One serious problem amongst believers is that many of us tend to be “bipolar” when it comes to our walk with Christ. What I mean by this is, we are very fickle with how we live and carry ourselves once we become saved. On Sundays we fake the funk and act like we love the Lord and have a relationship with Him but Monday through Saturday you can’t tell us apart from the world. We use excuses such as, “God isn’t finished with me yet”, “God knows my heart, He understands”, “Everybody’s walk with Christ is different” etc. etc. etc. But all of those excuses are exactly that…EXCUSES! There is no reason why we can’t live out the life that Christ has laid before us.
Yeah, God isn’t finished with you yet but as my mom’s friend always says, “When you’re in the process you should be making progress”. My pastor says that all Christians battle with sin but that “we shouldn’t be fighting the same devils over and over and over again.”
Of course, God knows your heart and, of course, He understands – but if you’re willingly and knowingly sinning, is your heart in the right place? God gives us Grace because He understands that we are humans and make mistakes but we shouldn’t then abuse His Grace and take advantage of His Love.
“Too many Christians act as though they have no obligation to submit to God’s commandments. They play a “Grace Card” instead of obeying God.” – Ken Raggio
Grace doesn’t mean “Keep sinning, it’s okay. I’ll forgive you”.
Grace means, “Though you’ve sinned, I forgive you. Now go and sin no more”.
And the excuse I hate the most, “everybody’s walk with Christ is different.”
Yes. We are not to compare our relationship with God with the next Christian’s and, yes, God works with everyone differently (the methods vary but the purpose is still the same), and yes, we are all over in different areas of our walk with God, HOWEVER, this excuse is a stretch and here’s why…
Although we are all in different areas in our walk and God works with each of us differently, our walk with Christ should be an “upward slope” not an “up and down spiral” that mimics a worldly lifestyle. It’s one thing to struggle with sin here and there but it’s another thing to practice it and use the fact that ‘you’re human and can’t be perfect’ as a “reason” why you continue to do so.
IF YOURE SNUGGLING YOU AIN’T STRUGGLING…you’re full fledge comfortable and that’s a dangerous place to be.
We can do ALL things through Christ Who strengthens us, which includes avoiding sin. Avoiding sin is a matter of will not ability. When God sees your heart, you should want Him to see that you are sincerely trying to avoid sin and not just giving in at the first temptation. We should be determined to avoid sin at all cost. If we sin, it should be because we stumbled, not because we dived into it.
“To reach that level of determination is a matter of the will, not of debate or of reasoning. It is absolute and irrevocable surrender of the will at that point. An undue amount of thought and consideration for ourselves is what keeps us from making that decision, although we cover it up with the pretense that it is others we are considering. When we think seriously about what it will cost others if we obey the call of Jesus, we tell God He doesn’t know what our obedience will mean. Keep to the point—He does know. Shut out every other thought and keep yourself before God in this one thing only—my utmost for His highest. I am determined to be absolutely and entirely for Him and Him alone.” – My Utmost for His Highest Devotional
“We don’t flee sin primarily to do “the right thing”. We flee sin because we’ve found a better, more satisfying pleasure. His name is Jesus!
God.” – Jackie Hill Perry
My friend, Christian Prather once asked me, “Why do people stop eating at Taco Bell? Because they find Chipotle! And once you taste something greater you don’t see any reason to go back!”
What my friend was hinting at was that once you experience Christ, truly experience Him, you will taste and see that He is so good that you’ll never want to return to the life you were once living.
When we keep living a sinful worldly lifestyle after salvation, we are essentially slapping Jesus in the face and are saying that the life and pleasures God offers isn’t enough and that what Jesus did wasn’t worth it.
Beware of being a Luke Warm Christian
But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth!
Lukewarm Christians are satan’s favorite because they are easy to manipulate and can be used as a tool of confusion amongst unbelievers.
A lukewarm Christian is a Christian who claims to serve Christ but really doesn’t. There is no halfway Christianity, you’re either all for Christ or not. You can’t be in and of the world while simultaneously being in and of God too.
Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. James 1:8
For example, we’ll go to church Sunday dressed like this, praising the Lord with our lips…
…but then Thursday through Saturday be in the club lines and bars looking like this…
God once told my mom, “People are always claiming that they are ‘on the fence’ when it comes to serving the Lord. However, there is actually NO fence dividing the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. Any fence is built by satan and is entirely on his property.” GET OFF OF THE FENCE – IT IS A TRICK OF THE ENEMY.
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Matthew 6:24
If you’re gonna be of and in the world, do that- God gives you that choice…Just don’t claim to be in and of Him at the same time.
A lot of people claim Christianity but don’t even attempt to be Christ like. If you’re gonna be saved, be saved. Saved doesn’t mean that you ARE perfect but that you strive to be. You steer clear of sin to the best of your ability.
A real encounter with Christ brings about a real change.
“Most Christians compare themselves to fellow Christians. A true Christian imitates Christ.”
