Comfortable Sin

For some time now, God has laid upon my heart the subject of Christians and sin…and their influence upon unbelievers. As Christians we encounter unbelievers in many areas…from family and friends to coworkers and neighbors. I think we may be unaware of our influence and the impressions we make upon those who haven’t yet accepted Christ. Influence for both good and bad.

It’s always easier for me to see the error of someone else’s way…instead of my own. As I see other Christians and their interaction with unbelievers it’s very easy for me to point a finger and see what they coulda, shoulda, woulda done differently. Instead I believe that God would have me examine myself in the mirror of His word and see where I fall short.

One concern I see is when I take sin lightly and permit it to enter my life. Either something I’m actively engaged in…or something that is permitted on the peripherals without much notice or protest.

For example…something that seems to be not a big deal is what TV programs I watch. But in fact…it may have a bigger impact than what I first realize. If I’m watching programs in which characters regularly engage in sin, don’t acknowledged it as sin and there are no consequences to their wrong behavior…what am I telling an unbeliever who is watching that same TV show? What does it say about me…if I can stand around the water cooler and laugh about the latest episode of Joey employing all his antics and charm to get Rachel into bed?

Does it tell them that I believe in a set standard outside of myself that says what’s right and wrong? Does it tell the unbeliever that I take sin seriously because I know the cost of such behavior? That sin is not funny? That the suffering and punishment that Christ endured on the cross is a result of sin…including my own sins? That my un-repented, un-forgiven sin…sin that is not covered by the blood of the Lamb will result in eternal separation from God. That the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. That first comes death, then judgment. That wide is the path that leads to destruction and narrow is the path that leads to life.

Or does it tell them that sex outside of marriage is okay? That the notion of premarital or extramarital sex being wrong is just an old fashion notion and is not relevant to today. After all I’m laughing about it along with them…and I’m watching the TV show along with them. Instead shouldn’t my conscience be pierced as I watch people engaging in what God has clearly declared sinful.

How exactly does that square with Jesus command to “Be holy even as I am holy.”? How do I reconcile that with scripture that tells me that I am to not even let a hint of sexual immorality, impurity or greed be a part of my life as a believer in Christ?

What does it say to the unbeliever who stands before me…living an immoral life. A lifestyle I just laughed about when it involved TV characters?

An unbeliever will not hear the truth of God’s word from the world. Instead they will hear man made truth and values that fluctuate with whatever way the prevailing wind is blowing. The world does not have one fixed point of truth or right and wrong.

However…as a Christian…I have the truth of God’s word to guide and direct me…to hold me accountable. It’s not Susan’s heart and Susan’s values that determine right and wrong…but the truth of God’s word. I can tell you many a time…my will…ran smack dab into the immovable wall of God truth contained in His word. When I hit that wall…I was broken and battered. The truth of God’s word does not budge.

Will I be molded to the image of this world….or conformed to the image of Christ? There’s no way to do both…it’s either one or the other. If I’m feasting daily on a steady diet of God’s word…I will find there no room for that which the world has to offer. Something that I use to find appealing or attractive now is disgusting and distasteful.

In the message of what’s right and wrong and what God declares sin…I must never loose the love of God in the parameters that He has set up. God in part hates sin because He knows what pain and destruction sin wrecks in people’s lives.

A sitcom that shows sex between an unmarried couple…doesn’t show you the ugly side sin. Consequences like an emotional attachment that is formed between those who are not committed to one another. The pain when one person wants to walk away and the other person has made the mistake of falling in love in the midst of an arrangement that was suppose to be mutually pleasurable without commitment or attachment. Being used and not cared for…only serves to deaden one’s heart. What about the consequence that we see in our bodies such as infertility or abortion or sexually transmitted diseases…diseases that may even lead to death.

That’s what God hates…He hates sin because He knows the consequences. He’s not a kill joy. He desires to give us His best. That which God gives us the enemy seeks to counterfeit. God offers a life long commitment of love and marriage between one man and one woman…and Satan offers a one night stand with whomever I want, whenever I want.

Is my Christian witness of God and His truth compromised by what I let into my life? Do I shut up and not say anything because of what I choose to do? Because I don’t want anyone looking too closely at what I’m doing? Am I walking a little too close to the line that I am judging another by? What use am I to God when I am living a compromised life and I’m comfortable with sin? Not much I’d say…that is until I go through the Refiner’s fire.

2/6/07 – At the End of the Day…Exhausted Reflections

Being that this girl is exhausted…and quite ready to drop at the end of two exceptionally busy days…I’d better keep this short and sweet and pray that it is somewhat comprehensible.

