PERFECTING HOLINESS

PERFECTING HOLINESS Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

Holiness is a calling. God has called us to be saints, that is, to be holy ones. To be holy is to be separated to God for His special purposes.

God calls us to be holy in His sight. Then we have to respond by seeking each day to draw closer to God. Each day we are to be more separate from the world; more separate from the filth of the flesh and spirit; more separate from our self-will.

Table of Contents

Part One—Introduction

Part Two—The Unclean Thing

Part Three—Occupying the Land

Part Four—The Path to Righteousness

Part Five—Gates of Deception

Part Six—Ready to March

Part Seven—Conclusion

PERFECTING HOLINESS

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (II Corinthians 7:1—NASB)

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; For it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy." (I Peter 1:14-16)

Part One—Introduction

Freedom from sin and slavery to God lead to holiness. Eternal life is the result of holiness.

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. (Romans 6:22)

We understand, therefore, that the gift of God basically is freedom from slavery to sin. The gift of freedom from slavery to sin and of the ability to be a slave of God leads to holiness. Holiness makes us eligible to receive eternal life.

We are to be holy because God is holy. What does this mean? It means that God is our Father. We have been born of God. We are His children and therefore are to be like Him in every way.

In what manner is God holy? We can kind of sense what this means, although it is difficult to explain in precise terms. It means there is no spirit in God that is not totally pure, totally clean. God is free from all unclean spirits. God is pure.

Holiness means also that God is filled with Life that has infinite, eternal power—Life that is the opposite of unclean spirits. God's attitudes and motives insure that His thoughts, words, and actions are righteous.

We know what unclean spirits are. They include all forms of lying, moral filth and passions, murderous rages, pride, seeking to be preeminent, malice, envy, treachery, fear, cowardice, impatience, lack of self-control, unclean speech, foolishness, slander, love for the things of the world. Some of these compulsions and attitudes are sin and the lake that burns with fire and sulfur has authority over them. Others proceed from our adamic nature; but they also must be removed from us if we are to be in the image of Christ all such attitudes and behaviors.

None of these attitudes and behaviors is found in God. God is humble of heart, always truthful, always kind, always faithful, always pure of thought, speech, and deed. God is high above impure attitudes and behaviors, which are the spawn of Satan.

God did not create man with these destructive impulses. They have originated in Satan as he chose to follow his own will rather than the will of God. Such unclean bondages came down to us from the wicked lords in the heavens. We did not choose them and many of us desire to be free from them. They bring misery and corruption into our life on the earth.

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (I John 2:15-17)

Purity of personality and behavior is to be true of every one of God's people. But there is another dimension, a dimension that is not part of our moral transformation. We are holy because God has called us out from the ranks of mankind. In fact, this is the meaning of the term "church."

So we see we are holy because God has called us to Himself. We have been called to be "saints," that is, holy ones. And such we are, even before our personality and behavior have been cleansed. After we place our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit of God sets about to cleanse us from all uncleanness (to sanctify us.)

"Therefore come out from them and be separate," says the Lord. "Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters," says the Lord Almighty. Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God." (II Corinthians 6:17-7:1)

Every human being is to be wholly righteous in behavior, and Christ is able to make us so. But holiness, as distinct from righteous behavior, is a calling, and it is by degrees. We see this in the case of Aaron, the Levites, and the children of Israel. All were called out from the nations of the earth to be holy. But Aaron was more holy than the Levites; and the Levites were more holy than the remainder of the Israelites. But all composed a holy, called-out nation.

The Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation was more holy than the Courtyard, because God declared it so. Those who served in the Holy and Most Holy Places had to conduct themselves in a more dedicated manner than was true of the other Jews. The Nazirites were more holy than the other Israelites and were not free to eat and live like other members of their race.

Let's think for a moment about the several aspects of holiness:

Actual holiness of personality—free from unclean spirits and having Christ formed in us as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit.

Holiness by our calling as a saint, as a holy one, as a member of the royal priesthood.

Holiness by rank in the Kingdom of God—called to a high place in the Kingdom. This means we have more eternal, resurrection life than is true of those of lesser rank.

Holiness by relationship—children are holy, having God's blessing on them, because of a believing father or mother.

Holiness by God's designation—the Tabernacle of the Congregation, or the ground where Joshua was standing.

Holiness by contact with that which is holy—the flesh of a sin offering is an instance of this.

Holiness by being consecrated—set apart to God for His special purposes. This was marked by special injunctions concerning food and dress for the Israelites.

We understand therefore there is holiness that has to do with God's statements concerning people, buildings, or locations, and then there is actual holiness of personality. Holiness of personality means unclean spirits have been removed from us and Christ has been formed in their place.

God is utterly holy, utterly free from spiritual uncleanness. God has called us to be separate from the world; to be members of a holy priesthood who offer holy praise to the Lord God, lifting up clean hands in adoration.

Holiness is characterized by cleanliness of thought, speech, and action, and also by separation to God as His special possession.

The Apostle Paul informs us that the children of Christian people are automatically holy, showing that holiness is a calling apart from our behavior.

For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. (I Corinthians 7:14)

The very Spirit that has been given to us is the Spirit of Holiness. Being given the Holy Spirit means we have been chosen to be a member of the royal priesthood, who will serve God and govern the members of the nations of saved people for eternity.

The New Testament frequently refers to us as God's elect, meaning we have been chosen out of the world to be holy to the Lord, just as though we were a member of the Aaronic priesthood. On us is written: "Holiness to the Lord."

What if someone who is called to be a saint continues in unclean behavior? He or she will be chastened by the Lord.

"You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your sins." (Amos 3:2)

You can count on being punished if you do not fulfill your role as a saint (holy one).

Have you ever wondered why God gave such specific details concerning what the Jews could eat and what was unclean to them, and then turned around with the vision given to Peter and annulled the many kosher laws? I think it was because under the old covenant, holiness consisted of external practices, while now it is the holiness of the separated heart, the circumcised heart, that God is concerned with.

As far as I can see, we have lost sight of the fact that the Christian churches consist of people whom God has called out from the world to be holy. The churches have become a business. The idea is to get as many people from the community into our church as we can. The successful pastor is the one who gathers the most people under the roof of his building.

From my point of view, this is entirely incorrect. But don't we want to get people saved and go to Heaven? Of course, but we do not accomplish Kingdom goals by methods that are not of the Holy Spirit.

In the first place, a church is supposed to be an assembly of believers in Jesus Christ who have been called out of the world by Him to be witnesses of God to the world. They are the moral light of the world. Therefore they have to be holy in personality and deed.

The church is spiritually strong only to the point it is separate from the world. Once the church invites the world into its meetings it loses its separation, its holiness. Then, like Samson, its strength is gone.

I suppose this goes back to our concept of how people become part of the Church, the Body of Christ. If we read the New Testament, we find references to the fact that we do not choose Christ, He chooses us. God calls us out from the world according to His eternal purposes.

I may be accused of being a Calvinist. However, I do not fit this stereotype. I approach the Bible inductively, deriving truth from all the passages that relate to a particular subject. When we approach the Bible in this manner we are forced to confess that it is God who calls us out of the world to be saints.

I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. (John 17:6-9)

There are several passages throughout the New Testament that say the same thing. Our current "seeker-friendly" and "seeker-sensitive" efforts to bring people in our assembling are far removed from the tenor of the New Testament writings.

We are making a business of the Christian religion. Our denominational and church leaders are chief executive officers. The ambitious entrepreneur finds ways of attracting members of the local community. So our churches are filled with people who have been brought in by our efforts and not by the Holy Spirit.

Once this happens, we cannot preach discipleship to them. They were told they have a free trip to Heaven. When they are faced with the crucifixion of their adamic nature they will go to another group that tells them that any moment now they are going to be caught up to Heaven, whether or not they live a holy life.

But shouldn't we try to go out and get "souls saved"? I guess the answer is what you mean by "getting souls saved." If you mean going forth blindly, not being guided by the Holy Spirit, to attract people with a comfortable Sunday morning service, and then telling them if they will "accept Christ they will go to Heaven no matter how they behave, then no—you are outside the New Testament when you do this.

The task of every true Christian saint is to present his body a living sacrifice that he may prove God's will for himself. He is to earnestly seek the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit, meanwhile performing diligently the role set before him. In so doing he will build up the Body of Christ to the stature of the fullness of Christ.

But aren't we supposed to witness to everyone? Yes, we are. We are to build up the Body by the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit. In addition, we ourselves are to be witnesses of Christ.

What does it mean to be a witness of Christ? It means to think, speak, and act as God is thinking, speaking, and acting, at all times—every moment of every day and night. It means to portray by our personality and behavior the Person, will, ways, and eternal purpose of God in Christ.

Put the two concepts together and what do we have? We have the exercise of gifts and ministries according to our particular role in the Body of Christ. The diligent use of our gifts and ministries results in the building up spiritually of us and those whom we influence until we all are true and faithful witnesses of God, being the representation of God's Being, just as is true of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In order to be a true and faithful witness of God we must grow in holiness each day. We must cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He enables us to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit.

Our God is a consuming Fire. This means that as we approach God, everything in our personality that is not holy to the Lord is burned away.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is utterly holy. He dwells continually in the center of the Fire that is the God of Israel. Today He is coming to His people to cleanse us from all that is not of Himself that we always may be with Him where He eternally is.

The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: "Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?" He who walks righteously and speaks what is right, who rejects gain from extortion and keeps his hand from accepting bribes, who stops his ears against plots of murder and shuts his eyes against contemplating evil— This is the man who will dwell on the heights, whose refuge will be the mountain fortress. His bread will be supplied, and water will not fail him. Your eyes will see the king in his beauty and view a land that stretches afar. (Isaiah 33:14-17)

Do you want to dwell on the heights? Do you want assured protection and sustenance? Do you want to see the King in His beauty and view a land that stretches afar? I do!

Let us therefore be holy as God is holy.

Part Two—The Unclean Thing

"Therefore come out from them and be separate," says the Lord. "Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters," says the Lord Almighty. Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God." (II Corinthians 6:17-7:1)

Who are the "them" that we are to come out from? Obviously people who have not been called to be members of the royal priesthood.

Precisely what are the unclean things we are not to touch? We will list these in a minute.

Holiness is an individual matter. What is unclean for one person may not be unclean for another. In one sense holiness is an abstraction. For example, the spirit of rage must be removed from us if we are to be holy. In another sense, holiness depends on God’s decision. God can declare any circumstance or thing to be holy if He so chooses. At one time pork was not holy. At another time pork was holy.

Please keep in mind that each individual attains to holiness in a unique manner. What one individual is dealing with may not be true of another. We are to follow the Holy Spirit closely as He cleanses our personality and not look about to see if this is happening to another believer.

Let us keep in mind also that we cannot cleanse ourselves without the Lord's help. The purification process is a combined work of the Spirit of God and us.

Holiness is our response to God. Righteousness is our response to people.

A holy personality is one that is able to distinguish between that which pleases the Lord and that which displeases the Lord, and chooses to embrace the good and utterly renounce and reject the evil.

God taught Israel by the kosher laws, directions concerning clothing, statutes regarding skin diseases and mildew and so forth that some things were holy and clean and some were not. Such prohibitions were preparing the way for the actual cleansing that marks the coming of the Kingdom to us—the cleansing from unclean spirits.

Using filthy language, while it may not offend people, offends God. Therefore using filthy language has to do with holiness rather than righteousness.

Some acts are both unrighteous and unclean. Lying would come under this category.

God draws people into increasing holiness. We can have a passion for holiness, a desire to live in God's holy Person.

The closer we draw to the Lord Jesus the more holiness becomes an issue; the more we understand what is clean and unclean for us personally.

God has given us His Spirit of Holiness so we may become aware of what is clean and what is not clean.

There are some activities that always are unclean and apply to everyone. Adultery, fornication, and sexual perversion are always unclean. Gathering with worldly people, smoking cigarettes, using drugs, drinking alcohol, and viewing moving pictures that contain profanity and scenes of lust are not acts of holiness.

There are unclean spirits that surround us and sometimes are in us. As we press forward in Christ we become aware of these. As soon as we do we are to confess our temptation to Christ and seek His help in turning away from them. We can go for years with a practice of thought, word, or deed and suddenly become aware that what we are doing or desiring is unclean in God's sight.

What was permissible for us last year may not be permissible this year.

One more aspect of the subject of holiness may be considered, and that is the relationship of holiness to sin.

Sin is a transgression of God’s eternal moral law.

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. (I John 3:4)

The Ten Commandments are an abridged version of the eternal moral law of God. The eternal moral law greatly expands the specific behaviors of the Ten Commandments, as the Lord Jesus taught us. Under both the old covenant and the new covenant, adultery is sin. Using God’s name frivolously is sin. Stealing is sin. Worshiping an idol is sin.

But there are other areas of spiritual darkness, of "unholiness," we might say. One example would be lack of self-esteem. Another is fear of a lack of material provisions.

We do not ordinarily think of a lack of self-esteem or a fear of a lack of material provisions as being sin, do we? But yet they can lead to disobedience.

God became angry with Moses for refusing to gladly accept the challenge of returning to face Pharaoh. And how many believers have neglected to serve the Lord because they were unable to believe He would provide their material needs?

So darkness on the inside leads to disobedience on the outside.

But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. (James 1:14,15)

The areas of spiritual darkness in us are not of the image of Christ. Lack of self-esteem is a disfiguration of our character. We see this inward disfiguration manifested at the time that God called Moses and Gideon. God desires that our lack of self-esteem be replaced with Christ's confidence in His Father. Otherwise our lack of self-esteem, and other personality disfigurements, will cause us to disobey God.

Moses said to the LORD, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue." (Exodus 4:10)

"But Lord," Gideon asked, "how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family." (Judges 6:15)

None of the personality disfigurements or sins mentioned below are found in the Lord Jesus Christ. When God asks Christ to do something, Jesus responds immediately with gladness of heart. He is not crippled with a lack of self-esteem, or worry about money, or moodiness.

We have been predestined to be in the image of Christ. The image of Christ is a living image because it is the image of the living God. We are to be thinking as Christ is thinking; speaking as Christ is speaking; acting as Christ is acting. At His coming we to be made like Him in body. We are to be filled with all the Fullness of God. Also, there is to be in us not one of the areas of personality disfigurement we have listed below.

If we cooperate with the Holy Spirit, He will bring us to holiness (wholeness) of personality. Wholeness of spiritual personality leads eventually to wholeness of our physical body, though for some of us complete healing will not come until the return of the Lord.

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. (III John 1:2)

"Come out from among them and touch not the unclean thing." What is an unclean thing?

I have identified some areas of darkness. There may be many more that will surface as the Spirit deals with us. The reader will get the idea and make his or her own list.

A lying spirit is unclean. The Spirit of Christ is truthful.

