When Jesus said "Take up your cross and follow me", He meant follow him all the way, He was going to His death(..and resurrection) . 'Follow Him all the way', literally means until the old man is crucified and the new man in Christ has burst forth and becomes like He is - resurrected into new life.
A.W.Tozer writes, "Beware of any Christian leader that does not walk with a limp".
'Truly, truly I say unto you, unless a grain of wheat fall into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit'. John,12:24
It's simply impossible to bring forth Godly fruit unless you die first, unless you are dead to the old. When the water and nutrients(God's Word/Truth) feed you and you break through the shell(flesh,carnal man) and then push through and out of the ground(the world), you will have strength to endure the elements that can be so harsh and unkind(the enemy) to produce good fruit in your life unto God. But death comes first...
Then Jesus said to His disciples,
In our Church generation we have way too much emphasis on the resurrection side of living for Christ, but no dying. When the emphasis is on blessing and prosperity(ie. 'Your best life now') without the way of the cross we fall into a snare and delusion.
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 1Tim6:9
In truth there can be no real blessing of God unless we are out of the way first, so that He is able to do His work in us, without our interference. This is humility, and is part of the dying process.
One of the main things that will put you off the way of the cross is 'pride',..self pride, the pride of life,..success,recognition,acceptance,fame,fortune.
Personally, for a long time I have felt the need to prove myself to others. Dying to this pride or haughtiness as the Bible puts it, is extraordinarily hard. Truthfully, because a big chunk of who I am, or thought I was is based on having to prove myself to others. But after much prayer and contemplation the Holy Spirit's spotlight revealed that it was based in hurts that occurred long ago, at a time when I felt that others had come against me. I became defiant in my own thinking at the time allowing the sin of pride to entrench itself in me(accompanied with anger). In this and similar scenarios, deliverance ministries say that a door can be opened to a spirit or principality known as leviathan (if repentance and forgiveness hasn't been appropriated).
A whole chapter is devoted to leviathan in Job 41, after the Lord had, had a enough of Job's and his friends foolishness. In the end of the book in chapter 42, Job said he was in the dust and ashes and loathed the words that he had spoken, thinking that there was nothing wrong with him and that God was unjust.
Pride works against the very nature of God Himself and sides with the rebellion of lucifer. If you happen to be reading this post and think maybe you don't have pride or vain imaginations of yourself, you're probably the only one in the world. We so often think we are something more than what we really are and unfortunately thwart the work of God in our lives.
Pride is our biggest area of blindness. It can be right before us and we will fail to see it or to call it pride. It is rooted in rejection and rebellion. We react to rejection with perfectionism and as we become "perfect," we achieve the carnal goals of having things just as we want them. We begin to puff up with pride. "I want somebody to love me, so I'll set myself a goal, achieve it and say, look at me; look what I've done." We develop an exaggerated opinion of ourselves, vanity follows, with excessive pride. Spirit of Leviathan based on sermon by Steve Bell
The whole chapter of Job 41 speaks about Leviathan, his fierceness and might, but in the last verse a clue is given to us about his true nature. It's no coincidence that God is talking about this creature in much detail to Job.
Job,41:34. He beholds every high He king over all the children of pride.”Job gained a spirit of pride in all his blessing and prosperity and when God spoke to him about leviathan it brought him to his knees in repentance and humility. He was greatly blessed after with twice as much. It took an extreme measure of God's work to refine Job into an even more precious vessel, and is now a timely message for us in our day.
As a side note, in Job,3:8. Job said, "what he had feared the most had come upon him".('Pride comes before a fall'. It is very possible, that subconsciously he knew this, as we all really deep down know this).
One of the great dangers in the body of Christ is the subtle spirit of pride, probably because in our societies we all have our needs overly met, and haughtiness is breeding, ..thinking we are something that we are not(delusion). A fall proceeds, but always for our own good.
To avoid a time of tribulation and trial we should ask God to open our eyes to our own heart's, and that He would grant us a spirit of repentance.
We hear this scripture often, and don't really like it, but, 'Our hearts are deceitful above all things, who can know it'. I want to say, God knows it!, and we need to go to Him for truth. Repentance is always the key for God to relent discipline on those He loves. He will fight for you and deliver you if you work with Him according to His ways and not your own. Leviathan is a very powerful foe and we can not defeat it in our lives without coming into humility, repentance, seeking deliverance and using the sword of God. His Word is more powerful than a two edged sword...
When in battle with Leviathan you will possibly feel tired, sleepy, lethargic, oppressed, depressed, pressure on your head, shoulders, neck, hard to think, but these signs are good in that you are on the right track to freedom. Remember to set the atmosphere of God around about you before tackling this evil. The Holy Spirit will lead you in understanding more in uncovering this counterfeit power in the body of Christ and in your life.
Never give up for your freedom in Christ.Great sources of help to overcome this formidable enemy,
- Causes arrested development in children - http://hbcdelivers.org
- Usually a family curse - www.demonbuster.com/leviathan
- Poses as a servant to those oppressed by him - hungryheartsministries.com
- Twist's the truth, thwarts our destiny - www.colinurquhart.com/Defeating the Leviathan Spirit (see podcast also at bottom of this article).
Don't miss this teaching - 'Leviathan, The Twisting Spirit', by Ron Phillips Ministries
I hope your battle with Leviathan, the spirit of pride and haughtiness is quick and thorough, as the lord your God comes with His mighty sword to slay him in your life. Amen.
Remember, understanding is key here, but also the enemy must be cast out and commanded relentlessly in the name of Jesus with all his subordinates.
Through Christ Jesus you are more than a conqueror, you can do all things through Him who strengthens you. Amen.
May the true blessings and riches of God be yours,