This week’s lesson is a lesson to help us be free from the bad habits and bondage of satan. We will be looking at the Children of Israel and their slavery in Egypt and applying it spiritually to our own lives. It’s time that we live in the freedom that God has given to us as Sons and Daughters. I pray you will be blessed and encouraged!
Handout: Exit Egypt
The Holy Spirit showed me something this week. It really opened my eyes and it is on my heart to share it with you all since we are all tempted sometimes. You may be struggling with something as well that you feel defeated over. I pray this helps your heart too.
James 1:14 “ But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”
For a while now, I have really been struggling with some things and getting really frustrated with myself over it. Just when I think I have the victory over it, here it comes again and I find myself going around and around the same mountain over and over. I was beating myself pretty bad and was feeling despair really and I decided to just post how I was feeling on facebook for all the world to see! I know…it’s crazy but I did it anyway even though I’m usually a very private person. So here are the words I posted on Facebook, this week...
"Yeah Ok so this Love/Hate relationship with food is really starting to bug me...why can't I just be normal!!!! Why is it so hard to say no to an icecream cone or a mello yello???? I am so frustrated with myself...How can I be so weak with GOD'S Spirit living inside me which is so strong...I'm getting on my own nerves! uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh"
The next morning after I got home from taking Nathan, to his ride for school, I just continued to sit in the car instead of going back in my house and I began to pray. I was ashamed, broken hearted, and upset with myself...and let me clear something up...this food thing...it's not about a weight number or how I look...it's not about vanity...it's about me acting out a behavior that I don't want to do. It's about lack of self discipline. The Word of GOD tells me in 1 Corinthians 6:19 that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. I am to be thankful for my body and my health and to take care of it. GOD has given us good, healthy foods to eat for nourishment, but satan has made many foods that are bad for us to try to steal our health and strength that we need to use for GOD’S work. I am a daughter of the Most High and here I am out of control, and so weak over something so small as an ice cream cone, a soda, chip, or whatever it is, and it may be a different kind of behavior or addiction for you. Some people practice very healthy habits but maybe they have trouble keeping their mouths shut. Maybe they gossip and talk about others, or maybe they work to much and don’t spend enough time with their family or with GOD.
Maybe you are a smoker and you really want to stop but you can’t. Perhaps you don’t deal wisely with your money and you find yourself being a compulsive shopper to make yourself feel better. There are all sorts of bad habits that we can get caught up in. The point is, if we are doing something that is hurting us, and we know it is harmful, but we continue to do it feeling helpless, THAT IS AN ADDICTION AND IT MUST STOP!
So this morning I was feeling defeated over my issue with unhealthy food and I began crying out to GOD for help knowing that He does try to help me but I just do it anyway. So I did not really know what to pray for. I had the radio on a Christian station and suddenly a man came on the air and began to quote this verse.
Romans 12:1-2 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Now I know these verses. I've read them many times, but this morning it JUMPED out at me, and The Holy Spirit spoke so gently to my heart. HE said..."You gave me your heart and soul when you were 9 years old and I saved you, but you never gave me your body."
Whoa! I started thinking, my mind racing! I realized, oh my! I never have consciously out loud say to GOD, “Here is my body. I am giving You complete control. I was trembling and my spirit cried out. LORD, overtake me, every part of me, but I don't know how to let it go. I was afraid. The Holy Spirit spoke to me again. "There is NO ONE that you can trust more, with all of you, than me. I will take care of you."
I was crying so much and I just said, LORD please forgive me for being afraid and help me to trust YOU more. By faith, take my body and also my mind and use it for YOUR glory. I want to be like a puppet controlled by The Holy Spirit. I really do.
I have learned that it is only when we are "enslaved", when we fully surrender everything to Christ that we are really FREE! I want to continue to live in that understanding!
I know I still will have this flesh to contend with, and it won't let go easily, but I also know that GOD will help me surrender my will and everything to HIM and HE will help me and Beloved, if you are struggling with something, HE will help you too!
1 Corinthians 2:16 "For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."
We already have inside us everything we need to be MORE than a Conqueror, but it's allowing that transition to take place. We can think with the mind of the flesh, or we can choose to think with the mind of Christ that we have been given! WE HAVE A CHOICE! WOW! We are empowered by The Power of the Holy Spirit inside us!
Galatians 5:16 "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh."
Galatians 5:25 "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."
I have thought often this week about the children of Israel and their Exit from bondage in Egypt. How God freed them and took care of their need. Now we are in not way speaking bad about the country of Egypt or the people who live there, we love them and know that many of our brothers and sisters in Christ are from Egypt, but in those days, Egypt was an enemy to Israel and the people of Israel were slaves in that land. God sent Moses to bring them up out of that bondage and take them to the land of Canaan that He had promised them. On their journey out of Egypt it was hard but God provided for them and gave them food and water and clothed them. Still they grumbled and complained so often, not being thankful. I thought about my own life and these things I struggle with and how GOD has provided me with good things and still my flesh longs after the bad ones at times.
Remember when the Children of Israel began to complain to Moses about the food that God had provided?
Numbers 11:4 “And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.”
Now the food they listed was not unhealthy food but at the present time, GOD was providing Manna for them to eat. It was what was best for them at that time, but still, instead of being thankful for it, they began to long for what they had when they were enslaved. They forgot the great victory of being free, and was only thinking from their minds of fleshly desires! The craving was so strong, that emotion so strong they were willing to give up their freedom for that food! That is absurd! Isn’t it, but we are the exact same way at times! We get saved, born again, free from sin and hell and then time can go by and we find ourselves getting into sin again, forgetting the bondage it caused.