The devious, manipulative person has no place in the Kingdom of God. Satan is at work in him.

A treacherous, faithless spirit; lack of integrity. We cannot come to maturity in the Lord if we do not have integrity.

Self-centeredness; self-love; self-will. The most crippling, destructive characteristic that can plague a human being is self-centeredness. Satan is bound with this affliction and it is consuming him.

An ungrateful attitude causes us to forget the good things God has done for us.

Self-interest rather than principle. The Christian must learn to do what he knows to be right rather than that which merely is expedient or pleasurable.

A perverse individual is one who behaves unjustly while claiming to be righteous. He proclaims his actions are correct and beneficial when in actuality his behavior is unjust and destructive.

A gossiping, slandering spirit is unclean. The Spirit of Christ never speaks evil of anyone.

An undisciplined tongue will cause many problems.

The spirit of fear, cowardice, timidity is unclean. The Spirit of Christ is courageous.

Fear of change is unclean. God often brings us into new circumstances, and we are not to dread them.

Fear of success/fear of failure. It appears these apparent opposites are related and are not found in the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ can be abased, and then abound as King of all kings and Lord of all lords. His confidence in God is not diminished by apparent success or apparent failure.

A sense of inevitability is not found in Christ. Christ understands that with God all things are possible.

Dread, fear, worry, apprehension, despair are to have no place in us. We are to rejoice in the Lord always.

Anxiety, nervousness because of the problems of life is unclean. This personality disfigurement can lead to mental illness if we are unable to gain victory over it.

A man-pleasing spirit, seeking the approval of people, is unclean. The fear of man brings a snare. Such an attitude is not of God. We are to think, speak, and act under the approval of the Lord Jesus.

Lack of self-esteem or of self-worth is unclean. We are to look to God with confidence, knowing that He values us as His creation.

A bribe, whether given or received reveals a willingness to be corrupted. It is unclean, a part of spiritual darkness.

An indulgent, weak person seeks love from other people. He oftentimes is not truly showing love toward others, although he may think he is and may claim to be so doing.

A spirit of rage and murder is unclean. The Spirit of Christ is peaceful and compassionate.

The desire to kill, whether a person or an animal, is not of God.

A suspicious spirit in many instances is unclean. God will bring truth to light if we pray.

A jealous, envious spirit is unclean. The Spirit of Christ is not envious of another.

All forms of witchcraft are unclean, including fortune telling, tea leaves, astrology, seeking to bring something to pass by imaging it or speaking or believing it into existence. The Spirit of Christ looks only to God for wisdom, knowledge, and power.

A desire to be seen as mysterious or as having supernatural powers is unclean. No matter how deep in Christ we may think we are, our manner should be straightforward and matter-of-fact.

A false spirit of prophecy is unclean. The Bible tells of the "palace prophets" who spoke of victory to the rulers when the Lord was ready to exercise judgment on the people because of sin.

Grandiose prophecy usually is not of the Lord. When we hear about how great we are, how we are going to empty hospitals with our faith, how we have spiritual oversight of a certain location, we most likely are hearing from a spirit other than the Spirit of God.

Indifference, complacency, lukewarmness are unclean attitudes. They result in severe Divine penalties. We always are to be working out our salvation with fear and trembling.

Smugness, offensive satisfaction with oneself, is unclean. Christ is to be magnified by our body. People are repulsed when we are smug and self-satisfied.

Self-pity and pouting are unclean spirits. The Spirit of Christ does not pity itself.

Self-justifying, defensiveness cripples the believer who has this darkness in him. He will spend untold hours seeking to justify something he has said or done.

Blaming other people for what happens to us is a sign of immaturity and will prevent us from learning the lessons the Lord is teaching us.

A sensitive, easily offended spirit is unclean. Such a spirit produces conflict under the slightest provocation.

Self-sufficiency is unclean. It may be true that the most important lesson we learn during our pilgrimage is to trust in Christ for all things rather than to depend on our own resources.

Disobedience to God. Because of an incorrect understanding of Divine grace, numerous believers obey neither the commandments in the New Testament nor God's personal word to them.

Arrogance and pride are unclean spirits. The Spirit of Christ is humble.

Pride of station is unclean. The Lord is not proud of being King of all kings.

Pride of knowledge, of intellect, is an unclean spirit. Jesus Christ has all knowledge and wisdom but does not take pride in this.

Talkative, verbose, garrulous, glib behavior is not found in the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ speaks sincerely, and only as God directs.

Flirtation is an unclean spirit. There is no flirtatious spirit in Jesus Christ.

Infatuation, love at first sight, is a common phenomenon in America. It is not of the Lord and often leads to divorce and other painful and destructive outcomes.

Narcissism, self-worship, conceit is an unclean spirit. The Lord Jesus is occupied with God and people, not how wonderful He is or looks.

Covetousness is an unclean spirit. The Lord Jesus desires nothing that God has not provided for Him.

Idolatry, unclean attractions, soul-ties, are of spiritual darkness. We are not to embrace fervently any person, thing, or circumstance until it has died and been raised in Christ.

Personal ambition and seeking preeminence, discontent with one’s appointed place, desiring to be important, are unclean spirits. The Spirit of Christ is content and does not seek to be exalted. Satan fell from God's favor because he was not content with his role as a guardian cherub.

Seeking to control another person is an unclean spirit; possessiveness. We are not to endeavor to control another individual in a possessive manner.

Rebellion against God and other authority is an unclean spirit. Antichrist is "the man of lawlessness." The Lord Jesus obeys His Father and expects us to obey all authority that is placed over us.

An unloving, unkind, unfriendly attitude is unclean. It is not part of the image of God.

Insensitive to the needs of others. The image of God is that of being more concerned about other people than we are about ourselves.

Exhibitionism, showing off, is an unclean spirit. The Lord Jesus does not deliberately behave so as to attract attention to Himself.

A lust for pleasure and entertainment is an unclean spirit. Jesus is not bound by a desire to live in pleasure or to be entertained. He finds His joy in God. We often must choose between our personal pleasure and serving the Lord.

Partying, dissipation, drunkenness, orgies, have no place in the Kingdom of God. We must be delivered from these desires if we are to be pleasing to the Lord.

Excessive pessimism, optimism, and enthusiasm are unclean spirits. The Lord Jesus steadily and faithfully serves the Father. He is not pessimistic or optimistic, or enthusiastic; just confident.

A morbid attitude is unclean. It reveals a lack of a healthy perception of the wholesomeness and purity of God’s Nature.

Antipathies and affinities are unclean spirits. Because we detest or embrace another person may not be any indication of his or her true worthiness.

Unforgiveness, bitterness, rancor are unclean spirits. God is quick to forgive those who confess their sins and turn away from them. We also must be quick to forgive those who sin against us.

Complaining is an unclean spirit. Godliness with contentment is great gain.

Hatred ordinarily is an unclean spirit. However there are circumstances under which hatred is not unclean. There are times when God exhibits hatred.

Impatience is an unclean spirit. Jesus Christ is exceedingly patient.

An impulsive spirit is unclean. The Lord Jesus Christ never acts impulsively.

A compulsive, driving spirit is unclean. The Lord Jesus is in command of Himself, doing only what He hears from the Father.

Harshness is an unclean spirit. God is gentle with us.

A usurping spirit is unclean. The Lord Jesus never claims that which belongs to someone else.

A changeable, capricious, fickle, flighty, whimsical spirit prevents us from being regarded as dependable. We cannot be trusted to follow through after we begin a task.

Finicky, fussy. God is not this way. He is easy to please once we make up our mind to serve Him cheerfully.

Coy mannerisms. God is forthright in all His dealings.

Gambling is an unclean spirit. We are to look to God and trust Him for all things.

Recklessness, rashness, presumption is an unclean spirit. Christ is not reckless. He waits on the Father until He knows what to do.

Brash, impetuous, tactless, shameless behavior is unclean. The Lord Jesus is not bound with these. His behavior always is considered, watching to see what the Father is doing.

Boasting and bragging are unclean spirits. We are to exalt the Lord and glory only in the cross.

Exaggerating is an unclean spirit. God would have us speak only the truth.

A stubborn, perverse, obstinate spirit is unclean. The meek, teachable person shall inherit the earth.

Filthy speech is an unclean spirit. This is the manner in which the demons speak.

Avarice, an immoderate desire for wealth, is an unclean spirit. We cannot serve God and money.

Grasping. Anything we cling to, that we can’t let go of, is an idol. It is unclean. We are to worship God alone.

A spirit of physical lust including an addiction to pornography is unclean. The Spirit of Christ is pure.

Homosexual behavior, lust toward children, and other perversions are unclean spirits. They are Satan’s substitute for love. All forms of sexual perversion reflect the curse on the Serpent that compels him to eat dust.

An inability to recognize and cope with evil; naiveté, is unclean. We may admire an individual who is childlike, refusing to perceive actual wickedness or self-seeking in other people. But this trait can be as harmful as the tendency to see only the bad in others.

A sentimental, overly sympathetic, maudlin spirit is unclean. It prevents us from cooperating with Christ in the work of judgment.

Romantic thoughts also come from unclean spirits and are a substitute for genuine love.

Nostalgia, romanticizing the past, prevents our keeping our eyes on the Lord Jesus.

Lack of self-control reveals spiritual darkness in the personality. Such weakness can bring us into many troubles.

Man-hating and woman-hating are unclean spirits. When people are abused by other people it opens the door for demons to occupy those who are abused, although this appears to be unfair.

Cruelty, meanness, abusiveness are unclean spirits. Christ is never cruel, mean, or abusive toward anyone.

Silliness and foolishness are unclean spirits. Silliness and constant foolishness may appear harmless, but they often are the result of immoral thoughts and actions.

Affectation is an unclean spirit. We are not to adopt unnatural mannerisms in an attempt to create an impression.

A desire to be seen as rough, tough, and violent is an unclean spirit. The Lord Jesus does not have to present a rough, violent appearance. Legions of powerful angels await His commands.

Threatening and bluffing are unclean spirits. These are not of the image of Jesus Christ.

Stealing and dishonesty are unclean spirits. The Spirit of Christ always is totally honest.

Selfishness is an unclean spirit. God teaches us to be generous; and when we are, other people are generous with us.

Brawling is an unclean spirit. It appears that the demon world is a scene of continual bickering and fighting. We are not to partake of it.

Wickedness, badness, are not acceptable in the Kingdom of God. Either they leave or we leave.

Vileness belongs in the Lake of Fire. Aborting infants and molesting children are examples of vile behavior.

Malice and spite are unclean spirits. Malice is very present in the spirit of the world. We are to refuse to let it touch us. It is one of the main characteristics of Satan. It is not found in the Lord Jesus Christ. It must be replaced with the kindness and good will of Christ. God is never mean or malicious.

Being without mercy is an unclean spirit. Christ is always kind and merciful. An unmerciful person shall be shown no mercy.

Greed is an unclean spirit. The greedy person does not trust in God, only in the things he is able to possess. He is not concerned with the needs of others.

Anger ordinarily is an unclean spirit. However there are circumstances under which anger is not unclean. There are times when God exhibits anger.

Taunting and mocking ordinarily are unclean spirits. However there are circumstances under which taunting is not unclean. There are times when God taunts and mocks His enemies.

Unbelief and doubt are unclean spirits. They are not found in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Fear of a lack of money or of material provisions is an unclean spirit. The Lord Jesus demonstrated how we are to live in complete trust in God for all our physical needs.

A scornful attitude is closely related to unbelief. It is an unclean spirit. The person is blessed who does not sit in the seat of the scornful. His trust is in the Lord and he expects goodness and mercy to follow his journey through the world.

Judging, accusing, faultfinding, and criticizing ordinarily are unclean spirits. Under specific circumstances they can be of the Lord.

Disdainful of others. We are not to despise other people.

The spirit of revenge, of vindictiveness in us is unclean. Vengeance belongs to God alone.

Blasphemy is an unclean spirit. It is not found in God.

Supplanting and defrauding are unclean spirits. Korah and Absalom are examples of people who have a supplanting spirit.

All forms of self-abuse, masochism, suicide, self-destruction, self punishment. These are not found in Jesus Christ.

Gluttony, including a desire for sweets is an unclean spirit. This spirit is not found in God. It is not holy.

Substance abuse, drugs, alcohol defile the body, which is the temple of the Spirit of God.

Laziness, sluggishness, carelessness habitual lateness and forgetfulness are unclean spirits. The examples of the foolish virgins and the man who buried his talent reveal to us the Lord’s attitude toward laziness and carelessness in the things of the Kingdom. We understand that forgetfulness sometimes is the result of age or illness. These are exceptions.

Quarreling, arguing, debate, contention, dissension, discord are unclean spirits. They are not part of the image of God.

An irritable, cranky attitude is an unclean spirit. Such a disposition is not found in the Lord Jesus.

Meddling, busybody. A meddling spirit is unclean. The Lord Jesus prays continually, the result being that He walks straight forward on the path laid out for Him by the Father. Jesus does not interfere in areas where He has not been sent.

An officious, know-it-all attitude is unclean. People do not want such an individual around them. It is not a good witness of Christ.

Divisiveness, factionalism, are unclean behaviors. They do much harm to the Body of Christ.

A religious spirit, loving doctrinal correctness and rituals rather than Christ. It may be true that the religious spirit is the most destructive of all spirits. It murdered Christ and the prophets.

An inflexible, doctrinaire attitude is not according to the new covenant. The new covenant is not of the letter alone but must be interpreted by the Spirit of God. An inflexible, doctrinaire attitude causes us to miss the large picture while we are focusing on the details.

A proselyting spirit is unclean. It is not the same Holy Spirit that guides us in ministry.

Bombast, pompousness, pretentiousness are unclean. God is not bombastic. This is not the image of God.

Affectedly dainty, precious, overrefined behavior is unclean. God and Christ are free from such mannerisms.

Perfectionism. It is well that we do the best we can. But there is a spirit of perfectionism that is an unclean bondage.

Sarcasm, teasing, quipping, joking are unclean spirits. They are not found in God.

Insolent, insulting, disrespectful, rude. These attitudes are not found in the image of God.

Surly, churlish. The Lord Jesus Christ has a good attitude toward people and life.

Double-minded, weak-minded, indecisive, unstable. These types of mentality make it impossible for us to choose whom we are to serve, particularly if there are difficulties involved.

Deceit is an unclean spirit. God and Christ are not deceitful, and this spirit should have no part in us.

Hypocrisy, pretending to be something we are not. The Lord Jesus Christ is not a hypocrite.

The spirit of vandalism, of destruction without purpose, is unclean. The Lord Jesus has the power to tear down the works of wickedness, but He never uses this power without a godly purpose.

