Killing Sacred Cows
The Word of God is awesome! It has all the power we will ever need for every situation in our lives (Heb. 4:12). All we have to do is mix it with faith and, praise God, a miracle (Heb. 4:2)!
I know many of you are thinking, It isn't that easy. I believe the Word and I'm doing everything I know to do, yet things still haven't worked out. I have experienced that too—personally and with many people I've ministered to.So, what's the problem? Actually, there are many problems, but I think most of them can be summed up by what Jesus said in Mark 7:13:
"Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition."
What a startling statement! Wrong teaching—specifically religious doctrines—makes God's Word of no effect. The most significant revelations I've received from the Lord all have to do with renewing my mind from old ways of thinking that I learned in church. As I was freed from the traditions, the simplicity of God's Word set me free.
At a recent Gospel Truth Seminar, the Lord led me to counter a number of traditions that void God's Word. It was heavy stuff that was hard on even many full-Gospel fanatics. I tried to be as gentle as possible, but there isn't a gentle way to kill a sacred cow.
It's like the man who saw a cow with a wooden leg. He was so shocked, he stopped his car and asked the farmer about the cow. The farmer said this was a very special cow. He told stories of how the cow saved his life and his kids' lives more than once. The man was impressed, but that still didn't explain why the cow had a wooden leg. Finally, the farmer yelled, "You can't eat a special cow like that all at once!"
Unlike that farmer's cow, sacred cows cannot be done away with gradually. You just need to kill them and deal with the fallout. So that's what I did. It was powerful. I dealt with a lot of things in the seminar, but only have space to mention a few in this letter.
I think one of the worst doctrines in the body of Christ today is the belief that God controls everything or, as the religious terminology states, "God is sovereign." It's usually presented in one of two ways: One, God originates everything, or two, Satan originates the evil things but has to get God's approval before he can do His "dirty work."
This doctrine seems to be dominant in the body of Christ today. It's so entrenched that many people will just discount what I have to say before hearing me out. To them, this has become a sacred cow. But this old cow needs to die. They need to kill that sacred cow, or it will kill the power of God's Word in their lives.
On the surface, it makes perfect sense that God controls everything. After all, He is God. He is all powerful. He can do whatever He wants to do. He is sovereign.
I agree that God is sovereign if the word sovereign is used as it's defined in the dictionary. The American Heritage Dictionary defines "sovereign" as "1. Independent. 2. Having supreme rank or power. 3. Paramount; supreme." "Sovereign" comes from a Latin word that means "super, above." I agree with all of those definitions. God is all of that and more. But religious tradition has redefined "sovereign" to mean God has and does exercise "absolute control." I totally disagree with that!
At one time, God was in absolute control of everything, but then He made man and gave him unrestricted power and authority over the earth. Man knowingly gave that power and authority to Satan. And Satan has been messing things up ever since (with our help, I might add).
You might say, "God could stop Satan if He wanted to. Therefore, the devil only does what God allows Him to do." That's not true. That's a religious tradition that will render you passive and prey to the devil.
When God gave Adam unconditional authority over the earth, He gave him His word (Ps. 89:34). There were no strings attached. He didn't say, "If you blow it, I'll take back My power and authority." No! God had to allow what man allowed. The Lord had given man total control over the earth. It was his to govern as he saw fit. Adam then yielded to Satan the power and authority God intended for man.
God is a good God. If it was only up to Him, we would all be blessed (James 1:17). That can be seen in the life of Job. God blessed Job abundantly. He was the greatest man in wealth and integrity of all the people of his day. But Job didn't have a covenant with God. The Lord didn't really have the legal right to be so good to Job. Job was a sinner and therefore under Satan's control. So Satan pressed his case, and the Lord had to turn Job over to Satan because he legally came under Satan's jurisdiction.
This is why the Lord started making covenants with people like Abraham and, eventually, the whole nation of Israel. If they would comply, then the Lord could legally bless them. This worked, to a degree. The problem was, no one could live up to God's standard for very long. So, instead of the blessing He desired to give, the curse eventually came upon them because "all have sinned" (Rom. 3:23).
People have seen many scriptural examples of God's judgment upon man in the Old Testament and have interpreted that as God's way of correcting us. Under the New Covenant, that is no longer the case, and a number of scriptures will kill that sacred cow.
Deuteronomy 28 lists the blessings and curses that would come upon the Israelites depending on their obedience or disobedience to God's commands. Notice the things listed in verses 15-68: sickness, poverty, grief, and every other trouble imaginable. They are curses, not blessings, as many religious people are trying to make them out to be today.
People will say, "This cancer was really a blessing in disguise because it made me turn to the Lord for help." No! It's not a blessing; it's a curse. God didn't put that cancer on them or allow it. The fact that they turned to the Lord is good, but they shouldn't blame God for causing that problem.
God never uses evil to correct or draw us to Him. Romans 2:4 says it's the goodness of God that leads us to repentance. Second Timothy 3:16 says that God's Word—not problems—is given to correct and reprove us. Afflictions are what Satan uses to steal away God's Word (Mark 4:16-17).
"But don't all things work together for good?" No! That's not what God's Word says. That's another sacred cow. Look at Paul's actual statement in Romans 8:28:
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
Taken in context, that verse says something totally different from what religion has taught us. The two preceding verses say,
"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God."
First, the Greek word for "helpeth" is a compound word that means "to take hold of opposite together, i.e. co-operate" (Strong's Concordance). The Holy Spirit does not intercede for us automatically; we must participate, and as we do, He energizes and quickens and empowers our prayers. When He takes hold with us, things begin to work together for good.
Second, in verse 28, there are qualifications that most people ignore. The first is to love God. Did you know that not everybody loves God? Not even all who are born again truly love God. For those who do not, things don't work together for good.
The next part says you must be called according to His purpose. What is His purpose? First John 3:8 says that the purpose of Jesus' coming was to destroy the works of the devil. So, if you are functioning according to the purpose of Jesus, you should be out to destroy the works of the devil.
Therefore, this passage of Scripture applies to people who are not passive, but they are interceding and letting the Holy Spirit supernaturally energize and take intercession to a level where it's not just human. That eliminates the majority of people right there. Add loving God to that and resisting and destroying the works of the devil, and you can see how that scripture has been misunderstood and misused.
God is not the one who makes our lives a mess. We have a choice.
Deuteronomy 30:19 says,
"I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live."
To say we don't have a choice is another way of saying we aren't willing to take personal responsibility for our situations. When we believe we're not responsible, it invalidates the Word of God.
The Word tells us to make a choice between life and death, so we do have a choice. God even helped us out by telling us which one to choose: He said to choose life.
The slickest deception Satan has ever put across, primarily through the church, is to get people to embrace his work as the work of God. In my estimation, this is the worst doctrine in the body of Christ. If you really believe God controls everything, why do anything? Why pray? Why study the Word? Why resist? Just eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow you die, and whatever God wills will happen.
However, James 4:7 says,
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
Notice that there are things from God that we submit to and things from the devil that we resist. God does not control everything.
Religion has played into the victim mentality because it's the easiest way to explain away failure. The church has not been effective in helping people overcome things like sickness and financial problems, so they fall into the sacred cow belief that God is allowing this for a reason.
God isn't allowing the bad things in your life. The same power that raised Christ from the dead lives on the inside of every believer, and He is waiting on you to resist the devil and appropriate what He has already provided through Jesus.