Monday’s Blog: Sin Series “Tolerating Sin”

This is the third message in my series on sin in the church. Last week, I talked about not slandering our brothers and sisters who are caught in sin. I believe the reason many Christians are in bondage to sin is because we’ve tolerated sin by allowing the world to influence us.

Jesus said, “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:39-40).

We’ve allowed the blind to lead us. We’ve allowed the world to be our teachers. We’ve invited in their morals and viewpoints by listening to their music, and watching their movies, their televisions shows, and their news programs. We’ve invited in their wisdom by learning from their schools, their counselors, and their books. As a result, we’ve carried their viewpoints and morals into our churches, our ministries, our books, our music, and our movies.

“A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”

Galatians 5:9

God warned us not to conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). To renew something, you take out the old and replace it with the new. We want the new but we’ve also been holding onto the old. We want God’s wisdom but still continue to seek the world’s wisdom.

The Bible says, “Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? … For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength (1 Corinthians 1:20,25).

I admit it’s not easy to be in this world and not be a part of it. I am just as guilty of allowing the world to influence me. I remember watching a movie with my husband once. When it was over I thought to myself, “What am I doing! I can’t believe I just sat for two hours and let the devil feed me his trash!”

This is the devil’s world (Revelation 12:12). But God hasn’t left us here without help. He’s given us a way to escape the corruption of the world and to stop allowing it to influence us:

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

2 Peter 1:3-4

When my husband was a teenager he was invited to a Christian camp one summer. He wasn’t raised in the church so he hadn’t known much about God at the time. God touched his heart that summer at camp and he accepted Christ as his Savior. My husband said when Jesus came into his heart he instantly had an overwhelming desire to turn away from sin and do good. The reason wasn’t because he saw other Christians doing good. In fact, he was disappointed at the behavior of some of the boys at camp who smuggled in alcohol. My husband wanted to turn away from sin and do good because he was filled with Jesus. But after leaving camp, and not continuing to seek God and learn from Jesus (until years later), my husband’s desire to turn away from sin quickly faded.

Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15). I used to think this meant “If you love me, then you better obey what I command.” But it really means, “If you love me, you will have the desire and ability to obey what I command.”

When we continue to seek Jesus with all our hearts, He fills us with His love so there’s no room to desire anything other than Him.

Ephesians 3:16-19 explains:

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

When my heart begins to desire the world, that’s my warning sign that I am not seeking God with all my heart. When God has our hearts, our desires will be for Him, and we’ll no  longer desire the things of the world.

1 John 2:15 says, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

Heavenly Father,

Jesus prayed: “I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified” (John 17:14-19).

We praise You for sending Jesus to rescue us from the corruption of this world caused by sin. Draw our hearts to You, fill us with Your Holy Spirit and renew our minds with Your Word. We praise You for protecting and sanctifying us through Your Word so that we can be a light to this dark world.

In Jesus we pray, Amen!

 

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*Come back next Monday as the “Sin Series” continues.

*All Bible verses are taken from the NIV, unless otherwise noted.

*If you’ve never accepted Christ as your Savior, please click on the “SALVATION” tab at the top of the website. Don’t wait another day!

 

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Preparing For Your Calling Series: “Single Minded”

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

—2 Timothy 2:20

This is the fourth message in my series on preparing for your calling. Follow this link to read previous posts in this series. Last week, I talked about God taking us through the wilderness to empty us and fill us with His Word, so we can be equipped to walk in faith until Jesus returns. When we are going through times of intense testing, it’s important to remember God’s faithfulness and keep our minds focused on Him. Whenever the Israelites saw God perform a miracle, they believed and praised Him. But the moment they were in need they quickly doubted His faithfulness.

The Bible says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does” (James 1:2-8).

My greatest weakness used to be doubt. I was extremely double-minded. My husband would often ask me how I could have so much faith one moment, but when circumstances changed I’d quickly lose it. It was easy to believe God when I saw Him bless me. But just like the Israelites, I’d quickly return to doubting God the moment I was in need.

I didn’t understand why I struggled with doubt so much. In my heart I believed God was who He said He was. I believed His Word was true. I felt like the father that cried out to Jesus, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). It didn’t make sense to me. How could I believe and have unbelief?

I didn’t understand that my carnal mind that I operated in before I knew Jesus was defiled with unbelief. “Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled” (Titus 1:15). I was double-minded because I was still used to operating in my carnal mind. My mind needed to be transformed and renewed into my new Spiritual mind, the mind of Christ.

For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:16, KJV

Whenever a storm suddenly arose, I’d naturally default to my carnal mind because that was dominant in me. I believe that’s why the disciples quickly lost faith when they were hit with a storm soon after following Jesus in Matthew 8:23-26. It takes time to put off our old thinking and start operating in the Spirit.

… if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

Ephesians 4:21-24, NASB

The Israelites wouldn’t lay aside their carnal mind. They often complained that they would’ve been better off in Egypt. They kept their minds focused on what they left behind. If they would’ve kept their minds on God, and allowed Him to change their thinking, they wouldn’t have wandered around for forty years and died in the wilderness.

This is why Satan attacks our minds. That’s where our spiritual battle takes place (2 Corinthians 10:3-6). Satan knows if he can get us to keep our minds off the Spirit, then we won’t follow the Spirit. God leads us into the wilderness. But He doesn’t force us to follow Him. We can turn back any time we want. Satan knows once we accept Christ, it is a critical time to hinder us from following Christ to the end. Satan and his army go full force trying to get us to turn back and return to captivity. We must not give him the glory by letting him succeed.

I spent many years struggling in the wilderness. Once I learned the importance of renewing my mind, I committed myself to being in the Word daily. Within only five months of seeking God daily I saw my life take a dramatic turn. I was able to quit the job I had been praying to leave for many years and take the first step into God’s calling for my life.

The Bible says, Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:1-2). 

If things aren’t going well in your life right now, don’t give up seeking God and His Word daily. In due season, you will reap a bountiful harvest if you continue to persevere. God is faithful. Praise Him and speak His Word out loud to help keep your mind focused on Him. Don’t let your mind think about your problems. Change directions by shifting your focus to God’s faithfulness in His Word.

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

Psalm 1:1-3

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For our prayer this week, I want to close with a psalm David wrote when he was in the Desert of Judah (Psalm 63:1-8).

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

In Jesus name, I lift my voice in praise!

Verses To Meditate On:

Joshua 7:13; Daniel 10:12; Hebrews 11

*If you’d like to learn more about renewing your mind, follow this link to a post I shared on renovating my mind using the example in Nehemiah of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.

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*Come back next Monday as the series continues.

*All Bible verses are taken from the NIV, unless otherwise noted.


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