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Fallenbrooke
Jan 30th 2008, 04:57 AM
Alright, m'lady. Your show. ;)

Kingsdaughter
Jan 30th 2008, 05:03 AM
I like the title of your thread brother. Sounds exciting and I would like to join in, but who is m'lady?:lol:

Christsfreeservant
Jan 30th 2008, 05:16 AM
It isn't me, but I'm going to respond anyway. The question posed on another thread has to do with a step-by-step process for gaining victory over sin. If I have not remembered that correctly, please feel free to correct me. Anyway, here is the response I gave and then removed so that I could move it over here:

If I may, let me give my thoughts on this question, too. I believe the first step to overcoming sinful habits or the temptations to sin has to be that we have to hate our sin enough to want to get rid of it. Many people are not lacking in knowing "how" to do it. They just don't do it because they don't really hate their sin; loathe; dispise it. They have to see it how God sees it; see how it hurts them, hurts God and hurts others. Been there! Done that!! You have to weep over your sin.

Then, when you have made the decision to repent and to go the other direction, then you begin putting off those habits and you put on good habits in place of them (Ephesians 4). Many people go back to their sin because they never replace the sin with something else. "When is a thief not a thief? When he stops stealing? No, when he gets a job and begins to give to the poor." "When is a door not a door? When it's 'ajar'." You have to become something else or it is too easy to go right back.

You have to fight Satan and temptation and the flesh with the armor of God. This involves removing anything from your life that could be contributing to your sin. For instance, if my problem was overeating yet I continued to overstock my shelves at home with food, esp. junk food, then I'm not helping myself. Or if it is lust and I continually watch TV programs or movies or play video games or do anything to feed the habit, then it is counterproductive. I must remove from my life everything that causes me to stumble and then I can put on the armor of God and can go against Satan with the Sword of the Spirit, which means I need to be in the Word of God and in prayer a lot!! Too many people spend hours and hours a day on the Internet and watching TV and spend so little time in God's Word and in obedience (this is key to victory) and then they wonder why they can't get victory over sin.

Everything I have mentioned here has been tried and true in my life. It works!! I can attest to it!!

Fallenbrooke
Jan 30th 2008, 05:18 AM
I like the title of your thread brother. Sounds exciting and I would like to join in, but who is m'lady?:lol:

You'll soon find out. ;)

Fallenbrooke
Jan 30th 2008, 05:20 AM
Servant, I have to get up in 5 hours.
I like what you are saying...but....
well you'll find out tomorrow. Goodnight! ;)

Tanya~
Jan 30th 2008, 05:40 AM
Hi Fallenbrooke and thanks! :) (May I please call you John?)

Hi Trina!

I'm glad to see you here. I'm the lady. :lol: And Hi Sue!

This is a continuation of our hijack of the Max Lucado thread which Fallenbrooke, Christsfreeservant, and I took way off topic, and RW joined in, so I suggested Fallenbrooke start this thread. For the background, you should get enough by skimming this page http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php?t=113104&page=12
You might also want to go back a page and see what else Christsfreeservant wrote.

I can identify with much of what Sue (Christsfreeservant) said in her post above. I have learned pretty much the same thing about victory in Christ, and will share how it came about in my life.

John, I can see that you're planning to argue against it and this just seems a little funny to me. If we have learned how to overcome sin through Christ, why would you not want to understand and see if you can apply it to your own life, rather than resist and counter it? :hmm: Maybe that's something to ponder before you get too involved with your rebuttals of what we have found from God's word through the Spirit of Christ! Could you try to set aside prejudice and consider what we have learned with an open mind?

To begin from my part, I want to point you to an answer I wrote in another thread, because you quoted a portion of Romans 7 in the Lucado thread.
http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php?t=114002
See post #2 and #6 for a brief explanation of how I understand this passage.

This is important because for me, it was misunderstanding this passage in particular that held me in bondage. I had been taught exactly what you (John) say about the passage. And I believed it to be true, and I was about as wretched as Paul describes himself to be there, and it was rather hopeless. Yet because I was an avid reader of Scripture, I knew that this created a very serious problem. I knew that what I was doing could not possibly continue indefinitely, but I was unable to change it.

I have to leave this here for now. Until tomorrow then....

Fallenbrooke
Jan 30th 2008, 03:39 PM
Tanya, Firstly, I’m not going to argue against anything. I just want clarification. This is a step-by-step thread.

Second, I read the posts from you in the other thread. You are being consistent which I appreciate. I also read what Project Peter wrote in response and I’m afraid that this is where you think I am coming from. I am not suggesting we use Romans 7 to excuse sin (I think I’ve been consistent in saying that as well). What I am wanting from you is an example of how you might curtail a particular temptation. What are these “weapons” we employ for victory over a particular sin (not sin in general or a lifestyle of sin).

You suggested that you don’t struggle with sin. Which says to me that you only stumble every once in a while. A swear word once every 2 years, a little white lie, maybe j-walking when nobody is looking. Ok, fair enough. So you don’t ever struggle with...maybe...feeling superior in some situations...feeling like you have it together when others seem to be struggling with sin...putting on a smug attitude when you have a grip on a situation when others don’t. I’m just rattling off examples of what some otherwise sin-free people struggle with not alleging you do indeed have a problem in these areas. Often we struggle with deep-seated, inconspicuous sins because we don’t see immediate harm being done to us or others. Do you feel like God will ever surprise you by putting His finger on a part of your life that you haven’t given to Him? Or do you believe that you are “ready-for-Home” – has God perfected you and is just waiting for some reason to take you into His Presence?

If you don’t struggle, I am looking for step-by-step solutions to eradicate any of the sin that I struggle with (and HATE very much by the way).

Fallenbrooke
Jan 30th 2008, 03:47 PM
Servant, you make great points. My question (for clarification purposes only) is how do you come to hate your sin? Give me a practical answer, something tangible.

Tanya~
Jan 30th 2008, 06:17 PM
Tanya, Firstly, I’m not going to argue against anything. I just want clarification. This is a step-by-step thread.

Okay. :)


What I am wanting from you is an example of how you might curtail a particular temptation. What are these “weapons” we employ for victory over a particular sin (not sin in general or a lifestyle of sin).

That's perfect.


You suggested that you don’t struggle with sin. ...

That is correct, and I tried to clarify that. I REALLY don't want to get into a back-and-forth debate over my pridefulness, my self-perfection, my hypocrisy, blindness, and deep-seated sin and all that. What I want to do is simply to share what I understand about the BIBLICAL teaching about the believer and sin, and how it has changed my life.

Just for the record I am not talking about sinless perfection. I am simply talking about victory over sin, and being set free by Christ from bondage to sin. Some might call it "addiction." :hug: Here's a peace-hug to show you that I am very sincere in my desire to share with you, because I want you to take hold of that which Christ has taken hold for you.

I just want to establish at the outset that there is a difference between sinless perfection, complete wholeness without any misstep, mistake or fault, and a life that is pleasing to God and righteous in His sight. One will not be possible until we are resurrected and glorified. The other is possible today, and not only possible, but required of believers. What we seek is to live a life pleasing to God.


If you don’t struggle, I am looking for step-by-step solutions to eradicate any of the sin that I struggle with (and HATE very much by the way).

Okay, wonderful. :) You already have step one: HATE the sin. :) That's where I started too. I will elaborate on step one in my next post.

Kingsdaughter
Jan 30th 2008, 06:21 PM
Oh I like this thread! But I have to come back, after I do my bible study:D

Fallenbrooke
Jan 30th 2008, 06:27 PM
Excellent post, Tanya. In fact, I really like where this is going. So far I agree whole-heartedly.

Tanya~
Jan 30th 2008, 08:08 PM
...how do you come to hate your sin? Give me a practical answer, something tangible.

This is the perfect question. Hatred of sin comes from the fear of the Lord.


Prov 8:13
13 "The fear of the LORD is to hate evil;
Pride and arrogance and the evil way
And the perverted mouth, I hate.
NASU

It seems obvious that hatred of the sin should be the first step, and it is no coincidence that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of both knowledge and wisdom.


Prov 1:7
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
NASU

Prov 9:10
10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
NASU
The fear of the Lord naturally leads to hatred of sin, AND departure from it.


Job 28:28
28 "And to man He said, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom;
And to depart from evil is understanding.'"
NASU

This passage elaborates a little more on what it is to fear the Lord:


Ps 34:11-19
11 Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12 Who is the man who desires life
And loves length of days that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil
And your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous
And His ears are open to their cry.
16 The face of the LORD is against evildoers,
To cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry, and the LORD hears
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the LORD delivers him out of them all.
NASU

I have highlighted in bold one point that shows why "the fear of the Lord" is the FEAR of the Lord, and not just 'reverential awe.' The hatred of sin by itself will not do much good unless we have some motivation for getting rid of it. The fear of God -- the knowledge that He will judge sin, is that necessary motivation.


2 Cor 5:9-11

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.
NKJV


We often have something of a love-hate relationship with sin. We fall into the sin because of lust -- we derive whatever momentary gratification from it that we get, and then afterwards, we hate the sin and we hate ourselves for doing it. But the next time we're tempted to do it, we fall right back into it without putting up much of a fight. WHY? Because we don't have the fear of God. Instead of acknowledging that God will judge it, we have been taught something rather similar to what the sinning Israelites believed:


Jer 7:8-11

8 "Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit. 9 Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know, 10 and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, 'We are delivered to do all these abominations'? 11 Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it," says the LORD.

Few would come right out and admit they believe that faith in Christ has 'delivered' them to the point where the abominations they commit have no eternal consequences. But many of us live as if that is the case, not with evil intent but because we have not learned the fear of the Lord or the practical means by which He gave us victory.

