Roaring Lions

God is a roaring lion.

That is a very simple fact. Do you feel like you’re surrounded by the enemy and that you don’t know which way to turn when you’re challenged on your faith? Do you feel like that if you open your mouth others are going to shout us down? Well, we have forgotten that God has the louder voice. He has the power to quell those voices, but we have to be brave enough to stand up in a situation and engage the person or persons who wish to fight against God’s truth.

I realize I haven’t written in a while, my job has been crazy busy and I have had some awesome opportunities arise in my life. But now, going forward, I would like to start a series on how we should be roaring lions—being salt and light—in our culture. This series is going to cover the book of Daniel—a man, along with his friends, thrown into a culture hostile to God and His Word. Daniel was a man who had multiple opportunities to stand for God, and took them even when it was unpopular and even when he was facing death.

I am hoping that through this series, we can learn walk as Daniel did—being an ambassador for Christ, an ambassador in chains, A ROARING LION. Remember Lion King? Simba who was young couldn’t roar like his father? But then later in the movie, when he came back to face Scar, he was a spitting image of his father Mufasa, and his roar was just as terrifying—we are to be the very same. We are to be Christ-like but it is His voice that people are to be hearing. We are to lambs with the faces of lions.

 

Join me on this trek, will you?

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Growing

So, I celebrated my 29th birthday this past weekend. OLD I know–but while there are some parts of me that make me feel older than I am, it hasn’t slowed me down. In fact, I keep looking for the next thing that I could glorify God with in each moment. And this weekend, I had a discussion with a friend, who I hadn’t seen in close to 5 years, that REALLY refocused me on how my home church could grow. And a lot of things were discussed. I’ll do my best to summarize my friend’s points. So here goes. On face value, I believe we agreed that, generally speaking, the Church, meaning the body of Christ, has grown apathetic in the way it’s been fulfilling the biblical mandate given to us by Christ. The mandate is otherwise known as the Great Commission. For reference, here is the Great Commission taken from Matthew 28:19-20, in the ESV…

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

 

So, I’m going to get to the finer points that my friend has made to me about growing the Church by breaking down the Great Commission into two parts.

First, Jesus says to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…” This is and should be the driving force of the Church and its full complete focus in the world today. It should be its top most priority in the operation of the Church. This is what the Church is apathetic about in its entirety. Now, I’m not saying each individual church is apathetic–I just don’t want to get into all the shades of grey in this post, so I’m just speaking in broad and general terms. In talking with my friend, the American Church in particular thinks that by sending missionaries out, that it has fulfilled its biblical mandate in the first part of the Great Commission, meaning the part where Jesus says Go. I didn’t get into the nitty gritty details with my friend about this, but by the statements he made, I believe he would agree with my assessment going forward here. When Jesus said go, he did not just mean send others. EACH AND EVERY FOLLOWER OF CHRIST IS REQUIRED UNDER THIS MANDATE TO FULFILL IT. This means that the follower of Christ who gets up in the morning, goes to his or her 9am to 5pm job Monday to Friday, comes home to their family, makes dinner, and lives pretty much a vanilla life, is required to obey the first command within the Great Commission, given to us by Jesus, to speak of God’s gospel, truth, and Word just as much as the person who went to Africa, Europe, Asia, or any other continent, and bring more people into the fold of God’s family.

However, the Church also has a misguided approach, I believe, in reaching out to people and making Christ known to them in trying to grow God’s Church–my friend stated that there are three ways that the Church has approached this–1) Growth by conversion, 2) People think of the Church as the building–thereby letting anyone not part of God’s family make the decision to come to church on their own and reaching them once they’re in the doors, and 3) the organizational structure of the Church–raising up committees and letting people on those committees fulfill the first command of the Great Commission.

Let me just say that all three of these ways are wrong–and it creates the atmosphere of apathy towards everything that God says we should be focusing all our attention on–Mind, body, and soul.

As I said before, each follower should not just be passing the buck because of the 3 aforementioned approaches. Look at your own church and see if they fit one, two, or all of the approaches. And then look at your own life and see if you’re following Christ’s mandate of “Go,” if you’re not, then you might want to reevaluate how you should be fulfilling it. Take a look at John 15:1-11 if you need further evidence beyond what I’m saying here. If we wish to remain in Christ, we should be keeping ALL of His commandments and we should not be apathetic to them. In fact, if you or your church has become apathetic and withdrawn itself from the community, it has entered into a state of sin before God, and I firmly believe this. It is in the apathy of the Church that Satan rejoices, for if we are not fulfilling the Great Commission, then we are not allowing God to work through us to win souls for Christ from Satan’s deathly grip.

