Your Authority and Power in Christ

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

 

WINNING WITH THE WORD

“Winning with the Word” is a weekly blog that will help you to be a winner in life by applying God’s principles for living the abundant life as found in the Bible, God’s manual for life.

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Do you prefer listening instead of reading? Then click below to listen to today’s blog post on podcast.

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Hello and Happy Day! This is Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, novelist and life coach, welcoming you to another episode of Winning with the Word. Today is April 19, 2021, and this is Episode #11 of Series 2021. This episode is titled “Your Authority and Power in Christ”

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Have you had trouble getting some of your prayers answered? If so, this week’s post and podcast may explain why.

One of the key reasons we do not get answers to our prayers is that we ask God to do something that He has told us to do. Something which He has already given us the power and the authority to do.

God is a God of law and order. He has established spiritual laws, and He will not violate those laws. Indeed, in cases relating to man’s dominion on the earth, God has chosen to limit Himself.

Brother Kenneth Hagin, who is now with the Lord, told of the time that Jesus appeared to him. While Jesus was speaking, a demon got between Him and Brother Hagin and started creating such a ruckus that Brother Hagin could not hear what Jesus was saying.

As you can imagine, Brother Hagin was getting quite frustrated because he needed to hear what the Lord was saying to him. Finally, Brother Hagin blurted out, “Lord Jesus, please send this demon away. I can’t hear a thing You’re saying!”

To Brother Hagin’s great surprise, Jesus said, “I can’t.”

Brother Hagin was astounded. “Lord, what do you mean You can’t. You’re GOD!”

“Yes,” Jesus replied. “But I have chosen to limit My power and authority on the earth because I have given it to man. You have to command the demon to leave.”

So, Brother Hagin commanded the demon to leave in the Name of Jesus, and the demon immediately left.

As born-again Christ-followers, we have that same authority and power residing in us. A simple illustration will explain how the authority and the power of Christ in us work.

Most of us have electricity in our homes. If you walk into a room in your house and it is dark, do you call the electric company to ask them to turn on the lights? No, of course not. You turn on the lights yourself. Why? Because the electric company has already supplied the electric power to your home, but it is up to you to flip on the light switch. If you don’t flip on the switch, all the power coming into your house from the electric company will do you no good.

Well, the same principle applies to us believers. God has given us the power and the authority to fulfill His Great Commission as He commanded us to do in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 16. That power is on the inside of us. God is the Electric Company. But we have to switch on the power inside us in order to heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out demons. In other words, we have to flip on the switch of that power to get it flowing. If we do not switch on the power switch, nothing will happen, even though all the power we need is inside us. 

How do we flip on the switch? By faith.

To expect God to flip on the switch is a wrong expectation. His job is to be the Electric Company, to supply the power of the Holy Spirit. He will not flip the switch for us.

Why not? Because in His wisdom He has chosen to limit Himself in this regard. He has made us co-laborers with Him. Therefore, we have a part to play in the grand scheme of things. Our part is to flip on the switch of the power that resides within us and to use that power to preach the Gospel, heal the sick, cast out demons, and raise the dead.

So, if we ask God to do something He has told us to do, we will not get answers to our prayers.

God is a God of order. He establishes a principle and He sticks to it. But many believers are ignorant of this truth. When they pray, they start from a position of powerlessness.

For example, we often hear the statement that God is sovereign. Yes, God is sovereign in that, in the end, all things will be under His rule and dominion. But God chose to limit His sovereignty by giving man dominion over the earth. 

If we do not understand this, we will develop the attitude that what happens must happen because God is sovereign. But this is not true. Man plays a big role in what happens and what doesn’t happen on the earth because God gave this authority and power to man.

In Matthew 10: 1 NKJV we read: And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. God not only gave us the power over demonic spirits, but He also gave us the authority to use that power. In Matthew 10: 7-8, the Word of God says this: “And as ye go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils; freely ye have received, freely give.'”

Who is supposed to heal the sick? We are, not God. Jesus said, “Heal the sick.” He already defeated sickness. Now He calls us to enforce His defeat in the earth. 

When we beg and plead with Jesus to heal someone, we are implying that He did not already do it. We are waiting for Him to do something He has already done, when all the while, He is waiting for us to enforce what He has already done.

Sometimes believers are afraid to use their authority because they feel doing so is making them out to be greater than God. But it is God Himself who commanded us to use His authority.

Jesus is now back in Heaven. But He left us the Holy Spirit—the Electric Company, as it were—to provide the power for us to do what God commanded us to do in Mark 16.

Jesus did not say pray and ask me to do it. He said YOU do it.

Of course, we are not preaching the Gospel in our own strength, or healing the sick in our own strength, or raising the dead in our own strength, or casting out demons in our own strength. It is the power of the Holy Spirit within us that is behind it all, that backs us up. We are simply instruments of that power. We are the light switch.

John 15: 5 NKJV says this (and it is Jesus speaking): “I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

So, without the power of the Holy Spirit, we can do nothing. But with the power of the Holy Spirit, we can do anything God calls us to do. It is our job to enforce the Word of God in the earth. It is our job to flip on the switch of God’s power that we already have inside us.

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The Church is called to enforce what Jesus Christ has already done.
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Not only did the Lord give us the authority to use His power, He also commanded us to use His power. A command is not an option.

But how many Christians do you see preaching the Gospel, casting out demons, raising the dead, laying hands on the sick to heal them? How many demons have we ourselves cast out? How many sick people have we healed with the power of Christ in us? How many dead people have we raised back to life? If we have not done any of this, we have been disobedient to the Lord’s Great Commission. 

God is not going to do for us what He has told us to do. Plain and simple.

Consider this: If we used God’s power as He commanded us, we would turn the world upside down as the early Christians did. We need to do the same. We need to stop asking God to do what He has called us to do. 

Imagine this: If churches stopped having bake sales in their parking lots and, instead, put up signs for healing services and invited the public to come in to be healed–and if those same churches would, in the power of God, heal the sick, those churches would grow instantaneously. The news of the miraculous healings and of the miraculous casting out of demons would spread like wildfire throughout their towns and cities, and people would flock to Jesus Christ. 

Remember: It is God’s power, but it is our responsibility to put it to use. It is the Electric Company’s power, but it is our responsibility to turn on the switch. God will not rescind the power He gave us. In Psalm 89: 34, He says this: “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.”

When the Church steps into the full authority and power we have in Christ, we will see miracles like never before in our lifetime. When we lift up Christ through our exercise of his authority and power, He will draw men to Himself, and we will witness great revival in the earth. 

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If you have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, I urge you to do so now. He is coming back soon for those of us who follow Him. Those who do not follow Him will be left behind to go through the worst time in human history, a seven-year period of horror the Bible calls the Tribulation. Do not be one of those left behind. Accept Jesus Christ now!

Just pray this simple prayer with me:

Lord Jesus, I need You to save me. I am a sinner in need of Your mercy and grace. I ask You now to come into my life. I receive You as my personal Savior and the Lord of my life. Forgive me of my sin. Thank You for welcoming me into Your family. In Your Name, I pray. Amen.

If you prayed this prayer sincerely, please write to me at drmaryann@maryanndiorio.com. I would like to send you a free e-booklet that will help you get started in your walk with Christ. I also encourage you to get yourself a Bible and read it every single day. The Bible is God’s love letter to you, His manual for your life. In the Bible, God reveals Who He is, and He teaches you how to live.

Finally, ask the Lord to lead you to the church of His choice for you where you can learn about Him and have fellowship and encouragement with other Christ-Followers. It is critically important in these last days to fellowship with other believers who are mature in Christ and can guide you as you grow in Him.

If you are not yet a subscriber to the Winning with the Word blog and podcast, I urge you to click on the link below to subscribe now so you will not miss a single weekly episode:

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PLEASE TWEET: “Your Authority and Power in Christ” (CLICK TO TWEET)

Now it’s your turn: Were you aware of the authority and power you have as a born-again believer? Please leave your comment in the Comment Box below. Thank you.

Photo Source: Jan Alexander (Pixabay)
Additional Resources: Andrew Wommack Ministries
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For those of you who may not know, I write fiction about many of the issues I deal with in this blog and podcast. My latest novel, Miracle in Milan, will be released in June. But you can pre-order a copy now on Amazon.com for only $0.99. I also encourage you to visit my website bookstore at maryanndiorio.com/book-table . 