Christsfreeservant
Jan 30th 2008, 08:28 PM
Servant, you make great points. My question (for clarification purposes only) is how do you come to hate your sin? Give me a practical answer, something tangible.

You can feel free to call me Sue. It is difficult to put into words - at least words that are practical and tangible, so let me pray about this and get back with you. I don't want to just write something... I want to write something that is going to hopefully be practical and not just my ramblings.

Later...

Christsfreeservant
Jan 30th 2008, 08:34 PM
Tanya,

I liked your answer to the question posed to me about how to hate sin. I don't know that I can add anything to that. You have nailed it on the head. The quote from Jeremiah 7 was excellent - that is where I have been reading in my QT's with the Lord and that was a verse that stood out to me, too, in our discussion on the subject of the need for repentance in salvation.

Thanks so much for sharing that!

RoadWarrior
Jan 30th 2008, 09:36 PM
I'm posting here so that I will be subscribed to this wonderful thread! Tanya, I like how you are bringing out the necessity for the fear of the Lord, and what it means to fear Him.

Thanks, Fallenbrooke, for asking the questions that led to this.

Thank you Sue, for starting the thread that led to the questions that led to this thread ...

I better stop now. :rofl:

Fallenbrooke
Jan 30th 2008, 09:55 PM
And yes, Tanya (and others) you can call me John.

Fallenbrooke
Jan 30th 2008, 09:56 PM
I'm posting here so that I will be subscribed to this wonderful thread! Tanya, I like how you are bringing out the necessity for the fear of the Lord, and what it means to fear Him.

Thanks, Fallenbrooke, for asking the questions that led to this.

Thank you Sue, for starting the thread that led to the questions that led to this thread ...

I better stop now. :rofl:

I am excited about where this thread could go as well. It's the number one question that makes me scratch my head about my relationship with Christ.

evrgreenjhawk
Jan 30th 2008, 11:11 PM
Servant, you make great points. My question (for clarification purposes only) is how do you come to hate your sin? Give me a practical answer, something tangible.


One question I would ask, is perhaps just HOW do you feel about your sins if not hate...

evrgreenjhawk
Jan 31st 2008, 12:25 AM
One of the reasons that we have sins in our lives, IMO, is because we love doing whatever it is. If it is taking drugs, for example, we do it because we love that feeling of being high. In order to change that love for the sin into hatred for the sin, is part of the discussion we are having here.

For me, learning to hate a particular sin involved facing what it really was. I had to experience (or learn the possibility of) some consequences, and realize how it could actually destroy me, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. The knowledge that it was something God hated, was a powerful tool to help me see that I needed to hate it also. So for a while I had a love/hate relationship with the sin.

I almost feel like your example could fall into a different category, addiction or obsession...? For some the use of drugs or alcohol, for example, may not be a problem or a sin. I guess I was thinking more along the lines of things that had been discussed already such as pride, envy, anger...

For me these are the things I find no love for yet at times, are no easier to control.

Christsfreeservant
Jan 31st 2008, 02:54 AM
I'm posting here so that I will be subscribed to this wonderful thread! Tanya, I like how you are bringing out the necessity for the fear of the Lord, and what it means to fear Him.

Thanks, Fallenbrooke, for asking the questions that led to this.

Thank you Sue, for starting the thread that led to the questions that led to this thread ...

I better stop now. :rofl:

And, thank you for responding to this thread that began from the thread that led to the question that prompted the beginning of this thread or whatever! Anyway, you gave me a chuckle, so thanks!! :lol:

Tanya~
Jan 31st 2008, 08:12 PM
Hi John,

I hope the passages on the topic of the Fear of the Lord had a chance to do their work in your heart.

I realized after posting Step One that there was a prerequisite to all of this. It might seem like a given because we’re all believers in the gospel – we all have the Spirit, we belong to Christ. So we already meet that aspect of the prerequisite: saving faith.

In the context of this discussion though, we need to establish that we specifically believe the promises He has given to us with regard to our new relationship (for lack of a better word) with sin. We will look at some of those promises next time. But before we do that, we need to purpose in our hearts that we will take God at His word.

What is the purpose of the Scriptures?

2 Tim 3:16-17
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.


Doctrine – body of teaching, that which is taught (tells us what to believe)

Reproof – conviction of sin

Correction – restoration to an upright or a right state; improvement

Instruction in Righteousness:
Instruction – (1) The whole training and education of children (2) whatever in adults also cultivates the soul, especially by correcting mistakes and curbing the passions (a) instruction which aims at the increase of virtue; (b) according to Biblical usage chastisement, chastening.


Righteousness - (1) the state of him who is such as he ought to be; (a) universally: the doctrine concerning the way in which man may attain to a state approved of God, doing what is right; (b)integrity, virtue, purity of life, uprightness, correctness in thinking, feeling and acting
(Definitions from Thayer’s Greek Lexicon)

We need to believe God’s words so they can do us good. If we don’t believe them, then we cannot be helped by them. There is no such thing as righteousness apart from faith. That counts for salvation, and it counts for living out the faith. Many believers have no difficulty believing God for their salvation, but for some reason when it comes to day-to-day living, it’s a different story. In my own experience, this was directly a result of some very ineffective teaching. I remember sitting in church and hearing the pastor read a passage, then proceed to expound on why it didn’t mean what it said. If we don’t believe what the Scripture says, then how can we apply it? If we can’t apply it, then how can we be transformed?

We need to get to the place where we can experience the reality of our salvation from bondage to sin, being, like Abraham, “fully convinced that what God had promised He was also able to perform.” (See Rom 4:20-22)

John 8:34-36

34 Jesus answered them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
NKJV
When you read the above passage, what happens in your thinking? How do you interpret it? In what way do you apply it? When you look at this passage, do you think it means you (as a “saved” believer in Christ) can be free now, no longer a slave to sin, or is it just for some future time when you are no longer faced with any kind of temptation? How can you know the correct way to interpret this?

In my personal journey, it all started with that hatred of sin, along with the fear of God. The more I read Scripture (particularly certain passages in the NT), the more convicted I became, that I was not doing what was right in the eyes of the Lord. I wanted to live a life that was pleasing to Him. So I started praying about it and praying very earnestly.

The wonderful thing about God is that He does answer prayer. If you are praying about whatever it is that has you in bondage, don’t quit. :) Keep knocking, keep seeking, keep asking.

Now what I've posted so far might not seem very practical because it doesn't specifically address how to deal with temptation to sin. But we can't start building the walls until the foundation is laid. The power to live godly comes as a result of believing God, not the other way around. Just as we are saved by grace through faith, so also do we walk by grace through faith.

Partaker of Christ
Jan 31st 2008, 10:10 PM
What do we class as 'free' from sin?

Is it when I can suppress or overcome my desire, or when I don't have the desire?
Is it when I am able to avoid the temptation, or when I can look the temptation in the face and glorify God, that I am not succumbed?


Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

If I don't sin because I avoid the sin that besets me, then am I not just a slave in hiding?

Tanya~
Jan 31st 2008, 11:03 PM
Hi partaker,


If I don't sin because I avoid the sin that besets me, then am I not just a slave in hiding?

If sin has dominion over you, then you have not been made free. If sin does not have dominion over you, and if you are not its slave, then you are free. In Christ we have been made free and sin does not have dominion over us. We have a new master. Sin is not our master.

If a believer continues in sin even though he has been made free according to the word of God, then he is like the slaves in Texas who did not know that they were free until two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. They were still living as slaves to their old masters when the Emancipation Proclamation had set them free.

We have a similar Proclamation, but too many Christians either don't know, or don't believe that they have been set free. Read Romans 6. :)

I said this in an earlier post, if you happened to overlook it:

"Just for the record I am not talking about sinless perfection. I am simply talking about victory over sin, and being set free by Christ from bondage to sin."

Fallenbrooke
Jan 31st 2008, 11:16 PM
Thanks, Tanya...sorry been swamped. I'll try and catch up tonight!

9Marksfan
Feb 1st 2008, 12:26 PM
One question I would ask, is perhaps just HOW do you feel about your sins if not hate...

This is a really excellent thread and I too am excited to see where it might go - surely victorious Christian living is one of the most important topics for any Christian to address!

FWIW, as well as feeling hatred for my sins, I'm ashamed to say that I feel resigned to some of them on occasion - a defeatist attitude, which I know is so wrong. But after so much struggle, repentance, confession, trusting for victory, looking to Christ, I really get jaded when I juse seem incapable of living victoriously - I'm thinking in particular of laziness, btw.

I think it's important to examine the sins that we just find no enjoyment in anyway, yet still commit - eg anger, frustration, doubt, fear, cowardice, apathy - as well as those we enjoy - these "non-pleasurable" ones are as sinful as lust, laziness and love of ease (or sexual fantasy, sloth and self-indulgence, which (confession time) are the ones I struggle with most that I derive momentary pleasure from if/when I give in to temptation). I should say that I don't consider myself to be in bondage to any of these, yet I don't think I have real victory either! :(

I guess we need to really get serious about hating our sin and fearing the LORD or we'll never make any progress.

Brilliant posts, everyone - I can see this is going to be a really edifiying thread! :pp

Fallenbrooke
Feb 1st 2008, 05:10 PM
Romans 7:24 – 8:11

I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question?

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ's being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.

God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn't deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that.

The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it. And now what the law code asked for but we couldn't deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.

Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God's action in them find that God's Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn't pleased at being ignored.

But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him.

Having read both yours and Sue’s posts and then really taking this to study, things have become much clearer. And I think two things happened: 1) It has been revealed to me where our miscommunication occurred, and 2) I have learned a real deep truth about the confusion I’ve been wrestling with for the last few years. So this little thread (and the one that spawned it) have been a real blessing.

