Struggles, The Word

I was going to make a post on this same subject, but I agree with everything Sierra has said. I have very little to add, as this is basically an echo of my own thoughts. J.C. Ryle spoke well in reference to pride and humility – “Remember how often Scripture sets before us the excellence of a humble spirit. How strongly we are warned “not to think of (ourselves) more highly than (we) ought to think!” (Rom. 12:3) How plainly we are told, “If anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know!” (1 Cor. 8:2). How strict is the command, “Put on humbleness of mind!”(Col. 3:12). And again, “Be clothed with humility” (1 Pet. 5:5). Sadly, this is a garment of which many seem not to have so much as a scrap.” – J.C. Ryle was very insightful in regards to pride. So, we know we are to practice humility; how do we do this? Where should we look? Christ Himself was the perfect example of humility. It was His defining characteristic when He was on earth. In Philippians 2:3-8, Paul speaks to this, saying: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 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.” The glorious Lord Jesus Christ, whose image we are to always be conforming to, is the complete and perfect example of selflessness, obedience, and humility. We cannot honor God without humility, for actions seemingly God-glorifying will only be tainted by impure motives of self-righteousness; pride, the very sin that cast Lucifer from the presence of God.

As Sierra said, when the Lord blesses us, we are to boast in Him, and Him alone. It is our responsibility to do so, and we should at all times, especially in suffering. Paul speaks of this in 2 Corinthians 11:21-33. In verse 30, he says, “If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness.” Boast only of the sufferings and trials Christ has placed in your life, and by His grace, allowed and strengthened you to conquer. Please read and consider Sierra’s post. Examine yourself; where does pride exist in your heart? In what ways does it manifest itself in your life? For it does, the reader can be sure of that.

Anchored Soul

Psalm 34:1b-3, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the Lord; the humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.”

2 Corinthians 10:17-18, “But He who boasts is to boast in the Lord. For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends.”  

Who am I, a sinner ravaged by selfishness and pride, that God would look upon me with grace and magnanimous favor? All that I am, God has given. And yet, have I learned to boast in Him for His blessings? When will my heart glory in the only One worth bragging about? Boasting. My heart will always boast. But in whom is the question to be answered…

God is reminding me that He is the only…

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Uncategorized

Have You Died?

I am a believer in Jesus Christ. A Christian. Not because I have done something special deserving of salvation; in fact, it is quite the opposite. I am saved for the reason that I believe that nothing I can possibly do, no task I can ever accomplish can make me worthy of salvation. Nothing can rescue my soul aside from the perfect sacrifice of Christ, a replacement for the wrath which I deserve. In that moment of repentance and faith in His divine interposition, something extraordinary happened. I died for the first time, and was born for the second. A part of me that was enslaved to self and sin died at that point, and something truly beautiful was birthed in its stead. I am now a slave of Christ after having been reborn. To get to this point, I had to experience death, in a spiritual sense. In fact, it could be called a spiritual suicide to self. Having died, I found life. The words of Jesus in Luke 9:23-24 are my basis for this word-picture:

And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.

Anyone who is a true believer must experience this death. If one has not realized that salvation takes a life change, I would strongly urge him to question it. I, as a young child, was mistaken about my faith, not realizing that being a Christian means I have to kill myself(figuratively) and let Christ mold me into an image of Himself. I deceived myself and thought I could continue to live sinfully as long as I read my bible and attended church. I now see the truth, but I believe and know that many others share this misconception, especially those in the “Bible Belt”. Dear reader, please examine yourself. Have you fallen prey to this line of false thinking?

If one has examined himself and found true repentance, then this post serves as a challenge. Lately, I have found my love for Christ growing, as I see how undeserving and unworthy I am of His grace. The fact that He would still love me in spite of all I have done and continue to do causes me to love Him with a greater fervency. Coming right along with this growth, I am seeing sinful habits and patterns that have slipped into my speech and actions. Also, I am seeing how easy it is to forget my death to sin with friends who are fellow believers. Not necessarily because my friends and I are saying and doing things which are even widely considered wrong, but because of what we are not saying and doing. James 4:17 says,

Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

Many times, I will myself with my friends talking about things and doing things which are not only worthless, but stupid, for hours upon end. I am dead to sin and alive to Jesus Christ! Why would I allow these habits of sinfulness and times of worthlessness into my life? Paul said in Philippians 1,

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose.

