12Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. (James 1:12)
11Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 12Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. 13He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (Rev 3:11-13)
Wmouth. But unlike the bass that leaps and twists and struggles e are born with a hook in our in effort to throw the hook, we try to swallow it, thinking that it will satisfy our soul.
The bait used to attract us is called "Self Will," and anything that appeals to our Self is bound to be snapped at. We learn very early to use such words as; "I want," "I deserve," "Me first," "Mine!" "My rights," and so on.
And from our very first attempts to utilize this attitude, we discover that it works. We open our mouth and scream, and find a bottle or some other goodies stuck in it, or we get our diaper changed, or we get the love and attention we desired.
Is it any wonder that we grow to be just big babies, demanding our own way, and devising new and improved methods to get what we want?
And we will have no trouble finding support for our drive to satisfy Self. No, the world is full of people doing the very same thing we are, and at the same time reassuring us that we are on the right and proper track.
Friends and peers will support you. Your schools will support you. The Governments will support you. And if you don't happen to be around any of those at the time you need reassurance, just turn on the radio or TV and you will receive all the support you could possibly hope for. There you will find music that supports you, and movies that support you. And even churches that support your desire for much and more.
But you don't need those for support, merely listen to the commercial bites and you will have all you need. You will hear such lines as: "You want," "You deserve," "You first," "Yours!" "Your rights," etc. along with "Now," and "Only," and "Don't hesitate," and "Don't miss out," as well as other such lines to feed your baby-like needs to satisfy your immediate lusts and your need to "fit in."
And all these voices will support your every desire - as long as your wants and desires feed their Self, and do not cross their desires.
The line, from birth, that pulls us like the aroma of oven-baked cookies is attached to our Ego, our selfish lusts, our goals, in other words -- our Self.
As we grow older we tend to doubt our self, our ability to fulfill our own wants and needs (as well as losing sight of the difference between the two), and we search for someone or something to turn control of the line over to.
And, unfortunately, there are plenty of people anxious and willing to take over control of yours and everyone else's life.
In our youth, and very often continuing on into old age, we tend to turn our line over to our peers, who know less about life than we do, but have a better "act" than we do.
You develop a caricature of your self, an image that you flaunt, a cartoon of yourself that you believe will cause your peers to accept and acknowledge you. And in the meanwhile, you present a face of respectability to those who you need to impress who demand respectability. The beginning of a life split in two directions. A "Double-minded man." A tearing of the mouth by two hooks.
Or/and we might turn our line over to the Media with confidence that the "stars" will show us the way.
And there is always the Stars in the heavens, and other such fortune tellers ready and willing to tell you what to do with your life.
And, of course, at the end of the line, doing all the pulling, is the arch villain, Satan himself, posing as an Angel of Light and Enlightenment.
From the time we are able to crawl, we begin to feel the second hook that we rarely notice while nestled in a crib or stroller. Our first encounter with this hook comes from the same source that helped us feed our satisfaction and reliance on our first hook - our mother.
"NO!" is the first yank of the line. And we hear that word, which we soon learn to hate, every time we try something new, different or exciting. We head for the stairs, we try to jam a knife up our nose, we attempt climbing onto a hot stove, even drinking out of the toilet or biting the cat or swallowing the goldfish - and all we get is a big NO!
We soon learn that the second hook is no fun. And we try to shake it as soon as possible. Usually at the age of two we feel confident enough to try and pry the hook from our mouth. After all, by that time we are almost able to change our own diaper, we don't need someone to spoon feed us, we can almost dress ourself (sometimes), and by stretching we can reach the doorknob; and most of all, we have learned to talk.
And the word we use most, is the very word we hate - NO!
Mother has a firm grip on the hook that we pull against and causes us so much displeasure and pain. And as we grow older, there are times that mother turns the line over to father when it requires some hard yanking.
We learn to hate that hook, and, though we try to deny it, we learn to resent and even hate the one who controls the hook.
As we enter our independent teen years, we try for deeper waters, to swim out farther. Our first hook pulls us in that direction.
