It is possible for any Christian to lose control of his or her spirit. Whenever this happens the result is confusion, strife and conflict: “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls” (Proverbs 25:28, KJV). The image is of a total loss of control.
This verse carries a powerful warning to every man and woman of God. When our protective walls come down, we become vulnerable to attack from demonic forces. Soon everything that was blessed in our life—our marriage, family, work and relationships—becomes filled with trouble. We all suffer the ordinary testing that comes to every Christian. But despite our trials God enables us to enjoy his peace through the years. A man’s marriage may be solid, his home full of love, his work blessed. This happens because he keeps his human spirit subject to the Spirit of Christ, and that keeps God’s protective walls around him strong and intact.
Yet this same godly man can begin to lose control over an aspect of his life. Soon his spirit is no longer subject to him. His patience lessens, his temper flares and he constantly argues with his family. He’s easily hurt, flying into jealous rages and using hurtful, cutting words.
This Christian’s home is now in serious trouble. He and his spouse misjudge every word between them and speak harshly to each other. Their children become victims of their bitter bickering. They see their mom and dad constantly sniping at each other, their arguments increasing. Without stability in the home these young people may turn to the world seeking comfort or some sense of control.
That Christian man’s life is now a troubled city. The walls are now down with no protection against an invasion of demonic powers. Sadly, this is happening in multitudes of homes. Something has caused Christians to lose control of their spirits, and the enemy is gaining free access to their hearts and homes.
Right now, there is a terrible practice sweeping through evangelical churches. Ministers go to great lengths to test God’s warnings of judgment. They ask, “Is the warning in this passage compatible with God’s love?” If the warning doesn’t seem to be tender, gentle or loving it is written off and ignored.
These ministers have created a false Christ. They preach a Jesus who is only about love and not about holiness and justice. They make him out to be an indulgent Savior who turns a blind eye to anyone’s besetting sin at least 490 times. These shepherds never consider Jesus’ righteous judgment or hatred for sin. They lead people to excuse their sin with the claim, “It doesn’t matter if you fall. God loves you.”
The divorce rate in the church of Jesus Christ now equals that of the secular world.
Divorce is plaguing the church world-wide. Even the rate among ministers and church leaders is pandemic. Everywhere protective walls around Christian homes are crumbling and families are breaking up.
Why is this happening? The enemy can’t touch anyone’s life or home when the walls are up. It’s simply impossible. Satan can harass us, but he can’t take control of our mind, our marriage, our family. The answer is simple: Spirit-baptized men and women are losing control of their spirits. They’ve become troubled cities. And they have no power or authority to keep their marriages or homes safe and secure.
I believe this often starts when Christians blame everyone but themselves for their sin. Husbands and wives blame each other for their own raging tempers. Some blame the devil for their troubles, saying, “My marriage is under demonic attack.” My question is, “Who let the devil in? Who’s responsible for the broken walls that allow him to run rampant?”
In most cases, a Christian’s troubled situation isn’t the fault of the devil at all. This is why the Psalmist asks God, “Why has thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her? The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it” (Psalm 80:12-13). The Psalmist is asking, “Lord, what caused the hedge to come down?”
Isaiah tells us conclusively who pulls down the hedge. “My well-beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: and he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine” (Isaiah 5:1-2). The builder of this vineyard is God. In the next two verses he says, “Now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you...What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?” (5:3-4). God declares he did everything possible to make his vineyard safe and fruitful. But it brought forth bad fruit.
The Lord then declares, “I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: and I will lay it waste...for the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry” (5:5-7). Who removed the protective wall around this vineyard? It was the Lord himself. What was his reason for doing it? The fruit of his people’s lives was rotten.
Paul knew the stability of our walls has everything to do with how seriously we take God’s Word.
Paul doesn’t pull any punches. He says when we break the commands we preach to others, we become blasphemers. Moreover, God will judge us for the sins we indulge in secret. “I keep my body under subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27).
