May 18, 2009

What I do not know, I can not want

This is simply a thought I had today about how to keep away from temptations, and more so, against things that will keep us away from God.

As I had earlier said about avoiding sin, one of the first rules is to avoid places in which you will face temptation. The same goes with your relationship with God.

Lately God has revealed something that's been getting in the way of completely selling out for Jesus. My love of the computer. I'm a computer nerd/techy what ever you want to call it. I do a lot on the computer, it has most things that I previously wanted in a career. Anyways, God has been bugging me to make HIM my number one priority in my life. Even as I write this God is bugging me to drastically cut down on my computer usage. Taking out anything for entertainment purposes. Leaving only activities for school, or for his glory (such as this blog).

To me this is a really big deal, I could probably quite happily live on a computer the rest of my life, earn a living, buy what I need, and 'socialize'. I'm not as bad as all that, but I could be. Of course to some of you cutting back on computer usage seems like a piece of cake, you don't see what the big deal is.

That's the point though isn't it? I have no problem giving up TV any more because I simply don't watch it. Some of you can't imagine giving up you TV time, it's to near and dear, and what if they kill Jimmy on Lost?! and Heaven forbid they should ever mess with Michael's relationships in The Office!!!

What I'm suggesting is to simply not start anything that you know will addict you. You should be able to tell because it's generally suggested by someone or something as 'Amazing', and or 'I can't live without it'. If you are willing to even take it to the next step take out the things in your life that you know 'you can't live without'. It's really difficult. I'm not going to lie, and you will go through withdrawal, but after awhile your dependance fades. You start to realize what a waste of time it was, and that you really aren't missing too much.

Now comes the fun part. As I have found all to often when I am fasting something, or simply just cutting it out because there's too much of it, there's just a hole in my life. You have to let God come and fill that hole. Otherwise you will turn back to what originally filled that hole in your life.

May 7, 2009

Thoughts on Forgiveness of Sins, and God's Cleansing

I thought this would be a good follow up to my previous note. So many people believe they are condemned when they sin, not so, but at the same time there are so many that consider it a freedom to sin, also not so.

First we'll start with why we shouldn't sin even though Christ has forgiven us of our sins. The main reason to not sin even though we have God's grace is this. To receive this thing called 'Grace' it says that we must repent of our sins. This doesn't sound difficult, and like most Christian lingo it has been twisted over the years. People believe that all it means is to say, 'I'm sorry'. Let's look at Wikipedia and what it says...

Repentance is a change of thought and action to correct a wrong and gain forgiveness from a person who is wronged.

This means that we work to not commit this wrong again. We strive to take ourselves out of this situation. We flee from it. In doing so God gives us forgiveness of our sins, and in this new change found from repentance we now take one step closer to Jesus, and through him eternal life.

19Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,(Acts 3:19)

This is all why we shouldn't sin. I'm not going to say you should sin, I will never suggest that, but sometimes we mess up, and afterwards forget that we are forgiven. We need to live in that forgiveness.

1But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" 11"No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."(John 8:1-11)

A bit of a long passage, but I needed you to know this. Christ doesn't condemn you. He doesn't condemn you. So many times after we have sinned the devil will lead us on a guilt trip(By the way, in my experience guilt seems to be something satan loves to manipulate). He makes us believe that God can't love us because he has no part in sin. The truth is though that Christ loved the sinner, he came for the sinner, for the sick and not the healthy. We must learn not to listen to satan and let him gain the upperhand in our lives.

Now that I've said all of this you must learn to walk the line as the Lord is teaching me. To live in Christ's forgiveness, but not to disrespect that grace by blatantly returning to the sin you just repented of. But when the you are overcome by sin, know that you are forgiven, "Go now and leave your life of sin."

Thoughts on Sin

First off I'm dedicating this to a good friend of mine, Dan, and my brother who was/is my accountability partner.

I'll tell you my story to start off with, or at least the relevant parts (otherwise we'd be here for awhile).

Generally everyone has a "big" sin. "Big" simply meaning they get caught more often. If the person wants to stop because God wants them to these sins seem to be easier to clean out because of how out in the open they are. Anyways, I had my big sin just like anyone else. I had battled through most of my teen years to gain control over this sin. I even recruited my brother as my accountability partner. There were a few times that I thought I'd finally quit, but then it (temptation) would hit me hard. One day I heard from God that I would never struggle with this again. I believed, but it still didn't happen right away. I struggled many more times and God had to tell me twice more that I would stop. This was around summer of last year. After that point I actually wanted to stop because God wanted me to stop, not because I wanted to. I had stayed clean ever since.

Little tangent here before I get back on track. When I say I stayed clean, I mean that I STAYED clean. I was tempted (although Satan gave up a little more often), and by tempted that means it still appealed to me, but then I would remember my goal to become closer to Christ, and how that just doesn't fit in.

Unfortunately my nearly year long clean streak was ruined tonight. I took it for granted when God had told me I would never commit this sin again. I figured that God would stop me when the temptation came. Well it did come and I'm sorry to say I failed. I failed to realize that it was a team effort. God helped me through, and to find a path of escape, but he didn't push me through the situation. You must "Want" to stop.

13No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.(1 Corinthians 10:13)

I have found that when you look for temptation you will fail unless you stop looking or wanting (which yah, sorry to say this, but in my experience this rarely happens). On that same note though if the temptation arises and you don't flee. don't listen to that little voice that says you've already lost (it's not you or God). You've never lost until the act has been committed. Notice how I use past tense. Stopping in the act is actually a victory! It's a step in the right direction, albeit a small one.

I wrote this letter first to explain sin immediately after sinning. So many people say "You don't know what it's like", "It's been forever since you've dealt with it", etc, etc. Thus for you guys knowing that I wrote this immediately after I hope you trust in my honesty on this subject. This is just an average guy telling you that there is indeed hope. I have lived it for almost a year, and plan to continue immediately following this incident.

As for advice on how to avoid temptation and falling to it. First don't put yourself in situations that you know you'll be tempted in. More first than 'first', you must Love and Rely on God, and resist sin, flee from it, put in your best effort. That's the definition for the battle with sin. If you try to run and fail at it, at least you ran. Do these things and God will give you the power to resist long enough to escape, and provide that way of escape. Once you have escaped don't become complacent, or look back. You are always in danger of sin and temptation, and that is the other first step in avoiding it.

~a fellow sinner,