Treasuring Jesus over sin

I really want to sin.

No, I don’t want to go out and shoot a person in the face or rob the last pennies from some poor old dear or even take advantage of the low prices abusive labour practices can provide.

But there’s still plenty of bad things I still really would like to do. I mean I love that liberating feeling you get when you let all that venom you have stored up over a certain person come spewing out in a public place. Laughing and connecting with people often involves making crude jokes for a cheap laugh. Small price to pay for friendship, right? If we spend all night drinking, it’s not a big deal because at least we’re going to be friends!

Maybe if I get a girlfriend, I’d want to sleep with her under the guise of ‘we’re going to get married anyway’? Probably. Maybe. And I don’t need to care about that friend who’s life is falling to bits, because I’ve clearly got enough on my own plate without someones drug habit or drinking problem adding to the pile, you know?

Taking the time out to connect with God is always a struggle. It’s not like I don’t know the peace and joy and comfort available to me. It’s not like I don’t know that hearing from God will be to me the sweetest sound, the words of life. But I still don’t want to do it.

I really want to sin. To separate myself from God and to dishonour his creation and to hurt my neighbour. The worst  part is that I am very aware of the harm sin causes.

But that doesn’t stop it’s power.

Like a smoker who is told all the facts of cancer and heart disease and the high cost will be willing to look past all this to burn away more money for the nicotine. Sin is an addiction. Worse still. An addiction we are born with. Surly we came from the womb with this need for evil.

David, an ancient king of Israel wrote some powerful words about his own soul that I feel I can relate to:

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
(Psalm 51:5)

A dire state indeed. Yet in the seat of my being there is something not quite right. Resigning myself to sin does not appeal as it should. It’s tempting, for sure, yet there is something else.

That something else has been unmistakable for years now.

That something else which does not permit sin to go unchecked.

When God took me by the hand to lead me down his paths, a re-orientation occurred in my being. It is an experience common amongst those who follow this road. Paul used the phrase ‘new creation’ to describe this change (2 Corinthians 5:17. Jesus called it ‘rebirth’ (John 3:5). This notion of something outside of ourselves occurring and re-orienting a person to pursue God and to want to walk in his steps.

Yet still there is still this urge to sin. And at the same time, an impulse to overcome.

I see this same paradox in David’s words. After the gravity of his sin, David seeks something more. The presence of God:

Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
(Psalm 51:11-12)

Elsewhere, the songwriters of old cry out:

Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
(Psalm 73:25-26)
What does that mean?

What does it mean for God to be my portion?

I know what spending a night drinking with the boys looks like: Laughter and singing and adventure and friendship and bonds which are not easily broken. I can imagine what sex outside of marriage might look like: Harmless fun between two consenting adults. A great time and a good feeling. And I love to assure myself of my own moral goodness whilst buying cheap clothes made by slaves.

So what if I don’t go out drinking with the boys? How is there greater joy? How is God my portion? How is the path of salvation better than the companionship I could experience?

I suppose sin can be far more tangible than the things of God. In as much as I know myself, I am keenly aware that I act in ways God does not approve of because of the perceived gain at the end. The prize, if you like. Granted, the prize is always a short lived or disappointing one. Yet even a short lived prize seems worth the effort.

What does it looks like for God to be the prize, then?

I understand eternal life to be a gift of grace, received through faith. So that can’t be it. Heaven isn’t earned.

So then, why should I attempt to be moral? Indeed why should I not sin? Why should I miss out on the potential good it can bring me?

In one of the stories Jesus told, he insists that life with God is worth more than anything: like a great treasure to be found, for which someone might give everything up for (Matthew 13:44).

Contemplating my own soul, I notice that much of the time God is not that great treasure. But I want him to be. I don’t think ridged obedience for obedience’s sake is what the Lord wants. From what I see in the saints of old, it doesn’t seem to work either. No, they say sin is overcome by understanding that God has a greater worth.
I just wish I could taste it.

And that is what I shall pray for.

