I've posted here or on another of my blogs about how a friend of mine is battling cancer. One of the things that came up in a conversation she and I had was how everyone wants to see Jesus but nobody wants to die. We were talking about eternity, but the same thing applies to our daily lives.
We Christians want to see Heaven, but don't want to die to the things we
enjoy here on earth. I see so many family and friends hanging on to sin
with one hand and reaching out to Jesus with the other. The Bible tells
us to resist the devil and he will flee. Oftentimes, we'd rather resist the gospel to hang on to some things of the world.
For a long time I did the same thing. I held on to some things
because I didn't no better, but even when I learned better, I didn't
want to really let go. I wanted to find some kind of biblical "loophole"
that would allow me to ease my conscience. I had to learn to listen to
more mature Christian brothers and sisters who would lead me to
Scriptures about specific things. It was hard. I was resisting the
gospel. Who knows what else I am doing in ignorance?
more than one person rebuke me about astrology and following horoscopes. A ministry about the music
industry opened my eyes to tactics used in entertainment. I had a heavy interest
in the paranormal and the occult and was hooked on shows that featured
hauntings and occult experiences. I had never really looked at or
understood what the Bible had to say about this (Deuteronomy and
Isaiah). Thank the Holy Spirit for opening my eyes to some of these
What are some of the things you are hanging on
to? Are they
material things, attitudes, a way of life, expectations...? When we call
ourselves "Christians" and still practice certain things, we are not
being a good representative of Christ or the gospel. We may even be
misleading other Christians into thinking that something is okay.
When I struggle with choosing the Lord over worldly things, I
often think about the rich young ruler in the Bible. If he had not been
rich and had nothing worldly to give up, choosing to follow Jesus would
have been easier. I think that this is obviously true for all of us.
I was in communication recently with a young woman I know. She
questioned my opinion that Yoga is not for Christians. I don't know if
she is a Christian or not, but one thing she said stuck with me. She
mentioned that she has been practicing Yoga for fifteen years. When we
put a lot of time or effort into something, we don't want to give it up.
If this lady is a Christian, this will be a struggle for her.
Another friend of mine used to be a heavy partier and
recreational drug user before she came to Christ. Though she had not
been an alcoholic, she won't touch alcohol at all now because it reminds
her of her past. She had to give up everything that tied her to that
For some people, their struggle is with money or material
possessions. Maybe they made their money illegally or gained their
possessions immorally. How difficult would it be for, say, a drug dealer
to give up the cars and homes they gained through criminal activity?
What if doing that meant being dirt poor and having to start all over?
For some people, the struggle may be with giving up a lifestyle.
How does someone who has gained all their esteem from being beautiful or
exploiting their physical attributes give up the vanity? (I now think
of the lady named Gretchen on Real Housewives of Orange Country. In
opening credits, she says "God is my savior, my husband is my king, and
my body, it's sinful." At one point she did a "sexy" modeling shoot for
her line of seductive clothing. Like so many people today, her sexy
image is a huge part of her identity.
The point is that
we all have weaknesses that the Enemy can use to keep us from being the
most effective witnesses to the gospel. We need to learn where we are
vulnerable and then work at giving those things up. We need to start
resisting Satan and not the gospel.
Let me end by adding this: I think that the Enemy loves to use us
against each other. Most often, when someone tries to warn me of some
spiritual danger, I don't immediately react with gratitude. Usually, I
am a little resentful and I either challenge them to show me where
Scripture agrees with them (and we do need to always consult the
Bible), or I disbelieve them completely. Sometimes, I try to point out
that what I am doing is harmless since I don't take it seriously. I
am learning to just listen, check Scripture and pray on everything. If
the Enemy had his way, every discussion would turn into bullying,
resentment and just a general falling-out among believers.
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