Monthly Archives: February 2017

Predestination and Providence: What?

providence-1

In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.  Ephesians 1:11

Predestination and providence are closely related.  Predestination can be defined as ‘the foreordaining by God of all that will happen, because God has decided it will happen.’  Jerry Bridges defines the providence of God as ‘His constant care for, and his absolute rule over, all creation for his own glory and the good of his people.’ I say that providence is how God works all things together for good so that we will become more like Jesus (Romans 8:28-29) and works things for the good of His kingdom and His great name (Genesis 50:20 and Ephesians 1:12).  Provide is hidden in the word providence.

In today’s society, the secular world pretty much believes that there is nothing outside of our universe, denying God’s control and activity in our lives, past or present.  People would be more apt to attribute things to luck (good or bad), fate, or karma.  The Biblical view of life is that we have a God who is actively involved in our lives, the lives of non Christians and the events of history and culture.  

In other words, for Christians there is no such thing as luck, chance or fate.  The things that happen are because God has ordered the events of our lives to bring about our good and His glory.  Now some people will argue about free will and us not being robots.  Somehow God still gives us choices and freedom within the parameters of His directing and ordering of our steps.  

I used to have some problem with this idea, especially related to things that I didn’t like about my life and wondered why a good God would allow rotten things to happen.  I don’t argue as much anymore, perhaps because I have learned to trust God and know that He is good.  I have seen Him work things out in the long run that I impatiently couldn’t see how things would work out.  

Audra Shelby describes it better than I can in her book Behind the Curtain.  She was a missionary in Yemen and faced some really hard circumstances there with her family.  On pg. 158 she writes, “I crossed the line.”  Her husband asked “what line?”  “The line of trust.  I thought I trusted God completely.  But God showed me I put limits on my trust.  He wants me to trust Him not only when things make sense but also when they don’t.  He drew a line in the sand between how I trust Him and how He wants me to trust Him.  He asked me to cross it, and I did.”

Ephesians 1:12 tells us why He orders the events of our lives according to the wisdom of His will “so that we might be to the praise of His glory.”  God wants to use our lives as a showcase for His glory.  If we look at the sole purpose of our lives as being finding pleasure, we miss out on the bigger picture.  But if we look at God weaving the good and bad circumstances of our lives together to bring glory to Him and to have an eternal impact, then things make better sense.

Psalm 37:23 says, “The steps of a man are established (or ordered) by the Lord, when he delights in His way.”

I wish you good providence as you learn to trust God as He orders your steps.


Sow What?

sowing

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.   For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.  Galatians 6:7-8

Sir Isaac Newton was the identifier of physical laws that govern the universe, like ‘what goes up, must come down,’ and ‘for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.’  There are spiritual laws that are true whether people know them or agree with them. One is that we have all sinned and sin must be paid for by blood.  That’s why they used animal sacrifices in the Old Testament and why Jesus had to shed His own blood to pay for our sin, told about in the New Testament.

Our Galatians verses point to some other spiritual laws, like that our actions have consequences, either good or bad.  What we do matters.  One day we will be repaid  for what we have done.   Sowing is another word for planting seeds, and reaping is another word for harvesting.  We aren’t talking about actual seeds, but spiritual ones.  Our seeds are deeds that we have done, choices we have made, or actions that we have taken.

If you sow to the flesh, you will reap the consequences of that.  Sowing to the flesh could mean a lot of things, like  selfish or sinful acts done,  things we have done to satisfy our own desires, or things we have done by striving in the flesh to do things on your own without God.  Reaping corruption means that you suffer the consequences of those deeds.  Plus, those deeds will be like bad crops that are destroyed and not harvested.  You throw away the rotten pumpkins in the garden, and your selfish and sinful deeds will be tossed out.

Sowing to the Spirit is the opposite.  They are things that we do because we are looking to please God.  They are good deeds, things done in obedience or with the good intention of helping others or doing what is right.  Those seeds planted will go into eternity.  You might think that good guys end last, or that it doesn’t matter because no one notices or cares.  Wrong.  God notices, He keeps an account and He will reward you.  What we do matters.

