth Hagan writes, “The word ‘edifieth’ means to build oneself up.  Greek language scholars tell us that we have a word in our modern vernacular which is closer to the meaning of the original than the word ‘edified’.  That word is ‘charge’.  We must use the word ‘charge’ in connection with charging a battery.  A more literal translation would be, ‘He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth or charges, build himself up like a battery.’  this wonderful, supernatural means of spiritual edification is not for just a few of God’s children, it is for every one of them.” (4)  Praying with tongues keeps us charged with the Holy Spirit.  As believers go forth on their daily missions and minister to people, that charge is released.  Afterward, a recharging takes place as the Christian continues to pray in tongues.  However, in the Kingdom, the more charge that is given away,  directly increases the souls capacity to carry a greater charge.

Praying in tongues prevents distraction.  When praying in tongues, the participant is moved directly into “the Spirit”.  This movement begins to mold our souls into the very nature of God.  Bill Johnson writes:

“When we speak in tongues, we are using our voices to give utterance to the expression of our spirits as they commune with the Holy Spirit. This is powerful because our spirits pray in perfect agreement with God because they speak from the new nature we received when we were born again. By what our spirits are saying, we come more completely into agreement with the Holy Spirit.  As we sustain this prayer, it leads to the same breakthrough we experience when we physically express praise, we become aware of the manifest presence of     God… Praying in tongues is a powerful tool that can turn our focus from the things that distract us, while at the same time help us become aware of His presence and lean into His voice…Praying intonates bypasses the human intellect  and immediately activates our Spirit born faith:  for faith does not come from the mind…The end result is that we can actually start to think and act like Him” (5)

When praying in tongues, the bible states that, “in the spirit he speaks mysteries”. (I Corinthian 14:2)  Dave Roberson describes the mysteries:

“But what mysteries is Paul speaking about in this verse?  Well, the word mysteries basically means divine secrets.  These divine secrets aren’t the kind that can never be told; rather, they are secrets that are hidden on the inside of God.  These secrets have been made accessible to us by the blood of Jesus and the power o the Holy Spirit.  W. E. Vine in his Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words gives another good scriptural definition for these mysteries:  that which, being outside the range of unassisted natural apprehension can be made known only by divine revelation, and is made known to those only who are illuminated by His Spirit…So, if these mysteries are not for God’ benefit, they must be for ours.  Therefore, praying in tongues must be like any other kind of prayer in that it is designed by God to be answered-just as much as is the might, mountain moving prayer of faith or the ‘Ill go where You want me to go’ prayer of consecration…The reason you are edified is that you are speaking the same mysteries Paul wrote about:  the mystery of healing, the mystery of righteousness, the mystery of redemption.  You are speaking them before the throne room of grace, and God answers them as he does every prayer. (6)

In summation, when praying in tongues, believers are supernaturally praying their own destiny into existence.  The more often someone prays in tongues, the more they are  built up in the mysteries of God.  The amount of time spent praying in tongues is in direct correlation with a walk in the supernatural.  It molds into His Image.  The greater the conformity to the image of God, the greater the walk in identity and destiny.  The Son of Man was manifested to destroy the works of the devil (I John 3:8).  When conformed to His Image, the Christian destiny is a natural bi-product.  The works of the devil are naturally destroyed when the presence and image of God is manifested.

The Prayer of Faith

When a problem manifests itself in a believers life, it should be continually brought before the Lord until His Will is discerned.  When His will is made known by a biblical mode of communication, (Scripture, a prophetic word, a dream or vision, an audible voice from heaven, an angelic visitation, His Spirit confirming with my spirit, etc.) the matter need not be brought again to the throne. At this point, it has become the Christian’s responsibility.  When the will of God is internalized in the heart it becomes faith.  Faith believes what has been decreed in heaven and begins to speak it into existence on earth.  Jesus gave these instructions:

“…Have faith in God.  For assuredly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and cast into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.  Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray believe that you receive them, and you will have them.  (Mark 11:22-24).

Regarding these scriptures, Kenneth Hagan writes:

“After telling His disciples in verse 22 to have the God-kind of faith, Jesus went on to define and describe for us what it is.  The God-kind of faith is the kind of faith in which a man: 1, believes in his heart, and 2, says with his mouth what he believes in his heart, and 3, it comes to pass.
Jesus showed that He had that kind of faith, for He believed that what He said would come to pass.  He said to the tree, ‘No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever.’ This is the kind of faith that spoke the world into existence! (7)  Dave Roberson summarizes:  “Once we have prayed the prayer of faith over the problem, we are not to talk to God about the problem-we are to talk to the problem about God.” (8)

The Gratitude Factor

Gratitude is birthed out of worship and intimacy with God.  The realization of how much God has done for humanity, is the soil where gratitude grows.  God did not spare His Son because of humans, He created us in His image and likeness, and He has connected and empowered us with part of Himself.  He has forgiven all of our sins, and He heals all of our diseases.  When the benefits of God are realized, gratitude naturally swells in soul.  The Bible states about God’s benefit package:

“Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name!  Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits; Who forgives all you iniquities, who heals all you diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies. Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:1-5)

Gratitude is immediately present when the benefits of God are pondered upon.  There really is nothing else that God could have done to reconcile humanity to Himself.  When Jesus said, “It is finished”, it really was a complete deal.

Gratitude is a weapon against anxiety.  In Philippians 4:6 the Bible states:  “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God.”   Gratitude defeats anxiety.  It is impossible to remain anxious when one calls to mind all the past deliverances that God has wrought in ones life.  Anxiety leaves when gratitude focus the soul in prayer.  Gratitude becomes the vehicle that enables us to worship God in spite of our circumstances.  Gratitude recognizes that intimacy with God will yield the promises of heaven.  Gratitude disarms unbelief because it recognizes all that God has done on our behalf.  This is the will of God, rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in all things, give thanks.  Journaling is a method to foster gratitude.  When we record all the great moves of God in our lives, we can read them over again when things aren’t looking so good.  Remembering the great deliverances of God will help us remember His Character and Nature.  When the storm comes, we can re-read it over and find some gratitude.  The Lord commanded the children of Israel to do something very similar when the crossed into the promised land.  The bible calls it “setting up a memorial”. (Joshua 4:7)

“And it came to pass when all the people had completely crossed the Jordan, that the Lord spoke to Joshua saying:  Take for yourselves twelve men form the people, one man form every tribe, and commanded them saying, ‘Take for yourselves twelve stones form here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet stood firm.  You shall carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging place where you lodge tonight.’  Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had appointed form the children of Israel, one man from very tribe; and Joshua said to them, ‘Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.  And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.” (Joshua 4: 1-7)

The word for memorial in Hebrew is the word “zikkaron.”  It means, “The zikkron is an object or act which brings something else to mind or which represents something else.  As such it may be a memorial a reminder a historical record or a physical token which calls to mind a deity.” (9).  For generations to come, the children of Israel would see these stones and remember that their God was one that preformed supernatural acts.  They would remember that their God would remove any obstacle in front of their destiny by a “mighty hand and an outstretched arm.”  (Duet. 26:8)  This remembrance would bring about faith for generations to come as they would see the memorial of how God moved in the past.  If God moved that way in the past, then He is certain to do it again in the future.  Gratitude would be the result of this memorial as generations would rise and see the evidence of God’s great exploits on behalf of His people.  Gratitude becomes evident when it is realized that one worships a God of love who is not void of power and action!  We can accomplish this effect through our journaling.  When we record the mighty acts of God in the past, and read them in the future, we will become grateful of what God did and what He is going to do.

Have you ever noticed that anxiety is contagious in crowds? The spirit of anxiety is contagious and people embrace it very quickly in a time of crisis.  If this is possible for the evil spirits of darkness, then it possible for the Holy Spirit.  When the Presence of God is in the room, others can detect it. (see the section entitled, “the Anointing”).  When someone begins to give thanks and rejoice around anxious people, the anxiety will leave.  Rejoicing and thanksgiving are not good company for the spirits of anxiety and depression.  Thanksgiving is also contagious.  When one person begins to state all the reasons they are grateful.  Someone else usually joins in.  It’s about an atmosphere.  The Christian creates the atmosphere wherever they go.

Consider My Servant Job!

Job had one of the worst days ever recorded in ancient or recent history.  In one day, he lost it all.  In that one day he lost every facet of financial stability and resource; as well as, his seven children.  Imagine, losing seven of your children in one day.  Consider the Lord’s servant Job, going bankrupt and suffering tremendous personal loss, in one day.  When the reports of all this tragedy came to Job, some even reported that it was the work of God. (Job 1:14)  What was Job’s response?  “Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head, and he feel to the ground and worshiped…In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.” (Job 1:20, emphasis mine).  Job is fulfilling the will of God that we have been discussing.  No matter what the circumstance, Job knew the character of God and “in all things” he could rejoice, pray, and give thanks, in essence, worship.  What Job didn’t know was that in the spiritual realm, this response of being un-offended at God gave the Lord a reason to boast to the ruler of the kingdom of darkness.  He states, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?  And still he holds fast to his integrity although you incited Me against him to destroy him without cause.” (Job 2:3) Job had no idea that behind the veil of the physical realm, a victory had been achieved for the Kingdom of Heaven solely based on his response to adversity. One of the sad parts of God boast of Job is that there was no one else on the earth like Job.  Would God be able to make the same statements to Satan about us as He did about Job?  He will if we fulfill the will of God for our lives and “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in all things, give thanks.”

Jesus tells the disciples of John the Baptist, “Blessed is he who is not offended at me.” (Matthew 11:6).  When we fulfill the will of God in the face of adversity by rejoicing and giving thanks all the time, we live a life that is not offended at God we are blessed.  Blessed means to be happy.  The key to a joyful, happy life, is to fulfill the will of God regardless of our circumstances.  When believers stay focused on the will of God in rejoicing always, praying without ceasing, and giving thanks in all things, the strategies of the enemy will fail against us.  We will be able to advance the kingdom and display the attributes of the King to a lost world despite our circumstances.  This is the will of God.

Endnotes

1.  This section is not intended to be a comprehensive study on these three areas.  For this, the reader is recommended to read, Merlin Carothers, From Prison to Praise, and Bill Johnson, Strengthen Yourself In the Lord.   These works should give the reader a comprehensive study in these three areas.

2.  Bill Johnson, Healing, our neglected birthright, CD set, Redding CA, Bethel church.

3.  Carothers, Merlin, Prison to Praise,  Escondido, CA, Merlin Carothers, page, 106.

4. Hagan, Kenneth, Concerning Spiritual Gifts, Faith Library Publications, 1974, page 21.

5.  Bill Johnson, Strengthen Yourself in the Lord, Shippensburg PN, Destiny Image Publications, 2007., page 84-87.

6.  Roberson, Dave,  The Walk of the Spirit, The Walk of Power, The Vital Role of Praying in Tongues.  Dave Roberson Ministries, 1999, Tulsa OK, page 126,127,129.

7.  Hagan, Kenneth, Exceedingly Growing Faith, Tulsa, OK, Faith Library Publications,     2004, page, 96.

8.  Roberson, page 343.

9.   Harris, Laird, Archer, Gleason, Waltke, Bruce, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Chicago, IL, Moody Publishers, 1980. page, 242.

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