Love for and trust in the spirit of the world, is unclean. If any person loves and trusts in the spirit of this world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Reasoning is an unclean spirit. This may come as a surprise to some who suppose we should reason about the Bible. The truth is, the demons love to reason and will do so all the day long. The man or woman of God does not obtain truth by reasoning but by prayer, the Bible, and walking in obedience.

Being angry with God proceeds from an unclean spirit. This spirit deceived Cain into murdering his brother. The Lord Jesus is God’s servant and always worships His Father, knowing that God alone is good.

Sullenness is unclean. We are not to become angry and sullen when we are displeased. This is not Christlike behavior.

Moodiness. We are not to yield to moods but are to rejoice always as much as we can. Depression may be related to moodiness. Sometimes professional assistance and medication are needed if depression is to be conquered.

A physically dirty, unkempt, slovenly, disorderly, boorish, coarse, loutish person may be reflecting a spiritual need, or simply may be the victim of circumstances. It is evident that the Lord Jesus Christ, in Whose image we are being fashioned, is clean outwardly and inwardly and conducts Himself in an orderly, lawful, gracious manner.

Forgetting our spiritual lessons; unteachableness, can cause us to lose our inheritance.

All of the above attitudes and behaviors originated in Satan. They have proceeded from his personal ambition and discontent with his allotted position as a guardian cherub. Satan wants to be equal to or superior to God the Father. We must always guard ourselves in prayer against discontent and inordinate ambition.

When we yield to such attitudes and behaviors we are worshiping Satan and eating food sacrificed to idols. We are sinning against God. Through the authority of the blood of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit we can be delivered from every unclean spirit.

He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. (I John 3:8)

Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. (Revelation 2:14)

The closer we draw to the Lord the more that holiness of thought, word, and deed becomes an issue. It is profitable to keep on asking the Lord to draw us closer to himself, to make us increasingly holy.

There are areas of activity that are clean in themselves but become warped through the influence of unclean spirits. Sexual activity is one such activity. Personal ambition is another.

The Lord Jesus did not cast out any of these spirits while He was on the earth, because the Day of Vengeance, the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, had not come. Christ drove out only the demons that produce physical afflictions.

However, the most important work in the sight of God is not physical healing but the casting out of unclean spirits from His people, and finally from the entire world. This is the work of the Kingdom of God.

But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you. (Luke 11:20)

None of the thoughts, desires, words, or deeds, mentioned above is found in the Lord Jesus Christ. Through the authority of the blood of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit we can be set free from every one of these.

We cannot just put a stop to these in our personality. Only the Holy Spirit can illuminate what is in and around us, and deliver us.

To always be with the Lord Jesus where He eternally is—in the center of the Person and will of the consuming Fire of Israel—ought to be our most intense desire. It is the place of unequaled love, joy, and peace.

How does one deal with an unclean spirit in his or her personality?

Confess the uncleanness as being not of Christ. It is not just a psychological problem. It simply is not holy.

Denounce it as being fit only for the Lake of Fire.

Renounce it, declaring forcefully that this spirit is to have no more place in us.

Draw near to the Lord Jesus.

Resist the Devil.

"BE YE HOLY FOR I AM HOLY," SAYS THE LORD.

Part Three—Occupying the Land

There are several aspects of our land of promise. One aspect is that of life lived for eternity in Christ in the center of the Person and will of God. Another aspect of our inheritance is the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth.

A third aspect is our own personality. All of the above attitudes and motives are enemies in our land of promise.

In the present essay we are emphasizing the possession of our own personality such that all darkness is driven from us and we are fully in the image of God and filled with all the fullness of God.

It is written of Adam that he was created in the image of God. However, Adam's personality was neutral. Thus the unclean attitudes and motives which we are describing found open doors and entered Adam's personality.

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it. (Genesis 4:7)

When an unclean spirit is driven from us, and we are not living as a fervent disciple, our personality is attractive to the forces of wickedness. Our house is swept and decorated, so to speak, but it has not been filled with Christ.

Spiritual darkness is a force. Darkness has entered the personalities of the descendants of Adam. The darkness originated in Satan, a cherub.

Spiritual light also is a force. The Lord Jesus Christ is that Force. Light enters us when we receive Christ. Now the time has come for God to separate the Light from the darkness, for the image of God is only Light. Now is the time for God to make man in His image by filling him with Christ.

Holiness is what God is. It is Light. It is what we are to become. Righteousness is what God does, and is what we are to do. Righteous conduct leads us to holiness, and thus to Divine Light. Once God's holy Nature is formed in us it will guide our conduct from that time forth.

Uncleanness is what Satan is, what we are not to be. Sin is a transgression of God's righteous laws. Sinful conduct will lead us to uncleanness of personality, and then uncleanness of personality will cause us to behave unrighteously. Thus righteousness of behavior and holiness of attitude interact.

Uncleanness of being, and unrighteous behavior, are spiritual death, the absence of Divine Life. Holy being and righteous behavior are eternal Divine Life, the Life that is Jesus Christ.

If accepting Christ as our Savior does not lead us in paths of righteousness, then the Lord is not truly our Shepherd and the promises of the twenty-third Psalm do not apply to us.

A Christian is a saint, a holy one. If we are not pursuing holiness of being and righteousness of behavior we are not a genuine saint; not a genuine Christian, regardless of our profession of belief or our religious affiliation.

All of God's elect, His people, are commanded to be holy. Then there is holiness of rank, which has to do with our calling as members of the royal priesthood and our placement in the Kingdom of God.

All saved human beings are to be made in God's image, to be free from all uncleanness, and to behave righteously. But some are called to a higher rank in the Kingdom, and on this basis possess more Divine Life, more holiness of personality.

We now are in a period in the Kingdom of God when God is judging us concerning the darkness that is in us. Divine judgment reveals to us what is spiritually clean and what is spiritually unclean. We are to press forward in God until our new personality has been perfected in holiness.

As was stated previously, it is not enough that we be delivered from unclean attitudes and motives. Such deliverance alone would leave us neutral, a house swept and decorated.

Rather it is true that the Life of Christ must be formed in us. Such power is necessary if we are not to fall back into uncleanness of attitude, and the resulting unrighteous, sinful behavior.

A lying spirit must be replaced with the truthfulness of Jesus Christ. A devious, manipulative nature is unclean and must be replaced with the truthfulness and straightforwardness of Christ.

As I have said, we have entered an era of judgment. All of our being and behavior has come under Divine scrutiny. God is going to remove from His Kingdom all uncleanness of being and unrighteousness of behavior until we embrace holiness and righteousness and utterly renounce uncleanness and unrighteousness.

"See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty. "But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness," (Malachi 3:1-3)

I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (Matthew 3:11,12)

The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (Matthew 13:41-43)

When Divine fire burns away the uncleanness, and the Life of Jesus Christ enters, then righteousness shines forth as the sun.

The raising of Lazarus is a picture of someone who has been called forth from the dead but is still bound with the graveclothes of unclean attitudes and motives. God does not condemn us because of our graveclothes. But God does condemn us if we do not cooperate with the Spirit of God in putting our uncleanness of motive and behavior to death through the Spirit.

Our inner bondages, the spiritual darkness in us, are not our fault until we refuse to obey the Spirit of God as He invites us forward to full deliverance.

In fact, deliverance from unclean spirits is our reward for seeking Christ's help in obeying the commandments found in the New Testament.

In the Day of Judgment we will not be judged because we were born with an unclean, rebellious personality, but on the basis of our faith and diligence in responding to the Gospel of the Kingdom.

Our inner spiritual darkness is a destructive, corrupting bondage. If we are wise we will come to Christ that we may be delivered; that Christ may destroy the works of Satan that are part of our personality.

A treacherous, faithless spirit; lack of integrity. The Lord Jesus Christ is faithful and true. We must receive His integrity if we are to be in the image of God.

Self-centeredness; self-love; self-will. If we are to find love, joy, and peace, we must become an eternal part of God through Jesus Christ. God has given us our personal cross so our self-centeredness will be destroyed, releasing us into the ability to emphasize what will benefit the Lord and mankind.

An ungrateful attitude will be converted to thanksgiving when Christ is in us.

Self-interest rather than principle. The Lord Jesus does what is pleasing to God whether or not it is enjoyable to do so. He will help us adopt this attitude.

A perverse mind has no place in the Kingdom of God. It must be replaced with the sound, clear judgment of the mind of Christ.

A gossiping, slandering spirit must be replaced with speech that builds up the believer. Christ formed in us will accomplish this.

An undisciplined tongue is not part of the image of God. The Spirit of Christ will help us overcome this sin.

The spirit of fear, cowardice, timidity is unclean and must be replaced with the courage of Christ.

The fear of change is not holy. We are to be filled with the confidence of the Lord Jesus Christ when faced with change.

Fear of success/fear of failure. If we will ask the Lord Jesus, He will replace our fear of success/fear of failure with His confidence in His Father. Christ always is ready to receive favor and glory—whatever the Father has chosen for Him.

A sense of inevitability is an unclean spirit. Jesus Christ understands that His prayers move the hand of God. If we ask Him to, He will put that same confidence in us.

Dread, worry, apprehension, despair are unclean and must be replaced with the confidence and joy of Christ.

Not trusting God for the future is spiritual darkness. Christ will give us His faith if we ask Him.

Anxiety, nervousness because of the problems of life is unclean. We can gain mastery over this spiritual darkness if we will ask the Lord to replace our anxiety and nervousness with His peace—peace that passes understanding.

A man-pleasing spirit, seeking the approval of people must be replaced with Christ’s attitude who speaks and acts to please the Father.

Fear of a lack of money, material provisions must be replaced with Christ’s absolute confidence and trust in God to provide all His physical needs.

A willingness to bribe or be bribed must be replaced with the honesty and integrity of Christ.

An indulgent, weak nature must be replaced with the iron righteousness of Christ. How can we sit on the throne with Christ and govern with Him if we are indulgent and weak?

Rage and murder must be replaced with the compassion of Christ.

The desire to kill is an unclean spirit. A person must defend himself, his family, and his country; and sometimes it becomes necessary to kill an animal. But above and beyond the necessities of life on the earth is an urge to kill or murder. The Spirit of Christ can take the place of this satanic impulse.

The suspicious spirit must be replaced with the knowledge of Christ that He gains through constant prayer to God.

A jealous, envious spirit must be replaced with Christ’s contentment—contentment based on His understanding of His secure place in God’s Person.

All forms of witchcraft, fortune telling, tea leaves, astrology, seeking to bring something to pass by imaging it or believing or speaking it into existence, must be replaced with prayer and the faith of Christ. This includes the current "faith," "prosperity," and "imaging" practices. This includes also astrology-type personal prophecies. Believers become addicted to these in place of finding God's will by presenting their bodies a living sacrifice. There is, however, a proper place for personal prophecies, but only under the supervision of godly elders.

A desire to be seen as mysterious or as having occult powers is unclean. The idea of being a sorcerer or magician can be appealing to Christians. They may desire to bring other believers into bondage by directing them with prophetic words. When we are filled with Christ we move in the supernatural realm but we make the supernatural natural.

A false spirit of prophecy must be replaced with the true Spirit of Christ.

Grandiose prophecy usually is not of the Lord. Sometimes God does speak to us of marvels; but much of the prophecy we are hearing today tends to glorify us and not the Lord Jesus. It is unclean. When Christ has become our life God deals with us in simple, unpretentious terms. We do not hear how great we are, how we are going to be revealed as all-powerful sons of God before the return of the Lord Jesus.

Indifference, complacency, lukewarmness are unclean attitudes. They must be replaced with the zeal of Christ for doing the Father's will.

Smugness, offensive satisfaction with oneself must be replaced with Christ’s humility and His intense desire to please the Father.

Self-pity and pouting must be replaced with the worship of God and confidence in Him.

Self-justifying, defensiveness is terribly destructive. If we are to have the peace of Christ and move forward in Him we absolutely must let Him be the One who justifies our behavior. This He will do after He chastens us for any wrongdoing on our part.

Blaming other people for our troubles is the wrong way to respond to pain. Instead we should go to the Lord for relief and not look at the tools the Lord is using to teach us His ways.

A sensitive, easily offended spirit must be replaced with the buoyant attitude of the Lord.

Self-sufficiency is unclean. It must be replaced with Christ’s utter dependence on the Father for all matters of life and behavior.

Disobedience to God must be replaced with Christ’s determination to do God’s will in every aspect of life.

Arrogance and pride must be replaced with the humility of Christ, His willingness to be a servant.

Pride of station must be replaced with the humility of Christ. He always is ready to take the lowest place and associate with people of low estate.

Pride of knowledge, of intellect, is an unclean spirit. Such pride must be replaced with the humility of Jesus Christ, for it true that we know nothing at all!

Verbose, garrulous, glib speech must be replaced with Christ’s diligence in saying only that which the Father gives Him.

Flirtation must be replaced with the purity of Christ.

Infatuation, the tendency to "fall in love," must be replaced with the Spirit of Christ. We will not be able to walk obediently, carrying our cross behind Christ, if we are being led astray by our blind emotions.

Narcissism, self-worship, is unclean and must be replaced with Christ's concern for others.

Covetousness must be replaced with the contentment of Christ.

Idolatry, unclean attractions, soul-ties, must be replaced with Christ's intense, undivided love for His Father. We are to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Everything else must take second place.

Personal ambition and seeking preeminence, discontent with one’s appointed place, a desire to be important, must be replaced with the concern Christ has for other people, and with Christ’s willingness to be only that which the Father desires and to fulfill the role to which He has been appointed.

Seeking to control another person, possessiveness, must be replaced with a willingness to allow God to manage that individual. This does not, of course, refer to our duty as parents to guide young children. Even then our guidance must not be an arbitrary, unthinking control of the child but strong, reasonable, and kind direction.

The spirit of rebellion against God and other authority must be replaced with the submission of Christ.

An unloving, unkind, unfriendly attitude is unclean. When Christ is living in us we will be kind and friendly toward other people, as the Lord leads.

Insensitive to the needs of others. Our self-centeredness must be replaced with the care for others that is characteristic of God and Christ.

The spirit of exhibitionism, showing off, is unclean and must be replaced with humility.

A lust for, entertainment, pleasure, must be replaced with the joy of the Lord.

Partying, dissipation, drunkenness, orgies must be replaced with Christ’s ability to be satisfied with the pleasures granted Him by the Father.

Excessive pessimism, optimism, and enthusiasm must be replaced with the steady patience and confidence of Christ.

A morbid attitude must be replaced with the faith, joy, courage, beauty, and hope that are found in the Lord Jesus.

Antipathies and affinities must be replaced with Christ's equitable assessment of individuals.

Unforgiveness, bitterness, rancor must be replaced with the forgiveness and mercy of Christ.

A spirit of complaining is unclean and must be replaced with the thankfulness and faith of Christ.

