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2018: The Year Judgment Overcomes by Lanny Swaim

By Lanny Swaim
For the time has come that judgment must begin at the house of God. 1 Peter 4:17 A thorough study of Scripture reveals that judgment, at least where the believer is concerned, is for the purpose of redemption and reconciliation rather than condemnation.  Judgment exposes that which stands in the way of our becoming like God (which entails possessing His character, enabling us to be fully equipped for ministry).  Often, this exposure is brought about by rather intense and severe tests and trials in our lives.
 
 
 
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For the time has come that judgment must begin at the house of God. 1 Peter 4:17
 
Judgment Is Not Condemnation
 
A thorough study of Scripture reveals that judgment, at least where the believer is concerned, is for the purpose of redemption and reconciliation rather than condemnation.  Judgment exposes that which stands in the way of our becoming like God (which entails possessing His character, enabling us to be fully equipped for ministry). 
 
Often, this exposure is brought about by rather intense and severe tests and trials in our lives.
 
Several years ago the Lord put me through four years of the most intense and severe tests and trials I had ever experienced.  For the first two years I rebuked the devil, constantly taking authority over him in the name of Jesus, to no avail. 
 
I confessed the promises found in the Word of God concerning my situation.  I continued to study the Word, attempting to appropriate the faith needed to overcome.  But nothing worked.
 
Finally, at perhaps the darkest point of my desperation, I was lying on my couch at 4:00am on a Monday morning, praying in the Spirit and crying out to God for relief when I heard Him say, "Put the ball back in my court."
 
It was the first time He had ever spoken to me in a cliché.  My immediate response was, "God, I didn't know I was carrying the ball but I put it back in your court.  I quit.  I'm not doing another thing until you do something."
 
By 7:00 that morning things had begun to turn around and from that point on I began to realize that even though I was doing many good things, my motivation was wrong.  While I had a genuine desire to minister to and help others, I wanted to be accepted and look good in the process.  I wanted recognition with a little wealth and fame for icing on the cake.
 
In other words, there was a lot of self in everything I was doing.  And the sad thing is, I had no idea.  I thought I was okay. 
 
The tests and trials showed me that I was in the way of what God wanted to do in and through me.  Self is the enemy of God.  Self cannot be fixed or rehabilitated.  The only solution that deals with self is death.  Self has to die.  And more often than not, dying to self is accomplished as the result of tests and trials, which is the judgment that begins at the house of God.
 
A Season of Judgment
 
And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come. Revelation 14:6-8
 
Judgment has always begun at the house of God, but I believe we have entered a time in history when there is an acceleration of that judgment, which will ultimately bring the Church much closer to its destiny; that destiny being perfection (maturity) (see Ephesians 5:25-27).  While a remnant of the Church has been experiencing this acceleration for several years, I believe 2018 will be a year when this acceleration will begin to affect many more.
 
Twenty in scripture is representative of a period of waiting for completion, which is synonymous with perfection or maturity.  Jacob waited twenty years to receive both his wives and freedom from their father, Laban (see Genesis 31:38-41).  Solomon spent a total of twenty years building the first temple and his own house in Jerusalem, providing a dwelling place for the presence of God and for the King of Israel, which he intended to be permanent (see 1 Kings 9:10).
 
Twenty in scripture also represents righteousness, which we see in Abraham's bargaining with God to spare Sodom and Gomorrah.  Abraham asked God if He would spare the cities if forty righteousness could be found in them.  Forty is twice twenty.  Then he asked God if He would spare them for only twenty.  Lastly, he asked if only ten could be found.  Ten is half of twenty.
 
We see in the fourth chapter of Judges that Jabin, king of Canaan, conquered the Israelites and ruled over them for twenty years, until God enabled Deborah, a prophetess and judge of Israel to deliver Israel from Jabin, which brings us to the Biblical meaning of the number eighteen.
 
Eighteen represents judgment or bondage.  In Judges 3:12-14 we see that Israel was conquered by Eglon, the king of Moab because of their disobedience and served him eighteen years.  In Judges 10:7-8 we see Israel once again disobedient and oppressed by foreign nations for eighteen years.
 
So eighteen is about judgment and twenty is about the time of waiting for the process of judgment to complete us or bring us to perfection (maturity).  I believe the meaning of these numbers is confirmation that 2018 will be a year when perhaps more than a remnant will begin to see why the Church and the United States have been judged as we have in recent years.
 
Overcoming
 
To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. Revelation 2:7 (see also Revelation 2:11, 17 & 26; 3:5, 12 & 21)
 
When we submit to God's judgment and allow the process to move us toward completion/perfection/maturity, we become overcomers. Overcoming is not about ridding our lives of the challenges we face but rather about overcoming in the challenges.  Ironically, we overcome by going through.
 
When God told me at 4:00am that Monday morning to put the ball back in His court, the intense and severe tests and trials I had been enduring for two years didn't immediately cease. In fact, they continued for two more years.  But for those next two years I responded to them differently.  Instead of continuously rebuking the devil, I began to see God's hand at work in the tests and trails.  I came to an understanding of the reason for the tests and trials, which, as I have already stated, was to rid me of self, making room for the Lord to live His life in and through me.
 
You see, Kingdom living is not about us.  It is all about Him.  And it is only when we are out of the way, that He can live His life in and through us.
 
I predict that 2018 will be the beginning of many more than a remnant becoming aware of the absolute necessity of entirely dying to self (being emptied of self) and fully becoming like Him (filled with the fullness of Him).
 
The apostle Paul said, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)
 
Again, it's not about us because it's not even our faith.  It is the faith of the Son of God!
 
May you, in 2018, realize the necessity to completely submit to the judgment that begins at the house of God, and in doing so, become the overcomer He created you to be.
 
Lanny Swaim
 

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