In fact, the biggest reason the Church has become apathetic in its attitude to the world and to Christ’s command is because they’ve become solely focused on two things: 1) the second command of Christ in the Great Commission, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you,” and 2) the Church has become focused on the spiritual health and growth of those already become believers and not reaching out to those not part of God’s family. 

It’s okay to make sure that there is growth in one’s walk with Christ–teaching them what Christ has taught us. But in order for any church to grow, that means the Church must be going out and inviting those who are living sinfully to come and worship with us. We cannot expect them to come to that decision on their own unless they are presented with the opportunity to either accept or decline the invitation. And the only way to do that is by using my favorite method of evangelization–relational witnessing. Confrontational witnessing had its place in history, and it still does today–but the environment has to be right for it. However, in my opinion, relational witnessing has a better success rate of bringing those to Christ. It means going out and creating a friendship with these people by first meeting their physical, emotional, or mental needs then meeting their spiritual needs. Christ did this repeatedly–he often met the worldly needs of people before speaking to their spiritual needs. He would feed people and then used the feeding He had done as a spiritual lesson and brought it back to who He was and who had sent Him.

The Church, once again generally speaking, has become more concerned with those already in the pews and come consistently every Sunday rather than those who truly need the Church’s help and are in need of the love of Christ–as Christ said: “It is not the healthy that are in need of a doctor but the sick…” (Paraphrasing here). The Church has fallen into the reverse of this–we are treating the healthy but not the sick.

My friend and I both came to and agreed upon the same conclusion–the Church has become inwardly focused when it should be outwardly focused.

Let us, the body of Christ, become healthy vines again bearing good fruit and representing Christ who is the root in all our lives…

Closing in prayer:

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for giving us another day to live for your glory. It is only because of your will that the sun continues to bring each new morning to your creation–and with it new mercies. We ask that if any who have decided to read what I have written tonight are struggling in their own lives, you lay your hand of comfort, peace, and wisdom upon them. Help them to feel your presence next to them, and to draw their strength from that to continue into each day. We also ask that you walk through each day with us, helping and guiding us to make decisions that will ultimately glorify you, your Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

In your Son’s and your Name we pray, Amen.

~Tom

Fly You Fools!

So, I’ve been wondering about how to title this post. And quite honestly, this is the best way to call it since Scripture calls for us to flee from it. And if you don’t know, the title is a quote from my favorite books and movies The Lord of the Rings. I’m gonna draw from a particular scene from The Fellowship of the Ring, so please give it a watch from the 2:15 mark to the 4:15 mark…

Now, to give this a framework of Scripture, please read 1 Corinthians 6:12-20–

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

I’ll connect the video and the passage of Scripture in a moment…

This is one area where Paul tells us to RUN from sexual immorality, not to stand against it. And if you’re a reader who thinks this is simply referring to things such as transgenderism and same-sex relationships, this passage encompasses all things outside of how God defines sex–which is anything outside of marriage between a man (biologically) and a woman (biologically), is considered sexual immorality.

Why am I writing this post? Well, let’s just put a face to the reason…

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This is Harvey Weinstein.

Look him up in the news if you don’t know why I’m using him as a reference.

The secular culture, meaning the rest of society who have rejected Christ, condemns this man while at the same time lauds someone like Hugh Hefner as a sex revolutionary who brought sex out of the darkness and into the light through his use of pornography. The secular culture fails to lump these two men together because, they claim, one had the consent of women to use them and their bodies for his own pleasure while the other didn’t have consent.

Consent…

That’s the only distinction that the secular world makes. And because of that word, the world devalues the worth of a human being–regardless of what they say otherwise. The secular world fails to see Weinstein as a direct result and correlation of what Hugh Hefner did in creating the porn industry. Before Hefner, porn was something that was relegated to the dark criminal underworld. But when Hefner mainstreamed it, turned it into something to not be ashamed of, it began to poison society. Sex became meaningless and something more of a transaction. Yes, men are sexual creatures–God wired us that way, but He also wired us to have self-control over it and created a specific way for us to have a relationship with a woman in the most God-glorifying way possible for when men do have sex–in the confines of marriage, never ever before. It is true that if you do have relations with a woman who you do not intend to have as your wife, you have actually cheated on your wife, even if you haven’t met her. And vice versa for women.

