Sunday, November 9, 2014

Offending My Readers

Up to this point I'm sure that my essays on Christianity have offended about everybody! That includes me because, as do most people, I cling to my beliefs; even those which God challenges me to change. That's human nature!

I "cling" for two reasons: 1) pleasure and 2) pride. That makes me a Star Trek "Klingon" I suppose. I'm not alone in my fight to leave isolation. Most people are Klingons with me!

Most people fail to submit to God because of pleasure. Life can be fun and those seduced by pleasure live for fun. It's hard for people who are to be humble and modest, as Christians are supposed to be, yet have fun. These people "live for the flesh".
Ephesians 2:2 "Wherein in time past ye (Christians) walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us..."
Here we have an example where Christians chose wisely because "in times past" they "fulfilled the desires of the flesh and the mind". Desires of the flesh are what's in vogue in the world. It's things that "the prince of the power of the air" puts out there to entrap. In effect when people choose pleasure over obedience, pleasure becomes a idol!

"Desires of the flesh" are anything which provide pleasure: drugs, alcohol, partying, sexual activity, lasciviousness, gambling, and even wasting excessive time on trivialities! Some people devote their life to sports, for instance, and because people are devoted to something else, God gets short-changed! We are to do everything in moderation:
 Philippians 4:5 "Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand."
We can have fun! God wants us to have pleasure, but we must never live for pleasure and pleasure must never interfere with the worship of God!

For instance, I had never had a boat. When I considered buying a ski boat, I knew that most people who work, boat on Sundays. That's the day dedicated to the Lord. Although, ideally, we should stay home, rest and study the Bible on that day, reality is that we also use that time to escape stress. However, when I bought my boat I said to the Lord "I won't let the boat interfere with Sunday worship." Since, I have nearly always attended morning and evening service, I had a short window on Sunday to enjoy my boat. In about fifteen years I missed Sunday evening service only one time because I misjudged my time. To the best of my ability I didn't let the boat steal time from worshiping God! That's moderation. I put boating secondary to the Lord and seldom boated more than once a week.

People just don't want to give up "pleasure" and prioritize God. This actually becomes "self-worship" because I've heard many people say "I won't change for anyone!". They fail to see that if they submit to God, God changes things! Many of the pleasures I once had are now anathema for me! It's unnecessary to change TO BE SAVED, but change occurs AS A RESULT OF SALVATION. People need to quit worrying about what they have to "give-up" and look at what they are "to gain". That would be eternal life and joy while in this world!

The second obstacle to submission is pride. This is the day and age (as it has always been) where people never say "I'm sorry!". Pride stands in the way of admitting that people can be and are wrong.
Proverbs 16:18 "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."
Pride leads to destruction. Rather than submit to a higher authority men still cling to "doing it my way". Before I was enlightened by scripture, I even tried to "save myself" by doing "good". Only God is "good" and my good deeds were as filthy rags to God!

Psychologists, using twelve-step treatment programs, say that admitting the problem is a first step to sobriety. That's true. No one has a need to change unless they admit that they need changing! It takes courage for an alcoholic to say "alcohol is my master". Likewise, it's a high brick wall which keeps the sinner from saying "I'm a sinner!" With the alcoholic, admitting the problem, opens the door for change. The alcoholic in his heart wants to change, but the pleasure in drinking and socializing is a roadblock to sobriety.

It's the same with sinners (all of us). We know that the minute we admit that we are wrong and need help, we've opened the door for a need to change. The sinner fails to see sunlight on the other side of the door, and desires to stay in this secluded room where he is king. Sinners won't submit because to do so is putting God in charge of their lives!

Pride is linked to pleasure, because those considering Christianity think "I'll no longer be able to do what I enjoy doing! "Pleasure and pride are bedfellows because "the king" wants to live royally, and THE KING interferes with royal living!

The first step is what? Admit that you have sinned. Step 2) Acknowledge that you can't save yourself. Step 3) Submit to God with an humble heart! Your sins will be forgiven and you will become a Royal Priest!
1 Peter 2:9 " are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;"
With salvation you're no longer a king in your little world, but you are a Royal Priest in THE KING's court. That's worth smiling about. And you thought that with submission you became nothing.

I never wish to offend anyone. I am the messenger and I wouldn't present the message unless God wrote it in scripture. Forgive me when I step on toes because sore toes aren't important when compared to burning flesh. Consider what I say, don't be angry and then do what the Lord inspires you to do. However, "You'd better watch out! The goblins will get you!" (James Whitcomb Riley).

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