Thanks for taking time to read this series of posts “55 for 55: Passages of Scriptures that mean a lot to me.” Below are the passages that continue in this series. Thanks again and may God bless you as He has done so with me by conveying His love and wisdom to me through the Bible.
36. John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
This verse has always been a simple and clear cut verse to me. When I studied or worked, or when I practiced my addiction or became active in recovery, no matter what state of mind I was in or where I’m currently at, there’s no two ways about this: the Enemy (of Humanity) has only one job description and its written in the first half of this verse. I’m convinced that it will never change, and I’m convinced that he’s relentless in his pursuit of his objectives, of which there are only three.
There’s only One entity who wants us to have a full life (second part of the verse) and only one who is against us having life at all. No sugar coating here. I encourage you to know who the Enemy is and what his intent is with you and yours!
Dr. Ed Murphy’s The Handbook for Spiritual Warfare was a great find and read for me as it helped me to understand how the strategies of the Enemy work but more importantly how to combat the Enemy through the power of the Holy Spirit.
37. 1 Corinthians 1:10: “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”
The Greek word for our English word “Divisions” is Schisma, which has its root in the word Schizo, from which we obtain another English word, Schizophrenia. I don’t believe that the Apostle Paul is diagnosing anyone with a severe mental disorder by the use of this word, but Schisma and Schizo point to “cuts, separation and division” within and between people based on their thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
Paul is telling us that its not good to have divisions between us, but to be united in mind and thought. My studies have led me to see that when this word is used in the New Testament and when there are people involved, the behavior usually leads one to consider homicidal behavior as a result of the division. Here’s three examples.
First, when there was a division between people when the Apostle Paul and Barnabas were teaching in Iconium, some plotted to stone them (Acts 14:3-7). Second, when there was a division between the Pharisees and the Sadducees about Paul’s comments about the Resurrection (Acts 23:6-15), about 40 men took a vow not to eat nor drink until they killed Paul. Finally, during the last week of Jesus’ life, many wanted to seize and stone him because of his teachings (John 7:43-44; John 8:58-59).
Divisions between us and others are not good folks, especially when the other person is your wife or family member(s). As a husband (and as a Counselor) I try to focus on being or helping others to work on their differences to achieve some form of unity because I know the Enemy wants to exploit any division in order to steal, kill and destroy. God would have you to do your equal part to resolve conflict, and most of the time, we could accomplish unity and conflict resolution quicker if we simply listened to our “help meet.”
38. Genesis 2: 18: “The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
The Septuagint, which is the Greek translation of the Old Testament, uses the word “Teleios” for the word “Helper” in this scripture. One of our English words that defines Telios is our English word “Sanity.” When I realized the meaning of this word and made the connection, it floored me and it made so much sense.
I’m not saying that my wife or any woman walks on water, however, after more than 25 years of being married to her, life is very good when she’s in the picture. We eat right, live healthy, we’re cared for, there is love, warmth and order in the home with thoughtfulness, compassion and connection being ever present. God knew this. He knew the opposite (has and) would occur in her absence.
I remember when Marissa and Gabriel were 7 and 4 and Leslie took a trip out of the country with a friend, she was shocked to learn upon her return that we’d not eaten anything green in our diet! I thought that donuts, ice cream, pizza, TV, movies and other “treats” were a great addition in her absence but too much more of that without her touch would have facilitated dire consequences with our children.
This verse helps me to remember that its usually my wife who detects any change with the heartbeat of the family first and is usually the first one to nurse us back to emotional, physical and spiritual health. I’ve seen this over and over again in my own family and in my office on a daily basis. Listen to the Helper that God gave to you. You’ll not only avoid a lot of division but you’ll also have a great teammate to do battle against the real Enemy!
39. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5: “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
This verse reminds me that since I know who my Enemy is and that its not good to have divisions with anyone (especially with my Helper), then I need to refuse to allow negative thoughts or processes (I call them my character defects) to germinate in my heart like troublesome weeds. There’s nothing good nor edifying that’ll occur between the two of us or in my relations with others when the negative thoughts and processes are allowed to saturate my thoughts.
I know I don’t practice the principles in this verse perfectly, but I’m convicted fairly quickly when I know that I’ve allowed a thought to get in between the two of us. The Holy Spirit reminds me about the damaging effects of divisions and that character defects like selfishness, criticism, victim posturing, persecutory behavior or manipulation are not in my job description! What is in my job description is to be at peace with others (Romans 12:18) and I know the only way I’m going to cultivate a constancy of peace is to consistently acknowledge my behavior, focus on the character virtue that needs to be practiced in the moment and implement that immediately.
Romans 12:9-10 provides good advice to me regarding the role of Love in taking my negative thoughts captive; I’ve found when I immediately focused on implementing the counsel in verses like this, then the other (negative) thoughts have naturally (or supernaturally) become submissive in Christ. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, don’t worry about doing these things perfectly, just try to practice them frequently.
40. 1 John 4:18: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
Some have given me permission to quote this verse and have heard me say that the word “perfect” (Teleios) does not mean the absence of error in our thoughts or actions. It means “mature, complete and fully-developed,” which is what consumable fruit (Love, Joy, Peace, etc). is in its ripened and finished state.
Fruit is the end result of a process of growth and fruit thats ripe and consumable is mature (versus immature or premature). I’ve realized that by remaining connected to God (John 15:5) I’ve become more confident and competent regarding the production and delivery of characteristics that resemble who Jesus is, for which I’m grateful.
Knowing He’s giving to me and to others through me inspires me and gives me encouragement that I’m doing the right thing by being a conduit for His good works (Ephesians 2:10). When I feel this way, I don’t have a lot of fear, because my confidence is in the One who loves me and chooses to produce through me on a daily basis. When I know who’s in charge and what the production order is for the day, I don’t have a lot of fear regarding what the outcomes are going to be. Thank you God!
Finally, some who’ve visited my office have felt fear, depressed and defective as they’ve conveyed they haven’t been fruitful in their lives; especially people who are challenged with an addictive past.
It’s not my job to rescue them out of their feelings, but it is my job to help them to see the truth that they’re more than the sum total of their addictive behaviors. Remember, the Enemy wants us to think we’re worthless, and to rob us of the hope that God freely pours into us to be fruitful and mature human beings. So I’ll gently invite them to look at the truth about how they’ve been involved in marital, familial, church or civic activity where they were a change agent in producing fruitful behavior. Its usually when we look at the rock solid truth of their behavior that the fear begins to dissipate.
If you haven’t experienced this form of confidence that accompanies this type of mature love in Christ, its my hope that you will soon. As John states in John 15:5, remain in Him, and you’ll produce a lot of fruit! He guarantees it!
You could find the next 5 passages of scripture (#41-45) in this “55 for 55” series by clicking here.
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