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

THE MAZE By Rayola Kelley

The Book of Ephesians is what I have been intensely studying for our Friday night fellowship. It is a favorite book of many believers because it speaks of our glorious inheritance. In the world, those who are heirs to great wealth hold their breath as they wait for the death of the benefactor, but for believers we do not have such concerns. Our benefactor, the Lord Jesus Christ has already died on the cross on our behalf so we could receive an inheritance. We don’t have to wonder if we will be written out of some will because we offended the benefactor or did not live up to some unrealistic expectation because all has been promised to us because of grace. We don’t have to wring our hands, hoping that in light of our inheritance if we will be considered even in a fair light because the one who “holds the strings” may not be honorable or trustworthy to do right.

Jesus Christ has secured our inheritance. It is legal in the courts of heaven because He satisfied the Law of God so we can be rightful heirs to it. If we are born again, we possess the seal of the Holy Spirit that identifies us as children of God who have the means to claim it (Ephesians 1:3-14). The issue is not whether the inheritance is available to us, but the question is will we possess it?

I am sure that you have heard stories of heirs that could hardly wait to get their hands on their inheritance, but never lived to see it because they were foolish in their lifestyle. Whether it was fast cars, living in the fast lane of alcohol and drugs, or decadent lifestyles, it ended in complete destruction of their life and soul.

Do we have similar challenges when it comes to our spiritual inheritance? Hebrews 6:12 gives us this exhortation when it comes to inheriting all of the promises of God, “That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” It is clear we can’t be slothful in our lifestyle when it comes to our inheritance. We must through faith and patience inherit the promises. We are to walk towards and walk out our inheritance by faith and learn patience by enduring life experiences (Romans 5:1-5; 2 Corinthians 5:7).

It is not unusual for those who are betting on worldly riches attached to some inheritance to lose it in the end. After all, the god of this world loves to set people high on pinnacles of false promises, dreams, and wishful thinking about riches and fame, to only push them off with the winds of destruction or knock the pinnacle out from underneath them because there was no substance to maintain it. Worldly inheritance is not a sure thing and, in many cases, due to the attitude of the recipients, they hold at best a purse with holes in it that can’t even hold the smallest of inheritances as it falls through the holes like coins through a hole in a pocket (Haggai 1:6).

We are dealing with this issue right now. Jeannette’s mother’s uncle was a world banker who walked among the famous movers and shakers in his day such as President Eisenhower and Adolph Hitler. Jeannette was the only remaining heir on her mother’s side and she was told through the years that she was in line to inherit much. However, most of her life she grew up with the threat of being disinherited if she did not “straighten up” to some unknown standard or expectation that changed according to moods and times.

As a young child, she had no idea what such matters as an inheritance was in the first place to be concerned about. As a young teenager, all of her life was ahead of her and she found herself confused because she was a pretty good kid who did not cause real problems for her family, so why the threats? As an adult, she realized that those who controlled the strings of that inheritance had unrealistic expectations of her. She was told there was a trust fund for her, but she long suspected and her suspicions were recently confirmed, that dishonorable people took control of it and distributed most of it to others including a wicked organization, leaving her with a pittance.

The main complaints against Jeannette were that she was too religious, easily influenced, and was a fool for following Jesus into some type of life that spoke of poverty and not worldly riches. It pointed to what would be considered foolish fanatism instead of calling for rational evaluation. However, Jeannette counted the cost and chose the riches of heaven which includes faith, spiritual blessings, and eternal promises over the fickle promises of the world (James 2:4; Ephesians 1:3; Hebrews 6:12). Jeannette’s choice is called, “consecration,” and clearly, those who “controlled the strings” did not want her to “foolishly” spend her inheritance to further the unseen kingdom of heaven.

As Jeannette looked back at her life, she realized that certain members tried to control her with this inheritance by playing with her mind. Throughout her life threats came at her from all directions, some outward and some veiled, but nevertheless the controlling strings behind those threats came down to withholding her inheritance. As two individuals close to her and this situation summarized, “In the end Jeannette always got the shaft.” But, in all honestly that is all the world can promise everyone who pursues its riches. When you compare the eternal riches to those of the world, whoever pursues them will end up with the shaft and not the mine.

