If you would hearken to my commandments, your prosperity would be like a river, and your vindication like the waves of the sea. Isaiah 48:18
I am taking a refresher course in Discipleship Deliverance from Jansen Bagwell because it is always good to be reminded of the things that set us free. In last night’s class Jansen said that there is only one verse in Scripture where the Holy Spirit speaks. While there are many where the Spirit acts or falls upon someone, the only one that specifically refers to the Spirit speaking says,
But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons…. 1 Timothy 4:1
We ask ourselves why is this the only reference to the Spirit speaking? It is because the way the Spirit speaks is by unveiling Christ to us. He does not speak on His own. In fact, even in this passage He is speaking through Saint Paul, who has the Spirit dwelling within. The catechism actually says of the Spirit – He is divine effacement (ccc 687) Effacement literally means, to remove the face. Isn’t that interesting? The Holy Spirit wants the glory of God in you, made in the image and likeness of God. He is teaching us that when we look at ourselves and at others, we should see God’s face.
The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:40
So then, in these latter times, we must ask ourselves do we have the Spirit dwelling within? Or are we listening to deceitful Spirits and doctrines of demons?
We can know that the larger church is listening to doctrines of demons when we see thousands of years of moral doctrine cast aside, we get told, "tradition will die a slow and bloody death"(sounds like Christ’s death the church is going through), and we see science proclaimed as Gospel and savior. God is making transparent the corrupt and demonic things. But we must ask ourselves if we too are listening wrongly? Are you being barraged with doctrines of demons and deceitful spirits? Are they telling you a myriad of things like, “you’re stupid, you’re crazy, you should just quit! The church is dying, science is god and has won, you’re never going to be vindicated. God has not heard all your prayers. You pray in vain. You should hate and belittle and dehumanize those who have done this. Leave the church and find somewhere else! Speak damnation on those souls and curse them!”
This twofold attack is one that tries to wear you out and also tries to get you to hate so you either quit in weariness or you spiral into rage.
But neither of these is the answer. We must be open to the Spirit of God dwelling within us. All these years of confession and receiving the Eucharist we were and are being transformed. Believe and ask God to make it so in you. Set your mind on the Spirit!
For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:6-8
We must ourselves personally be subject to the law of God, otherwise we cannot please God. We know these laws because we have been taught, and all of it is based on love. All things fall under the two greatest commandments.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Upon these two commandments hang the whole Law and the Prophets Matthew 22:37-40
Jesus also made clear in the parable of the good Samaritan that our neighbor encompasses all. He even commanded us to love our enemies.
You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:43-48
So, when we have these fiery darts flung at us all day, we must ask the Lord to teach us how to think as He thinks and not how demons think. We must be open to the Holy Spirit who teaches what to pray when we are left without words in the darkness we seem to be in.
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27
Praying and living in the Spirit brings forth fruit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:22-24
When we live and pray in the Spirit, there is no need for law because we become love which houses law. We can also see this because we see the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy acted upon. We will;
Instruct the ignorant (in charity and not condescension)
Counsel the doubtful
Admonish the sinner (without labeling the sinner as their sin, thereby making it their identity)
Bear wrongs patiently
Forgive offenses willingly (Mercy is a choice and it looks like Christ crucified)
Comfort the afflicted
Pray for the living and the dead (praying in the Spirit as we ought)
We will also;
Feed the hungry (without telling everyone we did so we look good)
Give drink to the thirsty
Clothe the naked
Shelter the Homeless
Visit the Sick
Visit the Imprisoned
Bury the Dead (with due respect for God’s creation – without sprinkling our loved ones all over or putting them in jewelry. Their bodies belong to God and should be buried in consecrated ground).
We may be called more to one of these things than others in these lists – as the Spirit gifts us – but we are called to do these things. The person in the Spirit wants all to be saved and bears no ill will in their heart. They do what God asks joyfully, fully and immediately. They make their life a Liturgy.
Notice too, none of these things are weak. They are meek and humble of heart. Meekness is submissive to the Will of God, which makes it powerful, not weak.
When we read the headlines about this person or that person “destroying” another person, though we might get a happy emotion seeing our side win an argument, however, we should never delight in someone’s destruction. Destruction is of the devil. You don’t build up by tearing down. Enmity is for the devil because we are fighting powers and principalities. If we go down in the destruction and darkness where everyone else is, then no one is looking up and we have listened to doctrines of demons. The path of the Way is towards total union with God’s will which is a path of purity of heart, looking up and believing God is bigger.
May your face look like the Face of God to the world. May His light shine upon you and in you. May we be trained to think only by God and not by the demonic. And may the peace of Christ be with you always, especially in the middle of the storm.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Matthew 5:8