IT IS IMPORTANT TO STAY CLOSE TO THE HEART OF THE SHEPHERD
The Father heart of God is that the sheep would not be separated from their Shepherd (Jesus Christ). His desire is for us to remain close to Him, so that we would know His voice and follow Him. Jesus said:
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27).
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever” (Psalm 23).
What a beautiful picture King David describes of the sheep as they are led by their Shepherd (the Lord Jesus Christ). How easy it is to hear the voice of the Shepherd as we stay close to Him.
- THERE IS GREAT SAFETY IN STAYING CLOSE TO THE SHEPHERD.
- THERE IS GREAT COMFORT WHEN WE REMAIN CLOSE TO HIIM.
BEWARE THE ROBBER OF PEACE
But Jesus warns, that others also will enter the sheepfold - not by the door, but through illegitimate means. He warns that there will be those who will come, to thieve and rob from the sheep.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber” (John 10:1).
Because our enemy hates the Voice of the Lord and the peace that He brings, he will try to usurp (illegitimately take the place of) the authority of Christ and the peace that He brings. These enemy agents enter, not by a known way, but through illegitimate and deceptive means. Jesus warns us that He alone is the door of the sheep. As we hear His voice, He calls us by name, leading us out to follow Him. Jesus said:
“Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep” (John 10:7).
“But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice” (John 10:2-4).
- CHRIST ALONE IS THE DOOR OF THE SHEEP.
- THE ENEMY ENTERS THROUGH DECEPTIVE AND ILLEGITIMATE MEANS.
THE SOURCE OF ALL DISTRESS IS PRIDE
With our hearts we worship; with our mouths we praise. To God alone be all of our worship, to God alone be all of our praise. Yet sadly this is not always the case. There is a spirit of error sweeping across the nations usurping the power of praise. For the purpose of praise is to bring us into agreement and to bind us together with the Author of praise (who is God). Our enemy (Lucifer) through deception has usurped the purpose of praise, robbing man’s peace in the process. But the source of all distress is pride. Pride brings with it spirits of jealousy, competition and strife. King Saul was angry when he heard the exploits of David being praised more than his own, so when he heard the words that the women sang, from that day forward his eye (of jealousy) was upon David.
“So the women sang as they danced, and said: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed only thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” So Saul eyed David from that day forward” (1 Samuel 18:7-9).
Imaginations attach themselves to the spirit of pride because pride distorts the mind and damages the soul. It makes mankind to have grandiose delusions of self-importance so that he thinks of himself more highly than he ought, or to think he is something that he is not. Regarding the different gifts given to the Body of Christ, Paul warns us:
“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3).
The Apostle Paul also warns us, that we must cast down everything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4 & 5).
THE LURE OF THE FALSE ANOINTING
Because pride is a spirit, it releases a demonic power. Pride connects itself to the spirit of competition and the spirit of competition to the spirit of error. Error is connected to works of deceit. When a man consistently operates out of a spirit of pride, a false anointing will follow. The false anointing manifests itself by producing a false ecstasy, but it does so by using a counterfeit power. A false anointing will never draw the PRESENCE of Christ, and confusion inevitably follows.
WHEN MAN OPERATES OUT OF A SPIRIT OF ERROR, IT BRINGS CONFUSION TO THE BODY OF CHRIST.
Mankind is in need of a PERSONAL Christ, but the spirit of pride is a blockade to the voice of Christ. The connection between body and soul is great, so that pride blocks the understanding of a man. Mind- binding spirits connect themselves to the spirit of pride in a man, so that he cannot hear and he cannot understand. The more a man connects to the spirit of pride, the more he will look to the false anointing. As a man continues to seek this false anointing, the anointing of God departs from his life and, like Saul, a distressing spirit from God may follow. Though Saul continued to prophesy in the midst of the house, the Spirit of the Lord had left him. Like Saul, others also can continue to prophesy (or speak) ‘in the midst of the house’ but it will be under a false anointing. When the Spirit of the Lord left Saul, he became afraid of David and sought to kill him, because he saw that the Spirit of the Lord was with him.
“And it happened on the next day that the distressing spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied inside the house. So David played music with his hand, as at other times; but there was a spear in Saul’s hand. And Saul cast the spear, for he said, ‘I will pin David to the wall!’ But David escaped his presence twice. Now Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him, but had departed from Saul” (1 Samuel 18:10-12).
THE ENDANGERMENT OF PRIDE IS THAT MAN WILL NOT PROCEED TO THE CROSS BUT PERSIST IN HIS OWN WAY ~ THEREFORE, WE MUST CLING TO THE SAFEGUARD OF PRAISE!
WE BECOME BOUND TO THE ONE THAT WE PRAISE
Lucifer (also known as Satan) knows very well the power of praise. He knows that we are bound to the one that we praise. Lucifer was cast out of heaven because he wanted to be enthroned like the Most High God.
“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit” (Isaiah 14:12-15).
Satan even asked Jesus to fall down and worship him.
“Again, the devil took Him (Jesus) up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve” (Matthew 4:8-10).
But when Lucifer fell he took a third of the angels with him. These angels also fell because they had bound themselves to Lucifer and became infected by the same spirit of pride.
- WE PRAISE THE ONE THAT WE LOOK TO AND WE BIND OURSELVES TO THE ONE THAT WE PRAISE.
- BE VERY CAREFUL THEN AS TO THE ONE THAT YOU LOOK TO; BE VERY CAREFUL AS TO THE ONE THAT YOU PRAISE.
“And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth” (Revelation 12:3 & 4).
“So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:9).
THE AUTHOR OF ALL SUCCESS IS CHRIST
We know that the pride of life does not come from God, but the world.
“For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 John 2:16).
Our ignorance precedes the enemy’s attack as demons gain power through works of deceit. But when deceit is exposed by the light of Christ, these demonic powers can no longer operate. When man takes his eyes off the finished work of the Cross he forgets that he is dust. But the blood of Jesus Christ and the power of the Cross is greater than the spirit of pride. Where pride inflates, the Cross brings humility.
THE ECSTASY OF PRIDE MUST BE REPLACED BY THE ECSTASY OF THE CROSS.
There is an entrance to praise no man knows of ~ the gate of the One who loves us ~ Jesus Christ. To gain freedom from the spirit of pride we must GO BACK TO THE THRONE OF GRACE and take on the nature of Christ ~ for the Author of all success is Christ!
- WE PRAISE THE ONE WHOM OUR HOPE IS IN.
- OUR ENTRANCE TO PRAISE IS THE GATEWAY OF CHRIST.
- BEAUTIFUL IN ITS SIMPLICITY, IS THE WONDERFUL CROSS OF CHRIST!
“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfil my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:1-8).
“Dear Lord, I thank You for the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, and His finished work on the Cross on my behalf. I ask You to forgive me for every time I have not recognized the grace of Your anointing and Your finished work, and where instead I have operated out of a spirit of pride. Where I have knowingly or unknowingly tried to draw the admiration of others to myself, or have operated in a false anointing, I ask You to forgive me. Where I have given praise to man instead of to God and bound myself to the spirit of pride I also ask You to forgive me. I now completely renounce all attachments to, or covenants made with the spirit of pride - both from those in my past generations and those I chose for myself. I renounce also, all attached spirits of jealousy, competition, strife, error, mind-binding spirits, and spirits of deceit and confusion. I ask You now to set a holy guard around my heart and mind against these things. Please heal me, Lord, where my heart needs healing, so that I will be secure in Christ. I ask now that You anoint afresh my spiritual ears and spiritual eyes, so that I may receive fresh direction in the purposes of Christ. In Jesus’ mighty name I pray, Amen”.
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