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2 Chronicles  7 : 14
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
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Losing my Self
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Friday, October 25, 2013
Alf Cengia

They put on clothes, jewelry, and attitudes to hide their fears. They pour themselves into sports, clubs, studies, and dates to find themselves. Or lose themselves. But they never do. The Enemy has made them so they can find themselves and lose themselves only in Him." ~ Prince Ishbane (The Ishbane Conspiracy co-written by Randy Alcorn and his two daughters)

The Enemy, mentioned by the demon Ishbane, is Jesus Christ. The demon is strategizing with his demoted subordinate (the former Lord Foulgrin) on how to deal with a group of young people under his care. Some of them are dabbling in the occult, illicit relationships, abortion, drugs, alcohol and suicide. They are either searching for temporal contentment or an escape from their mundane existence.

They are lost.

I'm not a teenager anymore but many of Alcorn's observations resonated with the much-older Alf. Like C. S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters, the demonic strategies and the analyses of Christians and unbelievers, encompasses all age groups. I wasn't just a teen when I searched in the occult to find what I though would make me happy. 

In fact, Ishbane proudly boasts that he makes his victims (spiritually speaking) thirsty for more of the evil allure they partake of. He then gives them "salty water" so that they are never satisfied, yet always wanting more. And so they are locked into their journey towards hell. From experience, I know exactly what that means.

Later on in the book the demon makes the following shrewd observation:

"The only way the vermin [humans] can defeat us is when they've first been soundly defeated by Him [Christ]. Once they surrender to Him, He tells us we have to go through Him to get to them. But there's no going through Him, is there?"

There's a particularly uncomfortable torment associated with being thirsty. The Tantalus myth comes to mind. Imagine being thirsty and given water that has been tainted with salt. My own torment lasted over several long lonely years and reached its peaked over a two-week period when Christ finally took hold and thoroughly defeated me. My defeat was a wonderful relief - it was my first taste of truly satisfying water.

How could I ever look back after that?

When Christ defeated me, he also made me His slave. He now owns me and I am not just a servant - I am His possession. That's what Ishbane was referring to. A Christian is in a dual facet Kyrios-doulos relationship with the Redeemer.

John MacArthur notes that "in the New Testament times, the kyrios had full authority over the life of his slaves." Sometimes the word despotes is applied to Christ. It has the connotation of absolute mastership, ownership and authority over a slave's life.

On the other hand, doulos (δοῦλος) has the subsequent other-side-of-the-coin, inter-connected meanings:

A slave or a bondman; a man of servile condition; someone who gives himself up to another's will; those whose service is used by Christ in extending and advancing His cause among men; devoted to another to the disregard of one's own interests...and so on.

The concept of being a slave to an absolute Lord and Master runs contrary to this world's natural inclinations. Such a relationship means giving up personal freedom. It means subordination to Someone Else's authority.

There's no room there for doing One's Own Thing. There are no such things as "living for one's art", or doing as one pleases "as long as it doesn't hurt anyone", or "being true to myself."

Our world demands its rights to be upheld and vindicated at all cost. It fights for the rights of mothers to kill their unborn and for the liberty to choose when to die. Soon enough they'll demand the right to kill post-birth children. On the other hand, the world fights vehemently for the lives of convicted murders facing execution; paradoxically, to preserve the "dignity of human life."

Our main-stream churches have enslaved themselves to the demands of the world rather than teaching a Kyrios-doulos relationship.

We are seeing ministers of religion performing same-sex marriages, and same sex married ministers. Desmond Tutu has proclaimed that he would rather go to hell than worship a homophobic God. There are examples of church leaderships imposing tolerance to homosexual practices, even where majority biblically minded congregants oppose it. The world wants to lower the age of consent and some even want to sanction sex with animals.

What's next?

It's easy to understand why society lauds a recent book by a Muslim about a safe, non-biblical Jesus. Yet the Jesus Christ is more than a "Zealot" or just another nice guy prophet preaching a group hug. He is Lord and Master and every knee will eventually bow and answer to Him (Philipians 2:10-11).

The world doesn't want that Jesus.

Too often I find myself frustrated, angry and tired of this world for some of the reasons I cited above. I must constantly remind myself what He did for me and that I am His doulos! In losing myself, my eternal destiny, in Him, becomes eternal joy:

But just as it is written, "Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined, are the things God has prepared for those who love him." (1 Corithians 2:9)

Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. (1 John 3:2)

Not so the unbeliever.

I keep going back to my drive back from Canada after attending Jack Kinsella's funeral service. I remember the message that Jack wanted to convey to those of us still here - that there's still work to do that we must all give an account for. I had prepared a bunch of sermons to listen to on my way back. But, somehow, I got stuck on listening to Mercy Me's, "Here Am I".

When Christ defeated me He sent me on an adventure. Just like Bilbo Baggins, it was an unexpected journey. He revealed His wonderful purposes, gave me a wonderful wife, a new country and the opportunity to write for the Omega Letter. Thank you, Lord!

Yes, I still get frustrated with this world. I tend to forget the race I am running in (Acts 20:24). But that race must still be run barring rapture or death. There are still prayers to pray while the lost are lost.

And I will always be His doulos.

Cengia" href="http://www.omegaletter.com/content/?Bio_Alf_Page">About Alf Cengia

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