33 posts tagged Christianity
Sex, Marriage, and Fairytales || Spoken Word
“FOR BECAUSE HE HIMSELF HAS SUFFERED WHEN TEMPTED, HE IS ABLE TO HELP THOSE WHO ARE BEING TEMPTED.” - Hebrews 2:18
PRAISE GOD IN TEMPTATION?
Several years ago I met with a young man who had overcome a lot of sin and had been walking in victory with Jesus. In this particular meeting, though, he seemed beat up and filled with guilt. I asked him what was going on, and he said he felt defeated. Upon further discussion, he described an intense temptation that he had experienced the last several weeks. I asked him if he had acted on the temptation, and he answered, “No.” I began to smile at him, and he looked at me, quite confused. I said, “Well, praise God!” That almost made him angry. Here he was confessing his temptation, and I was telling him I was glad he was facing such a hard time. I had either lost my mind, or he and I were not connecting at all.
TEMPTATION IS NOT A SIN
And then it came out of my mouth: “Temptation is not sin. Temptation is an invitation to worship. You will either worship the enemy and do what he is tempting you to do, or you will worship Jesus and resist the temptation and obey. Either way you are worshiping.” I went on to explain that his temptation was not sin and that this was an opportunity for greater intimacy with Jesus. He began to smile and it looked like a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders. Since that time I have strived to disciple a lot of men towards greater intimacy with Jesus by helping them have a new perspective on temptation.
Here are some things I’ve found to be helpful.
1. TEMPTATION IS NOT SIN
Jesus was tempted in all ways, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). If our perfect Lord was tempted, then we should find ourselves identifying with him and knowing then that our temptation is not separating us from Jesus, but uniting us with him.
2. RESIST THE DEVIL
In James 4:7, James instructs his readers to “resist the devil.” While this is not something we are to take on by ourselves, we are now free to say no to temptation if we are in Christ. The good news for us is that our passions and desires have been nailed to the cross with Christ Jesus (Galatians 5:24).
3. DRAW NEAR TO GOD
James continues in verse 8 saying that in addition to resisting the devil, we are called to “draw near to God,” which is followed by the promise, “… and he will draw near to you.” So, here we have an opportunity to be victorious over temptation and sin, and to cultivate deeper intimacy with God!
4. KNOW THE WORD
In Matthew 4 we see Jesus being tempted by Satan. With every temptation we see Jesus resist the devil and draw near to God, through his Word. He responds each time to the temptation by quoting passages from Deuteronomy. One of the greatest ways to cultivate more intimate worship is to know the Word of God. By knowing his Word, we are then able to identify temptation, resist the devil, and draw near to God by following his truth.
5. LOOK FOR THE EXIT SIGN
God will always provide you a way out. In 1 Corinthians 10:13, Paul encourages his reader by reminding them that they are not alone in their temptation, but God always provides a way of escape. Therefore, look for the exit sign that God has promised to provide and run through it.
6. RINSE AND REPEAT
There are times that we know what we are tempted to do is sin, yet we do it anyway. While we were sinners who have been saved by grace, and now are identified as saints, we still sin. John tells his readers in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We mustn’t continue in sin if we fall, but we must agree with God, return to him, and trust in the accomplished work of Jesus.
THE BATTLE IS FOR FREEDOM, NOT SALVATION
Knowing and enjoying God is one of the greatest aims of worship. We do not have to separate ourselves from him in our temptation, or even our sin. Instead, we can draw near to our understanding Lord who is able to sympathize with and redeem us. Ultimately, his grace is sufficient and covers our past, present, and future sins. So, this battle is for our freedom and joy in Christ, and not a battle over our salvation. That alone has been secured in Jesus. Next time you face temptation, think of it as an invitation to worship.
"This battle is for our freedom and joy in Christ, and not a battle over our salvation.”
So…this is my testimony in gif version.
then I found God:
then I got careless and lost hope:
then God found his way back in my life again:
I can’t wait to see what he has for me next:
I’ve known of you my entire life, but I never got to know you until recently.