Galatians 6:9 commands us to not grow weary of doing good or to give up.  Psalm 126:5-6 says, “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!  He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.”  In Heaven you will see the results of the things you did for God and many people may come running thanking you for what you did.

It is never too late to turn your harvest around.  Start living for Jesus and, as Ephesians 5:10 says, “Find out what pleases the Lord.”


Touched by the Spirit

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  Galatians 5:16

gifts-holy-spirit

This is the secret of the Christian life, right here.  Walk by the Spirit.  Let me tell you a bit of my testimony about God showing me that “secret.”  I became a Christian through a Vacation Bible School ministry when I was young.  I grew up in a non Christian setting and didn’t attend a Bible teaching church.  I didn’t have Christian friends and really didn’t know any other Christians in my high school my last two years.

But Jesus had a hold of me and He grew my faith in that wilderness.  When I got to college I was then able to attend a Bible teaching church and have Christian friends. But I had a lot of rough edges from growing up in the spiritual “wild.”  I had a heart for God, for His Word, and God was faithful in sanding off those rough edges.

After my third year of college I went to be a counselor at a camp north of Toronto.  It was a great place, but I was totally out of my comfort zone.  I was used to relying on what I could do for my self confidence.  But there in a different country with people I didn’t know was a stretch.  I then  separated my shoulder the first day the kids were there.  And one of the kids that I was counselor of had extreme behavior issues.  And it was there that I met Jesus in a whole different way, one that changed me deeply.

The director of the camp was a gifted Bible teacher and leader and God used her tremendously to speak into my life.  Combined with that, each morning I woke up long before anyone in the camp of over 300 people.  I desperately needed Jesus and He met me each morning as I watched the fish jump in the still morning lake, sitting with my Bible and communing with God.  The whole summer was like a honeymoon with Jesus.  It was there that the Holy Spirit got a hold of my life.  I came back to college a different person.  I had a boldness in sharing my faith and a new self discipline in reading and meditating on the Bible.  Before that my time with God was sporadic and I couldn’t get to being the kind of Christian I knew God wanted me to be.

I had a couple more experiences like that in my early twenties, and what it taught me was that if I relied on God, He would do His work in me and through me.  I didn’t realize it was the Holy Spirit leading me, giving me a bold faith and taking me to all kinds of exciting places to serve Him.  But looking back, I see that I learned from God what many Christians haven’t learned and need to learn.  For me, being touched by the Spirit didn’t involve tongues or visions of some sort.  It was getting radically changed on the inside and walking with a whole different confidence that I knew was God working in and through me.

God showed me if I kept that intimate relationship with Him that He would keep doing things in and through me.  Walking in the Spirit means all kinds of things, but one of the things it means is just letting God lead and obeying what He tells you to do.  The Spirit will fight the flesh battle, giving you the victory you wouldn’t have on your own.   It doesn’t mean that you will automatically win every battle, but you can quickly return to the victory that is in Jesus.  You won’t find it striving on your own to follow God’s commands or striving to be a “good Christian.”

What God did for me was purely His grace visiting me.  What He keeps doing for me knocks my socks off.  May God visit you with His grace, touching you with the Holy Spirit in a way that changes you forever.  Luke 11:13 says, “How much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.”


Addicted to applause, approval and recognition

can-i-get-a-woop-woop

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?  Or am I trying to please man?  If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.  Galatians 1:10

This concept has so many different applications that I have to take another day with it.  Andy Stanley, a pastor in Georgia, has a sermon called “The Laws of Applause.”  He said that “What is applauded as exceptional the first time will be expected the next time.  Exceptional become expectional.”  He points out that, “Applause is intoxicating.  Intoxicated people don’t make very good decisions.”  And finally, “Those most applauded for feel most entitled.”  That means that we start to think that we are really somebody and we are entitled to our own parking spots, or that we have a privilege that others don’t have.  

We can get addicted to applause, or the recognition and approval of others.  We start to do things just to be noticed or manufacture “see me” opportunities.  Have you been around people that always have to talk about themselves and be the center of attention?  I can put up with it for a bit, but after a while I just want to avoid that person.  The thing they are seeking is attention, but in trying to manufacture it,  people resist giving them the very thing that person is working so hard to get.

If we are striving for applause in the things that we do, we are going to get entangled in a trap.  We then would be doing things for the envisioned effect, thinking something like this (if we are a people pleasing applause seeker): “Then they will notice me,” “Or then they will see what a good person (or smart person, or gifted person) I am,” or even, “Then I will have value.”  

Get this: Our value is not in what the fickle opinion of others is.  If we are looking for our value to be determined there, our feelings will be bolstered one instance and then crushed the next because people’s applause changes with the wind.  But if we get that our identity is in Christ and we are secure in that, we will do things because we know they are right and God pleasing.  We will only seek the applause of God, our audience of One.

Back to Galatians 1:10, “Am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?  Or am I trying to please man?  If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”  John the Baptist was a servant of Christ.  He was a big cheese because he came before Jesus and he had lots of disciples.  Then there was a thing with his disciples because they saw Jesus baptizing and they went and told John, “Look, He is baptizing, and all are going to Him,” in John 3:26.  John understood who he was and what his role was.  He answered them in verse 30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”  He didn’t need to be somebody.  John the Baptist got that his role was to be a servant.  He was content with being a nobody for Jesus.  Are you?

Paul wrote Galatians to a church that gave up following Jesus by grace and went back to striving in the flesh to please God.  He was pleading with them to go back to grace.  We can think we are walking by the Spirit, but are really striving in the flesh.  It’s like a brownie point system or “good dog.”  We do things to get the dog biscuit.  God isn’t like that, and He doesn’t want us to be like that.

One final thing:  Don’t let self consciousness keep you from doing something God has put on your heart.  We don’t need a boost in our self esteem to get going for God.  We do need a boost in our God esteem.  That means, focus on God and the fact that nothing is impossible with Him.  And there is no limit to what we can do when we put our trust in Him.

Rest in His grace.  Understand that you don’t have to earn God’s approval, or anyone else’s.  Do things for that ‘audience of One’ looking to be a humble servant that simply obeys.


People pleasers vs. God pleasers

 

god-pleasers

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?  Or am I trying to please man?  If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.  Galatians 1:10

The following is a partial list from Vicki Champion (vickichampion.com) on characteristics of a chronic people pleaser:

  1. Automatically Says YES when they want to say NO.
  2. Experiences exhaustion from trying to be “perfect.”
  3. Thinks that if they “do” the right thing they will be “accepted” or “loved.”
  4. Fear risk or that they might be wrong.
  5. Bankrupts themselves because they feel undeserving.
  6. Says “I’m sorry” when no apology is necessary.
  7. Believe others’ happiness is their responsibility. 
  8. Chooses to be nice over being real.
  9. Never has enough time.
  10. Lives with irritability because of constant pressure.
  11. Tries to control everything for everyone with no regard for his or her self.
  12. Wonders why they get so little respect and everyone takes advantage of them.

Now let’s try a list of things that would characterize a God pleaser.

  1. Uses the Bible as their  guide, not what is popular or politically correct.
  2. Obeys God rather than men.
  3. Knows that they answer to God and looks to Him  wholeheartedly.   
  4. Makes it their aim to please God.
  5. Makes the most of their time, gaining wisdom from God and guidance from the Holy Spirit.  
  6. Puts God first.  
  7. Understands grace, meaning that they  don’t have to earn approval or work for their salvation.  What Jesus did was enough, so they walk in freedom.  
  8. Doesn’t worry about being liked and is willing to suffer for the sake of the Gospel.