This passage (from the Message...my default “oh-man-I-am-really-confused-about-this-passge” translation) in light of what you have both made clear to me, tells me that it really is God, through His Spirit, that makes the change providing I really do hate my sin. It seems to me that one begins to hate his sin to the degree that he pursues God. It’s the old white dog vs. black dog analogy (which one wins in a fight...the one you feed more). But it also confirms to me that we can’t though will-power exorcize our own sins. We are often giving practical tips and tricks for avoiding sin and ways to pray to weaken the intensity of a particular temptation or (worse yet) are told just to read the Bible more, pray more, fellowship more to avoid falling into sin.

But that advice is only part of the deal. And often the advice is given backwards. First it appears that the attitude of our hearts need to be radically changed by the Spirit before we can receive revelation from the Scriptures and prayer. I’ve read Romans 7 and 8 hundreds of times and always understood the basic premise to be this: Don’t sin...you don’t have to sin...if you sin you are not God’s son...you are free from sin (but not really unless you don’t sin)...because of what Christ did you are free from the bondage of sin...unless of course you still sin, in which case you are just a person who sins that God has set free...blah, blah, blah.

But slowly the spirit of this passage is coming into focus. Thanks Tanya and Sue (and others) for helping shed light on sin and my response to it. There is still a good deal I don’t understand quite yet. But one day (and post) at at time.

Fallenbrooke
Feb 1st 2008, 05:14 PM
I'm ashamed to say that I feel resigned to some of them on occasion - a defeatist attitude,

That's about where I am as well.

Tanya~
Feb 1st 2008, 05:51 PM
I'm glad to hear it, John. :)

In my own journey through what you're going through right now, I also was in that passage of Scripture, but mine included chapter 6 which I think is essential to understanding the real power that is available to us in being freed.

The Message unfortunately, isn't the greatest translation even though it's easy to read. For example, this statement: "The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it" is problematic. That's not what Paul said at all. His point is that the Law shows us our sin, but cannot help us to not sin. All it does is give sin an opportunity to enslave us.

Rom 7:7-12
What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, "You shall not covet." 8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. 9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.
The section where he describes the utter wretchedness comes from this. He is under the law (not dead to it), and because of that, he is a slave to sin. Why? It is because sin gets its power from the law. That is why sin had so much power over him before he was set free.

1 Cor 15:56-57
The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
NKJV
For the next step, I would recommend that you spend time reading and re-reading Romans 6-8 as a unit. Read it several times. If you need to read in different translations that is fine, but it would be better for you if you avoid the paraphrases and stick to actual translations. In The Message, which is not a translation but a paraphrase, you're reading Eugene Peterson's interpretation and not the Scriptures.

This is really where I started. When I was crying out to God to help me get free from my besetting sin, I started reading that passage in Romans and knew that it held the key to my freedom. When you get to that passage where Paul is speaking in the first person present tense, try to consider it differently than what you had before. I know it throws you... it threw me too, but the rest of what Paul says about his life doesn't confirm that this was his experience after he received the Holy Spirit. Here is Paul's Christian experience, and this is what ours can be and needs to be as well:

Phil 3:12-19

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

17 Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.
NIV
I have an assignment for you. :) I hope you will do this today, and meditate on it. Read Romans 6:1-8:17. Read in your regular Bible, and read it in the New Living Translation. The NLT will help you I think. It does have some places that are questionable and I normally don't recommend this Bible. But if you use it as a secondary source (instead of The Message) when you are having trouble understanding something, it will help you. If you don't have a copy, read it online at BibleGateway.com (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%206;&version=51;).

When we get into God's word and we really let it get inside us, our minds are renewed. We begin to understand the teaching of God which as we saw earlier, is designed not only to show us our sin (convict), but to correct us so that we can be restored to an upright state. :)

Fallenbrooke
Feb 1st 2008, 06:21 PM
Thanks, Tanya. I'll do that. I have pretty much every translation but I rely most on my ESV. So I'll read it in that. How do you feel about the Amplified?

Tanya~
Feb 2nd 2008, 03:50 AM
Hi John,


How do you feel about the Amplified?

I had an Amplified years ago, but never got in the habit of using it much. I did sometimes consult it but since I got some Greek Lexicons and a Greek interlinear, I can get more precise definitions when I want more detail about a particular word when doing in-depth study. I personally found reading it somewhat cumbersome, but when studying you might find it really helpful.

Christsfreeservant
Feb 2nd 2008, 05:03 AM
When we get into God's word and we really let it get inside us, our minds are renewed. We begin to understand the teaching of God which as we saw earlier, is designed not only to show us our sin (convict), but to correct us so that we can be restored to an upright state. :)

I can attest to that!! Tanya, you are sharing good stuff here. I identify much with your approach - worked much the same way for me, too. Sue

Christsfreeservant
Feb 2nd 2008, 05:08 AM
Hi John,



I had an Amplified years ago, but never got in the habit of using it much. I did sometimes consult it but since I got some Greek Lexicons and a Greek interlinear, I can get more precise definitions when I want more detail about a particular word when doing in-depth study. I personally found reading it somewhat cumbersome, but when studying you might find it really helpful.

I primarily read the NIV. I grew up on the KJV but had a really difficult time understanding it since I read on a 7th grade level and it is written on a higher level and besides that it was like reading another language. I tried the NASB next, but it still was a little above my reading comprehension level. So, I switched to the NIV and that has worked well for me for about 30 years now (however long it has been out - can't remember what year).

I still remember many scriptures in the KJV and will refer back to them at times. I use other translations and study helps when doing a study so that I get more than one possible interpretation.

Faithwalker
Feb 3rd 2008, 01:14 PM
Romans 7:24 – 8:11

I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question?

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ's being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.

God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn't deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that.

The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it. And now what the law code asked for but we couldn't deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.

Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God's action in them find that God's Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn't pleased at being ignored.

But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him.


This passage (from the Message...) tells me that it really is God, through His Spirit, that makes the change providing I really do hate my sin. It seems to me that one begins to hate his sin to the degree that he pursues God. It’s the old white dog vs. black dog analogy (which one wins in a fight...the one you feed more). But it also confirms to me that we can’t though will-power exorcize our own sins. We are often giving practical tips and tricks for avoiding sin and ways to pray to weaken the intensity of a particular temptation or (worse yet) are told just to read the Bible more, pray more, fellowship more to avoid falling into sin.

But that advice is only part of the deal. And often the advice is given backwards. First it appears that the attitude of our hearts need to be radically changed by the Spirit before we can receive revelation from the Scriptures and prayer.

I just have to toss a comment in here, because I was so blessed reading this particular response...and without a doubt Fallenbrooke, you are very blessed as well!

Mat 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

Fallenbrooke
Feb 4th 2008, 05:28 AM
Hello all,

OK, this thread had prompted a bit of study on one particular passage. Romans 13:14. The attachment requirements for a PDF are a bit stingy so I had to create an HTML doc. It should be attached. If anyone has any problems with it let me know And I will email it to you. Thanks everyone for your input on this study.

John

Fallenbrooke
Feb 4th 2008, 05:41 AM
I primarily read the NIV. I grew up on the KJV but had a really difficult time understanding it since I read on a 7th grade level and it is written on a higher level and besides that it was like reading another language. I tried the NASB next, but it still was a little above my reading comprehension level. So, I switched to the NIV and that has worked well for me for about 30 years now (however long it has been out - can't remember what year).

I still remember many scriptures in the KJV and will refer back to them at times. I use other translations and study helps when doing a study so that I get more than one possible interpretation.

Yeah I agree. The KJV I use for memorization. Just seems more poetic.

RoadWarrior
Feb 4th 2008, 05:48 AM
Hello all,

OK, this thread had prompted a bit of study on one particular passage. Romans 13:14. The attachment requirements for a PDF are a bit stingy so I had to create an HTML doc. It should be attached. If anyone has any problems with it let me know And I will email it to you. Thanks everyone for your input on this study.

John

Hi John,

I like your study. Good work!

There is a lot in it. I like all the explanations of what it means to put on Christ, as the comparision to an actor who puts on the clothing and manerisms of the character he is playing.

On a similar or related note, I like a post in CA today, by Loki57:

http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php?t=114461&page=2

Fallenbrooke
Feb 4th 2008, 05:55 AM
Hi John,

I like your study. Good work!

There is a lot in it. I like all the explanations of what it means to put on Christ, as the comparision to an actor who puts on the clothing and manerisms of the character he is playing.

On a similar or related note, I like a post in CA today, by Loki57:

http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php?t=114461&page=2

That is a great post!

I like to really unpack one particular passage and get as many perspectives as possible. I was reading Romans 13:14 and it hit me how simple God makes it. We avoid thinking about satisfying our fleshly desires by "putting on Christ. FOr example, I was really tempted today to dwell on a situation I have to deal with tomorrow at work. I usually play different scenarios over and over in my head for hours. But by just taking on this study my mind was put back on track and I avoided feeding the temptation.

It's not diversion really...it is just renewing the mind. I mean, I'm not just distracting myself from a temptation that will be waiting for me when I get done studying...studying and prayer actually erodes the base of the temptation itself. My heart is changed in those precious hours (or even minutes) that I choose to use to know God more. He sees my decision to take those minutes and knock on His door and He honors them by weakening the desire to gratify the flesh.

RoadWarrior
Feb 4th 2008, 06:24 AM
That is a great post!

I like to really unpack one particular passage and get as many perspectives as possible. I was reading Romans 13:14 and it hit me how simple God makes it. We avoid thinking about satisfying our fleshly desires by "putting on Christ. FOr example, I was really tempted today to dwell on a situation I have to deal with tomorrow at work. I usually play different scenarios over and over in my head for hours. But by just taking on this study my mind was put back on track and I avoided feeding the temptation.