This is why divorce rates are at an all time high, why in America and other countries the obesity levels are at an all time high and crime is up, simply because we are living out our emotions. People give up their children and a loving spouse for that one night with someone else. People give up their health for that unhealthy food or drink, people give up their lungs to that cigarette. There is so much junk that we trade our treasures in life for and why? We do this because we are not thinking with the mind of Christ. We are not walking in the Spirit. We are only going by our fleshly emotions! It is a trick of Satan to defeat us and we fall into it so many times! ENOUGH!
Here is what the Lord says in His word to Israel…
Deuteronomy 7:7-8 “The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; "but because the LORD loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”
We too have been chosen!
1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”
Why oh why would we complain and go back into the old bad habits instead of walking in the freedom that GOD has provided. It’s time for us to Exit Egypt. It’s time for us to shake the dust of bondage off our feet and press on toward our Canaan Land!
Rise from the dust. Remove the slave bands from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion. Go now; leave your bonds and slavery. Put Egypt behind you, with everything it represents, for it is unclean to you. You are the LORD'S holy people. Purify yourselves, you who carry home the vessels of the LORD. You will not leave in a hurry, running for your lives, for the LORD will go ahead of you and the God of Israel will protect you from behind.
Sure there are fish, leeks, onions and garlic in Egypt. There is pleasure in sin for season. We can decorate our pits can get comfortable, make it seem nice, but it’s still a pit! It’s only when we get a glimpse of our Canaan, that we begin ask ourselves, why in the world would we settle for living in Egypt with only pleasure for moment when we can have our Land of promise filled with freedom and wisdom and understanding…filled with GOD! Nothing in our Egypts, no matter how much pleasure it might bring for a while…NOTHING can be even close to as satisfying to our souls as living in our Canaans! It’s time to Exit Egypt!
Psalm 63:3 “Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.”
We must…WE MUST begin that transition of thinking with the mind of CHRIST instead of just living by our emotions and cravings. Yes I understand those emotions can be so strong, and we alone can not over come them, but WE ARE NOT ALONE.
1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
I can live without junk food, you can live without cigarettes, we can live without gossiping, we can live without all these bad habits that keep us in bondage. What we CAN NOT live without, is JESUS CHRIST! He is what living is about! In HIM there is freedom and life and peace and comfort and passion and excitement!!!
Now be warned, after you make up your mind to follow Christ to your Canaan, know that just like Pharaoh in those days did not give up his slaves easily, the devil will not give you up easily. He will bring that temptation up to you every chance he gets and if you are not reading GOD’S word and praying daily to strengthen your spirit, then he will enslave you again because our flesh is weak! However, if you will feed your spirit man, the word of GOD and pray daily, spending time with God and listening to His voice and obeying His word then you can live victoriously over that bondage! You can make steps toward your Canaan! God is good and He had placed the Holy Spirit inside you for comfort and guidance but you must follow! That means surrendering your will.
Now when we got saved, we all bowed down before GOD and confessed our sin and asked JESUS CHRIST to be our LORD and SAVIOR. We surrendered our will to HIM. However, it does not end there! We must surrender our will to Him day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, second by second in order to walk in the Spirit. It’s making a choice to ask HIM what to do each second, to ask HIM to help you make the right choices…it’s a second by second thing, a minute by minute thing. Do not give the devil time to get into your mind. If you give him a minute he will take an hour!
We must allow the mind of Christ to take over our minds, because that is where the temptation and the battle starts, in our minds!
Romans 7:23 “ 23But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”
Paul writes: ( I see myself in this so much)
I can anticipate the response that is coming: "I know that all God's commands are spiritual, but I'm not. Isn't this also your experience?" Yes. I'm full of myself—after all, I've spent a long time in sin's prison. What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can't be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God's command is necessary.
But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can't keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.
It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.
I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question?
The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different. (Romans 14-25 The Message)
I am so thankful to for JESUS CHRIST! HE is the one that can help me live in the freedom that GOD has prepared and promised me! Dear one…HE is the way for you too…the ONLY WAY!
I'm asking all of you to pray for me. This is a battle that I have fought for my whole life and I want victory over it. I know all I have to do is step out by faith and claim it and walk in it, own it, but everyday will be a struggle to do that because I am human and I have a sinful nature that is tagging along! I must keep it in check and under subjection and I know that the battle isn't mine but the LORD'S!
If you are struggling with something today that has you bound down...KNOW that GOD is there and HE will help you too...call out to HIM...it doesn't matter what it is...we were created to live in freedom! We are not wimps! WE can do this through HE WHO HAS ALL THINGS UNDER HIS FEET!!!!
I love you all and I pray that this has helped you in some way and touched your hearts.
Philippians 4:13 “ 13I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
John 8:36 “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
Dear Righteous, Holy, Heavenly Father,
Thank You for being all powerful. Thank You for the grace and mercy that You give to use every single day that we live and breathe. Thank You that we can be free in Christ. Lord help us to open our eyes and see the bondage that has taken us from You and help us to break those bands of slavery from around our necks so that we can live and serve You as Your sons and daughters. Help us bring glory and honor to You. Thank You for Jesus and the free pardon of sin. Thank You for relationship and for love. Please give us wisdom and discernment about evil and the traps he has laid out for us. Help us to see it and run away from it no matter how appealing he makes it seem. Thank You for making a way of escape with every temptation and for loving us the way that You do. You are the lover of our souls and our strength. We will ever praise You and worship You because You are worthy of all praise. In the Mighty, Lovely name of Jesus we pray…Amen.
March 13, 2011