How the Mighty Have Fallen

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Susanne Schuberth recently wrote on her blog, “To begin with, we can say that which is appealing to the natural man is disgusting to the spiritual man. Our flesh is attracted by what we perceive with our senses to be beautiful, by watching nature, a sunset, or human beings, for instance. And what feels good to our bodies is appealing to us as well. This is not wrong in itself since God put a longing for beauty and enjoyment into our very hearts. However, our God is Spirit, not flesh!” (1)

John wrote,

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” (1John 2:15-17, RSV)

What appealed to Eve in her natural person was what Satan targeted and he has gone on to do the same with every human since. Regarding the nature of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and her reaction to it we read:

“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate.”(Gen 3:6, RSV)

She saw that it was good for food — “the lust of the flesh.” She saw that it was a delight for her eyes to look upon — “the lust of the eyes.” She saw that was desirable to make her wise — “the pride of life.” This is the root of all sin and how Satan tempts us. He has perfected this method of luring mankind to fall into his traps and taking them captive. This is exactly how Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness. He tempted Jesus to use His God given ability to turn stones into bread so He could eat after fasting 40 days — “the lust of the flesh.”

But Jesus answered, “It is written, `Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'”

Then Satan tried another piece of his arsenal, tempting Jesus with a show of the glories of the kingdoms of the world to appeal to the lust of the eyes. If Jesus caved to that temptation, they would all be His because they were Satan’s to give. All He had to do was bow down and worship the devil.

But Jesus answered him, “Be gone, Satan! for it is written, `You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.”

Then there is the pride of life. What form would that temptation come in?

Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, `He will give his angels charge of you,’ and `On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'”

Ah, yes! If Satan can’t get a man to fall to the lusts of the eyes and the flesh (and he does quote scripture), he pulls out the old standby–tempt him with holy things — tempt him to use his spiritual powers to make a show if it before all the righteous ones that they might follow him and give him the honor that belongs to God.

This is the sneakiest temptation of them all. Aren’t we who are born of the Spirit of God the children of the King? Aren’t the gifts of the Spirit He has given us subject to us and given “without repentance.”? Shouldn’t we use them to show all men what God does for those who are His chosen ones? Won’t they see this and bow down before us in tremendous altar calls at our feet, all for “the glory of God”? What a near miss! Yet, this is done every day in the name of “bringing men and women to Christ” for the sake of building up the kingdoms of men. What a difference we see in the attitude of the first apostles in the early church!

And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycao’nian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, because he was the chief speaker, they called Hermes. And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the people. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out among the multitude, crying, “Men, why are you doing this? We also are men, of like nature with you, and bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them…” With these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them. (Acts 14:11-18, RSV)

Yes, we can gain the admiration and riches of the whole world in the business of God and lose our souls. Jesus made it clear that if we lift Him up before all men, and not ourselves, He will draw all men to Him and not to us! The idolatry that exists today in the name of the Living God is nothing more than Satan feeding the pride of life!

Austin-Sparks wrote,

Man is by nature now a deceived creature. Deception is deception, and the deceived never know it until they are enlightened or delivered. It is like a disease. There are forms of mental sickness which cause those who are so suffering to believe certain things which to the healthy mind are ridiculous and impossible. It is useless to argue with them, and futile to try to convince them of the untruth of their beliefs. Indeed, it is cruel at times to oppose them. If you are to live with them in any measure of peace and be at all helpful you have to take the attitude of agreeing with them and deal with the situation along some other line. Otherwise it is going to be continual clash. The only way to change their convictions is to heal their sickness.

So it is with man. He believes many things as to himself, his ability, potentialities, destiny, about God and about the world, which are not true. He mistakes certain things for other things, but he cannot see that he is deceived. It is useless to hold objects before a blind man, and to tell him to see them; and it is foolish to be surprised or annoyed that he does not do so. So the Scriptures say, “The natural (soulical) man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them…” (1 Cor 2:14). And again, “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of the unbelieving” (2 Cor 4:4).

