The Awakened Spirit
Part 4: Sowing and Reaping
Sabbath Day Sermon, Saturday 10 July 2004
Click here for Part 3
We have now discovered that slumbering spirits are awakened by sacrificial love, and specifically parental love from the Body of Christ. As those in Christ love and parent that awakened soul, so it comes to know what true fatherly and motherly relations are and can better interact with, and know, Yahweh and the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit).
In practice, a slumbering and awakening spirit initially latches on to one person who assumes a mentor rôle. And whilst it is good to have a primary parental relationship, it is necessary that this expands to include others in the Body. The local assembly has been so designed by Yahweh to include two layers of parenting for all - the Elders and the Deacons, the former principally responsible for the spiritual and the latter for temporal. Biological parenting, if it is done properly, does require that children have a lot of attention, which is why Yahweh ordained that mother should be at home to give that attention as the children grow up. The first three years are critical, and absent parents - particularly absent mothers who may unnecessarily abandon home to pursue a career - can have a disastrous effect. When a slumbering spirit awakens, a great deal of time is needed to nurture it which is why the extended family of the Messianic Community becomes so essential. And the best environment for them to awaken, if they are still single, is in a biological family. If they are already married to a husband or wife who is unskilled in nurturing, then they need to be around believers who care and love them a great deal. Your typical once- or twice-a-week large informal church gathering is not enough. Awakening spirits need to be around believers all the time.
Awakening spirits are every bit as fragile as small children because it is the child within that is awakening and growing. We should not be distracted by the fact that the physical body may be a youth, middle-aged or even old person. Nurturing an awakening spirit requires presence of mind and acute sensitivity to the Ruach (Spirit). And unless the Body of Christ does this, the society around us will continue to spiral out of control as crime and divorce increase, as more and more dysfunctional people are pumped into the pool of suffering humanity. Thus our cry must be:
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith ..." (1 Peter 5:8-9, NKJV).
And to those who are asleep:
Put on your strength, O Zion;
Put on your beautiful garments,
O Jerusalem, the holy city!
The second coming spiritually-speaking for those who are asleep is now. Yah'shua (Jesus) is willing to come to you now and awaken you, to be your friend (see the sermon series, The Gift of Friendship, Jan-Mar 2003). Whoever you are, if you have a slumbering spirit, know that Yahweh has already called mentors to spiritually parent you, and that you will be led to them as you go to Him in prayer.
Most who are slumbering have little or no idea initially that they need intense ministry. Before they are ready, friends must first quietly soak them in prayer from behind the scenes until they become aware of this need. Recovering from spiritual slumber is a combination of grace and self-initiative - the grace to 'kick start', as it were, but thereafter there must be work: studying the word, a growing prayer life, a trusting and yielding nature that enables parenting to have an effect which comes only as we overcome that brake called Self-Sufficiency Syndrome (SSS).
In the development of any person two mutually conflicting lessons have to be learned. The first is called individuation. During individuation, the soul separates itself from all formative influences and becomes its own person. Many parents fail to understand this, and most often mothers try to bind their sons to them when they should be letting them go. The second is called incorporation, which is the process of becoming part of a group, sensitive to the desires and wishes of others. Incorporation is learning to think in terms of 'we' instead of 'me'. These two lessons are often in sharp conflict with each other in the teen years and require great wisdom to handle rightly. The key to a happy and successful resolution of this conflict time is relationship to Christ, for only He can smoothly transform a teen from parental dependence, to individuation, and finally incorporation. Critical choices have to be made by teens, particularly with whom they incorporate. If he has been brought up properly and has met Christ, the sense of incorporation will always be present and find its happiest realisation in the Body of Christ. If that is in place, then moving away from dependence on parents, to individuation, and then to reincorporation as an adult member of the family can be smooth and delightful.
A slumbering spirit, especially if he is older, has still to go through this process. I know of elderly people, who have been spiritually slumbering all their lives, going through all three processes as though they were teens. This can be very distressing, for example, in a lifelong marriage when a wife who has been suppressed and treated as a child all her life suddenly wakes up and wants to individuate! They can appear to be very egotistical, wanting what they want all the time. It can be hard for the husband who may have mistaken childishness for maturity: but so long as he understands what is going on, he will be reassured that the process, once complete, will make for a very satisfying relationship whereas before he had, in truth, only been married to a child.
However frustrating individuation is for physically maturer people, it is something that has to happen if they are to healthily incorporate. The period known sometimes as the 'terrible teens' does not last forever. Indeed, it does not have to be as terrible as it is made out to be. Paul wrote to Timothy:
"Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on Yahweh out of a pure heart" (2 Tim.2:22, NIV)
Mastering the tempestuous biological upheavals within during the teen years by pursuing holiness sets a teen on a relatively easy course to incorporation. Settling the hormones is no small thing and can really test the spirit but mastery makes for a much easier life as an adult. If teens are anxious to marry, as many are, then they need to follow the biblical code and submit themselves to their father's guidance. It is at this time that disastrous choices can be made which can ruin a whole lifetime. Hence the patriarchal order given by Yahweh.
