The Bible Speaks
Timely topics from the pages of God's Word
All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for
teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that
the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim
A Message To The ‘Charismatic
The Missing Dimension in
Christian Living (£2.00)
Give It Up!
When you look around you see people with all sorts of problems, don’t you?
These problems hold people in their grip. They are trapped by pride and its
sister complacency, or anxiety, fear, guilt, resentment, selfishness, lust
Any, or all of these, can hold you in
At the heart of whatever problem a person
faces, there is a spiritual root. As long as that root is what nourishes
your plant, you will bear fruit accordingly.
Jesus calls you to bear good fruit that will
last (Jn 15:16). Bad fruit that develops when your root is evil will not
entitle you to a place in God’s kingdom (Matt 24:48-51; 25:31-46). So,
you’ve got to cut it off. God will help you:
Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit
He [the Father]
takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear
more fruit (Jn 15:2).
It may be the fruits of pride and complacency
that need pruning off your bush. Many people’s lives are covered by the
outgrowth of such character traits. But because they are content with
themselves the way they are, or are stubborn and self-willed, they protect
themselves from being pruned.
Circumstances crop up in life in which you
face a trial. A decision has to be made. Which way will you go? What will
you do? If you go the way of least resistance and opt for the easy way out,
chances are you are not doing the Father’s work. But if you do like Jesus
did in the desert when He was tempted by Satan, and kill your natural desire
in order to do God’s will, then you will bear the fruit He is looking for in
He gives you His Spirit to help you make the
move. But you have got to move. No one else can do it for you. You
have to make the decision and abide by it. When you do make the right
choice, His Spirit wins the ascendancy over evil spirits wanting control
over your life.
Like the air, demonic spirits are all around
you, wanting to influence you and ultimately to take control of your spirit
– if you were to let them. They can’t, of course, so long as you want to do
But the heart is very deceitful and is not
always willing to acknowledge its own short- comings (Jer 17:9). So,
Christians can have character that is a mixture of good and evil. Until you
are willing to sever that evil from your being, you allow demons to govern
your behaviour in those areas which are not yet surrendered to the will of
You may realise that demons can hold sway in
a believer’s life through sin and self-will, but simplistic Christians think
that they can command demons out and away simply by force of words. Not so.
It’s a spiritual root that has let
them in, and only dealing with the spiritual root will get rid of them. When
you deal with those desires that are appealing to your spirit, the demons
will go. And as long as you continue crucifying “the flesh with its [selfish
and self-glorifying] passions and desires” (Gal 5:24), those demons won’t
find a foothold.
Therefore, do not let sin reign in your
mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts (Rom 6:12).
You’ve got to give it up!
However, sin is very deeply entrenched. It
has far-reaching ramifications or tentacles, which involve unseen areas of
our spirit. (Articles of Faith Volume 2 contains a list of 78 sins,
many of which are overlooked by a lot of Christians.) You can only discern
them by the enlightenment of God’s Spirit as He comes upon your mind. And
for that to occur, your heart has to be ‘in the place’ where God can reach
I dwell in the high and holy place, with him
who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble,
and to revive the heart of the contrite ones (Is 57:15).
Everyone has to be broken. The roots of pride
and self-importance must be cut off.
If we do not submit to such severance
willingly, He will take us into circumstances that enable us to do it.
Freewill enters into everything. God will force no one. Even in that
dungeon, if we are not willing to give it up, He leaves us to make the
choice. If we don’t, He leaves us.
I don’t know how many times He comes before
He says “Enough”. But from your perspective, it is best to submit at the
outset, rather than try to avoid the pruning or wait until the last minute.
That last minute may pass too soon!
Each decision you make creates the rut in
your path of life. Either it’s in the right direction, or it’s not. If it’s
headed in the wrong direction, woe is to befall you. And the deeper the rut
is, the harder it is for you to get out of it.
So, whatever it is which you cling to, hoping
you will muddle along somehow, it will cling to you with ever tighter grip
until you make the painful decision to set your will to crucify it.
