TV Transcripts

“Leave Your Cage” Conclusion
Broadcast #1579
January 8, 2023

Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1579 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Everything about human nature, from the time that Adam and Eve sinned, has involved a fear, in here, that this is all I have, this is all I know. I cannot lose this or I have lost everything.

What was the first reaction of Adam and Eve after they had sinned and Jesus, it was…the One we now know as Jesus, was the One who came walking in the garden, to come down and fellowship with them and share the glory of what had been created, what did he do? What was his reaction to that? It was fear. It was hiding. It was a sense of, I’m afraid. I can’t handle this.

What is…ever since, the human race, the most inborn instinct that we have is to cling to our life in some form. And it’s not just laying it down in what we call death. It’s laying it down in every aspect as we live. We just don’t want to let go of self. And fear is the tool that the Devil uses.

There are a gazillion…I mean, you could write an encyclopedia, I suppose, about all of the lies the Devil tells us. But I’ll tell you, fear is…fear is part of the human equation, isn’t it? We are afraid to let go. And I guarantee, if you’ve walked with the Lord any length of time, there are things where you have learned to say, yes Lord, I surrender. And the result of that is what? It’s peace, isn’t it?

But do we not sing songs like, “The Secret Place”? “There’s a place in my heart, where even I don’t go….” And we don’t want to even let the Lord in there. We’re just afraid. We’re ashamed, we’re…or it’s something that’s so deeply rooted in us, we just can’t let it go or we can’t really believe God would love us. What are the…I mean, the lies just go on and on and on. This is Satan’s attack against every one of us.

And, one of the biggest ones…I mean, it could be so many things, but one of the biggest things is a performance-based thinking. I mean, we’ve certainly talked about this enough…where I cannot conceive of a relationship with God that is not somehow based upon my performance! And since my performance is not very perfect, where does that leave me, most of the time? That leaves me in a place of shrinking back, hiding. I can’t really go to Him now. I’ll clean up and then I’ll come see you later, Lord, when I’ve gotten things right.

I mean, you can couch this in so many different ways, but it’s the same basic thing, where we cannot really…we get so bogged down in all of this that’s going on and all that we feel and the sense of unworthiness that we forget all about the greatness of the One that we are serving and what He has done. We forget what Paul said in Romans 8, that “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us…all things.” (KJV).

And somehow, we are stuck in the Old Testament, trying to win our place in heaven. And so many times, we get stuck in these places where there are areas in our heart we’re afraid to let go. But when we’re afraid to let them go, does that not keep us down in Satan’s little jail cell? And if we’re down in that realm, does he not have an access to us that he wouldn’t if we got out of there?

And so, what you wind up with is a vicious cycle, of staying in a weak place. Because of our weakness, we fall into whatever the weakness is, and then we can’t go to Him…because of the weakness. And round and round and round it goes. And there’s always this sense of distance between us and the Lord, and we’re afraid. We don’t realize the hold of this earthly mentality, this earthly nature. How readily does it cling to our prison cell and call that home.

I mean, you see it in so many places, the fear that absolutely bound people. The Israelites were so afraid when they saw the giants and heard about the giants, I guess. What did they want to do? They wanted to go back to Egypt! Now they spent a long time down there, years and years and years, toiling in slavery, crying out, oh, God, deliver us, and when He did, and when they saw what it meant, even though it was obvious that God would be with them, if they only had their eyes opened, they were ready to go back.

And I’ll tell you, God is going to put us in situations where it’s gonna look scary. The devil is gonna focus our attention on how fearful this is, what the prospect is of reaching out and knowing You better. God, I can’t afford to get too close to You. I’m too…I’m too something. I’m too dirty. I’m too unworthy. I’m too…oh, poor me. You wouldn’t want to be around me.

You see how the devil works? That’s all he’s got! The One who’s on our side is the One who formed those stars, who came down, calls us brothers! See why this needs to be in context? He goes on to talk about how He, “…has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. (NIV). He can understand. He calls us to a throne, over in chapter 4, of grace and mercy.

And yet, here we are, oh God, I’m afraid. And we’re listening to the voice of the enemy. Why was it that David could face Goliath as a young man, all by himself, and the rest of the army was shrinking in terror? Just fear, unbelief?

