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THE BEAR AUTHORITY
In 1988, a five-month-old bear cub became the star of a movie simply-called, “The Bear”. In the opening scene, the cub and it's mom were enjoying honey from a bee colony at the bottom of a cliff. Sadly, there was an avalanche which killed the mama bear.
The cub was all alone in the wilderness of northern Canada. He wandered from place to place looking for food, but with little success. Finally, he found a very large bear in great distress. He had just been shot in the shoulder by a hunter and was bleeding profusely. The cub cautiously approached and began licking the wound. This lead to a healthy relationship. This big-brother bear taught the cub how to hunt, fish, find berries and how to do all the things that wild bears do.
Then one day, during another attack from the hunters and their dogs, the bears were separated and the cub was taken as a “play-thing” by the hunters. Eventually, the hunter's gave up on killing the large bear and released the cub as they broke camp and headed home.
The cub was sadly alone in the wilderness again, not knowing how to find his big-bear friend. During his wandering in the wilderness the cub was spotted by a mountain lion and the chase was on!
Soon, the cub finds himself out-on-a-limb, literally, above a river. The lion follows; the cub gets too close to the end; the limb breaks and the cub falls into the rushing waters below. Seemingly unhurt, the cub climbs onto the limb that had broken off and floats downstream. The lion, not wanting to lose a good meal, runs downstream and waits for his prey. The cub sees the lion, jumps off the limb and swims to shore. But, no matter how hard he tried, the lion was always there waiting to devour his prey. The cub finally stands his ground, rises to his hind legs, opens his mouth wide and lets out a pitiful excuse for a roar.
Then, the lion turns-tail and runs away. But why! That little cub was no match for the lion! But, what the cub didn't know is that his old friend, the large bear whom he had befriended had come on the scene, standing tall on his hind-legs some distance behind the cub, mouth wide-open, with a ROAR so fierce that the lion knew he was in deep trouble.
And so it is with us. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way...”(Isaiah 53:6) Many of us, like the prodigal son, have left home unprepared to live on our own; unprepared to face the temptations and trials of this sinful planet. And we did not understand that we had a Big-brother who, “was despised, and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief... Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; was wounded for our transgressions... he was bruised for our iniquities.... oppressed... afflicted... as a lamb that is led to the slaughter.... By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and... was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of [us] to whom the stroke was due... And they made his grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in his death; although he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.”(Isaiah 53:3-9). We did not know that “we have an high priest that can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; and one who hath been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”(Hebrews 4:15)
But when we find our Big-brother Jesus, we “draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help us in time of need.”(Hebrews 4:16). Jesus, teaches us all we need to know – how to live in this sinful world because He suffered 40 days and nights in the wilderness, facing all the temptations that are common to us, yet without sin. We begin to understand and experience the promise that ”There hath no temptation taken you but such as common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it.” (1Corinthians 10:13). We begin to experience peace and victory in Christ.
But, we may be, such as hear the word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choking the word, and so it becomes unfruitful.(Mark 4:18-19). This happens as we separate from our Big-brother and thus become the play-thing of satan and his angels, ”tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;”(Ephesians 4:14).
Just as Jesus was lost to His parents for one day of neglect and it took them three days to find Him(Luke 2:41-46), so it could be with us when we find ourselves separated from our Saviour. Remember the bear cub separated from his big-brother bear and tried to find him? When we come to ourselves, as did the prodigal son, it could take much time to find Him again, but find him, we must! And, we can! “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith Jehovah, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope in your latter end. And ye shall call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith Jehovah, and I will bring you out of captivity...”(Jeremiah 29:11-14). So, just how is our “captivity” turned by God?
