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Breaking the Cycle of Defeat 02/19/2010

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;

The words of “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” and the phrase“prone to wander” ring so true in our day and, sadly, throughout all of human history. From the moment God created man in total freedom and placed him in a beautiful garden, the subtle, seductive voice of the serpent has misdirected both the attention of man and his progress. The repetitive cycle of defeat continues today.

Man is the agent of free will. We have the right to choose whom we serve and to what belief system we commit. The right choices and the correct principles have always led to the blessing of fruitfulness and prosperity.

As I shared last week, during difficult times God’s own people sold themselves into slavery under Pharaoh’s government. Rather than depending upon God and one another to overcome the challenges, men seemed determined to submit to some other source and power other than that of our Creator. Even after being delivered into the Promised Land and seeing their enemies totally overthrown, they began to take into their lives that which God said was, in fact, an abomination. They began to worship idols, that which they had made with their own hands, rather than worshipping the Almighty God and Creator of all life.

They were so bound that even when Jesus came announcing that what the prophet Isaiah said was fulfilled before their very eyes, they could not understand. Jesus said, “"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.... Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”1

On another occasion when He told them that if they would abide in Him, they would know the truth and the truth would set them free, they remarked that they had never been in bondage to anyone because they were the children of Abraham, the father of faith.2 How blind and how foolish that statement was! They had in fact been in bondage for centuries and lived as slaves, and at that very moment were the subjects of the Roman Empire.

People are so blinded by the god of this world, the attractions in this world, and the deception of our enemy that they cannot see truth standing in front of them. Mankind has never been able to handle the truth. We invariably and consistently mishandle it. We actually cast it aside and hold on to a belief system based on the lies of other men. Freedom not only produces the possibility of prosperity and the ability to make wise decisions, but also the opportunity to abuse that freedom. We are doing it at this very moment.

Our nation was born not only as a result of the pursuit of freedom, but with an understanding of its importance and the principles necessary to establish it. Our founders also understood how quickly it can be mishandled and foolishly forsaken. Respected English orator and statesman G.K. Chesterton, when lecturing in the United States, referred to our “great experiment in democracy” as being of “divine origin.” I agree and this fact implies that this special freedom must be preserved by people submitted to divine order.

The freedom God offered to us can only be maintained by people who are responsible and live under the control of those guiding beliefs. Jesus came and spoke to people in both religious and national bondage and announced that He came to set them free. The people in His day interpreted it to mean that He must become a central power source, exerting force and control over the people. In other words, a king on the throne who controls his subjects!

Jesus rejected every attempt to put Him in a national place of authority and made it clear that His kingdom was not of this world. Instead, it was to be established within the individual. His kingdom was to be in us as believers, and He was to be the supernatural, controlling force in our lives.

He spent many hours with a circle of close friends and followers. He proclaimed truth and demonstrated it everywhere He went. But even the people who listened to the greatest teacher who ever walked on this earth could not comprehend what He was saying. He told them, “I have many things to tell you, but you can’t handle it.”3

It was obvious they couldn’t even hear God speaking directly from heaven and interpreted the sound to be thunder! They couldn’t appropriately apply the very things He was saying to them directly, so Jesus said, “It is necessary for your sakes that I leave and send another one of the same kind, another power, another person just like Me who can in fact live inside you. I must send the Holy Spirit to live in you to enable you to live in the freedom I came to provide.”

The disciples did not understand He had to die for their sins and the failures of all humanity in order for them to be redeemed and reconciled to the Creator and Father God. They even protested this and didn’t understand when it happened. It was only after the resurrection and power of this other person, the Holy Spirit, filling them to overflowing that they began to express the kingdom life that He was talking about. After denying Jesus three times, Simon Peter stood in the power of this indwelling Spirit to deliver the keynote message at Pentecost.

Jesus shared this liberating truth: “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.”4 We cannot overcome the world and the temptation to live under its influence and its power, becoming idolatrous in our own hearts, without supernatural enabling and the marvel of God’s grace. God alone can give us the strength to overcome the temptations of this world, the deception of the enemy, and the promises of feeble men, however politically powerful they may be, or whatever religious position they may hold. He alone can guide us to the liberating truth necessary to keep us living freely and responsibly.

I am convinced that at this very moment God is calling every believer to begin living in the freedom Christ purchased with His very life, and to live as an overcomer through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. We will not live under control unless it is under the control of the Spirit. You can’t create or enforce enough laws to keep people under control when they have decided to depend on something other than God and adopt a belief system other than His eternal truth.

He is calling us to return to Him with our whole heart, begin living in harmony – first with Him and with one another – and to reject the spirit of divorce that not only splits marriages, but also divides the church of Jesus Christ. We must stop arguing and fighting over the nonessentials and begin to live like a family with all of our disagreements and misunderstandings. We can gather around Him, and let Him be the center of our lives and begin to live as a healthy family. Believe me, it is possible! Jesus Christ prayed for it to be so -- one with God, and one with each another.5 This is the hour for it to happen!

I believe that the family of God can stand up right now and begin to let the river of God’s life freely flow through us, reach out to one another and those in need, and see this nation return to the sanity and the dependence upon God necessary to restore prosperity and give us the opportunity to continue sharing with those in need all over the world. This is the time for the church to be the example. With all of the frustration and discontent in the nation, this is our opportunity as believers to show people the way out of darkness and the way to not only defend liberty, but begin to demonstrate what it really means to live in freedom. Jesus not only died to make it possible, He sent the Holy Spirit to enable us to live as over comers. Please join me in prayer that God will bring us back to an understanding of His will and the absolute necessity of depending upon Him, His grace and His power to reveal the power of His kingdom in us.

Lyrics from “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” by Robert Robinson.

1 Luke 4:18, 21
2 John 8:32-33
3 John 8:43
4 1 John 4:4
5 John 17:21

Author: James Robison

Editor: Randy Robison

Word Count: 1500

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and His wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Soul of a Nation, The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity.

Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at . Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.