1 Corinthians 5:9-11, 6:15-20 New Living Translation (NLT)
9 When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. 10 But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. 11 I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer[a] yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people.
15 Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which is part of Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! 16 And don’t you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, “The two are united into one.”[a] 17 But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.
18 Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
Imagine an old, dilapidated house. In the middle of the dining room, under a large farm table lies an exquisite, one of a kind rug covering the aging hardwood floors. The rug is a masterpiece. Beautiful. Unique. Intricately made. The homeowner inherited it from her Father.
Beneath the rug however, lies deeply hidden secrets. They remain locked in darkness below the trap door which leads to the basement. No house guest, no family member, no friend knows they’re there. The Father knows. So does the homeowner. Desperately she hopes, prays even, that no one ever invades the darkness. For she couldn’t bear to see their disgust once the secrets were exposed. Surely, she assumes, everyone would reject and condemn her.
Occasionally, in the dead of night, when she has trouble sleeping, her mind begins to wander…..her eyes soon follow. Before she knows it, she submits her will to the lust. Her body, overwhelmed by temptation, commits a terrible act, again. Again! Shame immediately covers her. She runs to the dining room, desperate for relief. She pulls the rug back, unlocks the trap door, and shoves more secrets into the basement.
On other nights, she wakes drenched in sweat. Heart racing, her mind is consumed by fear. She tries to convince herself it’s only a bad dream. She runs into the dining room, stomps on the rug that is covering the trap door and shouts “I am more than a conqueror!” But she doesn’t believe it. She goes back to bed, wraps herself in the familiar blanket of shame, and fretfully falls asleep. The next day she wakes feeling utterly defeated and completely alone.
I was that homeowner.
The old, dilapidated house was my body.
The rug was my new life in Christ.
The locked trap door was my old life.
The dark basement was my soul.
After years of torment by residential demons in my body & soul that claimed squatters rights when I indulged in sexual sin (and others indulged against me), I finally allowed Jesus to gently pull back the rug. We opened the trap door together and His Spirit gave me supernatural courage to face the enemy who had been hiding in the basement for decades. Some demons were immediately evicted as I confessed and repented for each sin. But some required a greater level of humility when I needed to ask others in the body of Christ for help. I engaged my strong will and faced my fear. I invited them to climb down into the basement with me and Jesus. They prayed with me. They saw my shame. I confessed my sin. I gave up control. I repented. I forgave. They battled the enemy with me. They cheered when Jesus led me out of prison. They celebrated when the chains that bound my hands and feet fell off. They rejoiced when I experienced the promise of freedom in Christ!
Since then, I’ve had the privilege of walking into many deep, dark, basements with Jesus and others. I’ve witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit cast out demons and set captives free. I’ve seen believers experience abundant life as they’ve confessed their sins and been HEALED, body and soul!
My fellow homeowner, if you are a believer, stop indulging in sexual sin. RUN! Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. God bought you at a high price. Jesus laid His life down for you. His blood covers all your sin. You’re already forgiven. He can set you free from the evil that resides in the basement of your soul. You are not the only one in the neighborhood who has indulged. You are not the only one in the church who has locked the trap door to keep the secrets hidden. Ask the Holy Spirit for help. Ask others in the body of Christ for help. The Father wants to restore your old, dilapidated body. The Son wants to gently pull back the rug, unbolt the trap door, climb down into the basement with you and shine a light into the darkness. The Spirit wants to cover you with His armor and deliver you from the enemy. Victory IS possible!
Revelation 19:6-9 The Message (MSG)
6-8 Then I heard the sound of massed choirs, the sound of a mighty cataract, the sound of strong thunder:
The Master reigns,
our God, the Sovereign-Strong!
Let us celebrate, let us rejoice,
let us give him the glory!
The Marriage of the Lamb has come;
his Wife has made herself ready.
She was given a bridal gown
of bright and shining linen.
The linen is the righteousness of the saints.
9 The Angel said to me, “Write this: ‘Blessed are those invited to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb.’” He added, “These are the true words of God!”