Wealth is linked to pride and complacency. It
is such a powerful influence that it’s mighty hard for a rich man to enter
the kingdom of God (Matt 19:23). Jesus has the
solution, though. Back then He said what it was:
Give it up! (Matt 19:21, paraphrased.)
Whatever it is that becomes an idol to you,
God will require you to give it up. Money is a very common idol.
For 17 years I was a builder. As they say
carnally, “I did quite well for myself.” I made quite a bit of money from
building. I liked the job. I worked hard, and my wife and I worked many
extra hours on our own home, adding to our ‘personal wealth’.
We extended our home to three times its
original size. We added another floor with rooms upstairs. We built on at
the back, besides totally renovating the old part, gutting it out and
redoing almost everything from foundations, plastering, and windows, to the
roof. We beautified the garden and planted many shrubs, trees and plants.
We had made for ourselves an idyllic place to
live and enjoy. At the end of that 11 years of hard graft, God had us sell
it and move on.
It’s a truism that you only get to keep what
you give away. You can’t get to keep what you work for in this life, if you
want it solely for yourself.
All that we did in those years, God enabled.
So, for the ability, the credit should go to Him. But what do we do as
humans? We take the credit for ourselves, don’t we?
That’s pride and self-elevation.
In those 11 years, ‘my’ ability and success
created pride. It was a pride that I couldn’t see at the time, but I can see
it now with hindsight.
Then God called me into service for Him. A
couple of years after that, God required me to give up making money from
building. He wanted me to be devoted to Him and His Word, to feed others
with His truths. It wasn’t what I wanted. I was self- satisfied with my
career, and complacently content with simply making money. But it was not
good from God’s perspective. The once good motive had become tarnished by
self-interest. It wasn’t greed. It was merely ‘keeping my nose clean’ and
providing for my family, but it was still self-interest. It had to go!
I didn’t argue. Whatever God requires is for
your good, in the long run.
But people question, don’t they? We all do.
“Why do I have to give this up? I like it. What’s wrong with it?”
Usually, we can’t see until after we have
done what God requires of us.
Abraham didn’t know where he was going to. It
was a walk of faith. Elijah didn’t know if he would see another day or be
another corpse on the pile of prophets’ bodies Ahab had already had killed.
Things didn’t work out the way he expected.
They rarely do. What God has in mind is
inevitably very different from our preconceptions. He works in ways that
bring us down, not lift us up!
When Jesus died and the early Church was
birthed not long afterwards, the things of this world took on greatly
decreased significance. Money just didn’t matter any more, except to
proclaim the message that the King of kings had come and died for you.
Now the multitude of those who believed were
of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he
possessed was his own, but they had all things in common (Acts 4:32).
“Oooh, I don’t know if I would like that!”
many say. Probably not. Many wouldn’t. But when you get a realisation of
what IS important in life and what is not, you would do the same thing.
I’m not bothered about money any more. Once I
was. When I had lots of it, I couldn't see it was an idol. My goal was
simply to make more.
I even balanced on a knife edge ‘playing’
with the Futures markets, trading high risk commodities like gold, platinum
I thought I was getting pretty good at
predicting the trend and buying or selling at the right time. I would have
‘a hunch’ and phone my agent to buy platinum at such and such a price and
sell at such and such. Twenty or thirty minutes later he phoned back to say
the market went as I had expected and I had made £200 (plus his handsome
Boy, did I feel good! But, O how impoverish-
ed I really was!
Did I want to give it up? No way!
Helena did. She asked God one day about it,
because it bothered her. And God said to her spirit “Don’t worry; everything
will be alright.”
How did God cure me of this idolatry? He
wiped out all my profits and capital in three days. I had bought into gold,
but the price of gold went through the floor! It hit my stop, and I was sold
out. Everything was gone. Rather like Job suffered.
There’s nothing like having nothing to bring
you to reality! Well, it wasn’t quite that bad, but you get the point, I’m
sure. It was only when God had wiped away everything I was putting my trust
in that I could begin to have a proper relationship with Him and trust in
I was so much happier afterwards! Money
doesn’t make you happy. Not having it makes many people sad, but it’s not
the lack of money that is doing that. It’s their approach to it. If you
don’t want something, not having it doesn’t bother you one whit.