It's not diversion really...it is just renewing the mind. I mean, I'm not just distracting myself from a temptation that will be waiting for me when I get done studying...studying and prayer actually erodes the base of the temptation itself. My heart is changed in those precious hours (or even minutes) that I choose to use to know God more. He sees my decision to take those minutes and knock on His door and He honors them by weakening the desire to gratify the flesh.

That is true. A simple diversion would not have the power that being with Christ has in our lives. Another example (one which applies to my life sometimes) is when I have a problem with another person. I tend to rehash the hurt or the offense and think through all kinds of scenarios. What I've learned to do instead, is to pray for the person - not about them, so much, but FOR them. I try to see them as Christ sees them, and it gives me a great deal of compassion and forgiveness toward them. So the situation just dissolves away. It's amazing, really.

Tanya~
Feb 4th 2008, 06:27 AM
Excellent points, both of you.

John you said:



We avoid thinking about satisfying our fleshly desires by "putting on Christ.

I think this is another way of saying what Paul said to the Galatians: "Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh."

Before I had my own breakthrough, I thought of "walking in the Spirit" in very mystical, mysterious terms. I thought it was something that happened to you -- not something you did. But later I realized that it is a command, an imperative: WALK in the Spirit. You do it. It doesn't just happen. "Put on Christ" is the same thing. Good work and thanks for posting your study.

The two ideas are mutually exclusive. You cannot be, at the same time, walking in the Spirit and fulfilling the lusts of the flesh. You cannot be putting on Christ while at the same time making provision for the flesh. It has to be one or the other. What the Holy Spirit teaches us is that when we pursue the one, then we will not be doing the other. And that really is the key to the whole thing. You discovered it before I had the chance to tell you, which is excellent. :) Actually you're going the same direction I found myself going. I do think that when a person is sick and tired of sinning, and gets to the place where you really want to get victory, then the Lord begins to lead you in that.

:) Tomorrow I will post more anyway. :)

Tanya~
Feb 5th 2008, 12:37 AM
Hi John,
Since it would appear that the Lord led you to Romans 13, it would make sense that we should go there for our next step. Let’s just back up and look at the verse in a little bit of a wider context.

Rom 13:8-14

Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, "You shall not commit adultery," "You shall not murder," "You shall not steal," "You shall not bear false witness," "You shall not covet," and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
NKJV
Verse 12 above indicates that there are two phases to what we need to do. They are:

Cast off the works of darkness; and
Put on the armor of light Casting off the works of darkness has to occur before you can put on the armor of light, just as you need to take off the old article of clothing before putting on the new. You don’t go and buy a new jacket, only to put it on over the old one. You have to take off the old one first, and then you can put on the new one.

But this is the spot where everyone gets stuck.

HOW DO I?

When you are in bondage to a sin, this is very difficult to do. But if the earlier steps already discussed are accepted (fearing God and believing His word), the actual practice isn’t as hard as you might think.

From Romans 6 you should have learned that you have been given what you need to live a godly life. Read how Peter puts it:

2 Peter 1:2-4 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Peter%201:2-4;&version=50;)
2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
NKJV
Read that over a few times. I linked the passage for you in BibleGateway where you can read it in several versions. I hope that with this passage and the other things we have been talking about up to this point, you are feeling strong, and believe you will be able through Christ, to be obedient to Him. Now all you really need to do is remember a couple of passages, which will help you get started immediately in gaining your victory. You should be, as it were, armed and ready to meet your enemy. When he attacks, you will not be without your weapons.

1 Cor 10:12-13
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
NKJV

James 4:7-8
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
NKJV


I devised a little slogan for myself: “Every temptation has duration.” Whenever we are tempted, we tend to get overwhelmed by it. But we don’t realize that the temptation itself will pass eventually if we don’t give in to the sin. It has a limited duration. We just have to wait it out… we have to endure it, or as the passage above puts it, we have to bear it. The promise given is that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear. We have to believe Him on this point. Then we can act on our faith by resisting until the temptation passes.

What you will find is that as you practice resisting temptation, it actually does get easier over time. The temptation itself lessens, and eventually it will go away. This has been my experience and that of many others. That is not to say you will never be faced with the same or similar temptation because you will. We have to remain on guard always. The good news is that you can get to the place where you aren’t constantly battling temptation, and you can get on with the business of those ‘good works’ we are called to do.

I just want to end this post with this passage:



Titus 2:11-14

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
NKJV

Mograce2U
Feb 5th 2008, 01:07 AM
Hi Tanya,
I have been following this thread and it is truly one of your best. :kiss:

I think it takes a victory or two - perhaps discovered accidently, before we even get the idea of how grace comes to us thru faith. We tend to think that faith is something we must "work up" in the beginning as if buttering up the Lord first is needed. But rather it is learning how to lay hold of His willingness - which is already available.

God is so good to us, and His goodness is what we must learn about!

9Marksfan
Feb 5th 2008, 11:13 AM
Hi Tanya,
I have been following this thread and it is truly one of your best. :kiss:

I think it takes a victory or two - perhaps discovered accidently, before we even get the idea of how grace comes to us thru faith.

We tend to think that faith is something we must "work up" in the beginning as if buttering up the Lord first is needed. But rather it is learning how to lay hold of His willingness - which is already available.

God is so good to us, and His goodness is what we must learn about!

Good points - that reminds me of an old hymn we used to sing as children, which illustrates the points you're making:-

Yield not to temptation

Yield not to temptation,
For yielding is sin;
Each victory will help you,
Some other to win.
Strive manfully onward,
Dark passions subdue,
Look ever to Jesus
He will carry you through!

Chorus

Ask the Saviour to help you,
Comfort, strenghten and keep you,
He is willing to aid you,
He will carry you through!

MMC
Feb 5th 2008, 02:55 PM
I'm posting here so that I will be subscribed to this wonderful thread!

Me too. This one's worth the subscription...

Tanya~
Feb 6th 2008, 07:54 PM
Hey John,

I wanted to let you know that I have another post ready, another step in this process, but am waiting to hear from you before submitting it. I've been following your lead, responding to what you write because I think it's going the way the Spirit of God is leading you, and I want to follow Him and how He is leading you rather than trying to just take you through my journey. Even though it's the same path, I would rather go at your pace and in the direction God is leading you, and how you're doing in that regard rather than trying to make you conform to how God led me, or go at a pace I set. I also know you're busy so don't want to rush things. Let me know how you're doing and if you're up to speed with what we have so far, then I'll post.

Christsfreeservant
Feb 6th 2008, 09:02 PM
Good points - that reminds me of an old hymn we used to sing as children, which illustrates the points you're making:-

Yield not to temptation

Yield not to temptation,
For yielding is sin;
Each victory will help you,
Some other to win.
Strive manfully onward,
Dark passions subdue,
Look ever to Jesus
He will carry you through!

Chorus

Ask the Saviour to help you,
Comfort, strenghten and keep you,
He is willing to aid you,
He will carry you through!

I love that old song, too!! I used to sing it a lot in my younger years. Thanks for the reminder of that simple, yet deep truth!! God bless!

Fallenbrooke
Feb 8th 2008, 06:22 AM
Hi Tanya! Sorry, I've been out for a couple of days. I will catch up tomorrow morning. Your posts have been very helpful. I am finishing up another study tonight. See you tomorrow!!

John

Fallenbrooke
Feb 10th 2008, 06:32 PM
Hello,Tanya,

I've finally got some time to digest what you've written. I found your little slogan to be quite helpful actually. Thanks for that. A time-limit on the severity of the initial temptation is definitely a gift. But what my mind most often struggles with in those times is the voice in my head that says "well, yes, this too shall pass...but you are sinful by nature so you know it is just festering down there waiting to surface again when you are weak. You will always be a sinner until Heaven so what's the use in fighting this thing to terribly hard?"

I know better than to listen to that voice. But I can't deny that it will always be there. It's a bit disheartening. So I've been exploring what it really means to be "in Christ". I can only assume that this is the key to really standing against temptation as a lifestyle and not just a quick fix. I went out and got the PC Study Bible Advanced Library. I did a search for living "in Christ". I am about half way through Spurgeon's treatise on being in Christ (just one of the 1,200 references I got...this library is INSANE in scope).

The passage in James you posted is one of my favorites. But I understand it to mean that resisting the devil is only accomplished by drawing near to God (or being "in Him"). It actually even reinforces that fact by repeating it: Submit yourself to God...draw near to God.

I was wondering how we might "cleanse our hands" and "purify ourselves". This is what I've been trying to figure out since I was a kid. We don't have sinks with clean enough water. So while I think James is telling us to "stop sinning" in no uncertain terms, I think he is telling us how as well. But Submitting to God and drawing near to Him...and in doing so we will be resisting the devil and cleansing ourselves. In other words if I am "in Christ" (which is what I am really trying to understand now) I have no desire to give in to temptation (in fact they really lose much of their appeal from the start).

Maybe there really isn't a practical way to systematically eliminate sin from our lives. Once I get to the bottom of what it means to be "in Christ" things will come into sharper focus. Ugh...so much to learn. Keep posting, Tanya, you've really been the only one to cause me to really study this after 30 years of being a Christian.

Thanks!

John

RoadWarrior
Feb 10th 2008, 07:10 PM
... I went out and got the PC Study Bible Advanced Library. I did a search for living "in Christ". I am about half way through Spurgeon's treatise on being in Christ (just one of the 1,200 references I got...this library is INSANE in scope).
...

John, I have this software also. How did you do your search? I'm trying to find the article!