It often surprises people to see, for example, an awakening spirit in its 50's, 60's, 70's or even older suddenly becoming 'romantic'. When that happens, it is simply a part of the transition from individuation to incorporation on the biological level. You might think the elderly are 'past it' but you would be wrong! When slumbering spirits awaken, be prepared for many surprises!
Last week we started taking a look at bitterroot judgment and false expectations and it is to this important subject I wish to now return. Recall the two sets of scriptures I gave you then: first, we become defiled, and hurt others, when we allow a bitterroot judgment grow up inside us. Second, the measure we mete out we must also receive, or in other words, what you sow you will reap. Just as a tiny mustard seed grows to produce a large tree, so a seed of judgment sown increases the longer it remains unrecognised and unrepented of. So even if you sow a tiny judgment, you will reap again and again, until your judgment becomes larger than life.
Let me give you an illustration that may shock you. A young Austrian country girl went to work as a maidservant in Vienna in the late 19th century at the baronial home of a large and powerful family of bankers. While there she was seduced by the master of the house and got pregnant. The result of that liaison was a boy called Alois who grew up to be a customs official in a small provincial town near the German border. He was the illegitimate son of one of the most powerful and wealthy Jewish families in the world knows as the Rothschilds. Alois subsequently married and had a son called Adolf, whom the world knows as Adolf Hitler.
Adolf Hitler was not the only Nazi leader who was partly Jewish. So was Rheinhard Heydrich, the feared and loathed head of the Sicherheits Dienst or Secret Service, a branch of the Gestapo, who became the scourge of Czechoslovakia after it was occupied. Heydrich would often look in the mirror and loathe the Jewish part of himself. Once can only guess how Hitler must have felt about it. We can be sure he knew. His Austrian political rival, the Austrian Chancellor Dolfuss, knew and was probably going to use it against Hitler but was 'removed' before he could. Knowing as we do the terrible evil these men did - how they must have hated themselves and their terrible (from the nazi point-of-view) secret, we can see an extreme example of the law of judgment in action - a combination of self-hate leading to maniacal hatred of an entire race and a bloodbath. They reaped a grim harvest. However - and this is the staggering reality given history as we know it - these two men at any time could have avoided the fateful step to plant bitterroot judgments and save themselves. They chose not to. Hitler educated an entire nation to plant bitterroot judgments in their hearts, reaping a whirlwind that was to cause unprecedented destruction.
When you judge someone, it doesn't matter whether the party you judge is innocent or guilty, because once you judge with anger, hate, resentment, or in any spirit that is not holy and pure, you have sabotaged your spiritual life. And once you have sown such feelings, there is an inevitable reaping. You can't avoid it. You will pay. Every time we do a deed or hold a judgment in the heart, it is like throwing a ball against a wall. In physics, it is possible to calculate exactly how a ball will react and plot its precise movements. In the spiritual, there is a parallel law. Just as in physics every action has an equal and opposite reaction, so the same is true in the spiritual domain. In chemistry, we have certain kinds of reactions that lead to a state of equilibrium, and at school we are taught to balance equations in both mathematics and chemistry. In the moral and spiritual sphere it is exactly the same: "Whatever a man sows, he shall reap" (Gal.6:7). "Judge not, that you be not judged: for the measure you give out will be the measure you get" (Mt.7:1-2). This is called the Law of Justice and Yahweh planted it into His Creation from the very beginning.
The law of sowing and reaping is not quite that simple, however. Every summer gardeners face the problem of weeds. Because of bad weather, ill health and not a little procrastination, I was a bit late this year mowing the lawn. First the lawn was covered in beautiful golden dandelion flowers and the next thing I knew those flowers had turned to heads, each with maybe 50 seeds on them - each a potential weed. They had multiplied. For each weed I failed to check, I may get as many as 50 more next year. The beauty of those flowers deceived me. For a brief pleasure of the eye, in my complacency I allowed my lawn to be ruined a little more.
That is the law of sowing and reaping on the biological plane. It exists simply because good and evil are permitted together in this world. As believers we are supposed to sow in righteousness and reap a plentiful harvest in righteousness. But we have the freedom to sow exactly what we want - in our thoughts, speech, feelings and deeds. And whatever we sow, we must eventually harvest. You all know the parable of the talents (Mt.25:27). All Yahweh wants is an increase in beneficial things (Gen.1:28). You can guess what Satan wants.