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Finally, be sure to check out my latest book, The Iron Saint. This book talks about the coming persecution of the Church in America and how you can prepare for it. The Iron Saint is available on Amazon and on my website at maryanndiorio.com/book-table. Get a copy for your pastor as well. 

Until next time, remember that God loves you just as you are and just where you are and that He will help you to keep on Winning with the Word

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Now Available for Pre-Order: Dr. MaryAnn’s latest novel, Miracle in Milan.

When a young, female auditor discovers evidence that the man she loves is an embezzler, she must choose between ruining him or ruining herself.

Amy Torelli, Chief Auditor for New York City-based Enson Pharmaceuticals, is assigned to audit the books of Enson’s Italian branch in the enchanting city of Milan, Italy. Having made an inner vow never to trust a man again because of her father’s betrayal, Amy finds herself falling in love with Enson Italia’s American-born Vice-President, Ted Masters. Will Ted be the one to cause her to break her inner vow?

Ted Masters is on the run. A run from rejection. From himself. From God. Having been wounded by a father who made him feel worthless, and having been dumped by the woman he wanted to marry, Ted is determined to keep all women at bay. But will Amy be the reason he changes his mind?

Available now for pre-order at:
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Featured Book of the Week:  THE IRON SAINT by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD

The Church in America is on the verge of a tremendous spiritual awakening, an awakening that will first be fueled by persecution unlike anything we have ever seen before in this land. Indeed, a prophetic word given in my home church during the month of November gave this warning to the Church: “Prepare for the fire of persecution!”

But the Church is not ready for this persecution. For the most part, the Church in America has been weak and lukewarm. Flabby and lazy. Consumed with the world and not with the things of God. As a result, the Church has been deceived and has subverted the divine order of things.

In THE IRON SAINT, Dr. MaryAnn Diorio seeks to help equip the saints for the work of true, integritous, and effective ministry. As a teacher in the Body of Christ, it is her burning desire to help correct this devastating error.

In THE IRON SAINT, Dr. Diorio has outlined a plan of action for strengthening the Church through uncompromising obedience to the Word of God. This plan of action is based on her own 50 years of walking with the Lord and being led by His Holy Spirit.

If you are a born-again believer and member of the Body of Christ, make this book a top reading priority.

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Check out these popular Winning with the Word podcasts below. You may also search for a particular topic in the search box at the top of the sidebar on this page. 

__Have You Lost Your Hope?

__When Your Prayers Don’t Seem to Be Answered

__Are You Being Deceived?

__The Privilege of Persecution

__How to Think like a Winner

__7 Signs That the Tribulation Is at Hand

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When Your Prayers Don’t Seem to Get Answered

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

WINNING WITH THE WORD

“Winning with the Word” is a weekly blog that will help you to be a winner in life by applying God’s principles for living the abundant life as found in the Bible, God’s manual for life.

AN INVITATION TO YOU:

To subscribe to this blog, click here. 
To subscribe to this podcast, click here.

If this blog and podcast have blessed you, please encourage your family and friends to subscribe as well. Thank you!

Be sure to check out our Featured Book of the Week at the end of this post.

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Do you prefer listening instead of reading? Then click below to listen to today’s blog post on podcast

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Hello and Happy Day! This is Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, novelist and life coach, welcoming you to another episode of Winning with the Word. Today is April 5, 2021, and this is Episode #9 of Series 2021. This episode is titled “When Your Prayers Don’t Seem to Get Answered”

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 The Bible is very logical and the Bible is very balanced. What we often fail to do, however, is to follow what the Bible says to its logical conclusions. We skim over verses as we read them. We make assumptions about the verses we read and fail to grasp what they truly mean.

One such verse is Mark 9: 24: “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.”

Let’s look at this passage in context in Mark 9:14-24.

Jesus had just come down from a high mountain with Peter, James, and John where they had seen Him transfigured before them and had heard the voice of the Father approving Jesus. We’ll start at verse 14:

“When they returned to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd surrounding them, and some teachers of religious law were arguing with them. When the crowd saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with awe, and they ran to greet him.

“What is all this arguing about?” Jesus asked.

One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, “Teacher, I brought my son so you could heal him. He is possessed by an evil spirit that won’t let him talk. And whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground. Then he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it.”

Jesus said to them, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”

So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth.

‘How long has this been happening?’ Jesus asked the boy’s father.

He replied, ‘Since he was a little boy. The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.’

‘What do you mean, “If I can”?’ Jesus asked. ‘Anything is possible if a person believes.’

The father instantly cried out, ‘I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!'”

This passage focuses on the problem of unbelief. The father’s cry sets the theme of the passage: “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!” The problem of unbelief has to do with the problem of seemingly unanswered prayer. It is a problem we have all faced as Christ-followers, and a problem to which we often offer pious platitudes as reasons for the problem. I don’t know about you, but I have been guilty of this and have had to repent.

Notice, I said “seemingly” unanswered prayer, because the truth is that God hears and answers every one of the prayers of His children. How do we know this? The Bible says so in Matthew 7: 7 KJV. Jesus is speaking here and says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”

Jesus cannot lie. He says what He means and He means what He says. The Bible says this in Numbers 23: 19 NLT: “God is not a man, so He does not lie. He is not human, so He does not change His mind. Has He ever spoken and failed to act? Has He ever promised and not carried it through?”

So, if Jesus said we would receive when we ask, then we will receive when we ask. 

Now, I’m sure that some of you reading this blog post or listening to this podcast have prayers that seem unanswered. I do as well. So, what is really going on when our prayers seem to be unanswered?

Let’s look again at Matthew 7: 7 NLT: “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”

In this verse, Jesus is telling us that if we ask, we shall be given what we ask for; if we seek, we shall find what we are looking for; if we knock, the door will be opened to us.

So why then, since this verse is true, do we seem to have so many unanswered prayers?

Many Christians, when they don’t seem to get an answer to their prayers—and notice here that the word SEEM is the operative word—many Christians when they don’t seem to get an answer to their prayers have to find a reason for which they didn’t get an answer to their prayers.

So, what do we do? We concoct all kinds of reasons for not receiving answers to our prayers. We say things like, “Healing is not for today,” or “God doesn’t want to heal me,” or “I’m not healed because God is teaching me something,” or “I’ll never get out of debt,” or “God has forgotten about me,” or “God is angry with me”—and on and on and on.

But what about Romans 3: 4 NLT that says this: “Even if everyone else is a liar, God is true. As the Scriptures say about Him, ‘You will be proved right in what you say, and you will win your case in court.’”

So, we have to make a quality decision – a quality decision is one from which there is no retreat—we have to make a quality decision that what God says is true no matter what our circumstances look like, no matter what we are feeling, no matter anything contrary to God’s Word. God’s Word is true. PERIOD!

We must start from this truth if we are to receive from God. To start from any other place is to fall into error and to fail to receive the answer to our prayer.

Great men of the Bible understood this. When Job was going through his horrendous trials, he trusted God enough to be able to cry out, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13: 15 NKJV).

The three Hebrew young men–Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego–demonstrated their absolute trust in God when they were thrown into the fiery furnace by King Nebuchadnezzar. Here’s what they said, as recorded in Daniel 3: 17-18 NLT: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”                    

We have to be so secure in our trust of God that even if we do not see the fulfillment of the promise, we will still believe His Word is true. The prophets of old believed the promise that the Messiah would come even though they did not see this promise fulfilled during their lifetimes.

Now, these examples above do not mean that God doesn’t want to fulfill His promises in our lives. He does. But more than anything, He wants us to have a relationship with Him based on perfect trust in Him.

So, the foundational truth for experiencing the answers to our prayers is to establish in our heart that God’s Word is absolutely true and the final authority in our lives, and that our experiences are not. When our experiences differ from God’s Word, we must choose to believe God’s Word, not our experiences.

This is very difficult for us as humans, especially when our senses are screaming physical pain or the creditors are knocking at our door or our wayward child is falling deeper into sin or our marriage seems headed for divorce.

Why is it so difficult for us to trust in God and simply to take Him at His Word? Because we have been programmed—especially here in the West—to believe our five senses more than anything else and to make them the criteria for faith. In fact, the expression “Seeing is believing” perfectly describes this belief in the supremacy of the five senses.

Moreover, we have been taught—ever since the Renaissance and the Enlightenment—that human reason reigns and, indeed, in many cases, that there is nothing outside of or beyond human reason.

