Testimony of Repentance
The flesh hates this, but the Spirit rejoices. :) The 2 natures sure are interesting to watch. Some scripture to start with –
Galatians 5:17 (KJV) For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. First, a couple good scriptures –
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (KJV) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
Proverbs 3:5-8 (KJV) Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.
For those who are here for the testimony, I’ll try to place it first and be quick. Then, I’ll share what is going on in the unseen. Over the past week, I’ve been praying on 3 items: Smoking & cutting off thoughts/memories from different types of past relationships that keep coming up, which has been producing anxiety/hurts/pains. Although I forgive, it’s been a struggle.
I know what you’re thinking, that’s just 2 things. :) For around 25 years, I have been challenged with smoking both cigarettes and marijuana. I have quit too many times to count, sometimes for multiple years, but as a dog returns to his vomit, so have I. Nonetheless, I recently quit smoking cigs again with Holy assistance and without withdrawals. (More details further down after the testimony).
As for the marijuana, I also put it down. But something was off in my heart. Praise God for showing me this. – A while ago, I didn’t want to use God’s money to buy cannabis. It was very convicting. So, in my own understandings, I said, “Just grow it, it’s legal now!” So although I quit, I still had plants growing and cannabis available. Although I threw away all the devices to smoke it, grinder, bubblers, etc., I still had the source here. How dumb. I’ve been reasoning out in my own understandings what to do with it. “Get some donations for it? Give it away? But wait, don’t lay a stumbling block in front of others? Well, they are going to smoke anyways, my as well give it to them. But wait, that’s influencing them to do something that God is telling me to depart from? Do I throw it away? Wait, I know.. I’ll find a heathen, someone who hates God. An atheist, ya, an atheist!” Ya, the vain philosophies of men…. But, I acknowledged God. “God, you see what I’m thinking. Help me. Tell me what to do!” This has been going on for the past few days after seeing that I’m still holding onto it, knowing it’ll trip me up later. So I go to prayer and ask him to be very specific as to what I need to do.
Tuesday night, I was in a bible study. They asked if I needed prayer, and I asked for severance of thoughts pertaining to others in my past. The next morning as I’m drinking my coffee, I open FB and I see this meme.
I thought, ya.. why should I be stressed, let it go. As I scrolled, something caught my eye in the image. Did you see the fine print? I just added a filter to highlight it –
“Put the dope down.” – lol. This is from someone on FB that I don’t even interact with. I got my answer. Of course, I continued to reason it out. Calling a couple friends who are believers to see what they thought. But I realized something very important: I called people that “may” have given me an out that ‘sounds better’.. I surely didn’t call my Pastor who I know for a fact would have said, “You know you need to get rid of it and not give it to anyone.” I surely didn’t call a brother in the Lord who is on strong meat, “You know you need to throw it away.” Of course I didn’t call them. But watch this stinking flesh play its games – As I was going to bed, I was thinking about the lighting on the plants and adjusting the timer for the lights, I was thinking “Ya, they need to be watered”. I was literally “planning” in my head the actions that would keep them. That’s when I realized, the flesh and Spirit are warring with one another. The flesh with its love for the fiery darts was trying to devise ways to keep it. The flesh was making plans to keep it. “I’ll just finish these plants out, and figure out what I’m doing with it later.” That’s when I realized, “NO! Enough. The Lord has spoken. Put it down. I figured I’d take a video of it for the testimony, and thought of some music. The first song I saw on my phone was, well.. perfect. :) Indeed, I’m sick of it! Indeed, no one could make it better. I had to take control and repent. Enough of the regrets. A simple step – Snip. Take a stand! Repent!
A powerful thing has been learned through the trials by fire – There is one effort to quit that is of self and is from my own understandings (for example with cigarettes – gums, patches, pills, weaning off, etc) and another effort has been under His power (surrender). The latter has been easy, with the former being difficult. His way is simply not reasoning it out, stop thinking about it. Just do my part – put it down. That’s it. Of course praying, confession.. But out of all the times I have quit, the easiest way to quit was doing it with God involved, doing it his way.. not my way.
There’s 2 natures functioning: The flesh wills to continue, receives enjoyment, speaks excuses, and other phrases that will keep the foot entrapped – emotions are usually present. The Spirit wills to cease and is convicted (The enemy of our souls condemns and makes us feel bad about ourselves = We stay where we are. The Spirit convicts us with knowledge = produces repentance, praise God). With this identification, we’re able to fight the good fight.
Here is how it is easy with the Lord’s power from all of my experiences:
A) Stop the reasoning within. Literally stop myself when it’s recognized. Sometimes I can be lost in fleshly thoughts and ideas for hours, sometimes for minutes. It’s stopping myself from leaning on my own understandings. It’s ceasing the ways of men and being wise in my own eyes. It’s halting the vain philosophies of men – and immediately shifting into acknowledging Him instead. Replacing self with Him. This is living the scriptures out. Not my way, but HIS way. Not my will, but your will be done. Basically, do what is written.. literally do it. I read and do it. Not just agree in the head and have a flash of emotions. No, literal action according to what is written – “Yes Lord. Lean not on my own understandings and acknowledge you in all my ways, and you will direct my paths.” Ok, it’s written. I believe it. I will do it. Therefore, it goes something like this: I’m thinking of quitting smoking. I think, “I will buy 1 more pack and have just a few a day and wean myself off” (this is one of MANY vain philosophies that have been used. Here’s another one: “It’s natural, you put it here. It must be for me to smoke!). While reasoning it out, the Spirit speaks, “Acknowledge me.” I stop and acknowledge him – “Lord, you see my thoughts. I am leaning on my own ideas. I am trying to be wise with the wisdom of men. But I acknowledge you. I bring you into my thoughts. You see it Lord, I am reasoning out how to quit smoking. I know it doesn’t work. I seek your face, I seek your guidance. Help Lord.” – Rinse and repeat, daily. Every time I’m blessed with catching the vain imaginations, I simply cast them down and engage Him, “Help Lord.” Sometimes I catch the vain thoughts after a minute or 2, and other times I’m in deep imagination for an hour before it’s realized. Either way, success comes when acknowledging him. Bring him with you in all things. Even if it’s sinful thoughts, I acknowledge him. “I’m sorry for lusting after this thing, help me Lord.. Lord, you see the enemy working on my mind and sending fiery darts.” I say it often, very often: “Help me Lord.” Acknowledge him, and then.. he will do something :)
B) The knowledge of God produces different thoughts of how to handle these things. The Word of God, the Living Word.. He’s a present help in time of need.. The “nature” of God is known in my heart, this is done by study, going to church, etc. In the previous example of lusting after something, I acknowledge him. How do I know when I have the Lord’s guidance? The words heard, are the same words found in scripture. He’s alive, not dead. This is why it’s so important to know the Word. For those who don’t know the word, I find this to be an easy way: If the flesh/selfish nature doesn’t like what I’m hearing, it’s of God. Go against self and do what the flesh hates, and watch God show up. For me, I know my Shepherd’s voice through study and Church. If you do not study, do not know the Word of God, don’t go to Church.. How can you discern between flesh and spirit? Anyways, in this example, I may hear, “Resist the enemy and he shall flee.” I may hear, “Rebuke him in my name.” Whatever it is, when we know the word, it is powerful. Very powerful. So I listen to Him (not man/self/flesh), and obey when I know I heard from Him The way I see it, He is a gentleman, waiting on us at times before His promises come forth. His nature is, “If you will do ____, then I will do ____.” Likened to, “If you resist the enemy, then he shall flee.” As it’s written, faith without works is dead. I play a part here, but it’s an easy part. :) Many times, we pray and say, “God take this from me!”, but we’re not doing anything. We want the blessing, “..then I will do ____”, without the responsibility of “If you will do ____”. So we eliminate it, pray, and wait for something to give.. For me, it simply doesn’t work that way. For example, the popular prayer.. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV) If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” — See the “and” statements? It’s not “or” statements. It doesn’t say, “Pray, and then I will…”. It’s God’s instructions on how to receive from Him and if we want his promises, we have to do it His way, not my way. He says, If you, Christian, will… 1) Humble yourself and 2) pray, and 3) seek My face, and 4) turn from their wicked ways, then.. I will act. To me, it’s a formula – I want God to move, and His instructions to receive the solution is provided. It’s like, 1+1+1+1 = 4. Then I come in and say, well… I wanna do it my way. My emotions want 1+1 = 4. It doesn’t compute. He’s given us all the answers we need.. We simply have to do it His way, without polluting it, based on our own understandings.
C) Do it. Don’t you know that faith without works is dead? Have we not read that we’ll know a tree by its fruit? It’s so simple.. Do my part (1+1+1+1) in order to get HIs answer (4). There’s no other way. So, it goes something like this: Humble myself, aka lean not on my own understandings (1) + Pray, aka acknowledge Him and confess (1) + Seek His face, aka His guidance/word (1) + Turn from my wicked ways, aka Repent (1) = Then, He moves (4). But please see here – There’s nothing more to it. Don’t add to it, don’t take away. Eliminate the, “I need to figure it all out” part. Don’t add the “Well how is this going to work?” part. Stop yourself from “thinking” about how to repent, the issues that come from repentance, etc. Such is basically taking control over the situation because the flesh is weak. Hold steadfast to the faith – don’t lean on our own understandings and don’t interrupt the flow because this is where the difficulties arise.
D) Now, the easy part. The repentance. Seriously, we think it’s hard, we try to figure it out. We are worried about missing our security for when things get hard. “What will I do when I get stressed?”. Just stop the thinking in our own wisdom. It’s only hard because we’re functioning under our own power. Watch here my brethren: Speak to Him in ALL of it. Reason the word out honestly with him. Keep it real with Him. Then, be watchful for the glory of the Lord. For me, it goes like this: “Lord, this flesh loves to smoke. This flesh wants to keep smoking. But you see my heart, I also have the Spirit within who wills to not continue. The 2 are at war with one another and I simply can’t do this. I have no power over addiction, as a matter of fact, to be truthful with you, the flesh looooooves smoking and I want to continue. The only reason why I am reasoning things out is because this flesh wants to devise a way to hold on to the thing it loves. it surely is a snake. But you see, I hate it in the Spirit. I agree with you God, it needs to go.. but I am weak! I’m mere man, I have no power over this enemy. But, in my weakness, you are made strong! Therefore, I will simply listen to you. I don’t know how, when, or where you’re going to do your thing.. but this I know… You cannot lie. You say if I repent, seek your face, pray, humble myself.. then you will move on my behalf. YOU SAID IT, I’m following! You said that you will hear, that you will forgive, and you will heal me of this addiction. Therefore, Lord… I come boldly to the throne of grace as a forgiven son. I’m here. I’ve done my part. I have smoked the last cigarette and will not drive to the store to get another pack (I’ve completed my part, 1+1+1+1).. Now, my expectation is in you to fulfill your Word (4) as you cannot lie. I have an expectation in you to do as you have said. I expect you to hear me, I expect you to forgive me, and I expect you to heal me as you have said you will. I expect you to fight on my behalf and fend off the addiction from before me. I’ve faithfully, truthfully and honestly have done my part. I follow you. You’re my only hope at this point. I have Trusted in the Lord with all my heart.. I have not leaned on my own understandings. In all my ways I have acknowledged you.. Now I expect you to direct my path and protect me. I have ceased from been wise in my own eyes (1), I have cut off the vain philosophies (1), I have feared the Lord (1) and I have departed from evil (1) = It shall be health to my naval, and marrow to my bones (4)! Amen! So let it be!
E) Now look.. and you shall see the Glory of the Lord.. I forgot about smoking. Limited addiction draws to smoke again, only a couple subtle ones. My response when they arise is simple: “I’ve received, I have seen the Lord. You trickster are trying to deceive me from this gift I’ve received. The Lord Jesus rebuke you.” That ‘draw’ of the addiction is trespassing on holy ground. Rebuke him, resist him, and watch his head get bruised with His heel.. Take a deep breath in, receive the freshness of the Holy Spirit.. and on my exhale, the negative addiction energy is rebuked with a “Thank you Lord for your help.” A few breaths is all it takes and the enemy flees. Praise be to God.