Please don’t stone me for this blog topic, but much money has been made on discussing sin — all types. We all sin, so that isn’t up for discussion, but somehow, many people have made their life’s work and paycheck by touring the country talking to about (name any sin).
One in particular though, is a “hot” topic right now — homosexuality, or whatever acronyms that are used to describe some facet of it. No matter how we “frame” it, it is still sin. To give time, resources, and so much explanation as so many have to sin, serves only to propagate the lie that deceives us into negating the power of Christ’s death on the cross to overcome ALL sin. The lie says we (people) can save others — that we (people) shouldn’t leave any behind — that we (people) are responsible if people die damned in their sin.
We ALL sin and fall short of the glory of God – Rom 3:23.
That’s exactly why He sent His son, but what I can’t understand is why we (people) spend so much time trying to understand cause and effect of sin (all kinds) when the bible says sin is the result of the fall. There are so many discussions, books, and speakers on sin, that all they do is blunt the true, wicked nature that we all have. Rom 3:10 says NONE are righteous, not even one.
The bible is sufficient for all people no matter what our struggles are. We don’t need to be told from the pulpit or in books the how’s, the why’s, the what to do’s about sin. Jer 17:9 says our hearts are desperately sick and we can’t understand it.
If we really believe that God is who He says He is and His son’s blood is the atonement for our sins, then He alone can release us from the bondage of our sin. The more we try to manage, work through, and survive our sin or help others with theirs, the more we take power away from Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. We don’t save people. We can’t even save ourselves – Christ alone does – Eph 2: 8-9.
When we allow the Holy Spirit to change us, we love as Christ loved and He abides in us — I Jn 4:16, but if we feel awkward, repulsed, or judgmental in being with other sinners, that is a work we need to ask the Holy Spirit to change in us. It’s personal. We all work out our salvation with fear and trembling – Phil 2:12-13.
When the Holy Spirit dwells in us, it does the work of changing our lives – John 4:10. Can we just go back to the bible and believe that IT is sufficient for teaching, reproving, correction, and instruction for our lives.- 2 Tim 3:16.
This isn’t just my opinion, this is what the bible says.
I’m praying today that churches will go back to the bible and let our LORD, Jesus Christ, do the work of saving souls. The more time and effort we give to understanding sin, the more time and effort is taken away from sharing God’s truth to the very ones who need to hear it.
Let’s let the word of God and the power of the cross change people’s lives.
Trusting God in all things and if you must stone me, at least try to hit the basket. I can use the stones to shore up my path – Ps 119:105.
Sorry. Bad believer humor. I know.
Admonishing others – that’s unheard of in our culture today, unless you’re lucky enough to be the boss (parent or employer) of others.
But seriously. What comes to mind when you hear that word?
Judge? Condemn? Rebuke?
Webster’s says it means: to express warning or disapproval to especially in a gentle, earnest, or solicitous manner.
It doesn’t mean any of those descriptors that I gave, yet when Christians speak the truth to those that they love, they are quickly told they are being “judgmental” or “condemning.”
I should probably clarify something before going any further. Churches (people) who picket funerals of servicemen with signs that say “God Kills Gays” ARE being judgmental. They are radicals and don’t represent most believers.
Last night, the subject of admonishing others came up in a discussion among other believers. One person in the group said she has a friend who claims to be a Christian 20+ years, but doesn’t live like she is one. The person in the group said she dials back from confrontations about it with her friend, because she doesn’t want to lose the friendship. Another person mentioned that the reason they don’t want to confront others about their sin is because they in turn, don’t want to be judged for something they are doing.
Colossians 3: 1-17 and 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 speak pretty directly about Christian living and our accountability to one another.
In fact, in 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 the NIV makes it very clear.
14 Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer.
When we don’t share the truth with people (admonish them) even when it’s at times painful, it is the same as lying to them. I don’t want to lie to someone just to protect their feelings. And I don’t like being lied to either. Lying doesn’t build trust. It offers false hope built on deceit.
According to the scriptures, it is biblical to speak the truth to people, and we need people (friends/family) who will speak the truth to us. That is the loving thing to do.
How did we get so far off base from what the bible instructs us to do?
Some people say it’s because of the passage of Matthew 7: 1-7 where in verse 1, it speaks about being careful to judge others lest you be judged, and then verse 7 says “…helping get the splinter out of someone’s eye when you have a plank in your own.”
Yet, if we look back up to the top of this blog entry, the definition of admonish has nothing to do with “judging” people and if we are admonishing others while we are ignoring or denying our own sin, we DO need to be admonished in return.