But the love of money is a root of all evil,
as Paul wrote to Timothy:
For the love of money is a root of all kinds
of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and
pierced them- selves through with many sorrows (1 Tim 6:10).
Would you believe it, even some, who have
gone so far as to answer God’s call to minister for Him, have been lured
away by Satan to minister for money.
...who suppose that godliness is a means of
gain (1 Tim 6:5).
Or perhaps some even suppose that gain is
godliness? One wonders how many charismatic ministries have fallen into this
trap through the subtlety of the ‘prosperity gospel’.
Whatever you aspire to, which lifts you up,
God will require you to give it up – if you want to have all of Him.
If it’s ministry that causes you to be proud
and lifted up, like it did to the Pharisees, give it up!
“What? Give up doing what God has called me
to do to proclaim His name?”
Yes, give it up! If it engenders pride, you
won’t enter the kingdom (Matt 18:3,4). God may have called you to proclaim
Him, but there are various ways of doing that. You don’t have to stand on a
platform and have people look up to you to proclaim Him. You can proclaim
Him by a giving or serving lifestyle that seeks to take no credit for
I knew a man whom God used as an apostle but
it went to his head. He got lifted up by pride, and ‘lost it’. His plans
became ambitious for himself. He got inflated ideas about how he would be
the ‘big noise’ in his region, and thought to make a name for himself and
his church by the way he set out to reach others.
He wasn’t content with the ‘still small
voice’ of the Spirit, telling him to promote ‘our’ literature. God wanted
him to step back from prominence, to take a secondary role. But he wanted a
primary position, where he would be noticed. He wanted elevation for
himself, to be important. The pride ruined him and his ministry.
It happened to Diotrephes. He fell away
because he loved to be 'number one' (3 Jn 9).
I knew another minister who had a very good
mind. John was intelligent, capable and a fearless speaker. He wasn’t like
Jeremiah who said, “But, Lord, I’m only a child” (Jer 1:6), or like Moses,
who had similar inhibitions (Ex 4:10). He fancied himself as 'a
preacher!' He was lifted up by the notion.
Another man teamed up with John, who was
equally proud of himself and ‘what God was doing with him’. After he had
some contact with us and learned from us about the prophetic, God gave him a
dream of a man with a shepherd’s crook caught in brambles. God was
portraying John, the first minister, who did not realise that he was
trapped. The thicket of thorns that surrounded him were an allegory of the
demons that were compromising his ministry for Jesus.
The dream conveyed that he could only get out
of the thicket if he laid down his shepherd’s crook. But he wouldn’t give it
up. He liked ministry. It gave him prestige and a degree of power. That
selfish pride was what was in his heart.
Needless to say, John didn’t like me when I
was given things by God to point out to him. It’s very hard for a proud man
to receive correction. The pride has to be knocked out first. Only God can
Many years have passed, but John is still not
willing to give up what lifts him up. His ministry will never go anywhere.
It wouldn’t do him any good if it did. God will bring him to ruin if He has
to, otherwise John will forfeit eternal life.
Anything else which is an idol
Better to do what God asks immediately than
to linger. Remember Lot. If it wasn’t for God’s grace, he would have been
blotted out with Sodom (Gen 19:16). His wife not only lingered, she hankered
after what she had left behind. God did blot her out! (Gen 19:26.)
The longer you delay, the less your reward
will be. Abraham didn’t waste any time. He did what God required straight
away (Gen 12:4; 22:3). It 'bought’ him great favour with God (Heb
If anyone desires to come after Me, let him
deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to
save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find
it (Matt 16:24,25). He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy
of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me
For Abraham to be a friend of God, he had to
be willing to sacrifice his most precious possession – his dear son Isaac.
God wants you to be His friend, too. But the price is no less! Whatever vies
with God for that prime position in your life, He requires you to give it