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Rubber Tanks

Mary! You’re never goin’ to believe what I just seen wi’ me own two eyes! You know them army tanks that they’ve stored in the pasture down the lane? Well, our old bull busted through our fence and blamed if ‘e didn’t get in wi’ them tanks! Wen ‘e saw them things, ‘e just backed off and rammed into one of ’em. The blighter poked a hole right through its side! And, Mary, that tank just let out a whoosh through that ‘ole that Albert ‘ad poked in ‘er! Them tanks is nothin’ but big balloons!

That is reportedly a true story of an English farmer’s experience in WW II. The "tank" was part of a ploy to deceive the Germans as to where the allies would attempt to invade the European continent. Had you flown over Britain at 30,000 feet in those days, your mind and emotions would have told you that the allies were preparing for a tremendous military operation to be launched across the channel from Pas de Calais. In the southeast, a gigantic fake army was assembled. Acres and acres of army tents were erected in military precision, all of them empty. Even mess tents were raised from which smoke poured three times per day cooking imaginary meals to feed thousands of phantom soldiers. Army vehicles ground about the compound, kicking up lots of dust to be seen from 30,000 feet above, but bound for nowhere. Fake ammo dumps, maintenance depots, and such were included.

"Fleets" of canvas troop barges floated on barrels in the Thames. They constructed a phony oil storage field of painted canvas. When the Germans shelled it, men lit magnesium fires to simulate a burning oil tank farm–when viewed from 30,000 feet.

Wind machines created dust appearing as frenzied preparation for the invasion. The RAF maintained a fighter cap over these sites to force Nazi reconnaissance to stay above 30,000 feet so their cameras could not reveal the sham. This apparently paid off. The German Panzers did not arrive in time to repel the Normandy invasion.

This true story holds a spiritual parallel. The Deceiver tries to keep our emotions in upheaval by keeping us 30,000 feet above the Truth with his fleet of "fighter planes." If a Believer ever slips through this fighter cover and gets close enough to what God says is reality, he’ll see that Satan’s strategy is just smoke and painted canvas. What sort of phony military force has he constructed? False doctrine–a false perception of God’s grace, of who He is and who we are, designed to keep our emotions in a state of either false security (self-sufficiency) or its opposites: fear, insecurity, and anxiety.

For example, there is the "rubber tank" of our identity. My car used to sport the bumper sticker A Sinner Saved By Grace, but in reality I was a saint who hated sin and longed to overcome. I had not dived my reconnaissance plane down through Satan’s facade by studying what the Bible says about all who are "in Christ." Staying above the 30,000-foot barrier on the issue of our identity can result in feeling either the false security of our own strength or false insecurity–as if God had abandoned us. Embracing the reality of our identity in Christ is God’s antidote for these emotional states.

Then there’s the "magnesium fire" of God’s piecemeal forgiveness. I used to ask God to forgive me repeatedly because I viewed His attitude toward forgiveness as if He were a human–that He doled out forgiveness one sin at a time. This doctrine comes from the "30,000-foot" level, from where the multitude of verses that say we’ve been forgiven of all our sins can’t be seen. We can seemingly document either view, but the huge majority of post-cross verses (ground-level view) agree with Col. 2:13: "He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions." A 30,000-foot view of this can cause the emotions to stay at an uncomfortable level. (Call 888-395 LIFE for information about our Receiving and Granting Forgiveness tape series.)

And then there is the stratospheric view of how to live victoriously. I sought to live my life for Christ, trusting in my strength, rather than in Christ’s strength through my weakness (2 Cor. 12:9; Hab. 1:11; Jer. 17:5). I didn’t understand that "all my [good] deeds are like filthy rags" (Isa. 64:6). As Lee LeFebre facetiously says, "Not a nice thing to say to a man who’s doing the best he can." When my 30,000-foot view "worked," I felt victorious. When it did not, I felt like God wasn’t answering His voice mail. I was riding on that emotional roller coaster.

We Christians can expend major energy at 30,000 feet trying to figure out ways to keep a painted-canvas devil at bay, when all the while Job 1& 2 teach that Satan is not a loose canon, that God has him on a tether. Satan is powerless to transcend the limits God imposes upon him (1:12; 2:6), and God will take the dirty tricks Satan intends for evil and use them to conform us to Christ’s image (Rom. 8:28-29). God longs for us to depend upon Him, in good and bad times. But, a 30,000-foot view of this truth will subject us to the "what ifs"–what if Satan does this or that? Folks, Satan can’t act without God’s permission (Lk. 22:31), and tough times are as vital a part of conforming us to Christ’s image as salt is to cooking. Such times convince us of the folly of self-confidence.

So how can we get a clear view of God’s truth on the issues I’ve raised here so our emotions will settle into a manageable state? By believing the Bible! Diving your plane through Satan’s fighter cover reveals that denying the Bible’s integrity and validity is lumping God in with Satan, the liar. Those who reject any portion of God’s Word are flying above 30,000 feet and will experience spiritual vertigo. My friend Carroll Ray says that faith is simply believing that God tells the truth. Choosing to believe that the Bible is the inspired, infallible Word of God is mandatory in seeing "ground view" reality. This is your sole hope when your circumstances, emotions and some misguided theologians state the contrary. Walking in God’s reality will yield an emotional state with manageable parameters. We have His Word on it.

About the Author

Bill founded Lifetime Guarantee Ministries to encourage people to experience the reality of Christ as life. His transparent, humorous, down-to-earth style and sense of humor made him one of the most effective teachers of his time. He communicated with great clarity the full extent of what God accomplished in Christ and what that means for the Christian identity. Although Bill passed away in June 2011, his messages are timeless and will continue to impact generations to come.