As I am walking out my faith and realizing that others are walking their faith out too, I was brought to some realizations about life, faith, and each and everyone of our journeys. As I had breakfast with a friend of mine, a brother in Christ this past week, we were talking about the difference between "sin" and what some of us deems as acceptable and others deem as completely reprehensible.
For instance, is it okay for us to look at pornography, to take our thoughts to areas of fantasy with another women who we may know or only see on the computer or in a movie or in a magazine? Is it okay to take that thought a little further? Do we think about that while we are with our wives? Do some of us just say to that brother who has a problem with the sins of the flesh, "that's okay, don't worry about it, we understand..." Or do we say, "STOP....FLEE.....RUN FROM THIS." In Mathew 5:27-28 we read what Jesus has to say about pornography: 27"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'[a] 28But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
What about the guy who steals supplies from work, or cheats on his taxes, or has major credit debt, or yells at his wife, or has haughty (prideful) eyes? Proverbs 6:16-19 There are six things the LORD HATES, seven that are DETESTABLE to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers." Put this into today's terms: 1) Pride & Arrogance 2) a lying tongue 3) gossip, ill will toward others 4) deceit and malice 5) fill in your weakness here 6) a liar 7) an angry man... Have any of these items stirred you up, or made you think or brought some discomfort into your life...well? If you can HONESTLY answer no to those seven things which God hates, then stop reading, however, if you have answered yes to any one of those things then please read on.
SO WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT THIS? For starters read the Word. Find time to pray (pray all the time), find some quiet time to meditate and still yourself (Psalms 23). Find brothers who will hold you accountable- not brothers who will continue to enable you. Read the following 2 Chapters: Romans 12: (Living Sacrifices) 1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. 3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his[b]faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. Love 9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited. 17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"[d]says the Lord. 20On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."[e] 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Colossians 3 (New International Version) Rules for Holy Living 1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b] 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. 12Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
So after I left breakfast with this brother I had said to him that as long as him and I are accountable to each other that he should continue to expect me to call him out on things that cause him to stumble. Yes, I will try and lift him up gently, but when there is no mercy in that sin which he has done, then, he should expect me to hold him accountable and not to enable him to do it again and again and again. Likewise, if my brothers, who hold me accountable, see some things not adding up, then they should call me out on the carpet as well.
Life is hard enough for us to try and do this on our own. Imagine what God could do with our lives if we took our faith to the next step: Letting go of our needs and our selfishness and letting Him move within us. Imagine what our families would see, imagine what church would look like, imagine what our work place would look like, imagine what our community would look like. Can you Imagine?
As James says faith without works is dead, then what other choice do we have. We need to take our old self out of the mix and put on the new self. Put on the ultimate gift of salvation and the spirit which he gave us to edify us and to nourish us and to intercede for us. Count on these things brothers and come along with us on this walk of faith.
And to my brother who raised that question to me about "sin" that is acceptable and sin that is reprehensible, THANK YOU! Thank you for showing me that there is no acceptable sin to God. He is a Holy God and he is not capable of sin. Therefore, if we do not know his son as Savior, then we are lost. BUT if we have accepted this gift, then it is up to us to become living sacrifices and to move to Holy Living.
So what are we waiting for? Let's take that walk in faith! Will any of you walk with me? Walk with other brothers?