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
(Psalm 34:8)
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16 Comments

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  1. Heh this is so much more positive and further on in the journey. How exciting that we are a new creation – = Paul goes on to explain in the early part of Romans that what has actually happened is that our “old sin nature” has been completely irradicated from our bodies so that we no longer literally live in sin. Yes we still sin but this is because our minds and bodies are still stuck in the old teaching – and Romans 12 v 2 tells us that the way to sort this out is to renew our minds. Its like a computer – needing to be reprogrammed. Our sin nature is gone – but our mind takes some retraining/reprogramming to understand what has already happened in our spirit. Isn’t it exciting Becoming holy (not sinning) comes then as romans says as a fruit not a root – we don’t need to strive to be holy – we end up being holy by accident because we fall more and more in love with God because of his amazing free gift and the fact that he is not holding our sin against us. What an amazing God we have.

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    • Certainly victory over sin is accomplished by holding God to be a better treasure than sin. That seems a consistent, Biblical idea. God did not call his people to turn away from sin, but to turn from sin and to turn to him.

      I’m not sure I’d agree to this separation of ‘spirit’, ‘mind’ and ‘body’. I just don’t see it to be particularly Biblical. At worst is becomes a means of excusing our unrighteousness. At least owning our sin demonstrates that we believe we are unable to conquer it in our own strength. At the moment it seems appropriate for me to pray that God would make me to treasure himself. Sin is the outworking of a heart which does not find God satisfying. I’m in a place now of not experiencing that satisfaction, so sin becomes all the more tempting.

      I remember one person saying to me ‘I’m still getting over my conversion’. I reckon that’s true. When God reaches into our lives, it makes everything different. Even after years and years, there are still the most unexpected challenges and graces to be met.

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  2. But we as Christians AREN’T unrighteousness. Where would you read that teaching biblically? Why do you want to retain your past unrighteousness when Jesus died for you and gave you his righteousness? It’s gone, vanished, disappeared – you could be the worst Christian on the face of the planet but if you have accepted Jesus you are the righteousness of God. God isn’t looking at your sin – God can’t see your sin – God has punished Jesus for your sin so you don’t need to worry. That’s the amazing free gift.

    For me the separation of body soul and spirit – as wellas being totally biblical – is the only way to make sense of all the passages in the bible that tell us we are already righteous, already a new creation. Romans tells me that I am already righteousness (therefore God doesn’t see me as a sinner) tells me I am justified freely by grace. tells me I am blessed, tells me my sins are forgiven (past present and future – whats the point of talking about sin when it’s already dealt with before you committed it? God knew you were going to sin (whatever sin you do) and God already arranged for Jesus to pay the penalty for it – why keep talking about it?

    Rather than focus on feeling sinful why not focus on why you aren’t experiencing satisfaction when everything about your new life in Christ accordingly to the bible says you should be – so what is wrong? The bible or your understanding? Your experience (which is based on emotions) or the bible which is based on God’s truth. What do you think Romans 6 v17 means? You are delivered – you are no longer the slave of sin – you are no longer a sinner – yes you sin but that is because your mind(soul) and your body(Flesh) are still catching up with your spirit (totally transformed and wall to wall Holy Spirit). We are to be renewed by the transforming of our minds – that just means concentrating on the things of God and not on your desire to sin. The more you think about God – the less you will think about sin – the less you think about sin the less you will sin. But if you get it wrong and sin – don’t worry – God has already sorted the problem – just run back to him like a child to his father – and enjoy his company.

    Sad comment from that person and totally unscriptural – never read Paul saying that!!!

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  3. What I feel lacking in your comments Beverly is the struggle that we as Christians do go through. Our journey was never promised to be easy and as for righteousness, we are not righteous people, but made righteous, you do not seem to recognise the need to accept the fact that we sin and need to admit and commit this to God.
    I would like to ask that at some point in your Christian life when the event was happening have you not felt further from God?

    I was recently reading about Fowlers idea on the development of faith, and for our faith to grow and develop we have to doubt and question our faith (read in Ronni Lamonts Understanding Children Understanding God – great read)… You don’t seem to have doubt but have developed a scheme that does not always seem to fit with everyone els’s views on theology, some times we have to review these schemes. doubt, question. Ian I am glad that your blog is representative on occasions of the struggle it is to be a Christian in our society, helps some of us to be more honest and to see the persecution our 21st Century 24/7 society has on us and that we need not allow it to be so. Your honesty also shows that lamenting with God is a great part of our growth.