The spirit of hatred must be replaced with mercy, forgiveness, and Christ's love.

Impatience must be replaced with the patience of Christ.

An impulsive spirit must be replaced with the calm, reasoned judgment of Christ.

A compulsive, driving spirit is not found in Christ or in those whom Christ is perfecting.

Harshness must be replaced with the gentleness of Christ.

A usurping spirit is unclean and must be replaced with the strict honesty of the Lord Jesus.

Changeableness, capriciousness, fickleness, flightiness, behaving whimsically, are not of the image of God. God does not change and always behaves straightforwardly.

A finicky, fussy attitude is not characteristic of the Kingdom God.

A coy manner is not the way of the Lord.

A spirit of gambling must be replaced with Christ's trust in God for resources and directions.

Recklessness, rashness, presumption must be replaced with Christ's willingness to wait and listen to His Father.

Brash, impetuous, tactless, shameless behavior must be replaced with that of the Lord Jesus, which always is prayerful, thoughtful, full of mercy, peace, and good will.

Boasting and bragging must be replaced with Christ's modesty.

Exaggerating is an unclean spirit. Exaggerating must be replaced with a Christ’s Spirit of truthfulness.

Stubbornness, perversity are unclean spirits and must be replaced with Christ's teachableness.

Filthy speech must be replaced with Christ's purity of speech.

Avarice must be replaced with Christ's trust in God.

Whatever we are clinging to must be replaced with Christ's practice of giving everything to the Father.

A spirit of physical lust including an addiction to pornography must be replaced with the natural affection of Christ.

Homosexual behavior, lust toward children, and other sexual perversions must be replaced with the self-control and natural affection of Jesus Christ.

Frigidity, the inability to love or be loved, must be replaced with the Divine love of the Lord Jesus.

An inability to recognize and cope with evil; naiveté, is unclean. When the Lord Jesus return to earth He will be accompanied by an army of saints, of judges. They will establish the Kingdom of God on the earth by violence. In order to do this they must be able to recognize both good and evil, and able also to reward the righteous and punish the wicked, as they are directed by Christ.

A sentimental, overly sympathetic, maudlin spirit must be replace with the pure Divine love of Christ.

Romantic thoughts must be replaced with Christ's practice of praying and seeking the ways of Heaven. Romantic thoughts are a substitute for genuine love.

Nostalgia, romanticizing the past, must be replaced with our awareness of the Presence of Christ now and our vision of being with Christ in the future.

Our lack of self-control must be replaced with the management of Christ over our thoughts, words and deeds. Such management is accomplished through constant prayer and looking to Christ for every decision we make.

A man-hating, woman-hating spirit must be replaced with the normal affection of Christ.

A spirit of cruelty, meanness, abusiveness must be replaced with the kindness of Christ.

A spirit of silliness and foolishness is unclean and must be replaced with the sobriety of Christ.

Behaving in an affected manner in order to create an impression is unclean. The Lord Jesus Christ always reveals in Himself the speaking and actions of the Father. If we will ask Him to, He will replace all that is unnatural in our behavior with His simplicity and sincerity.

A desire to be seen as rough, tough, violent must be replaced with the gentleness and peaceableness of Christ.

Threatening and bluffing must be replaced with the sincerity of Jesus Christ, whose every word is weightier than all the sand on the seashores of the world.

Stealing and dishonesty must be replaced with the honesty of Christ.

Selfishness must be replaced with the goodness and generosity of Christ.

Brawling must be replaced with the peacemaking of Christ.

Wickedness, badness, vileness have no place whatever in the Kingdom of God. Christ’s pure Nature within us will replace all of our wicked, bad, vile compulsions and attitudes.

Malice and spite are unclean spirits and must be replaced with the kindness and good will of Christ.

An unmerciful spirit must be replaced with the love, forgiveness, and the mercy of Christ.

Greed is an unclean spirit. It must be replaced with the contentment of Christ.

Sudden, repeated, or prolonged anger is an unclean spirit. Christ is slow to anger, is not frequently angry, and is quick to forgive. We also are to be slow to anger, to seldom be angry, and quick to forgive. Sudden or prolonged anger must be replaced with the peaceable Nature of Christ.

Taunting and mocking are unclean spirits. These should be replaced in us with the gentleness and thoughtfulness of Christ, although there are times in the Bible when God mocks His enemies.

Unbelief and doubt are unclean spirits. When Christ is formed in us we will be able to believe the promises of God.

Fear of a lack of money or of material provisions. The Lord Jesus will help us as his trust in God for the necessities of life is expressed in us.

A scornful attitude is not becoming to a Christian. When Christ is dwelling in us we will have faith that with God all things are possible. This spirit must be replaced with Christ, who always believes the Word of God.

Judging, criticizing, faultfinding, and accusing ordinarily are unclean spirits. When Christ is working in us our judgment will not be based on what we see and hear but on what the Lord reveals to us.

Disdainful of others. When Christ formed in us we will not look down on other people.

The spirit of revenge, of vindictiveness is unclean. Vengeance belongs to God alone. Christ will help us overcome the spirit of revenge with compassion and mercy.

The spirit of blasphemy, showing contempt toward God, is unclean. The Lord Jesus Christ always worships and obeys the Father, and will express in us His reverence toward God.

A supplanting, defrauding spirit is unclean. Jesus will help us avoid defrauding people of what rightfully is theirs. We must replace this spirit with the uprightness of Christ.

All forms of self-abuse, masochism, suicide, self-destruction, self punishment. The Lord Jesus never punishes Himself and will enable us to take a proper attitude toward our own body.

Gluttony, including a desire for sweets is an unclean spirit. Christ will give us a normal appetite if we ask Him so we can overcome the American tendency to eat more than we need.

Substance abuse, drugs, alcohol are used to lessen the pain of life. Christ can give us joy and peace, and the blessings of Christ are not accompanied by undesirable consequences and side effects.

Laziness, sluggishness, carelessness; habitual lateness and forgetfulness are unclean spirits. They result in severe punishment. The Lord Jesus will share His diligence with us. We understand that forgetfulness sometimes is the result of age or illness. These are exceptions.

Quarreling, arguing, debating, dissension, discord, contention are unclean spirits. They are not found in Christ. The Lord Jesus will make us a peacemaker if we ask Him to.

An irritable, cranky attitude is an unclean spirit. The Lord Jesus will impart to us His calm, peaceable nature.

Meddling, busybody. A meddling spirit is unclean. Jesus does not interfere in areas where He has not been sent. When He has been formed in us, we will think, speak, and act according to the directions given us by the Father.

An officious, know-it-all attitude is unclean. If we will ask Him to, the Lord will replace an officious spirit with the Spirit of Christ.

Demons love to reason and debate. Divine truth is found only in the Life which Christ is.

Divisiveness, factionalism must be replaced with the harmony and peace found in the Person of Christ. The peacemakers are sons of God.

A religious spirit, loving doctrinal correctness and rituals rather than Christ. We note that the Lord Jesus never stressed doctrine or religious rituals, only that we believe in Him and live righteously

An inflexible, doctrinaire attitude characterized the Pharisees. The Lord Jesus said they tithed herbs and ignored judgment, mercy, and faith. The Lord Jesus will make us like Himself if we will ask Him to.

A proselyting spirit pervades Evangelical Christianity. It must be replaced with the true Spirit of evangelism, which always looks to Christ for direction.

Bombast, pompousness, pretentiousness, are unclean spirits. God is not bombastic or pretentious in His words or deeds. Jesus will help us to be simple and plain when we speak, having in us the humility of Christ.

Affectedly dainty, precious, overrefined behavior is unclean. It has no place in the Kingdom of God.

Perfectionism is an unclean spirit. This spirit cripples some people. It is well that we do the best we can, and then leave the imperfect areas to the Lord. Christ will help us do this.

Sarcasm, teasing, quipping, joking are darkness. Jesus will help us avoid all traces of these. Jesus speaks in a kindly, constructive manner, and the kindliness of Christ will replace our sarcasm, teasing, quipping, and joking.

An insolent, insulting, disrespectful, rude spirit is unclean. The Lord Jesus never behaves this way and His Life in us will keep us from being unkind and disrespectful.

A surly, churlish spirit, a bad disposition, is unclean. The Lord Jesus always has a happy, uplifting attitude toward people and life.

A double-minded, weak-minded, unstable, indecisive spirit is unclean, and sometimes is the product of passivity or even of a spirit of perfectionism. It can be destructive. To be a victorious saint we must be able to keep choosing the serve the Lord, even in the face of difficulties. The Lord Jesus helps us to be single-minded and decisive in our behavior.

Deceit is an unclean spirit. It is not holy. The Lord Jesus will replace our deceit with His sincerity and honesty in all we do and say.

Hypocrisy, pretending to be something we are not, is unclean. The Life of Christ in us will cause us to be straightforward and honest when dealing with people.

The spirit of vandalism, of destruction with no constructive purpose in mind, is unclean. Christ will give us the authority and power to tear down the forces of wickedness, and then to restore in righteousness what has been destroyed. If we have the unclean spirit of vandalism in us it must be replaced with the uprightness, truth, and honorable Nature of Christ.

Love for and trust in the spirit of the world must be replaced with the love for the Father that Christ has.

Reasoning must be replaced with the mind of Christ and the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God.

Being angry with God must be replaced with Christ’s love for the Father and trust in Him.

A sullen disposition must be replaced with Christ's happy, confident Nature

Moodiness is not characteristic of Jesus Christ. His Presence in us will enable us to remain constant in joy regardless of the circumstances. We recognize that on some occasions we are under great pressure and have to proceed cautiously, trusting God for each step; also that depression sometimes requires medical attention and medications.

Physically dirty, unkempt, disorderly, slovenly, boorish, coarse, loutish. Sometimes circumstances prevent our being as clean and neat as we would wish. However, when Christ is formed in us we will take advantage of every opportunity given us to be a clean, neat, orderly, gracious person.

Forgetting our spiritual lessons; unteachableness, is not part of the image of God. We are in the Lord’s school, and it is important we learn and remember what we are being taught.

Notice again:

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. (Romans 6:22)

Eternal life often is preached as a gift that we receive when we make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. But we can understand, from the above verse as well as other passages of the writings of the Apostle Paul, that eternal life is a result of holiness.

We become slaves to God and to righteousness, according to the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans, by obeying the commandments found in the New Testament.

But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. (Romans 6:17,18)

As we endeavor to obey Christ and His Apostles, always looking to the Lord Jesus for assistance, we are rewarded by being released from inner spiritual darkness. Holiness is the benefit we reap when we choose to be God's slaves.

Then the holy attitudes and motives that have been created in us, as we have exchanged the spiritual darkness for the Life of the Lord Jesus Christ, begin to guide us into righteousness of conduct.

Another way of putting this concept is as follows: first we keep the Word; then the Word keeps us.

This is the new covenant. This is the true God and eternal life.

Part Four—The Path to Righteousness

Let me say at the outset that the following path to righteousness will not operate if the believer has not counted himself or herself dead with Christ; has not denied himself and turned away from the world; is not patiently carrying his cross behind the Lord; and is not living as a fervent Christian. He must be reading his Bible and praying each day; gathering on a regular basis with other fervent disciples (if possible); and seeking to serve Christ at all times and in every manner.

To attempt to dabble in spiritual deliverance when the individual is not living as a true Christian, is to invite delusion and destruction. There are numerous church members in America who suppose they are going to hear "well done, good and faithful servant." Instead they will find themselves, when they die, in the spirit world with other lukewarm church-attenders. They will have to await the Day of Resurrection to find out what their destiny will be. They shall not be raised and enter eternal life when the Lord appears.

The following steps toward righteousness are a summary of the above three parts of our essay:

First, the disciple must read the Bible each day, taking note of what Christ and His Apostles have commanded.

Second, when a passage, such as the following is encountered, the disciple must look up to the Lord to see if his or her behavior is in accordance with the New Testament commandments.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5)

The believer looks at the list: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, and examines himself to see if he is behaving righteously in these terms.

Third, let us say that he finds that he is behaving righteously except for greed. In spite of all his determination he discovers that he still is acting in a greedy manner. Now he must look to Christ:

Confess the greed as being spiritual corruption.

Denounce greed as being an unclean attitude that does not belong in the Kingdom of God.

Utterly renounce the spirit of greed, declaring that he wants no more to do with this compulsion.

Draw near to Christ with thanksgiving for forgiveness and deliverance.

Pray and resist the spirit of greed in the future.

The purpose of these five steps is to remove the uncleanness of greed from the believer's inner nature, and to insure that Christ is continuing to be formed in his inner nature.

Now the disciple will discover that because his inner nature has been sanctified in the area of greed he will begin to act in a generous, hospitable manner. He has taken a step forward on the path to righteousness because of the increased holiness of his inward nature.

When we choose to become a slave of God, of righteousness, we are guided into holiness in our inward nature. The result of such righteousness and holiness is eternal life.

But where do grace and the blood of Christ enter this work of redemption?

It is the grace of God in Jesus Christ that forgives us initially and then gives us the authority to turn away from the Law of Moses and to start on the path of righteousness.

The blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross makes our initial forgiveness possible and maintains our righteousness in the sight of God while we are pressing forward into holiness and righteous behavior.

The enormous, destructive, deadly error in today's Christian teaching is that Divine grace and the blood of Christ are an alternative to moral transformation. All we need to do is confess Christ and then we are in full fellowship with God for eternity. No change in our inward nature (from uncleanness to holiness) or outward behavior (from sin to righteousness) is necessary.

Could anyone possibly invent a doctrine more destructive of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God!

Part Five—Gates of Deception

The authority and power of Satan were destroyed on the cross. The only authority and power he can summon is that which is given him in order to do the will of the Lord Jesus Christ. Satan must deceive us into rebellion and sin if he is to succeed in harming us in any manner.

Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion. (Jude 1:11)

The Way of Cain.

In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, But on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. (Genesis 4:3-5)

For some reason God was not pleased with Cain, a farmer. Bible teachers have speculated that God was displeased because Cain offered some of his crops rather than a blood offering. This may or may not be true. There is no clear scriptural support for this conclusion.

In actuality, the way of Cain has nothing to do with a blood offering. The problem was Cain’s attitude. Instead of meekly accepting God’s rebuke Cain became filled with jealousy and murder.

The way of Cain is the way of deception. When we find we are not willing to receive the Lord’s correction, and thus become envious of those whom the Lord is blessing, we have opened a door in our personality through which Satan can enter and express his murderous lusts.

If we are not to be deceived, the doors through which Satan enters must be closed. We must ask God to forgive us and close that door in our personality.

Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. (I John 3:12)

Balaam’s Error.