Our society in America has become highly sexualized. If you don’t believe me, just look at some of the things that Matt Walsh, formerly of journalistic site, The Blaze, but now works for Ben Shapiro’s site, The Daily Wire. He’s spoken more about it than I ever have. And society wonders why men today have become uncontrollable pigs when they’re adults and focus only on having sex with women or in worst cases, raping them, when they created those same individuals by exposing them to sex, sex acts, and sexual ideas to them in public schools at ages as young as 5… Don’t be surprised when more Harvey Weinsteins show up in the world.

God created sex as something to be respected, treated as holy, and kept between a husband and wife.

I have a fellow blogger on here on WordPress, I won’t mention her by name as it is not my place to tell her story and a lot of the stuff comes from deep in her spirit, walk with God, and her heart and I just don’t want to betray her in that way–even though her story is public on this site.

But she’s struggled in the same way I have as a guy, which is with virginity–and the secular world places an extremely low value on that to the point of shaming people who still retain it and continue to retain because it’s their choice to do so. And I hope that if she reads this, she’ll take heart from this on any future shame she feels from that…

It is NOT something to be ashamed of. Going back to the video and passage of Scripture I shared earlier, God tells us to RUN! He takes care of the sexual sin by standing in its way and taking care of it while we remove ourselves from the situation. God tells us that our bodies are temples in which His Spirit resides, and that what we do with our physical bodies, our flesh, DOES AFFECT our spiritual relationship and walk with Christ. Even Christ told us to cut off things that causes us to sin, to remove the sin.

Secular culture, whether it will admit it or not, has created an atmosphere of sexual exploitation of both men, women, and children. Sexual deviancy is rampant through society and only God’s plan for sex is the answer–which is MARRIAGE. God gave us sex to create a family with children, to cement the family structure, and to glorify Him in the union between a man and a woman as a physical representation of Christ and His Church.

Believe me, if Hugh Hefner had not done what he did with the Playboy magazine, I’m sure the rampancy of sexual deviancy we have in our world today would not be as bad as it is. If you struggle with with this kind of sin or feel ashamed because you haven’t had sex, and/or feel pressured to have it because of a boyfriend or girlfriend–I want you to remember that you viewed by someone higher than society or that person. You, your life, your decisions, your WHOLE identity is found in Christ–not in the world or other people. That is what Christ meant by saying the truth will set you free. You are free from the expectations from the world, from sin, from Satan and his lies and are only bound to Christ and His will for your life.

As my pastor was always fond of saying–the world does not know what it is doing when it comes to life matters, only God and His word does.

All my prayers go out to you, my friends…

~Tom

Of Beauty and Rage

First off, let me credit my favorite band, Red, with the title here, since it is the title of their last album.
Secondly, if you’ve never listened to Red DO SO!

So, this post is about is about about finding beauty in pain and suffering

If you’ve gone through or are currently going through something that is making your walk with Christ difficult, please let me know and I can be praying for you!

Typically, when I start going through a hard time, I make a note of it and call it a Crucible. Webster’s Dictionary defines crucible thus: a severe test.

We’ve all gone through one. Look back on your life and you will find at least one or two…or maybe 14 if you’re like me. And they’ve all done me an amazing amount of good by the grace of God. I may not like them while I’m going through them, but I do thank God after they have passed because upon further reflection, I’ve found that my faith has grown as a result and that it has definitely removed a lot of bad things in my life. God loves to toss His people into the metaphorical fire so that they can come out and be even better than before. Unlike the purification of certain precious metals where there are still impurities in them, when God wishes to remove an impurity from our life, nothing remains.

But how does going through a crucible affect us personally? Well to be plain and simple–IT SUCKS.

At some points while going through it, we wonder if it’ll ever end because it seems like there is never any end in sight. It took me a while to realize this, but God doesn’t let us see the end of it–because at least in my life, if I am able to see the end of something and that I’m getting closer to the end, I tend to slack off a bit. However, God does place Himself in our path and says, “My grace is sufficient for you–take up your cross and follow me.” 

Crosses are meant for what? For dying. Christ calls us to die to our old selves–if you’re in Christ you are a NEW CREATION–the old has gone, the new has come.

This transformation is not easy and it certainly wasn’t easy for Christ. Let me ask you one question…

Why do you think Jesus sweated blood during his last night on earth?

It wasn’t the beatings.

It wasn’t the Romans and the Sanhedrin mocking him.

It wasn’t even being nailed to the cross.

