Many will read today's headline and attach it to an unlimited array of personal issues and the problems that are associated with them.
I remember a few years ago talking with a friend about temptation and the constant struggles within the Christian life. He shared about how often he wilts under the power of negative influences and, like most of us, he usually ends up being disappointed with his choices. After going back and forth confessing our weaknesses and failures, out of frustration he asked me a pointed question: "Why do we continue avoiding our responsibility to do what is right?"
Hmmm ... I tried to find an intelligent response or some spiritual way to justify our disobedience, but all I could come up with is the sobering fact that we just do not want to. Attached to this embarrassing explanation is that we will never change this rebellious cycle of defeat until we allow Christ to renew our mind and help us develop self-discipline. It's true, we can live as close to God as we desire.
We realize this is a strong statement and one that we would rather not think about, but the Bible also never promised the Christian life would be easy. George Orwell is quoted as saying, "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it."
Nonetheless, I would rather be known as someone who confronts our problems than ignores them. I remember watching Back in the early 1970s, comedian Flip Wilson called one of his more popular routines "The Devil Made Me Do It." Everyone laughed and thought it was funny, and many could relate to the clever idea of accusing the dark side for our bad decisions. We understand how easy it is to blame someone else for our mistakes, but as most of us know, this is just hiding behind more excuses.
Anytime we intentionally deny the truth, we are heading down a dangerous road and will eventually pay a great price whether it be in this life or the next. The reality is that the devil can attack us within the parameters of God's approval, but he mostly plays the role of a tempter and persuader. Our own carnality is also a strong influence and might suggest a second piece of chocolate pie, but no one is making us eat it.
I'm not saying I know more or that I'm trying to tell anyone about what God wants to change in them. I'm only presenting some things to consider so that we can all think a little more clearly about what is really important. We know there are many different levels of seriousness with our spiritual lives, especially when it comes to knowing why we are here and what are we called to do.
In order to follow God's purpose, it's wise to develop discernment to recognize the voice of the Shepherd from the voices of distraction. When we agree that knowing and obeying our Creator is the meaning of life, only then can we begin to climb the real stairway to heaven.
A couple of the first steps include being sincerely prepared to submit our will to God and giving him complete control over our decisions. You see, there is a throne in the heart of every person, and there can only be one king who rules upon this throne. If God is not sitting upon the throne of our life, someone else is.
For Christ to be our Lord, this means that we literally become possessed by him. This may sound rather extreme, but he cannot lead us if we are always making our own plans.
Most of us love the idea of going to heaven but are not really interested in all the details of taking a holy vow and coming into covenant with God. Romans chapter 6 reminds us that we are "Servants to whom we obey," and since our actions reveal our intentions, it would be good to examine our hearts and make sure Jesus is occupying our throne.
Where we spend our time and what we think about reveal our allegiance to our true master. The core of the Gospel is that Jesus came to rescue us, but he did not save us so that we can do whatever we desire. He saved us so that he could accomplish his desires through us.
Find out more about Billy Holland's free CD offer and his new book at billyhollandministries.com.