The problem is, that darn second hook.
The farther we try to swim into the shark-infested deep, the harder that line yanks trying to pull us back.
And the more we grow to resent and despise the one doing the yanking, the one who is trying to take all the fun out of life.
Eventually we reach a point in our growth where we feel self-sufficient, and able to cast off the hook we despise. At least, so we believe (and are again supported by all those who we have allowed to pull on our first hook). How soon we forget that we felt the same way when we were only two.
So we've thrown the hook, or at least we think we have. But it doesn't take us too long to discover that others have taken hold of the line, some of which, like your spouse and children, you thought had hold of your other line, your selfish line. And there are bosses, and the police, and taxes, and a myriad of other people and factions pulling on that hook you thought you had thrown.
Someone suggests attending a church, but you reject that right off because it would be too much like turning your line back over to your mother.
Perhaps you try psychology, or meditation, or communal groups or cults, or religion such as Daoism or Buddhism. (Consider the Jim Jones group in Guiana.) Or, like many, you try them all; but none of these are working for you.
You begin to feel a pull on your second hook that you had tried to shake, but you now are seeking to follow in effort to take pressure off of it, and because you feel it is now leading you to a destiny that will fulfill you.
So you try the church. And you find that indeed you are content. You have found your place.
At first Sunday attendance was all you needed to cause you to feel content. Then again you feel the tug on your hook, and so you get more involved. You even begin to take part in the services; you attend and help out with all the programs. You even aspire to be a Minister yourself and attend a Bible school. So now you have it all - in fact you are even an Elder, or a Pastor of a well-known church. You are highly respected in the community. You have it all.
Then comes the tug again. You think "What else, Lord? What more can you ask of me?"
But you know what it is He wants. You even preach it from the pulpit.
He wants it all. He wants you to throw off that other hook that has been pulling on you from birth. He wants you to release the desires, the thoughts, the attitudes you have clung on to that keeps you feeling like a "Somebody," a person of dignity: the Elite: One of the Crowd. The image you had formed for yourself that satisfies your ego and allows you to fit into the world's mold must go.
We all want to be a part of something. Preferably something Big. We want to be thought favorably of, even to be looked up to. And, unfortunately we search for this from a very temporal source, that is, from those who have been pulling on our childish hook, the very ones we have learned do not satisfy, and that are only concerned with satisfying their own lust, not yours.
Now the people you look to are not out in the world, but right there in your church. They are the cream of society, the few, those after God's Will (at least some of them). And you know they know God's will, because you taught them.
Still yet, something tells you that what you have been taught is not fulfilling you; that there is more; that church attendance and Bible study, and social functions; and shepherding the sheep is not enough.
There's more. And that more is not to be found in the world, or in education, or in Bible study groups.
More is not anywhere to be found. Rather, it is somewhere to which you must be led.
The point at which this awareness is reached is after the first hook is thrown, and you have released everything of the world, of which you are a part. You realize that you are only the caretaker of all that has been placed in your care - including the Tabernacle of the Lord, which is your body; that is being swept clean and garnished, ridding it of all selfish desires and lusts. You realize that within you is the Spirit of the Lord who must experience and endure all you encounter; through your members, your eyes, your ears, and your mouth. He must even endure the thoughts of your mind.
If He is in fact the Owner of the Temple you have offered to Him, He will be trying to direct and make use of, and to purify His Temple. But just as anyone you allow into your home, He can only accomplish or perform that which you allow.
And if you have in fact turned your Temple over to Him; then you must ask Him what you can and cannot do with it.
Who owns You?
If you find that you are no longer fighting the battle; the chances are you have lost the battle. That means you have to get back into the fray, shake the world's hook, and get a firmer grip on God's line.
The battle is not fought in the church, it is fought in the Soul. And that battle is not won until we overcome, which is to say, we've become like Jesus; and no less will be acceptable.
1Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; (1Tim 4:)
6If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. 7But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
12Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.(1Tim 4:)
6For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. (2Tim 4:)
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