By Dan Luehrs
For months, even years I have been struggling with a question in my heart. Now, I finally feel I have an answer to the question "how can I, though I have been saved and filled with the Spirit of God, still choose to sin?" Please hear my heart in this before you judge me. I have been saved for twenty years and walked closely with the Lord for most of those years. I try to seek God several hours a day through prayer, reading, and fasting weekly, yet I feel sin tugging on my heart! I ask myself, "Aren't I saved enough and staying filled with the Spirit? What is my problem?" Then the revelation came to me about this; not just another teaching, but a revelation came to my heart. It's not me doing the sin, but sin that is working in me! "But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good" (Romans 7:20-21).
God told Cain that he must rule over sin, "If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it" (Genesis 4:7). We are in training for reigning with Jesus and it all starts with us overcoming the sinful heart within us with the power of the cross. Satan and his demons are like lions crouching down in an attack stance, waiting for us to give them opportunity by our demeanor toward sin. We must understand that sin and temptation are spirits. Satan was a spirit as he tempted Eve in the garden, just as he was when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness. These are the voices that try to lure us away from what we know is right. In many cases, he will wait for the right timing to catch us off guard; like when we're in an argument and say something hurtful or damaging to the other person; or if we are away from our spouse, and are tempted with sexual sins. We must use our prophetic insight into these things and expect his attack, then set an ambush for him by turning away from a heated argument and bringing our complaint to God, not man. Or if we are away on business in another city, have the hotel management disconnect the cable TV in the room. By doing this we are looking ahead and seeing where Satan might get the upper hand, and thus we are fleeing from sin and running away from the things that would tempt us.
THE WAR WITHIN US
"What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members" (James 4:1)?
There is an on-going war within our being! And unless we recognize this war for what it is, the spirits of condemnation and guilt will deceive us. "For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please" (Galatians 5:17). Literally, as in the natural earth, we have both light and darkness warring against each other everyday. If we will yield ourselves to the light, the darkness cannot overcome it, for this is the law of God! As a minister I do not have to tell you what sin is. You already know what convicts your heart as wrong. These are the things we must turn from by God's grace.
“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life
and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not
subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:6-7
The word "enmity" here means, "to be as an enemy or adversary like Satan." Satan is not God's greatest trouble; it's our carnal mind that is at war with God! When we are living by our own fleshly emotions, reasoning, and understanding we are agreeing with the devil and are living out of a second heaven revelation where Satan is reigning, rather than living out of the third heaven where we are to be seated with Christ. Out of this third heaven comes our revelation from God, where our Head, Jesus, abides. We are His body and He is the Head. But when we try to be the Head we are a stumbling block to Him and ourselves. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6). A shaking is now taking place within us, “And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, " Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven" (Hebrews 12:26). The "heaven" here is our mind. Many people are going through fiery trails and a great quaking is taking place within them. Everything within them that is not founded upon the word of truth will burn in these trials. We must yield ourselves to God in order to be changed.
THE MAN OF SIN REVEALED
"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition" (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
"And then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming" (or His presence) (2 Thessalonians 2:8).
This mystery man of sin is now being revealed in the earth as never before through the spirit of ungodliness. People are truly going from bad to worse through this spirit of uncleanness in the movies, television, Internet, music, and printed material. Satan uses all these mediums to strengthen the man of sin that is within us, so that we will grow cold to God. Thank God, this man of sin is going to be judged soon! We are coming to the final battle, Armageddon, where the man of sin will be destroyed in people by the brightness/revelation of the Lord.
"But the present heavens (fleshly mind) and earth (natural body) by His word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men" (2 Peter 3:7). The Greek reads, "For the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly "man," not "men;" the man of sin in us!
“And I saw a new heaven (our mind) and a new earth (our body); for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea (fallen humanity)” (Revelation 21:1).
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens (the mind) will pass away with a roar (sudden crash) and the elements (ways of the world) will be destroyed with intense heat (pressure), and the earth (fleshly body) and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens (the mind) will be destroyed by burning (pressure), and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens (the mind) and a new earth (glorified body), in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless” (2 Peter 3:10-14).
