Monday, November 29, 2010

Cold turkey

So how do we work on the first point I made in the other post?

1. We are sinful without any demonic help. Without any supernatural intervention we would have destroyed everything and everyone pretty quickly. It's a lot easier to blame the Devil on everything instead of just sucking it up and not trying not to sin.

Yesterday Camden came to me and said he wanted to lose some weight and asked how. Without going into the fact that he Could lose a little or at least maintain I want to just equate that with sin. I told him that the way you lose weight is quit eating so much and suffer a little while. It's the same with sin. We're gluttonous in sin, downing huge portions. We're sinful creatures so of course we're always looking for an angle or easy way out. We've all pretty much maxed out the grace credit card. Then when we know our debt is piling up we do the next thing and that's ignoring the problem. It's like someone who is constantly eating and saying... "I just can't figure why I'm not losing weight". Then after we've created this huge problem and we're steadily approaching the forklift to get us off the couch stage in sin, we start looking for lap band surgery. Why? because we think it's easier to do that then just stop eating. So back to what I told Camden. Quit eating so much and suffer while your body thinks it's starving. When you decide to stop sinning you will go through awful withdrawal. Your body LOVES sin. Now you will still sin, but you've got to decide to stop sinning completely. Sounds like a contradiction but it's not. Sin's a sneaky thing. You could make it all day without a sin and then get proud of it and blow it. But what you want is to make up your mind that no matter how much your body tricks you, you don't do it. Don't give yourself an out for it. If you go and decide that you're going to just quit chocolate, you'll just gorge on something else and in the end you'll be right back to the chocolate.

Quit sinning, ask for the Spirit to physically help you through your withdrawal of your sin. Ask Jesus to cleanse you and the Father to forgive you. Don't give yourself any outs because as sinful people you'll take the easy road if it's given. After you wean yourself off those huge sins, you'll notice that the Holy Spirit will convict you on another set of sins that you couldn't even see because you were too busy.

I'm going to share what's really helped me. I say the sin out loud. It works great on big sins that are strong holds. We all mentally hate sin. At least saved people mentally hate sin. But your mind is powerful and can shield our hate of sin and use sin as a drug. How many times do you see people who are addicted to drugs do this? They'll talk about how much they hate it and want to be clean and yet there they are again and again smoking crack rock? It's the same thing with sin. Our body loves sin. It satisfies us and makes us conform to the world. It's so pleasing until we come to our senses and realize what we've done. Then it's guilt and condemnation, self hatred and depression. So every time your evil mind tempts you to sin, just say it out loud.

We as a church have really done a disservice because we want to paint an easy picture of overcoming sin. We say come to Jesus and ask for forgiveness and your life will be changed forever. While this is true on a celestial plane because once you accept Jesus in your heart and repent then you are heaven bound (no I don't want to go any further with that philosophically). But what we do is put on this facade that being holy is so easy. There isn't one person ever alive who came to Jesus and their life was changed so radically that they never sinned again. So we should be doing the equivalent of weight watchers for sin. We should tell people that you will be fighting forever. There is never an easy way out of sin or anything. All your life will be spent conforming yourself to become more like Jesus. It's a painful, rough journey and many times it's going to hurt. So let's go back to the weight analogy.

1. I'm a gluttonous pig who consumes everything I see.
1. We Lie, fornicate, blaspheme, worship idols, commit adultery, envy others, hugely sin.

2. I realize that I'm pretty overweight and if I don't stop I'm going to die.
2. We get convicted of our sin and realize that without Jesus we're going to Hell.

3. Yay! I'm on a diet!
3. Saved!

4. Grapefruit diet, go out and get a few diet books and a bag of grapefruit. Looks easy.
4. Buy a bible and start going to church.

5. Grapefruit sucks, off the diet and Buckner's is out of chicken too.
5. Sunday rolls around and you start to wonder why church has to be so early, 11am is a big sacrifice.

6. Back on the diet! Going to weight watchers and it looks scary.
6. Found a live church and really got saved! Joined Sunday School class to learn more.

7. Lost 10 pounds on weight watchers! this is expensive but there are some positive results.
7. Starting to change life around and realizing all the destructive sin and that victory is possible.

8. Figured out that the scale will weigh me less if I stand more to the back. Yay I get to eat more and people won't know.
8. Everything is cool... I can hide my sin and become active in church. It's not bad as long as I can keep it all hidden.

9. Realize I'm not fooling anyone with the scale trick (you've been seen at Buckner's too). Besides, didn't I want to lose weight to keep from dying?
9. Little by little the Holy Spirit convicts you of your sin. Singing in the choir and ushering doesn't cover it up anymore, you know you're a cheater.

10. Ok, from today on, I'm going to go strictly by weight watchers. It's me who wants to lose weight and from now on I'm not going to cheat. Just to make sure I hire a personal trainer AND an assistant to watch everything I eat.
10. Invited the Holy Spirit into life. I don't want to sin but know I can't do it alone. I don't just want to go to heaven, I want to make an impact for Heaven. Jesus is watching me and the Holy Spirit will be my trainer.

