Spiritual warfare: What God is really like
An incorrect perception of who God really is
Countless people feel distant from God simply because they do not know of His true nature. They see Him as a cruel, cold, and distant task master, instead of the loving Father that He really is. Satan wants us to see God as a cruel taskmaster, because it keeps us from drawing near to Him or having an intimate relationship with Him! How can you comfortably approach and draw near to somebody who is cold, distant and a harsh dictator? The truth is, you can't.
From experience, I have found that everybody who has struggled with fears of being hopeless or feel they are beyond the ability to be saved, has struggled with this one stronghold. It seems to be a common denominator to those caught up with feelings of hopelessness and loss of interest in life. I have also found that it is possible for a person to feel hopeless because they have a demonic spirit that needs to be driven out. However, the demonic spirits almost always rely upon and strongly enforce this stronghold in that person's mind. People who are heavily depressed or suicidal are almost always in need of having a demonic spirit driven out. Demons work hard to build strongholds like this because it gives them fertile ground to launch all sorts of attacks against a person. The more you tear down strongholds, the less they will be able to influence you. If the problem does not go away after persistent effort to tear down strongholds, then I recommend seeking further deliverance ministering.
God loves us for who we are
Our relationship with Him should be filled with more love and passion than the greatest love stories on earth! Jesus demonstrated His deep love for us even before we came to Him, showing us clearly that He loves us for who we are, not because of anything we've done:
Romans 5:8, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Christ's love for us is anything but shallow and distant. His love for us is so deep and genuine, that He laid down His life for us. He considers those who love Him friends, and He considers His friends valuable... so valuable that they are worth laying His life down for:
John 10:11, 15:13, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep... Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
You can't get a greater kind of love than the kind of love that Christ has for us!
Developing an intimate relationship with Him
We are told that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. Notice that this is a promise. If we draw near to Him, we can expect Him to draw near to us!
James 4:8, "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you..."
How do you develop an intimate relationship with somebody? You spend quality time alone with them. You get to know them on a personal level! You cannot have a strong love relationship with somebody, if you are unaware of their love for you. The Bible clearly tells us that if we want to be filled with the fullness of God, we need to know His love for us, and be rooted and grounded in that love:
Ephesians 3:17-19, "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God."
As you spend time with your heavenly Father, you will come to know His great love for you, and your spirit will respond by loving Him in return. As your love for Him grows, you will begin to love the things He loves and hate the things He hates. You will begin to love righteousness and hate sin and wrongdoing! You will be conformed to His image as you learn more about His love for you.
Romans 8:29, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."
God gave me a beautiful revelation not long ago on the kind of love relationship that He desires to have with us. I wrote about this revelation in the teaching A love relationship with Jesus.
His attitude towards us when we mess up
One of Satan's favorite lies is that God is quick to turn on us the moment we fail. God's Word is actually quite clear about God's attitude towards us even when we've failed:
Psalms 145:8, "The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy."
God's desire is not to hold your sins against you, but to be reconciled with you. The very reason that Christ came to die for you, is so that your sins could be forgiven, and you could freely have an intimate and un-hindered relationship with your heavenly Father!
2 Corinthians 5:18-19, "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation."
Did you know that God actually wants to draw us to repentance through His love and kindness towards us? Believe it or not, that's what God's Word is actually telling us:
Romans 2:4, "Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?"
How does God approach those who have done wrong? He's offering to wipe away their sin and wash it away with the blood of the Lamb if they will only turn from it (repent) and turn to Him. What is God saying to us after we've messed up?
Isaiah 1:18, "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
Quite a different picture than the one Satan's been trying to show us!
There is a teaching specifically on the forgiving nature of God. It's called The forgiveness of sins.
How does God see us?
Jeremiah 1:5, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee..."
Zechariah 2:8, "For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye."
Psalm 139:14, "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well."
Psalm 139:17, "How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!"
Isaiah 62:5, "For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee."
Psalms 35:27, "Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant."
Isaiah 49:15-16, "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me."
Zephaniah 3:17, "The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing."
Isaiah 43:25, "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins."
1 John 3:1, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God..."
God wants to love, bless and lavish His goodness upon us
Here are a few examples in God's Word of how He wants to lavish His goodness upon us:
Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."
Romans 8:32, "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"
Psalms 84:11, "For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly."
James 1:17, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
1 Timothy 6:17, "...God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy."
Psalms 37:4-5, "Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass."
Luke 12:28, "If then God so clothe the grass, which is today in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?"
So what do we need to do in order to make ourselves available to receive all these good things? We need to seek the kingdom of God first. If we put Him first in our lives, everything else will begin to fall into place:
Matthew 6:33, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
God wants us to seek Him, and come to know of His goodness! He is a holy God, so for Him to bless those who are living in sin runs contrary to His whole nature. He cannot bless wrong, so that's why He wants us to seek Him, and as we seek Him, we become conformed to His image (righteousness and holiness), and we make ourselves available to receive the goodness that He wants to lavish upon us!
I highly recommend listening to an audio sermon on this very subject of receiving God's goodness. It was preached by Pastor James Brandt and is called "The Highway to Holiness". (See sermon for October 02, 2005)
Are you seeking to change your perception of God and learn of His loving nature towards us? There's one book I can't recommend enough, it's called Blessed Beyond Measure by Gloria Copeland. It has the ability to change the way you see everything! It is an amazing spirit filled book and I can feel the anointing of the Holy Spirit all over it.