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  4. Ah yes Bx but why do we go through a struggle? Are we supposed to be going through a struggle? I would suggest NOT. Why are Christians so keen to look at the bible through the light of their experience (I am struggling THEREFORE this is what it’s supposed to be like) as opposed to looking at their experience through the light of the Bible (The Bible says I can do ALL things….. (and tons of other quotes!!) THEREFORE why am I struggling?)

    In answer to your question – the only times I have felt further from God is when I am trying to work in my own power and not His. The second I acknowledge I am not trusting in Him and run back to his loving arms then everything is fine again – God has never never never once ever moved away from me or stopped looking at me or stopped loving me because I have sinned – he is not turning his back on me because he turned his back on Jesus.

    The Problem isn’t with God or with our sin – it’s with our lack of understanding of scripture. Romans 12 says be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Christians today come to the cross, accept Jesus as their saviour and then aren’t discipled. They aren’t taught what this new life means – they are just told – keep struggling that’s how it’s supposed to be. Well it’s NOT how’s is supposed to be – the Bible says the Christian life is a victorious life – if you aren’t experiencing a victorious life – then is the bible lying?

    God says he’s not condeming me, God says he has thrown my sin in the deepest ocean, God says he is not imputing my sin, God says he has punished Jesus for ALL my sin, God says I am forgiven, God says I AM (not will be, not maybe not at some point in the future if I’m good) no i AM the righteousness of God. Yes not in my own strength but because of Jesus but I have accepted this FREE GIFT so therefore I AM THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD and he is NOT cross with me – how can He be cross with ME when he put ALL his wrath on Jesus.

    I just don’t understand your terminology and phraseology? We are not righteous people but made righteous – YES HALLELUJAH we ARE MADE righteous – you don’t seem to realise the significance of that statement. Your statements reads like – “I was missing something, I was given that something but I am still missing that something” how ridiculous is that. The righteousness is a Free Gift of God. He has given it to us – it sits on the table – but you have to unwrap it – you have to accept the gift and you have to use it.

    Of course I accept I sin – BUT the Bible tells me GOd isn’t imputing this sin, that there is NO condemnation and my sin is already sorted. Do you believe that every time you sin Jesus has to go back to the cross and make atonement for it? Because that is what your paragraph is saying actually.

    Of course I say sorry to God when I realise I have got it wrong again – but no I don’t feel condemned because God says he isn’t condeming me – why should I condemn myself? He is my loving father – I am stupid but God loves me stupid!!

    Could I suggest that you look at Fowlers ideas in light of what the bible says? We don’t operate in our own faith but in THE faith of Jesus. How amazing is that – Faith is a gift – ALL we have to do is believe. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Show me where in the bible it says that for our faith to grow and develop we have to doubt and question? We live by The Faith of the Son of God (Galations) your statement about faith having to be doubted and questioned could actually be seen as blasphemy – as we live by THe faith of Christ which was a free gift to us – then questioning and doubting our faith we are actually questioning and doubting Christ. No no no no no. That is NOT the bible message – Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God – the more we hear (and study and know) the word of God the more our faith develops. Faith is substance Faith is evidence, Faith as small as a mustard seed moves a mountain, Faith purifies our hearts, Faith sanctifies us, by faith we stand, by faith we ARE justified, . Faith blesses us, we live by faith, by faith we receive th promise of the Spirit, faith is our shield against the darts of the devil (not much use to us if we are questionining and doubting it!!)

    Sorry Bex but your writing (and sometimes Ian’s) might very well explain what you see in Christians all around you today – but that does not mean that is how God wants us to be living.

    I prefer to believe what the Bible says about me – and it’s never let me down yet. I am an overcomer – not in my own strength but in the power of the Holy Spirit who lives on the inside of me twenty four seven.

    Amen. xxx

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  5. I would definitely struggle to call the Christian walk a ‘victorious life’ in many ways. Jesus told his disciples they would have trouble (John 16:33). He commanded them to carry their cross (Matthew 16:24). Even continuing into the early church was the understanding of the great cost of following Jesus. ‘through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God’ (acts 14:22).

    Christ conquered this world through death and suffering. To believe in Christ is to be formed in his likeness – the crucified God. Thus, faith in Christ is the narrow path of dying to self and to the world, suffering for a greater hope and to endure hardship to magnify the satisfying love of Jesus.

