Merry Christmas (Celebrating a King)

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/f21/30998939/files/2014/12/img_3076.jpg

Photo credit: Pinterest

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever,~Isaiah 9:6-7.

Merry Christmas to you and your families. Christmas is a time to reflect on the greatest gift ever given to humanity, Jesus. A King left Paradise to come and save a sinful world. He humbled Himself to take the lowest place, that of a babe. A child is dependent on others for care, protection, and provision. A babe cannot speak and is helpless in many ways.

The King of the Universe came into the world to bless the world. He wasn’t born into wealth. He left the riches of heaven for the poverty of earth.

Jesus is the gift who continues to give to the world. He’s continuing to bless the world. This glorious King is alive and pursuing the hearts of His people.

If you do not know Him personally, I invite you to get to know Jesus. Relationship with Him begins with the Father drawing us, acknowledging a need for Him, confessing our sins, repenting, and believing that He is the Son of God. He came for love. He came for you! God pursues to love!

If this season brings you stress, strain, pain, or grief, know that Jesus lives to intercede for you. He loves you! You are so deeply loved. Jesus said, “Come to Me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” My prayers are with you as well.

Sweet friends, God loves you. He SO loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so whosoever will believe in Him will have everlasting life!

Merry Christmas!

Love,

Erin

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/f21/30998939/files/2014/12/img_3101.jpg

Hearing God

20131210-173417.jpg
John 10:22-30

Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

There are people who believe God no longer speaks to His children. There are those who believe God only speaks to certain people. There are those who believe God is always speaking.

I used to fall into the category of believing God only spoke to certain people. I’d hear people say, “I had this dream, vision, thought, or heard this voice and I just knew it was God.” It puzzled and intrigued me. I wanted to talk to God and be able to hear a reply.

My journey started in my late teens when I picked up a Tommy Tenney book. He quoted so many scriptures on how God longs for ALL His children to hear from Him. I was excited and determined.

Then I started praying, “God I would love to hear Your voice.

What happened next? To me it seemed like a whole lot of nothing at first. There was silence…so I thought.

Then I’d notice someone would say something that hit right home with what I needed to hear. I learned God speaks through people. Of course we take what’s said and weigh it against truth…yet sometimes we are waiting for a loud voice from the sky and God is speaking through the people placed in our lives.

There were circumstances that seemed to point towards or away from things I was pursuing. I learned God speaks and works through circumstances! Sometimes people are waiting to hear an audible voice from God when He’s showing them through situations the thing they are pursuing is not wise. It takes prayer and discernment for some situations.

Here’s a good example: a person keeps overspending yet they’re praying for God to speak a word about finances. The obvious answer is don’t spend what you don’t have and to ask God for willpower.

Here’s another example: a person wonders if they should date or be friends with someone. The person’s behavior is consistently questionable. There’s not really a need to ask God for a yes or no. He allows you to see the behavior and choose for yourself.

God’s Word/Intersecting Thoughts:

I noticed Bible verses would pop into my mind, thoughts of God’s love, or people would cross my mind to pray for to contact. I learned God speaks to our hearts and minds through intersecting thoughts. He speaks in ways we often dismiss. He’s not yelling; He’s speaking and prompting.

I started dating and documenting dreams, words, intersecting thoughts, impressions, visions, and any time I felt God was speaking. There are journals in my house going back 15 years. Over time and with prayer, there’s an increased awareness of God’s voice. There are things that were spoken over my life that did not happen for years. Some I forgot about and when journals were revisited, there was the initial word.

God Longs For You To Hear Him:

God speaks! And He longs to speak to you. I’m not a special person with a super hotline to God. Hearing from Him is a privilege of EVERY believer. Every healthy relationship is rooted in communication. God longs to talk to every one of His children.

That being said…there are people who fear they are making things up or if they tell people God speaks it opens the floodgates for chaos.

Here are some tips:

1. God will not tell you to sin. Examples: God will not tell you to lie, steal, cheat, gossip, complain, maliciously hurt people or yourself, commit adultery or fornication, etc.. I had someone tell me once God told them it was okay to sin. That’s not God’s character or nature.

2. Filter what’s being said through love. Not our human love. God’s love. Is it truthful? Exalting God? Redemptive? Hopeful? A warning to lead to repentance? Filled with grace? Does it match God’s character? Would it be something you’d imagine Jesus would say?

