In America it is quickly becoming a forgotten fact, that the cross of Jesus Christ is central to the Gospel. We sing songs of Jesus at the cross, but have no cross of our own.
This first became apparent to me early in my spiritual journey when a large Bible Study class was asked to define the cross. They couldn't do it. What an amazing revelation! There must have been twenty five believers present who couldn't explain the meaning of the cross to our lives.
The biggest hoax spoken in the pulpits of the land by modern day religious leaders says "Christ suffered for you on the cross, so you don't have to suffer." Can you imagine what that kind of preaching does to the body of Christ in putting whole churches to sleep? They go home and do their own thing and have no power with God because they are not dying to self.
The first thing we need to understand about the cross is our dying to self in every possible way as God reveals our sins to us. We must die to self to the television, to the party, to addictions of every kind, to free ourselves from the darkness of our innermost being to grow up into Christ.
Where can you expect to find time to study to show yourself approved of God in searching his Word if you don't die to everything altogether?
Many will say I am not called nor do I want to serve God full time in any capacity, so why should I study to show myself approved of Him? If you don't, you are in sin. You are breaking the first commandment to love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And sin makes you weak spiritually. It saps the spiritual power you need to receive illumination from the Lord.
"Hide the Word of God in your heart so you might not sin against him," and if you are called you have the right to turn him down. The Lord doesn't want unwilling servants working for him.
If you are not reading your Bible at home, you certainly cannot expect to have any defense against Pharisees in the pulpit at church. "Oh but that couldn't possible happen at my church," so many will say. "My church is Spirit filled."
Well, the nature of the Christian and the Catholic religions is the lack of the cross for its religious leaders. And since they do not walk as living sacrifices, they cannot be expected to teach you to become living sacrifices and grow up into Christ.
Believers tend to get disconnected from the reality of spiritual warfare while establishing their beliefs. If someone tells them they have the Devil under their feet, they tend to believe it. If someone points to the promise Jesus made to his soon to be Apostles, saying they had power to bind or loose devils, the believer likes to think he also has the power. But the disciples of Jesus Christ walked with him in absolute poverty with no financial backing as living sacrifices, going where he directed them; and this is what a living sacrifice must learn to do today while led by the Spirit of Christ in the anointing.
To get things into prospective, let's consider who is giving power to his people. His name is Jesus. He is King of kings, Lord of lords, the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end. He created all things. If Moses tells the Red Sea to part, it doesn't part unless the Lord of glory parts it. If Elijah commands fire down from heaven to kill his enemies, fire doesn't come down unless the Lord of glory sends lightning bolts to kill them.
We all agree the Devil can do nothing without God's permission. This fact of life may be the greatest power you don't possess. Any spiritual power you do possess must be by the manisfestation of Jesus Christ in you. Christ worked in the miracle workers you read about in the Bible to bring supernatural acts into being.
You probably know the Devil took Jesus bodily to the top of the temple where he first attempted to tempt the Lord, then he carried the Lord off bodily to a mountaintop where he attempted to tempt him again.
Knowing the Devil had power over the Lord bodily ought to tell you he has power over your body too if God allows it. The Devil is not under your feet.
It may surprise and even offend you to find out believers have no power over the Devil until they come into the anointing of the Lord's divine Spirit. This is probably contrary to what you have been hearing. You have the power to resist the demons the Devil sends against you, but you have no power to loose or bind the Devil. You may succeed in casting off a demon who is oppressing another, but binding the Devil in chains is not your calling.
To have power over devils, you have to first discern their works in circumstances and people through the Spirit of God. This is not an easy thing to do, nor can it be done by means of natural understanding alone. You have to be able to see into the unseen or discern the invisible operations of the Devil and his hordes of demonic spirits.
How can you bind or loose what you cannot see? How can you destroy the works of the Devil when you do not yet know what they are?
You are probably of little or no threat to the Devil who is the god of this world. This is a built in protection you are enjoying as a believer. Most believers will likely finish the course of their life without ever really encountering the Devil as Jesus encountered him.
Just as there are people with a great deal of knowledge and power in the business world, so there are demonic spirits with a great deal of knowledge and power in the invisible realm of the spirit. The greater the threat you are to the works of the Devil, the greater a messenger of Satan is sent to buffet you.
You will have little or no power or experience to bind or loose Satan if you are employed in the secular world. When you read the sacred Scriptures describing gifts of the Spirit, you need to be careful how you interpret it:
Saint Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles wrote: "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal." Believers often times take that statement to mean every believer is given the manisfestation of the Spirit, yet quite the contrary is true.
When a practicioner of holiness breaks through to the Lord of glory by seeking him diligently, a peculiar manisfestation of the Spirit is given to "every man" who does so. This is a picture of what they are to look for in the anointing when they attain to it:
For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these work that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. (1 Corinthians 12:7/11)
Jesus is all of the above operations in action and his Spirit divides one of the above operations to every man who is diligently hungering and thirsting after righteousness to be filled by Him. Those spiritual operations are not divided to believers whose commitment is materialistic, although many presume they have gifts of the Spirit operating.
What we find in the churches throughout America is a kind of religious theatre where some of those operations mentioned above are play acted before the congregation to make all there feel loved and accepted by the Lord, but the elect are accepted without putting on a show to deceive themselves. The Lord will accept you all the more if you come to a more realistic assessment of what he is doing upon the earth.
You will not find the Lord empowering churches. He empowers individuals whose lives are set apart unto him. The greater power of the churches is as a political force, and that power has been sold to the State Franchise board in exchange for tax free status.
Its up to you which path you choose. Secular or spiritual. If you choose the spiritual path
of absolute obedience and servitude to the Lord, you have to study to show
yourself approved of God so you can become totally set apart unto him. Then you will find out what
power the Lord wishes to operate through you as a vessel suitable for the Master's use.