Now, when we go to the source of this deceived condition, we find that it originated in the soul. The Deceiver assailed the soul—desires, reason, will—and drew this out as a basis of life apart from and independent of God. The motive was to have things in the ego, the self, instead of in God by dependence. Having succeeded in getting man to so exalt the ego to independence and superiority, he captured man as now a suited instrument for his purposes. Man ceased to be suited to the purposes of God, for his very nature was changed. This man, changed by complicity with Satan, is a false man, not a true man according to God’s mind; and is now suited to Satan’s false kingdom. The history of man in his natural state is the history of a lie, a false nature, a false expectation, a false hope, a false faith and a false world. (2)

Dear saints, “Let no one disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, taking his stand on visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head [Jesus Christ]…” (Col 2:18-19, RSV). There is no substitution for the power of the personal flesh killing cross in the life of one who would be a disciple of Christ. “But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. Peace and mercy be upon all who walk by this rule…” (Gal 6:14-16, RSV)

(1)  https://enteringthepromisedland.wordpress.com/2016/03/03/being-blessed-by-god-or-satans-sensual-substitutes-for-the-truth/

(2) http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/books/001342.html

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26 comments on “How the Mighty Have Fallen

  1. This is truly a beautiful and Spirit-led blog post. Excellent, Michael! ⭐

    Also, a great exposition on 1 John chapter 2, v.15-17, verses that had been on my mind too.

    Thank you so much for the link to my blog, once again, Michael. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Fred Thoren says:

    I got reminded of Susanne’s blog entry about spiritual gift. I forget the title of it but she was able to heal for a short time. I remember being a bit confused by that and I think this may have cleared things up a bit. I still have much to learn though so I do thank you for your blog. Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Thanks, Fred. Glad to hear that what I wrote helped you.
      God bless you, my brother. ⭐

      Liked by 2 people

      • You know I read it and you must be my twin sister. I can really relate to what you wrote in that blog which made me write what I responded to this very blog yesterday. And you also had mentioned that if you were to share everything that ever happened during this God versus Satan it would take forever to write. So I’ll just let you do all the writing and I can do the relating. (wink). Satan is definitely a good deceiver. And true too you mentioned feet. My feet are always in pain these days and I was thinking about the story of Jesus and His disciples washing each other’s feet. I need someone to scrub mine hard! LOL And I have done those things as well. Not neccessarily with the intention of healing this other’s person feet but rubbing them with love and lotion. The soldiers of war, too, had to take care of each other’s feet. You’re a very interesting and well written person. And highly blessed to be able to clearly speak from your experience and having the discernment through trial and error. Pride is a terrible thing. And you were so right about feeling you must run from discord and into the arms of Comfort with God.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I am glad that post spoke to your heart, Stacey. Thanks for the compliments!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Ken Dawson says:

    Yes as Fred said we have lots to learn–our natural minds are capable of being deceived and we need the discerning experience of Gods very own being to guide us into the reality of truth and you Mike and yes her- Sue are helping us along–thanks to the two of youns

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Thank you, Ken. Each one of these things I have learned by experiencing them and failing in them. But our Daddy is a patient Father who teaches us with whatever method He knows that will work best for us in each case. A soft word in due season for a wise man but many stripes for the back of a fool. I seem to have learned with the latter method for most of my life.
      I thank the Lord for you, too, Ken. I hope we get to meet some day.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I really enjoyed reading this blog. And I had been thinking much along these lines too about the lusts of the flesh. How Eve was tempted by the knowledge of good and evil and to hold hersef as to be wise. I went through periods of amazing dreams that some are for me and some are for things to come. But at the time that I had recieved those “special” dreams, and they still are very special and the things to come may be very scary: I suddenly realized in my frame of mind at the time was that I was a chosen one. I was not that knowledgeable of the Word at that time either. But…. pride came into the picture. Don’t you know who I am? Bad attitude but still very ignorant of what was happening to me. Yes pride is another form of EGO. “Easing God out” Yes trials and tribulations for my own life without having to point fingers at anyone else. Actually the PRIDE says point the finger at everyone else but don’t look at yourself. So yes it can happen to any common person but “the world” does not perceive it. Any rational thinker would just think otherwise in the worldly manner. But if God loves you enough He has the ability to scourge His children.

    You have said a lot in this blog that I can identify with pertaining to myself even though I see it loud and clear in others. Hey I have a perfect picture for you. Just thought of it.

    But yes. I even have yet another picture this fits this blog. It is of myself when I was younger raising my daughter. Not bad pictures at all but reading your blogs puts images in my head that fits the story.

    This story has been on my mind as well. You just put words down that I had been thinking about. The innocent taste of feeling uniquely Special and relating to the words “elect”, “chosen” and then realizing there is a price for being chosen. And it could cost you your life if you don’t get through it. I went from feeling like I was the chosen one then at last to I don’t deserve it. I have learned a lot and still am learning. And so grateful to be in my current situation forever long God has me here. Earth as we know it is not my permanent home. So to travel light is a good thing.

