For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful to even speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: "Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light." See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:8-16

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hearthside Books

 Hey there everyone! I must apologize for my absence there last few weeks, but, there is a good excuse ;-) . My family and I are in the process of opening a bookstore here in our little town of Madras, and so, as a result, life has been crazy! We have looked at a building that we like and are prayerfully entering into negotiations with the landlord (of should I say landlady). Please pray with us that the Lord would continue opening the doors for this to take place.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Devils Playground

If you have hidden sin in your life, I will wager that you are also prideful and critical of others, and perhaps arrogant as well. In fact, conversely, if you are prideful, arrogant, and critical of others, I’ll wager that you have hidden sin in your life. Come to the light while there is still time. Don’t wait until God does it for you. I can guarantee you that if He does it, it will be much more painful than if you do it first. And don’t wait until sin has permeated every part of your life and you find yourself deep into the ugly process outlined in Romans 1:21-28. If you have waited this long, chances are that it will have to be God that brings your sin to the light because by this point your conscience has been seared and you are in full denial of your spiritual state. And “if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out” (Nm 32:23). I speak from painful experience.

But take warning. Once you have made this decision to come to the light, know that every remnant of selfishness, pride, and sin is going to be exposed to you. The intense light of God will expose every corner of your heart. Go with it. Let it happen and rejoice in this and remain humble because this is the beginning of God’s process of cleansing your inner man. Love the light and embrace it, even though it means that your true self will be unmasked not only to you but also to everyone you are close to.

Allow me to paraphrase John 3:19-21 and apply it to my former life to illustrate the contrast of life before and after coming to the light: and this is the judgment, that the light had come into my world, but I loved darkness rather that the light, for my deeds were evil. For I was practicing sin and hated the light so I would not come to the light, lest my deeds would be exposed. But now I practice the truth and have come to the light, that my deeds would be in the light, that they are done in God.

Before you come to the light, you must come into reality about where you are spiritually. If you are in habitual sin you are very likely to be in denial about your spiritual state. You must be real with God. I kept myself hyped up in a false sense of godliness, which kept me buried under the burden of unconfessed sin. This, in turn, plunged me deeper into the delusion about my spirituality. If you believe that you are in pretty good shape spiritually, chances are you will not see your need for change. This is pure arrogance at its worst. Again, I know what I’m talking about. I was there. It is no wonder that James says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands you sinners and purify your hearts you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up” (Jas 4:6b-10).

But how do we resist the devil? As one who was under the bondage of habitual sin, this sounded absurd to me. But really, as I can see now so clearly, it is quite simple. Remain in the light, that all your deeds be exposed. Darkness is the devil’s playground, and he hates the light. He is like a cockroach that runs for cover when the light switch is flipped on. John tells us that “if we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 Jn 1:6). If we have unconfessed sin in our lives, we walk in darkness. There is a shadowy veil that covers us, and therefore we are not walking in light. We are practicing a lie and not practicing the truth. “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 Jn 1:7). If our sins are confessed, we walk in light. There is no hidden shame or guilt because we have confessed and repented and remain in fellowship with other brothers and sisters in Christ.

According to the above verses, it is not until we walk in the light by confessing and repenting (meaning true repentance) that the blood of Christ will cleanse us from all sin. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 Jn 1:8). If you can believe it, I was convinced that my sin was not sin. I had deceived myself into believing that pornography was not real but only images on a glossy page of a magazine or an electronic image on a TV or computer screen, so therefore I was not really lusting in my heart for another woman. I said I had no sin, and the truth was not in me. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn 1:9). It is not until we admit our sin by being truthful with ourselves and then confessing it to others that Christ will not only forgive us of them but begins His cleansing work within us. He will not give us truth in the inward parts until we have purged it of lies and deceit.

As I learned, for people to enable themselves to live with unconfessed sin, they must shroud themselves in darkness. The dweller in darkness lives in fear of discovery and in self-rejection and guilt. Any light shed that threatens discovery is condemning. But when we “walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 Jn 1:6b).

