Category Archives: sin

Really Christ’s

For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother. – Matthew 12:50

Whoever is a true follower of Christ, whoever is obedient to the will of God, that person is closer to Jesus than biological or earthly family.

Relationship with Christ is defined by obedience to the will of God the Father, and obedience is the result of heart condition. Obedience is more important to God than heritage. God desires our obedience.

Closeness to Christ requires obedience. Without obedience, we will not be claimed as His. True relationship with Christ, true salvation, is evidenced by obedience to the will of God the Father. If we aren’t obedient to the will of the Father, we’re not really Christ’s.

God wants closeness with us. He wants our obedience, and our obedience is the result of His saving work, of His changing our hearts to want to obey, to want intimacy with Him.

We are not saved by works, but works are evidence of our salvation. When we forget this truth, we treat Jesus like fire insurance. We forget that what He really desires is all of us. If we have given all of ourselves to Him, then we will obey Him.

Deeper Change

He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. – Matthew 10:37-39

The one who loves even that which is most precious – father, mother, son, or daughter – more than one loves Christ, one who loves even one’s own life more than one loves Christ is not worthy of Christ. You will certainly lose your life, but if you lose it for Christ’s sake, you will find true life.

God expects everything from us. He expects us love Him with everything we are. Anything less than this is as though we do not love Him at all. No one and nothing is worthy of greater love than He is. He should be the most important thing in our lives – more significant to us than our very lives.

If we’re honest, we’ll admit that we love many people, many things more than we love Christ. We have not taken up our crosses.

We have to submit all of ourselves to Him – every relationship, every possession, every desire, every thought, every breath. Otherwise, we’re not worthy of Him.

He calls me to love Him with everything, and He is worthy of everything.

We think that we’re okay living a life of mediocre faith, but until we have taken up our crosses and followed Him – walked with Him regardless of the risk – we’re not worthy of Him. We must become like Him, and that should be enough for us (v. 25).

We are not capable of this. We need great grace: His grace.

Many of us, even those of us who have believed for most of our lives, have never been like this, never come close. We want to be, but, oh God, there must be deep change in us. Deeper change than we may even be aware of.

 

My Only Possession

Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For, behold, those who are far from You will perish; You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You. But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works.
– Psalm 73:25-28

There is nothing and no one in heaven or on earth worth desiring but God. He destroys the wicked who are far from Him, but He is a refuge for those who draw close to Him. If our bodies and our hearts fail us, could we say with the psalmist that God is everything and will sustain us? Will we tell of His great works?

When we’re envious of the wicked who do whatever they want seemingly without repercussion, He still forgives us. It’s by His grace the wicked don’t suffer now. One day, they will.

But for His grace given through Christ, we are among the wicked. But because we sought Him (also by His grace) He has forgiven us. He has become our refuge from His own wrath, from the consequences of our own sin.

Do not envy those who are wicked without consequence. You are a sinner as well. God shows each of us grace. One day, all will face the consequence of their wickedness or will find Christ. Either way, God’s wrath and justice are satisfied, and the price for sin is paid. But the latter results in a soul saved.

Our sin deserves His wrath. We should not wonder why the wicked aren’t punished: God is just, but He is also merciful and gracious.

We place value on so many worldly things, but in the end, He is all we have.

When we forget this truth, we become bitter and envious. We become materialistic. We pity ourselves.

We need to focus on God and His kingdom, not the things of this world because those things are temporary. God is eternal, and, in truth, He is all we have.

God, please don’t let our minds be conformed to this world any longer. Renew them, and transform us so that we don’t become envious and bitter. But rather, let us seek refuge in You, our portion, our only possession.

The Doctor Will See You Now

And Levi gave a big reception for Him in his house; and there was a great crowd of tax collectors and other people who were reclining at the table with them. The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered and said to them, ” It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
Luke‬ ‭5‬:‭29-32‬ NASB

After Jesus called Levi, Levi threw a big party for Him that was attended by many, including tax collectors. The Pharisees complained that Jesus was hanging out with these unrighteous people. Jesus’ response? “The healthy don’t need a doctor. Only the sick. I didn’t come for the righteous, but to call sinners to repentance.”

Jesus was seeking to heal spiritually, to make whole, to deliver. He was seeking those who knew they needed something. He was seeking those with enough humility to know that they had no righteousness of their own.

He is still seeking these.

We are all sick and in need of a physician, sinners and in need of a savior. But we often act like the Pharisees, depending on our own righteousness and judging those we deem to be unrighteous.

Avoid the example of the Pharisees. Seek God with humility. He WANTS to deliver us from sin.

When we forget this, we judge others’ unrighteousness as greater than our own, or ignore our own altogether. We are proud and self-righteousness, and we incorrectly believe ourselves to be self-sufficient.

We need the Physician to heal us, probably even more when we think we’re righteous.

Only by His grace are we delivered from sin, not by our own “righteousness.” Only by His grace can we have enough humility to recognize our lack of righteousness.

If we allow this truth to impact us, we might truly be delivered from the sins that plague us.

A Game of Fools

Doing wickedness is like sport to a fool,
And so is wisdom to a man of understanding.
(‭Proverbs‬ ‭10‬:‭23‬ NASB)

God views godliness as wisdom and wickedness as foolishness. A fool enjoys doing wickedness, looks at it like a contest – he’s always trying to be more wicked. A man of understanding enjoys acting wisely, being godly, and always seeks to be more wise and godly.

When we sin, we act foolishly. We enjoy sin because we’re fools. If we had understanding, we’d delight in being godly. Find delight in acting wisely.

God expects wisdom. But much of what we enjoy is sinful, wicked, foolish. When we forget what God expects of us, we look on our sin as a good thing.

Pray that God will help you find joy in godliness, in seeking Him, growing in Him. Each of us needs a fundamental heart change – a change in the things that naturally delight us.

Only by the grace of Christ can our hearts be changed so fundamentally.

Stirring Up Trouble

Hatred stirs up strife,
But love covers all transgressions.

‭Proverbs‬ ‭10‬:‭12‬ (NASB)

God doesn’t want us to stir up strife, but to love one another, forgiving sins, preserving peace. He wants us to love as He has loved us.

Hatred, pride are our nature. We must be reminded to love rather than hate.

Rather than wanting to expose the sins of others, we should want to love them, forgive their transgressions, and keep peace.

We need love, and we need to give love. Jesus is the example and source of this love.

Everything

Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
That both good and ill go forth?
Why should any living mortal, or any man,
Offer complaint in view of his sins?
Let us examine and probe our ways,
And let us return to the LORD.

Lamentations‬ ‭3‬:‭38-40‬

Anything that happens – good or bad – is under God’s control. And when bad things happen, how can we complain in light of our sin? Instead, we must examine our hearts deeply and return to God.

He is sovereign. He is in control of both good and bad things that happen. Our sins separate us from Him, even as His children.

We must examine ourselves, turn from our sin, and return to God. Otherwise, we may have a sense of entitlement, self-centeredness, a complaining spirit.

Then, our lives will be marked by Christlike humility.