Author Archives: Dan Lemburg

About Dan Lemburg

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Forgotten by God?

Insecurity often results from feeling like we’ve been put on the shelf and forgotten by God. But the fact is that sometimes He needs to do just that! Regardless, it can be really painful, because it feels like we’ve somehow been overlooked. These times come in the life of every Christian. It’s merely God’s way of reducing us to a state of total dependence, so that He can use us in some greater way later.

The Lord tells us not to be anxious in these moments. Rather we must let the peace of God rule in our heart, always being thankful. Gratefulness is the tonic that helps ward off any anxiety or depression which might result from our circumstances, whether those feelings stem from being shelved or otherwise. It’s important to be thankful, because only then can God give us the peace needed to wait patiently for His direction.

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

How Could God Use Me?

How could God use me? How can He possibly use somebody with so many weaknesses? God doesn’t look at it like that. He has a place for us, and has gifted each of us accordingly. So bloom where you’re planted, no matter who you are or what insecurities you may have. Even a guy like Paul had his problems. It appears that somewhere along the line God needed to reduce him to a point of utter helplessness.

Why would He do that? Because in order to be effective, Paul had to be a vessel capable of radiating God’s power. Since it’s impossible for God to work through a prideful vessel, human weakness seems to be necessary. Apparently God wants us in a state of total dependence on Him, rather than on our own abilities. Jesus puts it this way: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9)

What God Values Most

Think about what a woman values most. The husband often believes it’s what he gives her: his time, gifts, treating her with love and respect, and providing for the family. But none of that matters much if she feels that he does not desire emotional intimacy with her. First on her list is sensing that he wants to be with her. She needs to know that he wants her above all else. If she feels like he’s merely trying to fulfill some sort of obligation, she won’t respond like she would if his motivation was desire for her alone.

So it is with God. Like many husbands, we busy ourselves with lots of things in our attempt to please God. But are those things really all that valuable if our motivation stems from an attempt to satisfy some requirement, rather than from a sincere desire for intimacy with Him?

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

The Futility of Trying to Earn It

Attempting to gain acceptance from God by our own goodness merely results in dependence on law as the basis for our righteousness. But trying to earn our own way is at best an exercise in futility. God, knowing the limitations of our flesh, resolved this issue once and for all by laying in us the foundation of His holiness. Only through God’s holiness can we build a life pleasing to Him.

So we’ve got to get over the idea that we somehow now have the power to establish our own holiness. What it’s really about is having the Holy Spirit within—the righteousness of Christ Himself—which gives us the ability to make godly choices. What, then, is our obligation in pursuing holiness? Most importantly, we are to “set our minds on the things above,” for God assures us that “the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” Colossians 3: 1-4

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

Sold into Bondage to Sin

I doubt that Paul had huge personal problems with sin. Still, he had the wisdom to realize what lived on in his flesh—this “bondage to sin,” as he describes it. He knew that pride—the underlying root of all sin—remained a powerful enemy which could resurface at any moment. Even though he had become that new creature in Christ, Paul makes it very clear that he carried his old man—his flesh—into his new life in the Lord.

It’s a problem for us, isn’t it. Regardless, Paul totally understood the issue: “It’s not really me doing it, “but sin which dwells in me (Romans 7:17, 20).” Instead of finding fault with who we have now become in Christ, Paul lays the blame for this weakness at sin’s door. It’s not “the devil made me do it” syndrome. It’s simply me: “I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin” (Romans 7:14).

The Challenge of Besetting Sin

Besetting sin is one our most daunting challenges. It’s the kind of sin that doesn’t happen once or twice, but a recurring problem you just can’t seem to conquer. When I received Christ, much of my sinful behavior simply seemed to drop off. I just didn’t have a problem with certain things anymore. But other weaknesses persisted, causing me to fall into the same old sin time and again. “Well, you had the choice,” you might say. I sure did! But because the temptations seemed so overwhelming, I kept making the wrong choice.

Why would God give me instant relief from some weaknesses, while allowing others to remain? It’s because of choice. The weakness of our flesh presents us with choices to make. It’s simply a part of God’s plan. We have a rocky road to travel. And our choices along the way reveal a lot about our faith.

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

The Secret to Moving Forward

Jesus wants us to be constantly moving forward with Him. Discovering God’s purpose for our life is kind of like driving a car. It’s impossible to steer a car that’s standing still, but easy to maneuver once you give it the gas. Yet being in motion isn’t the only issue; reliable steering is also vital to our progress. We must not only step out, but be willing to be steered if we are ever to get where we need to go.

It’s like a ship on the open sea. If its rudder is broken, it doesn’t matter if the engine is pushing it forward.  It will drift wherever the wind carries it. Thus shipwreck is unavoidable. But if the ship can be steered while under power, its direction can be changed at key navigation points, bringing it safely to harbor—even if it starts out heading in the wrong direction.

Free from Sin; Enslaved to God

God knows our limitations and has dealt with the nagging sin that plagues our selfish nature. But He will not tolerate slavery to sin. We’ve been freed from sin and enslaved to God Himself (Romans 6:22). The fruit of this relationship is holiness. God only asks that we commit ourselves to be led by His Spirit. He has promised that we no longer need to suffer under a spirit of slavery. Quite the opposite, we have received a spirit of adoption as sons and now are fellow heirs with Christ.

Our natural course of behavior once we’re saved is to move forward in our relationship with Christ instead of against Him. This penchant to pursue Him is a spiritual law—“the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus,” by which we have been “set free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2). This is what it means to be “in Christ.”

We’ll Always have Shortcomings

What does my sin say about my faith? It can be pretty ugly! But let’s be realistic; no matter how good we ultimately become we’ll always have shortcomings. Still, we must not be naïve about the influence sin has on our life—that is, how it affects both faith and obedience. Sin weakens our ability to make right choices. It hardens us. Like a snowball—growing in size and gaining momentum—sin and unbelief feed on each other, sometimes even leading to total alienation from God.

To prevent this from happening, we must guard our heart—even from sins that may seem insignificant. At the very least, disobedience stalls our growth. At worst, it hardens our heart to the point where we simply cease to believe. Sure, we’ll never be perfect in this life. But walking in Christ’s provision is what’s really important. God loves watching us work out our faith this way.

What’s My Purpose, Anyway?

God has created each of us with purpose—a personal calling. We all share this inward tug. So moving forward without any real sense of direction in life can’t help but be frustrating. “What am I doing for God? I just don’t know what my purpose is.” Take heart! It’s not an uncommon problem. Christians often find themselves stuck in the disappointing position of not understanding God’s intent for their life. I often sense it myself.

At times even those who have been used by God in some powerful way share this frustration. We apparently can’t just sit back and rest on our laurels. Why God doesn’t just paint us a clear picture, I can’t say. It must have something to do with that old faith thing. But though it’s clearly not easy, finding God’s purpose for our life actually isn’t out of reach. Intimacy with God holds the key.