Who wears the pants?
There were 2 women in our church who were best friends. When separate, they were gentle as lambs. Together, they were the Demonic Duo. Each 'wore the pants' in their marriages, and when they got involved in church things, they wanted to 'wear the pants' in church too.
In fact, that's just what the Lord told me one day during a visitation on a related subject. He used them as a teaching example on how demons get into churches. In this case, He explained that each woman had a demon that got in through hurts in their marriage: Both husbands had been unfaithful earlier in each marriage, and those hurts and issues between each respective spouse weren't dealt with fully and properly, thus opening the door. That demonic influence then established the women being the 'strong one' in their marriages through their hurt, and the guilt-held husbands became submissive and in the 'back seat'.
When the two demons of the same kind got together through the friendship of these ladies, their power was multiplied. He said each woman had been members of a church where the pastor had committed adultery, and the spirits influencing these 2 women drew a link through the adultery in their church to try to 'wear the pants' in any future church they'd be a part of, as it had done in their marriages. But because our marriage (Barb and I) was in proper order, those spirits were stopped in our church, and it made them angry.
He then told me they were going to do much harm to the people in our church, those spirits seeking to destroy it if they couldn't run it. But of the women He said this: They will speak lies and accusations against you (Barb and me) but pay them no heed, for their issue is with me, not you. I've been trying to get them to grow in Me for years, yet they have chosen at each turn to remain babies. I will deal with them."
Later, these two ladies approached me about being in charge of the women's ministry instead of Barb, but we said no. Then they wanted me to kick a couple off the worship team and replace them with themselves. I said no. They ended up taking the church directory and calling each person stating their case for being in charge of the women's ministry and on the worship team, splitting the church. Very shortly they started their own church, but some who went reported back to me that it had a wrong spirit about it, and they tried to flow in the gifts of the Spirit, but it was counterfeit and manipulation. Their 'church' soon folded.
10th church or fellowship
In our church at the same time was a couple who led our outreach to the migrant population. Being fluent in Spanish and gifted in guitar and song, they loved going to areas of migrant housing to sing, walk door to door asking if anyone was sick or needed prayer, and preaching. They loved the people and were very giving.
This couple was affected by these ladies when they called everyone in the Directory, making them waver between staying with us or leaving. In another visitation, part 2 of how demons get into churches, the Lord told me this about them: "Yours is the 10th church or fellowship they've attended over the years. Yet with each one they have found fault and a reason to be in strife, and rather than grow up in Me, they leave."
"My grace has come to an end with them and this is their last chance. If they choose to leave your church they will wander this valley the rest of their days never finding a place (church) for their foot to settle. And while they may continue in ministry on their own, they will know it is not being done in Me but in their flesh. And know this; Their problem is with Me, not with you, no matter their excuses, so be prepared."
Who are you wrestling with?
Who were these people really wrestling with? Jesus and His efforts to get them to grow up, that's Who.
When Jesus endured about 3 1/2 years of constant argument with the religious leaders of His day, they wrestled with Jesus and His Words. And though he loved his possessions, wasn't the core wrestling of the rich young ruler with Jesus and His Word of invitation to join Him? Are we any different today?
"So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the Head, into Christ. (Ephesians 4:14-15)
When I was a fast growing teenager mom had a hard time keeping me in shoes. My wrestling wasn't with the too small shoes, but rather my big feet. (and how to handle my growth). The shoes are like demons - they aren't the issue. They didn't keep me from growing. The issue was me growing and out growing 'old things' as my body grew. Christ is growing within us, all we have to do is cooperate and make the often difficult decision to grow as a person in Him. Then the old things drop away, demons find no more place and leave, old habits are forgotten as New Life takes over.
Test or prove?
When Genesis 22:1 says 'The Lord God did test Abraham', it is means 'prove'. He commanded him to offer Isaac to prove what was in Abraham's heart. In a dramatic illustration of "What is loosed on earth is loosed in heaven", by covenant it was required that Abraham loose through sacrifice his son of promise from earth
that the Father might loose through sacrifice His Son of Promise from heaven, which Abraham understood.
And be not conformed to this world: But be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2
Examine yourselves, whether you are in the faith: prove yourselves. II Corinthians 13:5
But let everyone prove his own life, and then he will have rejoicing in himself, and not in others. Galatians 6:4
When Abraham and Sarah were told by the Lord that they would have a son who would come from their own bodies, they each laughed in His face. They wrestled with God's promise to them, and in a humorous
response to their laughter, He commanded their son be named Laughter - which is what Isaac means.
Un-believe that lie
In all my years walking with the Lord I've noticed those who are continually focused on demons never grow up into maturity in Christ. You renew acquaintance with them after a year has gone by, and they are in the same spiritual rut, unchanged. Rather than looking into the Glory of Christ within them, they are always either looking outside to a demon behind every reason they can't grow, or over their shoulder at demons in their own or their family's past that in their mind, prevents them from growing in Christ.
By contrast, those who are consumed with this Life in Christ, living the reflected life, this amazing thing He has done living inside us, giving us the ability to do all things through Christ who strengthens us - have their lives changed because they are consumed by Him within - they are the ones who grow into maturity.
Today we have a conference
Today we seek formulas; in the Bible they sought God. Fall in love with the Father and Jesus more than you love the lie, and you'll soon, perhaps gradually even, un-believe the lie by getting to know Love. Spend the time and expend the effort needed to know the Father and our Lord as a lifestyle, not a project. Build a relationship with the Father from within, talk to Him at every occasion - ask 'What do you think of what they said Father?' and 'What do you think about that Father?' and 'Thanks for a beautiful morning Father' and 'Good morning Father, do you have anyone you want me to pray for?' and such - initiate the conversation.
I passed a threshold years ago in my battle with temptations. I didn't say I am perfect, I said I passed a threshold. For years I viewed temptation the standard 'Word of faith' way which goes like this: "Jesus quoted the Word against the devil, so that's all you need to do."
I wish it were that easy, but it does no good quoting the Word if hiding behind that Word is a flesh that still likes to sin.
I hated that grievance, that guilt, that sense of 'here I go again' after sin. One day I realized I loved the fellowship with Him more than I loved the sin. Out of my mouth came, 'Why should I sin and break this wonderful fellowship I have with the Father, and grieve my spirit?'
That was a turning point for me - I had looked into the mirror and saw what I could become. Truly the Mirror is the same, but our reflection changes from glory to glory as we continue therein, by the Spirit.
New series next week: The Holy Spirit. Until then, blessings,