This philosophy of exalting the reason above all else evolved into our current exaltation of science as the god of the 21st century. Today science has become a god at whose altar our culture bows. If science says it, we believe it.

Yet, over the centuries, new scientific discoveries have altered previous ones. So, while true science—God’s science—has not changed, our understanding of science has changed and will continue to change. Our trust must not be in science, but in God Who created science.

The exaltation of reason is a phenomenon peculiar to the West. We do not find this same level of exalting the reason in the Middle Eastern and Eastern cultures where the people make room for the spiritual realm, even though that spiritual realm may be the demonic spiritual realm.

But in the West, until the latter part of the 20th century, we discounted the spiritual realm and relegated it to the domain of third world countries. To believe in a spiritual realm, here in America and in the West, was considered a sign of ignorance. Yet, look at us now. We believe in the spirit realm, but mostly the New Age spirit realm. Those very third world countries we criticized, we now emulate. In the last 60 years or so, the spiritual realm, meaning primarily the demonic realm, has come back into vogue.

Now, we know that God says what He means and means what He says. Yet, when we put the Word to the test through prayer, and we don’t see the results the Word promises, we begin to make excuses.

Instead of admitting that the problem is on our side, we find an excuse to shift the blame to God’s side. In other words, we refuse to admit that the reason we may not have received an answer to our prayer is that we failed to receive the answer to our prayer. We refuse to admit that we missed something in the receiving process. 

I once had a discussion about healing with a pastor. When I suggested that we pray for the sick in his church, he hesitated. When I asked him why his hesitation since God’s Word commands us to pray for the sick, he said that he didn’t want anyone in his church who did not get healed to feel condemned or to feel bad.

Frankly, his response stunned me. It was a prime example of the fear of man. Sadly, this pastor was more concerned about hurting the feelings of his congregation than about the truth of God’s Word that would set them free if he preached it.

So, what happens when we ask God for something in prayer?

What happens is that God answers us immediately. But He deposits the answer in our spirits. It then becomes our responsibility to bring that answer from our spirits into our bodies or into our checkbooks or into our relationships, or wherever we need that answer to do its job.

John 4: 24 tells us that God is a Spirit. He connects with us through our spirits. He always communicates with us through our spirits, not through our feelings. Now, we may experience certain feelings when God communicates with us, but those feelings are by-products of the communication. And the feelings do not always occur.

Once we receive God’s communication in our spirits—in other words, once we receive His answer to our prayer—then it is we who give physical substance to that answer through faith.

Hebrews 11: 1 NKJV says this: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.”

This verse tells us that faith puts flesh on the things we hope for, the things we do not yet see manifested in the physical realm. Faith also gives us a good testimony. In other words, when we use our faith to receive what God has placed in our spirit, our faith will give us cause to testify of God’s faithfulness toward us.

So, how do we give physical substance to God’s answer in our spirits? We do so by faith.

Our faith gives physical substance to God’s answer that resides in our spirits. Our faith takes the answer that is in our spirits and brings it into our bodies and into the physical world in which we live.

Perhaps this illustration of how radio waves work will help us to understand this process of bringing the spiritual into the physical by faith.

The human ear cannot hear radio signals unless those signals are first converted into frequencies that the human ear can pick up. When a radio station broadcasts, it uses a receiver to pick up the radio signals and then converts those signals into frequencies, or sound levels, that the human ear can detect. 

Just because we cannot hear the radio signals that a radio station is broadcasting or transmitting does not mean that those signals are not being transmitted. It simply means that we are not yet able to receive the signals until they are changed to lower frequencies that our human ears can hear.

For us to say that a radio station is not broadcasting signals just because we cannot hear those signals with our physical ears is not true. The signals are real and they are in the air, but they have not yet been converted into a form which our ears can hear. When, however, those signals are picked up by a receiver, the signals are then converted into sounds that the human ear can hear.

Now, let’s apply this analogy to God’s answers to our prayers. We could say that God’s answers to our prayers are like spiritual signals that He deposits in our spirits. Those spiritual signals are the answers to our prayers. They are the answers God has deposited into our spirits as the result of our having prayed. But, we need a receiver to convert those answers into something physical that we can experience, like healing or deliverance or financial blessing. That receiver is faith. 

For us to say that God has not answered our prayers just because we have not experienced those answers—in other words, for us to say that God has not placed His spiritual signals or answers to our prayers in our spirits—is not true. He has. He placed them there the instant we asked Him to in prayer.

But just as radio signals need to be picked up by a receiver and converted into sound before we can hear them, so do God’s answers to our prayers have to be picked up by our faith from our spirits and converted into physical answers.

In other words, the spiritual power residing in our spirits has to be converted into the physical power that brings our healing or our financial deliverance or our deliverance in any area of our lives.

This is how our prayers are answered. God gives us the answers to our prayers when we ask Him in faith, and He places those answers in our spirits because He is a Spirit and communicates with us Spirit-to-spirit.

Then we convert those answers in our spirit into a physical reality through faith. We set our faith in motion by declaring the Word, confessing the Word, standing on the Word—until we see the spiritual signal or answer to our prayer manifested as a physical reality.

So, God’s answers move from our spirits into our flesh, from the spiritual realm into our physical world, when we draw them out of the spirit realm by faith and bring them into the physical realm by declaring His Word.

You might ask, Why do I have to do this? Can’t God just drop His answers into my physical world? Well, here are two reasons God has chosen not to drop His answers directly into our physical world:

First, Scripture says that without faith, it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11: 6). Second, God needs our cooperation because He has made us co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8: 17).

In Ephesians 3: 20 NLT, we read this: “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” The power of God is in us. We must cooperate with God. If we don’t understand this, we will not receive or draw into the physical realm what God has already placed in our spirits.

We read this in Mark 11: 24 GNT: “For this reason I tell you: When you pray and ask for something, believe that you have received it, and you will be given whatever you ask for.”

Notice that this verse instructs us to believe when we pray. When do we believe? The instant we pray. Not when we see the answer to our prayer. 

We receive the answer to our prayer in our spirit by faith, and we receive the answer immediately in our spirit. But it stays there in our spirit until we draw it out into the physical realm, again by faith.

The world says “seeing is believing.” The Bible says, “Believing is seeing. Believing is seeing!” We need to believe we have received the answer to our prayer before we see the answer to our prayer.

Faith is the currency, the medium of exchange, between the spirit realm and the physical realm.

Now, sometimes it takes a while to draw out what is in the spirit realm and bring it into the physical realm. Why? There could be a number of obstacles that are standing in the way. Those obstacles could be demonic. They could be related to unbelief or idols in our heart, or demonic strongholds, or a host of other things.

Often, then, the answer to our prayer comes to pass in the physical realm some time after we pray. It could be a few days, a few months, a few years between the moment we pray and the moment we see the physical manifestation of the answer to our prayer.

During that interval between the moment we pray and the moment we see the manifestation of the answer in the physical realm—however long that interval is—we must not waiver in our belief that God has already answered our prayer. This interval is the time of the testing of our faith. It is the time during which we develop our faith muscles.

How long the interval lasts depends upon various factors—such as the words we speak and the actions we take–but we control many of those factors.     

__________________________________

“Faith is the currency, the medium of exchange, between the spirit realm and the physical realm.” ~ Dr. MaryAnn Diorio
__________________________________

Remember this: God answers our prayers immediately. Our job is to believe we receive WHEN we pray. The praying, believing and receiving are simultaneous. The manifestation usually comes later, although it can come immediately. But it usually comes later to allow for the testing of our faith, the strengthening of our faith muscles.

So, when we pray, we believe when we pray. We don’t believe when we see the answer manifested. No, we believe when we pray, and we receive the answer immediately in our spirit, then it manifests later in the physical.

We read in the Book of Daniel, chapters 9 and 10, of two instances when Daniel prayed. The first time, his prayer was answered in about three minutes. The second time, it took three weeks! Why? Because demonic spirits were trying to hinder the answer from getting to him. God answered both of Daniel’s prayers instantly. The Lord was not the variable. A demonic force was.

How do we know? Because God is not unpredictable. He is not the variable in the prayer equation. We read this about God in Psalm 102: 27 NLT: “But you are always the same.” Again in Malachi 3: 6, God says,I am the LORD, and I do not change.”