That’s just the beginning of what it looks like to be a God pleaser.   I know people who are Christians that don’t have this figured out.  They are always busy with silly things  and don’t end up having enough time for church or Bible studies.  They do things because they think it wouldn’t look right if they didn’t, being more concerned about what others think than with praying and asking God what He thinks.  I don’t like being around them because I feel like they are trying to control me or that they have an agenda for me and I’m a pawn in that agenda.

There is a bondage connected to striving in the flesh to please others rather than God. Galatians 5:1 tells us that there is freedom in being a God pleaser, resting in His grace.  Paul wrote, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”  Be free!


Destroying strongholds

breaking-strongholds

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.  2 Corinthians 10:5

This verse is about destroying arguments.  Another word for arguments is strongholds.  Strongholds are belief systems, attitudes, ways of thinking, or opinions that are not of God.  They are from Satan and they keep people away from God or in bondage even as followers of Him.  Paul was dealing with opponents of Jesus and of the Gospel.   He was demolishing their secular or pagan world views and then taking their defeated thoughts captive for Christ so that they could understand the Gospel and obey God.

When we encounter people that are stuck on their philosophy, religion,  pet theory, or mental blocks of some sort  we can pray it down.  Pray and name the ideology that you are hitting up against specifically in prayer, asking God to demolish it in the heavenly places.  That would give you the Heavenly power you need to see that lofty opinion brought down.  Practically applied, if the person you are praying for is influenced by atheism, secular humanism (I can save myself), narcissism (stuck on self), evolution, or Eastern religions of some sort you can pray that down by name.  You can also pray against the addictions that bind people, breaking the power that it has over them–or over you if you have addictions in your life.

Praying specifically against the contrary mindset or thought pattern is one weapon.  The second is using Scripture.  The Word of God, the Bible, is the sword of the Spirit.  In Hebrews 4:12 we find that the Word is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword that can pierce through to thoughts and intentions of people’s hearts.  That means that if we use Bible verses in our persuading of people, the verses penetrate in ways that our own words don’t.  A third weapon is the Holy Spirit.  Ask Him to show you how to pray, to give you power in your words that are God inspired, and to do a work in others’ hearts and lives that you can’t do.

You can apply this to yourself too.  As you get into the Bible and it gets into you, you may encounter things in your life that contradict God’s ways.  Are you willing to ask God to destroy, demolish or dismantle any world view, opinion, or habit pattern that is in your life?  That would be called surrendering to the Lordship of Jesus.  It is telling Jesus that He is more important than the coping mechanisms and belief systems that you hold about life, and asking Him to destroy anything that isn’t pleasing to Him.  Ouch.

We need to guard, strengthen and renew our minds because that is where lofty opinions and things that raise up against the knowledge of God begins.  In other words, the battle against sin starts in the mind.  We can have attitudes that are ungodly, or have worry, guilt, fear, resentment, insecurity and a host of other things take up residence that need to get kicked out in the name of Jesus.  Maybe the reason people live defeated and ineffective Christian lives is because they don’t know how to fight this battle for the mind.

But if you take this to heart, you can fight the battle for others’ minds as well as your own.  Use the divinely powerful weapons that are ours in Christ Jesus.


The Weapons of our Warfare

weapons-of-spiritual-warfare

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.     2 Corinthians 10:3-4

We have weapons available to us in the spiritual realm that have the divine power to destroy strongholds.  That’s what these verses tell us.   Do you know what our weapons are?  I can think of a few.  Let’s take them one at a time:

  • Prayer.  In Ephesians 6:18, at the end of the armor of God description, Paul includes this: “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.  To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.”  Prayer is calling out in faith to the One who can move mountains, part seas and change events and people.
  • The Word of God.  In Ephesians 6:17 we are told to “take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”  Hebrews 4:12 tells us that “The Word is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword…”  Jesus rebuked Satan in the wilderness with “It is written,” and we must do the same.  Get to know verses by heart to call them out when and where you need them.
  • The Holy Spirit.  In Luke 4:1 we find, “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness.”  And in Luke 4:14, “Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee…”  Are you full of the Spirit?  He is our power, our guide, our helper and our strength.  Don’t leave home without Him!
  • The Name of Jesus.  In Acts 3-4 there is the account of Peter and John healing in the name of Jesus.  Peter turned and preached to the crowd about how by faith in His name the lame man was made well.  When the rulers and elders demanded to know by what power they healed the man, they again let them know it was the name of Jesus.  In His name demons have to flee.  Call out the name of Jesus when you are in the midst of a spiritual battle and watch Him work.
  • Praise and worship.  Psalm 149:6,8 reads, “Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands… to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron.”  Praise is lifting up the name of Jesus and worshiping  the God of the universe who comes to our aid.  In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were singing hymns at midnight while chained in a dungeon.  Suddenly there was a great earthquake and their bonds were unfastened.  I don’t think it was a coincidence that the earthquake hit while they were singing hymns.

There are more weapons to name, but this is a start.  They have the divine power to battle against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  They are for all believers to use to be able to stand in the day of evil.

 


God’s abundant grace that enables our obedience

the-power-of-gods-grace

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.  2 Corinthians 9:8

This last summer I read a book by a Chinese man, Bob Fu called “God’s Double Agent.”  It’s a great story about his path to finding Jesus in the midst of communist China where this was not allowed politically.  He and his wife named their first daughter “Fengsheng de endian” which is abundant grace in Chinese.  Abundant means rich, plentiful, luxuriant and full of substance.  That name has stuck with me since.  To name a child ‘Abundant Grace’ is so awesome.

Paul wrote in Romans 1:5,We have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of His name among all the nations.”  It was only by God’s grace that Paul became an apostle and was able to do the things he did.  One of the meanings of grace (besides it being an undeserved gift) is God’s enabling power that He gives to us to do what we are called to do.

It is also God’s enabling power to obey by faith, to have the kind of faith that leads to obedience.  If we do what we do in our own strength, we get the glory.  If we do what we’re called to do by God’s enabling power and grace, He gets the glory and we get the help.  And as Romans 1:5 states, we get God’s abundant grace to bring glory to God’s great name among all the nations.

Let’s break that down a little.  One of my all time favorite movies is “Chariots of Fire.”  In the movie Eric Liddle tells his sister in his lilting Scottish brogue,  “I know God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast.  And when I run I feel His pleasure.”  When Eric acted on the longings God gave to him, Eric glorified God.  God gives different people different longings.  When we obey those longings and walk in them, He gives us the grace to make what we do look easy.

For some, it is motherhood.  That is the longing of their heart and they do it incredibly well with the enabling grace that God provides.   But using motherhood as an example, it isn’t an end in itself.  According to Romans 1:5, God gives mothers the grace to be good mothers not to put their children on a throne and to be absorbed by endless soccer games and scrapbooking to chronicle their every day.  He does it to bring glory to His name through families, with the end of making His great name known among the nations.

Just how a family, a mother or an individual will bring God glory will be revealed by God as they  faithfully, obediently and Jesus-centeredly live out their lives.  And as we call on Him, He will pour out His abundant grace that enables us to be obedient and His abundant grace to overflow into others’ lives for the sake of God’s great name.

“Once more, never think that you can live to God by your own power or strength; but always look to and rely on Him for assistance, yea, for all strength and grace.” ~ David Brainerd, Missionary


Overflowing Grace

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And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.  2 Corinthians 9:8

Paul is on the subject of his giving project that he was first commissioned with in Acts 11 when Agabus foretold that there would be a famine in Judea.  Acts 11:29-30 says, “So the disciples determined, everyone according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea.  And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.”  Wherever Paul established a church, he had them participate in this giving project.

It was a good opportunity to teach about principles of giving.  Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 9:6, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”  He was talking about sowing  money for the sake of the kingdom.  We can give money to others willingly and generously because that is exactly what God has done for us.  God wants to have you give more so He can give you more–both grace and money.