All of those things on their own would have made a normal person crack and give up. No, what made Jesus almost crack was the apparent facing off against his Father’s wrath. And that alone should scare us if it caused Jesus to sweat blood. But Jesus understood that it was needed in order for him and God to be glorified. When Jesus rose from the dead, he was no longer a man, but completely God.

So I just leave you here with this: when God disciplines us by putting us through a crucible, it will never feel good. You will feel amazing and more free in Christ after it passes. But once you are in the midst of one, remember the crucible Jesus had to endure in order for him to achieve his Father’s glory and to achieve his purpose in life–which was to bring mankind back into a right relationship with God and to have the most personal and intimate relationship with God…

Also, just want to share why I love Red so much!

 

My prayers go out to all of you!

~Tom

Find me on Twitter!

@birdt2007_bird

Adoption

Before moving on to reading this post, please read the passage of Scripture I am referencing, which is Romans 8–the whole chapter. It speaks of how we become God’s children through spiritual adoption by the death and resurrection of Christ…

For readers who do not know, I work in child welfare. It is an extremely saddening, stressful, and overall emotionally laden job. But in my work, when things work out–whether the child reunifies with their actual parent or becomes adopted by another family, it is a very fulfilling job.

But it is on the adoption aspect I wish to focus upon. And for this, I’m going to bring in a snippet of my own personal life story. I grew up in a single parent home. My mother and father divorced when I was 9 years old and my brother was 5 and a half years old. I don’t remember much of what happened around then–just that my dad had stopped living with us and I was confused and upset as to why that was–like I was at fault.

A few months later, my mother got accepted to law school and we had to move. To my mom’s credit, she did her absolute best to make sure I was able to have a childhood–meaning that the stresses of life didn’t hit me. But try as she might, I had to grow up faster than she wanted me to. She was going to school full time and working full time just to make sure that we had everything we needed to live everyday. Roof, food, and clothes and any other bare essentials.

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Get the point?

During this time in my life, I felt abandoned by my dad–extremely. I never heard from him and never saw him unless my mom took us up north for vacations in Minnesota where he was and even then it was minimal.

I’m looking at all this from 20/20 hindsight and I’m seeing how God acted in my life as a father. And I can really see how my own spirit was crying out to God in this way. You see–boys and girls need a father, father figure, or a strong male role model in their lives. For boys, it is the father that is supposed to be model for them to grow up to be strong, wise, and godly men. For girls, it is the father that is to model for them how a man should be treating them–and how to judge men when they are seeking their future husband.

In my life, God appeared to me in three different ways in a fatherly role through others in my life that helped and guided me to become the man I am today. These three different forms are: mentor, disciplinarian, and servant.

I. Mentoring aka discipleship–2 Timothy 2:2 and Proverbs 27:17

“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”  ~2 Timothy 2:2

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” ~Proverbs 27:17

Every man of God has a responsibility to teach.Whether it be in a church, home, or with a young man. A boy who is to grow in Christ but is without guidance is like a ship without a rudder to tell it to go left or right. And this goes for women as well! We are the body of Christ, a family of believers united with Christ as the head of all of us. Even though that in our own spiritual lives we never stop learning from God, it is children who need to see in our lives how we interact with God and that we teach them how to do the same.

However, I have discovered that when I have taken on a mentoring role with young men and begun to disciple them, I have found that it is important to follow how Jesus did it–He was first a friend to people, addressing their physical needs and getting to know them as a person first before addressing their spiritual needs. Believe me, when you address a person’s physical needs, it becomes easier for a person to then open the door of the person’s heart to give them the bread of life, everlasting water, that their spirits are hungering and thirsting for…

II. Disciplinarian–Hebrews 12:7-11

“It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

God disciplines us so that we might come closer to the perfect holiness that God has. We will never achieve it as long as we live, but it’s a process by which we learn and sometimes it’s painful. As men, we are to sometimes allow God’s discipline to work through us to the young men that He has placed in our charge. How are children to know what God expects of us if there is no one to exemplify it in their lives? Proper growth in God and His Son requires a personal example of it in that young man or woman’s life constantly, so that they may know how to live for God in their own lives as well.

III. Servant–John 13:1-15

We are all called to be servants. Christ gave us the greatest example He could in washing the disciple’s feet. He led by example, not just by words. Remember that when it comes to being involved in a child’s life, it is important that we live by our words and God’s Word. To lead is to serve, and to serve is to lead–my alma mater calls this servant leadership. It is a quality that every follower of Christ must have to humble themselves, remove themselves from being the center of the universe, put God there along with the rest of mankind. In God’s kingdom, it is the last who will be first. Those who put others ahead of their own welfare will be blessed and rewarded by God.