The Bible tells us in 1 John 5: 14-15 ESV that if we pray a prayer according to God’s Word and God’s will, He answers it immediately. Let’s read that verse: “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” 

You see, God cannot contradict Himself. If He said He wills something, then He cannot turn a deaf ear to our prayer re: the thing that He wills. Once we grasp this truth, we can release our faith to bring that answer into complete manifestation in the physical realm.

Prayer is communication with God the Father through Jesus Christ. If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, you have not yet established that communication, Hence, God does not recognize you as His child and will not answer most of your prayers. The only prayer He will answer is your prayer to become His child. Why not pray that prayer with me now?

Lord Jesus, I want to know You. I want a personal relationship with You. I want to be able to communicate with You and have You communicate with me. So, I ask You now to come into my life. I receive You as my personal Savior and the Lord of my life. Forgive me of my sin. Make me what You created me to be. In Your Name, I pray. Amen.

If you prayed this prayer sincerely, please write to me at drmaryann@maryanndiorio.com. I would like to send you a free e-booklet that will help you get started in your walk with Christ. I also encourage you to get yourself a Bible and read it every single day. The Bible is God’s love letter to you, His manual for your life. In the Bible, God reveals Who He is, and He teaches you how to live.

Finally, ask the Lord to lead you to the church of His choice for you where you can learn about Him and have fellowship and encouragement with other Christ-Followers. It is critically important in these last days to fellowship with other believers who are mature in Christ and can guide you as you grow in Him.

If you are not yet a subscriber to the Winning with the Word blog and podcast, I urge you to click on the link below to subscribe now so you will not miss a single weekly episode:

https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/w4q0z

Please tell your family and friends about “Winning with the Word,” and please pass this post and podcast on to them. Thank you!

PLEASE TWEET: “When Your Prayers Don’t Seem to Get Answered” (CLICK TO TWEET)

Now it’s your turn: Have you struggled with getting your prayers answered? Please leave your comment in the Comment Box below. Thank you.

Photo Source: Freely Photos
Additional Resources: Andrew Wommack Ministries
___________________________________________

For those of you who may not know, I write fiction about many of the issues I deal with in this blog and podcast. I encourage you to visit my website bookstore at maryanndiorio.com/book-table . 

This podcast is funded by listeners like you. If you have been blessed by Winning with the Word, I invite you to become one of my special patrons on Patreon.com. For only $1.00, $3.00, or $5.00 a month, you can help me proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

Winning with the Word now reaches 41 countries on six continents because of your faithful support. So please help me to keep Winning with the Word on the air by becoming one of my valued patrons. Your patronage helps to cover the costs of producing, hosting, and distributing Winning with the Word to the four corners of the earth. Patrons receive special benefits, including free books, short stories, podcasts, and videos. So, join my wonderful team of Patrons and be part of something great!

To become a patron, go to https://www.patreon.com/winningwiththeword 

This week’s podcast is being sponsored by patron Karon Bekebrede. Thank you, Karon, for being a valued patron and for choosing to become a part of something great! 

I would like to thank all of my patrons who are making this podcast possible. I could not do this without you!

Finally, be sure to check out my latest book, The Iron Saint. This book talks about the coming persecution of the Church and how you can prepare for it. The Iron Saint is available on Amazon and on my website at maryanndiorio.com/book-table. Get a copy for your pastor as well. 

Until next time, remember that God loves you just as you are and just where you are and that He will help you to keep on Winning with the Word

To subscribe to “Winning with the Word”, click here.

To receive my monthly newsletter, click here.

To become a patron of Winning with the Word, click here.

________________________________________________________________________

Featured Book of the Week:  THE IRON SAINT by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD

The Church in America is on the verge of a tremendous spiritual awakening, an awakening that will first be fueled by persecution unlike anything we have ever seen before in this land. Indeed, a prophetic word given in my home church during the month of November gave this warning to the Church: “Prepare for the fire of persecution!”

But the Church is not ready for this persecution. For the most part, the Church in America has been weak and lukewarm. Flabby and lazy. Consumed with the world and not with the things of God. As a result, the Church has been deceived and has subverted the divine order of things.

In THE IRON SAINT, Dr. MaryAnn Diorio seeks to help equip the saints for the work of true, integritous, and effective ministry. As a teacher in the Body of Christ, it is her burning desire to help correct this devastating error.

In THE IRON SAINT, Dr. Diorio has outlined a plan of action for strengthening the Church through uncompromising obedience to the Word of God. This plan of action is based on her own 50 years of walking with the Lord and being led by His Holy Spirit.

If you are a born-again believer and member of the Body of Christ, make this book a top reading priority.

PRINT FORMAT

E-BOOK FORMAT

_________________________________
Check out these popular Winning with the Word podcasts below. You may also search for a particular topic in the search box at the top of the sidebar on this page. 

__The Privilege of Persecution

__How to Think like a Winner

__7 Signs That the Tribulation Is at Hand

 Are you new to this blog? If so, what is the “Winning with the Word” blog and why will it bless you to read it?

“Winning with the Word” is a weekly blog that helps you to deal with the daily problems of life by using the Bible as your guide to solving them. The Word of God will make you a success in life!

AN INVITATION TO YOU: To subscribe to Winning with the Wordclick here.

_____________________________________________________________

Copyright 2000-2021 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be published or printed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. You may contact her at info@maryanndiorio.com to request permission.

Amazon.com Required Disclosure: MaryAnn Diorio is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.Disclaimer: This site uses cookies. Your continued use of this site constitutes your consent to our use of cookies. 

Are You Being Deceived?

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

WINNING WITH THE WORD

“Winning with the Word” is a weekly blog that will help you to be a winner in life by applying God’s principles for living the abundant life as found in the Bible, God’s manual for life.

AN INVITATION TO YOU:

To subscribe to this blog, click here. 
To subscribe to this podcast, click here.

If this blog and podcast have blessed you, please encourage your family and friends to subscribe as well. Thank you!

Be sure to check out our Featured Book of the Week at the end of this post.

______________________________________

Do you prefer listening instead of reading? Then click below to listen to today’s blog post on podcast.

______________________________________

Hello and Happy Day! This is Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, novelist and life coach, welcoming you to another episode of Winning with the Word. Today is March 29, 2021, and this is Episode #8 of Series 2021. This episode is titled “Are You Being Deceived?”

_______________________________

Nearly every day someone says to me, “I’m so confused. I don’t know whom or what to believe any more.” Does this sound like you? If so, then listen up. Deception is rampant today and is destroying many people.

What is deception? Deception is believing that something false is true or that something true is false. The Greek word meaning deception is the same word used to mean roaming or wandering around. This Greek definition implies that a deceived person has gone off course from the truth and is wandering around.

Deception occurs through seduction. One is seduced–or drawn away from the truth–through deception. The dangerous thing about deception is that the deceived person does not know he is deceived. If he did know he was deceived, he would no longer be deceived.

In other words, deception hides itself from its victim.

Deception takes a truth and manipulates it by taking something away from it or by adding something to it. The result is a falsehood that sounds true or logical or even loving. But it is false, nonetheless.

When we believe that something false is true, we fall into bondage. Deception carries within it a hook that catches us when we believe the deception. This hook is one of the ways Satan draws us from truth.

The Bible warns us in several places not to be deceived. One such major warning given by Jesus Himself is found in Matthew 24: 3-13. In this passage, the disciples asked Jesus what would be the signs of the end times. Let’s listen in on this conversation. and hear how Jesus replied to the disciples’ questions:

“While Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately. ‘Tell us,’ they said, ‘when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?’ Jesus answered, ‘See to it that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. These things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.”

I find it extremely significant that the first sign Jesus gave as to what would signal the last days was the sign of deception. Now, in order to be theologically balanced, what Jesus described in Matthew 24 are events that have happened throughout history. There have been wars and rumors of wars throughout history. There have been nations rising against nations throughout history. There have been famines and earthquakes throughout history. There has been deception throughout history.

But, what is different about our day is that all of these things that Jesus mentioned are converging. In other words, they are all happening with greater and greater intensity, and they are all happening at the same time, just as the birth pains and contractions of a woman in labor increase in intensity and begin to happen all at the same time until she gives birth.  

Jesus Himself spoke of the convergence of events in Matthew 24: 33 when He said, “When you see all these things, you can know My return is near. I’m right at the door.” Again in Luke 21: 28, Jesus said, “When all these things begin to happen, look up for your salvation is near!” In other words, when these things–famines, earthquakes, wars and rumors of wars–are all happening together, at the same time, then our Lord’s return is imminent.