For many years, I was careful about admonishing anyone other than the people I raised because I was unwilling to overhaul my sinful life and didn’t want them pointing the finger back at me, but worse, I wasn’t reading God’s truth everyday as a reminder on how I should live. I wanted to live my life, my way.
There was no place for God in that equation, but He’s been impressing upon me, His rightful place in my life. Over the last several years, and especially the last few months, He’s convicted me, put me squarely in front of His word and He’s transforming me from the inside out.
I may lose friends and even family by taking a very unpopular stand, but I am the only one who can answer for my life when I face the judgment seat of Christ.
So if you’re my friend or my family member and I speak to you in truth, it’s because I love you.
Part 3 —
I could say that because I’m getting older now and working fulltime that I don’t have the energy or time to grow in my faith or share my faith with others.
It’s true that as I age, it takes a bit longer to do things than before and I do run out of energy a bit more quickly, but to live my life with that thought in mind is the same as lying to myself.
What we believe about ourselves is the way we live our life.
You might be thinking “huh?”, but what I mean is that we are very easily swayed by our own thoughts. If you think you’re too busy, too old, too tired to do something, you’re right. We do what we believe.
Here’s another example; for years I thought I was fat. For those who know me they would say “no way.” I’m not heavy, even in the slightest. I am 5’8″ and before kids, weighed maybe 123lb. dripping wet. Every time I looked in the mirror though, I saw a fat person. I’d always heard that mirrors didn’t lie, so I believed I was what the mirror was showing me: A fat person.
People would try to persuade me that I wasn’t, but to no avail. I was firmly rooted in that lie. And, consequently, I thought as heavy people probably do. I felt ugly, inferior, and unlovable. After I started having kids, I would always ask others if I looked fat and even though they said I didn’t, I was convinced they were lying to me and worse, I made negative comments about myself, so much so, that my daughters grew up with a mom who could barely stand herself.
And the worst part was that this wasn’t the only lie I believed about myself.
Believing that lie and many others, kept me from experiencing true happiness, joy, and peace through Christ. The lie stole many years from me that I’ll never get back. And, the lies stole something else: My trust of others, my love for myself and others, and any hope that I could be anymore than what I believed.
I understand today that any lie I believe about myself is an attempt by Satan to keep me away from true relationship with God. The only way Satan can flourish and wreak havoc in my life is to keep me believing a lie(s).
John 8:44 says “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
2 Corinthians 4:4 — In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
God is the author of truth.
John 14:6 says “Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
I John 5:19 — We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
Once I started reading the bible in earnest, God’s truth came pouring off the pages and into my life. Talk about a transformation.
It’s been a long (many, many years) process, but the way I think, the way I act and the way I respond to others is completely different now because I’m rooted in the truth. And, it seems in the last few months of empty-nesting, the floodgates of truth are wide open.
So I weigh a bit more after a few kids, and I’m older and tired, but I’m also wiser and free to explore God’s complete will in my life now that I live in the truth.
Part 2 —
Or more accurately, “The lie about technology.”
I prefer to live with creature comforts, but I think it might also be a dangerous thing to be so comfortable. There’s a saying that’s true, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
Most of technology is meant to simplify our lives, our jobs, our communication with others, but in reality, it isolates us from being face-to-face with real people.
Think about it:
The invention of the phone was great because people could communicate with friends and family who lived some distance from them.
Now, we use our phones to text our neighbor to see if they’re home so we can borrow a stick of butter.
When video or online games first came out, it was a blessing for mom’s with little boys because it gave their little guys a way to improve their hand, eye coordination.
Today, I work with parents of young adult men who still live at home and have barricaded themselves in their bedrooms, spending hours upon hours playing with imaginary or long-distance gamers whom they’ve never met, and whom they may never want to be friends with if they met them in person.
Facebook is a wonderful way to touch base with classmates, relatives and others who you’ve lost touch with, and/or, who live far away, but after watching and reading trends on this social network for a few years, I see a disturbing trend in all ages groups.
Instead of communicating about things that matter to us, we get addicted to FB games. We “like” and “share” every business, every chef, and every funny, heart-warming picture and video.
I’m not pointing fingers. I’ve done the same thing, but why do we do that? Do we play the FB games as a distraction, to save us from boredom? Do we spend THAT much time looking for something on FB that makes us laugh, cry or care about?
