Don’t Get Caught in the Trap

by Gina Lynnes

There is no question about it. The battle call of the Lord is resounding in the hearts of God’s people. One person after another shared with us after reading the article about waking up the mighty men, that the Lord had already been speaking to them about taking their authority in Christ.

Clearly it is time for God to arise and His enemies to be scattered…and He is arising through us, the glorious Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Did you catch that last phrase?

I said we ARE the GLORIOUS church of the Lord Jesus Christ. I know we might not look very glorious at times. I know we still miss it and mess things up. But, frankly, I’m tired of focusing on that. I’m tired of talking about what we could be…and what we should be…and what we will be one day when we all get everything just right.

I’m ready to start confessing that we ARE the glorious Church now! I’m ready to start exercising some faith and calling things that be not as though they were. I’m ready to start talking about what we are instead of what we aren’t.

And the fact is, we are the blood-washed Church of the Lord Jesus Christ! We are the ones of whom Jesus said, “The gates of hell will not prevail against you!” We are the ones He loved and gave Himself for. We are the ones He is (right now, today) sanctifying and washing with the water of the Word so that He can present us to Himself “not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but…holy and without blemish.”

We are the ones the New Testament calls “more than conquerors.” We are the ones of whom the Bible says, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)

You and I—as scraggly and imperfect as we might appear to be at times—are the ones that God chose before the foundation of the world to be His own. We are the ones hand-picked by Jesus, “who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever!” (Rev. 1:5-6)

Don’t Fall Back into the Trap

That’s what the Bible says about us. But for the most part, that’s not what we’ve been saying about ourselves. On the contrary, we’ve spent countless hours focusing on what’s wrong with us. We’ve repeatedly examined the book of Acts, not to see who we are and what we can do but to see who we aren’t and what we haven’t done!

We have countless discussions about why we aren’t as powerful and glorious as the early Church was. “It’s because we don’t pray enough,” says one. “It’s because we don’t worship enough, “says another. “We haven’t repented enough…We don’t fear God enough….Our churches are too big…Our churches are too small…We don’t give enough…We put too much emphasis on giving…We don’t evangelize enough…”

I’ve not only heard and believed all those things at one time or another, I’ve said some of them! So I’m certainly not taking shots at anybody.

What I want to suggest to you is this. While all of those things may be true to some degree—they are not the reason for the lack of power and glory in our midst. On the contrary, the more we focus on them, the more we perpetuate the problem.

The more we examine our lack of power, the more powerless we become. The more we beat each other over the heads about our spiritual failures, the more we fail. Granted, a big dose of condemnation may produce a short-term burst of spiritual activity—but it never lasts. And it never, ever brings the real power and glory of God into manifestation in our lives.

Do you know why? Because when we try qualify for the power and glory of God by doing good works—no matter how spiritual those works may seem to be—we have fallen back the trap of religion.

Exactly what is religion? It is trying to earn by works that which God has freely given us by grace. When religion creeps in, it chokes off our faith and keeps us from exercising authority over the devil in the name of Jesus. Religion hinders the miracle-working power of God in our lives. Religion keeps us stumbling over the same stupid weaknesses and sins again and again.

Religion binds us and keeps us from reigning like Romans 5:17 says we should—as “kings in life through the one Man Jesus.” Yet it is the voice of religion itself that can often be heard condemning the Church her for her lack of power. It is religion that points its finger at believers and says things like, “You don’t have the power of God because you haven’t paid the price for it! You aren’t holy enough…You aren’t spiritually hungry enough…You have to give more…pray more…worship more…to walk in the glory of God.

How Much Is Enough?

That is the voice and the message of religion and the devil loves it.

Why? Because it strips us of spiritual power and leaves us helpless before his onslaughts. When we rise up to take authority over him and to exercise the power of God, all he has to do is say, “You don’t have any right to stand against me! You haven’t done enough yet! You aren’t worthy to walk in that kind of power.”

If we believe the voice of religion, we’ll be unable to answer those accusations. Even if we’ve been diligent and faithful in prayer, how can we be sure we’ve prayed enough? After all, exactly how much does the power of God cost? And if we pay the price with prayer or holiness, how much does it take to fill the bill?

If spiritual hunger or worship is the key to power—can we be sure we’ve hungered desperately enough…or worshipped sincerely enough? Did we cry? Did we have goosebumps? How can we be sure we got it right?

We can’t. So the moment we put our faith in those things as the source of our power, we are spiritually “dead in the water.” We are trapped in powerless religion. And while we busy ourselves spending hours…days…and years trying to get holy enough, pray enough, give enough, seek enough and get hungry enough to qualify for real Holy Ghost power and authority, the devil skips off scott-free!