When we open up the floodgates of our giving, God opens up the floodgates of His grace.  This is not just so we will be content and stocked up, but so that we will be sufficient in Him to overflow to others.  We will abound in every good work.  If you hold on tight to your money, spending it on yourself, you won’t get to see the grace of God abound, or overflow, in your life.   But if you can begin to live a life of giving generously, you will see God’s grace multiply all over you.

It helps to have money to give.  Ephesians 4 describes what a repentant and transformed life looks like, and in verse 28 Paul simply states, “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.”  Of course we don’t want to get obsessed with having money and working too much, but what a great way to show that Jesus is Lord of your life: generously giving money and things that you have in the name of Jesus.

In 2 Cor. 9:10 Paul goes on to say that if you give, God will multiply your seed for sowing and that He will increase your harvest of righteousness.  Some people might wonder why they haven’t seen God use them in other people’s  lives, whether it is to lead someone to Christ or to mentor or some other way.  It may because they haven’t let go of their money for Jesus’ sake.  They might not even have a job because that hasn’t been the pattern of their life.  Perhaps it is time to become productive, wise and generous with  time and money.

When you catch the concept of being generous,  the overflowing grace of God will pour into your life.  You will see abundance as Luke 6:38 promises: “Give and it will be given to you.  Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.  For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”  This is because God is able to make all grace abound to you so that you will have all sufficiency in all things.

*Photo from surpassing treasure.com


Good Grief

weep

For Godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.  2 Corinthians 7:10

This verse is in the context of Paul writing a letter and sending it in between 1 and 2 Corinthians.  It was a rebuke about them not properly dealing with a man who had slept with his stepmother, as referenced in 1 Corinthians 5.  That man, or perhaps a different one, began to question Paul’s authority as an apostle, stirring up doubt about his motives and saying that Paul didn’t keep his promise about coming to them sooner.

Paul acknowledged that his letter produced grief, but he was okay with that because it led them to repentance.  He wrote that there is a productive sorrow that we need to have in order to deal with our sin and wrong attitudes and to turn us in a different direction.  That is Godly grief.  But there is a worldly grief that we get caught up in at times, and its outcome only leads to death.  It doesn’t produce repentance or reconciliation.  It might produce revenge, blame shifting and ugly rifts.

We get mixed up sometimes about sin and about the stand that God tells us that we need to take.  For instance, in 1 Corinthians 5:11 Paul wrote for them “not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother (fellow believer) if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler–not to even eat with such a one.”  It is echoed in other places, such as Ephesians 5.

That’s a hard line on sin, but the goal is to produce repentance so that the person’s spirit who is practicing sin may be saved in the day of the Lord (1 Corinthians 5:5).  It is more loving to practice 1 Cor. 5:11 and to let God do His convicting and purifying work in that person’s life to bring about repentance, then it is to let that person continue in sin, reaping sin’s consequences and destruction.  You could call it tough love.

A friend once told me about a Christian friend who was engaged in sexual immorality.  The other believers practiced what Paul had directed, which was to have nothing to do with her until she repented.  But my friend told me how she kept being her friend because otherwise she wouldn’t have anyone left.  I countered, “So you feel like you can do a better job than God?”  She was shocked at my response, but I then explained how the others’ exclusion was to bring about repentance.

For those of you practicing sin that you ought not to be doing: stop it.  You may experience the pleasures of sin for a season, but the outcome is a death of some sort.  It puts a breach in your relationship with God.  You’re no good to either side–either the one that runs after God or the world’s side.  You will be filled with the guilt that comes from the conviction of sin that won’t stop until you make things right.  The worldly sorrow of being rebuked includes shifting blame, denying that there is a sin issue, or boo hoo’ing to everyone about how mistreated you are.

weep over sin.jpgJames 4:8-10 tells us to “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Be wretched and mourn and weep.  Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.”

Be wretched and weep over your sin.  Don’t trifle with it or explain it away.  Experience the Godly grief that leads to life.

*First photo from liesyoungwomenbelieve.com                                                                                                Second photo from mulpix.com