Tip of the Iceberg
by haRold Smith
from Jerusalem, Israel

If the response from the small cross-section of the Body of Christ who read the last article, "A Shaking", was any indication, then apparently, like the tip of an iceberg, we have touched on something that runs deep and remains mostly hidden within the church today - sexual lust. The exposures we have recently seen come to light over this spirit's grip on so many prominant members of the Body worldwide is a direct result of the shaking that is taking place within the household of God - and that shaking will only increase in intensity and severity until the coming of our Lord. We are in the time of times and what was winked at before will no longer be tolerated in His Presence. We can either bring our deeds into the light residing in those brethren around us and be healed or we can remain in the shadows and await the humility of having that darkness placed under the harsh glare of His Brilliance. Put another way, we can fall on the Rock or the Rock will fall on us. (John 3:19-21),

What was the most eye-opening in the emails received was a common expression that repeatedly surfaced in the various confessions of how this spirit is manifested. It was a voice of resignation - resignation to defeat over this area of the battleground that seems to have prevailed among the believers who wrote.

Consistently, the cry arising from these depths of anguish was how convinced we have become that we are powerless to overcome this most basic struggle for our soul - and, for most, have simply given up beneath the weight of guilt, shame and disgust that has engulfed us and drug us off into places we abhor. My heart, stricken as it is from the result of my own failure in this area, was torn asunder even more as I read through the lament expressed from so many of my, mainly, brothers and a few women. Only one who has lived in captivity can truly understand the despair and loneliness it produces.

I can only speak for myself, now, and what I share is wrapped in the prayer that a ray of enlightenment coming out of my own experience might illuminate the darkness you find yourself trapped in. What I would like to say to each of you - is that there is hope. You are not alone in this struggle. What I was aware of at the time I was wrestling with the consequences of my own failure in this area (recorded in the article mentioned above), was that Yeshua was right here in the room with me - through every moment of my ordeal. In the few weeks since that heart event, I have had the opportunity to reflect on those three days and I am gaining a greater appreciation of what actually happened in them - that He was with me through it all.

The first hope is that I still find it abhorrent. Not alone the act, but also the result of what that act produced - separation in my spirit from His Spirit. Yes, He immediately forgave me when I confessed before my brothers (and I bless them for their kindness in receiving that confession non-judgmentally) and He placed me back into right standing before Him clean as a whistle, just as He said He would. But, there are consequences to "stepping aside" - even if it was only for a moment, ever so slightly - and that consequence is a diminishing of His Presence. Light and darkness cannot occupy the same space at the same time. (Romans 3:23). Sin diminishes His Glory. It has become noticeably more difficult to "hear" Him and I don't want that. My appreciation of our relationship has grown so as to not want to place any obstacles in the way of our communication - to tarnish it in any way. Slowly, I am regaining ground, but it is not an experience I relish nor is it one that quickly evaporates.

The second hope is that there is no temptation that is not common to man (1Corinthians 10:12-14). that He overcame this very same temptation while He was in the flesh, just like me (Hebrews 2:10-18). thus providing for me a way of escape.

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Ephesians 6:11-17 So, what is that way of escape? James 4:7 says to "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." I know it may sound cliched and simplistic to "just say no", but by so doing that is how we submit ourselves to God. We recognize and acknowledge BY OUR ACTION OF HUMILTY that our embrace of Who He Is has already caused to be placed within us the authority, the power, to resist. The word "authority" comes from the Greek "ecksousia" and means "power of choice." We have already been given the power to choose to resist. Faith not only believes that He is, but that He is also a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6).

"When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. Then He said to them, 'With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.'" Luke 22:14-16

"Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death." James 1:13-15

The same Greek word is used in both instances of scripture above - one translated as "desire" and the other translated as "lust." The definition for that word, "epithymia," means desire, longing or craving. It is when our natural, God-given desires are enticed (Greek "deleazo" which means "to bait, to catch by bait") that we start down that road to lust. It is perfectly natural for a man to have desire for a woman - God made us that way. By the scriptures own definition, the thought itself is not sin. It is when we drop the barrier of restraint, that self-control that comes as part of the package of the Holy Spirit, that we begin to conceive a thing in our minds. The more we think about them, the more often we allow those thoughts to tantalize us, the easier it becomes to entertain them - that is the bait. Our job is to flag those thoughts, to capture them and bring them into submission unto the obedience of what we know is True (2Corinthians 10:4-5).

Resistance is not standing in the middle of the room shouting scripture at the ceiling (neither God nor the devil is hard of hearing and they both know scripture a lot better than we do). Our volume of rhetoric is usually in equal proportion to our level of fear. Fear is a choice. Throughout scripture we are admonished to "fear not, be not dismayed, be anxious for nothing" - a choice. Fear or Faith become the two choices we are constantly presented with at each juncture in this pathway to glory, to freedom. As Light and Darkness cannot abide in the same space at the same time, neither can fear and faith. The reward of faith is that He will prove Himself strong on our behalf and that as we simply resist, those thoughts will become less and less enticing over time (Proverbs 16:2-3). Resistance then becomes the ACT of standing (Ephesians 6:11-13), completely vulnerable. in our choice to rely on Him to deliver us out of this snare of temptation facing us at the moment. "�the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations," 2Peter 2:9.

Jerusalem Dress Here in Jerusalem, the Holy City of God, you would think that modesty and chasteness would be the order of the day for how women dress and for most it is. However, upon realizing that 70% of this country is secular, coming from all kinds of different cultures and standards from around the world as God is bringing His People back to the Land, it is understandable that not everything is as it should be. When flesh is flaunted in front of me, I find it hard not to look. So, I asked the Lord, in my simplicity of understanding, "Scripture says you were exposed to this stuff while you were here, Lord - you ate with prostitutes. How did you look without 'looking'?" He answered just as simply when He said, "Self-control. You have it, use it. You be chaste for them."

As we become exercised in standing, we gain strength to stand a little longer. Shawn Johnson, the recent gymnastics silver medalist at the Beijing Olympics, made a revealing comment in a recent interview. She said, "People should not be surprised when they see someone fall off of the balance beam in competition. It doesn't matter how good you are - everybody falls. It is as much a part of the process as staying on top of it. The test of character is not how many times you fall off, but how intimidated you become as a result of it or how determined you become to climb back up on it to do it again."

Our hope is that our trust in Him will not be displaced. Hope doesn't live in the past - the past cannot be changed, only forgiven. Our hope doesn't live in the future because we don't know what the future holds - sufficient for today is the evil thereof. Our hope is in being determined to seeing Him become strong on our behalf, to overcome for today, in this moment. We can then begin to regard temptation as God's shaping tool that is molding us and fashioning us into His Image. And for this, we can rejoice when we are beset by temptations because it means, if we submit them to Him, we will come from them the stronger for it.

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulation also: knowing that tribulation works patience in us; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope does not make us ashamed..." Romans 5:1-5