Sin and My Heart, Part Two

October 27, 2009

There is another issue I have with sin and my heart.  It’s an issue I see in my heart, and in many others.  It’s when we let sin win the battle.

Basically it’s giving up.  There are so many reasons for this.

Our flesh is weak.

Sin brings pleasure.

We have been tricked.

Or we just don’t care.

I can’t tell you how many times I will be talking with someone who has given up on ceasing a particular sin.  Or talks about the sin like it is just another part of their life that they can’t get rid of.  People who claim to be Children of God.  People who I have thought and still think are Children of God.

What has happened?

Why do we do this?

It’s because we can’t win the battle. We cannot conquer sin.  We cannot overcome it.

This idea bothers me. I would like to have credit for when I don’t sin, or for when I resist a temptation.  But when I look at the points in my life where I have resisted sin and temptation, I can see that it was only by God working in and through me.

I feel like too many of us have given up on a particular sin.  Do you realize that that is just the place you need to be at?

When you get to that point and realize that God is the only one who can conquer the sin in your life then that’s is when sin is going to start being conquered in your life.

That’s the place where you’ll come to God and say

I need You to protect me from this sin.  I need you to fill me so full of your spirit when temptation comes that it will be the Christ in me resisting that temptation, and conquering that sin.  I need You to be my savior.

So what are you going to do when you give up?

Are you just going to continue in that sin, because of the benefits to the flesh it brings? Are you going to just allow it to be part of your life? Are you just going let it be a part of you?

Or are you going to realize that Christ is in you? Are you going to realize that you have to ask Him to win the battle for you?

What are you going to do?

I hope that I can ask God to protect me from sin.

Because the alternative makes sin your God.  It keeps you on a path walking further from God.  Making it so hard to have a relationship with him.

Until we call upon Him.

Where do you want to be?

A place protected by the Creator of the Universe?

or

A place where you forget sin is sin? And a place where you think sin is part of you?

As for me, I need to be in a place where I ask God to protect me from sin, every day.  I need to ask God everyday.  Because even on my good days, I can’t truly conquer sin on my own.


 

Sin and My Heart, Part 1

October 19, 2009

For me personally, one of the hardest things growing up as a Christian, was recognizing the power of the Cross in my life.

When I say power of the Cross here, I mean the fact that Christ died for my sins.  The fact that he would have done it if I was the only sinner.   When someone takes hold of that truth, and gets a glimpse of the amount of Love that was in Jesus when he went to the cross, that person is forever changed.  So for me the power of the Cross is not just the fact that it happened, but the freedom and redemptive nature of the Cross.

With that said, I think the hardest thing about growing up Christian is experiencing the power of the Cross in an authentic way.

It was never hard for me to understand exactly why what Jesus did was important.  Or even to know that it had to have taken a lot of love for Jesus to do that for us.  It was always hard though, to experience that Love.  I knew God loved me, but it sometimes felt like he hadn’t said it to me yet.  That’s just how it felt at times.

I think part of why that happened was one way I viewed sin in my life.  In fact I think even now that if I am struggling, or feeling dry in my relationship with God, that this particular view of sin in my life is sometimes the cause of that dryness.

That particular view is that I am not that bad.  Or even more accurately that I don’t sin that much.  Or when I do, its not the worst offenses.  Growing up I didn’t get drunk, I didn’t do drugs, I didn’t have sex. And even now I don’t do those things  So it was hard for me to realize that I did sin.

Not only that but it was hard for me to realize that I sinned a lot.  In all honesty I had.  But I was a pretty good kid.  So it didn’t seem like I had sinned a lot.  That comparison comes from comparing myself to other humans.  When looking at the sin in my life I should never get my overview from that comparison.

I needed to recognize how much I had sinned.  A lot.  I wonder how many times the average 14 year old has sinned in their life.

If the average fourteen year old sinned once a week since they were three years old it would be 572 times. That’s a pretty dang good kid though.  Only once a week is a regular John the baptist.  I imagine for me it was more like once a day, which would have been 4,015 times by the time I was fourteen.

The point I’m trying to make here is everyone sins a lot.  Or at least I sinned (and sin) a lot  Unfortunately we don’t always recognize that.  We compare ourselves to others or justify sin, or ignore sin(which will be topics for part two of this blog).

When we don’t see how much we sin, we blind ourselves from seeing the full glory and power and Love that was there on the Cross.