    The path to salvation takes us to the cross. If it does not, it is too cheap to be called salvation. It cost Jesus everything, so why should we expect any less?

    “I was missing something, I was given that something but I am still missing that something” – I actually quite like this. For me it summarises the great paradox of the faith. Christ broke into my world and yet still I must pursue him. Salvation is a treasure given to us now and yet still a prize which is to be sought. Paul often uses athletic language to describe this (1 Corinthians 9:24-25, Philippians 3:13-15). We are running and training towards the goal, pressing on towards things greater – all the while understanding that our strength and desire to run the race is the outworking of the Spirit in us.

    I have discovered the grace of God is found in this race. It’s like these trials and struggles and doubts are the means by which God makes his salvation real for us. If it doesn’t impact our existential reality, our faith is no better than being imaginary. To say that we are forgiven without living a life of forgiveness and generosity and purity is to make forgiveness cheap. Worse still, it makes forgiveness something imaginary. Something we give ourselves.

    Maybe we encounter forgiveness through our walk with Jesus and in our obedience to him. I’d suggest that our faith doesn’t save us until we obey Jesus – for what is faith without obedience? A good idea? An obedient life is a saved life – because it is a life united to Jesus and walking the narrow path of his Kingdom.

    No, I find it hard to accept the notion of Christianity as a ‘victorious life’ since Jesus suffered defeat after defeat in his life on earth. I understand discipleship to be the life lived in the fashion of Jesus, meeting him on the road of suffering and yet still declaring good news to all people.

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  6. Firstly – [quote] ) your statement about faith having to be doubted and questioned could actually be seen as blasphemy[unquote] this was not my statement it is a theory put across about Faith development.

    Secondly [quote] Sorry Bex but your writing (and sometimes Ian’s) might very well explain what you see in Christians all around you today – but that does not mean that is how God wants us to be living.[unquote]I may have understood this wrong and mis interpreted it but are you saying you live in a bubble of you and just God, separated from the community of believers, which is very much a biblical phenomenon Acts 2 44All the believers were together and had everything in common.

    I just wish for clarification upon this statement

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  7. Ok folks – all I can say is that I would appear to be living a completely different life to you two and from reading what you both write am I have no desire to swap with you. Why would I want to experience questions and doubt and worry and trauma and depression and concerns over sin when I can feel loved and protected and cared for and free and safe and wonderful in the presence of my heavenly father.

    You may feel I am critical about your writings but it appears to me – the reader- that you are not experiencing the fullness of life and peace and joy that the bible promises you and me that we CAN live in through the power of the Holy Spirit. Surely as a fellow Christian I would be wrong not to encourcage you to seek that joy and peace and fullness of life to free you from your apparently worries?

    Hey no – I am not living in a bubble (and I don’t say what follows to in any way boast – just to hopefully make it clear that all thanks and praise to my heavenly father I live a wonderful blessed God filled God centred life – which seems to be giving me far more happiness and joy and peace and laughter than it would appear other are living – and I wonder why on earth you think I would want to swap my lifestyle for yours?)

    I am well and truly in the world (but I rejoice that I am not of it). I have wonderful wonderful fellowship with a large community of believers from many different and varying church backgrounds – I meet four separate women each week for Bible Study – we have a house church fellowship where we meet for a fellowship meal, study and worship – including children’s work each week I am affiliated to a Bible College where I am doing a bible study correspondence course and have fellowship with past and current students. My husband and I go on a prayer walk each morning, and take it in turns to pray with each other each evening. Every breakfast we listen to a twenty minute teaching from God’s word which we delight in discussing with each other. I have experienced personal healing in my life and live at a point where through the power of the Holy Spirit living in me and in Jesus’ name I can banish pain from my body.

    Yes Ian I experience troubles – but like Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4 v 8 I am not distressed or in dispair. As you quite rightly say Jesus told us to expect troubles – but aren’t you forgetting how he told us to deal with those troubles – he said do NOT despair for I have overcome the world. I am an overcomer through Christ the Lord who strengthens me and I am not going to apologise for it.