1 Kings 19:9-18 New Living Translation (NLT)
9 There he came to a cave, where he spent the night.
But the Lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
10 Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”
11 “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.
And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
14 He replied again, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”
15 Then the Lord told him, “Go back the same way you came, and travel to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive there, anoint Hazael to be king of Aram.16 Then anoint Jehu grandson of Nimshi[a] to be king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from the town of Abel-meholah to replace you as my prophet.17 Anyone who escapes from Hazael will be killed by Jehu, and those who escape Jehu will be killed by Elisha! 18 Yet I will preserve 7,000 others in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal or kissed him!”
In the previous chapter of 1 Kings we read that Elijah had a pretty successful ministry:
- Elijah heard from God.
- He obeyed.
- God displayed His power.
- The people believed that the Lord was God.
- The false prophets of Baal were eliminated.
After that mountain top experience, the enemy was ticked off. And he didn’t slither away quietly. Nope. He influenced a wicked queen named Jezebel to threaten Elijah. She swore to kill him within a day, just as he had killed the false prophets.
The enemy is still ticked off. And he isn’t slithering away quietly.
Faithful people who minister the gospel to others all over the world are experiencing the same cycle as Elijah:
- They hear from God.
- They obey.
- God displays His power.
- The people believe that the Lord is
- The enemy is defeated.
I’m not a prophet. But I have served and ministered to people for more than a decade and I can tell you I have experienced this cycle personally.
- I hear from God.
- I obey.
- God displays His power.
- The people believe that the Lord is
- The enemy is defeated.
I’ve also been afraid like Elijah. Coming down off the miraculous mountain, I’ve received threats from the enemy through leaders, friends and yes, even family. And I’ve been paralyzed by fear. I’ve run away. I’ve told God, “I have had ENOUGH!” (19:4). The Lord, in His kindness has provided strength for me as I’ve journeyed (19:5-8). And after I’ve spent the night in a cave, the Lord has said, “what are you doing here?” (19:9). We’ve had a chat. I’ve whined about the wicked people in the world and the church. I’ve whined about the enemy trying to kill me! I’ve whined about how unfair it was that I was the only one faithfully serving Him…
That is, until recently, when God gently rebuked me by encouraging me to re-read the story of Elijah. I had known that the Lord was with me in the fight against the enemy. I had known that the Lord was my strength. I had known that the Lord had provided His armor for my protection. I had known that the sword He gave me would slay evil rulers, authorities of the unseen, and mighty powers in this dark world. I had known the euphoria of victory! But for the first time, as I re-read the above passage, I realized that I am not alone. I am not the only one faithfully serving the Lord.
At some point, when I had climbed down a mountain, the enemy had threatened me with the lie: “you are alone.”
And I believed it.
The Truth that I failed to receive (because of my fear….and subsequent pride) was that God has preserved 7,000 others alongside me! They too are fighting the good fight. They too are hearing from God, obeying, experiencing His miraculous power, seeing people repent and believe in God, and rejoicing when the enemy is defeated!
Fear & isolation is a very real issue amongst warriors in the Kingdom of God. Fatigued from faithfully serving. Weary from battle. Scarred from the arrows that have hit their mark through missing or broken armor. Exhausted from defeating the false prophets in the land. Wounded and afraid because angry leaders have been threatened by their ministry.
Many have said “that’s ENOUGH!” Many have run away. Many are hiding in caves. Many have been replaced by others. I don’t want to be among the many. I don’t want to be replaced. I don’t want to hide. I don’t want to run away from the battle.
- I want to know that HE is God.
- I want to experience His miraculous power.
- I want to see people repent and believe in Jesus.
- I want to help defeat the enemy.
- I want to know that there are 7,000 others with me!
- I want to hear “well done, good and faithful warrior.”
I’ve had ENOUGH. Enough of the enemy’s threats. Enough of his lies.
I am a child of the King. I will put on His armor. I will obey His commands. I will fight with my double-edged sword. And….I will rest in the shadow of the Almighty (Psalm 91).