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You are like me!

It is so that evil men surround the globe, searching, grasping, lying and cheating for the glory of it all. I look to see and beauty hides; for, men are at the bottom of the ladder's round, descending deep in devil's pit. I see them clearly, knowing who those are intruding in my place of power. I see him now and know his deepest parts. Aghast, I fall and hide my gaze, for pure wisdom shows me truly all the source of this heart's condemnation. It was not those eyes of other men projecting evil to me; but, in the face of hatred, I see my own reflection as in a mirror; my soul is bare. It is I, the source of all I see. 0, wretched man I am, who shall take me from the body of death? I thank God His beauty I have seen reflects in you, the image of His loveliness.

Our Character Context

CHAPTER 6

We view life through the context of our character.

Thought: Life to us is as we experience it.

Word: Matt. 9:29: "According to your faith be it unto you."

Conclusion: The truth not experienced is a lie. The truth experienced is the truth.

Life is always the way we perceive it and how we perceive it is created by the context of our character. Our character contains the building blocks which create our view of life. An example of this could be seen in the life of one who is basically a thief. Since his life is one of cheating others, he perceives others either cheating him, or at the very least trying to. When a person's character context is in the place of stinginess, he perceives others being stingy with him and, perhaps, taking from him. His life is then ordered to protect his interests and he thinks this is best accomplished by withholding his possessions to retain them.

Another classic illustration of context is fear. When the character is not coming from the principle of love, it will abide in fear: "Perfect love casteth out all fear." When a person fears, he will first of all imagine a threat to his security. He will then begin to create the real threat. The Iranians created the United States as the big "Satan." Their paranoia finally destroyed their economic fiber bringing their people into a state of want that has not been experienced in that nation for many years. In the United States, we have generally created the communists as our great "Satan." Our paranoia has led us to expend billions on nuclear bombs to protect us from the evil. The Russians, if they exist, are also seeing us as the great threat and they, in turn, make bombs to protect themselves from us. I am only taking the word of those who tell me they are a threat. The truth is, I have never been killed by a Russian, so who says they're a threat? When one kills me, then I'll worry about it. I have heard people say, "Yes, but they really know we're the good guys and they are out to destroy us.'' How do we know that, because we perceive ourselves as good? The Russian on the street has done what the American on the street has done and that is fearing the other, therefore, spending most of his energy and work in making bombs to blow the other up. The money spent by the world to defend the world against the world, is enough to end all poverty and hunger forever. Out of our context of fear, we at last destroy ourselves. This is the principle of Satan's kingdom. Keep the masses afraid of the "evil" and they will be under his control.

It hardly ever enters the mind of some that all nations are doing nearly the same thing. We in America pride ourselves that we have freedom of religion. They have the same kind of freedom in Russia. Some may now say, "Oh no they don't. I know people who are in jail for their belief." That may be true but, people are in jail for their belief in this country also. In the news recently, a pastor was imprisoned for starting a school that wasn't licensed. The truth is that we are free in any country to worship according to the current social norms. When these social norms are broken, in any country, trouble begins. In the Soviet Union the social norms are different than in America and so are the laws. This is why it appears that they are different. One has freedom of speech in any country if you say what most people believe should be said. Say the wrong thing in any country and you will start to feel the pressure from those who hate what you are saying. These, in turn, pressure the powers that be to end your freedoms. This dilemma is solved when the character is formed after the order of God.

Let us look for a moment at the process that takes place as the character is re-programmed to what is true. A man has a great deal of difficulty with fear. At every turn he imagines something to be afraid of. From time to time, the universe will give him something to support that fear. He may have an accident or an illness requiring surgery. Now he knows for sure there is something to be afraid of. Now, let's suppose this same man hears the promise, "Nothing shall by any means hurt you." His first reaction might be to say, "That's not true, plenty of things have hurt me." Let's say this man understood the laws of cause and effect and decided to believe God rather than his experience or Aunt Jody's experience. Believing he now will not be hurt, he walks under a ladder and a bucket of paint falls on his head giving him a bad bump. He now has a choice. He can believe the promise or believe the paint. Again, let's say he says, "Oh, I have been hit with paint and nothing shall by any means hurt me." As he begins to move in that direction and accepts God at His word no matter what it looks like, he finds himself entering what we will call a "Life Shift." Life now begins to shift for him and it is truly different than before. As his character is strengthened by the promise, so his experience of life actually shifts to that experience. He now has an altered character context. He now enjoys a life without fear. All of the promises work in the same way.

Most Christians soon expect the coming of Christ. Some expect to be "raptured" and some call that "translated." Few understand the nature of that coming. The standard picture is that suddenly we will see Jesus and He will whisk us off into space, corruption and all, or at that time He may work a magical change in our character and then whisk us off. The truth is we will not be translated to heaven by magic, but by faith. The generation to see Him will have shifted their character context to translation and that's it for them. They have had a "Life Shift" so that all the "earthiness" or love of being here no longer exists for them. Enoch had an experience such as that. Heb. 11:5: "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found because God had translated him." Enoch had shifted his context to include translation. Walking after God for over three hundred years and desiring His kingdom, his character context shifted and this earth no longer had a claim on him. This will be the experience of all those who see the second coming of Jesus.

