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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Are You a Christian Party-Pooper?

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


Ephesians 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.

Many people consider God's request to carefully follow His ways, out of touch and out of reality with the times. They see God and serious Christians as party poopers—someone trying to hinder their fun. What they are blinded from understanding is that fun the devil tempts them into, are often hurtful practices and behaviors that will eventually tear their lives apart and leave them hurting and miserable. Jesus isn’t trying to hinder the good that life can offer us. Jesus is the author and creator of what a good life is! Jesus said in John 10:10, “I want to give life and give it more abundantly.” His guidelines for living are what help lead us to the good that can come in life. He is like the loving father that wants to protect his children from wandering in the street so they don’t get hit by a car. God’s boundaries protect us, not steal from our lives. (And that is something Satan never wants anyone to know!)

Even Christians get sucked into and fall to the temptations and worldly lifestyles that corrupt and steal from this life—that destroy the life of blessing and peace that Jesus wants us to experience. Too many Christians say these kinds of things: 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. I can handle it. It won't hurt me. After all, people I work with swear all the time. They tell dirty jokes and talk freely about their sexual exploits all the time. Sex is just like going to the movies. It’s entertainment.

That kind of attitude is spiritual blindness already at work. They've already been lured in. People that think have already yielded to sin. Sin clouds the insight and revelation that loving and seeking God brings. When you can feel conviction over wrong doing, that's good! It means you are still alive. Repeating sin numbs you, confuses you, and eventually works to justify what once brought shame to you. Sin works like a dimmer switch. The more you continue in it, the darker it gets and the more you forget why God’s ways are important. It takes being purposeful in your love for Jesus. It takes a thankful heart and a consistent appreciation for what He has done for you. When you do this, you get back to and stay in that place where you can hear from Him and be lead by His Spirit. When you love God and His Word, you'll desire to carefully walk in His ways. It is then that you will find strength and help from Him. He’ll help you to learn to live according to His standards instead of being sucked into the ever-degrading moral standards of the world.

The Apostle Paul also 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."

God loves us. He tries to protect us from being lured into and taken captive by Satan's wiles. In 2 Timothy, we can clearly see that there is a high road and low road. You can be one who lives God's standard and helps others to do the same or one who has walked carelessly and has been taken 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 isn't really living for Jesus. It's a horrible witness to others because you'll cause them to stumble. It's also spiritual torture that can eventually lead you to abandon your love for Jesus and forsake your faith in Him.

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. 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 being beat up by the devil. It has been much more gratifying influencing others for the Lord, and stealing souls from Satan's grip—helping steer them toward the joy, fulfillment, blessing and peace that comes through Jesus Christ.

Just because I don't participate in the sinful behaviors of those around me, I am not a party-pooper. My party is with Jesus. Others might feel uncomfortable with me around just because I don't participate in what they do. But, I'm not condemning them. That is their own conscience. And my message isn't condemnation. Jesus did not come to condemn but to save! So, I encourage you to stand strong today and be a light and an influence. Some will call you a party-pooper but others will call you a role model living the high calling in Christ Jesus! I guarantee you that as you look back ten years from now, you'll have a smile and a heart filled with thanksgiving toward God.

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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