If we limit God by what we see in the natural, we can easily become double-minded concerning our future and God's promises. James 1:8 speaks about those who are double-minded as being "uncertain" (unstable) in all their ways. When we are unstable and not completely focused on God's Word, we can fall or stumble along the way. None of us enjoys stumbling – it can be harmful to our health...and spiritual vision! With today's challenges we must have supernatural vision to remain in a position of faith and breakthrough.
We must eat only from the Tree of Life. If we eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, we will become double-minded and stumble.
Paul warns as he wrote to the Galatians in Galatians 3 -- they had been "bewitched" and were reverting back to religious performance and legalism rather than being led by the Spirit.
A works mentality believes that we have to twist God's arm or beg Him to heal us or bless us. No! This is completely opposite of eating from the Tree of Life! The Tree of Life offers complete freedom in Christ.
Our walk with Him is meant to be on Freedom Road and not the Guilt-Shame path. Guilt and shame will rob us of our freedom in Christ, and the thief is ever ready to lead us in that direction.
THE THIEF TODAY
John 10:10 (NIV) - "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
John 10:10 gives us a current perspective for a supernatural shift out of a performance mentality and legalistic thinking.
The thief in the garden is the same as the thief that we battle today. When we are engaging in legalism we are referring to believing that we are righteous because of what we do rather than focusing on what Christ accomplished at the Cross.
We know, as Christians, that Jesus Christ became the ultimate sacrifice for our sins – being the Lamb of God crucified. And yet, somehow, we have been deceived into believing that His sacrifice was not enough to make us righteous – as if we have to jump through hoops to keep our salvation which has already been bought through the shed Blood of Christ. (This is where the thief comes into play.)
The thief desires to destroy the life promised to us -- when we believe that religious performance is all about working to achieve what we already have through the finished work of Christ life becomes all about "works" rather than "rest.
JESUS IS THE DOOR
If we back up a bit and look at the entire passage leading to what Jesus is explaining, He is referring to Himself as being the Door – the only Door that gives life:
"So Jesus said again, 'I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that I Myself am the Door for the sheep. All others who came [as such] before Me are thieves and robbers, but the [true] sheep did not listen to and obey them.
I am the Door; anyone who enters in through Me will be saved (will live). He will come in and he will go out [freely], and will find pasture. The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).
I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd risks and lays down His [own] life for the sheep'" (John 10:7-11 AMP).
We want to eat from the Tree of Life today, but there is a thief who wants us to eat from the wrong tree! The enemy attempts to seduce us in our thinking.
The antichrist spirit began its evil deeds in the Garden of Eden – it did not wait until the very end of times to appear! This spirit is targeting our minds today in many ways and robbing us (he is a thief!) of our dreams and abundance of life! How? By seducing us into believing that our own works, deeds, religious doctrines, or religious performance is our door to salvation and freedom.
There is nothing that we can do to get God to love us more than He already does.
Performance that is driven by our need to feel more holy, loved, or accepted is constituted as a works mentality or dead works. And, if we believe that we must perform in that fashion (religious works), we are eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
TWO TREES IN THE GARDEN
Again, there were two trees in the Garden of Eden – the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life. These two trees challenged the course of mankind from the very beginning. These same two trees still challenge us today. When we became Believers, we have had to continually choose between the fruit of these trees. It is the conflict of the present age – eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil or eating from the fruit of the Kingdom of God.
Jesus is clear. He is the only Door to life. There are many gods that people worship today, and people believe that they are a door to life, but it is all promoted by an antichrist spirit.
We can elevate works or believing something opposite to what God says about us and it becomes idolatry and is tied to an Antichrist spirit.
Because we are coming into agreement with what the enemy says (i.e. "I'm not good enough"; "I'm not praying enough"; etc.) instead of what God says about our being completely righteous because of the finished work on the Cross and His shed Blood.
There is an enemy, a thief, that attempts to seduce us to believe that there are other ways to experience eternal life and the abundant life. It is only because, as John 10:11 clearly states, the Good Shepherd (Jesus Christ) laid down His life for us so that we are saved. The door that opens to experience the fullness of salvation is due to the finished work of Christ. We are righteous and in right standing to receive that fullness only because of the Cross. There is absolutely nothing that we do ourselves that makes us holy or righteous.
It is so important that we as Believers understand that we are only righteous due to the shed Blood of Christ. No human effort or religious works are sufficient to make us holy or righteous. No! We become clothed with divine righteousness because of the finished work of Christ. If we understand that, as a Believer, we are already righteous – no matter what your past sins were – you can also rest assured that you are completely forgiven and that we now have access to our royal lineage and God's PURPOSE for our life (our CALLING in Christ).
Believing these things (concerning our righteousness in Christ) is part of eating of the Tree of Life!
We know we are secure in His righteousness because of Christ's finished work. We already have an inheritance because of that – we just walk in it!
THE FULLNESS OF SALVATION IS OURS
"Salvation," in Greek, is connected to the root word sozo (pronounced sode'-zo) and translates as "to save," "deliver or protect," "heal," "preserve," "do well" and "(make) whole."
At the Cross, deliverance, protection, prosperity, salvation, and wholeness was provided! Christ shed His precious Blood in order for us to experience and have all that Heaven has to offer! I believe that you can agree with me if you consider what salvation provides for us. Aren't you thankful for the Cross? I'm so grateful that I have gone through the right Door and fully understand that I am the righteousness of Christ only because He is righteous.
...it is by free grace (God's unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ's salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God... Ephesians 2:8-10
HE IS THE CENTER OF LIFE
If you recall, the Tree of Knowledge was found in the center of the Garden (see Genesis 3:3). Self-centeredness is one of the chief challenges we face today. The enemy loves to provoke us with thoughts and deeds of self-righteousness, religious acts, self-imposed doctrines, and endless self-introspection. After Adam and Eve ate of its fruit, their first response was self-introspection. Their nakedness was not realized until after eating from the wrong tree.
For us, shame still clothes us when we eat from the lies of the enemy – the thief to whom Jesus refers – as he attempt to seduce us to believe that we have something to do with our righteousness. Again, entering into fullness of life by any other door is entering into a life robbed of its fullness.
We are under the New Covenant due to the Jesus' finished work at the Cross, but if we read the New Testament with an Old Covenant heart, it will also become law to us.
In other words, we will just have more dead religion with righteousness that is completely based on more written commandments instead of experiencing the fullness of life due to a living relationship with God. He must become the center – and He is the center due to His becoming the ultimate sacrifice, the Lamb that was slain.
Once we realize the price for sin was paid at the Cross, we can have confidence that when any death structure – sickness, disease, poverty, lack, etc – attempts to steal from us or rob us of our inheritance, the death structure (any evil assignment against us) has to recognize that a Life has already been extracted – a Life was taken, an Innocent for the guilty, and a Lamb was slain for the sacrifice for a household or family! Believer, there is power in the Blood of Jesus to protect you, provide for you, heal you, and deliver you. And, it's not just an inheritance for you – but also your family!
When we celebrate communion, it is an ongoing occasion to remind ourselves of what we have received and continue to receive through the body and shed Blood of the Lamb. Aren't you thankful today for the obedience of Christ?
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