So, the number one sign that Jesus’ return is imminent is that all of the signs He mentioned in Matthew 24 are now happening at the same time.

We are witnessing these signs occurring all at the same time right before our very eyes. In a single day we hear of many who are calling themselves Christ; in a single day we hear of wars and rumors of wars, of nation rising against nation; in a single day, we hear of famines and earthquakes and plagues in various places. All at the same time!

Deception is rampant today and is wreaking havoc not only in the world but, most importantly for us, in the Church. Some segments of the Church are siding with the world because they are deceived. Never have we needed discernment as much as we do now. 

So, how can we avoid deception? How can we sort out truth from error?

Before we look at how to avoid deception, let’s take a look at how we get deceived in the first place. Here are five ways:

1. Through disobeying the Word of God. In James 1: 22, the Bible gives us this command: “Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only. Otherwise you are deceiving yourselves.” When we hear God’s Word but do not obey it, we open ourselves up to deception.

2. Through elevating and following Christian leaders instead of following Christ. Many Christians today do not consult their Bible for answers to their problems. Instead, they follow the teachings of popular Christian celebrities. We must be like the Bereans who did not even trust Paul’s teaching even though he was Paul, the great Apostle. No. In Acts 17: 11, we read that the Bereans searched the Scriptures for themselves to determine if what Paul was teaching them was true. 

Notice that the Bereans searched the Bible. They didn’t just casually read it. They dug into it. The examined it daily. Every day. Not just once in a while. Why did they search the Scriptures? To find out if what Paul was teaching them was true. The Bereans were open to learning the truth, but they wanted to be sure it was the truth they were learning.

We need to be like the Bereans. We must always scrutinize what we are being taught and measure it by the Word of God.
 
3. Through exalting the self. This is another way we are deceived. In 1 Timothy 4: 1, the Word says this: “In the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”  It sounds so good to talk about human potential, motivational training, etc. After all, these concepts and their tools simply help us to become better people. And what’s wrong with that?

What’s wrong with it is that exalting the self–which is called, Selfism–contracts the Word. Jesus says that we must die to the self, not exalt it. We must live in Him and for Him, not for ourselves. 

Many of these types of self-help programs are being used in corporate America and in our educational system to train employees and students. We hear of sensitivity training, anti-harassment training, diversity training, and other types of training programs that are, in truth, subtle venues for promoting agendas contrary to God’s Word.

Another deception that has infiltrated our culture, and even the Church, is ancient mysticism. This deception has entered surreptitiously via psychology, mysticism, and self-improvement programs. One of the latest is the popularity of the Enneagram, a tool for determining one’s personality. Sadly, this tool is now being widely used in the Church. The Enneagram purports to help a person achieve spiritual liberation through its use. This concept blatantly contradicts God’s Word that says we achieve spiritual liberation only through being born again in Christ.

Yoga is another deception in the Church. It is called Christian Yoga. This is an oxymoron because Scripture teaches that light cannot have fellowship with darkness (See 2 Corinthians 6: 14). Some churches even hold yoga classes in their buildings.

Satan simply takes old lies and puts them in new packages to fit our contemporary culture. So, beware!

4. Through conflating truth and error. Confusion is paramount today. The message of the Church and the message of the world are conflating, resulting in the sad truth that the Church is becoming indistinguishable from the world. Books by so-called Christian authors can now be found in both Christian bookstores and New Age/Occult bookstores at the same time. Such books teach that humans evolutionary lies of achieving godhood through Eastern mysticism and meditation are the truth. Mysticism and the Contemplative Movement are being touted as viable avenues to God. The New Apostolic Reformation, known as the NAR, is promoting the lie that Christ will not return until the Church has ushered in HIs Kingdom through the Seven-Mountain Mandate.This Seven-Mountain Mandate involves taking dominion over the seven key areas of culture: Government & the Military, Education, Economics, Religion, Business, Arts & Entertainment, and the Media. 

5. Through being unequally yoked. Another way we become deceived is through forming connections with people or organizations whose tenets are contrary to Christianity but who share certain values with Christianity. As an example, some Christian organizations have joined with non-Christian organizations that share traditional family values. Another example would be the Pope. He has called together the various heads of world religions to join with him in bringing peace to the world. All of these mergers, so to speak, are ushering in the one-world religion which is part of the New World Order.

__________________________________

“What fellowship has light with darkness?” ~ 2 Corinthians 6: 14
__________________________________

So, how can we avoid deception?

1. Know God’s Word. If we do not thoroughly know God’s Word, we will be susceptible to deception. The Word of God is our plumb line. It keeps us facing True North. The Word is our daily bread. Jesus said this in Matthew 4: 4:”Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

We need to feed on God’s Word every day. We need not only to read it, but also to study it, to meditate on it, to hear it, to speak it. 

2. Obey God’s Word. In James 1: 22, we read “But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” Hearing the Word is not enough. We must also obey it.

3. Guard your heart. Deception begins in the heart. When we follow our own will instead of God’s will, we open the door for deception to enter our hearts. Proverbs 4: 23 warns us to guard our hearts above all else for what is in our hearts will determine the entire course of our lives.

Any one of else can be deceived in our hearts. James 1: 26 speaks to this: “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not bridle his tongue, he deceives his heart and his religion is worthless.”

Our hearts can be deceived by many things, including pride, greed, unforgiveness, and offense. All of these sins open the door to deception.

Another reason for guarding our hearts is that, if we don’t, others can deceive us. And we can deceive ourselves. So guard your heart above everything else.

4. Stay in right relationship with God and man. In order to avoid deception, we must stay in right relationship with the right people. God created us for relationship. First, relationship with Himself and then relationship with others, especially those in the Body of Christ. One vital purpose of the Body of Christ is to protect us from deception. In Proverbs 27: 17, we learn this: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

If we stay in constant communion with the Lord and with His Body, we will not be deceived. We will remain sensitive to His voice and to the leading of His Holy Spirit. Fellowship with the Body of Christ keeps us accountable. It keeps us alert to error. To stray from the Body of Christ is to court the danger of deception and many other dangers. Being alone makes us an easy target for the enemy. Soldiers in training are always taught never to go it alone.

5. Stay humble. In the days ahead, deception will increase. It is a sign of the end of the age. We will also see an increase in signs, wonders, and miracles rooted in deception. For this reason, we must pray for discernment. And we must stay humble.

We must never think that we are too wise or too smart or too sophisticated to be deceived. The instant we think we cannot fall into deception is the instant that we are in the gravest danger of falling into deception. Jesus commanded us to be wise as serpents, but harmless as doves.

Bottomline, the starting point for avoiding deception is to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. When we do, we will be born again and receive a new spirit capable of discerning between truth and falsehood. 

If you have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, I urge you to do so now. He will guard you from deception and preserve you until the day of His return, which, my friend, is very, very soon. Pray this simple prayer with me now:

Lord Jesus, I want to be free of all deception. I want to be free of every lie that has kept me in bondage. But You are the only One Who can set me free. So, I ask You now to come into my life. I receive You as my personal Savior and the Lord of my life. Rescue me from myself and from my sin. Forgive me. Make me what You created me to be. In Your Precious Name, I pray. Amen.

If you prayed this prayer sincerely, please write to me at drmaryann@maryanndiorio.com. I would like to send you a free e-booklet that will help you get started in your walk with Christ. I also encourage you to get yourself a Bible and read it every single day. The Bible is God’s love letter to you, His manual for your life. In the Bible, God reveals Who He is, and He teaches you how to live.

Finally, ask the Lord to lead you to the church of His choice for you where you can learn about Him and have fellowship and encouragement with other Christ-Followers. It is critically important in these last days to fellowship with other believers who are mature in Christ and can guide you as you grow in Him.

If you are not yet a subscriber to the Winning with the Word blog and podcast, I urge you to click on the link below to subscribe now so you will not miss a single weekly episode:

https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/w4q0z

Please tell your family and friends about “Winning with the Word,” and please pass this post and podcast on to them. Thank you!

PLEASE TWEET: “Are You Being Deceived?” (CLICK TO TWEET)

Now it’s your turn: How do you avoid the evil heart conditions the Bible describes? Please leave your comment in the Comment Box below. Thank you.

Photo Source: Gerd Altmann (Pixabay)
Sources and Resources on Deception:
https://www.breakthroughforyou.com/how-not-to-be-deceived/

https://procinwarn.com/four-ways-christians-are-being-deceived/
___________________________________________

For those of you who may not know, I write fiction about many of the issues I deal with in this blog and podcast. I encourage you to visit my website bookstore at maryanndiorio.com/book-table . 

This podcast is funded by listeners like you. If you have been blessed by Winning with the Word, I invite you to become one of my special patrons on Patreon.com. For only $1.00, $3.00, or $5.00 a month, you can help me proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

Winning with the Word now reaches 41 countries on six continents because of your faithful support. So please help me to keep Winning with the Word on the air by becoming one of my valued patrons. Your patronage helps to cover the costs of producing, hosting, and distributing Winning with the Word to the four corners of the earth. Patrons receive special benefits, including free books, short stories, podcasts, and videos. So, join my wonderful team of Patrons and be part of something great!

To become a patron, go to https://www.patreon.com/winningwiththeword 

This week’s podcast is being sponsored by patron Sharon Lamson. Thank you, Sharon, for being a valued patron and for choosing to become a part of something great! 

I would like to thank all of my patrons who are making this podcast possible. I could not do this without you!

Finally, be sure to check out my latest book, The Iron Saint. This book talks about the coming persecution of the Church and how you can prepare for it. The Iron Saint is available on Amazon and on my website at maryanndiorio.com/book-table. Get a copy for your pastor as well. 

Until next time, remember that God loves you just as you are and just where you are and that He will help you to keep on Winning with the Word

To subscribe to “Winning with the Word”, click here.

To receive my monthly newsletter, click here.

To become a patron of Winning with the Word, click here.

 

________________________________________________________________________

Featured Book of the Week:  THE IRON SAINT by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD

The Church in America is on the verge of a tremendous spiritual awakening, an awakening that will first be fueled by persecution unlike anything we have ever seen before in this land. Indeed, a prophetic word given in my home church during the month of November gave this warning to the Church: “Prepare for the fire of persecution!”

But the Church is not ready for this persecution. For the most part, the Church in America has been weak and lukewarm. Flabby and lazy. Consumed with the world and not with the things of God. As a result, the Church has been deceived and has subverted the divine order of things.

In THE IRON SAINT, Dr. MaryAnn Diorio seeks to help equip the saints for the work of true, integritous, and effective ministry. As a teacher in the Body of Christ, it is her burning desire to help correct this devastating error.

In THE IRON SAINT, Dr. Diorio has outlined a plan of action for strengthening the Church through uncompromising obedience to the Word of God. This plan of action is based on her own 50 years of walking with the Lord and being led by His Holy Spirit.

If you are a born-again believer and member of the Body of Christ, make this book a top reading priority.

PRINT FORMAT

E-BOOK FORMAT

_________________________________
Check out these popular Winning with the Word podcasts below. You may also search for a particular topic in the search box at the top of the sidebar on this page. 

__The Privilege of Persecution

__How to Think like a Winner

__7 Signs That the Tribulation Is at Hand

 Are you new to this blog? If so, what is the “Winning with the Word” blog and why will it bless you to read it?

“Winning with the Word” is a weekly blog that helps you to deal with the daily problems of life by using the Bible as your guide to solving them. The Word of God will make you a success in life!

AN INVITATION TO YOU: To subscribe to Winning with the Wordclick here.

_____________________________________________________________

Copyright 2000-2021 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be published or printed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. You may contact her at info@maryanndiorio.com to request permission.

Amazon.com Required Disclosure: MaryAnn Diorio is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.Disclaimer: This site uses cookies. Your continued use of this site constitutes your consent to our use of cookies. 

Are You Struggling with Performance Syndrome?

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

WINNING WITH THE WORD

“Winning with the Word” is a weekly blog that will help you to be a winner in life by applying God’s principles for living the abundant life as found in the Bible, God’s manual for life.

AN INVITATION TO YOU:

To subscribe to this blog, click here. 
To subscribe to this podcast, click here.

If this blog and podcast have blessed you, please encourage your family and friends to subscribe as well. Thank you!

Be sure to check out our Featured Book of the Week at the end of this post.

______________________________________

Do you prefer listening instead of reading? Then click below to listen to today’s blog post on podcast.

______________________________________

Hello and Happy Day! This is Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, novelist and life coach, welcoming you to another episode of Winning with the Word. Today is March 22, 2021, and this is Episode #7 of Series 2021. This episode is titled “Are You Struggling with Performance Syndrome?”

_______________________________

The natural inclination of man is to perform in order to be approved. As we observe the many religions of the world, we notice that, except for Christianity, every religion teaches its followers that they must earn their salvation by doing good works. Only Christianity teaches that we can never earn our salvation. That is the reason Jesus Christ earned it for us and gave it to us as a love gift. The only thing we must do is accept His gift.

In the Book of Galatians, the Apostle Paul addresses this topic of trying to earn our salvation. After teaching the Galatians how to be saved through faith in Christ, Paul now finds them going back to their old ways of trying to earn God’s approval through their good works. Let’s listen in on what Paul says:

“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes, Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?”

Paul was distressed that the Christians of Galatia had reverted back to their old ways of thinking and acting. 

When we are born again, we receive God’s approval because of what Jesus did for us on Calvary, not because of anything we did. This is called grace. The first chapter of the Book of Ephesians, verse 6, reveals this truth to us: “He [God the Father] made us accepted in the Beloved {Jesus Christ].” (Brackets mine). 

Yet, so often, after we are born again, we find ourselves falling back into trying to earn God’s approval through our good works. I call this the performance syndrome, and I would venture to say that we have all been guilty of it at one time or another, especially those of us who grew up in particularly legalistic environments.

Most of the time, we are unaware that this happened. Hence, Paul’s use of the word “bewitched.” “Bewitched” means to be under a spell. Strong’s Concordance defines “bewitched” as follows: “to bring evil on one by feigning praise or an evil eye; to fascinate by false representations; to lead into evil doctrine.” 

When one is bewitched, one is taken mentally captive and is unaware of his mental captivity. When we are bewitched, we are unaware that motives other than God’s love have begun to corrupt our thinking. We begin to strive to earn God’s approval. We become tense and fear-filled, wondering if we’ve measured up. We often feel condemned when we mess up. 

So, Paul calls the Galatians “foolish” not in the sense that they lacked intelligence, but in the sense that they should have known better than to revert from a grace mentality to a works mentality. Paul Himself had taught them the truth about salvation, the truth that they had been saved only by faith. But they failed to live according to that truth.

Instead, they were acting as though they had been cast under a spell. Paul did not mean this literally, of course. He was referring to the culture of Galatia. The Galatians believed in what they called the evil eye. They believed that if someone looked into the evil eye, that person would be placed under a spell.

So Paul is warning the Galatians to stop looking into the evil eye of the doctrine that taught they could be saved by their works. Instead, Paul admonished the Galatians to keep their eyes focused steadfastly on Jesus. When we see Jesus clearly before us, we won’t be deceived.

The Galatians were guilty of performance syndrome.” Performance syndrome describes not so much the actions we perform as much as it describes the motives with which we perform them. We can perform the same actions because we love God or because we want to earn His love. The actions are the same, but the motives are different. 

Performance syndrome usually starts in childhood. It starts with lies we accept as truth, lies that lodge in our subconscious mind and affect us throughout our lives, unless we get rid of them. 

What are some of these lies? Here are a few we can start believing in childhood:

__If I don’t behave, Daddy and Mommy won’t love me.
__If I don’t do well in school, my parents won’t accept me.
__If my parents argue–or get divorced–it’s my fault.

Lies such as these become embedded in our subconscious mind. We begin to connect love and acceptance with performance. If we perform well, we will be loved and accepted. If we don’t perform well, we won’t.

After we’re born again, we begin to do the same thing with God. We begin to view God as we viewed our parents. We begin to think that in order to be loved and accepted by God, we must perform for Him. In other words, we need to earn His love and acceptance by what we do.  In short, we believe we must be perfect.

When performance syndrome rules our lives, we have no peace. We constantly strive to meet a standard, not realizing that the standard we are trying to meet can never be met by any human being.

But, praise the Lord, that standard was met in full by Jesus Christ. When we receive Him into our lives, we receive perfect, unconditional love and acceptance.