    Bx – I did not mean to attribute that quote about faith from you – my concern was that you felt able to quote it – so I assumed you had validated it as a true statement. If this is not the case I am delighted that you have compared it to scripture but would query why if you didn’t believe it to be true you would quote it?

    Ian – I am very very sad that you can’t accept the “notion” that Christianity is a “victorious life” – sad firstly because it isn’t a notion it is a truth of scripture – it is the word of God. Secondly Jesus did not suffer “defeat after defeat” in his life (name just one – just one defeat Jesus suffered). He experienced victory after victory. He experienced trials and tribulations and came through them all – resting entirely on the power of the holy spirit – and that is what he has told me to do. Have you ever thought that the inability to accept a victorious life actually stops evangelism and helping others because one’s own thoughts are so wrapped up in oneself and one’s problems and stresses and sins and trials that one is unable to focus on others.

    The secret of a victorious Christian Life is to be hidden in Christ – to surrender self and accept His power. Surrendering self is not a struggle – it’s just accepting that we never can and never will be worthy so just accept what Jesus has done for us and live a victorious life in his power.

    Tell me Ian – why do you want the Christian life to be full of pain and suffering and defeat and depression and sin and more sin and more pain and more suffering?

    My Christian life isn’t like that (actually never has been) despite everything that the devil has thrown at me I have kept my eyes on Jesus and hey – here I still am – walking in victory and not defeat – handing things to him – leaving things at the foot of the cross and not walking away with them.

    If your Christian walk isn’t giving you fullness of joy and peace and happiness that is promised to every Christian in the bible – I don’t understand why you wouldn’t want to give my way a go?

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  8. I’m sorry that you have missed that people do struggle with their faith and instead of supporting them you seem to be saying to us that our faith is not real. Thank God I do find joy in him, and that my encouragement is in him, often given through friends such as Ian. Yet your replies have often left me doubting my faith because – and in spite what you obviously don’t want to do – it appears to be boasting.

    I am sorry that obviously my faith is not strong enough or real enough for you, but is often in my doubting that God reveals himself to me. I would hope that you would consider brief encouragement next time, rather than what appears to be more an attack.

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  9. Praise the Lord Bx that you do find joy in Him and encouragement in him – isn’t he amazing. However I struggle that it would appear that this joy and encouragement varies depending on circumstances. I don’t believe I have stated that your faith is not strong or real enough. This of course cannot be biblically possible because faith is a gift from God and God’s gifts aren’t lacking in any way – and also the bible tells us that we all receive the same measure of faith so my faith is the same as yours. Perhaps the only difference I would suggest is that you maybe are not yet aware what that faith can achieve for you – Faith is the power that overcomes the world. You have that faith so you have the ability to overcome the world. Isn’t that amazing.

    Of course I haven’t missed that people struggle with faith – ask the many people who I pastor how much finding out the truth has freed them to enjoy life in all its fullness. Someone said to me only the other day (we were discussed their period of depresssion) that if she had realised then what she realised now she need never have been depressed. Sadly I realise you will even read this statement as boasting. But understanding what Faith is and what God has given us enables us to be free indeed.

    Of course I support people but not by allowing people to wallow in self pity but to point to the bible and what they have available to them to solve the problem. If you had found water in the desert and came across someone dying of thirst – what would you do? Offer them the life giving water -or empathise with them that they are dying of thirst?

    I am sad you think I am boasting – I can only assume you consider the writers of the epistles to have been boasting too and lacking in encouragement too? I am not boasting because nothing of any of what I say is gained by me in my own strength. Quite the opposite – I know how worthless I am and how much I have to be grateful to my wonderful Father for.

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  10. Finally I see that you are trying to help where as before the way you worded your argument sounded more as if you were boasting, which I did not believe you were trying to do. I am fully aware of what faith an achieve as I have overcome many obstacles, but I will not be afraid for those who need to hear it, to be encouraged, that I have doubted and doubted strongly, even the Apostles doubted… just look at Thomas.

