Discontentment, a critical attitude, a negative spirit, doubt and unbelief are not of God.
I may think that I’m just being critical of another person…but more importantly I’m being critical of God. When I do that I demonstrate a lack of trust in God, His character and His purpose in allowing difficult people or challenging circumstances into my life.
Yesterday, when my mind was jumbled with emotions, God helped me to recognize that I was sinning against Him and others. He helped me to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
Basically, God told me to drop and give him 50 praises. Every time that I was tempted to whine or be critical…God challenged me to instead turn it around and give Him praise and offer thanks.
It’s not easy to do that…but it is good and it is right. To do that I am fighting my own selfish, sinful nature. I can choose to be lazy and let my thoughts take me wherever they want to go. Or I can take captive every thought. When I do that, I’m denying myself and choosing to believe God.
One thing that has proved to be a huge help when my mind is clouded is to recite or write out scriptures that I’ve recently memorized.
God calls each one of us to have the mind of Christ. How can I do that without knowing God’s word and hiding it in my heart? How can I do that unless I actively choose to believe God? That includes deep down to the very thoughts and intentions of my heart. Do I have a living faith that’s manifest daily?
But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:22-23
This week I was thinking about sin and the devastating eternal consequences of it. I hate sin! I hate that which is within me that motivates me to sin. I hate sin in other people and the consequences of sin.
It’s ironic…but when we are tempted to sin…when we choose to go down that wrong path…we don’t think beyond the moment. We don’t see how it will impact us in the future and harm others too…like our spouses, children, friends, neighbors and co-workers.
We blame God for sin when we say that He made us that way. Well…no He didn’t. Our sinful natures are a consequence of the fall. God didn’t make us sinful…He paid the penalty for our sin through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. He paid the price so we don’t have to suffer the eternal consequences.
- Sin is motivated by our selfish and prideful nature.
- We are willfully blinded to the cost of sin and the long term effect.
- We are no more like Satan than when we purposefully and willfully choose to sin against God and man.
- We engage in it.
- We refuse to repent of it.
- We applaud others who engage in sin.
- We laugh at sin.
- We feel better about our own sin when we see someone who is more sinful.
- We ignore it.
- We are too timid to confront others who are engaged in sin.
- We turn a blind eye to sin.
- We fail to recognize it on our own lives.
- We view sin as entertainment when it comes in the form in movies, books, TV and music.
- We make excuses for sin.
- We call sin something other than what it is.
- We fail to recognize that sin is more than just the outward actions, but it starts and comes from within.
- What’s going on in my heart and my thought life is every bit as sinful as the person engaged in blatant outward sin
- Most people agree that murder, adultery and stealing are sinful. But what about gossip or spreading a bad report? What about murmuring or complaining?
- Unbelief is a sin…just ask the Jews who wandered in the desert for 40 years. What about an ungrateful heart?
- We fail to grasp the eternal consequences of sin for those who refuse to accept God’s remedy through Christ Jesus our Lord.
- We put hell out of our mind and don’t think about eternal suffering and separation from God.
- We cooperate with Satan when we sin.
- Satan delights in seeing a Christian sin because of the reproach it brings upon Jesus Christ.
- Satan desires to keep humans created in God’s image out of heaven.
- Hell is what we deserve…but if we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and His death on the cross as payment in full…we will be given that which we don’t deserve.
Today, Chris and I saw two new birds in our yard. They were so beautiful and quiet distracting…so much so that we were almost late for work because we were trying to snap their photos.
It wasn’t until this evening that we were able to look at the pictures and identify what birds we had seen. One of the birds, the Black Headed Grosbeak, was there when we got home this evening.
You can be sure that we will be off to Wild Birds Unlimited soon to see how we can encourage more visits from the beautiful Orioles and Grosbeaks.
I’m afraid I frustrate this little humming bird when I’m out in the yard. He just wants to drink his sugar water before night fall…and I just want to snap his photo while the light is still good.
It’s wonderful to take a few moments to admire and marvel at God’s creation.
Yesterday, I had a conversation with someone who said that they recommended their church to all their friends. The selling point and why they liked it was because the service was short. One hour and they are out for the day. No lingering around for several hours or spending all day at church.
The first thing that came to mind was what, if anything, about that attitude reflects a heart that loves the Lord?
God tells us that we are to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.
I started to think about when I fell in love. I wanted to spend as much time with Chris as possible. I wanted to know him more and more. I wanted to know what he thought about, what he felt, what he liked and disliked. I wanted to know his heart. There weren’t enough hours in the day or enough days in the week to spend time together. Our phone calls were so long that we both had some pretty hefty cell phone bills.
Shouldn’t loving God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength look like something akin to being in love with a person. Wanting to spend a much time as possible with them…getting to know their thoughts and heart.
With God…we get to know Him more through the study of His word. We draw closer to Him through prayer.
Would any of our relationships thrive and grow if we only invested one hour a week? Would the person that we say we love take offense and doubt our love if we were anxious to leave after an hour and get on with our day? Would they think that we value and prize them if we only spent an hour a week with them?
Of course not! May we not kid ourselves thinking that we have a good, deep, vital, thriving relationship with God when we don’t desire to spend time with God and don’t make a concerted effort to do so.
May we indeed be known by our great love and passion for God. May we hunger and thirst to know His word. May we desire to communicate with Him through prayer. May our relationship be alive and growing. May our love be evident to all because we are abiding in Christ Jesus and obey Him.
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live. – Luke 10:25-28
By Susan Bunts Wachtel
April 9, 2010