Thanks.

Fallenbrooke
Feb 10th 2008, 08:51 PM
John, I have this software also. How did you do your search? I'm trying to find the article!

Thanks.

I just put in the phrase "in Christ" and searched the commentaries and books for the exact phrase. Here is an excerpt:

Nearness to God - Eph. 2:13

A Sermon Delivered on Lord's Day Morning January 17, 1869
by C.H. SPURGEON
at the METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON
SERMON TEXT: Eph 2:13

"But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ."-Eph 2:13.

I. We commence, therefore, this morning by endeavouring to EXPLAIN THE MEANING OF THE TWO KEY-WORDS.-"In Christ Jesus," and "by the blood of Christ." "We who sometimes were far off are made nigh" Eph 2:13.
First, because we are in Christ Jesus. All the elect of God are in Christ Jesus by a federal union. He is their head ordained of old to be so from before the foundation of the world. As Adam was the federal head of the race, and as in him we fell, so Christ, the second Adam, stands as the head of the chosen people, and in him they rise again and live. This federal union leads in due time, by the grace of God, to a manifest and vital union, a union of life, and for life, even unto eternal life, of which the visible bond is faith. The soul comes to Jesus, and lays hold on him by an act of faith, because Jesus has already laid hold upon that soul by the power of his Spirit, claiming it to be his heritage, seeing he hath bought it with his blood, and his Father has given it to him as the reward of the travail of his soul. All who are in Christ Jesus in the eternal covenant of grace, shall in due time, be in him by the living union of which we now speak-mystical and mysterious, but still most real, most true, and most efficient. Now, beloved, when a soul becomes really in Christ, as the branch is in the vine, and draws its nourishment from the stem, as the limb is in the body, and derives all its vitality from the central heart-when a man thus becomes one with Christ, it is clear to the commonest observer that he must be near to God; for Christ is ever near to God, and those one with him must be near also. Jesus is himself God; here is nearness outdone. As man he is without spot or blemish, and near to God in character; as having finished the work which was given him to do, he is near to God in acceptance; as having gone up to heaven to take the promised crown, he is near to God in person; and since we are one with him, we must be from that very fact near to God, ay, as near to God as Christ himself is. Understand, that if anything be one with a man, actually one with that man, it stands in the same place as that man does. So if we be one with Christ by a real and actual union, where Christ is we are, Christ's standing is our standing; and as Christ is nigh unto God, even so He hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places. We are:

"So near, so very near to God,
We cannot nearer be,
For in the person of His Son,
We are as near as he."

RoadWarrior
Feb 10th 2008, 09:11 PM
I just put in the phrase "in Christ" and searched the commentaries and books for the exact phrase. Here is an excerpt:

Nearness to God - Eph. 2:13

A Sermon Delivered on Lord's Day Morning January 17, 1869
by C.H. SPURGEON
at the METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON
SERMON TEXT: Eph 2:13

Thanks John, I guess I should have asked you for the sermon title, but you provided it anyway. :pp

You are right about the overwhelming scope of this product. I have been using it for several years, and it is much more complex than when it first began. I don't make a lot of use of the extra books which come along with it, only of a few of them which have been my favorites through the years.

I tend to spend most of my time the Bibles, and the cross-referencing. I do use the commentaries, but only secondarily. I use the dictionaries, encyclopedias, and especially the Greek-Hebrew study tools.

One of the things about sin that I have realized is this. The more we eliminate the "big" sins from our lives, the more focus God puts on the "little" ones that we didn't notice when we still practiced the "big" ones.

I don't think we ever get to a place (in this life) where there is no more room for spiritual growth. In some ways the "little" ones are harder to shake than the "big" ones were. They are more subtle.

Tanya~
Feb 10th 2008, 10:50 PM
Hi John,

You do know where that voice comes from, right? Whenever the enemy whispers his lies to us, he will include some seed of truth so that we will not realize what he's doing. When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, he used Scripture at one point. But Jesus responded with more Scripture. The battle is won or lost in your mind, in what you believe, first and foremost. That's where the enemy will fight the hardest because that's where he has power. He cannot move the parts of your body. Only you can do that. This is why the Holy Spirit tells us to offer our members as instruments of righteousness to God instead of instruments of unrighteousness to sin.

I would agree with you that it is being in Christ is the key... not just the key but the very foundation and bedrock. We have our very life in Him.


The passage in James you posted is one of my favorites. But I understand it to mean that resisting the devil is only accomplished by drawing near to God (or being "in Him"). It actually even reinforces that fact by repeating it: Submit yourself to God...draw near to God.

I agree. It all goes together. Submit to God, resist the devil, draw near to God. As we submit to God, we resist the devil. Another way of putting it is "walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh."


I was wondering how we might "cleanse our hands" and "purify ourselves". This is what I've been trying to figure out since I was a kid.

This parallels my own experience, though in my case I was trying to understand how a person goes about 'walking in the Spirit' (so as not to fulfill the desires of the flesh) because the term seemed rather mystical to me. But I realized it wasn't mystical at all. It is simply a matter of doing what is in accordance with God's will rather than doing what sin would lead us to do.



We don't have sinks with clean enough water.

This is where the word of God comes in and why I stressed the need to believe what we read there.


Eph 5:25-27
...Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
It is through the knowledge of God and Christ, through the knowledge of His will which is revealed to us in the word of God, that we are cleansed and sanctified. We are transformed by the renewing of our minds. Consider:

Col 1:9-10
...that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God

This is part of Paul's prayer for the Colossians, that I like to pray also, for myself and others. It is through the knowledge of God's will that we learn to walk in a way that is worthy of Him. Now the devil is surely going to whisper in your ear that 'you can never be worthy' but the Bible doesn't actually say that. We need to get it out of our heads that 'worthy' equals 'sinless perfection.' Just because you aren't sinless doesn't mean you can't live a righteous life, free from bondage to unrighteousness and immorality.





if I am "in Christ" (which is what I am really trying to understand now) I have no desire to give in to temptation (in fact they really lose much of their appeal from the start).

This is sort of true, because we do hate the sin. But there is effort required to resist. There's just no getting around that. If we expect it to be easy, then we will be more inclined to give in than if we're prepared to put up a bit of a fight.


Maybe there really isn't a practical way to systematically eliminate sin from our lives.

The object of this study isn't to achieve sinless perfection, but rather, to put off the works of the flesh -- the unrighteous deeds that would disqualify us from acceptance into the kingdom of God. The object of the lesson is to deal with this kind of stuff:


1 Cor 6:8-11
8 No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! 9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.


Gal 5:19-21
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.


Eph 5:4-7
5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not be partakers with them.

We need to stop making excuses for this sort of thing. It doesn't belong in the church and it will not belong in the kingdom of God.


Once I get to the bottom of what it means to be "in Christ" things will come into sharper focus. [/quote]

I think it will. :) May the Lord give you spiritual wisdom and understanding in the knowledge of Him. :)

Congratulations on getting a PC Study Bible I really love mine. I think this is the most popular Bible program. Like RW, I don't make full use of what is available with it. I agree with you, the library is MASSIVE! It would cost a fortune to buy all these books. I mainly bought the Advanced version so I could use the Greek parser. My main tools are the Bible versions, the Greek and Hebrew tools, the Treasury and the Concordance. I use the media and Dictionaries too. It's a wonderful program

Son_kissed
Feb 11th 2008, 12:36 AM
Wow, came here today for the first time in months and found this beautiful thread. I dont want to take it too far from the direction its going, as I like where it's gone so far, but hope you dont mind if I throw in my two cents. :)


Hello,Tanya,

...A time-limit on the severity of the initial temptation is definitely a gift. But what my mind most often struggles with in those times is the voice in my head that says "well, yes, this too shall pass...but you are sinful by nature so you know it is just festering down there waiting to surface again when you are weak. You will always be a sinner until Heaven so what's the use in fighting this thing to terribly hard?"

I know better than to listen to that voice. But I can't deny that it will always be there. It's a bit disheartening... John

I think we can throw that voice right out of our head forever. It will not always be there. If we didn't really think there was any point in fighting sin, this thread wouldnt even exist. But, we know there is a point to it... To please and glorfiy God, because we love and fear Him.

And as far as temptations resurfacing when we're weak, I think we have to understand that while that may be true, we can get to a point that those temptations wont be so tempting. Surely there is some sin in each of our lives we've overcome that no longer have the appeal they once did, and I believe that can be true for any sin.

I wont say much more, but but one thing that has helped me is to remember the Lord's prayer... "lead us not into temptation, but (instead) deliver us from evil, for Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory forever and ever."

What Christ is saying here, is "Father this is your kingdom, you have the power here." Not the tempter. God has the power to deliver us from our evil sins, and can and will and has, through Christ, for His Glory. It is not glorifying for God for us to remain in sin, and by His power, through Christ (in us), we can overcome each of them as they are revealed to us.

I say that prayer and believe that He will deliver me from (remove) temptation and evil oppression, because I don't doubt that He has the power to do so. And He does. It's not always instantaneous, but as long as I keep praying and resisting, He does.

Fallenbrooke
Feb 11th 2008, 03:42 AM
Thanks, Son_Kissed. A very timely post. I guess I have just lived under the pressure it's hopeless to have victory over sin. Christ did it so we wouldn't have to pay the penalty but all in all, we are still sinners and will sin until we die. I am starting to understand that such isn't the case.