__________________________________

“Jesus Christ earned our salvation for us and gave it to us as a love gift. The only thing we must do is accept His gift.” 
__________________________________

Have you received Jesus Christ into your life? If not, I urge you to do so now. He will free you from performance syndrome, perfectionism, and ever other form of bondage in your life. Pray this simple prayer with me now:

Lord Jesus, I want to be free of performance syndrome and perfectionism. But You are the only One Who can set me free. So, I ask You now to come into my life. I receive You as my personal Savior and the Lord of my life. Forgive me of my sins. Create in me a clean heart. In Your Precious Name, I ask and receive. Amen.

If you prayed this prayer sincerely, please write to me at drmaryann@maryanndiorio.com. I would like to send you a free e-booklet that will help you get started in your walk with Christ. I also encourage you to get yourself a Bible and read it every single day. The Bible is God’s love letter to you, His manual for your life. In the Bible, God reveals Who He is, and He teaches you how to live.

Finally, ask the Lord to lead you to the church of His choice for you where you can learn about Him and have fellowship and encouragement with other Christ-Followers. It is critically important in these last days to fellowship with other believers who are mature in Christ and can guide you as you grow in Him.

If you are not yet a subscriber to the Winning with the Word blog and podcast, I urge you to click on the link below to subscribe now so you will not miss a single weekly episode:

https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/w4q0z

Please tell your family and friends about “Winning with the Word,” and please pass this post on to them. Thank you!

PLEASE TWEET: “Are You Struggling with Performance Syndrome?” (CLICK TO TWEET)

Now it’s your turn: How do you avoid the evil heart conditions the Bible describes? Please leave your comment in the Comment Box below. Thank you.

Photo Source: Gerd Altmann (Pixabay)
___________________________________________

For those of you who may not know, I write fiction about many of the issues I deal with in this blog and podcast. I encourage you to visit my website bookstore at maryanndiorio.com/book-table . 

This podcast is funded by listeners like you. If you have been blessed by Winning with the Word, I invite you to become one of my special patrons on Patreon.com. For only $1.00, $3.00, or $5.00 a month, you can help me proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

Winning with the Word now reaches 37 countries because of your faithful support. So please help me to keep Winning with the Word on the air by becoming one of my valued patrons. Your patronage helps to cover the costs of producing, hosting, and distributing Winning with the Word to the four corners of the earth. Patrons receive special benefits, including free books, short stories, podcasts, and videos. So, join my wonderful team of Patrons and be part of something great!

To become a patron, go to https://www.patreon.com/winningwiththeword 

This week’s podcast is being sponsored by patron Dianna Mallar. Thank you, Dianna, for being a valued patron and for choosing to be a part of something great!

I would like to thank all of my patrons who are making this podcast possible. I could not do this without you!

Finally, be sure to check out my latest book, The Iron Saint. This book talks about the coming persecution of the Church and how you can prepare for it. The Iron Saint is available on Amazon and on my website at maryanndiorio.com/book-table. Get a copy for your pastor as well. 

Until next time, remember that God loves you just as you are and just where you are and that He will help you to keep on Winning with the Word

To subscribe to “Winning with the Word”, click here.

To receive my monthly newsletter, click here.

To become a patron of Winning with the Word, click here.

Photo Source: Jan Alexander, Pixabay

________________________________________________________________________

Featured Book of the Week:  THE IRON SAINT by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD

The Church in America is on the verge of a tremendous spiritual awakening, an awakening that will first be fueled by persecution unlike anything we have ever seen before in this land. Indeed, a prophetic word given in my home church during the month of November gave this warning to the Church: “Prepare for the fire of persecution!”

But the Church is not ready for this persecution. For the most part, the Church in America has been weak and lukewarm. Flabby and lazy. Consumed with the world and not with the things of God. As a result, the Church has been deceived and has subverted the divine order of things.

In THE IRON SAINT, Dr. MaryAnn Diorio seeks to help equip the saints for the work of true, integritous, and effective ministry. As a teacher in the Body of Christ, it is her burning desire to help correct this devastating error.

In THE IRON SAINT, Dr. Diorio has outlined a plan of action for strengthening the Church through uncompromising obedience to the Word of God. This plan of action is based on her own 50 years of walking with the Lord and being led by His Holy Spirit.

If you are a born-again believer and member of the Body of Christ, make this book a top reading priority.

PRINT FORMAT

E-BOOK FORMAT

_________________________________
Check out these popular Winning with the Word podcasts below. You may also search for a particular topic in the search box at the top of the sidebar on this page. 

__The Privilege of Persecution

__How to Think like a Winner

__7 Signs That the Tribulation Is at Hand

 Are you new to this blog? If so, what is the “Winning with the Word” blog and why will it bless you to read it?

“Winning with the Word” is a weekly blog that helps you to deal with the daily problems of life by using the Bible as your guide to solving them. The Word of God will make you a success in life!

AN INVITATION TO YOU: To subscribe to Winning with the Wordclick here.

_____________________________________________________________

Copyright 2000-2021 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be published or printed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. You may contact her at info@maryanndiorio.com to request permission.

Amazon.com Required Disclosure: MaryAnn Diorio is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.Disclaimer: This site uses cookies. Your continued use of this site constitutes your consent to our use of cookies. 

What’s the Condition of Your Heart?

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

WINNING WITH THE WORD

“Winning with the Word” is a weekly blog that will help you to be a winner in life by applying God’s principles for living the abundant life as found in the Bible, God’s manual for life.

AN INVITATION TO YOU:

To subscribe to this blog, click here. 
To subscribe to this podcast, click here.

If this blog and podcast have blessed you, please encourage your family and friends to subscribe as well. Thank you!

Be sure to check out our Featured Book of the Week at the end of this post.

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Do you prefer listening instead of reading? Then click below to listen to today’s blog post on podcast.

______________________________________

Hello and Happy Day! This is Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, novelist and life coach, welcoming you to another episode of Winning with the Word. Today is March 15, 2021, and this is Episode #6 of Series 2021. This episode is titled “What’s the Condition of Your Heart?”

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Did you know that the condition of your heart determines the course of your life? I’m not talking about your physical heart. I’m talking about that intangible part of you that includes your mind, your will, your emotions, and your conscience.

The Bible says this about the heart: “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”  Now that’s a pretty heavy statement, don’t you think? So heavy, in fact, that we would be foolish to ignore it.

Yet, many people do ignore it, and they ignore it to their own peril. 

What is meant by guarding your heart? To guard means to protect from harm. The Bible commands us to protect our hearts more than we protect anything else? Why? Because our heart is more precious than anything else. Our heart determines where we end up at the end of our life.

So, how can we determine the condition of our heart? A good way is to consider the different types of heart conditions the Bible talks about and then evaluate your own heart by these conditions.

The Bible describes six heart conditions. Let’s take a look at each one.

1. The Double Heart. The Double Heart is also referred to as the Deceitful Heart. I call it the Forked Heart, as in forked tongue. Scripture alludes to the double heart in Psalm 12: 2 NKJV: “They speak idly everyone with his neighbor: With flattering lips and a double heart they speak.”

The double heart is a two-faced heart. It speaks out of both sides of its mouth. It says one thing and means another. It is double-minded. In James 1: 8, we read that “a double-minded man is unstable in all of his ways.” So, a double heart is an unstable heart. What happens to things when they are unstable? They fall.

2. The Hard Heart. In Proverbs 28: 14, we read this warning: “Blessed is the one who fears the LORD always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.”

What is a hardened heart?

A hardened heart is a heart that has lost its sensitivity to the things of God. In the Gospel of Mark, chapter 8, verses 16-21, Jesus reveals that a hard heart has lost its ability to see, understand, and hear God. It is a heart that has also lost its ability to remember.

Let’s enter this passage in Mark chapter 8, verses 16 through 21. The disciples are out on the lake in a boat, and they realize they have forgotten to bring bread to eat. So, they’re discussing what to do. Let’s listen in on what Jesus says:

“Aware of their conversation, Jesus asked them, ‘Why are you debating about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Do you have such hard hearts? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of broken pieces did you collect?”

“Twelve,” they answered.

“And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of broken pieces did you collect?”

“Seven,” they said.

Then He asked them, “Do you still not understand?”

Notice the four words Jesus used: See, Understand, Hear, and Remember. A hardened heart does not see, understand, hear, or remember God’s promise to take care of us.

How often, when faced with a new trial, do we allow fear to enter our hearts because we forget how God has helped us and delivered us in the past? I have been guilty of not remembering God’s past faithfulness. What about you?

