“Our sins twisted the crown of thorns; our sins drove the nails into His hands and feet; on account of our sins His blood was shed. Surely the thought of Christ crucified should make us loathe all sin.” ~J.C. Ryle
“He (Moses) chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.” Hebrews 11:24-26 (NIV)
Martin Luther put it very well when he said, “Sin is, essentially, a departure from God.” When standing in the all-consuming fire of God’s great love, any sins still clinging to our garments will find themselves exposed. Nothing is hidden from our Heavenly Father. He sees all, knows all, and is all. Therefore, it is a spiritually immature child who images iniquity can remain concealed from an all-knowing God.
Our reaction to having personal sins exposed will be one of two possibilities. Either we will shudder and shriek in shame and fall to our knees in humble and contrite repentance, or we will grab onto our sinful vice with unspeakable determination and flee the presence of God….. Choosing temporary pleasure over His grace and forgiveness. Mind you, forgiveness is necessary in order to have fellowship and a true relationship with the Creator.
When Jesus died upon the Calvary cross, He took all of our sins with Him, and then threw the iniquities as far as the east is from the west. Because of His great love for us, He willingly suffered an unthinkable death. It was only through His obedience and sacrifice that a way to the Father was procured. Jesus is THE WAY. He is our mediator! He pleads our case and intercedes on our behalf both day and night. So why, WHY would anyone choose sin over the fellowship offered by God?
Hebrews 11:24 tells us that sin is pleasurable, but fleeting. The human race is obsessed with pleasure, whether it is attained through the food we eat, sex, or objects bought on credit. A juicy steak may delight us for a few moments but the thrill is short lived, and we will soon find ourselves thinking about the next delectable to devour. The flesh is never satisfied.
So sin gives us pleasure but it is only temporary. And because the enjoyment is not long lived, many of us are cursed with the addiction of finding new and better ways to curb our cravings for gratification. With our focus on the “next good thing” we forget that all things in this life will pass away. We ignore the warning to lay up heavenly treasure, where moth and rust have no affect.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.” If Christ is our treasure, we will crave fellowship with Him. If the lusts of the world are the treasure we desire, we will exit the presence of God in order to pursue them. Being short sighted in such cases is a gross understatement, for those who toss aside the eternal to live for the temporal can’t see past their next pleasure fix. They lack self-control.
The Devil tries to use our sins to erode the significance of our Savior’s death on the cross. He casts out his nets of deception and daily collects a multitude of sinners, entangling them in a latticework woven by human iniquity. Jesus suffered so that all of us might live eternally with Him. When we CHOOSE a life of sin over a life of gratitude and obedience, it is as if we are helping the Roman soldiers hammer the nails in the flesh of Christ. Jesus was crucified for our salvation. Unrepentant sin is our damnation.
Will you continue to hold onto your sins for the mere temporary pleasure they give you, or will you surrender each one now and lay them at the foot of the cross? It is never too late to start! Begin building your treasury in heaven. You will be glad you did, for eternity is for an eternity and life on earth is but a blink of the eye.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 (NKJV)
By Neil Anderson
The thoughts of the righteous are just, but the counsels of the wicked are deceitful
False self-concepts are very common in people under demonic attack. Many will state that they are different, that the Christian life won’t work for them as it does for others, and that they are not entitled to claim God’s promises. Many of those in spiritual conflict fear a mental breakdown and are filled with anxiety. Almost all feel unloved, worthless and rejected. They have tried everything they can think of to improve their self-image, but nothing works. Most of these suspect that their problem is spiritual in nature, but they have no one to turn to. The subject of demonic influence is not taught in their churches, and there is a terrible stigma attached to those who are afflicted by anything demonic. Even when they are helped, few people will stand up and testify of their newfound freedom.
Stephanie, one of our undergraduates at Biola University, had been deceived into such a bad self-concept that she developed anorexia. She was admitted to an eating-disorder clinic and underwent extensive counseling, but with little progress. One of my students suspected a spiritual problem and brought Stephanie to see me. After two counseling sessions, she was free of the oppression. Stephanie returned to the clinic to tell her counselor about her freedom in Christ. The counselor told her she was only on a temporary high. If so, Stephanie is still on it, because today she enjoys her freedom in Christ while serving the Lord on the mission field!
Mental health is usually defined as being in touch with reality and living relatively free of anxiety. Anyone under spiritual oppression would fail on both counts and may consider themselves mentally ill. I have encountered hundreds who have feared mental illness only to discover that a spiritual battle was going on for their mind. The way to win this battle is to submit to God and resist the devil.
Prayer: Lord, I’m thankful that I can overcome Satan in my life today by the blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony. Thank You for these powerful instruments of freedom.
“For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil (Romans 13:3-4, NAS).”
“Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord (Romans 12:19, NAS).”
Since we are called to be obedient, any rebellion against God’s word is as witchcraft as we read in I Samuel 15:23: “For rebellion is as the sin of divination (witchcraft), and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.” When Yahweh instructs His holy people to submit to authority, good or bad, we are to do it with joy knowing that God (not the person) will repay/reward us in due season. We must view obedience and submission to a bad boss as unto the Lord, not as unto man.
Colossians 3:23: “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, AS TO THE LORD, and NOT UNTO MEN.”
I often think of Joseph. He had to submit to rulers that were set against God; he was a slave to an Egyptian (the enemy of the Israelite’s and God). When propositioned by Potiphar’s wife, a beautiful woman, Joseph refused because of His dedication to God, not his dedication to Potiphar. Joseph did not argue or defend himself to Potiphar when falsely accused. He merely went to prison trusting that God had a better plan in store – he trusted God’s prophecy. In addition, he served the Lord to the fullest extent while in prison instead of murmuring against and second-guessing God who had proclaimed greatness over him. Humility in tough situations is something completely supernatural – of Holy Spirit and not of the fleshly man.
Few accomplish this because most allow their flesh to rule instead of Holy Spirit within – an earthly (external) mindset instead of a Kingdom (eternal) mindset. It requires prayer and supplication (constant communion with and focus on Yeshua) at all times and in all things being willing to submit to God and trusting in His ways instead of seeing it only as unto the unreasonable boss or set of earthly rules.
Though no one has perfected this, myself included at times, isn’t it time we begin to purpose to walk in the ways of the Lord as unto God? We need to stop looking at the man/person (earthly), and look only The King, The Ruler (supernatural); but instead, we look only at what pleases or displeases us in the moment. To usurp authority positioned by God in the earth is rebellion against God.
Humility in hard places is something completely supernatural – of Holy Spirit, not of the fleshly man. It requires prayer and supplication (constant communion with and focus on the Lord) at all times and in all things being willing to submit to God and trusting in His way instead of seeing it only as unto the unreasonable boss, person, people or set of earthly rules.
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments (John 14:15, NAS).”
“But it shall come about, if you do not obey the Lord your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you (Deuteronomy 28:15, NAS).”
I hope you’ll come back next week as we continue to explore the subject of humility with bad bosses and irritating people. If you’re interested in reading more on this subject, please go to my website and check out my books.
Peace and blessings,
Alexys V. Wolf
By Neil Anderson
Our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin
Why did the old self need to die? The old self was independent and disobedient to God, so it had to die in order that “our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin” (Romans 6:6). Death is the ending of a relationship, but not of existence. Sin hasn’t died; it is still strong and appealing. But when your old self died with Christ on the cross, your relationship with sin ended forever. You are no longer “in the flesh” but “in Christ” (Romans 8:9). Your old self (the sinner) and your old nature (characterized by the sin which was inevitable since you were separated from God) are gone forever because you are no longer separated from God.
Does this mean that you are now sinless? By no means. The death of your old self formally ended your relationship with sin, but it did not end sin’s existence. Sin and Satan are still around, and they are strong and appealing. But by virtue of the crucifixion of the old self, sin’s power over you is broken (Romans 6:7, 12, 14). You are no longer under any obligation to serve sin, to obey sin, or to respond to sin.
You commit sin when you willfully allow yourself to act independently of God as the old self did as a matter of course. When you function in this manner you are violating your new nature and your new identity. Such actions must be confessed and forsaken.
Even though the old self, which you were in Adam, is dead, you still have to contend with the flesh. The way you learned to live your life before Christ is still programmed into your mind. Knowing that your old self was crucified with Christ makes it possible for you to choose not to sin. You no longer have to walk after the flesh; you may now walk after the Spirit. You are free.
Prayer: Father, help me overcome the fleshly ways I followed before coming to You. I choose today to be tuned in to Your Spirit.
Following is a comment I received from a Satanist on one of my posts and my answer to him.
Is it the case that Christianity casts all human individuals as “evil” to place the individual into a lifetime of servitude proving themselves as “good”? In Satan there is no such thing as good/evil.
Christianity itself casts no one as evil. Christianity is merely a term for those who follow Christ and has no authority to assign status or blame.
As far as “evil” goes consider this: Luke 18:19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? None is good, save one, that is, God
Instead of “evil” look at “good”…NO one is good except God alone. That means that regardless of who and what we are as a person, we are not good. We have all sinned, broken God’s laws. We are of course speaking of “good” in God’s eyes here, not whether or not a particular person is a good person or not. We all know people we think are good people; that is not in view here. God’s standard of “good” is His own, perfection.