That’s why it’s so vitally important for us to silence the voice of religion in our lives and get the scriptural facts straight: There is only one Man who ever has or ever will qualify for the power and authority of God—the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He ALONE is worthy. He alone could pay the price. And we as believers have inherited His power and authority for only one reason—because we are in Him.

Power through Union with Him

That is the reason we have dominion over the devil and all his works. It is not because we’re so holy. It’s not because we’ve logged hours in prayer. It is simply because we’re in union with Jesus. By faith we are one with Him!

No wonder the passage in Ephesians six which tells us how to deal with the devil begins with this simple exhortation:

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”

Notice that verse doesn’t just say, “be strong.” It says be strong in the Lord. The Amplified Bible puts it this way, “be empowered through your union with Him.” Somehow, the real meaning of that phrase has been lost to many believers.

They think it is telling them to develop strength of spirit by doing spiritual things like those I previously mentioned. They think, “Yeah, if I’m going to have the strength to stand against the devil, I’ll need to pray a lot in tongues and memorize scriptures! I’ll need to fast a couple of weeks and stop watching tv.”

While those things are valid and very beneficial in their own way (and I am highly in favor of them) that is not what this verse is talking about. It doesn’t say, “develop your own spiritual strength.” It says “be strong in your union with the Lord.”

Think for a moment. What first brought you into union with the Lord Jesus?

That’s simple. It was your faith in His death, burial and resurrection. You believed that He, the Son of God, came to earth as a man, lived a perfect life, then bore your sins on the cross to set you free from them and was raised again to share with you His victorious, eternal Life.

You weren’t united with Him by believing in something you had done, were you? Certainly not! You were united to Him by putting your trust in what He has done.

Keep it Simple, Saint!

In those first moments and days you were saved, you knew you hadn’t earned the right to go to heaven…but you rejoiced and were confident you were going anyway because Jesus earned that right for you. You knew you hadn’t done anything that would make you worthy to be called a child of God, yet you gladly called God Your Father because you simply trusted in the power of Jesus’ blood to cleanse you and make you a part of His family forever.

Back then, Jesus Himself was the center of your life. You knew it was simply because of Him that you had suddenly stepped into such blessings. It was simply because of who He is and what He has done that all the riches of heaven had been opened to you.

Do you remember the joyful simplicity of those days?

“Sure I do,” you might say, “But when you get a little more mature spiritually, things are just more complicated than that.”

They’re not supposed to be. And if they have become so for us, we should heed the warning Paul gave to the Corinthians when he said, “…I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3).

There is a wonderful simplicity about being in Christ. The moment things begin to get complicated, it is a sign that our minds have been corrupted!

I’m not saying we should stay immature and superficial. Certainly we should grow and mature in the Lord—but not by getting more complicated. We grow by gaining ever deeper revelations of the power that is ours through our union with Jesus in His death and resurrection. We grow by developing our relationship with the Master and our comprehension of the fact that by simple faith in who He is and what He has done, we truly are made righteous. We truly are qualified to walk in His authority and power.

We truly are united with Him!

The Supernatural Muscle of God

Listen to me, precious believer. It’s time we stopped running around looking for new ways to tap into (or qualify for) the power and authority of God. We already HAVE the power and authority of God. What we need to do is walk in it. And to do that, we don’t need something new…we need to center back up on the old!

We need to go back to Jesus, to the cross and the resurrection. We need to stop looking at all our spiritual failures and achievements and just dare to believe that what Jesus did was enough. That righteousness is a gift from Him, pure and simple. That there is nothing—not one single thing!—we can do to add to it, nothing we can do to further qualify for God’s glory than has already been done through Jesus’ blood.

Does that mean we ignore our shortcomings and our sins. No! It means that instead of condemning ourselves for them (or hiding from them by justifying them) we overcome them by applying the Gospel to them. We stop struggling in our own, human strength trying to sin less, live better and do more, and dare to stand up in faith and say:

“By the power that’s mine through the cross of Jesus, I am dead to sin, the world and the flesh. Those things no longer have dominion over me. I refuse to yield to them anymore because Jesus has set me free! By His life that is resident within me, I NOW live the power and glory of God!”

Do you know what happens when you do that? The power of God Himself, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is released in you, to you and through you to back up that confession of faith. Grace, which is the supernatural muscle of Almighty God, floods your being and you find yourself walking in His mighty power.

Why does that grace come?

Does it come because you tried extra hard and were extra sincere in your devotion? Does it come because you prayed an added hour today? Does it come because you qualified for it by suddenly getting more holy? No. No. No!

It comes because you believed the Gospel. It comes because you trusted in the message of the cross in simple faith just like you did the day you were born again. And that message works now just like it did then. It brings God on the scene to do for you what you absolutely cannot do on your own.

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).

Not Was…Is!