If we have sin we must bring it into the light. If you don’t really want to get rid of your sin, confess it only to God. But if you are truly sick of your sin and want to be free of it and “cleansed of all unrighteousness,” confess it to other brothers or sisters in Christ also. There is healing in confession; “…Confess your sins to one another…so that you may be healed” (Jas 5:16, NASB). “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Prv 28:13). 

Monday, January 31, 2011

Coming To The Light

The following is an excerpt from my book, Exposing the Darkness: Lighting the Way to Life in Christ.  This truth has been foundational to my victory over habitual sin. The Scriptures teach us that we have victory over sin through Christ, yet so many professing Christians continue to struggle with recurring sin that seems to keep them in a never-ending cycle of failure. In order for us to overcome our sin, it must first be brought to the light. “For everyone practicing evil (that would be anyone who is practicing sin) hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen” (Jn 3:20-21). Coming to the light is the first step on the road to freedom. Ideally, that would be through confession. But for me, because of my arrogant pride, my sins had remained hidden from others, so they had to be exposed in a radical way. Because I was not willing to confess my sin and bring it to the light, God eventually had to do it for me. He will be long-suffering with us for a season as He patiently awaits our repentance, but eventually our sin must be exposed to His light one way or the other. It was my pride that put me right where the evil one wanted me—in the dark. We’ve all heard it said that pride kills. It was killing me. The more prideful I became, the more difficult it was for me to overcome sin, and the more I struggled with sin, the more prideful I became.

Throughout our marriage, my pride grew to a point that it was unbearable for RaeLynn. In my mind, our marital problems were always her fault. I would accuse her of being rebellious whenever she would bring up an issue, yet I see now that my guilt, which manifested itself as pride, caused me to turn my finger on her. All along, my sin was ever before me and was directly responsible for most of our problems.

Psalm 51 speaks of a place within us that God desires to occupy with His truth: “Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” The above verses in Psalm 51 spoke to my heart after my sin was brought to the light in ways that I had never seen before. God said to me that He desires “truth in the inward parts.” But pride stood in the way of truth reaching that inner sanctuary, and I will explain how. The fact is that a prideful person is in actuality—and ironically—a very insecure person. They want everyone to see them as being perfect. They love to be liked. But the problem with sin is that in many cases it is embarrassing or what we perceive to be as “ugly.” The prideful person wants to be pretty on the outside. They want to be praised for their virtues while they hide from view all the imperfections and faults.

So what that means is that a prideful person such as I was sweeps all those imperfections under the proverbial rug. They get stowed away in the storage shed of our “inward parts.” Over a lifetime they either get so buried that they are almost forgotten, or they are decorated and adorned to make them appear to the prideful person to be a virtue. Yet at the same time the prideful person is acutely aware of his imperfections. The prideful are always two people: the costume that he wears and the real person that is locked up tight and out of sight, or so he thinks. His “inward parts” spoken of in the Psalm in reality are shrouded in deceit because he is living a lie. And because lies fill the sanctuary of the inner man, there is no room in the inward parts of a prideful person for truth.

On the outside I looked very secure. I had an attitude of no fear; I was a successful manager in state government. But I was an overachiever and a perfectionist to the extreme in an attempt to overcome my insecurities. I appeared to be a decent and honest man and even preached against dishonesty to my children while I was the dishonest one. I would lecture my children when they were trying to be honest as if I didn’t believe them, which caused them to quit being open with me about their feelings. At out-of-town meetings, I would go out with the boys in the evenings and preach to them about Christian virtue, morals, and ethics and then go back to my room to indulge in pornography.

David says, “In the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.” The problem for the prideful is that there is no room for wisdom because the “hidden part” is crammed full of unconfessed or secret sin. These secret sins are the skeletons in the closet. They are the sins that we will never tell or admit to, and as long as we hold on to these secret sins, Satan has a stronghold in our heart. He stands at the doorway of the storeroom, our hidden parts, and guards it fiercely.

Before we move forward, allow me here to briefly explain the difference between wisdom and knowledge. One can have a vast amount of knowledge and yet have no wisdom whatsoever. Wisdom comes when our knowledge is coupled with understanding, and with understanding comes practical application to life’s challenges. Now, looking back, I can see that I have always had a great amount of both knowledge and wisdom in the area of health and nutrition. I could speak on this topic with authority and wise application. Yet in the area of Scripture or doctrine, I always had to write it out in order to speak it. Why? Because I had the knowledge, but I had no understanding and therefore no wisdom. How could God “make me to know wisdom” while my inward parts were guarded so tightly and crammed to capacity with hidden sin?