How do we do all this? Look to 2 Timothy 3:16-17:

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

The Word of God is fully equipped to help us in teaching and being examples of God the Father to young men and women. Don’t forget that. If you are at a loss of how to disciple, be involved in a child’s life–look to God’s Word and He will show you what that child needs, just like He gave me what I needed from men in my church. I have learned the value of hard work and the importance of following and glorifying God in my day to day life.

God does not excuse any man or woman from this role. The Great Commission leaves no room for error on this. Just because we do not have a son or daughter of our own flesh and blood does not mean we can just sit idly by on the sidelines cheering on the other families. No, God has given us a duty to teach and disciple the next generation–even if that means being involved in a person’s life who is not necessarily related to us by blood. Romans 8 shows us this. And if you read that chapter all the way through, you’ll find that the love that God has for His children transcends that of any earthly kind of love. He loves those that HATE Him–and the love He has cannot be taken from us or separated from us, as the end of Romans 8 says…

God took that step to adopt us. He followed through on what James called the TRUE religion: taking care of widows and orphans. The people who really needed God otherwise.

 

Prayers and blessings to you all

~Tom

Remove The Plank

Okay, so there is going to an emotionally laden post. Why? Because I’ve literally had it up to the eyeballs with nerve of some people accusing me of things this week in regards to my views on the Las Vegas shooting. Before I address the accusations and bile that I’ve had thrown my way–allow me to share with you what I shared on Facebook–

 

 

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So there–whether you agree with me or not, that is what I said. It is what I firmly believe, and if you feel the need to call me names, feel attacked by that, or in any other way “triggered” then you definitely need to go find someone to talk to about your insecurities because as my favorite speaker and author, Ben Shapiro, says: “Facts don’t care about your feelings.”

Now, let’s move on to those who have leveled accusations and bile at me. I won’t pollute my writing with them just because they’re nonsensical and really incoherent nonsense. But it hit me personally because the general theme of the messages was that I don’t give a shit about dead people, children, or about others.

I’m gonna pull the best line from How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days…

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If you’re going to accuse me of not caring, you better damn well have known me PERSONALLY for the last 5 years.

Now, most of the people of who thrown that accusation at me don’t have their own two moral legs to stand on. And to all my friends who have perhaps faced something similar, I would ask that you remind anyone who has said these same things to you of this–their support of abortion.

This matter is not about Right vs. Left or Gun Control vs. 2nd Amendment.

It’s about Right vs. Wrong.

When anyone-a friend or someone who doesn’t know me-says that I don’t care, and they are currently supporting abortion, they don’t get to throw the loss of life card to support their argument. On it’s face, these two may be completely different, but to me they concern ONE thing: the loss of life. Anyone who supports abortion today does NOT get to guilt trip someone who supports gun rights by saying they don’t care about the lives lost to senseless gun violence. My retort is this: WHAT ABOUT THE LIVES THAT WERE LOST THAT NEVER GOT A CHANCE TO LIVE IN THE 44 YEARS SINCE ROE V. WADE??? If you’re going to support something as violent and senseless as abortion, you don’t get to cry about the lives lost to gun violence and then use that to support your policy measures.

I care about EVERY life–it saddens me that so many were hurt and killed in Las Vegas, Orlando, San Bernadino, Sandy Hook, Aurora, etc. But you don’t get to lecture me about my support for gun rights using lives lost to guns, all the while standing upon the bones of millions of dead children. You just don’t have that right. You know how Christ said this in Matthew:

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye…”

~Matthew 7:1-5

Believe me, I’m up for discourse. But if you’re going to hop on your moral high horse in order to guilt trip me, you’ve got another thing coming. You say you’re speaking for the victims of the senseless gun violence? Then I ask you this–where was your voice to defend those who never had a chance to say something? This is not a guilt trip, but it’s to make you realize the hypocrisy of your stance in coming at me in this issue. I care about every. single. life. From conception all the way to birth and from there all the way to a natural death. Until you can end your support of abortion, you do not get to play the loss of life card to support your position on gun control. You just don’t.

My prayers go out to all of you.

~Tom

Make War…But Not in the Way You Think

“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”

~Matthew 16:24-26

Do you have personal demons that you struggle with? If you say no, I’m gonna be really blunt and say that you’re a liar. Everyone has a personal struggle, a demon that constantly plagues us–even the Apostle Paul had one, as he wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:7–

“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.