Have you ever lied? Or stolen something even a pencil? Ever hated someone? Then you have broken God’s commandments and have sinned. “I don’t know God’s commandments” some will say. Well what about your conscience? Who do you suppose gave you a conscience? No matter the persons race, where they live, or their religious affiliation or lack thereof…all people have a conscience. It is that inner feeling that when you have done something wrong, you know it and feel it. That is your conscience, God’s law written on your heart.
Serving Jesus is a choice that the individual person makes. God makes no one serve Him. Regardless of how well an individual serves God that does not make that person “good”. As was mentioned before no one is good except God. I can be the best servant there ever was to God; I still will not be “good”.
Although we are not “good”, we are made acceptable in the sight of God; we have nothing whatsoever to do with this new perception that God the Father has of us however. There is not one thing I can do, not one that will cause my Father in heaven to look upon me as “good” or acceptable to Him. God’s standard for us is perfection because He is perfect. Obviously none of us can meet that expectation.
So since we can’t meet God’s standard for perfection all is lost correct? We have no hope of heaven. This would be the logical conclusion and the one fostered by Satan but nonetheless it is incorrect. Let us keep in view here that what Satan does best is lie and deceive and that includes “Christians”.
So how can I be made “acceptable” in God’s eyes? ONLY through acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. You see; when a person accepts Jesus as Savior receiving forgiveness for sin, a miraculous thing happens. Although I as a person have sinned, and will continue to sin as I cannot possibly reach the state of perfection that is required by God, God the Father sees in me the perfection of His Son Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ had a perfect slate, no sins…the only perfect man to ever live. Yes Jesus was and is God, but chose to live as one of us to experience what we do but never sinned. So when a person chooses to accept Christ as their personal Savior in effect Jesus says here, I will take your slate filled with checkmarks (sins) and give you mine, which is clean. This then is what the Father sees…Jesus perfect and clean slate instead of your own slate of sin. How can this be?
Jesus chose to die on the cross and pay the penalty we all owe God for sinning so that we do not have to…death. This is referring to spiritual death not physical death meaning being separated from God forever. This is pretty serious; all are under the dominion of the Living God no exceptions and this includes Satan who was created by God. Satan in the beginning was a high-ranking angel of God remember before deciding that he wanted God’s glory for himself.
So we have established that all have sinned and there is no hope of heaven without accepting Christ as Lord and Savior. What is the alternative? Plainly spoken the alternative is eternity in hell, which is where Satan and the demons will be. It will NOT be fun and a big party. Hell will be a place of pain, torment, and unhappiness forever without end. Sounds awful right, and how could God do such a thing if He is loving? Answer; God did not do this, you as a person will do it to yourself. Refusal to accept Jesus is accepting eternity in hell. God is a gentleman, He will in no way force a person to accept Him. Anyone is free to NOT choose God, but then remember you have chosen to reside in hell for all eternity. When a person meets God at the end of days whom has not accepted Christ, God will say to that person…your will be done not mine. The person that lived life refusing to accept God; that choice will simply be honored by God for all eternity.
Satan; I could write a book about him. Of course there is no distinction between good and evil as that would be counter-productive to Satan’s designs. Let us look at a few verses here:
Luke 4:3-8 And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4 But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’ ” 5 Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 7 Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” 8 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ “
James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder.
Luke 4:33-34 Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice, 34 saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are–the Holy One of God!”
Obviously the demons and Satan himself know who Jesus is; that Jesus is God.
Just as obvious Satan desires people to live in any way that they choose; to do anything a person wishes to do whenever they desire to do it. If a person chooses to live their life any way they see fit, then that person will not be in heaven for eternity and that is Satan’s main goal. If Satan can deceive a person into thinking that they can be their own “god”, then he has won the battle with that person. Trying to be “god” is all about serving self, exalting self and seeing to self’s needs regardless of the cost to others.
On the surface Satanism is self-serving; it is all about “me”, but that is the least dangerous part of it. The deeper levels of it are much more serious and involve actual worship of Satan (which he desires) and many evil practices as well like animal sacrifice and blood rites.
Satanism has one main objective no matter a person’s interpretation of it, forsaking God who is Satan’s enemy. Hell was created for Satan and his demons; those that choose to forsake God will join Satan and the demons there.
Lastly, being ones own “god”, and there being no distinction between good and evil in Satanism accomplishes one thing. A person choosing this is not answerable to anyone but self and Satan knows this. Do not be deceived…Satan himself understands the difference between good and evil. Each person understands this as well; don’t believe this? Then why does your conscience bother you when you do certain things if there is no distinction between good and evil? Satan does not want anyone to understand that difference because then a person may realize that they have been lied to by Satan and that in Christ there is hope. A person may then realize that they ARE answerable to someone (God) and turn to God and be forgiven and healed and given new life in Christ.
Choose life…choose Jesus
Related post: What does it mean to have a seared conscience?