The Bible tells us the love of money is the root to ALL evil (1 Timothy 6:10-emphasis added). How true, but how many Americans, including those who call themselves Christians, have nothing but dollar signs in their eyes? They pursue money with zest, sacrifice people and relationships in pursuit of it, and have no problem selling their soul to possess it. In their mind money buys power, pleasures, happiness, and prestige. Money also separates people into classes: the privileged against the less fortunate, the elite against the serfs of the land, as well as the pawns they freely use in their insidious games, and the peons who may be many but are worthless to them. And then there are the movers and shakers against the stupid, inept, small thinking individuals that often stand in the way of “wicked progress,” and are at best useful idiots and at worst refuse that must be cast aside. Who in their right mind wants to be considered common, insignificant, and expendable in such a light?

However, such distinctions are strictly in the mind of such individuals, for the Lord has no favorites, and in His eyes, regardless of status, race, gender, and position in society, we all stand equal at the foot of His cross. After all, the world’s measuring stick stands completely opposite of God’s. The world offers high pinnacles of arrogance, while the Lord begins by offering us the lowest seat of humility at His table. The world declares that to be great, you must be a leader of all, while the Lord tells us to be great in His kingdom, we must be a servant of all (Matthew 20:25-27; Acts 10:34; Galatians 3:26-28).

This brings me to the mind games that are often being played to gain control of matters. Threats are a point of mind games. They are intended to control regardless of how the other individual perceives something. Such games are a form of witchcraft where people are trying to get control of you regardless of your agreement and will.

We are living in the season where some people go to great lengths to produce incredible mazes. It takes patience to walk through these mazes and a willingness to hit dead ends before finding your way through and out of them. The world is one big maze that we must feel our way through, but we also have another type of maze we must often wade through and that is our mind.

According to James 3, the tongue is known as the unruliest member of the body, but when it comes to the mind, it is the greatest escape artist. People are forever trying to escape reality through imaginations, altered realities, adjusting what they don’t like, silencing that which would challenge them and ignoring the inevitable. Sadly, they miss the opportunity of being set free by God’s truths from all oppressive insanity created by the times they live in (John 8:32).

In my years of dealing with my own mind, I realize that sometimes it was the insane asylum and I was the nut that was running around in it. I would encounter cobwebs of fear, the darkness of ignorance, the ruts of obsessions, the broken-down merry-go-rounds of unresolved issues, and the small dark rooms of heavy oppression. I would hit a wall or be stopped by a closed door. I could not see my way out of the maze, and was always left in frustration and hopelessness.

If it was not an asylum, it became a circus where all major acts were taking place at the same time. There were the acrobats swinging from one sensational possibility to another, clowns that were trying to be entertaining and funny when all about was dark and foreboding, and daring feats when it came to facing the different caged and unpredictable challenges that would come upon me, or attack me.

The battle of the soul begins in the mind (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). It is an open door for Satan to come in to stir up our imagination which in turn will cause the emotions and affections to waken to consider the possibilities of how the flesh can experience certain pleasures. Once the emotions are stirred, then comes the calculation in how to possess it. Once the calculation is set in place, next comes the moves or the games to secure it. During this time everything is being heightened, magnified in the mind to how great the experience will be. However, it is nothing but a pinnacle that is setting the person up for a big fall. In the end they often become disillusioned, angry, and ready to show contempt in their disappointment. We see this in the case of David and his sin with Bathsheba and his son, Ammon, who lusted after his half-sister (2 Samuel 11:2-5; 13:1-16).

I started with the subject of inheritance and will end with it. The inheritances of the world have been magnified in some way, but in the end, they often prove to be a big letdown because our expectations are a matter of imaginations that center around how something will make us feel better about our lives as we wander through the mazes of this present world. When we try to wade through the various mazes before us, we can become disoriented, even lost unless we can be shown the way out of it. Hence enters in the cross of Jesus and God’s instructions and promises which shows us the way out of what seems like endless, insidious mazes of the world.

However, the inheritance that heaven promises us is beyond the scope of our imagination (1 Corinthians 2:9). It is bigger, better and far greater than the world and only a fool would cast it aside for trinkets that tarnish, for wealth that is nothing but a house of cards that can be blown down by a puff of air, and possessions that can rot, be stolen, or destroyed.

My question is what inheritance are you pursuing? It will often determine the type of maze you will find yourself in.

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The Goal of Gentle Shepherd Ministries is to preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and to make disciples in compliance with the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19).

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