Around 3 AM, Wednesday morning September 28th, I was up seeking the Lord. After a time of praying through various scriptures, praying them out loud, this thought came to me and it came like this, “The gates, the gates! The enemy goes for the gates.”. Almost immediately Psalm 24 came to mind, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates and be lifted up you everlasting doors,and the king of glory shall come in”. Young’s Literal Translation has it reading, “Lift up, O gates, your heads, and be lifted up, O age-during doors, and come in doth the King of glory.”.
After more prayer and asking God for clarity, I found myself asking, “What if the idea of gates refers to gates within a person? Could the heart, soul, mind, and strength be considered gates within us? What if the enemy, let in through sin, goes for these strategic gates to control what goes in and out?” Suddenly the words in this Psalm took on a whole new meaning for me. God commands me to love him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. So the enemy goes for the gates to control what goes in and what gets out. I then found myself praying, “God every part of me belongs to you. I no longer give the enemy permission to occupy or control these gates. The gates of my life belong to You.”
This morning, September 30th, I found myself thinking more about this idea of gates as the main entry point into every person’s life. Proverbs 4:23 came to mind as it talks about the gate of the heart. “With all diligence keep your heart for out of it springs the issues of life.”. Then I thought of Luke chapter 21, verse 19, “…by standing firm you will save your lives.”
When I think about the times and the situations I so often fail in, and by that I mean when I choose sin over obedience, I can’t help but wonder if I’m missing a key element as regards the gates of my life. In other words, am I doing everything I can, everything I am capable of doing, to guard the gates of my life? For me when I sin, I know the answer so often boils down to, “No, no I have not.”
Instead of keeping my heart, as an example of one gate, I am allowing sin and therefore the law of sin with its power, (Romans 8:1), control over that gate. From this perspective it is absolute folly, stupidity really, to expect victory in any given area of my life unless and until I have done my part. Why would God come in, step in to do what he can and will until I have done what I can and should, first? Isn’t there a principle that applies here?
1 Corinthians 15:46 “…the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual…”. Now I know that the context here is the apostle is talking about the resurrection of the dead however does it not still apply? After being made a new creation in Christ, the person who is born from above is now freed from the power of the curse, the law of sin, and death. Now the law of the spirit of life in Christ is the operating law, the governing law of his or her life. Since that is the case, the believer is then freed to choose to obey. In the case I’m trying to make this means that the person, in the fullness of his or her humanity, in this case in his or her flesh, can watch over, to keep with all diligence his or her heart, however, he or she must choose to.
Not long before his death, Joshua said this to the people he had taken into the land God promised them,
“ Now, therefore, fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your father served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And if it seems evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your father served that were on the other side of the flood or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” Joshua 24:14-15
I realize this is an Old Testament passage but the principle still applies. From a New Testament point of view, since the Son has made us free, and we are therefore free indeed, (for if we aren’t free then we are still in bondage to the power of the law of sin and death, and not born again,) like those Joshua was speaking to, we too are free to choose. And whether we realize it or not, every day, often on a moment-by-moment basis, we do.
So, what will we choose? With the natural part of me, living as a new creation in Christ in a natural body, in this natural world will I choose to give all diligence to guard the gate of my heart? Whatever controls the gates of a person’s life controls that person’s life. What gets into a walled city controls that city. Maybe at first the outside influences aren’t predominant and aren’t particularly strong, but the intent to control to take over the city is there.
If we have been born again, if Christ is the Lord of our lives, then he has set us free. That does not mean however that the enemy of our souls isn’t constantly looking to control the gates of our lives. Sin is constantly looking for a way to get in, to control what goes in and out of our lives. Satan knows far better than we do that if he can deceive us, and through deceit influence, and eventually, slowly and subtly control what gets in through our lives, our heart, soul, mind, and strength, he will, with our cooperation, control our lives.
When the influences of the world, the flesh, and the devil are permitted to be the controlling influences over the gates of our lives, working through our lusts to let in those things that will at first tempt and influence us, then eventually destroy us, we will then know little to nothing of the power of the law of the spirit of life we have been given in Christ. We will live in defeat instead of victory, discouragement rather than joy. Our lives will be barren when they could and should be bearing quite naturallythe fruits of the Spirit.
“The gates, the gates. The enemy goes for the gates!” No wonder the wisest man who ever lived wrote, “With all diligence keep your heart for out of it springs the issues of life.”, and why Jesus said,“…by standing firm, you will save your lives.”