    Drawing attention on this comment you wrote [quote] However I struggle that it would appear that this joy and encouragement varies depending on circumstances. [unquote] I feel this was what Ian’s original post was about drawing answer on for you to understand. I am unsure of who you are or what your circumstances are or have been, but I was bullied before they found out about my faith, and it would have been so much easier for me to give in to the world because that is sometimes just the easy option. We as Christians are walking against the flow, or paddling against the tide. I tried that once on particularly difficult stretch of beach in a Kayak with a friend… and it certainly wasn’t easy. I’m pleased that God has given you the gift of such assurance in him, but he also must have given the gift of doubt to, a strange way to look at it, but particularly with the story of Thomas, when God revealed himself after the doubt he had… well he exclaimed Christ. Different gifts, different people, I suppose that is what makes Gods tapestry so rich in colour that we all see faith in different ways and have different gifts that God has placed upon our lives, maybe Ian’s gift is blessing those who are unsure and at ill ease so to say with faith and Christian life through his struggle. Maybe yours is through the certain certainty and unbreakable joy… I suppose only God will know.

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  11. Bx thank you for your understanding. Will you forgive me for saying that I still struggle with this point of view that says – “this is what I am experiencing so therefore this is the way it must be”.

    My walk with God has never been like that – so I cannot obviously agree with you on that. My walk with God has shown me time and time again that when I am struggling with life (note: not when Life is a struggle but when I am struggling to cope with life) as soon as I realise I am finding it a struggle I realise I am trying to cope in my own strength rather than surrendering and relying on God’s strength and power through them – then I run as fast as I can back to him – surrender myself and the situation to him, take pleasure in his word and his promises and climb back onto the safety of his “knee” like the child that I am.

    You quote Thomas – yes indeed he doubted – but was this what Jesus wanted him to do – was this a part of his growth – was this a “gift” or was it Thomas operating in sin. I believe the answer comes in the way Jesus spoke to him – I do not believe this doubt was a gift – I do not read that Jesus praised Thomas for his doubt. Jesus rather praised those who would not doubt.

    Yes different people – but one Word of God telling us one way to be happy and fulfilled and peaceful. I pick up my bible, I read the promises I believe the promises – if those promises aren’t being fulfilled in my life I examine my life – realise (always) its’ because I’ve been trying to attempt something, cope with something, do something in my own strength rather that the power of God, tell God I’m sorry and listen to what he wants me to do instead.

    I am not sure I understand how reading that it’s ok to struggle and be in doubt is actually helpful to people? Don’t think the bible ever encourages us with this message – Paul certainly doesn’t – he always tells people what they should be doing rather than empathising with their situation if they are not experiencing peace and joy and fulfilment. I think I prefer the bible method because I have seen the results of doing it the bible’s way in my own life and the lives of those around me.

    (By the way life has been pretty tough for me – I was always bullied and singled out and treated with disdain because I followed God – standing up and rooting for creation rather than evolution tended to single one out in science lessons – saying I believed in miracles didn’t go down too well in RE lessons, not wanting to bitch and gossip about people didn’t go down too well in the playground – I often felt isolated and alone! I was sexually abused as a child, my first husband left me for another woman (and had slept with so many I had to have an AIDS tests) I have been thrown out of a church for daring to state publically that Jesus died for the sins of the world and not just the elect. I have had an abusive email about me sent by that church to every conceivable christian church and organisation and name in my local area – and this is just a small sample of the trials and tribulations I have faced. Again please don’t take this as me boasting just hopefully getting you to see that my assurance and trust and confidence and walk with God is not because my life hasn’t been challenging.

    We do walk against the flow – but Jesus never intended us to walk against the flow in our own strength – because he knew that was impossible – after all that’s why he died for us in the first place – because we couldn’t do it on our own. He knows the only way for us to walk effectively against the flow is in his strength not our own – and this is the message I find in the Bible.

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  12. Do you not see that what you are saying is so much like what Ian is grasping at but you’ve just got a bit more experience than us?

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  13. No I don’t at all – what I constantly read is it’s ok to be depressed it’s ok to be doubting it’s ok to be thinking about sin all the time, its ok to call myself a sinner it’s ok to not be operating in the power of God its ok feel small its ok to feel lonely it’s ok to feel lost. No it isn’t. And we don’t grow by giving in to these feelings.

    I maintain that this position, these words, these doubts are not biblical. (James 1 v 6 and 7 says that doubt is not going to get you anywhere – so why would you choose to operate in doubt?)

    I maintain it is actually an insult to God to say all these things because in saying these things we aren’t acknowledging what God has done for us. Yes of course now and again I might fleetingly feel depressed or despair about a situation – but my solution is not to allow myself to wallow but to rush straight to the Word and talking to my heavenly father – five minutes in the Word just reminding myself of who I am in Christ and what God has done for me and has given me – makes me realise instantly how selfish I am being by even thinking depressing thoughts – it’s like saying Heh God what you’ve done for me isn’t enough – and the Holy Spirit inside me lifts me to heights instantly and I choose no longer to focus on depression. I certainly don’t go around saying it’s OK to be depressed because it isn’t!!

    I maintain it is nothing to do with having a “bit more experience” but iin the choices one makes about how to control one’s mind. I can choose to keep my mind stayed on God (in which case the bible promises me perfect peace) or I can choose to wallow in self pity – in which case the devil is rubbing his hands with glee. Don’t get me wrong – I haven’t arrived – but I have left – I practice this and I can confirm it works.

    From what I read Ian doesn’t feel content and happy in his current situation – he seems always to be searching for something he feels is somehow out of reach? Now which way of doing things makes more sense?

    I choose to place trust in God – therefore I choose to believe what he says about me rather than what the devil says about me. I am NOT a sinner because God calls me His Righteousness. I have NO reason to be depressed because I have EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING IN THE HEAVENLY REALM available to me right here and now to overcome and conquer whatever the devil throws at me. I do not have to berate myself for my sin because God says there is no condemnation for me – yes I sin – yes I go to God and say sorry – Yes I know I am forgiven – but I am not going to dwell on my sin – that would be magnifying my sin – I choose to magnify God instead.

    The devil comes only to kill steal and destroy – if I talk about being depressed and down I am allowing the devil to steal the love and joy and peace I have inside me from the Holy Spirit. Can you see the difference.

    Recognising what we already have should make us joyful, peaceful etc etc – and far more free to start helping others because I have no fear – perfect love casts out all fear (I know how perfectly God loves me so I KNOW i don’t have to be afraid of anything).

    I maintain that the bible clearly says that for a Christian it is NOT ok to be any of these things – because we have been given the ability to appropriate world overcoming power through our faith and that if we believe what the bible says then we should not be talking about being depressed etc but actually realising what’s available for us to tap into so that we aren’t depressed etc etc. It is an entirely different way of thinking.

    The trouble is as it says in proverbs as we think in our hearts so are we – and there is certainly much evidence of this in Christian and non Christian alike – you can literally talk yourself into being depressed and down and defeated etc. And why? Why would anyone want to do this – it just doesn’t make sense to me?

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  14. I can see that what ever I say there is never going to be for you the right answer, because I feel the same as what you have said but I also understand Ian’s how did you put it “he seems always to be searching for something he feels is somehow out of reach? Now which way of doing things makes more sense?” That would probably be him handing over more and more to God. As we have to give everything to God. Yet so often many, notice the word many, not all, or you or me, but many, it is a slow walk, like the road to Emmaus, where it involved teaching, and communication with our Amazing risen Lord, before we truly see him revealed. I don’t want an essay answer, but is this journey through life the start of that walk and then into the witnesss like the friends on the Emmaus road? You can even see them trying to witness as they thought God was dead. then they saw the risen king and ran back. Who are we then to determine how long someones walk on the Emmaus road is, or how many times they fall over before finding the faith we have in Christ in such a way you and I seem to have?

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  15. And there you have it in a nutshell – the speed at which we grow in our walk with the Lord is just totally and utterly dependent upon the speed at which we surrender ourselves and give all to him. So if we know that the quicker we surrender the quicker we gain our promised peace joy etc – why wouldn’t anyone want to surrender as quickly as possible. Now the more we talk about our own problems the slower the surrender – because the more we talk and write about our problems the more we rehearse our problems and the longer our problems stay with us.

    Yes many have a slow walk – but that’s not the way that God wants it to be – and it’s not the way it has to be – it really is so simple a child can do it – in fact that’s exactly how we are supposed to approach the Lord – as a child – in simple trusting childlike faith. The sooner we stop analysing and thinking about our life and just start thinking about God and what he says about us – the quicker we move in our journey.

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