Think About IT: Unity without Unity

We dare not confuse divine unity with organizational unity.

Christians are one in Christ, which does not require the existence of organizational unity (John 17: 11, 22-22). The mere reality of different churches or even denominations is not necessarily demonstrative of disunity. This is because our unity is not derived from an organization but our relationship to Christ, the head of the church (Eph. 5:23). Continue reading →

Does Prayer Changes Things or NOT?

Some believe that prayer is in the final analysis, praying what God has already determined that you would pray (Calvinism). However, a simple, not a simplistic, reading of Scripture makes palpably clear that while God has predetermined many things, He sovereignly chose not to predetermine everything, but to incorporate the prayers of His people into the contingent outcome. Continue reading →

Think About IT: Marriage Is Only Heterosexual

God instituted marriage (Gen 1: 21-25) to eliminate solitude (Gen 2:18), and for the only proper relationship for sexual intimacy and procreation (Gen 1:28; 1 Cor 7: 1-5).

According to Scripture, there simply is no such thing as homosexual marriage, and Christians should avoid speaking as if there is. Speaking of homosexual marriage does not legitimize homosexual relationships; rather, it vulgarizes the term marriage. If marriage were other than a heterosexual relationship, marriage would not exist because humans would not exist.

“Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” Ephesians 5:22–25.

The Nature of Spiritual Warfare

If Scripture teaches anything about spiritual warfare, it is this; the more faithful you are to God and the more God uses you, the more Satan seeks to destroy your relationship with God, the work of God through you, and you.

It seems that the reality of God’s provision to enable us to withstand Satan’s attacks implies that if we do not use them, we will not be able to faithfully follow Christ and be used to God’s full potential for us to advance the kingdom (Eph :10-18). If this is not the case, then the provision of God seems to be optional and extraneous, which I for one contend that it is not.

Even worse, the end of Satan defeating us personally is that we not only fail to be used by God, but we become an instrument of Satan against the kingdom of God. We can find ourselves talking of God with family and loved ones, and yet, our very lives are Satan’s instrument to undermine our words and thereby hurt the ones we love the most.

We are not smart enough nor strong enough on our own. Seeking to fight our spiritual adversaries in human strength is to demonstrate that we are already defeated by having such a thought. If I think that I do not need filled with the Holy Spirit, the mind of Christ through the Scripture, and praying always, it is not that Satan may defeat me, but rather, such thinking is the evidence that I am already defeated. I have retreated to the foxhole of human ability, which is merely a spiritual grave.

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).

 

Think About IT: Meanness—Not So Difficult

We need no divine empowerment to be harsh.

It seems to me that we do not need the power of Christ in our lives to treat others hurtfully, unkindly, or dismissively. Christians seem to possess natural resources sufficient for the task of insensitivity. Of course, even carnal Christians are wise enough to masquerade such strictness as a righteous refusal to compromise, but it is actually a walk in the flesh.

It is the ability to express genuine godly and sacrificial love, longsuffering, graciousness, compassion, and gentle understanding that requires the Holy Spirit. Human righteousness is devoid of biblical love and grace. Biblical grace, righteousness, and strength flow from the Holy Spirit.

“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” Galatians 5:19–23.

Godly Zeal: Maybe?

Zeal is not the test of godliness, nor can zeal make one godlier.

Zealousness can even be a detriment to godliness if one’s definition of godliness is derived from the intensity of one’s zeal rather than the clear teaching of Scripture. Frequently we find people who claim to be Christian, and may very well be, zealous about what they believe to be the true priority or expression of the Christian faith.

They often have some scriptures to bolster their defense that their way is the way. But one’s level of zeal is not the determiner of whether something is a legitimate representation of the Christian faith, and this even when the cause is noble.

Godliness drawn from and defined by Scripture should define our zeal, but zeal can never define godliness.

“For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge” Romans 10:2.

 

The Choice of Humility

Since we are not God, everyone will be humbled.

There are three kinds of humility in the Scripture. First is a false humility, which is fashionably demonstrated by the Pharisees of the gospels as well as their contemporary protégés. Second is a forced humility, which is the lot of all who choose to exalt themselves and follow their own lead. Third is a chosen humility, which is the radiance of Christ as seen in His humbling Himself to die for our ghoulish sins.

These may be seen in order in the following scriptures. We should avoid at all cost the first, and unfortunately expect the second because we are fallen humans; however, if we seek chosen humility, we will honor God and diminish the frequency of even the second.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence” Matthew 23:25.

“Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted” Matthew 23:12.

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” Philippians 2:5–8.

Think About IT: The Danger of Self-Confidence

In the shadows of self-confidence lurk many dangers like succumbing to temptation, seeking self-glory, and hurting those for whom Christ died. Perhaps the most serious consequence of self-confidence is that such testimonial presents a false Christ to the world and thereby denies the gospel and the grace provisions of sanctification.

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” John 15:5.

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13.

Think About IT: Love the World and Hate Worldliness

If Christians were once again to be lost and destined to hell, but still remembered all we knew about Christ and salvation except how to be saved again, we would desire more than anything else in all the world that those who know Christ as Lord and Savior would present us with the clearest display of him in word and the most compelling lives to lead us to him.

While Christians are not to be worldly minded, we are to be devotedly mindful about the lost world. Concern for building our own self-esteem is a fleshly distraction from building Christ esteem in our lives to be displayed to all. Self-esteem determines to make sure others give due attention to us, whereas Christ esteem determines to make sure others give due attention to Jesus, the only one who can truly help them.

The flesh wars to ensconce our own needs, feelings, reputation and wants above others, and the Spirit wars to enthrone the true spiritual needs of the most worldly above our own, even those who mean us harm.  When hurt by others, the flesh mounts an attack against them, but the Spirit desires we die to self and leave space for wrath. This so that we may present Christ in order that the worldly may be transformed, and thereby disdain worldly mindedness and embrace single minded devotion about the lost world.

“That they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me” John 17:21.

Think About IT: Repentance is Our Friend 

Repentance is a friend that leads to God, and such a friend should always be eagerly embraced.

A friend is someone who always seeks to help us be our best and seeks to bring us closer to God by making us more like Christ. Repentance is such a friend. Repentance brings us to God in salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, and repentance restores the child of God who wanders astray for a time.

“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,” (Acts 3:19).

“But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’ So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son….for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate” (Luke 15:17-21, 24).