Paul’s use of castaway here ought to put a holy fear in us. Some theologians try to fudge on this word’s meaning, explaining it away. But in Greek it means rejected, unapproved. Simply put, when we live a lie our walls come down—and we’re vulnerable to every attack from Satan.
Now, the Lord isn’t a hard taskmaster. He’s patient, kind and long-suffering toward us. He won’t bring down the walls of those who battle temptation yet occasionally fall into a sin they preach against. I think of the godly man who may momentarily slip into pornography on TV or the Internet. But rather than habitually indulging this, he is deeply convicted and repents, forsaking his lust.
But the man who’s addicted to his besetting lust loses control of his spirit. This man regularly indulges his sin. Over time as he watches pornography his mind becomes saturated with filth. This man thinks nothing of witnessing and preaching as he continues in sin. He has given himself over totally to sensuality.
Such a man may wonder why his marriage is falling apart. Yet he never connects his problems to his continuing indulgence in sin. God may have dealt with this man about his habit for weeks, months, years. The Lord has sent prophetic warning after warning, convicting him time after time. Yet the man has no desire to be delivered. He has built a comfortable nest for his lust and he runs to it at every opportunity.
The fact is, God has made ample provision for us to be delivered from all dominion of sin. He has sworn by covenant to deliver us from sin’s power. All he asks is that we seek his face, inquire of him, confess our sin and yearn to be free. He promises his Holy Spirit will empower us to mortify our sin and go forth in victory: “If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Romans 8:13).
Over the years, I have preached the grace, mercy and love of God.
I have written of the powerful names of God. I’ve written about the great mercy embedded in the New Covenant. I’ve shown sin-bound Christians how to claim God’s covenant provisions for total freedom from their sin. Yet in spite of this, multitudes who read these messages are still not free.
I challenge every such minister: How do you reconcile what Jesus says to his church in Revelation? He warns Ephesus, “Repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Revelation 2:5). He warns Pergamos, “Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth” (2:16). Finally, Christ says to every church: “All the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works” (2:23).
God loves his ministers. The Bible calls his shepherds his portion. He’ll fight for them and deal with them patiently, just as he does with all his children. But our holy God will not sponsor a lie. And he won’t protect a double life. He refuses to stand by as his people continually indulge in sin. The time comes when he says, “You’ve lived a lie long enough. You don’t practice what you preach. You continually refuse my covenant oath to deliver you. I’m not going to cover your sensual lifestyle any longer. I won’t allow you to lightly disregard my Word. So get ready—your walls are coming down.”
Remember his warning in Isaiah 5: “What more could I have done for you? I built a protective hedge around you. I gave you the best that life has to offer. But when I looked for fruitfulness in your life, I saw nothing but wildness springing up. You gave me only wild grapes. Now I’m taking your hedge down. The beautiful vineyard I built for you will be laid to waste. Beasts will devour the plants. The soil will become dead and dry. And the ground will be covered in briars and thorns.”
This is when our trouble starts. The Lord may chasten us by allowing the enemy to attack our life or home. But he always intends it to produce a righteous result. He wants to bring forth an obedient heart in us, one that takes his Word seriously.
Is it ever too late for us to regain control of an uncontrolled spirit? Will the Lord rebuild our walls once they’ve come down? Yes, absolutely. It’s his desire to restore us. He wants us in full control of our spirit. And he wants all flesh and the enemy under subjection to Christ in us.
Restoration begins when you take God’s Word very seriously. You no longer think you’re a special case, exempt from his judgments. Instead, you’re convinced the Lord will deal with you severely if you ignore his commands. He won’t let you continue in your rebellion. And you realize you could become a castaway.
The moment your heart turns to the Lord, he begins the rebuilding process. He puts you back in control of your spirit. And you willingly obey his every Word to you. You’re no longer a troubled city without walls. Instead, your life is the beautiful vineyard he intended, a fragrant garden, inviting to all around you. Hallelujah!