To live is Christ! I am reborn; alive to Christ. If I claim Him, I must be an image of Him when I am with believers and unbelievers alike. So such foolishness must be eliminated, and replaced with a kind of fruitful labor, namely love. In every task I undertake, every interaction I have with others, and every thought that enters my mind, I must remember that I am spiritually dead to my selfish desires. If the reader is a believer, remember this fact in everything you do. If the reader has not died to self by repentance, he is lost unto himself, destined for hell. Please, examine yourself. Have you truly died to sin?

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Struggles

You’re Not Afraid?

I would like to share with you, reader, a struggle I have been dealing with for a very long time and have only recently overcome(through God’s grace and with His help).  As you know, if you have read my About page, I am a lover of music.  When I was an unbeliever about 4 years ago,(I was about 12 at the time) I was under many strong ungodly influences, and came to enjoy listening to artists such as Linkin Park, Tenacious D, Papa Roach, Disturbed, and more recently Dr. Dre and Eminem(the list of  “bad” artists goes on, these are just a few examples). You see, I had this filter for bad music. Here were my two rules: No music that talks about bad things(unless it was catchy), and no music that had swearing in it(unless it was censored, or also really catchy).  As you can probably tell, this filter didn’t work so much.

So as the years went on, I was “convicted” on and off about secular music, and would get rid of it, then get it back.  Then a few months ago, when I was really struggling with listening to music by “bad” artists, but not necessarily music which talked about bad things, I was reading in Philippians, and these verses really convicted me.

Philippians 4:7,8 7  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 8  Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Does music which has sexual implications reflect what is honorable, right, and pure?  No it does not.  Does music which swears reflect what is lovely?  Nope.  Should I even be listening to songs which are by artists who are not of good repute?  No, according to this passage in Philippians, I should not.

Now, I’m not saying that listening to secular music is always a sin. I still listen to some secular music. But, only music which is not wrong, does not speak of that which is wrong, generally what you would call the “neutral” stuff.  For example, a song called “This” by Darius Rucker.  It speaks truth, and has good morals, and if it was written by a Christian artist, you wouldn’t question it as a Christian song.  But when speaking to others about music, and mention of a secular song that I like comes up, what I say is different. I say I listen to that song, not that artist. Because if I say I listen to that secular artist, I am supporting someone who is not of good repute, and that would directly violate the quoted passage.

This has been a big struggle for me, and I know that I will still struggle with it.  But with Christ’s help, I can overcome such struggles to grow in my walk with Him and reflect Him better.

Before I finish with this subject, I would like to address an artist whom many new and growing Christians who are also music enthusiasts struggle with listening to.  Eminem has been on top of the music charts for about as long as he has been rapping. He has great skill in the music he makes, and I respect him for that, but he uses it for the worst purposes.  I pity him, because he has gone through so much difficulty in his family, and in his early life, yet is blind to the free gift offered to him by Christ. Instead, his response to the trials in his life is anger and rage at others for what has happened to him and for what he has brought upon himself. The Bibles description of him is found in Titus 3:3:

For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.

I have made a habit of praying for this man, that someone may be able to bring him the gospel, and that he would accept it. Here is a song describing how lost he is in his own words. This song is clean, listen to it if you so desire. The only reason I am adding it is because after I heard it, it gave me more of a desire to pray for this man, and I grew more somber in my thoughts toward him. It is basically a dialogue between him and his daughter Hailie, whom he is separated from. He sees his mistakes, yet still believes he is going to heaven. http://grooveshark.com/#/s/When+I+m+Gone+clean+/dzghD?src=5

I hope that you will pray for this man, that he will accept the gift of eternal life which is freely offered to him.

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