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Monday, October 31, 2016

Where You Find the Power to Overcome Sin

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

Mind over matter. That’s a phrase I’ve heard since I’ve been a kid. It somehow implies that our mind is strong enough to take control and master everything we put our mind to. There have been cults built around this lie! We all have things we’d like to change and try to make changes in, but with little or no success. How can it seem so impossible to quit doing or thinking about something our flesh loves but we know is not pleasing to God?

The answer is; we've allowed ourselves to become convinced that we love these things we know we shouldn't do. That affection for sinful things creates desire and lust for it, which then leads us to our failure to obey God. Love creates desire but hatred destroys desire. It creates a repulsion for it.

But Pastor Tim, isn't hatred bad? Hatred is bad when it's aimed toward people but not when it's aimed toward sinful thoughts, desires, and actions. God recreated the emotion of hatred and this is exactly what He created it for—and the only thing He created it for! Unless that fleshly love changes to hate or repulsion it will continue to be a problem. Psalms 97:10 NKJV says, “You who love the LORD, hate evil: He preserves the souls of his saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.” It is actually having a hatred for sin that helps create the strength of restraint to say no to sin. Proverbs 8:13 NKJV says, “The (reverential) fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogance, and the evil way, and the perverse mouth, do I hate.”

Too many people try to mentally override their flesh to win their battles. It doesn’t take long to figure out the success rate of this is poor to none. This is one reason people fall back into drinking, smoking, sexual misconduct, poor attitudes, greed, lust, and more.

What's the answer? Having fire! Having a passion that burns in your heart. There are few things that put a real fire in our heart but when something does, it takes over and consumes much of our thought-life and time. This is true whether its a good passion or a bad passion. You often see this when two people fall in love. A fire or passion is formed in them that instantly transforms their thinking and behaviors. It's all they think about and care about. They walk around with smiles they've never had before. Supernatural fire—fire that is from and directed by God is like that. It consumes our thought-life and helps burn out the evil and ungodly desires that tempt us. How does this fire come to us? We help it come when we begin to open our eyes to the power, to the greatness, and to the majesty of God. A fresh reverence and awe of God soon creates intolerance for Satan, evil, and the hurt and pain he causes.

In an Old Testament story from 1 Kings, we read about how God's people had been led astray to entertain and fill their lives with everything evil and false. God used His prophet Elijah to chastise them purposing to break up their stony hearts and open their eyes. He challenged the false prophets to build an altar and sacrifice that their god's would come down, accept and burn up. They built the altar but of course nothing happened. All the people watched all day long, but nothing happen. Then Elijah built his altar to God in front of all the people.

1 Kings 18:30-39 (NLT) Then Elijah called to the people, “Come over here!” They all crowded around him as he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been torn down. He took twelve stones, one to represent each of the tribes of Israel, and he used the stones to rebuild the altar in the name of the Lord… Elijah the prophet walked up to the altar and prayed, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant. Prove that I have done all this at your command. O Lord, answer me! Answer me so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God and that you have brought them back to yourself.” Immediately the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the trench! And when all the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, “The Lord—he is God! Yes, the Lord is God!” When the fire came they instantly knew the truth of who the true God was. The fire of God turned their hearts toward Him, and immediately strengthened them to set their lives back on the right path toward Him.

Proverbs 1:7 and Psalm 147:8 reveal the reverential respect for God and His greatness and holiness. This reverential fear IS THE BEGINNING of all wisdom, knowledge, and understanding in God. They say... "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge…" "Let them praise the name of the LORD, for His name alone is exalted; His splendor is above the earth and the heavens." When this is what you begin to meditate on—when you begin to think about the greatness of God and yet how personal He is—how His love has touched every area of your life, then your love for Him is reignited and a fire that changes you is formed within!

Psalm 148 is all about bringing praises to the Creator and God of the entire universe. Let your praise begin with thanking Jesus for taking the punishment for your sins. Then thank Him for setting you free from the bondage of sin! Then set your mind on all who He is and the magnitude of the love He has shown you! Setting your mind on this will create a fire within you that will strengthen you.

If you will begin to consistently worship the Lord and meditate on all that He is—then this reverential fear will begin to grow the fire of God in you and you'll experience His power, and strength rising up in you! Trust me. You want this kind of reverence for God to grow within you. It will be a fire fueling a hatred for sin and will help burn out everything that is ungodly and unholy. This is how we find the strength to obey God and to reject evil—not mind over matter.

Romans 8:2 "And because you belong to Jesus, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death"

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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