When we compare ourselves to other Christians instead of to Christ, it’s easier for us to categorize sin and make ourselves feel better about the sin that we allow to easily entangle us. For the sample, if I’m a Christian and I go to the club, I feel a little guilt about being there so I compare myself to my fellow Christian who is in the club. I say, “Well, I’m here with friends but I’m not drinking or going home with anyone tonight but that ‘Christian’ over there is.” I’ve just made myself feel better about my sin by pointing out all of the “worst sins” the other Christian is doing. I’m fooling myself… and I have fooled myself like this…God views all sin as SIN…no matter how great or small. And to a nonbeliever, both Christians in the club are tainting the image of God and are discrediting the witness of other Christians. We are causing confusion amongst nonbelievers because they are unable to see a difference between their worldly lifestyle and my walk with Christ. That’s why I say it’s mighty hard to witness to the world when you’re looking just like it.
And this is so true, I’m not just saying this. People are watching us to see how our lives change after we proclaim salvation.
I’ll never forget my freshman year of college when I had gone to the club with a couple of friends. We weren’t drinking or smoking or going home with anyone that night so we felt it was harmless fun. However, at the club that night I saw a fellow church member from the church I attended in Charlotte and my first thought immediately was, “What is she doing here? She is a volunteer from church?” but God quickly shut me down by reminding me that I attend the same church, what business did I have in the club either? People were most definitely thinking the same things as me.
You see, when we claim to be Christian, we no longer carry our name but Christ’s Name- everything we do and don’t do carries weight from that point on. When we act out of the character of God, we aren’t just tainting our image but we are also dirtying God’s reputation and tainting His Image, we’re making Him look bad. We must always be conscious of this.
So many Christians misrepresent Christ and that’s why most of the world doesn’t know Who Christ really is nor understand how He works.
“An authentic relationship with God means that I will do whatever it takes to keep the relationship happy and healthy…that means I refuse to indulge in sin because it doesn’t please God. We call that being serious when we cut other people off and spend special time getting to know one specific person… So the question is, when are we going to get serious about God?” ~ First Lady Lynch
When you get in a relationship with people some things change. You stop entertaining all the other people who were trying to get your attention, you stop spending as much time with friends, you set aside special time to spend getting to know this new person and you avoid doing things that would upset them and or jeopardize the relationship.
Christianity is a relationship. When you get saved, some things should change. We should no longer be entertaining the devil, we should be setting aside special time for God, getting to know Him and His plans for our lives and we should be avoiding sin because we understand that it offends Him and separates us from Him.
So let’s strive to be more like Christ and leave our bipolar ways and “lukewarmness” behind us. The devil uses these tactics as a way to undermine God’s power in our lives. The enemy loves when we continue to live a worldly life because then he still has us in his territory and is able to still use us. Being lukewarm and bipolar about our salvation leaves room for satan to come in and sidetrack us and bring down nonbelievers while he’s at it.
Let’s ensure that we cut off that which offends God, whether it be habits, false pleasures, friends, etc. Refuse to entertain the enemy any longer…he is beneath you…you are too good for him…too powerful for him! And remember this…
You cannot rebuke a demon that you entertain daily in your life. If you grant him access to your spirit he will willingly accept. But it doesn’t stop there. Being the sneaky devil that he is, he won’t impose, he will be very patient with you. Of course, he will present himself harmless and lure you in step by step, compromise by compromise. Eventually, he will get you to conform and once you’ve conformed, you’ve handed over your authority and he’s gained control.
See satan understands that he is powerless against you, so he just tempts you and has you do the dirty work of bringing about your own demise. Don’t fall for his schemes, don’t grant him access…leave him where he belongs- beneath you.
IT IS A NEW YEAR
Oh but let’s say this! 2016 will be a year of blessings, prosperity, and overflow…for those who held out through 2015, who trusted God unwaveringly and learned all of the lessons that God taught them through the year. But if you are still doing the same old things with the same old people having the same old mindset, don’t expect God to do a new thing for you in 2016…you still have 2015 lessons to learn in the new year.
- Let’s be sure to not lose hold of the lessons we’ve learned in 2015 so that we don’t have to take the same test in the New Year.
- As we enter this New Year, let’s realize that we can proclaim, “new year, new me” all day long but until we have a new mindset by the renewing power of God, we will continue to be the same old people.
- We need to throw off bad habits and separate ourselves from people and things that mean us no good spiritually. It’s time to get serious about God if we are going to go around claiming to be of Him. The world is watching us to see how our lives have changed once meeting Christ and letting Him into our hearts. They’re looking for an answer on how to have an abundant life in 2016.
- And for our sake, let’s be mindful and cautious that we are wrestling with sin and not resting with it. As my pastor, Pastor Chance Lynch, tells us, “I may be fighting devils but I’m not gonna keep fighting the same devils because I’m not gonna keep dealing with the same sin. I’m not gonna be fighting 2015 devils in 2016. I just won’t do it!”…we need to reach that place as well.
- “Your success [in 2016] is based on your willingness to separate. Don’t allow your [bad habits, friends, addictions, lifestyle, etc.] from your last season, to contaminate your next season.
- And lastly…have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory. So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.
You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like Him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and He lives in all of us.
And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”
Colossians 3:1-5, 7-11, 17 NLT