Archive | April 11, 2011

Everyone’s Battle

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15

Everyone battles bad behavior. Becoming a Christian does not obliterate bad behavior. Becoming a Christian gives you the Spirit of Christ in which to choose good behavior. However, the battle still rages. We know the eternal war is won with our salvation in Christ, but the temporal battle with sin does not cease at salvation. You are naïve to think otherwise. It is spiritual warfare that requires spiritual weapons.

Fighting behavioral battles in your own strength leads to defeat. Do not be cocky with your Christianity. It is not a safety net for bad choices. Rather, it is the power of God for wise decision-making. Still the battle over bad behavior is a daily engagement. You know you need to be patient, but you lose your temper instead. 

You know you need not covet another woman, but your lust lingers. You know you are to exercise forgiveness, but you harbor resentment. You practice peace “faking” when you should be humbly confronting. You lie when you know you should be honest and trust God with the outcome. Your pride and ego self-promotes, while you know in your heart you should give God and others the credit and the glory.

These conflicting behaviors do not go away. You find yourself feeling defeated, because you once again gave in to behaving badly. How can this cycle cease? How can we prepare for this sly suicide bomber of bad behavior? This self-inflicted terrorism can drive you crazy. It can even lead you to give up on God. “After all,” you say, “this is the guilt I gave up at salvation.” The battle over behavior is wearisome, but do not give in or give up. 

God cares. God understands. He is there with you moment by moment. In spite of behaving badly, you are not any less a Christian. And He does not love you any less. He feels for you in your conflicting emotions and actions. Most of the time He will not erase the negative consequences of your sin, but He will certainly stay with you during this disruptive time. God does not flee from your failures. He is there to help you pick up the pieces. He is there to help you learn from your mistakes. He equips and empowers you to win this particular behavioral battle in the future.
 
Do not be overwhelmed by the onslaught of the enemy on multiple fronts of your life. Fight each battle one at a time and watch God win. Seek out a mentor to coach you into wise living. Learn how to depend on the Spirit of God living through you. His grace is sufficient. He who lives in you is greater than he who lives in the world. No behavior, no matter how bad, can separate you from the love of your heavenly Father.
 
There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. Start by being honest about the ugliness of sin that still seeks to influence your attitude and behavior. Become more self-aware of blind spots that cripple your relational effectiveness with others. Learn how to live by faith and not by sight. Seek reconciliation with another you may have offended or who may have offended you.

Avoid magazines and web sites that flame your lust. These are everyone’s battles, and these are battles that can be won. Fight with the weapons of God’s wisdom and truth, and not man’s ingenuity. Let Him fight on your behalf. Be accountable to God and man. Move beyond the guilt of failure to the non-condemnation in Christ. In Christ is everything we need to fight everyone’s battle!
 
Taken from Dose 50 in the 90-day devotional book “Infusion”. Download the Kindle version here: http://amzn.to/dRobnw

Born Twice

There is a longing within everyone to be a part of a loving family that lasts. In a world of fractured marriages and dysfunctional families, that longing becomes greater. No matter what type of family we’re from, God gives all of us a chance to be part of the only family that lasts. We had no choice on our earthly family but we do have a choice on entering God’s family through faith.

Jesus calls this spiritual birth being “born again.” We all have a physical birthday, but not all of us have a spiritual birthday, which comes when we accept God’s invitation to trust in Christ as Lord and Savior. With no spiritual birth, we die twice–physically and spiritually. But, with a spiritual birth, we die just once (physically), for our spirit lives forever.

Born once, we die twice. Born twice, we die once.

If we’re born twice, we’re saved from spiritual death and we’re in the family of God forever.

John 3:3

3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.