We are so excited by the response we have received from our new book, The Kingdom, Power and Glory, that we are planning to film a DVD series of the same. If you live in the Coeur D' Alene, area or are going to be in this area on any of the dates listed (click here for dates), we would love to have you join us. If not, we would really appreciate your prayers for the seminar. There will be a new Study Guide that will accompany the DVD and the book, which we hope to have out by early Fall.
One of the main points of the Study is the necessity for believers to stay sanctified. Sanctification is the “key,” because sanctification (staying cleansed) leads to partaking of Christ’s Life; and partaking leads to overcoming the world, the flesh and the devil; and, overcoming leads to inheriting the coming kingdom.
So, learning “how” to be sanctified is critical. The following article is the practical application of just how to do that. It’s the way we are to “put off” our sin and self and “put on” Christ.
As we mentioned last month, the steps we are about to learn are not something I have made up or something I got in a “self help” book. These are the actual steps that the priests of Solomon’s Temple took in the Inner Court in order to cleanse themselves and the people.
Personal Cleansing Steps
In order to enter God’s presence, we must not only be “believers” with the Spirit of God in our hearts, we must also be clean. Even if we are true believing Christians, we cannot just walk into the Holy Place any time we feel like it. God is holy and will commune with us only when we, too, are holy. He cannot abide where there is any corruption, sin or self. Thus, in order to enter His presence and worship Him as He desires, we must first put off any sin and self and put on Christ.
The following is a brief overview of the three specific cleansing steps required to cleanse our hearts so that God’s Life can come forth. (If you want an in-depth explanation of how these steps work, I would really recommend taking a look at our textbook, Be Ye Transformed.)
1) The first step we must take in order to be a cleansed vessel, is to recognize and acknowledge any negative thoughts or emotions that have occurred. It’s important to “take these thoughts captive” as 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us, look at them and allow God to give us His discernment about them. We must not vent these things nor push them down into the hidden part of our soul, but simply ask the Lord to expose what’s really going on.
This is what the priests did at the Lavers of Bronze. The lavers themselves were made of women’s looking glass (mirrors of polished metal). Thus, as the priests bent over the lavers to wash their hands, what they actually saw was their own reflection in the mirrored lavers. The priest’s actions are symbolic of what the Lord requires us to do. We are to ask Him not only to expose what’s going on in our conscious thoughts and emotions-the surface things that we can see-but we must also ask Him to shed light on the buried things in our soul, the root causes that we cannot see.
Our surface emotions are often just the symptoms of a much deeper cause. If the real root problem can be exposed, and subsequently gotten rid of, then the surface emotions will not occur again either. However, if we only deal with the external emotions and never the root causes, the surface problems will continue to come back. Therefore, it’s essential that we always ask the Lord to expose any hidden root issues.
So whenever we find ourselves hurt, angry, resentful, envious, critical, self-centered, prideful, ungrateful, anxious, afraid, confused, bitter, judgmental or filled with any ungodly emotion, we must stop, get alone with the Lord and go through these steps. Ask the Lord to expose what is really going on. He is the only One who can cleanse our sin. And He’s also the only One who can take these things from us “as far as the east is from the west” and completely heal us.
The Importance of our Thoughts
Our “thoughts” are the most important ingredient of our makeup. This is where the battle is often waged. The reason our thoughts are so important is that they are the first to be triggered in the chain reaction of our soul: our thoughts spark our emotions; our emotions cause our desires and our choices; and our choices determine whose life will be lived in our souls-God’s Life or our own. This is why God tells us to first “take every thought captive.” (2 Corinthian 10:5)
It’s also important to understand that our first, original negative thought is not sin. It’s what we choose to do with that negative thought that makes it sin or not. If we immediately recognize its negative impact and give it over to the Lord, we have not sinned and His Life can continue to flow. If, however, we mull that negative thought over and over again in our minds, we will then need to confess it and repent of it, for it has already quenched God’s Spirit in us.
2) The second essential step is that we must now confess and repent of all that the Holy Spirit has shown us and, in addition, unconditionally forgive anyone who has wronged us. (This step is really part of step #1. But because so much goes on in this first step, I’ve taken the liberty to separate it into two steps.)
Confession simply means “owning” our sin and acknowledging that what we have done, either ignorantly or knowingly, has quenched God’s Spirit in us. It’s sin, therefore we must confess “ownership” of it. My Hebrew Bible translates confession as spreading our hands. In other words, we must come clean and confess all.
Repenting, then, means choosing to turn around from following what the negative thoughts and emotions are telling us and, instead, choosing to follow what God wants. This critical step of confession and repentance is our own responsibility. As 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, [then] He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.”
This is the step, however, that many of us seem to leave out when we “give things over” to the Lord. Certainly, we acknowledge our hurts, fears and doubts to Him, but often we forget to admit our own responsibility in the situation. This is why so many of the things we’ve given to Him often seem to come back. If we don’t do our part by confessing and repenting of them, God is hindered from doing His-actually taking them away. (Psalm 103:12)
“I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid…I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.”
Part of this second step of confession and repentance is that we must also unconditionally forgive others for whatever ill they have done to us. Unforgiveness is one of the many things that quench God’s Spirit in us and block His Life from coming forth. Unforgiveness hinders God from working in us and through us. Therefore, the way we release God to change our situations is by unconditionally forgiving the other party, whether or not they have asked for it!
Now, don’t misunderstand me, we are not pardoning these people by doing this. We don’t have the authority to do that. That’s God’s responsibility. He is the judge. When we unconditionally forgive others, we are simply releasing them to Him, so that He can judge them righteously and also so that our response to their sin won’t become a stumbling block in us.
“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15)
Both of the above steps (#1 & #2) occur at the Lavers of Bronze.
We will go over the next two steps in our next newsletter article in May. If you can’t wait, you can download this book from our website: kingshighway.org. Also, any of my other books, The Way of Agape, Be Ye Transformed, Faith in the Night Seasons and the new book, The Kingdom, Power and Glory also include the steps. Until next month, Agape.
To be continued next month: Personal Cleansing Steps: Part 2. This article has been excerpted in part from Nan’s book, Reflections of His Image. Be sure to see this and other King’s High Way products here.