We are clearly warned in scripture that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night, "For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night ..." "But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief" (1 Thessalonians 5:2,4). Jesus is coming unannounced as a thief to a people that are unprepared in their heart. But we don't have to be caught off guard if we will seek Him in the beauty of holiness and through the fires of His testings before He comes. These problems we are all facing are not of our own making, but from God who is deliberately setting up the path for us to follow. He is preparing our souls for His revealing. "That the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:7).
"Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and
keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he
gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon"
Jesus Himself repeats the same words that both Peter and Paul have already spoken to us, "Behold, I come as a thief! Blessed is he that watcheth!" Or he who stays awake and does not live in sin, but keeps his garments of holiness from becoming spotted; for it only takes one stain to blemish a pure white garment.
Jesus gathers them together at a place called "Armageddon, to the battle of that great day of God Almighty" (Verse 14b). Before we can go any further we must understand that the natural always comes before the spiritual. So, we must look at what natural Armageddon is in the Old Testament and then, what it means to us in the spirit.
Armageddon in the Old
Testament was a place where many decisive battles were won. It had several
We must know for sure who
this enemy is that God is gathering to this battle. To answer this we must
define for sure who the enemy of God is that He is going to annihilate. The
scriptures are very clear who this is, "
The coming of the Lord is a day of fire that will burn up all the works of the flesh. He is going to be revealed in fire, "But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap" (Malachi 3:2). "For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze," says the LORD of hosts, "so that it will leave them neither root nor branch" (Malachi 4:1).
"And the sixth angel
poured out his bowl upon the great
desire is to have the fullness of God flowing through me, as Paul said in
Now the question
is, "How will this
This is why tribulation brings about godly character, "It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees" (Psalms 119:71). Jesus learned obedience by the things He suffered, and so must we! In our times of testing God will give us a chance to judge ourselves and repent from our sin that He is showing us. However if we will not repent, He will judge us with even greater fires of affliction. This is what the whole great tribulation period is about. It's not about God destroying people, but the sin that is controlling them. God loves people and sent Jesus to set men free from sin. But when they will not repent willingly, He must judge them because He is a God of justice. We must not only desire God's judgments, but also must understand them as His great love that sets us free to serve Him in the beauty of holiness.
"But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken" (Matthew 24:29).
When the fires of the tribulation have finished their work in man and the man of sin has been destroyed, the sun, moon, and stars will be darkened. This is the second heaven revelation of the mind. The natural understanding, the carnal and deceptive thoughts, and works of flesh will be demolished. This is why the New Jerusalem (who we are) will have no need of the sun and moon, because we will have God's full revelation of truth flowing in and through us. For in God there is no darkness at all. "And there shall no longer be any night; and they shall not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God shall illumine them; and they shall reign forever and ever" (Revelation 22:5).
GOD'S RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENTS
"And I heard the altar saying, "Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgments" (Revelation 16:7).
Let me repeat myself. If we don't turn from our sin now, we will know God's severity. This is what the bowl judgments of Revelation chapter sixteen is all about. At this time I do not have the full revelation of what all these seven bowls mean, but what understanding I have, I give you.
"And the fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun; and it was given to it to scorch men with fire" (Revelation 16:8).
Again when the book of Revelation is speaking about the sun, it is speaking about the natural understanding of man. Right now in the earth, men are boasting about how smart they are in finances, technology, education, military affairs, governments, and religious orders. "Professing to be wise, they became fools" (Romans 1:22). Somehow this bowl judgment is going to be against the understanding of man that he has prided himself upon and it is going to put man into such great tribulation that man will not be able to think or weasel himself out of it without trusting God. This time of God testing us is about us not trusting in ourselves, but in God; not in finances, technology, education, the military, governments, and religious orders. God must burn this out of us through our tribulations!
"And the fifth angel poured out his bowl upon the throne of the beast; and his kingdom became darkened; and they gnawed their tongues because of pain" (Revelation 16:10).
This bowl judgment is about the rebellious condition of man. Because of this judgment, man's natural understanding is darkened. This is his throne that he has placed himself upon; controlling his own destiny, rather than yielding his throne to the authority of Jesus Christ, who is the King of kings, earned the right to sit on the throne of our heart.
"And the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air; and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, "It is done" (Revelation 16:17).
The last bowl of
wrath is poured out upon the "air." I believe this to be the seat or
authority of Satan in the second heaven where he is "the prince of the
power of the air." His kingdom, along with man's is now judged.
he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, "Fallen, fallen is
Let us rejoice!