In previous articles we’ve seen that God wants to transfer who we are in heaven (a justified spirit) to who we are on earth (a fallen soul). This process is called sanctification. There are three obstacles that keep this from happening. They are:
- How we deal with sin.
- How we deal with natural information.
- How we deal with the Devil.
In our last article we discussed how to deal with sin. In this article, we’ll discuss how to deal with natural information.
Obstacle #2— How We Deal with Natural Information.
What is natural information? Natural information is information we gather with our 5 senses. We use this information to determine how we think things are going in our lives. How’s our marriage? How’s our family? How’s our finances? How’s our health? How are we?
When we pray to God, we ask Him to change our situation— to help us. We gauge His response based on whether we think He answers our prayers or not.
But have you noticed all of our perceptions are based on a physical perspective? What about our spiritual perspective? What about the perspective that says through a spiritual rebirth we are COMPLETE in heaven (previous newsletter: Why God Gives Man a New Nature)?
From a heavenly perspective, the only thing our earthly lives can do for us is to show us who we USED TO BE. That’s because in Christ, our sin is nothing more than a shadow. It resides in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, a bygone place, a piece of history we walk through in TIME but has no baring on who we are in ETERNITY.
Though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and staff they comfort me.Psalm 23:4
As eternal beings we reside in eternity. We live by faith in the Son of God who loved us and gave himself for our sins— in time. It’s our heavenly perspective that shows us who we REALLY ARE. It’s our heavenly perspective that gives us confidence things work to our good. It’s through this perspective we gauge our lives.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.Galatians 2:20
But do we really believe what the Bible says about who we are in heaven? The answer is, NO. We so easily slip back into judging life based on an earthly perspective.
As a result we develop phobias. Phobias are about using OTHER THINGS to protect us, since deep down, we’re NOT convinced God is going to.
At first it’s fear and worry, but over time, fear and worry grow into full fledged phobias where complex control mechanisms take over our lives.
Here is a list of the top 10 phobias affecting people today.
- Arachnophobia: fear of spiders.
- Ophidiophobia: fear of snakes.
- Acrophobia: fear of heights.
- Agoraphobia: fear of situations in which escape is difficult.
- Gynophobia: fear of dogs.
- Astraphobia: fear of thunder and lightening.
- Trypanophobia: fear of injections.
- Social Phobias: fear of social situations.
- Pteromerhanophobia: fear of flying.
- Mysophobia: fear of germs or dirt.
What can we do to keep this from happening? How do we deal with the perception that God is not answering us?
Viewing Life from God’s Perspective
Do you really know your needs? On what criteria do you judge God’s answers? Correct answers are always based on the BEST perspective. If you could see the BIG PICTURE you would better understand God’s answers or NON answers to you.
Consider this story to better understand perspective.
A farmer had one horse that he used for tilling his fields. One day the horse escaped into the hills. When the farmer’s neighbors heard about it, they sympathized with the man over his bad luck. “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows.” said the farmer.
A week later, the horse returned with a herd of wild horses from the hills. This time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows.” said the farmer.
Then, when the farmer’s son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone agreed that this was very bad luck. Not the farmer, who replied, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows.”
Some weeks later, the army marched into the village and forced every able-bodied young man to go fight in a bloody war. When they saw that the farmer’s son had a broken leg, they let him stay. Everyone was very happy at the farmer’s good luck.
Good luck? Bad luck? GOD KNOWS!
God always has the best perspective for your life. He answers your prayers based on what’s best for you. Our part is to be convinced of that. In a previous newsletter entitled, “Bringing Heaven to Earth In You”, I showed you how meditation helps you become convinced of that. When combined with an effective scripture reading plan, meditation helps you get God’s perspective for your life.
In the APPENDIX of my book, Truth Based Thinking, I provide a scripture reading plan and scriptures that help you meditate in three categories:
1. Scriptures that help you Rest in God.
These scriptures let you turn it all over to God. The Psalms are particularly good for rest. In addition to the scriptures I’ve provided, I suggest you start in Psalm 1 and meditate all the way to Psalm 150. Some of my favorites: Psalm 1, 15, 23, 27, 51, 55, 91, 119, 121 and 131.
2. Scriptures that address man’s two predominate weaknesses— anger and fear.
These are the related expressions of anger: bitterness, malice, clamor, envy, resentment, intolerance, criticism, revenge, wrath, hatred, seditions, jealousy, attack, gossip, sarcasm, and unforgiveness.
These are the related expressions of fear: anxiety, doubts, timidity, indecision, superstition, withdrawal, loneliness, over-aggression, worry, inferiority, cowardice, suspicion, hesitancy, depression, haughtiness, social shyness.
Fear and anger sit at the core of man’s being. They chip away at his ability to trust God. These scriptures address that problem.
3. Scriptures that help you create positive faith.
Positive faith is when what we say and do match. These scriptures predominately address issues of the heart and mouth.
As you ponder the scriptures I’ve provided, listen to the voice of God in your spirit. Let Him reassure you that He is working to your good.
Lose Yourself to God
Another reason why God can’t answer our prayers is because we don’t really “go for it.” We play it safe. We don’t “let go and let God”. But God explains that if we lose our life to Him we actually find it.
If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.Matthew 16:24-25
We SAVE and thereby lose our lives, when we live from an earthly perspective. We LOSE and thereby save our lives, when we live from God’s perspective. This allows God to bring heaven to earth and actually make our lives work.
Lovers of Sin
Another reason God can’t answer our prayers is because we LOVE our sin. We don’t want to give it up. It’s not that we love the fruit of our sin, because that brings pain, but we love the pleasure it brings— such as in sexual sin or drug abuse.
Many phobias create situations where you “get to be the victim”. Victims love sympathy because they can use it to gain control over their environments and people.
Light has come into the world, but men LOVED darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.John 3:19
God cannot answer your prayers until you confess sin and ask Him to wash it from you. We discovered how to do this in “How We Deal With Sin.”
Being Aware of Negative Faith
Sometimes God can’t answer prayer because we deal in negative faith. What is negative faith? Consider the following scripture:
“The word (of faith) is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.”Romans 10:8
The Bible explains that there is an express connection between our mouth and our heart. If you really want to know what you believe, just listen to what your MOUTH is saying.
You may be able to pretend for awhile that you trust God, but just listen to what your mouth says when He TESTS you. Your mouth reveals the truth of your heart.
So faith can actually be positive or negative. If your mouth (faith) confesses what it negatively believes about God, then it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s not that there is power in our confession, the power of answered prayer is always in God alone. It’s just that our mouth reveals what our heart truly believes about God and therein lies the problem.
You don’t really expect God to answer your prayer if you don’t believe Him, do you?
Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.Hebrews 11:6
It’s not that God is a cruel task master and that He judges us harshly in our doubt. He is aware that we are weak. We just need to be aware how important it is for our heart and mouth to MATCH if we want God to help us.
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear (obey) him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.Psalm 103:13-14
In the next article we’ll talk about the third obstacle to sanctification: How to deal with the Devil.