Spongebob-Pauls-Thorn-in-the-Flesh

But did you know that God actually calls us to make war? (I’m actually taking a bit off of John Piper’s sermon, Killing Sin, a little bit). I am by NO MEANS perfect in any way. I’m still constantly struggling to fight those things that God finds abhorrent–the biggest of them being lust, it’s a constant struggle for most men but worse than others. It takes a ton of self-control on myself, and I constantly rely upon my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to come beside me and tell me that I’m screwing up according to God’s Word. But God calls us to a life of holiness–God calls us to:

You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

So, where does God call us to make war and what or who are we supposed to be making war upon??? For this, we go to Romans 8:13…

 “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”

So, in this verse we have two presentations that Paul is trying to make, and remember this: PAUL IS SPEAKING TO CHRISTIANS IN THE BOOK OF ROMANS–HE IS NOT SPEAKING TO UNBELIEVERS!

The first presentation in this verse that Paul makes is that if a believer claims to be in Christ, but is living a life of sin–THEY WILL SPIRITUALLY DIE. Paul in the previous chapters asked that since we are saved by grace through faith, do we keep on sinning? And he said no. The old has gone, the new has come!!! We are to no longer sin, don’t live according to this world but what are we supposed to do if not that? That is where Paul’s second presentation in Romans 8:13 comes in. Paul calls us to PUT TO DEATH THE DEEDS OF THE BODY. But how do we do that? Paul answers that too–kill sin by the Spirit.

But that begs another question–what does it mean to put something to death by the Spirit? Well, let’s flip on over to Ephesians 6.

https://giphy.com/embed/xT0Gqi2R5b0KFXxZcs

Ephesians 6:17 says:

and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…”

So, in order to put to death that which is earthly and sinful in us by the Spirit, the Spirit calls us to go to God’s Word. But what are the methods that the Spirit wishes us to use to kill those sins that are keeping us from growing in Christ. Paul writes this in Romans 6:12-13:

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.”

Paul says that God calls us to present our bodies to Him as instruments of righteousness, not unrighteousness. But if you’re a follower of Christ like me, then YOU KNOW that trying to be like God can be tiring, that it’s impossible to do so on our own. That’s why God has given us His Holy Spirit, to guide us continually on this. So, when our bodies do end up becoming an instrument of unrighteousness (AND BELIEVE ME, YOU WILL END UP FAILING AT SOME POINT), where does the Spirit point us to in the Word to remedy that? Let’s hop on over to Matthew 5:29-30 for the Spirit’s answer!

“If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.”

https://giphy.com/embed/x8IZm9anjSTDi

Kinda paints a picture what Jesus wants you to do, but here’s the rub–he’s not saying to literally cut your hand or poke your eye out. If you did, Jesus would most likely be doing this:

https://giphy.com/embed/DEznxxsQ2Hl7O

What Jesus meant was that in the pursuit of being righteous and holy, aka pursuing God, you must take DRASTIC ACTION to remove sin in your life.

I point you back to the passage I shared at the beginning of this post. And I want to share a little story. When I was 12 or 13, my mentor took me to an event here in Omaha at Brookside Church. I don’t remember exactly what it was called, but I do remember exactly what happened. There were speakers to be sure, but I remember other things than what the speakers were talking about. There were individuals in black morph suits, going around the sanctuary whispering and I remember just being overall creepy. But I later went on to find out that they were pretending to be demons attempting to persuade people to sin, and all around presenting lies and accusations. But towards the end of the event, the organizers brought out a huge cross, and ask that by stepping up to the platform, praying to God, and symbolically dying to our old sinful selves. When you read that passage at the beginning of this post, just ask yourself this question: What were crosses made for in Jesus’ time? Crosses are made for dying. 

So that’s my prayer for each and every follower of Christ–that they remember the cost of following Jesus and that the cost of following Him is high and requires the believer to die to him or herself.

So just remember these things:

A. What does God call us to do upon ourselves?

  1. Make War: On What? Our sin

B. How does God want us to make war upon our sin?

  1. Kill sin

C. How do we kill sin?

  1. By the Spirit

D. How by the Spirit?

  1. God’s Word

E. How does God’s Word direct us to kill sin?

  1. Present ourselves as instruments of righteousness, not unrighteous
  2. Take DRASTIC ACTION to remove sin
  3. Take up our crosses daily and die to our old earthly and sinful selves

Thank you for reading tonight! My prayers go out to you all! Take a listen to Tedashii’s song, Make War below!

 

~Tom