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Thursday, June 05, 2014

Don’t You Get Caught Between Two Worlds

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


Our local car wash has a free vacuum that has fantastic suction. That's great for cleaning the car but it often sucks up something I didn't want to be sucked up. The world is like that vacuum in that it's always trying to suck us Christians into the worldly lifestyles that corrupt and steal from this life and undermine the abundantly blessed life Jesus wants us to experience. I have heard too many Christians say these kinds of things too many times: Oh well, what can I do? Times have changed. Open and greater sexuality is just a part of life. It’s everywhere! Do you expect me to be a monk? You can't watch TV without seeing sexuality and hearing profanity. You can't find a movie without it, so I might as well accept it and get used to it.  Or, I can handle it - it won't hurt me, after all, people I work with people who swear and tell dirty jokes and talk freely about their sexual exploits all the time. If it's in real life, I might as well watch it on TV or the movies. It's not going to hurt me! 

People that think they are immune from corrupt sources like this affecting them are in serious spiritual trouble yet blind to it. 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV) says, "Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character." 

The Apostle Paul warns us in Ephesians 5:3-11 writing, "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person--such a man is an idolater--has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light... and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them."

I remember as a young Christians learning to read the Bible and reading these words for the first time. I went from feeling saved by Jesus, to feeling unsaved in a moment's time. I was so far from living what these scriptures were calling for. I felt condemned and what the Apostle Paul was instructing felt impossible. I was re-convinced I couldn't live the Christian life; that it was impossible for me to accomplish this.

God loves us. He tries to protect us from being lured into and taken captive by the Satan. In 2 Timothy, we can clearly see that there is a high road and low road which you can end up on. You can be one who lives God's standard, leans on the Holy Spirit for His help to live it out, and helps others to do the same,  or be one who walks carelessly and eventually becomes Satan's captive.

The Apostle Paul writes: "And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose Jesus he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will." 2 Tim 2:24-26

Living on the fence with one foot in both worlds is a spiritual nightmare if your heart is soft toward God at all. When people are caught living between this sinful world and God's world, we hear those words of God spoken in 2 Corinthians 6:17 (NIV) "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." 

I had to learn to go all out for God or not at all. I learned to make Bible reading, prayer, attending church (where the Bible was taught), commitment in service to God in some capacity, fellowship with other Christians, and sharing Jesus Christ with those around me the standard and priorities I would live my life by. All these things combined became the ultimate source of strength to help me walk out the Apostle Paul's instruction. I am not saying it was easy. It wasn't. But it was right. It was pleasing to God. And if Jesus could die for me, then I could surely lean on His Word and His promise to forgive me. I could receive His grace and strength to change! And slowly but surely I did. Satan had no hold on me. That was what God's word taught and I had to believe it! Ungodly living was and is still being purged from my life. God's blessing is no longer undermined by behaviors that Christians are supposed to separate their lives from. This is what God meant when He told us to "come out from them and be separate..." This is the life that brought me joy and peace. Anything less left me dissatisfied and disappointed in myself.

I can look back now and Praise God that I did not waste years in captivity feeling beat up, accused, and condemned by the devil. Jesus had already forgiven me, set me free from the power of sin, and empowered me to change with the help of His grace and Spirit. I just had to quit trying to have some of both worlds.

It has been awesome to see my life transformed making choices God would be pleased with. It doesn't get better than experiencing His blessing and the gratification of stealing souls from Satan's grip, instead steering them toward the Kingdom of God through Jesus Christ.

Stand strong in the Lord today! Be an influence that helps others while helping yourself. It may not seem like you have much impact initially, but I guarantee you that as you look back ten years from now, you'll have a smile, you have experienced greater blessing, and your heart will be overflowing with thanksgiving to God for His mercy and grace helping you to become separate and an influence!

Eph. 5:10-11 (NLT) "Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them"

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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