11. Wow the pounds have gone. The first few weeks were the hardest because my body really wanted those donuts. I'm well on my way losing weight. My personal trainer thinks I should seriously think about making a marathon my goal. Pretty impossible right now but he knows a lot of people who have done it before. Married the assistant who I hired to watch my every move. Turns out the more they were around the more I learned to love them.
11. Stronghold sins gone. Everyday you are praying for the Spirit to move in your life. Your love of God's word fills you so much that you can't stop thinking about it. You start wondering why you can't have church every day.

12. My trainer is pretty intense. He says that to finish a marathon I've got to have my muscles toned and my endurance. It's hard to believe it but there were muscles under all that fat. I thought I was doing good to just get rid of cleaning out Buckner's, but my trainer now says that cookies are bad too. I realize that there are lot of people who are in the same shape I was in and know that I can help them too.
12. Holy Spirit is rolling. You don't drink alcohol, look at pornography, or covet your neighbor's boat anymore. Now you are being convicted on hurtful things you say or feelings you feel. Still in the word and praying. For real.

13. Training going great, running 10+ miles a day. Really gotten eating under control but sometimes I do eat more than I should and I fess up to my wife who of course gets the trainer to go over a little more eating exercises. Warn the classes I've started that though it gets easier the more you train, you can also have setbacks.
13. You're out spreading the word of Jesus. Teaching or preaching every chance you get. You've become close to Jesus and though you still are sinful it's an open life with Jesus. His word and Spirit have become your life.

14. Race day! There I am at the starting line. My wife and trainer have a little golf cart that they're encouraging me along the race. Right near the end they leave the race and I see them at the finish line cheering me on. After the race they grab me and hug me and then in pomp and circumstance take me to the grand marshal who stops the celebrating and informs me that because I was a fat slob I shouldn't be allowed to be called a marathoner. Just then my wife steps up and shows the sacrifice she made on my behalf and I'm let in and given many awards from most improved to fastest mile. Everytime there is a race I notice more and more of my students becoming marathoners and winning.
14. You die. The race is between when your body starts death and it finishes. Jesus and the Holy Spirit bring you right to the final breath and then you die. They carry you up to God who cannot let you in heaven because you have sinned. Jesus presents himself on your behalf and you are carried into heaven and given crowns because of the life you led. The people you impacted for Christ are received one by one into heaven. The churches you started impact others and the crowns on your head should be feeling pretty heavy but not in heaven.

Ok, that was long but what I wanted to show was this. Why stop at just not putting on pounds? Why cruise into heaven fat only to receive a thimble as a crown? Is that what God wants? Every sin we do tramples on the bloody body of Jesus Christ. Lets use God's word and Spirit to transform our lives. True Joy resides in Christ Jesus. We've got so much to work on and so far to go, but imagine God saying to you...."Well done my good and faithful servant."

So, ask the Holy Spirit to come and help you in your life. Ask him to come and help you overcome sinful strongholds. He's there and ready to be activated in your life. Without him there really isn't any hope for us. Sure you can get small victories, but true life changing victory over the bonds of sin isn't possible unless you truly submit.

Let's be Champions for Christ!


  1. That's good stuff Doc....good stuff

  2. As Christians we have a new identity. We are alive from the dead, raised up to walk in newness of life. That is who we really are, and who we will be ten thousand years from now! The flesh is not who we really are. It is only a superficial and temporary aspect of our total personality, and it is already doomed to pass away. In a short time our bodies will be redeemed and the hindrance of the flesh will be gone forever.
    We must also understand that we have a new power. Not only does the Christian have a new identity, he also has a new ability to break with sin. Even though our "mortal bodies" have not yet been redeemed, and sin still tries to "reign" in them, we do not need to allow it to do so: " Do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts." We do not have to "let" sin reign in our mortal bodies!
    We as Christians have both a new identity and a new power. These are facts, whether we believe them or not. Believing them does not make them true, and not believing them does not make them false. Reality is not changed by our faulty perception of it. What is changed is our experience of that reality. According to the Lord Jesus Christ, knowing and believing the truth is absolutely vital to our freedom from slavery to sin. "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." "Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth." In light of these statements, it is highly significant that Paul spends the first five and a half chapters of his epistle to the Romans laying a foundation of truth, and that Romans 6:11 is literally the first time in the entire letter that he instructs his hearers to do anything! When this first exhortation finally does come, it centers around believing and embracing the truth: "Consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus." To "reckon" is not to pretend something is true when we know it is not; to reckon is to accept reality for what it is.
    The necessity of our realizing and believing the truth in order to progress in grace is a central theme in Paul's letters: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." It is only as our minds are renewed-that we can "prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." Paul says the same thing in Ephesians 4 when he urges us to "be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and to put on the new self." WHEN A CHRISTIAN GIVES IN TO SIN, IT IS ALWAYS THE RESULT OF HIS FAILURE TO BELIEVE AND ACT ON THE TRUTH!