3. Study the Bible and how God spoke to and through people. Especially look at the words of Jesus.

4. If sharing with someone else what you believe God’s placed on your heart, it’s a good practice to say…”I feel or believe this is what God has placed on my heart.” Especially if you have no history with that person. It also gives the person the opportunity to reject what you’ve said if it isn’t quite accurate. The Bible says all prophesy is to be tested.

5. Measure by the table below:

20131210-185321.jpg

For the Ladies (Killing Insecurity)

b0ab1621c2a1175784a55bb686887ba2

Today’s post is dedicated to the ladies! You are beautiful, chosen, loved, adored, pursued, cared for, and the apple of God’s eye.

This post is about insecurity. Insecurity is a poison that contaminates relationships and destroys it’s host. It seeps into every area of the heart seeking to place the focus on self instead of on God. Insecurity is the root that produces the fruits of fear, jealousy, bitterness, envy, control, manipulation, rejection, competition, paranoia, and more. Insecurity is not from God. Insecurity says, “God doesn’t have enough. God doesn’t love me enough. God is not able or faithful. I am not enough. Everyone else is better than me. I must have or do ______ in order to be okay.

The truth is: You are made in the image of God. You are His workmanship created for His glory. You are a Princess because your Father is the King of the Universe.

The world works diligently to make people insecure. The media is filled with images of people who are elevated to look perfect and be perfect. If you do not fit the mold, then you are less than. The news is filled with bad news: the world is ending, everything is bad, be afraid, be worried, save your money…you can’t  trust anything or anyone. Even the church can be a place where we are made to feel we must be something other than who we are in order to be loved and accepted. A place that is supposed to be welcoming, accepting, and filled with love can often be a place of judgment, criticism, comparisons, and competition as well. The message is not, “Be like Christ,” it’s “Be like me.” In the world we are loved if we behave a certain way or fit into a certain mold. In God’s eyes, we are loved despite who we are, and He works to change us into who He wants us to be.

One of the diseases that’s killing us is insecurity. Insecurity causes us to look down on others to lift ourselves up. It’s insecurity that causes us to gossip about people. Insecurity causes us to be highly critical of others instead of dealing with ourselves. It is insecurity that causes us to not stand up for what we believe. Insecurity causes us to be filled with jealousy, envy, strife, offense, prejudice, fear, and hatred. When we don’t know our own value and worth, we cannot value, celebrate, or honor anyone else. 

So, what’s the cure:

  • Jesus! A relationship with God. He is the One who created everything and everyone. The value of something is determined by how much someone is willing to pay for it. God sent His only Son to die for all of mankind. The price for each person was paid with the highest price, the life of Jesus. We become like the One we worship. If we worship God, spend time with Him, allow Him to speak into our lives, then we have a more secure foundation. Jesus was not insecure. He knew who He was and who His Daddy was. He was confident.
  • Repentance. I know it seems radical to repent for being insecure. The repentance is going to God and saying, “I repent for saying Your assessment of me was not valid. I repent for making the opinions of other people more valuable than Yours. I repent for allowing the world to define who I am instead of allowing You to define who I am. Help me to see myself through your eyes.
  • Identity in Christ. Nothing we try to find our identity in other than God is stable: not money, not relationships, not marriage, not work, not achievements, not ministry, not serving, not the opinions of people, not looks or beauty, not the stock market, not our political beliefs, not ourselves, not children or our roles as mothers. There is nothing and no one who provides a stable, solid foundation outside of Jesus. All other ground is sinking sand.

It’s not about self-help or pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. The Gospel is about abiding in Christ and allowing Him to do the hard work. He creates lasting change. Relationship with God will always trump doing for Him. It is out of being that we begin to do. For what moves His heart begins to move ours. His thoughts invade ours. Fears melt away in the presence of unfailing love.

Final Notes/Testimony:

A good portion of my life I felt as though something bad was about to happen because for a good portion of my life bad things continually happened. I watched my best friend and mum die from cancer. I helped another close family member for 7 years through sickness, surgeries, pain, and losing everything. While other young people were having fun, I was sitting in hospitals. The promises of God were in my mind, but it took a long time for them to navigate to my heart. My circumstances did not line up with God’s promises.

Faith is not about our feelings, and it isn’t a fake it until you make it either. Experience with God builds our security in Him, hence Him inviting us into relationship.

