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Pastor's Corner - March 2017

posted Feb 24, 2017, 9:33 AM by Linda Dickinson

Dear Friends,

This month we continue with the excellent teaching, “The Old Landlord,” by Larry Christenson.  This month four practical tips are given on how to specifically deal with Satan, the old landlord.  May you be encouraged and blessed as you give the evil one “no occupancy” in your life with Jesus.

Richest Blessings Always,

Pastor Fred

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by Larry Christenson, from “The Renewed Mind”

“Four Practical Tips”

1. Don’t let your feelings fool you.  Feelings are one of the old landlord’s strongest weapons.  When he waves these things in your face, it will stir up all the old feelings you had before Christ delivered you – fear, doubt, guilt, lust, anxiety, despair.  The old feelings will be right there, and strong.  Don’t be afraid of them.  Simply do not follow them.  Rather, just quietly tell that thought, “Take the whole matter up with Jesus.”  It may take some persistence on your part, but eventually he will leave.  He has to.  You have the Name of Power.

When Christ sets you free, it’s like pulling a big weed out by the roots.  There are little troughs left in the earth, where the roots used to be.  These don’t cover over at once.  So what does the Enemy do?  He beams a thought into your mind.  He lays it right in the trough where the old root used to be – right where the memories are still easily aroused, right where the feelings that used to accompany that thing still lie raw and exposed.  The memories stir up, the feelings are inflamed.  Your faith in Christ faces a practical test.  Are you going to trust the Word and promise of god, even despite your thoughts and feelings?

Remember the simple rule: Feelings follow faith.  The old landlord cannot stay around forever.  Then he leaves, your feelings will subside.

2. Do not become discouraged by the frequency or the repetition of the same temptation.  Repetition is another of the old landlord’s favorite weapons.  We might resist him two, three, four times, but then we become weary.  He convinces us that we are, after all, still as undelivered as ever.  So we open the door and let him in.

If the same thought comes back a hundred times in the same day, a hundred times quietly and confidently send it on to Jesus.  And rejoice!  Yes, rejoice!  Because the old landlord cannot come knocking one more tie than he gets permission from God to do so.

Read the book of Job and see: Before Satan ever moved against Job, he had to get permission from God to do so.  God lets the old landlord come knocking.  This is the way in which your faith is built up.  Every time you send the old landlord on to Jesus, your faith in your Deliverer is strengthened.  And if he knocks loud and bellows fiercely, and if he returns a hundred, yes, a thousand times, rejoice!  For with every encounter – with every turning him away to Jesus – you are being knit in trust and faith to your Deliverer.

3. Do not feel that this requires some kind of superhuman willpower.  This whole way of victory in Jesus is not based on willpower at all: It is based on faith – faith in the reality and authority of Jesus.

Consider again our illustration:  Suppose the old landlord comes knocking at the door when the father and mother of the family have gone to the store.  The five-year-old daughter is home alone.  He blusters out his usual threats and demands.  In herself the child has no “strength.”  She is just a five-year-old.  But she is prepared.  She knows the way things really stand.

By no strength of her own, but purely because of the incontestable authority of the new Landlord, she says calmly and confidently, “You’ll have to take that up with the new Landlord.”  No fear.  No shouting.  No struggle.  No “willpower.”  Just simple trust and confidence (the Bible calls it “faith”) in an incontestable authority.  That is what you have in Jesus: An Incontestable Authority.  All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18).

4. Cut your conversation with the old landlord short.  In effect, give him to understand that you have other important things to do!  For instance, you can turn to Jesus in an act of worship, song, or praise.  This guards against the danger of this whole thing becoming just a “new law” – a routine which you follow, more-or-less successfully, but one which does not really build up your personal relationship to Jesus.

Imagine the case of a man who has had a habit of lust.  He cannot sit down at a lunch counter without casting a furtive, lusting glance at the waitress.  He never goes by a newsstand without paging through some lurid book or magazine.  Even in his relations with his wife, there is more of lust than real love.

Then he is saved.  He receives the life of Jesus, and he knows that he cannot continue to do this sort of thing.  But he does not understand this life of deliverance-through-Jesus.  So he merely applies the law.  He tries to “contain” this lust of the flesh by resolve and willpower.  He has a measure of success, but also many a failure.  And in none of this is he really bound to Jesus in love.  In fact, he may even begin inwardly to resent the hard life Jesus calls him to, and excuse himself a little lusting.

But now he learns this life of deliverance.  He sees a lewd magazine on a bus station rack.  He does not “fight” against this temptation.  He does not simply grit his teeth and suffer through the duration of this temptation, saying over and over to himself, “I will not lust, I will not lust, I will not lust.”  Evil resisted grows stronger.  “The power of sin is the law” (1 Corinthians 15:56).   The more he invokes the law against his lusting, the more powerful grows the sin within him.  He has tried that method before, and failed.

The way of real deliverance lies in quite another direction.  He sees the lewd magazine.  He quietly recognizes within himself that this is a situation of temptation.  At once he takes up his impregnable position IN CHRIST through an act of conscious worship.  He averts his eyes from the immediate source of temptation and inwardly begins to praise Jesus.  Perhaps he sings a hymn to himself.  He praises his wonderful DELIVERER.  Not in a fearful spirit, as though the lust at any moment might break through the door.  (He has sent it on to Jesus, and it has to leave!)  He praises Jesus in a joyful, confident spirit knowing that He, Jesus, has won the victory over lust.  His authority cannot be challenged.

As he binds himself to Jesus in this conscious act of worship, the temptation will retreat.  It is not the law which has saved him.  He has simply yielded the whole thing to Jesus, through an act of worship.

Another thing you can do is enter into a preconceived plan of intercession.  A man once found himself afflicted by blasphemous thoughts.   He fought against them with all the resources of his conscious will, but to no avail.  Then he struck on a different approach.  He determined that whenever these blasphemous thoughts came knocking at the door of his mind, he would begin praying for his cousin Henry, a missionary in China.  It was not long before the old landlord quit bringing that blasphemy bill around for collection, for he found that all it did was stir up a lot of prayer for China!

Turning to some routine job is another way to excuse yourself from a conversation with the old landlord.  A good stint of garden work, or taking care of some long-needed repairs around the house, has frustrated the old landlord’s plans more than once.

It is important to realize that the old landlord may tell you the “truth.”  Some of those bills are due – worry, hate, lust, laziness, pride.  But that is not the point.  The point is that Jesus is now handling the matter.  The bills must be taken to Him for collection.  He has paid the debt and set you free!

Tune in next month for “The Principle Behind It” as we conclude this teaching from “The Renewed Mind.”

Christensen, Larry (1974). The Renewed Mind. Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers