Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

   by Jeannette Haley

       Doors are something most of us take for granted, but consider what an important role they play in our lives. Who would purchase a home, however humble or grand, that had entrances without doors? After all, doors provide security for those inside while baring entrance of the world outside. Doors give us a sense of privacy, peace and security (or well-being), as well as a sense of control. If we prefer not to have an exchange with uninvited visitors ringing our doorbell, all dressed up in suits and ties, we have the option to keep the door closed.

       Without doors, our environment would change drastically due to weather, temperature and the unwelcome intrusion of pests and people. Can you imagine trying to sleep soundly knowing that thieves, thugs, and killers could stroll unhindered into your house?

       While doors, gates, walls and fences serve a vital role in our physical lives, how many of us take time to consider the importance of spiritual doors? The first mention in the Bible of doors refers to a spiritual door, the door to our heart. God said to Cain, “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door” Genesis 4:7a. God was warning Cain that sin was waiting for him to open the door of his heart through one act of rebellion, through the sin of omission. For God to accept Cain, he would have to do what was right before God. In his case, that would mean bringing an offering to God that He could accept—an offering that cost him something, as well as cost the life of an innocent animal whose shed blood pointed to the cross. However, if Cain refused to do well, or right, then he was opening the door to sin. We all know what he chose to do.

       Forgive me, but I just can’t resist the temptation to compare Cain’s ideology to some of the far out, left-wing loonies. Take, for example, the liberal politicians, Marxists, “Czars” and New Age earth worshippers of our day who have no qualms about murdering babies, the sick, and the elderly, while plotting to eliminate two-thirds of the world’s population through toxic vaccinations, starvation, germ warfare, tainted food, forced sterilization and other means. Their mindset and ideology is reminiscent of Cain’s. Cain had no fear or respect for God. He had his own “religion” which was made up of unbelief, rebellion and flippancy about sin and the results of that sin (death.) In his mind, God should accept whatever he threw at Him. Unlike his brother, Abel, Cain had no regard for God’s promise of a redeemer (Genesis 3:15). Like one of Obama’s powerful Czars, he did not believe in shedding the blood of animals, and was petulant towards the Lord for requiring a blood sacrifice. His anger and jealousy towards his brother culminated in hatred and murder. The insanity and hypocrisy we see in the world today is nothing new.

       God gives us the freedom to choose. Cain could have chosen to humble himself, repent, and bring the proper offering. If he had done so, the door of his heart would have opened so that the glorious light, love and life of the Lord could come in, and the sin that “lay” there be vanquished.

       We are admonished by God in Proverbs 4:23 to “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” This means that we are responsible to guard the “door” of our hearts as to what comes in, and what goes out. Jesus said, “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things” Matthew 12: 34, 35. So, what kind of treasure are you and I storing up in our hearts? Can we say with the Psalmist, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” Psalm 119:11? Is God’s Word the treasure in your heart, or have you let down your guard and opened the door to evil through compromise with the world, the flesh and the devil?

       The question isn’t whether or not a Christian can “have” a devil (demon), but can a demon “have a Christian.” By this I mean, if a Christian opens the door, can Satan (demons) gain a foothold in his or her life? If so, what are those doors? One door is found in Ephesians 4:26-27, which states, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.” [Emphasis added.] Anger, which everyone experiences in his or her life, becomes a sin when it is allowed to enter one’s heart in the form of hatred, which is murder. (See 1 John 3:15.) The key is, to keep the door shut, to not allow anger to go unabated, and to simmer internally.

       Another open door can be fear. In Paul’s instructions to Timothy, he wrote, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” [Emphasis added.] As with anger, every one of us has experienced fear. However, if we open our heart’s door to fear instead of standing on God’s promise of power, love and a sound mind, fear can engulf us in such a way that we become paralyzed within its grip. There is a natural fear, and then there are actual spirits of fear. We have encountered many spirits of fear in our years of ministry within the lives of Christians.

       Two prevalent spirits found among Christians are a familiar spirit and a religious spirit. People, who are zealous, but ignorant of the ways of God, and Satan, can easily open the door for these spirits. “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him” 2 Corinthians 11:3, 4. [Emphasis added.] A familiar spirit will counterfeit the work of the Holy Spirit, deceiving the person into believing that the “insight” or “information” he or she is receiving is from God. Not knowing how to test the spirits, such a person will not be able to receive the truth because of the deception and delusion that such spirits produce which feed one’s pride.

       Religious spirits likewise operate from the point of personal pride. People with religious spirits want to “be seen of men” (Matthew 6:5), and be exalted into places of importance or leadership. Religious spirits can cause others to become uncomfortable because of their “know-it-all” bossy demeanor. They can also throw confusion on people because they give the appearance of always being “right” about matters. When Christians feel pushed or reticent to come into agreement with a religious spirit, Satan can deluge them with guilt. No wonder the Apostle John wrote, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” 1 John 4:1.

       Satan and his demons know all about doors. Christians need to realize that the demons Jesus and the apostles cast out of people did not simply wander off to some remote corner of the Universe and remain there. They are not confined outside the borders of Westernized countries, such as America, as many people erroneously believe. Demons are not restricted by time and space as we are, and they definitely have some powerful doors through which to gain entrance into people in these end times. The command to “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. . . . And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils . . . .” (Mark 16:15b, 17a) has never been nullified by God. In addition to the previously mentioned doors, what I consider the four most powerful of these doors today are pornography, drugs, hard rock music and the occult. The common denominator that links these four “doors” together is their addictive nature. Once a person opens the door to sinful addictions, he or she will begin a journey into the dark, twisted, bizarre and terrifying realm of Satan, demons, delusion, destruction and death.

       When dealing with people who are struggling with different degrees of obsessions, depression and possession, the Christian worker must be led by the Spirit of God in order to wade through the different levels, or layers, in which Satan has a stronghold. Not all people have opened one, or all, of these doors by their own free will; some have had their door forced open due to the wickedness of others, such as molestation or rape. Naturally, children are helpless concerning the type of environment in which they live. The great tragedy is that innumerable children have had their innocence stripped from them because of the gross perversions rampant in our society. Much of the destructive things that they see and hear come through video games, television (including cartoons), demonic Hollywood productions, globalist (New Age) children’s books and socialistic brainwashing in the school system.

       Regardless of when or why a person opens the door at some point in their life to the forces of evil and destruction, what sets him or her up to fall into endless cycles of defeat are the resulting decisions that he or she makes. Decisions and conclusions are a stake, or pivot point, in a person’s soul around which orbit one’s worldview, perspective of God and life, fears, determinations or beliefs, justifications, and “touchy trigger points” of self-preservation.

       Many people who love the Lord, but who have never been properly discipled, are at risk to inadvertently opening the door to wrong influences and sin because they do not understand how to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ,” and walk out His life. The “religious roadway” is littered with lost people—people who are weak in their faith, people who face overwhelming situations in life, and people who became lost searching for meaning and purpose, having never been made into disciples of Christ.

       Once a person opens the door to any addictive habit or behavior, the last thing he or she needs to hear from well-meaning people are psychological formulas, or religious platitudes. Psychology is neither Scriptural nor scientific, yet most churches incorporate it into their counseling and teaching. This unholy mixture is about as spiritually helpful to hurting people, as mud pies are nutritious. You get the picture.

       “Well,” the platitude people might ask, “why don’t Christians just read the Bible and obey it! Then everything will work out in their lives.” In fact, a writer who is a member of a well-known ministry recently wrote, in part, “First of all, neither the God of the Bible, nor His instructions in Scripture, nor the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer is about fixing our daily mental, emotional, and behavioral problems.” Really? I don’t know about you but I thought that one way we humans know we are alive is because we have the ability to think, feel, and act. He went on to say, “Every believer is a new creature in Christ, and his objective in life is to have Christ formed in him. That is the process of sanctification—being set apart from the ways, means, and lusts of the world to a life that is in submission to the Lord and in which choices are made that are pleasing to Him, the One with whom every true believer will spend eternity. It’s a growth process, which at times involves sufferings and trials that the Lord allows in our lives to help us depend upon Him and mature in our relationship with Him. Yet most biblical counseling is trapped in a ‘just fix the problem’ or ‘get rid of the symptoms’ mentality and mode, along with other concepts that are contrary to the biblical way.”

       The author goes on to say, “Preaching, teaching, and evangelizing are gifts of the Holy Spirit. Counseling, however, is noticeably absent from among the gifts. Why is counseling missing, especially since high profile counselors and others in that position are arguably the most influential people, either nationally or at the local church level, in the evangelical community today? The answer is that counseling is not a biblical ministry. Those who function as counselors (biblical or otherwise) are erroneously involved in an activity that is primarily a function of the Spirit of Christ. He is our Counselor. More often than not, counselors supplant the Spirit of Christ as they try to do in the life of a believer what only God can do. They attempt to peer into the heart of the counselee, grasping for motivations, connections, sin inducements, and other insights in order to remedy troubling conditions.”

       While much of what the author wrote is true in certain situations, the problem is it is not true in every situation. Therefore, his conclusions cannot be considered as truth, or applied to every Christian who finds him or herself trapped in endless destructive or defeating cycles. At this point, I have asked Rayola to step in and address the issue of biblical counseling since God has given her the gift of wisdom, the ability to “rightly divide the Word of God,” and give wise counsel.

       (Rayola): “Through the years, I have been aware of how psychology has become the Church’s solution to the emotional and mental struggles that people have in their life. The reason this worldly, humanistic philosophy has gained such popularity in the Body of Christ is that there was a need present that was not being fulfilled by the Church. As a result, well-meaning Christians looked elsewhere to solve the problem. Of course, Satan has his counterfeits, which look attractive and sound wise, available to replace the real or lasting work of God.

       “In dealing with people, I have discovered that the problems they struggle with cannot be addressed from a logical, psychological premise because they do not stem from the mental or emotional arenas of a person, but from the spiritual. The mental and emotional fallouts that people have are often a result of four spiritual conditions: unbelief, personal reality, unresolved issues, and despair.

       “When you consider these conditions, most of them find their origins in the influence, workings and activities of sin. Sin is at the root of all problems that confront, challenge and destroy the resolve of people when it comes to the matters of life. For example, unbelief has great fear, but no faith; personal reality lacks truth and is often idolatrous; unresolved issues involve great losses; wounds and confusion end in anger and bitterness, while despair has no hope and can harbor self-pity and depression.

       “These conditions also correspond with the doors Jeannette made mention of. For example, unbelief opens the doors to the occult and the New Age, personal reality can easily embrace pornography to give it some type of sensation, unresolved issues are what often justifies the world of drugs, and despair often seeks other sources to numb the emotional despondency, such as pornography, drugs and music.

       “These four conditions often serve as the keys that will open destructive doors to the soul in which Satan’s kingdom can find the necessary access to reinforce the person’s present condition with lies. These lies create greater darkness of ignorance towards God, deception in regard to the present state, fear that drives or paralyzes, and despondency that is complacent. This brings us to the aspect of biblical counseling.

       “If a matter is spiritual by nature, it must be dealt with from a spiritual premise (1 Corinthians 2:10-14). If the kingdom of darkness is involved in the oppression, it must be spiritually discerned and biblically confronted (1 John 4:1). Since it is spiritual, the Holy Spirit is the only one that can shine the light on the actual problem in order to address it in an effectual, meek way, with the powerful sharpness of truth that will surgically divide and separate (Hebrews 4:12).

       “What has been lacking for many years in the area of Christian counseling has been the actual Counselor, the Holy Spirit. He has been replaced with so-called ‘degrees’ that are unholy and worldly, along with worldly knowledge, philosophies, and techniques’; ‘lifeless pet doctrines’; and ‘indifferent religious platitudes’, creating a vacuum that makes both God and His Word appear obsolete and incapable of addressing these issues.

       “The Holy Spirit is the one who reveals where a person is spiritually, in what way the kingdom of darkness is working, and how to effectively confront the person in his or her present state in order to minister the very life of Christ to him or her. He is the One who leads a person to all truth about Jesus: truth that will set a person free from emotional chaos and spiritual oppression. He is the one who brings pure wisdom to a matter, establishes what is righteous, does the work of sanctification in the believer, and seals the person until the fullness of his or her redemption is realized (John 16:7-13; Ephesians 9-14; 1 Peter 1:2). He is the One who brings us forth as the new creations we have been designated to become as we submit to His work.

       “When the Holy Spirit is missing from the equation, the counselor will have no power, authority or life to back up what is being said. Since many Christians have not been properly discipled in regard to the person and work of the Holy Spirit, they are not prepared to discern the heavenly wisdom of the Counselor, obey the truth of His counsel, allow His counsel to separate them from that which is wrong in order to be separated unto that which is holy, and as a result, they fail to walk in the light of their redemption.”

       As we can see, along with the free will that our Creator bestowed upon us, we are responsible, or accountable, for the doors we choose to open. Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” Revelation 3:20. He also said, “I am the door of the sheep” and “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” John 10:7b, 9. Have you opened the door of your heart to Jesus? Have you entered in by Him into eternal life?

       God help us to be as the wise virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) who will be ready to go in with him to the marriage before the door shuts. When that final door shuts, it will be too late. “And while they [foolish virgins] went to buy, [pay the price to be ready] the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh” Matthew 25:10-13.

       The question remains: On which side of the door will you be?