Guard the Gates--Part 4

I have taken my inspiration from this series from the book written by John Bunyan called The Holy War. The previous posts (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) were instructional in how we should work to control the gates of our mind. Early in the book, Bunyan introduces us to what he terms the Council of War. At this council, there is a conglomerate of devils that all are sitting down trying to make a determination of how they are going to get into the city of Mansoul to destroy it. There are four schemes that they consider prior to the attack of the city.

1. Whether or not all of the wicked hordes should attack the city or should they send just a single soldier in to gain access to the city.
2. Whether or not they should go as they are, which would be easily recognizable to the citizens as intruders, or should they go in disguise.
3. Whether or not to show their real intentions at the start of why they have come into the city or to assault the city with words and ways of deceit.
4. Whether or not they should determine which of the citizens were the most prominent and influential and then destroy them before attacking.

This council of devils finally made a decision that they will go in by subtlety and deceit. Giant Diabolus will go in as a Dragon (Rev. 20:1-2) but by clever disguise in the role of the serpent. A decision is also made that they will kill Mr. Resistance who is the greatest man of Mansoul because he has such a godly influence over the people who are living there.

So once all of these decisions are made, Giant Diabolus in the form of a serpent ascends up close to the Gates—primarily the Eye Gate and the Ear Gate—and sets up the ambush. The Eye Gate is described by Bunyan as the place of Perspection. We might call it our perspective, perception, mindset, attitude, aspect, or our viewpoint. The Ear Gate was the place where the entire Town gathered to hear any information that would be applicable to them for direction of life. What Bunyan was hitting at was the thought that what we see and hear has a huge amount of influence into how we think.

Giant Diabolus begin presenting his spiel of things and when his great swelling words began to capture the residents of Mansoul, they started moving closer to him so they could see him. This was the great mistake because when Captain Resistance moved out of his place of protection and stood on top of the Gate, one of the cruel archers shot him in the head and killed him. Shortly after the death of Captain Resistance, Lord Innocency dies from an unclear reason. Bunyan says that he died either by a “sinking qualm” that came over him or from the “stinking breath of that treacherous Villian old Ill-pause.”

Once all of this happens, Giant Diabolus and his hordes move into the city and before long, the fruit that had been off-limits has been taken and the gates, Eye-Gate and Ear-Gate, are opened. Bunyan then uses the interesting analogy of the Bramble King coming to reign in this once great city. This is the beginning of the story that is very rich in symbols that paints the fall and recovery of man through the work of the Cross.

However, what I want to focus in on is the fact that the gates of the mind have to be protected. The gate of the eyes has to be protected from the assault of Giant Diabolus. The images and the majority of our perception about life are taken in through the eyes.

Luke 11:34 NASB The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness.

Luke 11:34-35 MSG Your eye is a lamp, lighting up your whole body. If you live wide-eyed in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. [35] Keep your eyes open, your lamp burning, so you don't get musty and murky.

Luke 11:34 Moffatt NT Your eye is the lamp of the body: when your eye is sound, then the whole of your body has light, but if your eye is diseased, then your body is darkened.

What our eyes see has the great ability to color our opinion, shape our perception, and cause us to make decisions that affect the direction of our soul. If it appeals to our eyes in a pleasing way, we generally are sold on the product whether it is authentic or not. Giant Diabolus, who is still very much active in our world today, wants to take our eyes and lead us down a path of self-deception. The eyes can work toward a false view of sin, create imaginations that are not godly, and bring about a sense of perspective that is totally humanistic. In fact Jesus warned in the passage listed above from Luke 11, that an evil eye can put the whole man in darkness. The process starts when we are given to self-deception because of what we see (Proverbs 16:2; Isaiah 5:20).

There is a troubling Scripture (among many) that I have mulled over for several years now. It is in 2 Corinthians 4.

2 Corinthians 4:3-5 KJV But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: [4] In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. [5] For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

2 Corinthians 4:4 speaks of blindness but it has nothing to do with the eyes but rather the mind. Ask anyone on the street to describe what blind means and they will respond that it means that they cannot see. I have never heard anyone describe a state of blindness by something that takes place in the mind. But Paul comes along and describes this state of man that has a blinded mind. Somewhere along the way, the eyes caught on to a perception that blinded the mind. There are terrible consequences to a mind that is blinded by Giant Diabolus.

1. A spiritual evil engulfs them. This is the worst kind of evil to be taken into.
2. A blinded mind is the heaviest of all judgments to have to contend with. It is almost as if the voice of the conscience has been entirely silenced and can no longer warn a man that he is about to be destroyed.
3. There is something spiritual about this kind of blindness. This means that it is spirit-driven and that one has been given over to a spirit of blindness and not an injury that caused the blindness. You see that in operation in Genesis (19:11) when the men of Sodom are stumbling about in their blindness attempting to accomplish their sinful deeds. This is the spirit of blindness and it is evil!
4. Spiritual blindness opens up men to even more perverse and greater evils. A man who is struck with this blindness will be far more open to the grossest errors, strong delusions, and unreasonable conquests that will defile him even more than before. Even the truth that they once knew will vanish from them.
5. Spiritual blindness causes us to dismiss any unwelcome fact or truth that causes us to have to adjust the way that we are living. This is a state of spiritual delusion that refuses to see the real and necessary emphasis on conversion, experiencing the New Birth, and real transformation that will take place when we submit to God.

Giant Diabolus is still attacking the Eye-Gate in our world today and it will only be when a solid commitment is made to protecting our eyes that we will begin to find victory in our spiritual lives. Job 31:1 tells us that Job made a covenant with his eyes. Obviously the context of the passage has to do with moral purity and overcoming lust because he said he made a covenant with his eyes that he would not look on a young woman with devious intentions in his heart. However, a true spiritual man will make a covenant with his eyes that covers far more than just this area of life. I conclude with a list of things that I hope will provoke you to make a covenant with your eyes (and heart) so that you will not fall to spiritual blindness.

• Make a covenant with your eyes to hold to a sense of doctrinal clarity.
• Make a covenant with your eyes to know that spiritual discernment is greatly connected to biblical truth.
• Make a covenant with your eyes to think biblically and to search the Scriptures so it directs your walk.
• Make a covenant with your eyes to test everything so that you will discern truth from error.
• Make a covenant with your eyes to love the truth.
• Make a covenant with your eyes avoid questions only create doubt and disdain for godly things.
• Make a covenant with your eyes to have strong convictions even when they may be disparaged and mocked.
• Make a covenant with your eyes to turn from evil and do good (1 Peter 3:11).
• Make a covenant with your eyes to submit to God and resist the devil (James 4:7-8).
• Make a covenant with your eyes to reject the broad way of the human mind (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25).
• Make a covenant with your eyes to follow the narrow way no matter how unpopular or who opposes you in the pursuit of it (Matthew 7:13-14).
• Make a covenant with your eyes to know that much of what God thinks is diametrically opposed to the direction that the world is going in (Isaiah 55:8).
• Make a covenant with your eyes to protect the truth and reject the lies of Giant Diabolus (Romans 1:25).
• Make a covenant with your eyes and understand that friendship with the world makes us enemies of God (James 4:4).
• Make a covenant with your eyes to do the hard work of confronting error.
• Make a covenant with your eyes so that you will not integrate error into your life or church.
• Make a covenant with your eyes and discover the worldliness is still considered by God to be a sin (1 John 2:15-17; Romans 8:7; James 4:4).
• Make a covenant with your eyes to become more biblically literate.
• Make a covenant with your eyes so you will not be lazy, careless, and foolish in the way you handle Scripture (2 Timothy 2:15).
• Make a covenant with your eyes not to tolerate sin but to elevate holiness.
• Make a covenant with your eyes to do things that will lead to spiritual maturity.

Thanks for reading. . .

More tomorrow. . .

Philip Harrelson


As always... you are spot on!!

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