Tanya,

Everything you said makes sense. I know that the knowledge of God is really our primary pursuit (once we are redeemed). The passages you quoted are tough medicine. Whenever I have read those I have felt guilty of at least a couple of them. And even still I feel like I have to start over. It's like I am running a race and when I stumble I feel like I have to run back to the starting line and run it perfectly to the end. That is really, really discouraging. I've lived my whole life like that. If I was working on a project for school and I smudged the paper I would throw it away. If I am at work and I am designing a logo for a client and he doesn't like the color or type face I am really tempted to go back to the beginning and redesign the whole thing. If I am recording a vocal track and I screw up a verse I scratch the whole thing. I was looking back through my journals the other day and this pattern is recurring.

It's hard for me to think that if I don't completely nip a sin in the bud that there is any real chance at redemption. Because Paul specifically says none of these "will enter the kingdom of God". I mean, I've been jealous before and will probably be jealous again. Certainly lied before. If in fact we even do these things once...doesn't that make us such?

That's what is hard to get my head around.

Tanya~
Feb 11th 2008, 05:31 AM
Here is a portion of the hymn Nigel quoted:
Yield not to temptation,
For yielding is sin;
Each victory will help you,
Some other to win.

That is an excellent principle to teach children -- much more useful than telling them repeatedly that they will always be wretched sinners and can never overcome sin as long as they are in this life. If you don't believe there is such a thing as victory, you will never know it. What you truly believe about this matter, you will live. But when you do experience some victories, you become stronger, and you can actually practice living a righteous life.

And yet, at some point along the way, we need to know what to do when we experience a defeat. I sense that you are somewhat fearful about this, and your concern is perfectly reasonable. What do you do when you fall?



If you are anything like me, you may experience a defeat or two along the way, until you really learn how to live without that sin, whatever it is, that has held you in bondage.

In one sense I hesitate even to bring this up because there is a concern that the suggestion of a provision given for failure can, in the minds of some, open a door for a ‘planned relapse.’ That is when a person secretly harbors a desire to have the occasional ‘slip’ because there is still a willingness to continue in that sin… if only once in a great while, or at least once or twice more before I give it up altogether. Do not, in your mind, make provision for the flesh, because if you do, then it will soon be your master rather than you having mastery over it.


But on the other hand, it is absolutely necessary to know that God has provided the means for cleansing so that we don't fall into discouragement which leads to condemnation. This is where we need to be, when we have sinned:



2 Cor 7:9-11
9 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. 11 For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
NKJV
The sorrow of the world that leads to death is the sorrow that leads to that evil voice in your mind, which tells you that there is no hope, that you will never overcome, because you are flesh and you are a wretched sinner. This voice lies and doesn't speak the truth. The godly sorrow that leads to repentance is what leads to victory. It is the sorrow that doesn't lead to condemnation, but makes you angry enough to refuse the temptation next time.




2 Peter 2:19-21
…by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. 20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them.
NASU


1 Peter 5:8-9
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

If we do ‘slip up’ then, we need to recognize that it is a very serious, very dangerous position. Immediately after a ‘slip’ is when Satan can easily get you, make you feel condemned, make you feel helpless and hopeless about ever getting victory over this thing. If he has his way, you will be overcome and in worse shape than you were before. But God has provided:


1 John 1:5-10

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
NKJV

1 John 1:9 is too often used as a means by which a believer can continue in sin. It goes something like this… A person is enslaved to some sin or other. They wish they were free, but the temptations are strong and they do not know how (or do not want) to fight. So they continue in a pattern experiencing a subtle building up of some kind of stress, then temptation that promises temporary relief of the stress, then sin, now the stress is temporarily relieved but then remorse and the feeling of conviction sets in, then they pray for forgiveness, then the cycle starts all over again. Blech.

But look at the passage in context. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. Verses 8-10 are not there so that Christians can walk in darkness, and go to Jesus to have their sins cleaned away as they do so. That passage is there to help us make the transition from walking in darkness, to walking in the light.

What I discovered is that Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us our sins AND to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He doesn’t forgive our sin then turn us loose so that we can go back and do it again and again and again. So I changed my prayer, after I sinned. Instead of just praying for forgiveness of sin, I prayed earnestly (believing that He was able to perform His own promises) that He would cleanse me from this unrighteousness.


Heb 4:14-16
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
NKJV

Fallenbrooke
Feb 12th 2008, 02:29 AM
Tanya, I don't know...it seems like an awful amount of minding my P's and Q's more than it is a walk with Christ. Maybe I'm just too far into this thing. It seems like we are focusing to much on making sure we don't slip up so that we stand before God faultless (or close to it). It seems like I would be putting to much emphasis on the enemy and what he might do to me. Is this really what we need to do in order to appease God and "run the race to completion?"

If so, I have a lot of work ahead of me. But you've built a good case.

RoadWarrior
Feb 12th 2008, 02:37 AM
Tanya, I don't know...it seems like an awful amount of minding my P's and Q's more than it is a walk with Christ. Maybe I'm just too far into this thing. It seems like we are focusing to much on making sure we don't slip up so that we stand before God faultless (or close to it). It seems like I would be putting to much emphasis on the enemy and what he might do to me. Is this really what we need to do in order to appease God and "run the race to completion?"

If so, I have a lot of work ahead of me. But you've built a good case.


Hi John,

Just a thought I had while reading your post: We don't have to build the road, but we are expected to walk on the right one, and in the right direction.

Maybe you've been reading too much Spurgeon and not enough 1 John.
;)

Is it appeasing God, or is it obeying Him?

Fallenbrooke
Feb 12th 2008, 02:42 AM
Maybe you've been reading too much Spurgeon and not enough 1 John.
;)

Ugh... you may be right. It just seems like it would take a lifetime to become sin-free (that is the point right?...I know you and Tanya have said otherwise...but it does seem to come down to that). If I sin it displeases God and it seems like only a matter of time before He throws up His hands. I'll be the first to admit that I am a first rate screw-up. But I also have made great progress in leaving behind sins and habits I have previously held viciously to. with God's Grace. There are an awful lot of people on this board (present company excluded) that assert that I am simply not moving fast enough. That's a heavy weight.

Tanya~
Feb 12th 2008, 03:01 AM
Hi John,

I can understand why you would say that, but really this is just more about giving you the defensive and offensive weapons you need when you face temptation. It isn't about focusing on the enemy, it's about focusing on following Christ, and knowing what to do when the enemy strikes. No soldier goes to war without training. Too many Christians face a dangerous enemy every single day without any knowledge of how to fight, even though Scripture is packed with instruction, warnings, and encouragements for that very purpose. We have the Scriptures. It's a wonder that so many Christians are defeated and go around with a defeatist mindset. My people perish for lack of knowledge.


Is this really what we need to do in order to appease God and "run the race to completion?"

Not in the least, because God has already been 'appeased.' It's about working out what God is working in us. I think we are given the impression that the Christian faith is supposed to be a cakewalk. It's not. We do have to fight, it is like a race, like a war.


Eph 6:10-11
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
NKJV

1 Peter 5:8-11
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

RoadWarrior
Feb 12th 2008, 03:02 AM
Ugh... you may be right. It just seems like it would take a lifetime to become sin-free (that is the point right?...I know you and Tanya have said otherwise...but it does seem to come down to that). If I sin it displeases God and it seems like only a matter of time before He throws up His hands. I'll be the first to admit that I am a first rate screw-up. But I also have made great progress in leaving behind sins and habits I have previously held viciously to. with God's Grace. There are an awful lot of people on this board (present company excluded) that assert that I am simply not moving fast enough. That's a heavy weight.

John, we each move at our own pace. God knows how much you can take, and how fast. This isn't about beating yourself up. It's about moving from where we are, to a better place. Nobody else can make those moves for you. Sometimes we get impatient with each other, but you can't go from kindergarten to college without taking all those classes in between. (Certain geniuses excepted.) A child must crawl before it can walk. Start from where you are. Take the next step. Remember the title of this thread includes "step by step". Not step, skip, step. If someone tells you that you need to move faster, ask them to get you a race car for your birthday. Ferrari, perhaps? ;)

There is no such thing as "sin-free" on this side of heaven. There is being a lot cleaner than we are. But it's a journey. We just need to be making progress. I have a "3 steps forward and 2 back" history sometimes. But I'm grateful that I end up with a plus one, in that scenario!

It's about getting free from the chains that are holding us back. It's about making steady progress toward being closer to God, being more of what He wants.

You have made great progress, by your own admission. I say, Yay, John! You go, guy! What a terrific testimony! Celebrate that!

Don't you like it better where you are now, than where you were? The next level is always better than the one before. Sometimes the climb is steep and hard, but every level I have climbed has definitely been worth the price. I'm currently in process of yet another climb of my own, and it is hard. But I'm determined to make it. And I'm rooting for you!

Fallenbrooke
Feb 12th 2008, 03:47 AM
I can understand why you would say that, but really this is just more about giving you the defensive and offensive weapons you need when you face temptation.

Ok, that makes sense. But I'll tell you when I think about putting on all that armor I get tired. I guess for 30 years I just hoped that my love for God and diligence in my study and aligning myself with Christian family and friends would alleviate the desire to sin. I have no energy to scream at the devil all day long and I've always thought preachers who do that were kind of loopy.

I'd kind of like to just ignore him and keep studying and praying and worshiping God. Look, if someone ignored me long enough I'd take the hint. :P

But alright. It's funny because I think God has been speaking to my lack of fight lately. But, man, it's exhausting just thinking about warfare. I'd rather just get on with my walk.

Fallenbrooke
Feb 12th 2008, 03:54 AM
There is no such thing as "sin-free" on this side of heaven. There is being a lot cleaner than we are. But it's a journey. We just need to be making progress. I have a "3 steps forward and 2 back" history sometimes. But I'm grateful that I end up with a plus one, in that scenario!

