Author Archives: Dan Lemburg

About Dan Lemburg

Hi I'm Dan, I'll update this bio info soon.

Pursuit of God from Obligation?

Intimacy with God needs to start somewhere—we know that! So our pursuit of God is often rooted in a sense of obligation. And that’s an okay beginning. Yet there’s something wrong if seeking Him doesn’t become a pursuit of the heart rather than merely a sense of duty. God has given us the key to intimacy: it’s His Son, Jesus! Through Him we’ve been given both the honor and the privilege of sharing His glory. What an awesome gift!

Jesus has provided the means for our relationship to bear much fruit. And the good news is that we don’t have to worry about trying to force the issue. All we need to do is cooperate and abide in Christ. He has taken our humanity into account and is in this thing with us for the long-haul. Rest assured, He will accomplish in and through us what He has purposed.

Two Natures Struggling Within?

We often think our conflict with sin stems from two natures struggling within: the sin nature of our flesh set against our redeemed inner man. “My higher nature should be victorious over my lower nature,” we’re taught. So when we sin, it’s hard to understand how we could be so weak. “Shouldn’t I be something more than what I so obviously am? What’s wrong here?”

Actually, this is not a battle between two natures; we are merely witnessing human nature in action.  What we’re really seeing is two kingdoms, each tugging at us. Our basic nature doesn’t change once we’re saved. I’m still the same old human me. What’s happened is our spirit, no longer dead because of sin, is now capable of functioning for the purpose which God intended. Our spirit has become united with the Holy Spirit residing within. In spite of the weakness of our flesh, we are now alive to God!

Like It or Not, We’re All Slaves

Like it or not, we’re all slaves. Those who live according to the flesh are hostile toward God from the very core of their being. No wonder they refuse to subject themselves to Him. Their slavery to sin renders them incapable of doing otherwise (Romans 8:7). But in the mysterious riches of God’s love Christ died for us, even while we were steeped in our slavery to sin.

In so doing, He gives us the opportunity to choose His gift of eternal life—redeeming us from sin to become His own children. Once we’ve made the decision to receive Christ, God goes into action; He immediately rescues us from the domain of darkness and transfers us to the kingdom of His Son (Colossians 1:13). We become “slaves of righteousness.” We’re no longer in the flesh, but in the Spirit. Even though our body is dead because of sin, our spirit is forever alive to God (Romans 7:4. – 6).

Sin: Pitfall or Practice?

For Christians, the Bible talks about two kinds of sinful behavior: periodically falling into sin—a pitfall—and the practice of sin as a lifestyle. The Bible cautions us against stepping into the pitfall of sin, certainly, but more importantly it warns against choosing sin as a way of life.

Now we’d all be in big trouble if alienation from God resulted from occasionally falling into sin through the weakness of our flesh. Still, we must not discount sin of any kind as being insignificant in God’s eyes. The very nature of sin is that it has potential to spread, just like a cancer does in the body. All sin runs along a path that leads somewhere. The big question is this: when does sin as a pitfall develop into sin as practice? Where’s the line between sin that merely displeases God and sin that drives His Spirit from us?

No Guilt Trips; God’s on a Gift Trip!

Christians often overlook something really important: God isn’t into guilt trips; He’s on a gift trip. Everything we need has already been provided in Christ. Picture God’s outstretched hand, all His abundance there for the taking by anyone who will simply seek Him. We can have all we want of God, but He will never force anything on us.

God doesn’t brow-beat or coerce His children. The gift itself should provide more than sufficient motivation to seek greater intimacy with Jesus. So, resorting to the use of guilt to compel us to take advantage of such abundance seems a bit ridiculous. It’s true that we are obligated to build relationship with the Lord. But a sincere pursuit of God should stem from the fact that we are assured of His promises, not through the incentive of guilt, pressure or greed. Again, God isn’t into guilt trips; He’s on a gift trip.

Opposing Natures Within?

The struggle with our flesh is not the result of two natures battling within, but merely the conflict of two kingdoms, each pulling us in its own direction. Even though “born-again,” Satan’s domain exerts tremendous pressure in steering us toward the instant gratification of our flesh. Our humanity will always want its own way. So if we could only get over the idea that becoming that “new creature” in Christ means that we should now be immune to the lure of sin, we would be way ahead of Satan’s game of accusation and deceit.

Transformation comes from the vibrant flow of God’s life through us. This connection with God’s Spirit makes our pursuit of Him almost irresistible. We have been freed from sin and enslaved to God—Romans 6. Growth to maturity in Christ comes not merely by making our mind up to do so, but by the inward transformation of our character by the Holy Spirit.

One Kingdom or Another!

Colossians tells us that God has, “rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” Being trapped in this flesh here in this fallen world makes that a little hard to believe, doesn’t it? The truth is Christ’s kingdom is much more than that glorious place we go once we die. His kingdom is here among us—a kingdom of awesome rewards and great responsibilities.

As a member of God’s kingdom we are now His children, and as such we have also become slaves of righteousness, as Romans 6 tells us. The citizens of the kingdom of darkness are those who rebelliously practice sin. They spurn what they know of God, and are by nature slaves of sin. The bottom line is that all people are either slaves of sin or slaves of righteousness—there is no middle ground between these two kingdoms.

From Free from the Power of Sin: the Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself

Does Sin Separate Me from God?

As a Christian, does sin separate me from God? We are often taught that sin causes a separation, a rift that can only be restored when we confess our sin. Therefore, moving forward with our life in Christ is possible only when our tie with Him can be reestablished through forgiveness. Though this view seems to make sense, it’s not actually the case.

Because sin displeases God, it can’t help but affect our relationship, often causing us to run from Him. But sin doesn’t separate us from Him! If it did, it would mean that God would have to vacate our spirit each time we sin, and then come back once we repent. This hardly seems practical, since God would have to sever the very tie so utterly necessary to overcoming sin in the first place. It would mean cutting off the very resource essential to spiritual growth.

Don’t Despise Small Things

2nd Timothy says: “In a large house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also vessels of wood and earthenware, some for honor and some for dishonor.” A vessel of wood can be just as important as one made of gold. So don’t despise the small things. Whatever is suitable for the Master’s use is worthy of honor.

            Our job is to advance the gospel, no matter what role we might play in Christ’s kingdom. This always means being unselfishly united in spirit with our fellow believers. Having a heart for others, lived out through service and a cooperative spirit, is the wellspring of fruitfulness. When we commit to this goal, we inevitably find ourselves moving into God’s purpose. It may not happen with a whole lot of fanfare, but over time we wake up and realize that we are living out what God always destined us to do.

Prayer is a Two-way Street

Everything we were ever created to be is wrapped up in Jesus. Finding out who we are in Christ is the first step toward discovering His purpose for us, because a healthy sense of self-worth gives us the confidence to step out. The better we get to know Jesus personally, the more He can impart His will to us. Communing with God is essential to this process. Prayer is a two-way street—we speak; we listen; we abide in Him, and He in us.

If God has in fact prepared good works for us to walk in (Ephesians 2:10), wouldn’t He need to let us know what they are? Look at all those people in the Bible whom God chose to use in one way or another. They heard from God. And even if they didn’t initially grasp His meaning, they ultimately discerned what He wanted. The desire to obey God is the key to understanding Him.

From Free from the Power of Sin: the Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself