Posts Tagged ‘Culture’

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“LIMPING ALONG” – Feb. 19

February 19, 2013

“And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.”  1 Kings 18:21

A while back I strained my knee.  I was training a little too hard and my knee was informing me that I should tone it back a bit.  I don’t like being injured.  It makes you tentative.  While my knee was sore, I did not trust it.  I limped around and tried not to put too much weight on it.  It was weak and I was afraid that it would fail me if I put my full weight on it and forcefully pushed off.  I did not fully trust my sore knee so I limped around.

I wonder how many of us are limping around in our faith. 

Elijah got after the people of Israel because they were limping between two faiths.  They were hedging their bets.  They were not committing fully to either the God of Jacob or the gods of Baal.  They were limping between two opinions.  How many times have we been caught doing a similar thing?

How many times have we avoided the hard things in our faith?

How many times have we moved tentatively for Christ?

How many times has fear prevented us from giving what we are moved to give?

How long have we just limped along in our faith?

I think that one of the main reasons why we limp is due to trust.  We don’t really trust God so we move tentatively.  We are afraid of putting all of our eggs into God’s basket and pushing off.  What if it goes bad?  What if I have read the signs wrong?  What if …?

Ask yourself, “If the Lord is God, can He handle your what if?”  If the Lord is God, there is nothing that we need to be afraid of.  There is nothing that should make us tentative.  If the Lord is God, we can courageously and actively do God’s will.

I read a quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer,

“Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God’s will.”

Avoiding sin is a very important part of our faith.  Avoiding sin is a commendable and indispensable part of every believer’s faith.  However, I wonder how many are limping along in a faith that is entailed entirely of sin avoidance.  We can become preoccupied with the nurturing of our own souls.  We move cautiously through this life for fear of our soul being damaged or challenged.

God has called us to a faith that is more than sin avoidance.  God has not called us to a tentative faith.

God has filled us with His Spirit.  His Spirit is our source of strength, confidence, and power.  Through His Spirit, we can follow Him actively and with courage.  There is no need to be tentative.  We can put all of our weight, all of our hopes, all of our concerns, all of our cares, all of our dreams on Him and through the Spirit, we can forcefully push-off in full confidence in God.

We can do that because the Lord is God.

Since the Lord is God, there is nothing we have to fear.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for showing me through your word that you are God.  Thank you for being faithful and trustworthy.  Lord, I know that I can rely upon you in all circumstances and that there is nothing that I have to fear.  Forgive me for losing sight of that at times.  Forgive me for being tentative because I misplace my trust.  It seems so foolish to place my trust in myself when I have you.  You are so much better than I am.  Father, fill me with you Spirit; enable me to walk in your Spirit.  Give me the confidence to boldly and courageously follow your will.     Amen

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“SIN, Light” – Feb. 18

February 18, 2013

“And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him.  And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of  Nebat, he took for his wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal King of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal and worshiped him.”  1 Kings 16:30-31

What does it take for actions that are “evil in the sight of the Lord” to become a “light thing”?

How does sin become common place?

Ahijah's prophesie to JeroboamThere are some who think that the Church harps far too much on sin.  “Fire and brimstone” is from a bygone age.  Christians who point out the sins of other people are often ridiculed for being up-tight or backwards.  They  are way too concerned about other people’s private lives.  They don’t understand the modern world.  Those types of Christians are regressing to the dark ages by focusing so much on sin.

The world that we live in does all that it can to normalize what is evil in the sight of the Lord and to make it a light thing.  Sin is not a light thing.

It is sin in the life a person that earns them God’s condemnation. That is a big thing.

The result of living in the flesh (sin) is death.  No one who is in the flesh can please God.   That is a big thing.

It was for sin that God sent His own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, to condemn sin in the flesh.  Jesus, the Son of God, came to this earth for the purpose of condemning sin.  That is a really big thing.

Sin is a very big deal.  It was for your sin and my sin that Christ died on the cross.  What could be bigger than that?

I don’t like the fact that I can see some of my own attitude toward sin in a man like Ahab.  Ahab considered sin a light thing.  I have a tendency to down-play the magnitude of sin in my own life and the lives of other.  I think that it is a common attitude in the Church.  In comparing the Church to the rest of our society, I don’t see much difference.  I am disturbed by our comfort level with that which our Lord calls evil.

Ahab’s attitude toward sin did not originate with him.  Ahab came from a culture where sin had been normalized:

King Jeroboam – “but you have done evil above all who were before you and have gone and made for yourself other gods and metal images, provoking me to anger, and have cast me behind your back,…” (1 Kings 14:9)

King Nadab – “He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and walked in the way of his father, and his sin which he made Israel to sin.” (1 Kings 15:26)

King Baasha – “He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and walked in the way of Jeroboam and his sin which he made Israel to sin.” (1 Kings 15:34)

King Zimri – “because of his sins that he committed, doing evil in the sight of the Lord, walking in the way of Jeroboam,..” (1 Kings 16:19)

King Omri – “Omri did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did more than all who were before him.” (1 Kings 16:25)

Israel had a culture led by one king after another that treated sin lightly.  They disregarded what was evil in the sight of the Lord.

We live in a culture that is working very hard to normalize what is evil in the sight of the Lord.  I see so many professing Christians who are daily feeding on a buffet of content and entertainment that is seasoned throughout with what our Lord calls evil.  We willingly consume it without a second thought.  We are fools to think that a steady diet of evil does not affect what we consider to be normal.  Just consider the allowable topics in many Sunday sermons.  It is a sad reality that many actions, which the Bible clearly calls sin, cannot be taught in many pulpits and youth ministries because it is no longer considered that bad.  We don’t want to offend people with the magnitude of the evil in their lives. That is the result of years of evil being normalized into our lives.

Sin is a big deal.  When I down-play the magnitude of sin in my own life, I am equally down-playing the magnitude of the gospel.  I am undervaluing the supreme worth of the sacrifice of my Savior.  I am treating the greatest gift ever given as a stocking stuffer.

It is when we remember that sin is a really big deal that our passion for the lost is revived.  It is the greatest of tragedies to make a person comfortable in their own condemnation.  It is when we treat sin as a light matter that we can become indifferent to the eternal destination of those who are not in Christ Jesus.

I look at my own life and know that I take sin a lot lighter than I should.  I hate that.

I look at the lives of other professing Christians and see them taking sin a lot lighter than they should.  I hate that.

I hate that we flirt along the edges of what is evil in God’s eye and don’t think it is that it is a big deal.  I hate that we are numbed to the flagrant proliferation of evil in our society and we just take another bite.

Sin is a big deal.

The good news is that the Gospel is a bigger deal.  We have been saved.  Christ has condemned sin in our flesh.  Let’s take a big bite of that.  Let’s set our minds on the things of the Spirit.  Let’s reject all of those things of the flesh; all those things that the Lord calls evil, don’t allow your mind to be settle on all that this world is telling you is normal and natural.

All of that is not normal for a child of God.  Those who set their minds on what God calls sin will die.  Those who live according to the Spirit will set their minds on the things of the Spirit.  They will have peace and life!

What will you set your mind on today?

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for saving me from the condemnation of my sin.  Thank you for sending your own Son to do what I could not do.  Forgive me for under-appreciating the magnitude of my sin.  Forgive me for treating sin lightly.  Father, give me your eyes to see sin as you do.  Lord, I pray for your Church.  May we take what you call evil as seriously as you do.  May we never be comfortable with what we have been saved from.  Lord, give us an understanding of man’s condition apart from you and motivate us with hearts of compassion to be your witnesses to the end of the earth.     Amen

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