Friday, July 30, 2021

It's Not a Golden Ticket, It's Time to Wear Holes in the Carpet

It's Not a Golden Ticket, It's Time to Wear Holes in the Carpet 

So he awoke from his sleep, and said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!” But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him. Judges 16:20 

One of the signs of a heart that has shifted from God is the absence of spiritual power. If you are like Samson, you will not be immediately aware that God's power has left you. Only after he tried to defeat his enemies did Samson recognize that something was wrong. He went against the Philistines as before, expecting their swift defeat. But this time the Philistines easily prevailed over him. If you allow sin to creep into your life, if you refuse to obey your Lord, if you do not reconcile with those who have hurt you, your spiritual vitality is waning. You may assume everything is fine, but when you pray, answers do not come as they once did. You once had a positive effect on those around you, but now your influence is negligible or even harmful. Your life once brought reconciliation, but now you experience problems in your relationships. Those around you who have relied upon your strength are discovering that you are not as helpful to them as you once were. Your lack of spiritual power is not crying out for attention; but you are seeing subtle changes in your spirit and in your relationship with God. How can you stop this spiritual decline? You must regularly repent of any sin. You must invite God to search your life to see if there are attitudes, relationships, or activities that need to be removed. You must fervently obey His will. If you walk with God in this manner, you will grow in spiritual strength and be used mightily by Him.  Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Many know what the phrase or even the song that goes with wanting a Golden Ticket. It comes from both the book about Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and the movie. 

All too often two horrific things happen in the lives of believers in Christ. Either they are ushered into the Kingdom and are left to figure it out on their own or they are intentionally taught wrong about it. Some of those behave and live life like they got a free ticket to sin because they are saved and haven't learned any better or worse still they enjoy it. 

Coming to Christ for salvation is to be a life changing experience. It's not for us to put on a life preserver thinking that now we can run off and still do the sins we are to leave behind. 

Paul speaks to this in Romans. God's unmeritted favor is called His Grace. We don't earn it. His mercy is similar in that we certainly do not get what we do deserve. 

Romans 6:1-7

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? Far from it! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for the one who has died is freed from sin.

In oh so many Churches and even as individual Christians, people go through this world embracing sin rather than being repulsed by it. 

Sin infiltration of the Church brings about more people who believe false things that bring about people frustrated with their lives not going the way they think it should.  Whether it's false doctrines being taught or unstable teachers who do not lead by Biblical example. 

The root cause is always where we are in Christ. 

We do not get a free ride to just go live life on our terms. 

We start each day asking God to help us with whatever it is He has in mind for us today. 

We have no license to sin. We have to be on our toes. As Scripture also says the Devil prowl around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.  

Often Paul refers to Christians as being Soldiers of the Cross.  In Ephesians he specifically taught about the whole armor of God. He preached upon the topic of having a sound mind. Of always examining the Scriptures to see if what people say is true.

He was certainly saying not to let your guard down. He refers to sin as that which easily entangles. We have good reason to always be sober and aware of the temptation of sin. 

There is no free ticket to sinful pleasures.  All sin will do you harm. Especially when you convince you that it's OK. 

We are His workmanship, Paul also wrote. As Christ is the Potter and we are the clay, He is in charge of all design changes. He is only going to remove that which isn't profitable to make us more like Him. He is only going to use those tools which will accomplish His Will in our lives. 

We are not free to redefine His Word.  We are not the Author. He is. His definitions concerning what is sin are irrevocable. They are not to be brushed aside as inconsequential. Regardless of how it makes you or I feel.  

Every man's work in the final judgment will be filtered through the Word of God. That's the Standard.  When our lives as Believers when we stand before Christ are viewed it will be in regards to how it reflected God's Word. Satan cannot hope to escape the validation of God's Word, humanity will not either. God's Word says that Satan is a defeated foe.  Satan has been trying for over 6,000 years to overturn that and has failed. 

We get no ticket to both be saved and to live as though we never had chosen to come to Christ. 

We ought to live lives that reflect the light of Jesus, not lives that espouse darkness. 

In another devotional this morning the story was of a doctor who was also a very committed Christian. After his death some wanted to know the secret of his phenomenal work. The caretaker took them to the Doctor's study. There they showed them a carpet with two holes in it...from The Doctor's knees.  His secret was his devotion to prayer and God's Word. To living out his life as God saw fit for him. 

We are saved in order to pass it along to others. That's how the Church started over 2,000 years ago.  Not by selfish living but through the persecution of life lived for Jesus. The greater Satan tried to squash the Church the more it spread. 

So how are you viewing your life now?  If you are still alive and breathing you have hope to come back to Christ with the mindset to get it right this time. To repent, to turn away from, those sins you have been embracing to live how God really wants you to. Time to start wearing holes in the carpet. 

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