Category Archives: Dan’s Blog

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. 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. 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.

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?

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

Not a Guilt Trip, but 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 God. 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 God. 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 Battling 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.

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

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.

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

The Holy Spirit Within

Jesus promised that He would send the Holy Spirit to His followers once He left the earth: “He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;He abides with you and will be in you.” The Bible proclaims that we are, “sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance.” What does it actually mean to have the Holy Spirit living within us?

Just imagine it! The Holy Spirit is a Person, a divine member of the Godhead. And God has given Him to us. He is always there, “guiding us into all truth, and comforting us,” at the very core of our being. We need to be fully aware of this precious gift God has bestowed on us, continually seeking intimate interaction with Him. He will always glorify Jesus and lead us into all truth.

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.

If God has in fact prepared good works for us to walk in, 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

Are You in a Holding Pattern?

Do you ever feel like you’re in a holding pattern? Even though you may be pursuing Christ—going to church, loving God and others, and just being a good person in general—there’s a good chance that you’re still left with a sense of emptiness. The reason? Along with becoming a child of God in Christ’s kingdom there comes a genuine sense of destiny. So if you’re living life simply biding your time, more or less going through the motions of your faith, you shouldn’t be surprised to find yourself somewhat unsatisfied.

The issue is purpose. Not our eternal purpose, but the purpose God has for each of our lives here on earth. This can be very real problem, since it’s not at all uncommon for us to have a good understanding of our heavenly reality and at the same time quite bewildered as to our purpose while we’re still here.