God's people are now in the process of shifting their entire view of life to include all that God said was true, including: "...whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." John 11:26. Have you ever had a great desire for a certain job and received it? Then after so many years it just no longer seemed to be what you wanted to do in life? That was a life shift. Life is about shifting in one direction or another. You will continue to cement your mind in the context of this world or you will continue to settle into the truth of the kingdom, and that's all this world is about.

Our character context is multi-faceted. We may shift from context to context as the tapes play, however, there seems to be a major place the being likes to live. His general view of life seems to come from a particular dimension. I will mention a few. When a man lives in the condemnation character context, he goes through life feeling condemned. There may not be a reason he can put his finger on, but he is ugly about himself. To survive, he will condemn others that it works to condemn. He may not condemn his friends, but for the least infraction on his "righteousness," he will condemn his wife or children. This person will imagine evil in others and often sees them seeing evil in him. Life has little true joy and acceptance, but it does include a great deal of insisting on his "rightness". Condemnation context is selfish and exacting and goes about setting up others to condemn him. There is an answer to this context. Rom. 8:1. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus...." From condemnation we may now shift into acceptance.

Another context we may have created from a very young age, is rejection. This individual will create others rejecting him, therefore, he rejects them. If he sees others as non-supportive, he, too, will enter into that experience. Rejection is selfish and he tends to feel sorry for himself which would reveal itself in depression, anger and withdrawal. This man needs a cure. It is found in John 6:37: "...him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."

Fear seems to be the place where many live. In fact, some create horror movies to help them develop that one. Some may sit in front of the television news for hours to help them develop their fear. Others invest in all the latest security devices and imagine every possible way in which they might be hurt. This is the great non-love context. You cannot love the one you are afraid of. You may try as you will to talk someone out of fear and it is useless. We might say, "There's nothing to be afraid of," but the one who is creating fear "knows" there is plenty to be afraid of. This individual will create situations where others might fear him and work to set others up for the fear he himself imagines. This one will not risk and create for fear of loss or failure. He likes to travel the safe, proven path and then only when it is well insured. This work of protection is actually a device to perpetuate the fear. As we fearfully look about to find safety, we only find things we need to be made safe from. There are others who perpetuate fear by purposely putting themselves in fearful surroundings. A fearful child may love horror movies and do all he can to place himself there. One who fears burglars may join police work to fight the enemy. There are any number of responses that may come out of this context. There is a cure. 1 John 4:18: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment...." Love will cause all fear to vanish like smoke.

The fear context is one that breeds suspicion. If these were in religious circles they would gravitate to those elements that support their fear. These would be the ones who would make the leadership into devils. Then when they changed "groups" they would do it again. Their only satisfaction would be found in attacking some supposed enemy but the real truth of life would evade them.

The failure context is one that sees no success in life, for even the success is interpreted as failure. He often encourages others to fail and sets them up to fail. He sees no one really having success, and if they a appear to have it, it is probably from some covert motive and action that they were able to do it. If he goes into a home where people have more than he, it will bring up jealousies and internal accusations against them. If he enters a home where they have less, he will see himself as superior or more blessed than they. He experiences no real self-fulfillment and creates others seeing him as a failure.

The poverty context has nothing to do with money. A poor man, as far as money goes, may not have a poverty context. The poverty context may belong to a man with a good deal of money. It is the context of "not enough." He sees himself as not having enough. He may see others as more "lucky" than he or perhaps more dishonest. He will often pursue the lottery, race track or sweepstakes as a way of getting money since he tends to think it is a matter of luck. He looks forward to others giving him money or at least inheriting some from some rich relative. In religious circles these are the people who are found begging a lot.

This context views others as trying to get its money or possessions and, indeed, create that to happen. The individuals infected will not give to others unless they can see some way it will benefit them. Poverty reaches into all facets of his life and it always views itself as needy. The cure to this problem is, "The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want." Ps. 23. Those who are in Christ shall have all their wants supplied. They experience always the plenty of God to support them; they have all they desire.

It is up to us to notice how we are viewing life. Do we like it the way it is? Then we shall never complain. If we don't like it the way it is, then we have the option to change it. If we are sad, we may choose to be happy. If we experience want, we can choose to experience plenty. If we experience fear, we can choose not to be afraid. The whole package is up to us. How do we choose to perceive life? The great "truth" about life is the truth as described in the promises of God. If we create our character context after the order of His promises, then we experience the kingdom context. This is what God calls all His people to experience. If His people choose not to experience it, He gives the experience to those who will. Matt. 21:43: "Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." Before a man ever experiences that kingdom of glory there, they must first experience that kingdom within. The kingdom context is one we will shift into as we only accept the word about it as being true. Our eyes must be trained to see life as Jesus saw life, rather than how we have been trained to see it. His character and His context is to be ours. That is the only time we will truly see those things which are true.


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