In addition to those slain in battle, the Israelites had put to the sword Balaam son of Beor, who practiced divination. (Joshua 13:22)

One of the major gods of America is the love of money. This curse has followed man throughout his history. No person can serve the true God and money at the same time.

Balaam, a powerful prophet, lost his majesty and life because of his desire for money. He finally was killed by the Israelite soldiers.

People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. (I Timothy 6:9)

From Gehazi to Judas and Ananias and Sapphira we observe how money opens the door to Satan. The Apostle Paul spoke out against the deceitfulness of riches. Yet it is not unusual in the Christian churches to see money held up as that which we should seek and trust.

There is no question but that trust in money blinds people to the Presence and will of God. This danger can hardly be overestimated. God loves the poor of the world and is closer to them than He is to the wealthy nations. This is because we are so proud. God holds us afar off and blesses the meek of the earth.

Korah’s Rebellion.

Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and certain Reubenites—Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth—became insolent And rose up against Moses. With them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council. They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, "You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the LORD’s assembly?" (Numbers 16:1-3)

Korah was a Kohathite Levite. The Kohathites were responsible for the care of the Ark of the Covenant and the other furnishings of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. Thus they were next to the sons of Aaron in terms of the service of the holy things.

But Korah was not content to be a Levite. He aspired to bring Moses and Aaron down to his level. It reminds us of Satan who wanted to be like the Most High in authority and power. Satan always desires the worship of God’s creatures, whether angels or people. So Korah desired to be preeminent, and this desire led to his destruction.

No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was. (Hebrews 5:4)

I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High. (Isaiah 14:14)

Absalom’s Usurpation.

Now Absalom happened to meet David’s men. He was riding his mule, and as the mule went under the thick branches of a large oak, Absalom’s head got caught in the tree. He was left hanging in midair, while the mule he was riding kept on going. (II Samuel 18:9)

So it is true that usurpers have their heads in the clouds, but their bodies are left hanging. They are halfway between heaven and earth, so to speak.

While David was fighting the Lord’s battles, Absalom was currying favor with the people of Israel. Even today in Christian denominations there exist these kinds of political efforts. The true men and women of God fight the Lord’s battles while the usurpers curry favor with the "right" people. But they all shall come to Absalom’s end because God never deserts His faithful servants.

Absalom coveted the fame and glory of King David. This willingness to usurp the God-given place of another caused Absalom to seduce the Israelites into rebellion.

As long as we are jealous of the position of another we are open to deception, to Satan. Satan is the very incarnation of jealousy. This is because the Father has given all things to the Son, and Satan resents this and wants the Divine glory for himself. Thus if we have this door in our personality we are going to be deceived.

There is a certain stupidity in wickedness, and this stupidity is revealed in Absalom. Why could not Absalom realize that God was with King David, giving him prophetic songs, like the twenty-third Psalm? Did Absalom really believe that God would change and bless him instead of David? So it is that deception takes away our ability to think clearly.

Also, whenever anyone approached him to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him. Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the men of Israel. (II Samuel 15:5,6)

The Destruction of Judas.

The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born. (Matthew 26:24)

Judas was one of the twelve original disciples. What an opportunity was his—even to having his name inscribed for eternity in the foundation of the wall of the new Jerusalem! But the love of money made the Lord’s words come true—that it would have been good for Judas had he never been born.

I have seen in my own ministry people who have had the opportunity to gain one of the thrones of the Kingdom of God. But their willingness to spend their life amassing money so they could retire and take their ease, not having to trust God because of the money they have stored up, caused them to become blind to the opportunities that were set before them. What a tragedy!

The love of money is a door in our personality through which Satan can enter and deceive us until we have lost our inheritance.

But God said to him, "You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?" (Luke 12:20)

The Seduction of Demas.

Do your best to come to me quickly, For Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. (II Timothy 4:9,10)

Demas deserted Paul for a season because of the attractions of the world. Can you imagine the agony of Demas now as he thinks about the opportunity he had to assist the man whose writings have changed the course of history! Instead his name is associated with the love of the world. Demas was deceived, and the inheritance he lost because of this deception is unimaginable!

The three major areas of sin are love and trust in the world system, the lusts and passions of the flesh, and self-will. If we love the things of the world the love of the Father is not in us, and there is a door in our personality through which Satan can enter.

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (I John 2:15)

The Desire for Prestige of Ahimaaz.

Ahimaaz son of Zadok again said to Joab, "Come what may, please let me run behind the Cushite." But Joab replied, "My son, why do you want to go? You don’t have any news that will bring you a reward." He said, "Come what may, I want to run." So Joab said, "Run!" Then Ahimaaz ran by way of the plain and outran the Cushite. (II Samuel 18:22,23)

Ahimaaz’s desire for prestige caused him to run past the Cushite. When he got to David Ahimaaz lied. He knew that Absalom was dead but he sensed this news would not make him popular with David. How often the desire to be preeminent causes problems in the churches. Believers push themselves past their brothers. When they arrive at their destination they have no message to give. They cannot speak the truth because they are ambitious man-pleasers.

The king asked, "Is the young man Absalom safe?"

Ahimaaz answered, "I saw great confusion just as Joab was about to send the king’s servant and me, your servant, but I don’t know what it was." (II Samuel 18:29)

Corruption Produced by Sexual Lust.

For certain men whose condemnation was written about  long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. (Jude 1:4)

Sexual lust will readily deceive the believers.

In the above passage we see two errors: a changing of the grace of God into license, and a denial of Jesus Christ.

From my point of view, the greatest deception ever to enter Christian thinking is that the grace of God is an alternative to righteous behavior. We actually have changed the grace of our God into a license for immorality. Unnumbered believers practice immorality because they believe Divine grace has given them the license to do so.

In America today we see a willingness to set aside Jesus Christ and His commandments so that people may indulge in adultery, fornication, and every form of lustful perversion. The deception produced by lust ranges from the highest levels of romanticism down to animal behavior rolling in the filth of moral gutters. Various physical and mental penalties accompany unrestrained sexual behavior. If we have a door in our personality through which Satan, who is the incarnation of lust, can enter, we need to ask God to close this door. It will drag us down to Hell.

As I see it, current philosophies that teach man is his own god, along with the pseudoscience of evolution, often result in sexual license. The idea seems to be one of rejecting any kind of accountability for our behavior. While high-sounding terms are employed, the end result is sexual license.

The college professor who pontificates about evolution is fornicating with his female students. Why does he feel free to do this? Because he has convinced himself there is no God, no Day of Judgment. The reason for the perpetuation of the easily disproved dogma of evolution is just as uncomplicated as this. The "scientists" have set aside the Lord Jesus Christ as being unworthy of consideration.

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. (II Peter 2:1)

The following unclean spirits that may reside in our personality are doorways to deception through which Satan can enter and deceive us.

A lying spirit opens the door to deception. God will deliver us from lying if we ask Him to. Liars belong in the Lake of Fire, not in the Kingdom of God. There is no lie in the mouths of God’s firstfruits. God does not lie and His faithful servants do not lie.

In fact, all sin is a lie because it is outside of Jesus Christ, who is the Truth. Sin is darkness, and God will separate all light from it. Satan is the father of lies. Lying is Satan’s native language.

No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless. (Revelation 14:5)

The devious, manipulative person is inviting deception. As he has been toward others, so will God and other people be toward him. He soon will be fully exposed for what he is.

To the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd. (Psalms 18:26)

No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless. (Revelation 14:5)

A treacherous, faithless spirit; lack of integrity. The individual who lacks integrity is vulnerable to deception. He cannot walk in the truth of Jesus Christ.

Treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— (II Timothy 3:4)

To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. (Revelation 3:14)

Self-centeredness; self-love; self-will. The self-centered believer is deceived already. If he is to find his place in the Kingdom of God he must permit Christ to assume His rightful place as King of his personality, and to give him a concern for other people.

I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:23)

An ungrateful attitude opens the door for the grumbling and complaining that cause God to be displeased with us.

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe (Philippians 2:14,15)

Self-interest rather than principle. If we are the kind of person who takes the path of that which is convenient, rather than what we know to be right, we easily can be led into deception.

For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. (Psalms 1:6)

Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. (II Timothy 2:3)

A perverse nature already is deceived. It is unable to judge righteous judgment. It leaves a path of misery wherever it goes.

Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. (Proverbs 4:24)

He who winks with his eye is plotting perversity; he who purses his lips is bent on evil. (Proverbs 16:30)

"O unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here." (Luke 9:41)

A gossiping, slandering spirit opens the door to deception. The spirit of gossip and slander abounds among Christian people. It is a deadly enemy of Christ.

For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. (II Corinthians 12:20)

An undisciplined tongue accomplishes Satan’s purposes. It destroys the work of the Kingdom of God.

The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. (James 3:6)

A spirit of fear, cowardice, timidity opens the door to deception. This spirit prevented the Israelites from entering the land of promise on their initial attempt. It is the first unclean spirit over which the Lake of Fire has authority.

But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. (II Timothy 1:6)

The fear of change opens the door to deception. Our part is to pray about every decision. When we do this, the Lord will lead us in paths of righteousness and take care of every detail of our life.

Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him. (Psalms 32:10)

Fear of success/failure will cause us to be deceived. Christ went from the lowest place to the highest place without wavering. Like Joseph, Christ did not permit His imprisonment in lowly circumstances to prevent his rising in majesty when His time came.

They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons,<R> Till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the LORD proved him true. (Psalms 105:18,19)

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.<R> I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:12,13)

A sense of inevitability opens the door to deception. We give up in defeat, believing that the glorious vision we once had can never come to pass. We lose our hope that by faith in Christ we can do all things.

Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God." (Mark 10:27)

I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

Dread, worry, apprehension, despair open the door to deception. The Lord Jesus Christ is free from these disabling spirits, and so shall we be when He is living in us.

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3)

He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. (Psalms 112:7)

Not trusting God for the future will lead us astray. We spend time worrying about what will happen to us in the future. But when the future comes there is wisdom and strength we do not have today. It is important that we learn to walk with Christ in the "now."

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34)

Anxiety, nervousness over the problems of life opens the door to the discouragements and gloom with which Satan desires to fill us. It is of great importance that we continually call on the Lord Jesus for His peace and joy in all our circumstances.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)

A man-pleasing spirit, seeking the approval of people opens the door to deception. We often make mistakes and bring confusion when we look to people instead of to the Lord for the correctness of our actions. This unclean spirit causes us to turn aside from God’s will. It is a trap. If we choose to please God, we will please people eventually. But if we choose to please people, we will please neither God nor man. We then are a branch fit only for the fire.

Then Saul said to Samuel, "I have sinned. I violated the LORD’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them. (I Samuel 15:24)

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe. (Proverbs 29:25)

On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. (I Thessalonians 2:4)

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)

Lack of self-esteem or of self-worth makes us vulnerable to the accusations of the enemy. If we are following the Lord and doing His will, He is responsible for our worthiness as a person. Lack of self-esteem can prevent our doing God’s will.

Moses said to the LORD, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue." The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say." But Moses said, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it." Then the LORD’s anger burned against Moses and he said, "What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and his heart will be glad when he sees you. (Exodus 4:10-14)

A willingness to bribe or be bribed opens the door to deception. The Christian must be completely free from the spirit of bribery if he is to eat at Christ’s table.

Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the righteous. (Exodus 23:8)

An indulgent disposition is an open door for deception. At the very time that we should proclaim God’s will, we will change what the Lord is saying in order to "show love" toward those around us. In actuality we are not showing love but are leading our listeners into harm. We are a false witness.

Let the prophet who has a dream tell his dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?" declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 23:28)

Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. (Mark 15:15)

A spirit of rage and murder opens the door to deception. The first man born on the earth murdered the second. To the present hour rage and murder run rampant in our culture—sometimes among Christian people!

Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let’s go out to the field."  And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. (Genesis 4:8)

The desire to kill when there is no morally defensible reason for killing is of Satan. Satan is a murderer, as Jesus said. God is love and has created people and animals in love. To murder or injure a person or animal just for the pleasure of it will bring down the wrath of God upon the perpetrator.

 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)

A suspicious spirit opens the door to deception. On many occasions we suspect what is taking place but are incorrect. Christ will give us confidence and show us the truth if we look to Him.

And Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on. (I Samuel 18:9—NASB)

A jealous, envious spirit opens the door to deception. Pontius Pilate realized that the elders of Israel had delivered Christ to them because of their envy.

So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, "Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?" For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him. (Matthew 27:17,18)

You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? (I Corinthians 3:3)

He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, Greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’" (Mark 7:20-23)

All forms of witchcraft are unclean, including fortune telling, tea leaves, astrology, seeking to bring something to pass by imaging it or believing or speaking it into existence. They will deceive those in whom they dwell until their personalities have been destroyed.

But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)

A desire to be seen as mysterious or as having occult powers can lead us into deception. Satan may take advantage of our desire to exercise mystical power and give us false visions and signs. It always is best to be as plain and understandable as we can be, to avoid any hint of employing dark mysteries of supernatural wisdom or power.

Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. (Ephesians 3:8,9)

A false spirit of prophecy will cause us to be deceived and to deceive others. Of such were the "palace prophets" who assured the kings of Israel that God was pleased with them. There are many false prophets today among the Charismatic people who are speaking peace and abundance to the believers when the Spirit of God is warning us to repent because of the coming judgments on our land.

 Now Zedekiah son of Kenaanah had made iron horns, and he declared, “This is what the LORD says: ‘With these you will gore the Arameans until they are destroyed.’” All the other prophets were prophesying the same thing. “Attack Ramoth Gilead and be victorious,” they said, “for the LORD will give it into the king’s hand.” (II Chronicles 18:10,11)

Grandiose prophecy can readily lead us into deception. We begin to picture ourselves as great ones in the Kingdom, when this may not be the case. We need to humble ourselves and make ourselves of no reputation, as did the Lord Jesus.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-8)

A spirit of complacency, indifference, lukewarmness will leave us open to deception. We must be diligent in the matters of the Kingdom of God.

How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. (Hebrews 2:3)

Smugness, offensive satisfaction with oneself, is not attractive to other people and is not a good testimony. It will not bring people to Christ.

On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, "This is the voice of a god, not of a man." Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died. (Acts 11:21-23)

Self-pity and pouting open the door to deception. God does not feel sorry for us. When we feel sorry for ourselves we cannot hear God’s directions clearly.

So Ahab went home, sullen and angry because Naboth the Jezreelite had said, "I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers." He lay on his bed sulking and refused to eat. (I Kings 21:4)

Self-justifying, defensiveness hinders all who are bound by this spiritual darkness. The self-justifying believer will spend as much time as it takes to explain why he was correct in what he said or did. This is unpleasant for those who for one reason or another are compelled to listen to the seemingly endless explanations. How much better to look to Jesus and seek His approval. He will always justify us when we are doing His will. When we are not doing His will we continually will find ourselves attempting to persuade people that what we have done is righteous and justified.