The longer a bitterroot judgment continues unrepented and unconfessed, the greater increment it gains. We sow a spark and reap a forest fire, or sow to the wind and reap a whirlwind. So what do people do when they get guilty consciences? The most common and useless approach is to simply plant good things and let the two crops grow up side-by-side. They rationalise - 'the more good I can do, the better it will be for me at judgment day. God will weigh all my good and bad deeds and if the good outweigh the bad, I will go to heaven.' That, brethren and sisters, is paganism. And it is totally illogical. If I have a lawn full of weeds, will that lawn get any better if I leave it unweeded and to compensate just go and plant more grass seeds? Will planting more grass get rid of the weeds? Of course not! As every gardener knows, you have to get on your knees and dig up the weeds, roots and all. Now if you have a big lawn, you may have set yourself a pretty daunting task. Some people may make a drastic and expensive decision by totally removing the lawn and planting it fresh. Few do that. Or you can get a poison which will selectively kill off the weeds, not an easy thing to do, and risky.
Luckily Yahweh has provided a simpler remedy for bitterroot judgment which is a supernatural remedy. It's called repenting, turning to Christ, confessing, and asking Him to root up that bad judgment and all its increase.
Please remember that the One Law of Multiplication has its effects for good and evil. Satan knows that which is why his demons encourage you to sin. His job is to overrun you with spiritual weeds so that the good is all choked up. Religious people try to dig the weeds up by their own efforts one at a time and inevitably fail, for all their good intentions. This law of multiplication is a supernatural one, and so the only remedy to its abuse has to be supernatural too. That's how Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) comes into the picture. This is also why Yahweh has given us Torah so that by law-keeping we can multiply the good in life by virtue of knowing what is good.
Can you perhaps understand those scriptures which say such things as "adversity pursues sinners. But the righteous will be rewarded with prosperity" (Prov.13:21)- These are active principles. We reap and we sow, and God (or Satan in his sphere) gives the increase by virtue of the extant laws of the cosmos.
Never, never deceive yourself into believing that anger or resentment is nothing. Once you yield to them, you are asking for trouble. And even though it may begin the size of a pea, if unrepented, it will grow into the size of a football! I guarantee it. It makes no difference if you push that anger or resentment into forgetfulness - it's still there and it's growing. That's why people have sudden and often seemingly incomprehensible explosions of bad temper. It's why baffling dark moods suddenly spring up and poison our peace. Behind them is the seathing energies of Lucifer. That's right, the heart of the Adversary is coexisting with your own soul.
Yah'shua (Jesus) came to earth to pay the full legal demands of the Torah broken by mankind. He has taken it all upon Himself. But to reap the benefit of that cancellation order, we have to go to Him to get it. And although this is an admittedly crude illustration, it's like winning a million dollars on the lottery and not doing anything about it. If you win the lottery, you have to contact those who administer the lottery and put in your claim. That claim may be a number on a lottery ticket. To obtain the riches of salvation and deliverance from sin, you have to go to Yah'shua (Jesus) to claim it, and your winning number is the promises made in Scripture! If you forget the number you can't collect your prize. If you don't know the promises of the Bible, Satan will deceive you and rob you of your spiritual prize.
What I am telling you today is the truth. You can either find out for yourself and wait until you have harvested a field of bitterness and disappointment, or you can investigate the Scriptures and find out for yourself. Yahweh wants you to search and test. He says:
""Come now, and let us reason together,"
"Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the good of the land;
But if you refuse and rebel,
You shall be devoured by the sword";
For the mouth of Yahweh has spoken."
The message of heaven is very, very simple. Yahweh says: "Come and talk about it with Me!" But He is not so callous as to not warn you of the consequences of the laws He set up from the beginning, which He can't change - He can't make exceptions for you without affecting everyone and everything else, past, present and future. Just as gravity exists, so too does spiritual law, and you would be foolish to deny it exists. Yet He is kind and gracious - He wants you to understand.
You see, brethren and sisters, there is no cheap grace. Every sins demands a resolution, either now or in the eternities. This world - this life - has been specifically given to you to resolve them. Satan knows this and lies to you. 'Don't worry,' he says, 'you can fix it up in the next life - have a good time while you're down here!' Or, if your religious, he says: 'If you mess it up in this life, you can reincarnate and fix it up in the next.' Not true. There is only one life down here, and now is the time to fix things. Moreover, it will only take a couple of minutes to get you off the train that leads to hell and put you securely on the one that is heading for heaven.
Is it that simple? Yes it is. This is what Paul said to the Colossians:
"You were dead in sins, and your sinful desires were not yet cut away. Then He gave you a share in the very life of Christ, for He forgave all your sins, and blotted out the charges proved against you, the list of His commandments which you had not obeyed. He took the list of sins and destroyed it by nailing it to the cross. In this way, God took away Satan's power to accuse you of sin, and God openly displayed to the whole world Christ's triumph at the cross where your sins were taken away" (Col.2:13-15, TEV).
This is the good news - you can have those bitterroot judgments and false expectations rooted up and the evil harvest destroyed on the cross. You can be cleansed of wrong thinking and wrong doing. Then you will be free to plant and harvest good things and present these to Yahweh as works well done. Amen.
Click here for Part 5
John & Paula Sandford, Healing the Wounded Spirit, Victory House, Tulsa, OK, 1985, ch.5
John & Paula Sandford, The Transformation of the Inner Man, Ibid., 1982, ch.14
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