How many times do we know of a fellow brother or sister in Christ that “backslide” into their old ways? Is this normal for men and women of Christ; and if we accept that then why is Jesus, the “man-God” innocent of such charges. Is it righteous for us to cling to our humanity even though we have been raised above our sin into the Salvation of God?
When does a person become a child of God? The book and other scholars tell us the moment we ask for forgiveness, accept and confess Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. For some, it’s like being a visitor to a foreign country where upon arrival everything that was considered acceptable, is now under scrutiny under the laws of that country. Unfortunately, old habits and notions die hard and at times we become agitated because of what we are use to, and comfortable with; which now has to be changed, adjusted or dropped completely from our lives. This Christianity stuff can challenge the feeble-minded.
If we make Christ our model; His standards may seem so high and unreachable, yet Jesus says “My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” - Matt. 11:30. We may glib that being God’s Son, He had it easier because He always had God watching out and fighting for Him. But God says. “Do not fear them, for the LORD your God is the one fighting for you.” - Deut. 3:22. We may even revert into childish and immature mannerism because deep down we are afraid and concerned we may not have the stuff to make it through. So, we appeal to God and others to accept us for who we are. We take this stance even though we confess that we are “more than conquerors” - Rm. 8:3; or we are “able to do all things through Christ” - Phil. 4:13. We basically cop out and struggle on the journey, even though He has “delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of his dear Son” - Col. 1:13. From the darkness into light; from the old man into the new man. And when we do this, then “backsliding” becomes more easier to endure, justify and acceptable to ourselves, others and even God, because it’s easier to avoid the true issues that hold and retards our personal spiritual growth. As Paul states, “my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me” - Acts 20:24. For all Christians, that is and should be their goal. But every time we slip up in our Christian walk, we delay getting to the finish line. Now, to be clear, I am not talking about the free gift of Salvation; of being saved and guaranteed a spot in Heaven. But on the other hand, “God is not mocked” - Gal. 6:7; if we take for granted His Love and will for us. It's like a father giving his son a precious gift and in turn that son abuses the gift without consideration to how much that gift means to the father. For no matter what we may conceive Christianity to be; it is only God’s definition that matters and throughout the bible, the stories clearly demonstrate we are here for Him.
As all eyes across the globe look to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, at any point in time if an athlete does not complete, is disqualified or does not comply with the rules and ethics of the games; then they will have no privilege to receive a gold, silver or bronze medal. The games are more than a piece of metal, but one of participation, justification and endorsement from the world and your peers, that as a completing individual, you have earned the right to be cheered on, applauded and recognized. When we run our Christian race, in effect we are doing as all these Olympians and by being frivolous about the race, we lessen its value and trivialize it. All races have a start and a finish. There is no time out and you cannot claim foul just because you feel you are not up to it. In the race, there is no guessing, adjusting or trying to learn and understand the standard required for that race. It's not trying but doing, and put up or shut up time. Our race towards God’s finish line as individuals as well as the church is the same and each time we allow darkness to interfere with our race, in effect we have reset the time button back to zero, resulting in starting all over again the race, just like a “false start”. With God, there are no false starts. It is also like the blind scales of justice with good and evil on either plate. The more we load the good plate, is the more the evil plate goes out of balance, eventually being tipped over losing all its weight on our shoulders. We have to be consistent in loading up with the things of righteousness.
What are the signs of pending danger and aren’t we to be constantly aware of them and the steps required to avoid them? Let’s face it, we are in this world which is satan’s backyard, so why would we let our guard down despite everything looking safe; for isn't that the time satan attacks us. Yes, we have the Holy Spirit to guide and the angels to protect us, but if we don’t listen to the Holy Spirit and direct the angels ahead of time, then what difference will it make. In other words, if we don’t live spiritually, then we may not see, hear what’s in the spirit world which is where the battle is, “For we wrestle against spiritual wickedness in high places” - Ep. 6:12. Just like someone speeding above the posted speed limit of a road; they have stepped out of God’s promises by breaking man’s law and opened themselves up to satan’s mischief and even death; who being a legalist, accuse us to God of disobedience, because God has said, “ You must obey the authorities” - Rm. 13:5. It is the only way satan can attack us because we have stepped out of God’s Grace and because He can have nothing to do with “sin”; we are left alone to our own mistakes. We must be aware of the constant battle that surrounds us and the telltale signs of satan’s deceptions. I heard a strong woman of God say, "I constantly plead the Blood of Jesus over my concerns and against satan and his dominion". Now, that's proactiveness and that woman has one of the Blessed ministries in the world. Imagine what we can have, with that same attitude. With sin, there are certain traits (telltale signs), that we should learn to recognize.
By remaining on milk, many only see Jesus as a Saviour (rescuer) and stagnate their Spiritual growth waiting for Jesus’ return and meagerly participating in all that has been given; thereby subjecting themselves to the many deceptions of the world and the devil. Jesus’ last command was to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel” - Mk. 16:15. This requires activity, which requires preparedness. When Jesus comes back, He is not coming as the lowly, slain, and sacrificial lamb for those in sin as He previously did. He is coming as the “Lion of Judah”; to drive fear into the enemy, and disperse them with His armies to take with Him, those who have stood fast, not by man’s faith but God’s Faith and will. Am I saying, Jesus is not compassionate? Of course, He is. But that was His purpose prior to the cross. Just like Lot’s wife, God was compassionate when He warned “not to look back” and she did - Gen. 19:26. Many are in danger of looking back at what they have to give up, deny and forsake just as Lot’s wife did.