There are so many sides to this, I don’t even know where to go with it. But I just…I just pray that God will somehow get this across. I’ve thought of so many things and they just vanished out of my mind. That’s perfectly all right. I’m not afraid of that. God is so faithful to help His people.

But God wants us to lift our eyes out and realize what is really going on. The devil is talking you and me into staying where we’re at, rather than reaching out. Oh, I can’t…this, that or the other. We’ve got a thousand and one reasons for staying where we’re at, and all we’re doing is clinging to self, whether it’s pride, whether it’s unbelief, whatever it is, whatever the particular flavor of that lie is. And I’ll tell you, there’s a God who wants to reach out.

( congregational amens ).

And He’s not saying, you down there, what’s the matter with you? Get with it! What is it that drives out fear? Is it a tongue lashing? It’s, “…perfect love casteth out fear.” (KJV).

( congregational amens ).

And you go to 1st John and the context of that. What he’s talking about is a legalistic relationship with God, where my performance is what determines my confidence toward God. And if I don’t measure up, I’m afraid, and I don’t want to get too close to Him, because I know how He’s bound to feel about me because of this. I can’t get close to Him now.

Anybody here who ever gets in that place, that would admit it? But there He is, knowing exactly where we’re at and what we’re made of, calling us to come, not because we deserve it, because we need Him! It’s love that reaches down to the lowest of the low, and says, I have the power. I made the stars! You don’t think I can help you?

You don’t think I care? I showed you that on the Cross! I went to the Cross in your place, and you’re afraid I won’t like you now? I knew what you were all about. I knew everything that was wrong with you.

And yet, we struggle, don’t we? I’ll tell you the answer I believe with all my heart, really is hinted at more in this passage…than it is in other places, with where He goes at the end of this chapter and the beginning of the next chapter, because you had that transitional word ‘therefore.’ He’s laid out a whole lot of truth. Here’s what God has done. Here’s who we’re dealing with. Here’s where we’re at. Here’s the reason we’re in trouble, and it’s because we’re afraid and we’re gonna cling to what we know, instead of letting that go. We better look at Jesus.

It says, “Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling…” (NIV). What are we supposed to do? “…Fix your thoughts on Jesus—fix your thoughts on Jesus…” I’ll tell you, the more we look at Him, the more we’re gonna see the immensity of who He is, and His power and His love, more than anything.

What did Paul pray in Ephesians chapter 3? He says, I want you to get it. I want you to understand the immensity of His love, the height, the depth and all of that. I want you to explore that, because when we do that it sets us free from that fear of letting go and of trusting Him.

Oh God, I can’t let that go. I can’t even bring that into the light, let alone let it go. I can’t admit that, even to myself. I can’t…you see where we’re stuck in our little cage. I started to talk about how…where we stay becomes our comfort zone. That was something that Shelly shared the other night, or Michelle…sorry.

( laughing ).

Your adult name! I remember her when she was Shelly. But what a blessed testimony that was the other night of how God will take us to places that are not in our comfort zone. But the very fact that we have a comfort zone tells us exactly what he’s talking about here. My comfort zone is, I’m afraid of anything else. Don’t ask me to get outside of this. I’m comfortable here. It’s not great but it’s what I know and I’m okay. I’ll get through. I’ll muddle through.

And the Lord’s saying, I’ve got better for you. You’re in a cage, but the door’s open, for crying out loud! I mean, how many times have you seen, or heard about situations where perhaps an animal was kept in a cage? And there they are, and week after week, and month after month, and year after year, all they can do is pace back and forth, and that’s all they know, and they get fed and all of that. Then one day, the door is open. Well, what does the animal do? Generally, he’s just gonna keep on doing what he’s been doing.

But Jesus has opened the door and invited us to step out and here we are listening to the voice that makes us afraid to do anything different, to come to Him as we are, and know that He will receive us. When I say as we are, I don’t mean clinging to my sins and wanting to continue in them. I mean, oh God, I need help! I need You, Lord! I need You to come and change me and do for me what I cannot do!

Sometimes God has to let us really get in the mud before we’ll really come to that, and realize it’s that serious. We just need Him! But I’ll tell you…everything about salvation, it’s so awesome, on the one hand, but we fight it all the way! Don’t we? Do we not fight God all the way home?

