Consistent patterns of sin & addictions running rampant in the church – “We are so easily deceived”
So…..Most Christians think that their minds function like a compass. A good working compass is designed to always point to the north. Most Christians think that their minds always point to the truth…..That they are hardly ever wrong……What do you think?
A knowledgeable & experienced hiker will use a compass and a map to plot out a course of travel to get from where he is to some destination he wants to arrive at. First, the hiker will mark his current position on a map. Next, he will mark the destination that he wants to hike to on the map. Next, he will plot out and mark “waypoints” to divide the trip into segments that will make the trip easier and more efficient to accomplish.
Finally, he will start his hike and use the compass to determine the direction he must travel to each waypoint until he finally reaches the destination. He will use the compass often as he hikes to ensure that he stays on the right path and does not deviate.
So, it is with many, many Christians that think their minds work like that. Is that what you think? Cause, if it is……You’d be dead wrong. If you think like that, there’s a bridge in New York I’d like to talk to you about……. Truth is, our minds can be easily deceived and very often are. Even for bible-believing Christians. Let’s examine that with a little perspective & detail……
In my first book, “Freedom Thru Grace,” I document a series of what I call, Key Principles, that have been designed to function as strategic building blocks of biblical truth to be powerfully used in the renewing of the Christian mind.
I write about “God’s Classroom” that does not end every morning after you finish spending some time reading a few bible verses and investing a few moments in a daily devotional. Not at all. The bible instructs & encourages us to develop and to practice being knowingly aware of God dwelling within us by His Holy Spirit throughout the day; EVERY DAY. God wants our mental & spiritual awareness of him to be sustained throughout the entire day, never letting up; but, also not to “dog us” about his presence. Not at all. Only to teach, train, bless, protect & provide for us and keep us out of harm’s way, because of his great love for us, and also, because “all we like sheep have gone astray…… We are easily deceived and prone to wander, and Jesus knows this about every one of us……
So, check out this strategic Key Principle:
“Do not think that becoming Easily Deceived could not happen to you. Refuse to think that way. Instead, realize that we are easily susceptible to being deceived and deluded about God’s will in our lives at any point in time. That is why we need a Shepherd in the first place, and that is why our need for Jesus, His Grace & His Truth is often DESPERATE……. Always Remember – “Apart from Him, we can do nothing”.….. (John 15:5)
Remember as well…..”When you become a Christian, you become a TARGET…..!” Your adversary, the devil knows this about you and your human nature and he will exploit this every time you give him an opportunity to do so. Therefore, be very sober minded about the true nature of sin (particularly, besetting sin):
Remember key scriptures like this: 1Pet. 5:8…. “be disciplined, be alert…”
1Pet. 5:8 Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. (NRSV)
Rom. 12:3 ¶ For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. (NIV)
- Yielding yourself to sin will take you where you do not want to go….
- Yielding yourself to sin will cost you more than you think you ought to pay….
- Yielding yourself to sin will cost you more freedom than you think you ought to lose….
- Yielding yourself to sin will result in an increase in the susceptibility of your becoming significantly deceived, and suffering an immediate loss of managing & controlling most circumstances in your life…. You will, once again, become a slave to that sin…
- You will spend way more time immersed in the grip of sin than you ever thought you would….
Got all those bullet-points down? Count the cost……! It simply isn’t worth it……!
Your susceptibility of being “Easily-Deceived” into thinking that you can “Manage” the consequences of your sin… Especially, how long sin may grip you. Truth is, once you yield yourself to that sin, you lose your God-given ability to control what happens next. You will become a “Slave to Sin” because you will lose the usual control & management of your lifestyle. These “Unexpected-Circumstances” and “Unforeseen-Results” can absolutely HAMMER your life.
So…..How do we get ourselves that deceived and susceptible “to the sin that so easily entangles us,” as Hebrew 12:1 declares…..? Why is that exactly? How about this: “The cry of every human heart is to be loved, to be respected and to be accepted. And, in our attempt to fulfill that longing, our minds can be easily deceived into thinking that we can satisfy that very powerful pursuit for love, respect & acceptance by indulging in all kinds of destructive behavior. As a result, many Christians end up getting addicted to it……” Simple, profound & true.
So, the bible and this Freedom Renewed Program both establish that all mankind is looking for fulfillment, along those lines of the previous paragraph, from all kinds of sources they discover in life. However, God has wisely designed each & every human life to include a place within, that only our Heavenly Father, working through Jesus his Son, and by his Holy Spirit, can inhabit & fulfill. That’s precisely what Jesus is meaning in John 15 when he says, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing.” You want true, authentic fulfillment in your life….. you want to be loved & accepted unconditionally? That my friend, only comes thru Jesus…. The bible goes on to say, “In him we live, breathe, and have our being.”
Jesus becomes our identity in life.
In search of fulfillment? Of course you are, like all the rest of us, but, what kind of fulfillment? Where are you looking for that fulfillment? God says this to the alcoholic & drug addict:
Eph. 5:17-18 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. (NIV)
The bible is replete with examples & case histories of individuals and the life fulfillment choices they make; Both to experience extraordinary levels of highly valued spiritual freedom, and also to experience what happens when they make exceedingly terrible choices and end up ruining their lives.
The bible goes on to tell us that Jesus wants to provide Abundant-Life (John 10:10) to us, imparted by his Holy Spirit, through every day circumstances of living. It was, and is, for freedom that Christ has set us free (Gal. 5:1) …….
Therefore, let’s close out this blog post like this…….. Even if you have allowed yourself to be deceived in some way and are experiencing a season of regrettable, sinful behavior, God would say to you…… Your freedom is at hand……
Check this out:
Is. 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. (NIV)
In that context, one attribute of God’s nature that I have truly come to love, makes the following key principal of freedom literally come alive….
Jesus Christ is more intent on helping you and teaching you how to obtain a vibrant, functional, & stronghold busting lifestyle than He is about exposing your weaknesses and failures to public humiliation.
Never, ever forget that about Him. It’s a part of His nature. It’s who He is and how He responds to us. He loves you that much, His Gospel is that powerful, His Grace will always abound more than your sin abounds, and, God really is that good! He knows our deepest desire wanting to secure any needed restoration and personal freedom without the embarrassment of public exposure.
Therefore, consider this:
And even, for many of you, experiencing some kind of hidden depravity, throughout the majority of your adult life…… Ponder this:
“Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.”
Sin Cannot Take You Where Grace Cannot Find & Restore You
You simply cannot out-sin the grace of God. It is virtually impossible. The Gospel of Christ really is that powerful, and God really is that good, because his love for you will never fail.
So, what do you think? GOOD NEWS INDEED…. You don’t have to live like that anymore, or any longer. Jesus offers you an alternative that is truly within your grasp. Doesn’t matter how long you’ve been embroiled in a conflict & spiritual warfare. God knows you are out there…. He knows your anguish…. He has a unique freedom strategy and life action plan to get you free!