Look again at that verse. Notice it doesn’t say that the message of the cross was the power of God to us who have been saved. It says the message of the cross is—right now, today, in this present moment—the power of God for us!

The power of God to do what?

To do everything we need to do! To conquer sin in our lives. To walk in the fruit of the spirit. To drive sickness and disease out of our bodies and our households. To break the devil’s hold on our children. To testify about Jesus and work signs and wonders in His Name. To lay hands on sick unbelievers and see them recover. To cast out demons. To operate in spiritual gifts. To bring the power of God to bear on our communities, our nation and our world. To do the works of Jesus and even greater works than those!

The message of the cross was all the early Church had—and with it, they turned the world upside down! No wonder the devil has worked so hard to distract us from the simple message of the Gospel. No wonder he has come up with complex teachings and doctrines that sound wise but leave us as weak as they found us!

He wanted us to think the message of the cross was only something we needed when we got born again. He didn’t want us to know that by returning to that message again and again, we could have access every day of our lives to the same divine power that first jerked us out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of Light.

He didn’t want us to know that if we just kept looking daily in simple faith to our crucified and resurrected Lord Jesus, the same power that ripped through our spirits when we were spiritual dead men and gave us God’s own life, would continue to transform not only our own lives but our entire world! The Lord wanted us to know it, though. That’s why, through the Apostle Paul, He gave us these wonderfully simple words:

“As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him…” (Col. 2:6).

Once again, how did we first receive Christ Jesus as Lord? We did it by coming in simple faith to Him. We did it, not by “trying to be holy” but by believing on Him and receiving His holiness. We did it not by “trying to be something” but by trusting in Him to be everything in us.

That’s how we received Him…and that’s how we are to walk in Him every day of our lives!

Don’t Miss the Point

Some people would say, “Oh, yeah. I know that principle. I’ve read all the ‘in Him’ scriptures and meditated them hundreds of times. I know all about that.”

Those folks have missed the whole point. The message of the cross isn’t just a principle, it’s a Person. Our faith in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus opens the door daily (Luke 9:23) to an ever-deepening relationship with Him. As we step through that door and fellowship with Him, He helps us comprehend more fully all that is ours through His work of redemption. And the more we comprehend that work of redemption, the better we come to know Him.

It is a never ending cycle! The message of the cross brings us into relationship with Jesus…and our fellowship with Jesus reveals to us more fully the meaning of the cross…which brings us into an even more intimate knowledge of Him.

That’s why the great Apostle Paul who knew more about both the Man and the Message of the Cross than any man who has ever walked the earth, at the very end of his life and ministry could still write these words:

“[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness…]” Phil. 3:10, Amplified Bible.

What I am saying is this. The message of the cross isn’t just something you know. It is your daily connection to a living, breathing, intimate relationship with God Himself. It is what opens the door to His power because it is what opens the door to Him—not just the day you first get saved but every day after that for the rest of your life. For eternity, you will be living in that message because that message is what joins you to Him!

Can you see now why religion—even the Christianized version—is so deadly? It contradicts the message of the cross which is our door of access to Jesus. It puts us in a system of righteousness by works that cuts us off from real fellowship with Him!

Good, spiritual works like holiness, prayer, giving and worship were never meant to be the means by which we gain God’s glory and power. They were meant to be the expressions that emanate from the soul who has already received that glory and power by faith in Jesus. They are supposed to be our heart’s response to the indescribable gift of grace that we have received through Him.

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Am I saying we shouldn’t be concerned about living holy, prayerful lives? Am I saying we should just forget about giving and worship because it’s not really important?

On the contrary, they are extremely important! Why? Because if we aren’t doing those things it’s a sign we have lost the revelation of our union with Jesus. We have somehow let slip the glorious reality of what He did for us when He died and rose again. And by letting that slip, we are missing out on our fellowship with Him.

But we don’t fix that problem by beating ourselves (or others) over the head with condemnation. We don’t fix it by trying…and trying…and trying to do better, Or by having discussions about how powerless the Church is.

What do we do? We do what the old song says to do. We “turn our eyes upon Jesus.” We look full in His wonderful face! We lift up our hearts and thank God for the Blood. We thank Him that because of the cross, we are forgiven…because of the cross we are free from the hindrances of the flesh and the dominion of the devil…and because of the resurrection of Jesus our hearts are responsive and alive to Him!

In other words, by renewing our faith in the message of the cross, we revive our fellowship with Jesus. We grow strong in our union with Him.

Then we can exercise our authority as believers. We can face the devil without flinching and answer his every accusation with the Cross and the Blood. Standing strong in the Lord, we can reign as kings through the one Man Jesus. We can defeat the devil and enforce His victory of Jesus on every battlefield of life.

Well, I’ve written myself happy! I hope I’ve done the same for you.