This wasn’t just an issue for me when I was growing up.  It’s an issue for me now.  Sometimes in my everyday life I forget this profound truth that has been revealed to me.  It usually happens after I have not sinned for a while.  Which really means, it happens when God has protected me from sin, and given me the strength to resist it.  This idea isn’t just a problem I have, in Hebrews chapter two this idea of forgetting is warned about.

Do you sometimes feel dry in your relationship with God?  Could it be that you forgot just how much he’s forgiven you? Have you forgotten how much sin you contributed to the Cross?  Have you forgotten what was done

there on the Cross

for

you?

I know that I constantly forget.

I don’t want us to be a people that constantly remember all the sin that we have done.

But I do want us to be a people that remembers how much He has forgiven. And it’s lot for me. The days I acknowledge this are the days I feel closest to God.  The days that I remember all of that forgiveness are the days I really experience His love for me.

Enemies?

October 13, 2009

I got kicked out of class the other day.  I’m in college and I actually got kicked out of class.

In my Japan class, I have a teacher whose motto is “sweat the small stuff”.  Ridiculous I know.  She has a rule that if you have a lap top you must sit in the front row.

One day I brought my lap top.  However I did not sit in the front row.  I wasn’t planning on using my lap top.  Really I wasn’t.  It was in my back pack.  Class got really boring though.  And I felt the lap top calling to me. So I took it out and put it on the chair next to me so the desk could block the teacher from seeing it.

I got to playing this intense stick figure war game and didn’t notice the teacher coming around the side to see what I was doing.  I noticed in the last second and tried shutting my lap top before she could see what I had been doing.

I think she figured it out.  She said quite angrily “You can leave!” So I laughed and said alright.

As I was eating a Wendy’s double stack I started to feel really convicted about the whole confrontation and thought I should go apologize for being disrespectful.

A few minutes later I am in her office apologizing and she is just tearing me a new one.  She cussed.  She said ASU degrees are second rate degree and all sorts of other stuff that I am absolutely sure she could get into trouble for.

Since that day I’ve been thinking exactly how I was going to get her back.  I could give her a horrible evaluation.  I could go to her supervisors and tell them all the things she said to me in her office.  And o man, she would have to apologize  to me, and probably even tell me I can play Stick War in class.

As I was thinking about all this revenge I got convicted again.  I think that’s one main reason I know the Holy Spirit is real.  I get convicted for stuff that would make me feel good or my life better.

The conviction I felt while walking near the library was the Holy Spirit saying this; “Is that really loving your enemy?”.

Crap. Well its not, not loving my enemy.  Plus she deserves it.

“But is that really loving your enemy?”

Dang it man.  Let me get back to you on that.

That’s when I realized I wouldn’t be writing her a bad evaluation.  Or talking to any of her supervisors.  That wouldn’t be loving my enemy.

I realized that I actually had a real life enemy. When Jesus said “Love your enemies, do good to those that hate you.”, well now that verse was a lot more relevant to me. (Luke 6:27)

Before, that verse didn’t really sound that relevant, because who besides Bruce Wayne has enemies anymore?  In America we’re supposed to get our way, and if someone wrongs us, we have every right to tell their supervisor.

In fact one time this Six Flags employee wronged me, and I told on him.  And I was told that he could possibly be fired for it.  I remember feeling convicted then but convinced myself what I did was totally okay.  He deserved it.  This is how America works.

But is that how the Gospel works?

I don’t think so.  I think that if that was Jesus at Six Flags, he would have probably healed that dude of leprosy, or put his ear back on his head, or something that was doing good to those that hated him.

Now I realize that I probably have a lot of enemies in my life.  They might not be enemies trying to kill me, or kidnap my girlfriend, but I think we get enemies every day.  While driving, in line at the bank, or while playing Stick War in class.

The real issue is how will we handle it? Will we do good to those people that treat us poorly? Or will we tell on them?  I know that if I have any sense, I am going to try and listen to what the Holy Spirit is telling me.  And that’s to love my enemies.

And honestly, that’s so much tougher.  I think though, the work that God is doing in me through that love, is so much more worth it.  So Japan teacher, get ready to get a GOOD evaluation.  ugh. It’s hard to even think about giving her a good evaluation. I’m gonna do it though.