( congregational response ).

There is that in us that resists, that fights, that holds back…that defaults to unbelief, sometimes stubbornness, a lot of stuff! God is so…He’s the only One that knows how to get past all that. He must laugh sometimes. But I’ll tell you what, I believe He’s grieved sometimes. But I believe He laughs, because He knows what it’s gonna take.

But folks, we don’t understand the half of what He’s delivering us from. You know, Jesus came and lived an earthly life and here we are, our nature is to fear death, but He took up His cross long before he went to the Cross. He lived for the will of His Father. He did not live to gratify human desires and all those kinds of things. He lived for God and then He willingly laid down His life, the very opposite of our nature.

How did that work out for Him? Did He not show us the very pathway to glory? It does not come from preserving self, staying in the cage of fear. It comes from reaching out and worshipping God and letting Him have His way. And I’ll tell you, there is a God who will not only open the door of our cage, but will walk in there and say, I know how you feel but let’s get out of here. You don’t have to listen to that voice anymore!

( congregational amens ).

I did not give you, “…the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and…” self-control. (KJV). I’ve given you everything that you need. Get out of your cage. Understand what’s happening and why you’re where you’re at, and why things are such a struggle. It’s because you’re hanging onto yourself and you’re doing it because you’re afraid.

How many movies do you see on TV where you get into situations…why are you acting that way? And then somebody finally opens up…because I’m scared. And that’s almost the last thing you would have expected them, judging by how they were acting.

We do so many things to cover up what’s really…what the real problem is. We’re afraid. We don’t want to let go. But I’ll tell you, God has shown us the way in His Son. He has opened the door where we can let go, because there’s nothing that stands between us and a Holy God. Jesus has removed that barrier forever!

We have the right to come to Him, to say, Devil I don’t have to listen to you anymore! That voice that causes me to feel afraid, I do not have to listen to that anymore! He didn’t give me that kind of a spirit, and I refuse to listen to you. Father, I trust You! Lord, I trust You with my heart and my life. Do what’s necessary.

Look at David in Psalm, was it 139? He goes on and on and on, talking about how God knows everything about him. Now, to most people, that’s a scary thing. I mean, we’re just so stupid, that we’ll go along and there’ll be something that nobody knows about, and we’ll just kind of keep it hid, almost like God doesn’t even know about this one. I mean, duh!

But here’s David coming to a place where he realizes God does know everything! He knows it before I know it! And He thinks about me. His thoughts are like the grains of sand. So, what is his reaction to that? Is it oh, my God, I am terrified, because I know I’m not perfect? Oh, God, help…no! He says, oh, this is awesome! It’s wonderful! Lord, since You know everything, search my heart. Lord, if there’s anything in there that isn’t right, help me. Bring it to my attention.

Do you sense the trust? Do you know, the closer we get to Him…the way the devil would paint it is, the closer we get to Him the scarier it is, because we can’t possibly measure up to that. We’re not spiritual. This is only for the super saints. But the reality is, the closer we get to Him, the more we understand about His love, His mercy, the provision of Christ. It’s exactly the opposite of the way the devil tells every single one of us every single day. God is inviting us to leave our cage.

How about that for a title? “Leave Your Cage.” But the cage is simply this, we are afraid to die and that simply means, I am afraid to let go of this, of me. This is all I’ve got. It’s what I know. I’ve developed a coping mechanism with the world.

The world will not teach you trust, will it? It won’t take long before you’re gonna realize, hey, if anybody is gonna pay attention…if anybody really cares about me, it’s me, ultimately. And so, I’ve got to fight to carve out a little space for me in this world, where I can cope and I can handle it, and it satisfies my needs up to a certain point. At least I’ve got a place, a little castle, and I’ve built a moat around it and I won’t let anybody get but so close. That’s human nature.

And the Lord says, let it go. Let me in. Let me have it. And I’ll bring you out into a large place. You don’t have to live that way anymore. Come out of your cage. The One who made the stars stands beside you with His arm around and says, come on, let’s get out of here! I’ve got a better place and we’re going there. And I have the power to take you, and I love you. To Him be the glory! Praise God!

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