He said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight. (Luke 16:15)

Blaming other people results in deception. When we are in trouble of some kind we should go to God. The solution is in Christ. Every pain we suffer will result in spiritual gain for us if we will use it to drive us into the Lord. We will not grow spiritually if we blame other people for our problems.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;<R> In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5.6)

A sensitive, easily offended spirit opens the door to deception. What could have been a healthy discussion becomes a destructive argument; or, in some cases, the individual just withdraws needlessly.

Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. (Psalms 119:165)

Self-sufficiency is the opposite of the will of God for us. "The just shall live by faith" means the person who is righteous looks to the Lord Jesus for every aspect of life and behavior. The individual who trusts in his own intelligence and resources has yet to experience the Kingdom of God and God’s righteousness.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. ((Proverbs 3:5,6

Disobedience to God will leave us vulnerable to deception. The angel of the Lord guards those who fear God and do His will.

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. (Ephesians 5:6)

Arrogance and pride open the door to deception. God and Christ stand afar off from the proud and arrogant.

Though the LORD is on high, he looks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar. (Psalms 138:6)

Pride of station opens the door to deception in that we view ourselves as being of more importance in the sight of God and man than is the case. The Lord Jesus holds the highest rank in the Kingdom but does not vaunt His preeminence.

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Philippians 2:6,7)

Pride of knowledge, of intellect, opens the door to deception. Sometimes an exhaustive study of the Bible in its original languages, examining each word for every possible meaning, leads to pride of knowledge rather than to the mind and intent of the Spirit. Knowledge does tend to puff us up, as Paul stated. Since we know nothing at all, it is best that we boast in Christ and His cross.

Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. (I Corinthians 8:1)

Verbose, garrulous, glib speaking opens the door to deception. An individual who does not have control of his tongue is a tool Satan can use to spread evil and destruction.

The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. (James 3:6)

Flirtation opens the door to deception. Many marriages have been ruined by an affair that began as a seemingly harmless flirtation. It is an unclean spirit.

For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. (I John 2:16)

A tendency to become infatuated will lead quickly into deception. It is an open door for spirits that are not of God. No matter how deep and lasting the infatuation appears to be, it is a delusion. It will vanish as quickly as it came.

In the course of time, Amnon son of David fell in love with Tamar, the beautiful sister of Absalom son of David. (II Samuel 13:1)

Then Amnon hated her with intense hatred. In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her. Amnon said to her, "Get up and get out!" (II Samuel 3:15)

Narcissism, self-worship, conceit opens the door to deception. One of the greatest strongholds of the enemy is our self-love, self-will, self-centeredness. These produce rebellion against God, causing us to worship ourselves rather than God and Jesus Christ.

During his lifetime Absalom had taken a pillar and erected it in the King’s Valley as a monument to himself, for he thought, "I have no son to carry on the memory of my name." He named the pillar after himself, and it is called Absalom’s Monument to this day. (II Samuel 18:18)

But Absalom had three sons!

Three sons and a daughter were born to Absalom. The daughter’s name was Tamar, and she became a beautiful woman. (II Samuel 14:27)

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)

Covetousness opens the door to deception. Balaam, Gehazi, Judas, and Ananias and Sapphira reveal the terrible pit into which the covetous fall. It is idolatry.

Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever." Then Gehazi went from Elisha’s presence and he was leprous, as white as snow. (II Kings 5:27)

Idolatry, unclean attractions, soul-ties, open the door to deception. When we become fascinated with any person, thing, or circumstance we easily are led about by demons. Much of our discipleship consists of God removing our idols from their place of preeminence and placing them beneath our feet. The process is painful but it brings eternal love, joy, and peace.

I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:2,3)

Jesus answered, "It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’" (Luke 4:8)

These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. (Revelation 14:4)

Personal ambition and seeking preeminence, discontent with one’s appointed place, a desire to be important open the door to deception. Ambition, discontent with our position, is at the root of much deception. Satan’s fundamental sin was personal ambition—a desire to usurp the place of God the Father.

You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. (Isaiah 14:13)

I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us. (III John 1:9)

And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. (Jude 1:6)

Seeking to control another person, possessiveness, opens the door to deception. When we attempt to conform another individual to the image we hold concerning him we destroy that individual’s creativity and bring him into bondage. Even when we are dealing with children we must seek God earnestly to insure that we are working with God and not against Him.

Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. (Romans 14:4)

Rebellion against God and other authority open the door to deception. God always works in terms of government, law, and rules. We are to obey all authority as unto the Lord, unless that authority insists we disobey God.

An unloving, unkind, unfriendly attitude is not the light of the world. We do not bear a true witness of Christ when people perceive us as being unkind and uncaring.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12)

Insensitive to the needs of others. The surest sign that we are maturing as a person and as a Christian is that we turn our focus away from our own needs and consider the circumstances of the people around us.

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10)

Exhibitionism, showing off opens the door to deception. We are calling attention to ourselves rather than glorifying God.

Now Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, put himself forward and said, "I will be king." So he got chariots and horses ready, with fifty men to run ahead of him. (I Kings 1:5)

A lust for entertainment, pleasure opens the door to deception. How many believers have been unable to live as a disciple because of their need to enjoy partying, to continually be entertained, to live in pleasure?

Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. (Luke 15:13)

But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. (I Timothy 5:6)

Partying, dissipation, drunkenness, orgies have no place in the Kingdom of God. We can be deceived easily if we have these doors in our personality.

For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. (I Peter 4:3)

Excessive pessimism, optimism, and enthusiasm open the door to deception. Mood swings of one sort or another keep us from the balance and poise so necessary for following the Spirit of God.

The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. (Matthew 13:20,21)

A morbid attitude opens the door to deception. The American people of today sometimes are fascinated with that which is gruesome, horrible, ugly, deadly, demonic. We Christians are to keep our minds focused on the beauty which comes from the Lord, even though for a season we may be surrounded with the ugliness that comes from Satan.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)

Antipathies and affinities open the door to deception. Instantly liking or rejecting another person can prevent us from bearing a true witness to him or her.

Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14)

Unforgiveness, bitterness, rancor, open the door to deception. When we will not forgive someone we cut off our ability to minister eternal life to him or her. Also, God will not forgive us.

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. (Matthew 11:25)

Complaining opens the door to deception. We cannot receive love, joy, and peace from the Lord when we are complaining. The account of the wilderness wandering of the Israelites emphasizes that God does not want us to complain.

Do everything without complaining or arguing, So that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe. (Philippians 2:14,15)

Hatred opens the door to deception. When we harbor hatred in our heart we will think, say, and do things that are outside God’s will for us.

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; Idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions And envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

Impatience is the opposite of the way of the Kingdom of God. The impatient believer soon will be deceived into doing the will of Satan. Patience is a primary ingredient of the Kingdom of God. An impatient person cannot enter the Kingdom. We have to be patient, patient, patient if we would work out our salvation successfully.

We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. (Hebrews 6:12)

I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. (Revelation 1:9)

An impulsive spirit causes believers to make many decisions that lead away from God’s purposes in Jesus Christ. We absolutely must learn to pray without ceasing if we are to make a success of the life of victory.

Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few. (Ecclesiastes 5:2)

A compulsive, driving spirit will lead the believer into error. We are to live in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, not being driven by any idol.

A psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.<R> He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,

 But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace. (Psalms 37:11)

Harshness. A harsh attitude will open the door for deception, causing us to miss the voice and will of Christ. God is gentle. When we are harsh we miss what God is doing with people.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2)

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. (Philippians 4:5)

A usurping spirit opens the door to deception. It is not honest. The Lord loves honesty and justice. To take that which belongs to another is sin in the sight of God.

Also, whenever anyone approached him to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him. Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the men of Israel. (II Samuel 15:5,6)

Changeableness, capriciousness, fickleness, flightiness, a whimsical spirit will lead us into deception. God is neither changeable nor capricious, nor are His sons.

I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. (Malachi 3:6)

A finicky, fussy attitude is not helpful when we are trying to minister to other people. God is patient with us and helpful at all times, even though we make many mistakes.

This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, (I John 5:3)

A coy manner is not of the Kingdom. God is always ready to hear our prayers, and He wants us also to be ready to assist those who come to us for prayer and counsel.

"Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." (Jeremiah 33:3)

Gambling opens the door to deception. The person who takes chances without going to the Lord for His wisdom will not make a success of following the Spirit of God, and may bring misery and destruction upon himself or herself.

Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that." (James 4:13-15)

Recklessness, rashness, presumption opens the door to deception. There is no need for us to be reckless. It is impossible to hear the truth of the Spirit when we are charging ahead in our own self-will without regard for the consequences.

The angel of the LORD asked him, "Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. (Numbers 22:32)

Brash, impetuous, tactless, impudent, shameless behavior gives place to Satan. The Lord would have us pray diligently before we speak and act. To act suddenly and thoughtlessly can result in undesirable, harmful consequences.

They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever. (Jude 1:13)

Boasting and bragging open the door to deception. When we have a boasting spirit people listen in vain for the words of life that would build them up in Christ.

As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. (James 4:16)

This is what the LORD says: "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, But let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23,24)

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which  the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 6:14)

Exaggerating opens the door to deception. God never exaggerates. He speaks only truth. The Divine Nature is truth itself. The nature of Satan is a complete lie.

(For the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) (Ephesians 5:9)

Stubbornness, perversity open the door to deception. God constantly is making demands on us. If we have a stubborn, perverse, obstinate personality we will not yield when God wants us to change. Thus we miss the Lord.

But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. (Romans 2:5)

Filthy speech opens the door to deception. When we use filthy language we are speaking with the voice of demons, and all sorts of false ideas and impulses will cause us to miss God’s will for us.

Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. (Ephesians 5:4)

Avarice, an immoderate desire for wealth, opens the door to deception. The record in the Bible of people who have been deceived by the love of money tells us that this is a major source of deception. We have to decide whether we are going to look to money as our source of pleasure and security, or to God.

The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. (Matthew 13:22)

Grasping, anything we cling to, that we can’t let go of, opens the door to deception. When we grasp and hold onto anything, whether it be a relationship, circumstance, or something else, we will be deceived. Whatever we love more than we love God is an idol and will lead us astray.

You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:3)

A spirit of physical lust including an addiction to pornography opens the door to deception. At the present time the American people are sick with sexual lust. It is destroying the moral strength of our country.

In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 1:7)

Homosexual behavior, lust toward children, and other perversions open the door to deception. There is no surer way to alienate the Holy Spirit than to pervert God’s intentions concerning sexual conduct. One cannot be led of the Spirit and engage in sexual perversions, including looking at pornographic material.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. (Romans 1:26,27)

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders (I Corinthians 6:9)

Frigidity, the inability to love or be loved, makes it impossible for us to enter into the Spirit-filled life of love, joy, and peace. In the beginning God made man male and female. God is love, and we have been created in the image of God. Frigidity sometimes is the result of our cultural background, or from having been molested as a child. Christ can heal this also.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)

An inability to recognize and cope with evil; naiveté, has no place in the Kingdom of God. We see instances in the Old Testament where the Israelites refused to destroy the wicked, as God had commanded. This was not mercy, it was disobedience. If we are naive concerning evil we will be deceived readily, not being able to perceive or cope scripturally with wickedness in people.

There is a tendency in the United States to want to show compassion to criminals. The assumption is that this misplaced mercy is of Jesus Christ. It is not. While every effort should be made to protect the innocent, and rehabilitate lawbreakers, it is not of God that the victims of the crime should leave the court feeling that justice was not done. While the defense attorneys inveigh against "cruel and unusual punishment," cruel and unusual crime is on the increase. Obviously God is not blessing this attitude.

The Lord’s teaching concerning turning the other cheek has to do with our personal life, our attitudes and relationships with people. It is not addressed to the criminal justice system, which must be fair, and compatible with the nature of the crime. Those who have shown no mercy are to be shown no mercy.

The tendency of the world toward love, love, love, is not of God. It is false and of Satan, who is hoping that the people whom God has created will be able to convince God that Satan should not be thrown into the Lake of Fire.

Coping victoriously with evil and perversity is one of the most difficult trials we face as Christians. We always are to forgive and not hold bitterness toward anyone. To remain bitter and unforgiving is to destroy ourselves. But neither are we to pretend that we have not been injured. We are to feed our enemy if he is hungry, realizing that God will avenge us if we have been wronged. We are not obligated to act as though we have affection for the person who has treated us cruelly, unless that person has repented earnestly and thoroughly, demonstrating his awareness of the grief he has caused and making amends as much as he is able.

A Pollyanna attitude, a refusal to recognize wickedness in other people, is not of Christ and can be destructive to individuals and to nations. Neville Chamberlain of England may be an example of the destruction caused by naiveté.

But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed. (I Samuel 15:9)

Then Samuel said, "Bring me Agag king of the Amalekites." Agag came to him confidently, thinking, "Surely the bitterness of death is past." But Samuel said, "As your sword has made women childless, so will your mother be childless among women." And Samuel put Agag to death before the LORD at Gilgal. (I Samuel 15:32,33)

He said to the king, "This is what the LORD says: ‘You have set free a man I had determined should die. b{ b The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the LORD, often by totally destroying them.} Therefore it is your life for his life, your people for his people.’" Sullen and angry, the king of Israel went to his palace in Samaria. (I Kings 20:42,43)

May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands, to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron, to carry out the sentence written against them. This is the glory of all his saints. Praise the LORD. (Psalms 149:6-9)

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19:11-16)

A sentimental, overly sympathetic, maudlin spirit opens the door to deception. What appears on the surface to be a loving, attitude comes in actuality from an unclean adamic emotion. Human sympathy can prevent God’s will from being done.

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!" Matthew (16:22)

Romantic thoughts open the door to deception. Perhaps most Christians would recognize that sexual lust directs us into ungodly behavior. The moral filthiness contained in the higher levels of romantic imaginations may not be recognized as readily.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (II Corinthians 10:5)

They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, (II Timothy 3:6)

Nostalgia, romanticizing the past, opens the door to deception. Instead of taking full advantage of what Christ is doing with us now we dwell on the past—a past filled with pain and deception of every sort.

If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. (Hebrews 11:15)

Lack of self-control can open the door to Satan. We must prayerfully guard our thoughts, speech, and actions at all times.

Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?" So he turned and went off in a rage. (II Kings 5:12)

Man-hating and woman-hating open the door to deception. Because of being abused when a child, or sometimes through heredity, a man or woman will have a spirit that hates the opposite gender. You can imagine the problem this causes in a marriage, as well as in other areas. This spirit has to be driven out if the individual is to hear from the Lord correctly.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. (Titus 3:3)

Cruelty, meanness, abusiveness open the door to deception. Satan is the personification of cruelty. God’s nature is the opposite of cruelty. Sometimes people are cruel to children and helpless animals. This is the work of Satan. A spirit of cruelty will cause us to behave in an ungodly manner.

