Friday, August 31, 2012

Defeating Temptation...God is on Your Side!!!

As Christians, each one of has as a particular sin that we struggle with more than others. And, a lot of the time, it can cause a lot of stress every time we slip up.

Then, we slip into a sadness asking, “How could God possibly forgive me? I keep messing up!”
For the longest time, I also struggled with this. I just kept messing up over and over again, and other people have told me they’ve done the same.

Let me tell you, your mind can be a huge thing to overcome. But, I believe that to grow, you must defeat it!

One thing as Christians that we have to learn to do is to think logically. Acting on emotions alone will get you nowhere. At some point, you must pause and realize these facts:

1. You’re human-therefore, you’re imperfect. (Romans 3:10-12)
2. You’re not the only one who struggles with sin. (1st Corinthians 10:13)
3. Your God is bigger, greater, and stronger than you and your sin. (1st Corinthians 10:13, Philippians 4:13, 2nd Corinthians 12:9, Ephesians 3:16)

I think that often, we forget why Jesus died on the cross. He died to save us from our sins so that we wouldn’t have to be chained to them. He died so we wouldn’t have to be separated from God for eternity.
Isn’t that something to rejoice about?

One thing that so many of us fail to do is to think logically. Part of being a Christian is to look at things in a logical way. We have to realize that we aren’t perfect, but God loves us anyway and is going to forgive us.
The more we participate in negative self-talk to ourselves, the worse our problem is going to become. You get to a point of subconsciously thinking, “Why even bother trying to stop? It’s not like I’m going to get any stronger.”

When you do this, you shut God out of your life. You forget how powerful and good He is, and focus simply on your own shortcomings. You should feel strengthened knowing that God is on your side and can help you overcome what you’re dealing with.

When you sin, you can’t allow it to rot in your mind over and over again. You must ask for forgiveness, repent, then stand up, dust yourself off, and move on. Then, you must pray and ask God to help you do better next time. You know what, God is faithful-He will never let you down. (Hebrews 3:6)

Ask God to help you see what certain triggers are for you that lead to sin. When you can do that, you’ll better be able stand firm and prevent yourself from slipping. Satan is very tricky and uses lots of cunning methods to sneak his way in and make you fall. You must be on your guard (1st Peter 5:8).

Remember, God is not going to leave you (Deuteronomy 31:8, Joshua 1:9). We must not let our emotions get in the way of remembering that.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Listen to God.

Being a Christian has a lot to do with growth. From the time we are baptized into Christ and become babes, we have a responsibility to grow spiritually. Over time, we become stronger and more sure in our faith. Through diligent study, we begin to see the things which God would have us to do. Because we love Him and want to please Him, we strive to make those changes.

However, one thing that I see a lot that many have a hard time overcoming is selfishness. Many grow in knowledge, but so many do not grow emotionally.

Now, it’s not necessarily that we refuse to think of others and to help them. That’s not the kind of selfishness I’m referring to. I’m talking about the selfishness that occurs when we decide that we would much rather ignore what God would have us to do and pretend it doesn’t exist.

Don’t so many of us do that? There are so many things that we as people want to continue to do, yet, as human beings we have a hard time giving those things up!

The apostle Paul talks about this in Romans chapter 7. He says: “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but the very thing I hate. Now, if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that is good.” (15-16)

He is saying that there are many things as a Christian, let’s face it-we don’t really like to do. However, whether or not we ‘like’ it has nothing to do with it. When we love God, and are striving to live the way He would have us live, we are going to do that which we don’t like to do. Being a Christian takes sacrifice. 

Sure, we might not like having to give things up that we enjoy doing, but Jesus gave up everything for us on the cross-which is so much more than our pet sins we enjoy taking part in.

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, acceptable and perfect.”

Being a Christian means to radically change your thinking and way of doing things. In a movie I watched once called, “To Save A Life”, a young man who has started attending a church became angry with some of the people in the youth group. They were whispering and ignoring what a person speaking had to say about the bible. In frustration, he stood up and exclaimed, “If you’re not going to let it change you, why are you even here?”

Ask yourselves that. If you’re not allowing God to change you inside and out, why even call yourself a Christian? Why even attend worship? As it says in Romans 12:2, and various other places, we must be transformed. We can’t continue doing the same things we were doing before. We’re not going to be perfect, but we can’t allow our lives to be ruled by the same principles or lack thereof that we lived by before.

The only way Christians are going to make an impact in our world is if we start removing the selfishness in our hearts and allow God to rule in us-and to actually LISTEN to Him. When we allow God to move us, the world is going to hear us-loud and clear.