Even today I feel more secure with God than I do with people. For experiences with people have left devastation and pain. It took time for God to remove labels people had placed on me and for me to accept His voice above all the mockers. It takes an effort for me to engage with some people, but God lovingly draws me out and says, “Love again.” It’s another situation where positive things are in my head, but they are slowly navigating to the heart. There are some really good people in the world! There are some really encouraging people in the world. It’s a journey and process.

It is a process to allow the love of God to flow in and out. It takes time to get to know God. We will not trust someone we don’t know. We will not be secure in a relationship with someone we don’t know. So the ever-increasing desire is to know God more! I pray the same for you too! You are deeply loved, today and always.

c4b331dd948e6d1cfe60ae1d23471c29

Humpty Dumpty (You Can Recover)

The great nursery rhyme says:

Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

All the kings horses and all the king’s men

Could not put Humpty Dumpty back together again….
 
I heard a quote I liked. It said, “Don’t tell other people your problems. Twenty (20) percent of the people don’t want to hear them and the other 80 percent are glad you have them.” God is not like people, you can tell Him your problems, and He will not grow tired. He will lead you out of self pity to victory, but He never, ever turns away those who mourn.

Here’s the truth as I see it.

Life will push you off the wall. People will push you off the wall. No matter what you do, how well you believe, how much you love God, bad things happen to all people. If nothing bad has happened to you, then no offense but you live a very safe and sheltered life. Jesus said, “In the world, you WILL have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world.” The more ground you are taking from darkness, the bigger the target on your head. That does not mean we should live afraid. We are more than conquerors through Christ who gives us strength. It does mean we can anticipate some bumps along the way.

I have unfortunately and fortunately had to learn most things about God via experience. Those who have known me a long time know that the there have been some hellish experiences along the way. Some I wish to never relive (including car accidents that cost me cars and physical/emotional traumas), three family members to die just this year, more relational trauma than a normal person should ever have to endure, etc….It is only by the grace of God that I am not completely out of my ever loving mind. Our God is able!

The Good News:

The Good News is, God is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

No matter how bad it hurts today, He can and will put you back together again! No matter how many pieces your life has been shattered into, God specializes in calling dead things to life and calling something out of nothing. He created Adam from the dust. He spoke the world into existence. The Universe proclaims the splendor of the works of His hands. With one word, one encounter, God can turn your situation completely around! He is not limited by anyone or anything.

Closing thoughts:

There is joy bubbling out of my soul that is unexplainable, and not fully expressible. I know our Redeemer lives, and He is the Healer. There is nothing God can’t do.

Joy is your inheritance. Jesus paid for it! He said: 

For those who grieve in Zion—God will bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor! Isaiah 61:3 

God is faithful to His word! No word from Him ever fails, but accomplishes every single thing it is sent out to do!

Blessings and love for your futures…

God knows the plans He has for you, not to harm you, but to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

Erin

The Fullness of God (Identity in Christ Part 13)

284289795197252285_6tcMh3pp_c

The quote above from C.S Lewis is spot on for what I wanted to talk about today. We need God. We don’t need another self-help book, or more advice from people, or to have the latest greatest preacher or prophet pray for us and speak over our lives. We need GOD. People spend their lives going round and around in circles looking for answers when God is the answer. He knows all, sees all, and nothing that happens to us or will happen to us is unknown to Him. So, why do we spend so much time seeking our own wisdom, or the advice of others, instead of developing intimacy with God?

I am not stating it’s wrong to seek the counsel of others, prayer from others, or help from people. God created families and communities so we would be able to be blessed by one another. People, however, will never, ever be able to replace God. They are not God and will never be God.

Any good thing done for us is motivated by God. Did you know God can prompt a non-believer to bless you.

When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him, Proverbs 16:7.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows, James 1:17.

God alone is good. When we see people doing things that are genuinely good, we can thank God. Remove God and what you have is selfishness and evil.

If God alone is good (which He is), why do we not spend more time getting to know Him instead of everyone else. Here are a few traps that prevent us from going to the true source…

The trap of “I can do it on my own.”

We live in a society that says, “Take care of yourself. Be a self-made person. It’s about you!” The world promotes pride. Pride is what got Lucifer into trouble. He wanted to exalt himself above God. I believe we seek our own wisdom out of pride. There is something inside us that says, “I can figure this out. I know what to do.” The Bible tells us in Proverbs 3:5-8.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways acknowledge him,

and he will make your paths straight.