You'll probably never know how far that testimony goes with me. Thanks for that! It seems so hard to find Christians who are like me. Sometimes (on this board in particular) everyone seems to have such clean hands. It's one of the reasons I leave for a few months at a time. I feel like a total alien.

Look, I hate that I sin. And I pay a heavy price for it. I am thick-headed and every time I do what I know good and well I will pay dearly for...God is there to put the smack down on me. And I am grateful. It's the greatest gift. It gets uglier and uglier every time I put my hand on the stove. Why I have to learn the hard way I don't know.

The funny thing is that I can actually hear Him saying "We are going to keep doing this and its going to get progressively worse until you get it through your thick skull, John. I am not letting you go."

Someday I'll get it.

Tanya~
Feb 12th 2008, 05:36 AM
:)


Ok, that makes sense. But I'll tell you when I think about putting on all that armor I get tired. I guess for 30 years I just hoped that my love for God and diligence in my study and aligning myself with Christian family and friends would alleviate the desire to sin. I have no energy to scream at the devil all day long and I've always thought preachers who do that were kind of loopy.

I'm right there with you on that. :) Honestly, we don't have to scream at the devil. I never do anything like that and personally prefer not to address or acknowledge him in that sense. We keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. Nevertheless, we can't deny that the devil is there and that he's bent on deceiving us into sin. Jesus taught us to pray that He would keep us from the evil one... "lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one..." When we're tempted, we deal with it by turning to God and resisting whatever it is the devil would like us to do. I never turn to him and tell him off, rebuke him, or anything of the kind. You just refuse to obey him, since he isn't in authority over you, and has no power over you any more. He would like you to believe otherwise but once you get the truth of the matter deep into your heart, things will change.


I'd kind of like to just ignore him and keep studying and praying and worshiping God. Look, if someone ignored me long enough I'd take the hint. :P

Well you certainly aren't ignoring him if you continue to do his will.


But alright. It's funny because I think God has been speaking to my lack of fight lately. But, man, it's exhausting just thinking about warfare. I'd rather just get on with my walk.

There have been times in my life when I have been tired of fighting, and have asked for a time of rest. If you're just being chicken and are afraid to resist the enemy who's been pushing you around, then you need to buck up a bit and get some strength from the Lord. But if you are truly weary of the fight, then ask for a time of rest. He will give it.

Tanya~
Feb 12th 2008, 05:45 AM
I love what RW wrote and knew it would be a tremendous encouragement to you John, I know it was an encouragement to me. But there again, you're talking the language I know very well -- the Lord's chastening. I know exactly what you're talking about and can testify that it does indeed get progressively worse and worse. Who wants to spend so much time in the woodshed? I know what you're going through, and have confidence that you will also experience victory. You can overcome the evil one. :)

I love this passage. I think I've quoted it to you before, but here it is again. I want to encourage you to know that you can go from being just a little child who knows their sins are forgiven, to a young man who has overcome the wicked one. And then later, you will know God, truly know Him on a level you never knew before.

1 John 2:12-14

I write to you, little children,
Because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake.
13 I write to you, fathers,
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
Because you have overcome the wicked one.
I write to you, little children,
Because you have known the Father.
14 I have written to you, fathers,
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I have written to you, young men,
Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you,
And you have overcome the wicked one.
NKJV

Be strong, get your strength from Him, and be an overcomer. :)

RoadWarrior
Feb 12th 2008, 06:37 AM
You'll probably never know how far that testimony goes with me. Thanks for that! It seems so hard to find Christians who are like me. Sometimes (on this board in particular) everyone seems to have such clean hands. It's one of the reasons I leave for a few months at a time. I feel like a total alien.

Look, I hate that I sin. And I pay a heavy price for it. I am thick-headed and every time I do what I know good and well I will pay dearly for...God is there to put the smack down on me. And I am grateful. It's the greatest gift. It gets uglier and uglier every time I put my hand on the stove. Why I have to learn the hard way I don't know.

The funny thing is that I can actually hear Him saying "We are going to keep doing this and its going to get progressively worse until you get it through your thick skull, John. I am not letting you go."

Someday I'll get it.

John, there are more Christians like you (and me) than there are ones with clean hands. Most people just don't confess up to the sins that they commit. Your honesty is one of your greatest assets in gaining victory.

We cling to our old ways because they are familiar, and "comfortable". It is hard to give something up, because we are afraid it might cause our entire house of cards to tumble into the dust and we will have nothing left. I know. I've been there.

In fact, I've had my whole house of cards tumble, and in the end I was left feeling scraped down to my foundation. I tell you the truth, it was not fun. But in that process, I found out that my foundation was Jesus, and that He was enough.

Later I was glad to have had all that rubbish swept away. Then Jesus could build what He wanted on the foundation. I still sometimes try to put my bits on there, and He patiently sweeps that away too. :( It's hard, but I'm so glad that He does.

Walking is good, I encourage you to keep doing that. Keep your eyes on the goal, and make your walk as straight as possible. Falling off the edge usually means a lot of briers and thorns. Or big bruises from the rocks. I know that you already know that. :)

Have you ever heard that Christians are the only army that shoots their wounded? :o Many times our sins come from our own selfish way of dealing with old wounds.

I think we do better to pour in some healing oil, instead. :hug:

RoadWarrior
Feb 12th 2008, 05:34 PM
I was finding this thread to be so helpful and refreshingly honest. :cry:

Thanks, MMC.

I think perhaps John is still allowed to read, so we could continue on with the discussion. Please feel free to make comments or ask questions, and we will carry on.

Maybe we could talk about the difficulties of Christian relationships, and how victory could be gained in that particular step.

Any thoughts?

MMC
Feb 12th 2008, 05:51 PM
Thanks, MMC.

I think perhaps John is still allowed to read, so we could continue on with the discussion. Please feel free to make comments or ask questions, and we will carry on.

Maybe we could talk about the difficulties of Christian relationships, and how victory could be gained in that particular step.

Any thoughts?

Oh, YES please!!! Excellent idea. I am having difficulties right now in a very DEAR Christian relationship and haven't a clue how to deal with it. And it kind of touches on the "clean hands" stuff that John was mentioning.

Scenario: I have a dear personal friend - a sister in Christ - who is responsible in large part for leading me back to the faith. I had spent many years in disobedience, and when I repented and submitted again to Christ's will in my life, my life changed DRAMATICALLY. I mean, way different than even when I first believed. I am experiencing a hunger and thirst for God's word like I've never known. I am becoming obedient to His will and His word - and its a joyful obedience. something I'm finding is motivated by genuine love for Him, not dutiful drudgery. (This is entirely new to me, this joy in Christ!) This friend and I have always been able to discuss spiritual matters openly and honestly. She is now pulling away from the church. Our relationship has become strained, simply by the fact of my renewed commitment to Christ (!)- its almost like its offensive in some way. If I discuss my relationship with God at all, I'm "one of those" hypocritical Christians who thinks they have "clean hands" (like John described). Yet, who can I discuss my walk with, if not with the woman who led me back to Christ?!? And I loved her before I was back in the fold...that didn't change when I turned to my Lord.

I don't know how to bridge this chasm. How can I be a good friend and a good Christian, and not be percieved as "judgmental" or "hypocritical" simply for (finally, Praise God!) attempting to live my faith?

Why do Christians judge each other so harshly and fail to see how we can all be worshipping our Lord, and yet be in very different places in our maturity and in our walk? How can we season our speech with grace and with salt? Salt stings sometimes.

RoadWarrior
Feb 12th 2008, 06:15 PM
Oh, YES please!!! Excellent idea. I am having difficulties right now in a very DEAR Christian relationship and haven't a clue how to deal with it. And it kind of touches on the "clean hands" stuff that John was mentioning.

...
I don't know how to bridge this chasm. How can I be a good friend and a good Christian, and not be percieved as "judgmental" or "hypocritical" simply for (finally, Praise God!) attempting to live my faith?

Why do Christians judge each other so harshly and fail to see how we can all be worshipping our Lord, and yet be in very different places in our maturity and in our walk? How can we season our speech with grace and with salt? Salt stings sometimes.

Excellent question, MMC. I think (my personal experience and opinion) it is because we start out with skewed theology. I grew up in a church where it was believed that you got saved and immediately your life should be different. If you were not immediately perfect, then people questioned whether you were saved to begin with. Well, I was baptized at age 13, and almost immediately I fell in with some wrong people, which led to things I'd rather not discuss! :o One thing that DID NOT happen, was someone coming alongside of me to disciple me and train me in what it means, what it looks like, to be a Christian. And no one told me how to walk by the Spirit.

A few years ago, I heard a lady say in a Bible study, "We are all at different places in our walk." It was astonishing to hear, and took me a while to process. But I began to realize it is true. I began to know that being a Christian is, after all, a process. That is why there needs to be so many words in the NT! Otherwise, all you'd need is a few verses that say believe in Jesus, and you'll live happily every after.

Don't get me wrong, there is a dramatic shift from being a non-believer to being a born-again Christian. But babies start out as, well, babies! So being born-again means starting like a newborn. And the teachings of Jesus, (veiled in parables) have been expounded on by the Apostles in the Epistles.

I don't know what is happening with your friend. She might be jealous of the "first love" that you are experiencing. Maybe you need to pray for her, pray about the friendship, and when the Lord leads you, to visit with her. I'd say first of all, thank her for being the instrument used by God to bring you in. Look for things in her walk to "praise" her for - to encourage her.

The lady who led me back to the Lord some years ago, saw me as her one little chick, the only person she really knew that she had led to the Lord. It's a big thing, to realize that God used you in some way. The problem is, we get stuck on that sometimes and don't move on in our own growth. I'm sad to say we are not in contact at the moment, in large part because I moved away. But it also has to do with her being stuck in the theology of her beliefs, and I didn't stay in that place.