Jesus tells us, at least 3 times(Jn5:19,30;8:28), that He can do nothing without His Father(Jehovah). And His Father taught Him what to say. Likewise, Jesus told us in John 15:5, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” Step 1: “We admitted we were powerless over our problems -- that our lives had become unmanageable”
So, what's the solution to this powerlessness? Step 2: “Came to believe that Jesus Christ, a power greater than ourselves, could restore us to sanity.” Jesus cited this as the solution. He said, “He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit...”(Jn15:5). He also said that if we eat His flesh and drink His blood, we will have life eternal(Jn6). But, what does all this mean? I can't explain it any better than Ellen White, who said:
Jesus explained what he meant by eating his flesh and drinking his blood. He meant that his disciples were to partake of his word. He said, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. The word of Christ is the bread of life that is furnished for every soul that liveth. To refuse to eat this bread is death. He that neglects to partake of the word of God shall not see life. Receiving the word is believing the word, and this is eating Christ's flesh, drinking his blood. To dwell and abide in Christ, is to dwell and abide in his word; it is to bring heart and character into conformity to his commands. In the parable of the vine and the branches, Jesus shows the vital connection that must exist between himself and his followers. He says: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing.” -Ellen White, RH January 14, 1896, par. 2
Step 3: “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him.” I've written a lot about this in the past and you may have heard my personal testimony. But, today, I'd like to focus on the word “power”, as used by Jesus in Luke 10:19 “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
Let's look at just a piece of this verse: "Behold, I give unto you power... over all the power of the enemy...". The word "power" is used twice in this verse, right? Well, when looking at the original language (Greek), we see that two different words were used:
The first word is "exousia"(G1849), which could have been translated as "authority" or “delegated influence”. The second word is "dunamis"(G1411), which could have been translated as "ability".
If we use this alternate translation, we have this: "Behold, I give you authority over all the ability of the enemy". That makes a BIG difference to me! You see, in my addictive behavior, I was asking God for the ability to resist the ability of the enemy. I realize now that just isn't going to happen, and it never did. But what does happen is that, as I surrender my will to God's, He gives me the authority to say "NO" to the enemy, as I say "YES" to God. Now that's the power(authority over the enemy) I need => The Bear Authority
The bear cub was ready and willing and longing to reunite with his big-brother bear protector, but couldn't find him. In the meantime, the “lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” and found the cub. Likewise “1 Peter 5:8-9 tells us, “1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant(with absolute surrender to God); because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist(with God-given authority) stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”
"Submit yourselves(with absolute surrender) therefore to God. Resist the devil(with God-given authority), and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you..." (James 4:7-8)
What happens when we do all this? Like what happened to the cub, Jehovah's unlimited power is used to rebuke the enemy and that old lion devil turns-tail and runs away.
A friend has also illustrated this principle for us when she, in Jesus' name, demands satan to leave her home. When she is in submission to God, He gives her authority over the ability of the enemy.
What I know by many years of experience, is that when I submit myself to God, like Peter sinking in the sea, and Saul struck blind by the glory of Jesus, the temptation immediately leaves my mind -- every time. One might ask, "But Sid, how does the temptation just vanish?" In times past, I would probably say that God just takes it away. And, of course that is true, but it doesn't well-answer the question.
Because of more-recent studies, I will now say that my God sent angels that excel in strength to overpower the enemy who was giving me that temptation, for we know that tempting humans is one of the enemy's primary jobs. To further support this idea, I will say that when I am absolutely surrendered to God, the last thing I want to do is to sin against Him. But, my ability utterly fails when fighting against the ability of the enemy. It is impossible for me to resist. But, in our surrendered condition, the promise of 1Cor 10:13 is fulfilled -- God will not allow the enemy to continue harassing me -- or you.
Now, I must say that once-surrendered, does not mean always-surrendered any more that once-saved means always-saved. My point is that temptation could resume at any time, requiring repeated absolute surrender. Sadly, this is the point at which many fail. Persistence in using our will-power to submit to God, rather than to fight(ability vs. ability) the temptation results in less frequency and less intensity of temptation on any particular sin that easily besets us. According to James, Paul, and Peter, surrendered temptations are one of God's methods to change our character to be more like Jesus -- to have the mind of Christ :-)
James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Romans 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
1 Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
The authority, given to us by Jesus through our cooperation, always trumps the ability of the enemy and I am eternally grateful to our Father and His "beloved" Son.