In our journey concerning overcoming, we’ve traveled a difficult path which may seem overwhelming. We began with changing the perspective from overcoming in the worldly sense of conquest to overcoming our internal struggles with sin. Along the way, we examined the three receptors of temptation seen in the temptation of Adam and Eve, Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness, and 1 John 2:16. And we looked at overcoming regret, guilt, and shame. But there is one more stop on our journey, one which changes how we strive to overcome. Just by way of reminder. Our key verse for this journey is found in John’s first letter. “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory t
In the medical world, there are two major concerns. The first is preventative care which encourages ways to avoid sickness, disease, injury, or even death. Consider our three previous articles on overcoming our hunger, sight, and pride to be preventative care. The other type of medical care intends to reverse the damage and promote healing. There is an aspect of overcoming in Christ that also heals what we have broken through our wrong choices and sins. We often approach guilt, shame, and regret as if they are bad things. Feelings no one should have or be haunted by. While each can be abused and used to control someone, which is wrong, they can also show us where our soul is wounded. Guilt, shame, and regret are to the soul like pains are to our body. Is our soul broken by the sharp pai...
Our third receptor of temptation is something we all struggle with. So far we’ve looked at how our hunger and our sight are receptors of temptations and how to overcome them. Large parts of those temptations are aimed at our souls from the outside. We see something and want it. In those cases, there is something we see, hear, or feel that triggers a desire to have. The third temptation source and receptor are almost entirely in ourselves. The key verse for this series is found in 1st John. “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of Go
Imagine for a moment walking up to a dessert table with two choices. One is a perfectly shaped wedge of apple pie. Its golden brown crust is warmly inviting, the apple filling firm but oozing goodness. The second choice also seems to be a slice from that same pie but it is squished and broken with filling spilling out to cover the dessert plate. Which would you choose? Most of us would take the more attractive of the two slices of apple pie. Why is that? They both have the same ingredients and the taste. The only difference is their looks. Yet, we choose the one we perceive as more pleasing to the eyes. This choice is an example of our second receptor of temptation, what John called the lust of the eyes. Our eyesight is our most powerful sense. With these wonderfully designed organ
It all began in a garden. A lush paradise where every need was met and there was only one “don’t do this” rule. The rest, as they say, is history. Adam and Eve broke the “don’t do this” rule, played the blame game with God, and changed the course of humanity. That discord between going our own way or going God’s way has plagued us ever since. But that is not the end of story. Last week we looked at An Overcoming Life and discovered that overcoming is different than we may have imagined. John wrote, “In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
Reading the Bible and hearing those precious promises can be disheartening at times. We read about how we overwhelmingly conquer through Jesus in Romans 8:37, but our lives may feel like a train wreck and a constant struggle. We see the promise of having a rich, satisfying, and abundant life in John 10:10, but only see failure. We hear that everyone born of God overcomes the world in 1 John 5:4-5, but we often feel like wheat between the grinding wheels of a flour mill. How do we solve this discord between God’s promises and our real lives? For the next few weeks, we’re going to practically explore the Biblical concept and promise of overcoming. Let me say up front however that this is not a magic formula to a wonderful life with a fat bank account, a perfect spouse, a well-paying enjoy
Scientists have figured out why pigs wallow in the mud. Basic biology tells us that pigs don’t sweat, so taking a mud bath is a fantastic way for them to keep cool. But there’s more to it than that because pigs will wallow even when it’s not hot out. The startling conclusion of a recent study on pig wallowing (who pays for these things?) is that pigs wallow because they like it. For them, laying in a shallow spot caked with muck and mud is the good life. Sin is like that. Nearly all sin is something we like, prefer, or choose. It scratches our itch. Sin makes us feel good, satisfied, wanted, cool (as in with it), accepted, protected, and important for at least a little while. We wallow in sin for the same reasons that pigs wallow in mud -- we like it. You could say that we are addicted
Ever buy a used car? Sitting in the dealer’s lot it looks pretty good, maybe even better than expected. Sure there’s a few issues, a door ding here or a small stain there. The surprising thing to me is that after living with the car for a week or so other dings, flaws, and issues begin to pop out. It’s not that they were hiding, they were there all the time. It’s more like we didn’t want to see them. Sometimes the same blind spot can affect our Bible reading. We read about the heroes of the faith, see their successes and how God used them in fantastic ways but fail to see their flaws, struggles, and humanness. Consider Paul. He had a mighty traveling ministry that took the gospel to Asia and Europe. Paul established churches, raised up leaders, challenged the establishment, broke ne