One more thing, living our faith and trying to get others to live their faith, is two very separate things. Focus on living it yourself. If she is less than perfect, don't point it out to her. The Holy Spirit will do that.

Partaker of Christ
Feb 12th 2008, 07:22 PM
Hi MMC!

John 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jona, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

There are times when God would examine the depth of our love for Him.
More so when He want to use us for His Kingdom work. If our love and faithfulness for our friends and others, are greater then our love and faithfulness for Him, we may compromise the work He gives us.

I am sure that the Lord has His hand on your friend, and will restore her again in His time.
As RW has said; hold her up in prayer, and "Look for things in her walk to "praise" her for - to encourage her"

When we look at the letters to the seven Churches in Revelation. The Lord always seems to (were possible) first acknowledge that which was good in them, and praise them for that. He would then point out what needed to be done, and finish with 'if you do this' your reward will be !!!

He gives them a kind of sandwich of 'praise' 'fault' and 'reward'. He does not just pick up on negatives and warns them.

MMC
Feb 12th 2008, 08:11 PM
Thanks RW and Partaker!!!

Good advice all around. Here's the thing with this friend of mine - I'm *not* pointing out to her where her walk is faltering - I'm just seeing it from an observer's perspective. I'm not discussing it with her at all, in part because anything Christian is sort of "offensive" to her at the moment. I'm just trying to continue to be the loving friend she has always known. My problem is that as my "first love" experience is pervading just about every area of *my* life, it is difficult to find things in common to talk about anymore - and I feel like I have to stifle even sharing the wonderful things I am learning about myself and experiencing in the Lord. It's a hard place to be, not being able to talk to a trusted friend about those things that are most important to you.

And so I teeter between trying to be a good friend, and trying to not be "fake" about who I am now. (I'm not the old Mel, I'm the Mel that has fallen in love with her Creator). The "solution" I've found is to just be silent and be a good listener and comforter and continue to try and live out my faith - but living my faith is a transformative process, and so I'm *changing* from who I was - and she picks up on it, and it ticks her off. I don't know if its because she doesn't like who I am becoming, or if it is because seeing me reminds her of her own disillusionment, or what.

(When I say I'm changing - I mean I'm attending church regularly, I'm volunteering in ministries, I'm studying the Word daily, I'm finding joy in my time spent with Him, etc, etc. I'm not thumping a bible in her face. I'm just doing what God is moving me to do, and which are (apparently) "normal" parts of a Christian's life and devotion.)

Has anyone encountered this - where just "being" a Christian is offensive to someone who led you back to Christ? How can we as Christians relate better to one another in such circumstances?

Tanya~
Feb 12th 2008, 08:26 PM
Yes, and I think this is actually a rather normal part of the Christian experience. Even though your friend is nominally a Christian, and even though she pointed you to Christ, you have zipped past her in growth and there is bound to be some discomfort in that. What has happened in your life is altogether unexpected to her. She was more comfortable with you as you were, and she doesn't know how to process the changes she sees in you.

It is normal for a new believer to find themselves gradually transferring over to a whole new set of friends.

RoadWarrior
Feb 12th 2008, 08:34 PM
Yes, and I think this is actually a rather normal part of the Christian experience. Even though your friend is nominally a Christian, and even though she pointed you to Christ, you have zipped past her in growth and there is bound to be some discomfort in that. What has happened in your life is altogether unexpected to her. She was more comfortable with you as you were, and she doesn't know how to process the changes she sees in you.

It is normal for a new believer to find themselves gradually transferring over to a whole new set of friends.

Good point, Tanya. It is normal for the circle of friends to change. I had not thought of that being applicable to Christian friends as well, but you are right. It can also apply there.

MMC
Feb 12th 2008, 08:47 PM
Well...heck! I don't like *that*!!! This is my closest and dearest friend! Suffered the torments of law school and the bar exam together! Birthed our first children three weeks apart! Used to show up to work wearing the same suit without even knowing it, kind of friend.

So...any advice on how to "make new friends but keep the old"? More importantly, any advice on how to behave with this friend? Do I stop talking about faith entirely? I mean....I have no control over whether she continues to desire to associate with me. But I do have control over my own behavior. So...how to not be a stereotypically "abnoxious" born-again Christian, and still be a born-again Christian?

Or are we just by definition "obnoxious"? :lol:

RoadWarrior
Feb 12th 2008, 09:01 PM
Well...heck! I don't like *that*!!! This is my closest and dearest friend! Suffered the torments of law school and the bar exam together! Birthed our first children three weeks apart! Used to show up to work wearing the same suit without even knowing it, kind of friend.

So...any advice on how to "make new friends but keep the old"? More importantly, any advice on how to behave with this friend? Do I stop talking about faith entirely? I mean....I have no control over whether she continues to desire to associate with me. But I do have control over my own behavior. So...how to not be a stereotypically "abnoxious" born-again Christian, and still be a born-again Christian?

Or are we just by definition "abnoxious"? :lol:

Well, let's see. Do you and she go to the same church? What is the reason that she is drifting away at the very moment you are being drawn in? There are some deeper questions here than a "one-size-fits-all" answer can address.

I guess I go back to my original thoughts. You're going to need to have a heart-to-heart talk, or a series of talks. Let her know your concerns, ask her to be honest with you about what is going on. Tell her how important her friendship is to you.

Oh, did I forget to say, pray first? Pray during? and keep on praying?

Pray for her, pray that the Lord will reveal what you need to see, pray that He will give you the words to say that will draw her back in.

Forgive. Ask for forgiveness. Be willing for this to take time.

Go read Galations 5:25 and see if the Holy Spirit is manifesting those fruits through you toward her. Go read 1 Corinthians 13 and see if you are loving her God's way. Are you bearing fruit, or doing works in your chuch busy-ness? Are you neglecting her because you are too busy?

Gee I have a lot of questions, don't I!

MMC
Feb 12th 2008, 09:37 PM
Well, let's see. Do you and she go to the same church?

Used to. She drew me into her church. Then her husband stopped coming, in part because of not liking the pastor, and so did she. They say they are thinking about attending a daughter church plant, but haven't actually started looking at or attending other churches because they are too busy. They now think their old church is full of people who are not very genuine. (This shocks me because they were once members here, and also because I'm looking at the same group and seeing compassion and hearts for christ???).


What is the reason that she is drifting away at the very moment you are being drawn in?

Well, it wasn't precisely timed that way. It was about a year or two after I came in that she started to drift away. I don't think the drift is connected to my involvement, per se. I think I'm just "guilty by association". LOL!


There are some deeper questions here than a "one-size-fits-all" answer can address.
Granted. And I suppose its rather foolhardy to ask someone on the internet whether I'm obnoxious in person! ROFL! But I do appreciate the insight from an outsider looking in.


I guess I go back to my original thoughts. You're going to need to have a heart-to-heart talk, or a series of talks. Let her know your concerns, ask her to be honest with you about what is going on. Tell her how important her friendship is to you.

We did that. She said she felt judged by me, but wouldn't give any examples?? Also that Christianity is about more than "works", and that she is going through a dry spell and that some day I would understand this too, and basically that pulling away from the church and other Christians is a normal part of "growth" (Is it ??????) My "works" include attending church, singing in choir, being involved in prison ministry, and emceeing our church's annual women's retreat. I never had an interest in these things before she lead me back to Christ. But I didn't do these things to attain salvation, or even out of some legalistic sense of duty, but because I really do LOVE serving God. I'm finding joy in these areas of service. So, being concerned about "judging" her, or being one of those "obnoxious" type Christians, I've simply fallen silent when it comes to discussing faith (hers or mine).


Oh, did I forget to say, pray first? Pray during? and keep on praying?

Yeah....I need to really drown this in prayer, I think....:cry:


Forgive. Ask for forgiveness. Be willing for this to take time. good advice.....


Go read Galations 5:25 and see if the Holy Spirit is manifesting those fruits through you toward her. Go read 1 Corinthians 13 and see if you are loving her God's way. Are you bearing fruit, or doing works in your chuch busy-ness?
I'll go read those verses....


Are you neglecting her because you are too busy?
Vice versa. My invitations to coffee, dinner, lunch.....I can't remember the last time she accepted one. I'm exceptionally busy. But I'm still reaching out to make time to meet with her.


Gee I have a lot of questions, don't I!
Yeah....but they are good and are helping me process through this.

Thank you! :hug:

RoadWarrior
Feb 12th 2008, 10:31 PM
Well, it wasn't precisely timed that way. It was about a year or two after I came in that she started to drift away. I don't think the drift is connected to my involvement, per se. I think I'm just "guilty by association". LOL

This is understandable. When a person feels hurt by a church, they want to distance themselves from it. So it's not about you. That feels a bit better.


We did that. She said she felt judged by me, but wouldn't give any examples?? Also that Christianity is about more than "works", and that she is going through a dry spell and that some day I would understand this too, and basically that pulling away from the church and other Christians is a normal part of "growth" (Is it ??????)

Well, maybe. We all have those times of retreat I think. I know that I do. Sometimes we need to take a break. Maybe she is in one of those places. Her feeling of being judged by you is more likely her own issue, she is probably judging herself. The fact that she won't give you examples means it's a vague "feeling" not a factual issue.

There is nothing wrong with the works you mention. There is a lot of joy in being knitted in to the church body. But your friend has become "unknitted" and that's hard! Just be friends with her in the same way you were "before" church - fun, happy things. Talk about your hobbies, the weather, the kids, the husbands, whatever helps to rebuild the bridges. And maybe, you just need to give her some space. Some time.

Yes, drown it in prayer. :D :pray:


Thank you! :hug:

You are welcome!