The Spirit Of Fear- Part II
The cross of Christ is just as much involved in our sanctification, and even more so, as it was in our justification.
Please understand that 90 percent or more of what Paul gave us in his fourteen epistles has to do with the cross of Christ relative to our sanctification and not our justification. While he most definitely deals with justification, the greater thrust is, by far, sanctification—how we live for God.
The simple fact is that most believers simply don’t know how to live for God. I realize that’s quite a statement, but, regrettably, it happens to be true.
As a believer, you are to place your faith consistently in the cross of Christ as it regards your daily living for God, and maintain your faith exclusively in Christ and His finished work. That’s the key—your faith. However, your faith must have the correct object, and that correct object is Jesus Christ and Him crucified (Rom. 6:3-5; 8:1-11; I Cor. 1:17-18, 23; 2:2; Col. 2:10-15).
Please note the following points very carefully:
• Jesus Christ is the source of all things that we receive from God (John 1:1-3, 14, 29; 14:6).
• The cross of Christ is the means, and the only means, by which all of these wonderful things are given to us (I Cor. 1:17-18, 23; 2:2).
• With Christ as our source and the cross as the means, the object of our faith must be the cross of Christ, and we aren’t speaking of the wooden beam on which He died, but rather what He there accomplished (Gal. 6:14; Col. 2:10-15).
• With Christ as our source and the cross of Christ our means, the Holy Spirit, who works exclusively within the boundaries of the cross of Christ, will then work mightily on our behalf.
Above all, Satan does not want the believer to know this which I am giving you right now. He was defeated at Calvary’s cross along with all of his principalities, powers, demon spirits, and fallen angels. That’s the reason he doesn’t want you to know that the cross is the answer, and it is the only answer.
HOW DO I KEEP EVIL THOUGHTS OUT OF MY MIND?
I suppose that through the years I have been asked this question maybe more than any other. There is a way that you can keep evil thoughts out of your mind, and let me give it to you.
Nearly 2,800 years ago, the great prophet Isaiah gave us this particular word. He said:
“To appoint unto them who mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified” (Isa. 61:3).
Sin begins in the heart but quickly goes to the mind, and then the sin, fear, etc., is carried out. I’m going to show you how to stop that.
In this tremendous word that the great prophet gave us, there is a phrase in the Scripture that I want you to notice. It says:
“To give unto them … The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”
Two things are said, and we will deal with the latter one first.
The spirit of heaviness is demonic oppression, and fear, even abject fear, always accompanies demonic oppression. It’s as if two hundred pounds are on the person’s shoulder. It’s as if the sun has been hidden from view, and there is nothing but darkness. It’s as if there is no way out, and it seems that there is no solution to the problem. That’s the reason the Holy Spirit called it “the spirit of heaviness.”
Every believer who has ever lived has experienced this spirit of heaviness more than once, to be sure. Let me get back to the cross for a moment.
THE VICTORY OF THE CROSS
A short time ago, on a Sunday morning, I was preaching to our people at Family Worship Center. I was dealing with this spirit of oppression — this spirit of heaviness. While I was preaching, all of a sudden something came to me. In 1997, the Lord gave me the great word of the cross and how it works in the hearts and lives of believers. To be sure, it has revolutionized my life and my ministry.
As I was preaching that morning, it suddenly dawned on me that since that great word of the cross was given to me some twenty-five years ago, I have not experienced one moment of demonic oppression—not one moment of this spirit of heaviness.
Now I want to tell you how to keep evil thoughts out of your mind, which can lead to all types of problems. Satan plants his thoughts in your mind at the beginning. They then go to your soul and your spirit, which are then carried out through your physical body. So, let’s see how that we can close up the mind to that which is ungodly and keep it open to that which is godly.
The great prophet told us of the garment of praise. What did he mean by that?
A garment is something we wear, and the Holy Spirit through Isaiah is telling us that we should wear a garment of praise. What do I mean by that?
THE GARMENT OF PRAISE
In your daily duties, as it comes to your mind, just start to praise the Lord. You don’t have to do it out loud. Actually, you can do it under your breath to where no one can hear you, but you just start praising Him and thanking Him for all that He’s done for you. Tell Him how much you love Him and keep doing it until your mind goes to something else, which it will very shortly. Then, the next moment when your mind snaps back to the Lord, begin to praise Him again. Just keep doing it. You will find that you will subconsciously start to praise the Lord without even thinking about it.
Please understand that as you do this, it will never get old. You will sense a euphoric spirit of joy that will fill your heart and fill your soul. But here’s the main thing: There will be no place for evil thoughts, no place for doubt and unbelief, no place for fear, no place for depression, and no place for discouragement. You are praising the one who can do all things.
The reason the Holy Spirit refers to it as “a garment of praise” is because you are to wear this thing like you do a garment. That means that it covers your spirit, and it covers your soul. Every time you think about it and begin to praise the Lord, no room is left for fear and depression.
What I have just given to you is that which the Lord has given to me, and it has revolutionized my life and my thinking. It has given me a peace that passes all understanding, and it is so wonderful that I want you to have it, as well, and you most definitely can have it.
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me,
I once was lost, but now I’m found,
Was blind but now I see.
This article continues in the next issue of The Evangelist.
This article is reprinted from the book, God’s Answer To Fear, Depression, And Discouragement, (09-133) by Jimmy Swaggart.