Christians are “not to look back” because it is a prime weapon of satan to keep you in the past as the “old man” and take away your stare to the future God has for you. It is a reason so many Christian’s “backslide” over and over again. How can that be said when we need the past to learn for the future. Yes, learn but not dwell and re-live. As Paul says, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win” - Phil. 3:13. Another consideration is when we ask God to forgive a “sin”; by His Word, He has forgotten it - Heb. 8:12. So when we remind, review and re-live it ourselves, then we have placed it in our Spirit and as our Spirit is presented to the Holy Spirit, God sees a sin that He forgave us for and we in effect call God out on His Word. For we also are to forget our forgiven sins. It like when we tell someone that the money they owe us is forgiven, but every time they see us they bring it up and eventually it just becomes a sore point of discussion and we do our best to avoid the topic or even the person. God operates in a similar fashion, for His Word is His bond and when He has said something; it is done, “My word does not return to me” - Is. 55, meaning it is established. When we receive Salvation and forgiveness, the slate is wiped clean and in God’s eye it's like we never sinned. Grace is provided as part of the new covenant and for this age to keep our slate clean in His eyes, so we can get along with the business of righteousness.
1) Sin uses our five senses against us by appealing with shiny, unattainable, using emotional scenarios for things.
2) Sin uses our self-image against us whether it is strong for egotism or weak for unworthiness.
3) Sin uses our raw talent as the standard rather than the starting blocks towards greatness.
4) Sin demands recognition more than it has earned.
5) Sin places things before people, thereby alienating us from others.
6) Sin justifies wrong forms of love, rather than earned love freely given.
7) Sin is an opportunist for strife, especially by creating fear and confusion.
Why then are Christians falling into traps laid by satan and sinning? We should be like "Spiderman" with our Spirits tingling as the danger is imminent or that robot in the movie "Lost in space", gyrating, sensing and shouting, "danger! danger!" We are to keep ourselves aware. For it is not unusual for us to read or hear on the news of a person of God accused of the something forbidden and falling from the Grace of God. This falling can affect anyone within the structure of the church from pastors to ministers to members. Either way, it affects the Faith of others and retards the goals of others propagating the Faith. Yes, we do make innocent choices that make us sin as “all have fallen short” - Rm. 3:23; and God is Faithful to forgive us, but it's when it becomes a habit of sinning, especially on the same things, is where the danger lies. For if a workman never improves His skills then why would he be given more trust, reward or status to be recognized, for as Paul says, we are to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling you have received” - Ep. 4. Can we really accept that some of the great biblical icons were just fumbling around; up one day in righteousness, and down the next in sin? How is God able to build anything or anyone on that kind of roller coaster? No, these men and women made the quality decision to truly abide as the Word says to abide, thus stabilizing their Faith and most importantly to recognize and avoid situations that potentially lead to sin. They knew how to sense the danger.
When we can see ahead of the devil we can avoid his devices altogether. Like a captain looking across the horizon and turning his ship to avoid high winds and seas so must we scan ahead for satan’s schemes. The body of Christ should always be on the offense not on the defence, for satan is looking to devour an unsuspecting person. He rather disgraces a Christian than one of his own, to show us defeated, hypocritical and as weaklings to the rest of the world. I remember a couple decades or so ago, I watched as two recognized television evangelist could no longer hide their sins from their congregations and the world. They were forgiven, but their ministries never recovered and as a result, many lost their Faith, dispersed into different things, while others were grateful they never became Christians. It was a sad and disappointing moment. Just like David, God may save you from your own demise but your flame for Him is reduced and placed no longer in front but somewhere obscure. This happens when we don’t take heed to the dangers that thinking, thoughts, and actions may produce. We fail to use foresight as the means to be proactive to defend ourselves.
There is no difference between you and I or for that matter yourself and Christ, the man. Christ may have entered this world as a Spirit, but He had nothing more than being human to complete in His race. If He had more; it would not be justified. His advantage was and is ours. Our body, mind, spirit, with the Holy Spirit and Anointing available to us as he had and took. Today, we have the same tools He had and even more. The Word, technology and the Blood. He controlled His tools to His advantage and so must we ours. If you think Jesus never faced pride, envy, wrath, gluttony, lust, sloth, and greed; then that may be a mindset that can hinder Spiritual growth and I am not just talking about His temptations in the wilderness. Jesus would have been considered as a celebrity during His ministry and that is why on occasion was invited to dinner by those of status like the Pharisee, Simon - Lk. 7:36. He would have been sought after by those seeking to coerce Him for their advantage. We are as Jesus the man was. The other thing Jesus used to His advantage and we also have is responsibility. At age twelve, Jesus accepted His responsibility to demonstrate His knowledge, understanding, and care of the Word, His calling, and the vision of the world and Heaven.
The nature of sin is the devil and they cannot be separated. So when we stave off sin, we are rejecting satan, his ways and become a standard for God and His righteousness. By controlling any physical or mental actions with the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of the Word, we restraint if not defeat satan’s devices to make us sin. To have Word knowledge is not greater than when we apply it effectively, and with consideration for those affected. By seeing the danger that might result from our choices ahead of time, then we may control or prevent walking into situations that may cause us to sin. Just like going to a secular party, we must expect there to be temptations to get drunk, flirt and indulge in carnality. If we can avoid it, we ought to place Christianity before compliance and compulsion. For satan has the goal to kill, steal and destroy only one thing and that is Christians. As long as Christians remain passive to the ways of satan then there will be personal sin and the full potential God has for them will not be fulfilled. For satan’s plan is to deteriorate and spoil the Christian Faith and if he can’t do it with trials and tribulations, he will try to kill those who run the race to become true practitioners of the Faith as Jesus Christ. Because it is where the Glory will shine and be the testimony of God.
Flush it Out! - Death is not from a single but a thousand cuts of sin.
Aug. 17, 2016.
Danger ! Danger !
ChristnMe @ 2013