Not remembering God’s past faithfulness is simply an indication of our little faith in His promise to care for us. We forget that the Lord has promised never to leave us nor forsake us.

__________________________________

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” 
__________________________________

What causes a hardened heart?

Sin, pride, setbacks, and disappointments can cause a hardened heart. Especially in these last days, Satan is using setbacks and disappointments to wear us down, to weary us. The antidote to this attack of the enemy is praise and worship. The more we praise and worship the Lord, the more we are strengthened.

Another cause of a hardened heart is unforgiveness. When we refuse to forgive, we hurt only ourselves, not the person who hurt us. If you have unforgiveness in your heart, drop it now, as though it were a poisonous snake, because it is.

3. The Proud Heart.
Scripture talks about the proud heart in Proverbs chapter 21, verse 4: “Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, is sin.” The proud heart is the heart that thinks it knows better than God. It is the heart that chooses its own will over God’s will. The proud heart always has to have the last word. It always thinks it is right and others are wrong.

The proud heart has trouble asking for forgiveness. It is easily offended. It sees the splinters in the eyes of others but not the beam in its own eye.

Of all sins, pride is, perhaps, the most dangerous because it cannot see itself. The proud heart cannot see its own pride.

4. The Unbelieving Heart. In Hebrews 3: 12, the Word says this: “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God.” Notice that the Bible equates unbelief with an evil heart. This is quite sobering!

We sometimes take unbelief lightly, blaming it on our own humanity. Yet, God takes unbelief very seriously. He tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please Him. So, if we are in unbelief, we are not pleasing God.

How can we know if we have an unbelieving heart? Here are two signs:

__The unbelieving heart believes the five senses more than it believes God’s Word.

__The unbelieving heart gives in to fear when facing a trial. 

We need to be on guard against an unbelieving heart. Unbelief, if left unchecked, will cause us to depart from God. The chief danger of unbelief is that it destroys the trust that is the foundation of our relationship with God. Unbelief tries to convince us that God does not have our best interests at heart, that He doesn’t care for us, that He won’t come through for us.

Doubting God’s love for us causes us to lose our trust in Him. And when we lose our trust in God, we turn away from Him.

5. The Cold Heart. Matthew 24: 12 warns us that in the last days, when lawlessness abounds, the love of many will grow cold. We are witnessing the fulfillment of this warning in our own day. Lawlessness is a loss of respect for the law. Bottom line, lawlessness is a loss of respect for the Word of God.

When we lose respect for God’s Word, the Holy Bible, our love for God and for others grows cold. Love that has grown cold has lost its fire and, in truth, is no love at all.

6. The Unclean Heart. David the Psalmist prayed that God would create in him a clean heart (Psalm 51: 10). At the time David prayed this prayer, he had an unclean heart because he had sinned with Bathsheba and had had her husband murdered to hide the fact. God sent Nathan the prophet to convict David of his sin. David humbly acknowledged his sin and repented before God.

So, what is an unclean heart? It is a heart that is dominated by the flesh and not by the Spirit of God. It is a heart whose motives are not holy but selfish.  David understand that only God, the Creator, could create a clean heart in him. David could not do it on his own.

And neither can we. If you’re heart is unclean, repent before God now and He will give you a clean heart.

The first step toward receiving a clean heart is to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. If you do not yet know the Lord, I urge you now to receive Him as Your Savior and Lord. Pray this simple prayer with me now:

Lord Jesus, I want a clean heart. But You are the only One Who can make my heart clean. So, I ask You now to come into my life. I receive You as my personal Savior and the Lord of my life. Forgive me of my sins. Create in me a clean heart. In Your Precious Name, I ask and receive. Amen.

If you prayed this prayer sincerely, please write to me at drmaryann@maryanndiorio.com. I would like to send you a free e-booklet that will help you get started in your walk with Christ. I also encourage you to get yourself a Bible and read it every single day. The Bible is God’s love letter to you, His manual for your life. In the Bible, God reveals Who He is, and He teaches you how to live.

Finally, ask the Lord to lead you to the church of His choice for you where you can learn about Him and have fellowship and encouragement with other Christ-Followers. It is critically important in these last days to fellowship with other believers who are mature in Christ and can guide you as you grow in Him.

If you are not yet a subscriber to the Winning with the Word blog and podcast, I urge you to click on the link below to subscribe now so you won’t miss a single weekly episode:

https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/w4q0z

Please tell your family and friends about “Winning with the Word,” and please pass this post on to them. Thank you!

PLEASE TWEET: “What Kind of Heart Do You Have?” (CLICK TO TWEET)

Now it’s your turn: How do you avoid the evil heart conditions the Bible describes? Please leave your comment in the Comment Box below. Thank you.

___________________________________________

For those of you who may not know, I write fiction about many of the issues I deal with in this blog and podcast. I encourage you to visit my website bookstore at maryanndiorio.com/book-table . 

This podcast is funded by listeners like you. If you have been blessed by Winning with the Word, I invite you to become one of my special patrons on Patreon.com. For only $1.00, $3.00, or $5.00 a month, you can help me proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

Winning with the Word now reaches 37 countries because of your faithful support. So please help me to keep Winning with the Word on the air by becoming one of my valued patrons. Your patronage helps to cover the costs of producing, hosting, and distributing Winning with the Word to the four corners of the earth. Patrons receive special benefits, including free books, short stories, podcasts, and videos. So, join my wonderful team of Patrons and be part of something great!

To become a patron, go to https://www.patreon.com/winningwiththeword 

This week’s podcast is being sponsored by patron Dianna Mallar. Thank you, Dianna, for being a valued patron and for choosing to be a part of something great!

I would like to thank all of my patrons who are making this podcast possible. I could not do this without you!

Finally, be sure to check out my latest book, The Iron Saint. This book talks about the coming persecution of the Church and how you can prepare for it. The Iron Saint is available on Amazon and on my website at maryanndiorio.com/book-table. Get a copy for your pastor as well. 

Until next time, remember that God loves you just as you are and just where you are and that He will help you to keep on Winning with the Word! 

To subscribe to “Winning with the Word”, click here.

To receive my monthly newsletter, click here.

To become a patron of Winning with the Word, click here.

Photo Source: Michael Schwarzenberger, Pixabay

________________________________________________________________________

Featured Book of the Week:  THE IRON SAINT by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD

The Church in America is on the verge of a tremendous spiritual awakening, an awakening that will first be fueled by persecution unlike anything we have ever seen before in this land. Indeed, a prophetic word given in my home church during the month of November gave this warning to the Church: “Prepare for the fire of persecution!”

But the Church is not ready for this persecution. For the most part, the Church in America has been weak and lukewarm. Flabby and lazy. Consumed with the world and not with the things of God. As a result, the Church has been deceived and has subverted the divine order of things.

In THE IRON SAINT, Dr. MaryAnn Diorio seeks to help equip the saints for the work of true, integritous, and effective ministry. As a teacher in the Body of Christ, it is her burning desire to help correct this devastating error.

In THE IRON SAINT, Dr. Diorio has outlined a plan of action for strengthening the Church through uncompromising obedience to the Word of God. This plan of action is based on her own 50 years of walking with the Lord and being led by His Holy Spirit.

If you are a born-again believer and member of the Body of Christ, make this book a top reading priority.

PRINT FORMAT

E-BOOK FORMAT

_________________________________
Check out these popular Winning with the Word podcasts below. You may also search for a particular topic in the search box at the top of the sidebar on this page. 

__How to Think like a Winner

__7 Signs That the Tribulation Is at Hand

__The Dangers of Generation Separation

__Are You Thinking Straight?

__How to Deal with the “New Normal”

__What to Do When Your Child Goes Astray

___Are You a Perfectionist?

__Is the World Coming to an End?

__The Coming Global Cataclysm

 Are you new to this blog? If so, what is the “Winning with the Word” blog and why will it bless you to read it?

“Winning with the Word” is a weekly blog that helps you to deal with the daily problems of life by using the Bible as your guide to solving them. The Word of God will make you a success in life!

AN INVITATION TO YOU: To subscribe to Winning with the Wordclick here.

_____________________________________________________________

Copyright 2000-2021 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be published or printed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. You may contact her at info@maryanndiorio.com to request permission.

Amazon.com Required Disclosure: MaryAnn Diorio is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.Disclaimer: This site uses cookies. Your continued use of this site constitutes your consent to our use of cookies.