Do you see the dilemma I was living? As long as I held on to secret sins, God could not impart wisdom to my deep inward parts, or my heart. Therefore, David continues in the Psalm, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” These secret sins must be purged in order for our inward parts to be clean, and then the storeroom must be washed, swept, and put in order by God. Hyssop was used in ancient times to purge the temple, to cleanse lepers, as an antiseptic and antiviral, and as a spring tonic to purge the blood of impurities. Likewise, in this Psalm we are asking God to purge the temple of our heart with hyssop. It is much like when my family moved into our new house. It was left a mess by the previous owner, whom my kids called “the dirty guy.” It first had to be purged of all the junk and debris the former resident left behind. Then it had to be thoroughly washed and painted before we could move in.

We cannot have victory over sin without Christ. He is the door to freedom. But we must first submit. And the first step to submission is admission. Not just to God and ourselves, but to the church. That leaves us free for His Holy Spirit to do His good work within us. So first is the admission of our sin, then our submission to Christ and then He does His work of remission of the cancer of sin.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Who Am I?

I figured for my first blog post I would introduce my self and share with you the purpose of my writing this blog. 
So, who am I?

My name is Darryl Fitzwater, and I am first of all, a lover of God. I try to spend a good deal of time with Him and learning about Him. This was not always so, though I believed I was, and proudly claimed to be a “Christian”. For 13 years I was a Christian in name only, because I continued in the same habitual sin that I lived with prior to my so called conversion. I blame myself for this, but there is no mistaking the fact that the nature of the modern church gave me a comfortable environment in which to live an unregenerate life. 

Yet I want to be careful here when I refer to the modern church, because there are many churches that don’t fit this description. And more importantly, there are many within the church who are searching for a way back to the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ and all that it implies. But by and large, the modern church in America has lost its first love. Jesus said to the church in Ephesus, “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.” Sounds pretty good so far doesn’t it. It might even describe our modern American church. But then Jesus continues, “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Revelation 2:2-4).

That is why it is possible in our day to have a Christless Christian. That was me, and I was quite content thinking I was saved and that grace would cover my continued sin. While God had been convicting my heart of my sin for so many years, the church taught me that my behavior was normal. Well it was normal if normal is defined as common. But the “Normal Christian Life” According to Watchman Nee is:

“What is the normal Christian life? We do well at the outset to ponder this question. The object of these studies is to show that it is something very different from the life of the average Christian” – Watchan Nee, The Normal Christian Life.

Normal in this sense means well, as in not sick. Paul tells us of the normal Christian life that it is “No longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). This normal Christian life needs the Great Physician living in us and through us. I was, like so many “Christians” I knew, sick. And as this sickness continued, it finally culminated in my being found out in a most embarrassing and painful way. I was exposed for the wretch that I was and it destroyed life as I knew it, which was right where God needed me to be for Him to begin His healing work. It was “invasive surgery” you might say.

This blog is a result of His work within me. Shortly after my exposure I began to write, as God would reveal areas in my life that needed work for true change to take place. He began by giving me a Scripture as the foundation of my new ministry: “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as a child of light…finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them…All things that are exposed are made obvious by the light, for whatever makes obvious is light” (Paraphrased from Eph. 5:8-13). The first fruit of God’s healing was my book, “Exposing The Darkness, Lighting the Way To Life In Christ”, in which I put to pen the insights that God had shown me about myself that laid fertile soil for the seeds of corruption. This blog is the next phase of my ministry, in which I will make myself available to any of you who can identify with my former condition and who might need encouragement, and solid Biblical, Gospel honoring advise.

My entire purpose is to light the way to Christ by exposing the darkness that has descended like a fog over Christ’s beloved church in America. This is multi faceted and will be exposed in many forms, but that is the slippery nature of deceit. It is really all the same lie, from the same author of lies, but deceit is a chameleon that changes form when it is in danger of discovery. So in the months and years to come, I hope to meet many of you as we walk together the narrow road which leads to life.