An EPIC Journey
In my last two blogs, we've discussed and firmly rooted our identity in Christ Jesus and identified strongholds in our lives that we need freedom from. Identity is defined by this passage in Romans:
"The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together." Romans 8:16-17 (NKJV)
This passage describes freedom, also from Romans: "If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us." Romans 8:31-34 (NKJV)
It's like we drew up fantastic plans for a new home, put down a solid foundation, and built a beautiful structure. We moved in, and it's nice and clean, and everything works perfectly. What happens next? That's the journey we're traveling as Christians. On this side of eternity, things aren't perfect. But be encouraged that if you are a Christ follower, this time on earth is as bad as it will ever be. (Conversely, if you are not a believer, your life before death is as good as it will get.)
"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NKJV)
Here in this life, things break. Like a house, our life requires regular inspection and occasional maintenance to stay in great shape. We know that Satan is always looking to trip us up.
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world." 1 Peter 5:8-9 (NKJV)
Let's apply what we've learned in Identity and Freedom by following the outline Jesus provided. That should be a good place to start, right? Infusion calls it The Lord's Prayer Journey. It is a ten-petition spiritual experience that guides you through applying the truths and tools you have learned in Identity and Freedom. It's worth revisiting the idea that you must declare out loud these Bible-based truths; this is new and potentially uncomfortable for some (like me). But here's the reality that makes it logical – Satan cannot read your mind. Only God can. We must be careful not to ascribe the power of God to anyone else, including Satan. I know that sometimes it seems like Satan knows our thoughts, but it's because he's a student of every human, and he has minions who have been following us around since birth, recording every word, every action, and every reaction. Satan has a playbook for you and me, and it is a powerful tool he uses against us. But remember, we have access to power beyond and over Satan and his evil schemes. 1 John says: "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." 1 John 4:4 (NKJV}
So, the Lord's Prayer Journey is full of petitions that we actively engage to confirm who we are in Christ and the life of Freedom God designed uniquely and specifically for us.
It's been said that whatever is worth doing is worth doing poorly - until you can do it well. Dr. Dave Park is fond of saying, "We model growth, not perfection." It is not a "once and done" concept. Like maintaining a home, we must diligently revisit the toolbox frequently and make needed repairs. What tools do we use to maintain a daily walk in God's presence? Here's an outline fully developed in Infusion's material, detailed on day three of the EPIC Summit Experience.
Ten Petitions have been developed from what is commonly referred to as the Lord's Prayer, which is actually Christ's response to his disciples when they asked him to teach them how to pray.
"In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen."
Matthew 6:9-13 (NKJV)
Petition 1 – "You Have an Abba Father"
This first petition speaks to the personal and perfect love of God as your literal "Daddy." We all have or had less than perfect earthly fathers, and those with a dysfunctional father relationship struggle here. We need to heal the wounds of our earthly Fathers in order for us to see God as He truly is.
Petition 2 – "The Proper Worship of God"
The scripture says "Hallowed," which means holy. There are many different names in the Bible for God the Father, each describing a different facet of His character. In this step, you'll develop a deeper understanding of the depth and breadth of God's nature and reinforce the idea that only He is worthy of your worship.
Petition 3 – "Seeking God's Guidance"
Verse 10 starts with "Your kingdom come…" God is the ultimate authority and is omnipotent. Why would we submit to anyone other than the creator of the universe? Understanding and agreeing to be a slave to only God is the beginning of the life He has designed for you and the one your heart and soul desires. (If you don't like the word "slave," refer to my previous blog on Freedom for more discussion on this concept.)
Petition 4 – "Yielding to God's Plan"
The verse continues, "Your will be done…" If we believe that God made us, wants what is best for us, and has the power to bring it into reality, we are called to submit. Our human nature doesn't submit easily. But it is the only thing that sets us free.
Petition 5 – "Your Provision in Christ"
This petition walks you through the understanding that God desperately wants to supply your every need if only you will look to Him alone.
Petition 6 – "Claiming Freedom"
As believers, we all acknowledge that we still sin occasionally. That doesn't make us "sinners, saved by grace," as some of us heard often growing up. I read a quote recently that sums this up well, "There is a difference between stepping in sin and walking in it – practicing it as a habit or lifestyle." We are then Saints who still sin, because we will continue to battle the flesh, the devil, and the world while on earth. Repentance and victory in these battles are a powerful and often emotionally important step in the journey to Freedom.
Petition 7 – "Forgiving Those Who Hurt You"
The number one issue believers struggle with is forgiveness. In petition seven, based on verse 12b, "as we forgive our debtors," you will learn to understand the importance and power that forgiveness holds for you. It's been said that unforgiveness is like mixing up poison for your enemy, then drinking it yourself and expecting them to die. The person you set free when you forgive – is you.
Petition 8 – Claiming your Victory in Christ"
Think again of the playbook that Satan has developed about every detail, including every weakness and misstep of your life. This petition helps us develop the tools to successfully navigate the deceptions that constantly bombard us. Humility is the key to success here. Satan has been practicing his craft for centuries, and he knows the bible forward and backward. You will not defeat him with anything short of the power of God.
Petition 9 – Claiming your Protection in Christ
Verse 13 says, "Deliver us from the evil one." This plea walks through the truth of the daily battle that exists and helps to identify and conquer all fears that have handcuffed us in our walk as Christ's followers. You will always win against Satan with the power of God.
Petition 10 – Benediction
The Lord's Prayer concludes in Verse 13, acknowledging that "Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen." You are claiming God as your sole Master and proclaiming that He is supreme and sovereign, never-ending.
You are on the team and can't be kicked off. You have a permanent membership on Team Jesus. This is not about works-based salvation or the idea that you must perform in order to get into heaven. But true believers will desire to do the will of God above all other choices. Our joy, peace, and success depend on applying God's Word in practice over time. The quality of any personal relationship with another human here on earth is dependent on the level of invested effort. Your relationship with Father God is no different. These tools aren't in place to bind you to a performance-based life, with an angel sitting on a cloud marking your scorecard daily. They are intended to free you to live the truly EPIC life that only God can give you.
It's an exciting journey, rewarding beyond your wildest dreams. An EPIC journey. Join in.
Infusion Ministries has a fall Summit scheduled for October 25, 26, and 27 at The Shed at Two Rivers Church in Lenoir City, TN. Find more information and sign up here.
[As adapted from The Bondage Breaker, Stomping Out The Darkness, EPIC Journey; The Lord's Prayer Journey, by Dr. Neil Anderson and Dr. Dave Park.]