A kind man benefits himself, but a cruel man brings trouble on himself. (Proverbs 11:17)

Silliness and foolishness, open the door to deception. We do not often think of silliness and foolishness as being sinful, but this sort of behavior is condemned by the New Testament. I wonder how many times a ministry has been ineffective because God’s man or woman was being silly and foolish.

Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. (Ephesians 5:4)

Affectation opens the door to deception. Whenever we adopt mannerisms, behaving in a manner that is unnatural, attempting to appear cute, or brilliant, or important, we do not magnify Christ or give a true testimony of God.

Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God. (II Corinthians 2:17)

If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. (I Peter 4:11)

A desire to be seen as rough, tough, and violent opens the door to deception. When our eyes are fixed on Jesus and we are following Him in every area of life, He will protect us. His angels will watch over us. Being rough and violent will succeed in leading us away from the will of Christ for us.

By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am "timid" when face to face with you, but "bold" when away! (II Corinthians 10:1)

Threatening and bluffing open the door to deception. We cannot hear the voice of the Spirit of God when we are attempting to frighten or deceive our enemies.

And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. (II Timothy 2:24)

Stealing and dishonesty open the door to deception. There are several stories concerning ministers of the Gospel who are dishonest. Some pastors permit no one to handle the offerings except themselves. Then they do not tell anyone how much they received. This is an appearance of evil. It is a poor testimony, to say the least. From what I have heard, stealing and lying abound in the Christian churches. Such shall never have fellowship with Jesus Christ, not by grace, mercy, or any other means. They have been deceived by Satan.

You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. (Deuteronomy 25:15)

He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. (Ephesians 4:28)

Selfishness opens the door to deception. When we are selfish we cut off the blessing of God. God is a generous Person and rewards the generous. We gain nothing by hoarding resources to ourselves, but the generous soul is given an abundance.

Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (I Timothy 6:18)

Brawling opens the door to deception. The moment we get into a fight with someone we lose the Presence and guidance of the Lord. He simply will not accept brawling in His Kingdom.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. (Ephesians 4:31)

Wickedness, badness, vileness are of the image of Satan. Whoever acts in this manner is not part of the Lord Jesus Christ and will experience corruption and destruction in the Day of Christ.

Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness." (II Timothy 2:19)

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)

The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature  will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:8)

But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)

Malice and spite open the door to deception. Satan is filled with malice and spite because the Father has given all of the inheritance to the Son. Whenever we yield to malice and spite we carry out Satan’s business in the earth. We cannot bear a true witness of Christ if we have a mean spirit.

Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth. (I Corinthians 5:8)

Being without mercy opens the door to deception. We must practice righteousness, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. When we are unmerciful toward others, God is unmerciful toward us. We bring ourselves into grief and the loss of the knowledge of the Lord when we do not treat other people mercifully.

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

Greed is contrary to the generous nature of God, and so it will cause us to be deceived. A greedy believer will be repaid with greed.

For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (Ephesians 5:5)

Sudden, repeated, or prolonged anger opens the door to deception. When we are angry we cannot hear the gentle voice of the Lord Jesus. There are occasions when the Lord is angry. But His anger is always under control and accomplishes His will. Our anger is destructive. The wrath of man does not reveal the righteousness of God.

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, For man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. (James 1:19,20)

Taunting and mocking open the door to deception. There is a simple, sincere integrity that characterizes the man or woman of God. The individual who is given to taunting and mocking others will not find the Lord’s way.

Penalties are prepared for mockers, and beatings for the backs of fools. (Proverbs 19:29)

And will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life! (Matthew 20:19)

Unbelief and doubt open the door to deception. One of the greatest of all hindrances to the Christian life is unbelief. Fear, pessimism, and unbelief are related in that they reveal distrust in the Character of God. They will lead away from the treasures of the Kingdom, such as love, joy, and peace. They have the ability to bar us for eternity from the Kingdom of God.

So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. (Hebrews 3:19)

A fear of a lack of money or of material provisions leaves us open for the work of the enemy in our life. Many believers have disobeyed the plan of God for their life because they were not able to believe God would provide their needs. They missed the joyful adventure that would have been theirs had they followed Jesus faithfully.

Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. (Luke 12:22,23)

A scornful attitude is not acceptable to God. God delights in the individual who rejoices over His Word and meditates in it day and night.

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. (Psalms 1:1)

Judging, criticizing, faultfinding, and accusing are close to the nature of Satan. If we are a self-willed person we will be deceived by Satan into criticizing and condemning our fellow believers. When we judge and accuse based on what we see and think we cannot judge with true judgment. The Lord Jesus Himself judged only in terms of what He saw with the Father. When we judge other than on the basis of God’s wisdom given to us we bring harm to ourselves and to other people.

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. (Matthew 7:1)

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:37)

By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me. (John 5:30)

The spirit of revenge, of vindictiveness opens the door to deception. When we are occupied with a desire to avenge a wrong done to us we cannot hear what God is saying. Vengeance belongs to God alone.

Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. (Romans 12:19)

Disdainful of others. When we despise other people we easily can be deceived. God is not pleased with this attitude.

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10)

Blasphemy opens the door to deception. To blaspheme is to speak of God or of the works of God as though He or they are unclean and unworthy. When we do this we are as an animal—no, less than an animal because we are trying to bring God down to our miserable level. We then are fit only for the Lake of Fire.

Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme. (I Timothy 1:20)

Supplanting and defrauding open the door to deception. Absalom’s head got caught in the tree. He was left hanging in midair. Absalom sought to supplant King David’s rightful position in God. When we attempt to take something away from someone else by dishonorable means we remove ourselves from the Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. He will not tolerate such behavior in His Kingdom.

Beware of your friends; do not trust your brothers. For every brother is a deceiver, and every friend a slanderer. Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth. They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning. (Jeremiah 9:4,5)

You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother. (Mark 10:19)

All forms of self-abuse, masochism, suicide, self-destruction, self punishment open the door to deception. God does not want us to turn inward on ourselves in this manner. We are to confess our sins and turn away from them. We are to accept whatever restitution or punishment God sees fit to require of us. Then we are to press forward until we receive our reward from Christ. We are not to keep referring to ourselves as worthless. We are God’s children and He expects us to act like this and not to discredit or harm ourselves.

But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die. None of the offenses he has committed will be remembered against him. Because of the righteous things he has done, he will live. (Ezekiel 18:21,22)

Gluttony, including a desire for sweets opens the door to deception. The dinner table can be a snare. If we would keep ourselves from deception we must keep a stern hand on our appetite. We cannot stuff ourselves with food and then expect to be sensitive to the guidance of the Spirit of the Lord.

And David says: "May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them. (Romans 11:9)

"Food for the stomach and the stomach for food"—but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. (I Corinthians 6:13)

Substance abuse, drugs, alcohol are used by people to gain joy and peace. But they open the door to deception. The joy and peace they bring are attended by severe problems. Drugs seem to open the door to the demon world. The Christian has ready access to the supernatural world through the Holy Spirit and has no need of drugs or alcohol to help him live a satisfying life.

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. (I Corinthians 3:16,17)

Laziness, sluggishness, carelessness; habitual lateness and forgetfulness open the door to deception. How many times did Jesus rebuke people for their spiritual laziness. "O fools, and slow of heart to believe." "You wicked and lazy servant." Spiritual laziness is common in a materialistic culture, and we shall not escape the punishment due us because of our lack of diligence in giving ourselves to our great salvation. We understand that forgetfulness sometimes is the result of age or illness. These are exceptions.

How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. (Hebrews 2:3)

His master replied, "You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest." (Matthew 25:26,27)

Quarreling, arguing, debate, contention, dissension, discord open the door to deception. How often Christians argue about doctrine, and what a waste this is. Debating and arguing do not result in truth, only in an opportunity for us to vent our irritation because someone does not believe as we do.

Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, (II Timothy 2:23-25)

An irritable, cranky attitude opens the door to deception. We are unable to perceive what the Spirit is saying to us or to others because of our occupation with our own discomfort. We will bring anger and misery wherever we go.

 It [love] is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (I Corinthians 13:5)

Meddling, busybody. When we depart from the way in which God is leading us and launch out into areas not assigned to us we open the door for Satan to deceive us.

Thou hast indeed smitten Edom, and thine heart hath lifted thee up: glory of this, and tarry at home: for why shouldest thou meddle to thy hurt, that thou shouldest fall, even thou, and Judah with thee? (II Kings 14:10—KJV)

An officious, know-it-all attitude is unclean. It is the meek, the teachable, who will inherit the earth.

Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, (II Timothy 2:25)

Divisiveness, factionalism will lead us into Satan’s trap. Satan uses this personality characteristic to destroy the churches.

You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not mere men? (I Corinthians 3:3,4)

A religious spirit, loving doctrinal correctness and rituals rather than Christ. A religious spirit leads us into deception. It was this spirit that caused the Catholic prelates to murder people whose only crime was that they did not agree with Catholic doctrine.

You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, (John 5:39)

An inflexible, doctrinaire attitude will cause us to misunderstand and misapply the Scriptures. The only time we understand the Scriptures correctly is when the Lord gives us the Spirit of revelation. Apart from the Holy Spirit, the letter kills.

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (II Corinthians 3:5,6)

A proselyting spirit opens the door to deception. One of the destructive ideas that pervade evangelical thinking is that every believer is to be an evangelist and "win souls to Christ." We do not have to wait for God’s timing or direction. We are to rush forth and command everyone to "accept Christ."

The New Testament does not teach this. Christ told us to let our light of good works shine before people so they would glorify God. We choose rather to remain in our sinful behavior and attempt to get people to join our religion. This is why the American people, and the people of other nations, and the governments of some of the other nations, want nothing to do with Christianity. However, these multitudes would view Christ and Christianity favorably if we lived righteous lives and left the making of converts to those believers who are gifted in evangelism, who know the Lord’s timing and are empowered by the Holy Spirit to bring people to Christ.

We do not do what we are supposed to do, and then do what we have not been commanded to do.

This is not to say we cannot share our faith with others. But it is to state that the rampant spirit of proselyting among evangelicals is not of God and does more harm than good in the Kingdom of God.

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

Bombast, pompousness, pretentiousness open the door to deception. To speak in a pompous or pretentious manner draws attention to ourselves. We are under the delusion that we are a superior person, condescending to those of lower abilities. It is a snare and makes us look and sound ridiculous.

On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, "This is the voice of a god, not of a man." Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died. (Acts 12:21-23)

Affectedly dainty, precious, overrefined behavior opens the door to deception. It does not bear witness of the Person of Christ. It does not result in good works that will cause people to glorify God.

Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth. (I Corinthians 5:8)

Perfectionism opens the door to deception. Many Christian people are bound with an unclean spirit of perfectionism. Sometimes this bondage arises from the expectations of a parent. The individual without realizing is still trying to meet those standards long after the parent is dead. The unclean spirit of perfectionism can be crippling.

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

Sarcasm, teasing, quipping, joking open the door to deception. This is especially true for those in leadership. We must be extremely careful to speak soberly and sincerely to people, for they can be misled, or grievously wounded, if we do not say exactly what we mean when we when we speak. God never speaks to us sarcastically when we are seeking His face.

In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness And soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. (Titus 2:7,8)

Insolent, insulting, disrespectful, rude attitudes open the door to deception. God desires that we be respectful of all duly constituted authority. There is no occasion on which we are to be insolent, insulting, or disrespectful. We are not magnifying Christ when we adopt this attitude, and we miss His will for us.

Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and certain Reubenites—Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth—became insolent (Numbers 16:1)

Surly, churlish. A bad disposition opens the door to deception. The healthy Christian maintains a cheerful, positive attitude toward people and life, even though there are times when we are pressed beyond measure, it seems.

His name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband, a Calebite, was surly and mean in his dealings. (I Samuel 25:3)

A double-minded, weak-minded, indecisive, unstable personality opens the door to deception. Not being able to make decisions may be a sign of passivity. God wants us to be clear and decisive in our actions, although there is no problem with carefully considering what we are doing and praying about each decision. When it is true of us that we keep going one way and then the other, we need to ask God to remove this unclean spirit from us. We will receive nothing from the Lord.

They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. (II Timothy 2:6,7)

That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; He is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. (James 1:7,8)

Deceit opens the door to deception. When we are not truthful and forthright we soon find that we have trapped ourselves in our own cunning.

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. (I Peter 2:1)

Hypocrisy, pretending to be something we are not, opens the door to deception. The hypocrite is soon found out and is despised for his willingness to pretend to be something other than what he is. He will not find the way of truth and peace. He has fooled no one but himself.

Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy." (Luke 12:1)

The spirit of vandalism, of destruction without purpose, opens the door to deception. This is a demonic spirit. The person who seeks to destroy without reason will find himself or herself outside of the will of God, and finally will himself be destroyed.

The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great—and for destroying those who destroy the earth. (Revelation 11:18)

Love for and trust in the spirit of the world opens the door to deception. "Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica." We cannot trust in the world and trust in God at the same time. Sooner or later we will turn from the path of discipleship because of our love of ease and pleasure.

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (I John 2:15)

Reasoning opens the door to deception. People attempt to reason themselves to truth. It cannot be done. Truth does not come through reasoning but through Bible reading, prayer, obedience, and from the wisdom and understanding that come only from the Spirit of God. In the final sense, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the only Truth.

For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. (I Corinthians 1:21)

Being angry with God. "But on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast." I have heard of people saying they are mad at God. Mad at God who alone is good? This must mean they feel God has treated them unjustly. If God at any time, in any manner, treats any individual unjustly it would be well if none of us had ever come into existence. Who knows who would be next to be subjected to the actions of a capricious, all-powerful Divinity? The deception of anger against God resulted in Cain killing his brother.

When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, "It would be better for me to die than to live." (Jonah 4:8)

Sullenness can open the door to deception. We cannot hear the Lord when we are sullen and angry because of our circumstances.

So Ahab went home, sullen and angry because Naboth the Jezreelite had said, "I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers." He lay on his bed sulking and refused to eat. (I Kings 21:4)

Moodiness can open the door to deception. We must make every effort to keep a joyful attitude, though sometimes we are under heavy oppression. Depression can be a serious illness which may require professional assistance.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)

A physically dirty, unkempt, slovenly, disorderly, boorish, coarse, loutish attitude and appearance can open the door to deception. It may be noted that people who take drugs often live in a filthy environment. The Lord Jesus will help us to take steps to keep ourselves clean and bring about neatness and order. When we think of Jesus we picture a clean, orderly, gracious Person.

Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) (Revelation 19:8)

The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:14)

Forgetting our spiritual lessons; unteachableness, gives Satan a great advantage over us. We will keep falling into his snares and will not be able to assist others in their discipleship.

Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. (Deuteronomy 8:2)

How Does One Deal with an Unclean Spirit in His or Her Personality, a Spirit That Leads to Deception?

Confess the uncleanness as being not of the image of Christ. It is not just a psychological problem, it is not holy.

Denounce the uncleanness as being unworthy of the Kingdom of God.

Renounce the uncleanness, firmly declare that you want nothing more to do with it for eternity.

Draw near to Christ in thanksgiving and praise for deliverance.

Resist Satan in the future. Stand firmly against the specific uncleanness. Jesus will help you as you do this.

Part Six—Ready To March

They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers. (Revelation 17:14)

I have written quite a bit about the coming conflict, the Battle of Armageddon, the return of Christ from Heaven with His saints and holy angels to drive Satan and all sin from the earth, and to install the Kingdom of God.

Some of the passages I have used are as follows:

Isaiah 13:6-13

Joel 2:1-11

Micah 5:8-10

Habakkuk 3:3-15

Zechariah 14:3-5

Romans 16:20

Jude 14,15

Revelation 19:13-21

As far as I can tell, each of the seven passages above is referring to the beginning of the Day of the Lord, the period when Christ shall descend with His saints and establish the Kingdom of God on the earth.

Notice the reference to more than one army:

The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:14)

And then the one army:

Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. (Revelation 10:19)

The fourteenth verse may be referring to the two armies that always are involved in the Lord’s battles; but in the nineteenth verse the two armies are fighting as one great host.

As we approach the Day of the Lord, the conflict of the ages, we need to understand that in any Kingdom of God warfare two armies must be involved.

Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, "Are you for us or for our enemies?" "Neither," he replied, "but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come." Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, "What message does my Lord have for his servant?" (Joshua 5:13,14)

Here we have the army of angels, I believe, and then the army of Israel. The angels help from the vantage point of the spirit realm, while the Israelite soldiers fought with their swords and spears.

The Israelites were bringing the holy Law of God in the Ark of the Covenant into the midst of the demons who prevailed among the Canaanites. As long as the Israelites obeyed the Lord and lived a holy life they were victorious. God was judging the gods of Canaan.

Notice carefully that the spirit army was not on the side of Israel or on the side of the Canaanites. The spirit army always fights according to the will of God, not the will of man.

There are preachers today who are encouraging the believers to command the angels so the angels will do whatever the believer desires. I think this is not advisable. The angels are the angels of God. They obey no one but God.

The angels obey Jesus Christ because God speaks through Christ. The angels will obey us only to the extent that what we are doing and saying are the actions and words of Christ, who in turn is portraying the will of the Father.

The Christian people of our day may imagine they are ready to march against the enemy. But they often are doing so in their own strength and wisdom. They do not understand that the armies of Hell are preparing for the last great battle. The cunning of the lords of darkness far surpasses our Christian foolishness, immaturity, and self-will.

The Kingdom work of the last days will proceed only as Christ is able to find saints who will lay down their lives so He can express His Life and will in them. This is of supreme importance to understand, because we have an abundance of man-centered, man-devised programs being presented to us—humanistic plans to "save a lost and dying world."

I believe we of today have a false vision of the Day of the Lord. We are picturing the Lord Jesus coming to take His Church to Heaven. This is not a scriptural vision. The true picture of the last days and the return of the Lord is that of a fierce battle and of a powerful army. This is what we should be envisioning. This is what we should be preparing for.

A day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness. Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army comes, such as never was of old nor ever will be in ages to come. (Joel 2:2)

Some maintain that the passage above is confined to an invading army of locusts. However the text of verses one through eleven of Chapter Two of Joel is parallel to other passages that clearly are referring to the Day of the Lord.

Christians and Jews may be awaiting with glee the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven. They simply do not understand what they are facing!

Woe to you who long for the day of the LORD! Why do you long for the day of the LORD? That day will be darkness, not light. It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him. Will not the day of the LORD be darkness, not light—pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness? (Amos 5:18-20)

Again:

I heard and my inward parts trembled, at the sound my lips quivered. Decay enters my bones, and in my place I tremble because I must wait quietly for the day of distress, for the people to arise who will invade us. (Habakkuk 3:16—NASB)

Compare:

The remnant of Jacob will be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among flocks of sheep, which mauls and mangles as it goes, and no one can rescue. Your hand will be lifted up in triumph over your enemies, and all your foes will be destroyed. (Micah 5:8,9)

The army of the Lord will attack all the peoples of the earth, including the sinners in Zion.

Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones To judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him." (Jude 1:14,15)

The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: "Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?" (Isaiah 33:14)

The above verses portray accurately the events that will accompany the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth. The Lord will return with His holy ones and wage war against Satan and all his works in the earth, including his works in the Christian churches.

Can you see from this what a false vision we are holding, of Christians being caught up merrily to Heaven? We have been deceived, but now God is opening our eyes to the Scriptures.

When the Lord Jesus departed the earth He ascended from the Mount of Olives. When He returns we will descend to the Mount of Olives, and then move toward Jerusalem with His armies.

Before He descends to the Mount of Olives He will take a position in the air above us and from there the vast multitude of saints who have accompanied Him from Heaven will descend and take up their bodies from their places of interment.

As soon as those saints stand on their feet in their resurrected and glorified bodies, the Spirit of God will come upon the living believers, those who truly are abiding in Christ, and will replace their blood with the Spirit of Life from God.

As soon as the great period of fellowship has been concluded, the entire host will arise as clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then the Lord and His armies will descend to the Mount of Olives and the Battle of Armageddon will commence.

Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. (Zechariah 14:3-5)

When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)

The army of angels commanded by Michael is fully organized and ready to descend and install the Kingdom of God on the earth. What, then, is holding up the redemption of the earth?

The problem is, the army of saints, the army of judges, is not ready to march.

The beginning of the overthrow of Satan is discussed in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation.

And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. (Revelation 12:7-9)

This indeed is a momentous event. These will be terrible days for the people who live on the earth because Satan will be living here.

But why hasn’t Satan been cast down previously? Why has he been allowed to war against the saints from his position in the heavens.

The answer is, there have not been enough saints to overcome him. Now a godly remnant has come forth.

How did the remnant overcome the enormous red dragon?

By the blood of the Lamb.

By the word of their testimony.

By loving not their lives even to death.

The blood of the Lamb gives us the authority to stand up against the accusations of Satan.

The testimony of our life must conform to God’s Word in thought, in word, and in action. We must live in iron righteousness, fiery holiness, and stern obedience to the Father.

I think the third area of overcoming is being emphasized in our day. Can Christ find believers who will cease from their own works, including religious works, and live in His will every moment of every day? This is the rest of God, and we enter it by faith. So few, it seems, are willing to follow Christ into death to self.

There is a remnant today who will meet these three criteria, casting all else aside that Christ may live out His Life and desires in them. When the Father has been totally satisfied that a Gideon’s army has been found, He will empower Michael to cast Satan down to the earth.

We are at this hour now, according to my understanding.

The harvest-rain revival is on the horizon, I believe, and when it has been fulfilled the days of the rule of Antichrist, and of the Great Tribulation, will be here. In order to stand and serve Christ during this epochal period we will have to die in the Lord. The night is coming when no man can work.

Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them." (Revelation 14:13)

If we are to be raised (or changed) when Christ appears we will have to die in the Lord in the present hour. Joel’s army consists of dead-living saints. They are crucified with Christ and Christ is living in them.

We must be prepared if we are to be ready to march with Christ. Our consecration must be total. We must be serving the Lord diligently, obeying God in all matters. We must be called, then chosen because of our consecration, then proven faithful throughout numerous testings that call forth from our personality every bit of dedication and obedience. We must surrender each of our idols as God puts His finger on them.

It is necessary we understand that the war is fought by judgment. The angels exercise the imposition of force against the wicked, but they cannot do this until judgment first has been handed down.

All judgment has been given to Christ by His Father. Now Christ desires to extend the authority of judgment to the members of His Body. God has created man to be His judges. The angels can enforce the decree once the judgment has been decided, but the angels cannot determine what is acceptable to God and what is not. Such judgment is not their responsibility.

Because the historic war we are approaching is conducted on the basis of judgment and not by force alone, each saint who would participate must himself first judged. We cannot judge until we first have been judged. Therefore our preparation for the coming conflict, our readiness to march with Christ, consists largely of removing the areas of spiritual darkness that are found in us. It is time now for this removal of darkness from us to take place.

Part Seven—Conclusion

Each one of the behaviors listed above has the potential to destroy relationships, to cause conflict. They must be removed from the creation of God. The removal begins with those of us who desire to be ready to march with Jesus Christ in the Day of the Lord.

It may be noticed that some of the behaviors, such as anger and reasoning, are clean or unclean according to the circumstances. Sometimes God is angry. Sometimes God reasons with us. But more often than not our anger is not righteous. Also, we do not reason our way to truth, we obey our way to truth. Isn’t that so?

It is true also that being physically dirty may have nothing to do with a lack of inner holiness. It may be due to circumstances beyond the control of the individual.

Some of the behaviors we have listed are sin, and the Lake of Fire has authority over them. Some are adamic characteristics, reflecting our racial heritage. Any adamic trait we have must be replaced with the Divine Substance and Nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. We must become an entirely new creation.

Since we are being made in the image of God, any characteristic we have that cannot be found in God, such as carelessness or shyness, though it is not a candidate for the Lake of Fire much be replaced with the Nature of Christ. How would we fare if God were careless or indifferent?

Today the Spirit of God is directing us to work with Him as He removes these traits from our personality. When one of them is pointed out to us we absolutely must:

Confess it clearly to the Lord.

Denounce it as being an unclean spirit, unworthy of the Kingdom of God.

Renounce it firmly, declaring we want nothing more to do with this area of darkness for eternity.

Draw near to the Lord Jesus Christ for refreshing in our inward nature.

Resist this spirit through the strength Christ gives us, should it ever approach us again.

There is more to developing a holy, wholesome personality than driving out uncleanness by taking the five steps we have mentioned. There must be a committed Christian life, including cross-carrying obedience to Christ, if we are to grow into His image.

There are believers who are so profoundly upset that much counseling is needed before they will have the strength to press forward into full deliverance. Yet the biblical goal is the stature of the fullness of Christ, and this always must be our objective.

We must patiently cast off each one of these personality traits. Each one is a door through which Satan can enter and direct our behavior. None of them is permitted in the Kingdom of God. This battle shall be waged until Satan has no part in us.

Only then are we qualified and competent to serve as one of the Lord’s judges. Only then can Michael be guided and empowered to remove all the works of Satan from the earth.

It may be noticed that the Lord Jesus Christ dealt with physical healing by casting out unclean (unholy) spirits. However, physical healing is a sign pointing toward the real deliverance, which is moral deliverance. As far as physical healing is concerned, we shall receive a perfect body in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. This is not true of moral deliverance, which requires a period of time for its operation.

Our problem is with our understanding of God’s grace. We suppose God is satisfied when we make some progress, and then His grace will take care of our remaining growth. "The work of redemption has not been completed in this believer, but I will call it finished and have fellowship with the person."

There is a certain amount of truth in this idea, in that the blood of Christ is always making up the difference between our growth in Christ and God’s standard. However the compensating power of the blood operates only when we are walking in the light of God’s will for our life. The current idea that the blood compensates whether or not we are obeying God is in error.

The Spirit of God through Paul established the unwavering goal: "until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ."

Once the goal has been written in the Bible it cannot be altered. Since most believers do not attain to this goal during their lifetime it must be true that spiritual growth continues after death. But it is certain that if we do not serve Christ with all diligence now, during our discipleship on the earth, we will be facing a disappointed and angry Christ when we die. We will jeopardize our appointed rank in the Kingdom and lose a significant part of our inheritance—or there may be even more serious consequences.

It is important to note that the healing of the personality is what salvation is. Grace is not a substitute for the healing of the personality or an alternative to it; or something that saves us in spite of our lack of personality transformation.

It is the transformation itself that is salvation. Salvation is not referenced to Heaven but to restoration of fellowship with God. So we cannot say that grace is a substitute for the transformation because it is the transformation itself that is salvation. Grace is God through Christ enabling the transformation into Christ’s image, not providing an alternative to it.

The above statement seems to be just about impossible for believers to grasp. They will say, "You are telling us that we are saved by grace through faith, and then we should perform righteous works to demonstrate that we are saved."

My response is, "You almost have it. The clear truth is, grace and faith themselves produce transformation, which is salvation. Righteous behavior is not something that we add to our salvation, it is the salvation itself."

Let’s put it this way: apart from a change in our character there is no genuine grace and faith. Faith minus character change is dead, as the Apostle James informs us.

Our problem in thinking is due to the fact that we are regarding salvation as eternal residence in Heaven, rather than what it is in actuality, a transformation of our character.

Righteous behavior on the part of His creatures, which always is God’s ultimate goal, depends on an inward change. First, we strive to obey the commands in the New Testament, always going to the Throne of Grace to obtain wisdom and strength so we can indeed keep these commandments.

As we keep these commandments, holiness is created in our inward nature. As holiness is created in our inward nature, our inward holiness governs our outward behavior so that we behave righteously.

We understand, therefore, that our keeping of Christ’s commandments is a scaffolding that holds us up until holiness is created in us. Inward holiness, the writing of the eternal moral law of God on our mind and heart, is itself the new covenant of salvation.

The Lord Jesus Christ is anointed with the fullness of the Spirit of God that He might transform His people, changing them from spiritually oppressed, defeated individuals into oaks of righteousness. When this transformation has been accomplished, the oaks of righteousness will rebuild all that has been destroyed by sin.

We have been given the authority for character transformation by the blood atonement made on the cross of Calvary. We have been given the wisdom and power necessary for character transformation through the baptism with the Spirit of God.

Now the time has come on God’s calendar for the actual character transformation to take place. This era of redemption was prefigured in the annual Day of Atonement. The Day of Atonement follows the feast of Pentecost. The twentieth century was the century of Pentecost. The twenty-first century will be that of the Blowing of Trumpets, of the Day of Atonement, and, finally, the feast of Tabernacles.

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, To proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, And provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. (Isaiah 61:1-4)

The Day of Vengeance is upon us. God is ready to bring an eternal judgment on all sin, thus perfecting His royal priesthood and redeeming all who will receive Jesus Christ as their lawful Lord and Savior.

"Lord, I pray I always may think as Christ is thinking; speak as Christ is speaking; and act as Christ is acting. I pray I will be filled with all the Fullness of God. I pray that at His coming I will receive a body like that of Christ. I pray there will be in me not one trait that is not found in the Lord Jesus Christ. May this be true of me for eternity."