How appropriate that today is the day I sit to compose a new post. It’s been a difficult month in my absence, seeking the Lord and desiring whole-heartedly that He fill me with Himself and helps me to eradicate the sin that has been governing my life thus far. During this process I have learned much about God and people and for those people that we rely on so much and believe every word that proceeds from their mouth – we will undoubtedly be disappointed by them at some point. People were not created with the will of perfection no matter how hard we try, on our own, to accomplish it. The various trials and choices we’ve made in our existence have left us all marked by sin.
We have suffered much torment and loss in our choices, which always come with regret. We’ve seen many people come and go out of our lives… for it has been said people are in our lives for one of three reasons – for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When I build an acquaintanceship with someone and then a rapport with them – it’s always with the expectation that it will be a lifetime bond. I have never really thought about the capacity of how God is using them to assist me in my life. It’s always been a selfish desire to keep them with me forever, even though that may not be His plan for me.
Scripture tells us to enjoy this moment and not plan for the future (Matt 6:34) for God has a plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11), but if we are not seeking the Kingdom of God (Matt 6:33) then we can’t live with this peace of not worrying. It’s often hard to live in the moment and not wonder about how the relationships with others will go. See the problem with dreaming about the future is that 1. we don’t know where the hearts of the other party are; there have been many times I created a future in my head – and when that didn’t happen I was disappointed), 2. God may present us/our relationship with a different direction but we’re too blinded by our own desires to see it (and it will be better for us, to get us to the dreams we hold within our heart), 3. We may miss the purpose of why the other party is in our life to begin with.
God closed a 5-year relationship during this course. It was hard to accept because I have learned so much Scripture from this man – and I didn’t want to see him leave from my life. God has used him to strengthen me and to build me up in my knowledge and wisdom of the Word… but even during the past six months; God has used him to show me that He is in control of my life – like no man could be. I now see how I looked upon this man to fill the god-role in my life and that was wrong and was inhabitation my growth in the Lord. In short, this man became an idol over my God and not because that was the role the man superseded on me – but it was my own volition that gave him so much power.
During this period of my life I have been going through a testing (Zechariah 13:9); will I live up to that which I say I believe? What are my convictions, my beliefs, and my statements of faith? It’s been a journey, but as I turned toward God – I have witnessed many people carefully pruned out of my life (and those were the people I thought were lifers with me). There were not pruned because they were doing anything wrong in some instances, but because I couldn’t grow spiritually with them in my life. It’s sad, I am grieving these losses – but I am excited to be freed up to worship my God in the fashion that He set upon my heart.
I’m very happy to get back to the me that I remember from days of old; but this time I have a lifetime of experience and wisdom to apply to my life. This time God has provided for me – and is continuing to do so. Before we can expect to grow spiritually – we must first examine the sin that holds us back from being who God created us to be. The pivotal point is this – can you recognize your the characteristics of your sin?
From my lesson today – I thought this may be helpful for some.
SUBMIT YOURSELVES, THEN, TO GOD. RESIST THE DEVIL, AND HE WILL FLEE FROM YOU. COME NEAR TO GOD AND HE WILL COME NEAR TO YOU. WASH YOUR HANDS, YOU SINNERS, AND PURIFY YOUR HEARTS, YOU DOUBLE-MINDED. GRIEVE, MOURN AND WAIL. CHANGE YOUR LAUGHTER TO MOURNING AND YOUR JOY TO GLOOM. HUMBLE YOURSELVES BEFORE THE LORD, AND HE WILL LIFT YOU UP. James 4:7-10
Scripture teaches that we are to take specific action to be free from sin. Before we study that, consider the characteristics of those who are in sin, listed in the above passage:
- They do not submit to God (verse 7)
- They do not resist the devil (verse 7)
- They remain at a distance from God (verse 8)
- They have dirty hands and a defiled heart (verse 8)
- They are double-minded (verse 8)
- They are light and joking, and laugh much (verse 9)
- They are prideful (verse 10)
Transparent Time –
1. My spirit was domineering and dictatorial, not submissive toward God or others.
2. I freely embraced self-gratification on many occasions, not realizing that in doing so I was worshiping at a demonic shrine (1 Cor. 10:20-21).
3. I was far from God, even though I claimed to be a servant of HIs. My life illustrated (Proverbs 28:9): “If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law, even his prayers are detestable.”
4. My hands were dirty from all my sinful activity, and my heart was defiled all the time. What a horrible condition in which to live! Now I understand why Scripture compares sin to leprosy, for leprosy is a disease that defiles one entirely, and makes a person unclean. My guilt and shame were so great that I banned myself from society as a whole and suffered in hiding.
5. I was double-minded and unstable — when I attempted to pray and mediate on Scripture, my thoughts often slid elsewhere and I’d fall asleep. This hindered time with family and friends, as I was always entertaining something in my dreams, my mind or my desires. It made me unstable, for I could not keep my thoughts together on any one subject. James says “That man (who doubts God) should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does”. (James 1:7-8)
6. I was never very serious – I was course and ridged believing if I kept everyone else on heavy delineation and direction, it would take the focus off of my sinful ways. This was a cover for my sinful ways; I tried to hide all my pain with sternness.
7. I was very pride filled and often put others down for not “making the mark”; as if I were somehow!
But there is help and God is faithful and just to provide help to those who seek Him…
Specific Biblical Principles of Freedom of Sin
TRUTH 1: “Submit yourselves, then, to God” (v7) Biblical submission means humbling ourselves and obeying God.
TRUTH 2: “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (v7). To resist means to set yourself against someone or something, to stand in opposition to them.
TRUTH 3: “Come near to God and He will come near to you” (v8). There will be no real freedom, or any lasting victory in a life that does not seek closeness and union with Christ.
TRUTH 4: “Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (v8). We must cleanse what we do (our hands), what we love (our hearts), and what we think (our minds).
TRUTH 5: “Become single-minded” (v8). Yes, it is possible to rid our minds of the things which serve to avail us – but doing so requires cutting off access to any additional images and cleansing our minds of the images that remain from the past.
TRUTH 6: “Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom” (v9). Get serious, rid your life of flippancy, and mourn over your sin.
TRUTH 7: “Humble yourselves” (v10). We are not an authority, go to an authority of the ‘church’ (body of Christ) and listen to their counsel. Those who are serious about humbling themselves always find victory. Indeed, the verse that tells us to humble ourselves continues “and He will lift you up” (v10)!
Humbling myself was probably the hardest part for me – because I am after all a Type D personality type. My boldness often turns to brashness and power turns to dictator. For how could I be in a position of authority and not know what I’m doing?! But, I’ve since learned that the best leaders are the ones who are humble, for God sends us many people to help in our life’s work – and I can’t do everything, thus why I need a Savior. God is the supreme Authority in my life – no one else, period.