    Another aspect I wanted to point out as to what I got from this blog was vanity. God killed that one out of me. That was torture! I am alive! You used the word exalted in this blog too. I hate to say it but since I made a decision a week ago and followed though I am happier but know there will be personality challenges. But with each new horizon I learn just that much more what needs to be changed in me. I already feel a big difference in me within just a few days.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Stacey, I am glad you are making progress. What I seem to be learning lately is to be careful when I think I am really getting somewhere in my spiritual walk, for it is then that Satan comes in and trips me up. It can even be a good thing like feeling God’s peace and joy! I found out this morning while having fellowship with another brother and the Spirit spoke through me about the fruit of the Spirit. We can feel God’s peace and even joy and be really happy about it, but be so enthused about our own standing that we fail to display the other fruit of the Spirit like meekness, patience and mercy when with others that are suffering. Like the scripture says, “Take heed when you think you stand, least you should fall.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • In total agreement. But also learning to back up when the feeling of peace is not present. Lots more to learn. I am very merciful but need to be aware of my surroundings and not react.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Yes, dear sister, there is much to learn, but I think that the more the heart of Jesus is in us in our love for Him, the less we learn from the details of what we do or did and the more we act from listening to His voice and His gentile nudges. Afterall He did say, “I am the WAY the truth AND THE LIFE.” 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  5. A profound message, Michael. Your warning as to the pride of life has particular relevance for Christian writers and evangelists, I think.

    At the outset, it is a joy to exercise the talents God gave us. With the purest of motives, we long for an audience in the hope of sharing the Word of God. Then complications set in. We begin to measure our impact by audience size; may even compromise our message, in the effort to improve our statistics.

    If we do not develop a large following — and soon enough to meet our earthly desires — we rale at God for His “unfairness”, point out to Him our supposed virtues. We spend more time on marketing ourselves, than on prayer. Should we open a Twitter account? How many CDs sold last week?

    If we do develop a large following, money and the appropriate use of it enter the picture. How many televangelists drive Cadillacs? How many own private jets? Have their families on the payroll, for no reason whatsoever related to evangelism?

    All this harms the Christian witness. And it corrodes the character of the Christian writer or evangelist.

    Thank you, as always, for your instruction, Michael.

    Your sister in Christ,

    A. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Michael says:

    Dear Anna, I was able to take your observations about evangelists and writers and apply them to myself and other bloggers. You wrote, “We begin to measure our impact by audience size; may even compromise our message, in the effort to improve our statistics.” So, true! I watch my hits once in a while to see if what I wrote is “effective.” Well, it seems that Jesus was most effective in His Father’s eyes when He made the most enemies and told people the truth! It was then that the crowds of “loaves and fishes believers” hit the brick and left Him. They followed Him because they were seeking signs and being given a free lunch. They even wanted to take Him by force and make Him their king! That was when He gagged them all out, telling them they had to eat His flesh and drink His blood or they could not be His disciples. The 70 disciples even left Him that day! Loving Jesus is like embracing a porcupine if there is any flesh left in us. He put it this way, “If any man would be my disciple let him take up his cross and follow me.”

    No, big numbers are no measure of how much we write is in the will of God. I find that the more I put my finger on the truth in the lives of people, the less likes and comments I get on a blog. But if I write something that makes them feel “righteous” and tickles their comfort zones, the numbers go up and even spike! God has to kill that whole thing in us about looking to men and women for approval. Like Jesus said, “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” (Luke 6:26, KJV)

    Thank you, Anna, for your enlightening comment. ⭐

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, that was a very enlightening and helpful comment, dear Anna. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom! 🙂

      Michael, I do love your humor. The following truly made me laugh out loud. You said,

      “Loving Jesus is like embracing a porcupine if there is any flesh left in us.”

      Hahahaha… 😄

      Liked by 3 people

    • If anything, Michael, I wrote the comment in the knowledge of my own faults. I do though like the porcupine metaphor!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Anna, The further we go down the way of the cross, the more our writings and words must come from our hearts and painful experiences when we find ourselves failing others. I have never cried more in my life than in the last two years as God has been drawing me closer and requiring me to see things, including myself, as He sees me.

        “Behold, you desire truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part you shall make me to know wisdom.” (Ps 51:6, KJ2000)

        Thank you, dear sister, once again.

        Liked by 3 people

  7. Amen. Maybe that is why I am still sticking around. I don’t need my ears tickled.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. David Murry says:

    This ministered to me very much. iron sharpens iron. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Russ C says:

    A.W. Tozer said something like; “the soul is tough” and I believe he was right, but God is much smarter.

    The soul seems to naturally take whatever goodness it can find and malign it to its own self-serving end. I hate what it does. In spite of my best efforts it sometimes carries me to where I really don’t want to go. For this reason, I am somewhat hesitant to even express what I’m about to say. I struggle sometimes to know where it is coming from. The only reason I am saying it is because I believe it is true and pray Jesus might use it to help a fellow struggler.

    The comments of Andrew Murray below suggest that the insights and revelations given to us by God, the Father, are not given to us as a possession for us to keep but we receive them from God moment by moment as we continue to be empty vessels, dependent upon him to provide them as we are waiting in humility. (Note, We can maintain this posture throughout the day if we try and he grows us into it.)

    Humility: The Beauty of Holiness.
    Andrew Murray (Underline is my emphasis.)

    “When God created the universe, it was with the one object of making the creature partaker of His perfection and blessedness, and so showing forth in it the glory of His love and wisdom and power. God wished to reveal Himself in and through created beings by communicating to them as much of His own goodness and glory as they were capable of receiving. But this communication was not a giving to the creature something which it could possess in itself, a certain life or goodness, of which it had the charge and disposal. By no means.”

    “But as God is the ever-living, ever-present, ever-acting One, who upholdeth all things by the word of His power, and in whom all things exist, the relation of the creature to God could only be one of unceasing, absolute, universal dependence. As truly as God by His power once created, so truly by that same power must God every moment maintain.
    The creature has not only to look back to the origin and first beginning of existence, and acknowledge that it there owes everything to God; its chief care, its highest virtue, its only happiness, now and through all eternity, is to present itself an empty vessel, in which God can dwell and manifest His power and goodness.”

    “The life God bestows is imparted not once for all, but each moment continuously, by the unceasing operation of His mighty power. Humility, the place of entire dependence on God is, from the very nature of things, the first duty and the highest virtue of the creature, and the root of every virtue.”

    It seems natural for our soul to step back after receiving these blessings and say: “Wow, look what I’ve got. I don’t have to be a miserable wretch anymore, I have something good that everyone wants and no one else has. I’m going to be a holy guy and others will notice this.”. But it never works and again our soul and sin nature shows us we are selfish and destitute.

    Finally, I am able to approach God as I am and realize that he truly knows me and love me. I can see that I am a vessel empty goodness and that he has always known it. He wants to reveal his self to me, as long as I can receive it and still keep my eye on him and not myself. When I get out of line, he calls me back and is always ready to continue.

    Also, I felt these writings of Tozer express the idea. He talks about “harsh and bitter experiences”. I think the worst experiences that I have ever had have come from my soul.

    A.W. Tozer

    “The way to deeper knowledge of God is through the lonely valleys of soul poverty and abnegation of all things. The blessed ones who possess the kingdom are they who have repudiated every external thing and have rooted from their hearts all sense of possessing. These are the ‘poor in spirit.’”

    “We must, in our hearts, live through . . . harsh and bitter experiences if we would know the blessedness which follows them. The ancient curse of [self-centeredness] will not go out painlessly; the tough old miser within us will not lie down and die in obedience to our command. . . . He must be expelled from our soul . . . as Christ expelled the money changers from the Temple.”

    Please note. I say this about our soul but I believe that when our soul and body are controlled by the Holy Spirit that our soul can become the organ it was originally meant to be.

    In Christian Love,
    Russ C.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Thanks, Russ for those quotes from A. W. Tozer. They fit my struggle to a tee. After going through many years of dying and denying myself, I find that self still raises its ugly head, even disguising itself as “spirit led” in what it says and does. The problem at times is that it is as it was with the disciples with when Jesus said, “You do not know what spirit you are of.” Good advise seems to be, “Take heed when you think you stand, least you should fall.” We should never lose sight that we are but dust and that Christ is everything. Paul wrote,

      “For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. (2Cor 4:11, KJV)

      Constantly decreasing through the work of the personal cross so that He may increase and become ALL in all, seems to be the key.

      “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” May it be so, dear Lord. Amen

      Liked by 1 person

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