Penn Jillette. Awesome magician. Known from his magic acts as Penn with Teller.

Check them out here if you wanna get familar with them:  

That’s not even their best stuff.  They are great entertainers. I love watching them.  I hope to go to one of their shows in Vegas one day.

Penn is a known atheist.  He claims to be publicly and doesn’t mind talking to people about it.  I didn’t know that about him until tonight.  I wasn’t that surprised.  It seems like everyone is these days.  Then I saw an excerpt from his video blog which I am going to share with you.

Some things to keep in mind before watching this.

The Definition of Proselytize according to Merriam-Webster dictionary: 1.to induce someone to convert to one’s faith 2. to recruit someone to join one’s party, institution, or cause.

With that said, you have to watch this video.  The rest of this blog will be about it.

Boom.

There is one part in that video that makes me make the noise I would make right after getting rocked in the face by a brick. Not the initial ow or oh.  The sound I would make after trying to get myself back up off the ground.

That long groan that comes from the back of the throat.

The groan came out the loudest after hearing

“How much do you have to hate somebody to NOT proselytize?”

ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

An atheist man.  Understanding a truth that many of us who believe in Christ don’t get.

Is God using a man that doesn’t even believe in Him, to speak to a guy like me?

Probably.

There is not much more I can say.

God. Make me want to share my faith out of love.  God make me love people enough to share the Gospel. God. I. Need. You. Move in me.


Sometimes I Pull a Peter.

October 6, 2009

Recently I realized that I pull a Peter sometimes.  Not the deny-ing peter.  The eating-only-with-Jews-Galatians-Peter.

Yup I do that.  What’s worse is I do it much worse then Peter.

I don’t mind eating with people that don’t think Christ is not their savior. In fact I love eating with people that aren’t Christian.

Sometimes though I don’t like eating with Christians I have labeled.

There are all sorts of Christians out there.  Some are early in their walk with God, some have been walking a long time.  Some are republican, some are democrats.  Some love America, some don’t.  There are Christians that think twitter is awesome, some that think it’s the devil. Some are a little bit country, and some are a little bit rock and roll.

All this to say is that sometimes, I don’t want to be around the ones that don’t see things the way I see them.  Sometimes I get extremely pious.  I think to myself, man look at me, I am seeking first the kingdom, I’m awesome, and good looking.

So there I’ll be walking along, and run into one of my Christian friends.  They’ll start to tell me how they had this awesome experience hearing from God at their church on Sunday.  I’ll ask what church is that?

Oh. Really?

Not that church, it’s too __________.(charismatic, crazy, lame, lukewarm, quiet, boring, your choice I’m pretty sure I’ve thought them all.)

But it can’t be.  Not that denomination.  They’re too__________.

Not that Pastor, he doesn’t even talk about ____________.

So I’ll discount what they say.  I’ll think how can that be? How can someone think that Pastor, or church, or whatever, isn’t totally missing the mark.

Or what’s worse is one of my Christian friends will have what I think are different values from my own.  Well at that point, I almost label them as lost or as sinners.  Because How could I hang out with Christians that have different values then me myself.

I’ll tell you how.

Love.

Or realizing that what I am doing is the same thing the Pharisees did.

But I’m doing it worse.  I’ve read about the Pharisees.  I’ve been lucky enough to learn the lesson they may not have.

I’m doing it worse because in spite of all the lesson learning

I still do it.

Honestly, I am not going to change.  I am always going to be like this to some degree.  The more I try to change, the worse I get.

There is something that works though.

Asking God to change me.

Looking at myself, and saying, God, help me see that fellow Christ follower the way you do.  Give me the ability to love them, even though all my heart wants to do is to judge and condemn them to make myself feel more worthy.

Change my heart God. Completely.  Fully. And every day.

I want to be able to see sin in my life before I see the sin in other people’s lives.

Will there be situations where my friends are missing the mark and I should call them out on it? Definitely. Am I doing that now? Nope.  What I am doing is condemning, gossiping, or not eating with them.  I am not acting out love.  I am acting out of ________ (pride, envy, jealousy, piousness, stupidity, hate, again your choice because I’m pretty sure I’ve acted out of each one of those).

So God. Change my heart.  Make me like your Son. Let me be filled only with your love, and act according.  I am sorry for missing the mark myself in this.  Forgive me.

Help me to not care who I eat with.  Even if they’re not circumcised.