The last couple of days have been an intense crunch time…a time where we had to hit the mark and get it right the first time. I came away from this experience with the insight that crunch time reveals a person’s true character.

When you see a person that needs help…will you pause and lend a hand…or walk on by? Will stand behind that which you committed to…or go fishing for an excuse? Will you strive for excellence…or settle for a passing grade? Or worse yet…hope that they just don’t look under the rug? Do the words thank you come easily off your lips to praise and encourage another’s efforts…or do you turn a blind eye?

My dear beloved former Pastor Chuck Obremski…use to say that as a Christian…you’ll know what kind of fruit you are bearing when you are squeezed. What comes out when you are squeezed? While the impetuses may be different for a Christian…non believers also bear fruit.

It’s vitally important for Christians to be ever mindful that their actions will be held under the microscope by atheists and agnostics. They want to see if your life…actions, thoughts, words and deeds line up with that which you purport to believe.

It’s critically important that we be aware of that. May that truth motivate us to work with excellence. Our work and our lives are reflection not only of being a Christian…but of Christ Himself. And when we fail and fall as Christians…the non believer has another reason to note why living the Christian life makes no difference compared to the rest of the world.

When I see a fellow Christian…someone who has a genuine saving faith in Jesus Christ behave in a manner towards others that is blatantly un-Biblical…it pains me. Something that is none of my business…but I see and hear of the lasting impression that is being made.

Dear Christians… It’s vital that we as Christians regularly ask ourselves…do my actions, thoughts, words and deeds reflect Christ? Do I draw people to Christ or repeal them?

In some respects…we Christian’s have it easy. We have the pattern to hold ourselves up to. And when we fall short…it will be readily apparent. Whereas unbelievers…act according to their feelings or heart. The Bible tells us that the heart is deceitfully wicked above all things. I don’t want my heart being the final arbiter of what’s right or wrong. I want a set standard and not one of my own making.

Anyway…I’d better draw this to a close…as my eyes are growing sleepy. Please pardon any spelling errors…or major gaffs…I’ll have to correct them on the flip side.

See you in the morning light!

1/7/07 At the End of the Day…Lesson Learned

Sometime ago I had received an e-mail from a woman…a fellow Christian writer/blogger with some godly counsel regarding a link I had on my website. In her e-mail she expressed concern that I had a link to Joyce Meyer’s website and advised me that I might want to re-evaluate that decision since at times Joyce’s teaching has leaned on the side of the word faith movement.

Since I’m relatively well grounded in my study of the Bible (through Bible Study Fellowship and great Bible teaching from Chuck Obremski, Charles Stanley, Chuck Smith, David Hocking, etc.), I felt convicted to some degree and made the decision to remove the link. After all I didn’t want to lead astray anyone, young in their Christian faith, who may not be very discerning or rooted and grounded in Biblical doctrine.

Probably about that time…I thought to myself, “Gee wiz…perhaps I ought not to be listening to Joyce either.” Time went on…before I knew it my scheduled had changed and I was not able to listen to Joyce’s program while I got ready for work in the morning. But I kind of had that nagging feeling that in fact I did miss listening to Joyce Meyer’s program. Not because it made me feel good…or promised me much prosperity…but because Joyce’s teaching helped me to walk a better, everyday Christian walk. She offers some very practical advice on how to walk the Christian walk…even when it’s uncomfortable to do so.

Somewhere along the line…I discovered a post at Debra’s website As I See It Now in which she talked about being less concerned with what others thought was an acceptable or okay ministry and what wasn’t. She said that God is even able to use ministries whose doctrine may vary a bit. Debra never mentioned any names…so I’m not certain whom she was referring to. But after reading that…I felt convicted again…and the thought kept nagging at me. Perhaps I was being a hypocrite to so quickly jettison a ministry…a good Christian ministry that had help me to grow in my Christian walk…just because I had received some criticism. Criticism that was well meaning and even accurate in its concern on Biblical grounds.

One of the joys of having an I-Pod is subscribing to various podcasts…from political or secular shows to ministries. I love it…and it’s a wonderful way to keep informed, built up in the Word of God and educated. Recently…I subscribed to the Joyce Meyer radio show…and started listening to Joyce once again.

I’ve got to tell you…that there is something in that woman’s teaching which genuinely helps me to be a better Christian. In the practical, everyday walk of life…when I’m listening to Joyce Meyer’s program…I’m a better Christian. One, who trusts God more, is more willing to submit God and His plan in my life, to treat others better…even those who might not deserve it.

So at the end of the day…I can see plainly that I’m better for having listened to Joyce Meyer’s teaching.

Now for those Christians who are young in their faith I would counsel you to examine all Bible teachers’ messages against what the Bible says.

“Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” – Acts 17:11