Do not be wise in your own eyes;

fear the Lord and shun evil.

This will bring health to your body

and nourishment to your bones.

We don’t have to ask God what to wear or about every single detail of our lives. We are encouraged to ask God for wisdom, insight, knowledge, and understanding. God is the fullness of wisdom, intelligence, insight, and knowledge. No one knows more than He does. He created everything we see. How awesome is it that He invites us to ask Him for wisdom. I don’t know about you, but I want to speak to the One who knows it all and cannot lie. People give us their opinions and insight which may be good, however everything God gives is perfect. He not only knows all, He knows what to say and how to say it. I have had people give me their opinions that did not line up with what God was speaking. They went by their perceptions of a situation. God looks at the entire picture. He knows every hair on our heads and knows why we do what we do even when we don’t know. Nothing is hidden from Him.

The trap of “I can’t know God.”

I have heard people say, “I don’t hear God’s voice, and I don’t feel Him near.” So, they give up on developing a relationship with God and settle for less than what Jesus paid for. Some people are waiting for a glorious power encounter like Apostle Paul had on the road to Damascus. The Bible tells us the following. Jesus said, My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me, John 10:27. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse, Romans 1:20.

The Bible tells us two valuable things, God has made himself known and makes Himself known to the world. He set up nature and everything around us so we would ponder who is responsible for it all. We also have a sweet word from Jesus that as His followers we will know His voice. We can learn the voice of God and hear His voice. God makes Himself available to be known. He’s pursuing us more than we could ever pursue Him. When I first became a Christian I did not have the encounters with God that some people around me had. I thought it was only for the spiritually mature, pastors, etc…I read in the Bible I could have a great relationship with God, it simply wasn’t happening the way it was for others. It wasn’t until I read Tommy Tenney’s book Come Thirsty in my late teens that I decided this hearing from God thing was something I wanted every day and I wanted intimacy with God more than anything. I am sure it was all initiated by God, and I take no credit for the desire. Growing to know God is the best thing that has ever happened in my life.

We can all know Him and have as close of a relationship as we want to have with Him. He is no respecter of persons. It’s not for some “special people.” It’s for everyone. Come one, come all!

The trap of “I will talk to everyone but God  or substitute people for God”

We covered this earlier, but we can become obsessed with seeking people for help, counsel, and wisdom. God is the source. People are not to be our primary source. They can not handle the weight of our brokenness. Only God can. People are flawed and sinful. God has no sin. We can be completely vulnerable with God with no fear. People even with the best of intentions can do great harm and damage to us. They operate out of their world view and limited knowledge. I have confidants, but I have learned that not every person who claims Christ is trustworthy, wise, or the right person to ask for help. I now ask God to lead me to the right people instead of allowing any and everyone to speak into my life. Even family can give bad advice and counsel. People, I repeat, people are not God. They will never be God. He alone is God.

The trap of “I am too busy or I will substitute things or activity for God.”

I love the phrase, “If you only pray when you’re in trouble, you are in trouble.” We need God. If we only talk to Him when we are in need, we are running on empty. Jesus operated on full. He regularly prayed to the Father, fasted, withdrew away for alone time with the Father, and when the storms came-Jesus rebuked the storms. He operated on full. He showed us how to live life. He was fully human and fully God. We are fully human and if we are believers, filled with God’s Spirit. We are also called to operate on full and draw from and rely on the Holy Spirit. He is all-powerful. We cannot be too busy for God. He said to love Him first above all. He is to be loved above work, above ministry, above family and spouses, above friends, above comfort, above food and pleasure. God is to be first. If He is not first, then we have an idol lurking somewhere. And our idols can do nothing but enslave us. Whatever is more important than God has to be thrown on the altar, for no person can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). We either worship, love, and serve God…or we don’t.

I imagine if I were giving a motivational speech to sum this up it would go something like this….

Do you want more joy, hope, peace, and love in your life? Come to Jesus!

Do you want a more fulfilled life? Come to Jesus!

Do you want more wisdom and insight? Come to Jesus!

Do you want to be a better person? Come to Jesus!

Are you tired, worn out, weary, and without hope? Come to Jesus!

Do you need a friend who will stick closer than a brother and will never leave you, forsake you, or betray you? Come to Jesus!

Are you struggling, hurting, addicted, or in desperate need? Sweet friend come to Jesus!

One size fits all! He has all that you need and more. He is never closed. He always has time for you. He always has your best interests at heart.

We have the treasure that never runs dry. God does not fail. God has unlimited resources that He longs to share with His children. God overflows. He has no lack. He is available 24/7 for us & no one else is. He is the only One who can be with us always, even to the ends of the age. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age, Matthew 28:20b.

So my dear friends, I pray that this year 2013 we will seek first the Kingdom of God and all of His righteousness. When He is first in our lives, we experience the fullness of God. We become like the One we worship. When we are full of God, every person who crosses our paths is blessed beyond measure. The world does not need more people who are full of themselves. The world needs more people who are rooted in Christ and look like their Papa. May we be those people in this dark world. Love, Erin.

8cbdb5ddd70f8e1fcef3ff28643ffb59

Powerful (Identity in Christ Part 11)

Image

Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give, Matthew 10:8.

I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you, Luke 10:19.

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong, 2 Corinthians 12:8-10.

You who sit down in the High God’s presence,
    spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow,
Say this: “God, you’re my refuge.
    I trust in you and I’m safe!”
That’s right—He rescues you from hidden traps,
    shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you—
    under them you’re perfectly safe;
    His arms fend off all harm.
Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night,
    not flying arrows in the day,
Not disease that prowls through the darkness,
    not disaster that erupts at high noon.
Even though others succumb all around,
    drop like flies right and left,
    no harm will even graze you.
You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance,
    watch the wicked turn into corpses.
Yes, because God’s your refuge,
    the High God your very own home,
Evil can’t get close to you,
    harm can’t get through the door.
He ordered His angels
    to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they’ll catch you;
    their job is to keep you from falling.
You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes,
    and kick young lions and serpents from the path.

“If you’ll hold on to Me for dear life,” says God,
    “I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care
    if you’ll only get to know and trust Me.
Call Me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;
    I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I’ll give you a long life,
    give you a long drink of salvation!” Psalm 91.

I know there is quite a bit of Bible here. I hope you read these verses, meditate on them, and let them soak into your spirit. God is all powerful. It is not our power that enables us to overcome. It is His power that allows us to overcome. This power, the power of God, enables us to do the following.

1. Say no to sin. We are no longer slaves to sin when we are born again (Romans 6). The same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in us and enables us to say no to sin and yes to God’s will. If we go to God and ask for help He always helps us.

2. Have life after death. We who die in Christ will be raised again to life with Him. If we can believe God for life everlasting, we can believe Him for more.

3. To overcome. We are more than conquerors through Christ who gives us strength. “…in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us,” Romans 8:37.

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Corinthians 15:57.

4. To do what Jesus and the disciples were doing. The same Holy Spirit that empowered the disciples, lives in us. God has not changed. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He gives us power to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the leper, and see those oppressed by demons set free. Some say the gifts were only for the Apostles. Untrue. It’s for every born again believer. As someone who’s been healed, I am thankful God still heals.

5. To use the authority given by Jesus. People elevate evil and the devil when both were defeated by Jesus. Light never runs from darkness. Light stands and the darkness flees.

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He (Jesus) made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross, Colossians 2:15.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you, James 4:7.

The devil cannot do whatever he wants. He is not all powerful. He is not equal to God. He is a created being, not the Creator. He had to ask for permission to afflict Job (Job 1). God allowed Job’s affliction to happen knowing He would bless Job with more than He had before. We are not under the enemies feet, he is supposed to be under our feet. We don’t pick fights with evil. We stand on the word of God and make submission to God our priority. We get close to God and allow Him to shine through us. It’s His light that’s shining.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that His life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you,~2 Corinthians 4:6-12.

We were not created to be defeated. We were created to be imitators of Jesus. He was not defeated. He came to destroy the works of the enemy. He lived a life of purpose, operating in His true identity. We are called to do the same. We are called to live lives that send a message to the world, “My God is good. My God is powerful. My life has purpose.” I read a quote by Bill Johnson today that was a blessing. He said, “Any situation where I have no hope, I am believing a lie.” There is ALWAYS hope with God. He is all powerful. There are no hopeless situations when God is at work. People can choose to reject God, but that does not mean He ceases to be powerful.

Father show us how You want to work through us. Shine Your light on to any and all areas of doubt or unbelief. Help us to believe You, trust You, and live a life where You are first. Help us to draw near to You. In Jesus most powerful name, Amen.

 

Purity (Identity in Christ Part 10)

tumblr_lfjisruhzD1qcmy8fo1_500

Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body, 1 Corinthians 6:18.

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people, Ephesians 5:3.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry, Colossians 3:5.

Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness, Romans 6:13.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things, Philippians 4:8.

I listed these verses because there is a trend in our society to toss purity to the wind. The Bible has been labeled as being outdated, old-fashioned, and not relevant for our time. There’s been a trend to tell people to do what they want, live how they want, engage in any sexual activity they want, say what they want, and God is obligated to accept it as long as that person claims to believe in Jesus. This is not at all what Jesus taught. There’s no place in scripture that tells us to keep on sinning and live however we would like to live. God’s grace is so vast beyond measure, His saving power so powerful. If we are the worst of sinner, which we are normally ignorant to how sinful we really are, He is able to cleanse, purify, and redeem us. That’s the beauty of grace! No matter how many times we stumble, He is able and willing to restore us. If we are in Christ, we claim His righteousness as our own. We are made new through relationship with Him. However, we cannot treat sin like it’s nothing. We cannot treat grace as a free ticket to sin and keep on sinning. Listen to the words of Apostle Paul.

Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ Romans 6:1-14.

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

God encourages us to attach our lives to righteousness and purity for the following reasons.

1. Sin is toxic. Disobeying God leads to death. Adam and Eve did not believe God when He said if they ate from the tree they would die. Our world today is filled with evil because of their sin. Sin hurts us. It may not seem like it. It may feel good. It may seem good. However, God withholds nothing good from His children (Psalm 84:11). If He says no to something, it’s because it will harm us. We may not see it today, but sin takes people further than they want to go and does more damage than we can see. If it were not toxic and lead to death, there would have been no reason for Jesus to come and die for sin. Some examples.

a. The person who cheats on their spouse. It seemed good. Felt good. Their betrayal of their vow causes pain to their spouse, they are causing another to commit adultery, if they have kids they are hurt. Adultery is the death of trust.

b. The person who can never admit they are wrong and are filled with pride. Their actions hurt everyone around them and they will never know real love. For love is not selfish or prideful. Selfishness and pride is the death of love. Love and pride cannot occupy the same places.

c. The person engaged in sexual activity outside the covenant of marriage (a man with a woman). Opens the door for the enemy to build a shrine to pleasure, an idol of self, and the death and destruction of honor. When we engage in sexual activity outside God’s covenant of marriage (between a man and woman) we are dishonoring our bodies and the body of those we engage with.

Even if our sin is in secret and no one knows but God, it still leads to bondage. The person who overeats at home while no one sees becomes a slave to food. The person who slanders and gossips becomes a slave to tabloids and spreading other people’s business. The person who looks at pornography or engages in lustful activities alone becomes a slave to pleasure. The person who is greedy, materialistic, becomes a slave to money and may end up in debt. All sin leads to bondage, the inability to function with self-control.

2. God’s way leads to life, blessing, and models love. God is pure. Jesus died to make us pure. Though our sins were as scarlet, He washes us white as snow. His way leads to life. God is not only concerned about our well-being, but the well-being of everyone around us. Purity is interested in the best interests of God, others, and self. Love protects the best interests of others. God will not betray the way of love. He is love. He paid for us to be free, not in bondage.

Lastly, I will say no matter what areas of your life you feel bound, God paid for freedom. Every person in Christ has been freed from being a slave to sin. We have been made new. We have new names. Don’t allow the enemy to deceive you into believing you cannot be free! Jesus paid for it. We run to God over and over saying, “God help me to live free.” We focus our lives on worshiping Him and trust that when we surrender ourselves to Him, He is able to transform us from the inside out. I can testify to the freedom God brings. I am not the same person I was when I came to Jesus. I am not the same person I was several years ago. The work of the Holy Spirit to sanctify us is more powerful than our ability to sin.

Abba I ask that we would surrender our hearts to You. You love us regardless of what we do, but love us too much to leave us the same. You paid for us to be free! Free us from all forms of bondage. We don’t want partial freedom, we want total freedom. We love you! Thank you for the sacrifice of Your Son. In Jesus name, Amen.

146859637820220696_21VigR8Q_c