Category Archives: Dan’s Blog

Given Up Because of your Sin?

God has set us free from the power of sin by causing us to die to law. His purpose is to make us alive to Him in spite of our weaknesses. Only through His provision could such intimacy ever be possible. The Christian life is so much more than being content with our initial salvation experience. God never intended for us to settle for a life of mediocrity. “I’m just not able to overcome the weakness of my flesh,” is no excuse!

In Christ, God has lifted us out of the pit of human frailty and set us in a place of unbelievable exaltation. The stage for such a powerful relationship couldn’t have been set in any other way. Have you given up because of your sin? Have you settled for the mundane? Don’t give up! Seek God with aggressive and persistent determination. He has something wonderful in store for you.

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

Going It Alone Doesn’t Cut It

Communing with God was never meant to be strictly a solitary experience. Personal time spent with the Lord is critically important. That’s a given! But our pursuit of God must also include consistent interaction with other believers through worship, fellowship and study. We need both! Sadly, some Christians believe that their faith is a matter between them and God alone. But are we not the Body of Christ?

Just as one member of our physical body is not complete without the others, we need one another if we are ever to walk in the fullness of God’s purpose for our lives. Going it alone will never produce the kind of fruitful relationship God intended for us. We’re just not wired that way. Jesus taught that abiding in Him includes loving one another. How can we ever hope to accomplish this if we are not intentionally involved in each other’s lives?

From the Perspective of Eternity

If you could see your life from the perspective of eternity—the beginning, middle and end all at once—what do you think would be the most important part? Would it be a past achievement? Or might some future event carry the most weight.

Actually, it’s what we do right now that’s most important! Why? Because now we have the chance to pursue God with all our heart. Now there’s opportunity to prepare for all He has planned for us. Scripture says we’ve been “created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand.” This brings whole new meaning to life!

God transcends time, and the now of God allows us to join with Him in all He has for us. So forget the triumphs and failures of the past. And rise above any fear of the future. It will help you reach forward in hope to what lies ahead.

 

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

What Will Make It Easier?

Do you ever feel like your path is blocked by a whole mountain range of challenges? When confronted by a trial, we immediately wonder how to get around it. Skirting the issue just seems a whole lot easier, since working through the problem appears to be impossible.

But what if engineers constructed our roads around the far ends of the mountains, instead of investing the effort and resources needed to build them right through the middle? We would clearly be faced with hundreds of extra miles each time we made a trip, wasting precious time and expense.

When we’re faced with suffering, the same question arises: how to get from here to there, not only now but also in the future. Will we skirt the difficulty time and again, or cut a pathway right through the heart of the problem? Will we let God build the character we need to succeed?

Fresh Life Through Suffering

One rainy winter day, I noticed how dusty our houseplant was. So I set it out to rinse it off a little. Not a bad idea—except that I forgot about to bring it in. The next morning I was horrified to see the pitiful thing had lost all its leaves. Sheepishly, I put it right back in its favorite corner, Later, I was overjoyed to see hundreds of tiny shoots reappearing on its barren branches.

Right then God spoke clearly to my heart: “This is what I’m doing to you!” I’d been going through some difficulties, so immediately I understood what God was saying. He’d been exposing me to extreme circumstances, using suffering so that fresh life could sprout. That lesson taught me to embrace trials whenever they come my way. They’re there for my good—to transform my character. For God, suffering is a much lesser evil than a mediocre heart.

An Appetite for Intimacy

God wants you! And He wants you to want Him. He desires the kind of relationship rooted in our need to be with Him. Can we survive spiritually in a halfhearted relationship with God? Sure we can. But merely going through the motions doesn’t carry a whole lot of weight with Him. Nobody likes indifference! What we do for God is important, certainly. But if our efforts are not coupled with intimacy, they have little value.

How can we alter our tendency toward doing stuff, as opposed to being what God wants? First recognize it as a problem. Then ask God to change the motivation of your heart. He’ll answer that prayer! Then practice it! Few things succeed in life without a lot of practice. Granted, employing this discipline doesn’t come easy. What’s encouraging, though, is that reaching toward greater intimacy with God just naturally increases our appetite for it.

God Sees Relationship Like We Do

Deciding whether or not to pursue intimacy with God has its rewards—and its consequences. Ask any parent. Ask them what they value most: an adult child who desires to be close for the sake of relationship itself, or one who relates to them either from obligation or from selfishness, motivated by the fear of losing some future benefit. They’ll tell you! The parents love both children the same. But which do you think will receive more of their attention? Which deserves their undivided companionship and support?

God is like that. How could He be pleased with those who pursue Him merely from self-interest or a sense of obligation? God sees it the same way we do. Though He doesn’t reject His children when they don’t show much interest in Him, just imagine how thrilled He must be with those whose motives are pure—who want Him just because He’s Dad.

Behaving Like Dead Men

“The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death,” Paul tells us in Romans 8:1-4. It’s a spiritual law. We are no longer found guilty for sin. Jesus took that role upon Himself, making sin itself the culprit worthy of condemnation. When we were steeped in sin, we freely received God’s gift of grace.

Now that we are saved, we need not try to appease Him by attempting to keep the law, but to daily walk in the grace He has so abundantly provided. Colossians 2:6 says: “As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” We need to start behaving like dead men—dead to law, that is, and as a result, dead to sin. Our life as believers is all about faith in what Jesus has done, regardless of the weakness of our flesh.

Do You Sense God Speaking?

We talk about the need for a personal devotional life. Interaction is what’s important. Both prayer and time in God’s word are most effective when it’s a two-way street. We must listen as well as speak. Only then do our devotions become the cornerstone for vibrant spiritual growth. God still speaks to His people, and learning to walk in intimacy with Him as a daily discipline increases the likelihood of hearing His voice.

Our life is never the same once we’ve heard God speak, especially when He does so in a way that addresses our personal circumstances. It changes us like nothing else can. And what’s great is that God wants to speak to us time and again as a natural part of a life built on closeness with Him. Have you sensed God speaking to you? If not, set yourself squarely in His path. You’ll hear Him!

Benefitting from our Failures

Can we benefit from our failures? Sure! Disgust over failure helps prod us toward the goal of resisting sin. Obviously we’ll never be sinless, but that mustn’t keep us from fleeing from temptation. God is here to help, and things will get better each time you make the right choice.  You must never allow sin to become an excuse for retreating from God. Let your sin drive you to Jesus rather than away from Him. Run to Him with it!

God knows and understands you. And He’s more than willing to work with a repentant heart. Satan leads you to believe that you can’t come back to God until you’ve cleaned up your act. But the cross has stripped him of any power to separate you from God. So you must never allow him to fool you into thinking that sin somehow puts up a barrier between you and Jesus.

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