I’m sorry for that.
In Vacation Bible School you were fun. If I knew enough about you, if I memorized enough verses in the Bible, I got stickers and candy.
I knew that the B-I-B-L-E, yes, that was the book-for-me.
You’ve been around all along, but when I started to get a little older, I based what I felt about you off the opinions of others. Because all my friends couldn’t be wrong.
Christianity was a religion for the weak.
I heard you were all about rules and regulations. I was never the kind of guy who brought home his homework, so what made you think I was going to give any attention to your to-do lists?
Christians, I had heard, don’t have sex and don’t listen to rock and roll. They don’t swear or drink, and they only watch Andy Griffith reruns and Kirk Cameron movies. They go to church every Sunday, give away 10% of their paychecks, and are always smiling smug little smiles.
I used to tie bottle rockets to all the G. I. Joes my parents bought me, and launch them above the trees to watch their arms and legs rain down in the neighbor’s yard. That wasn’t a very Christian thing to do, I’m sure.
I also broke into an elementary school once to throw a microwave off the roof because I was hoping it would explode. It didn’t. But from what I understood, a thing like that wouldn’t get me into heaven.
The first time I got drunk, I was sixteen. I figured that must have been pretty unforgivable. So was all that masturbation and vanity.
In fact, I’ve even lied before. I’ve cheated on tests and in relationships. I’ve lusted and watched pornography. And I liked it. I liked it so much, I went right on ahead and had sex outside of marriage too.
I knew there was no place for a guy like me in your club.
I’d be a hypocrite.
Then I found out your churches were full of hypocrites. This made me angry. I thought, “Well, if all those guys are going to Heaven, so am I.”
I could do all those things and pretend to have a relationship with Jesus. And that’s exactly what I did.
But the weight of your (supposed) guilt became too much to carry. I dumped you and everything you’re associated with.
I was finally free.
You never even stood a chance.
And I’m sorry for that.
I am sorry I did all those things, and still called myself a Christian. I wanted you the way I wanted you. Not the way you were being offered. I took your best ideas, and discarded the rest.
I’m sorry for the time I denied the existence of Jesus just to impress a girl I knew was an unbeliever.
I am sorry because I am the one who has given you a bad name.
This is an apology to every Christian bold enough to say he’s a Christian and mean it. I helped tarnish your reputation in Christ. I helped make the world doubt you.
I gave the world reason to hate you.
Nothing hurts the church quite as much as a critical spirit. I am sorry for the way myself and other Christians have come against each other.
I am sorry for the ways I have spoken ill of other churches I have never attended.
I am sorry that Hollywood makes you seem so desperate and full of prideful, well-dressed losers.
I am sorry that the gay community fears you, and wants nothing to do with you. It’s not your fault. It’s ours. We took that and really screwed it up, didn’t we?
And churches may still have hypocrites like me in their congregation, but isn’t that beautiful? That God is building His Kingdom on our shoulders? On the shoulders of guys like me.
When I decided to give you a second chance, it turned out nothing about you had changed. I just saw you differently. Because I saw Jesus first. I built a relationship with him instead of with you. As a result, I saw you for what you really are.
The issue here isn’t Jesus. It’s our relationship with Jesus.
I rejected the cross because it revealed my heart. And my heart is full of darkness. I didn’t need you calling me out.
Your message isn’t pride and arrogance. Your message isn’t about what you are against. Your message is just the opposite. Your message is about what you are FOR.
You are for me.
The Gospel reminds us that we are in desperate need of a Savior.
But we live in a world that preaches we can do it all on our own. A world where independence is king.
I wanted my independence.
I’m sorry for believing I didn’t deserve to be a part of this. I’m sorry for believing that I couldn’t be forgiven.
I am sorry for being so prideful. I thought I knew better. And for a while, I thought my version of Christianity was right and everyone else was wrong.
As it turns out, the only version of Christianity is the one where Christ saves us from ourselves.
The only version of Christianity is the one where I sin, and Christ forgives.
“Christianity is a religion for the weak.”
I am weak.
And I need your Savior.