Many of you who read this, will poo-poo what I’m saying. In fact, you’ll accuse me for feeling this way because I’m “older.”
Well, I AM older and I’m also WISER than I was when I was young.
Most people don’t operate in the extreme examples that I’ve used, but the struff I’m writing about, are my observations as I contemplate how to best reach people with whom I want to share God’s truth.
Even if you who don’t live in the extreme, do you see how through technology, your life has become a bit removed from reality and the closeness of being with people face to face?
God’s word tells about this time in history when information would increase.
Dan 12:4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, [even] to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
Hmm. That would be true of our generation.
People do travel quite easily using several different modes of operation like the first of the verse says and I want to discuss that, but another time. Not this time.
The last part of the verse talks about knowledge increasing. That’s definitely true of our generation. While technology has improved and increased the number of ways in which we can communicate, are we communicating the “right” things?
I’d say that we (the whole group of us), bought into the lie that technology would make our lives better. In buying into the lie though, it’s also made us greedy for the latest app, the newest phone, and the latest version of IPad.
So now, in addition to being isolated, we’ve become greedy and self-important. Bet you never thought those things about yourself.
It’s okay. In fact, technology is a wonderful way to share “real” and meaningful information. It’s a way to band together for a good cause; a way to share truth with people; a way to challenge each other in their daily walk of life, and yes, to share some laughs too.
I’m challenging my friends and family to be transparent. Share the truth with others. It is our best defense against the evil one who rules by lies.
James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
Part 1 —
When you see the beauty of a supermoon on the horizon, or the vibrant colors of the trees, florals and fauna in the morning sunlight, how can you ever say there isn’t a God. It’s a mystery to me, but many people do.
The unbelief in a supreme being is a direct result of taking God out of our schools, our culture and our homes. And when God is absent, it leaves us vulnerable to the whims of the “other” being — Satan; but instead of people owning up, taking responsibility for ignoring God, they blame him. They cry out, “If there was a God, why didn’t he save me from violence? Why does he allow children to be sold into sexual slavery? Why do so many starve and die in 3rd world countries?
As Christians, when we are faced with these types of questions by non-believers, it’s sometimes hard to give them an answer that we think would be satisfactory, but our job is not to save the them from damnation.
Jesus’ death already paid that cost.
– John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
No. Our job is to share with them the truth about sin (Satan), God, and His grace.
When we share the truth in answering their questions, we need to remember something: God loves us so much that he gives us the freedom to choose to do what we want, but He also lets us live with the consequences. Remember the saying, “If you love something, let it go?” God was the first one to do this when he banished Adam and Eve from the garden. He gave them one rule. Only one. They broke it, so they were banished from the garden.
God didn’t want to banish them, but He cannot stand sin. Eve tried to blame the sly serpent, but really, she wanted to know what the apple from the tree of knowledge tasted like, so she did it.
Genesis 3:1-5 (too long to put in here, but click on the link to look up!)
God still loved them, but it did change the relationship. He didn’t ignore them but he did not go back on His word. Once they made the decision to eat the apple, they lived with the consequences – sin (believing Satan’s lies).
Worldwide, people have not wanted God in their court houses, schools or homes. God didn’t like our decision about that, but He didn’t step in to stop it because He loves us. And, He’s letting us make our choices and live with the consequences of those actions (sin).
When people ask why He allows bad stuff to happen, maybe we should instead respond with questions that put the responsibility back on them.
Ask them if they’ve asked for God’s protection in their lives.
Question if they care enough about others that they have supported or served in ministries that help stop the sex trade, or helped supply food and medicine in 3rd world countries where people die everyday from starvation and disease.
When they ask what about innocent children who die of illnesses or violence.
Respond in kindness and compassion but ask if they’ve ever relied on God or prayed to God over their child or “other” children who’ve suffered.
Many times, God will bring people into relationship with His son during the illness or death of a young person.
In each of those scenarios, people are more focused on what God didn’t do, instead of what they could’ve done. That’s because they are self-centered instead of God-centered. Self-centeredness is in direct opposition to God.
We should never be afraid to be bold with people. The phrase “the truth hurts sometimes,” is especially true when we have to live with ugly consequences of our decisions, but we should still tell people the truth. Truth is the ONLY thing that will strip power away from Satan.
But more on that another day.
This was on my heart today.
I’m praying that my friends will be bold. We can be nice and be bold.
If people get offended or feel defensive, we’re on the right track.
Satan hates it when you tell someone the truth because it means he could lose the stronghold he has over them.
-John 8:32: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”