Throughout our Christian lives God lets you and I make choices. God does not force us to follow His laws and commands. Rather He gives us the ability to exercise free will to go our own way. He will, however, point us in the right direction, and it has been that way from the very beginning, starting with our first parents, Adam and Eve.
God set before Adam and Eve blessings or cursing, life or death and then He instructed them to CHOOSE LIFE (Genesis 2:8-9, 16-17; cf. Deuteronomy 30:15-20), but ultimately the decision was theirs to make. God has the same approach today in regards to you and me.
After eating of the forbidden fruit Adam and Eve hid from the presence of the Lord as he walked through the Garden (Genesis 3:8-10). They hid because they were afraid; they felt as though they no longer could look their creator in the eyes. They felt flawed and weak because they knew they had directly disobeyed. This is what sin produces, it produces fear, uncertainty, lack of faith, and takes away courage because ultimately our only source of courage is God.
As we move away from God the positive
attributes we attain through God’s Holy Spirit begin to leave us. Once this process starts we may find ourselves experiencing more and more problems until we finally repent and turn back to God or forsake God altogether.
There are many stories in the Bible that show individuals and nations struggling through this cycle of sin and repentance. The Nation of Israel did this repeatedly until they completely lost site of the true God. Adam and Eve, Lot, Samson, Jacob, Saul, David, Solomon, Job, Jonah, Peter and others all shared in this cycle of sin and repentance. They all made mistakes but the outcome for all of them was not the same. Some ended their lives in sin, some in repentance and overcoming.
The story of the interaction between the first two kings of Israel makes an interesting study of two different approaches to life. What made the difference between Saul and David?
Both men sinned and the results are recorded for us within the Bible. Was Saul’s sin worse than David’s? No, the difference was David learned from his mistakes and repented wholeheartedly, but sadly Saul did not.
Why was David referred to as a man after God’s own heart and Saul was not? Because David understood the seriousness of his actions and he took ownership of his weakness. Saul on the other hand blamed his problems on everyone around him and never really examined his own motives.
So how does sin play into destroying courage? Well, let’s look at that in Hebrews 10:26-27: “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.”
Want to live without fear? Avoid sin. As David confidently said in Psalm 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” Remain close to God and you can say, “If God be for me who can be against me?” (cf. Romans 8:31). If we have a fear of God, or in other words a healthy respect for God and His laws, then we need not fear anything else. If we really fear God we will do what He says.
“Turn to my reproof,
Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.
“Because I called and you refused,
I stretched out my hand and no one paid
And you neglected all my counsel
And did not want my reproof;
I will also laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when your dread comes,
When your dread comes like a storm
And your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
When distress and anguish come upon you.
“Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
They will seek me diligently but they will not find
Because they hated knowledge
And did not choose the fear of the Lord.
“They would not accept my counsel,
They spurned all my reproof.
“So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way
And be satiated with their own devices.
“For the waywardness of the naive will kill them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them.
“But he who listens to me shall live securely
And will be at ease from the dread of evil.”
(Proverbs 1:23-33, NASB).
If we are to have the courage that is going to be necessary to get us through the times shortly ahead, we must repent of our sins, and continue to keep ourselves far removed from sin. Even those genuinely converted, genuinely striving to overcome, sometimes sin due to the weakness of the flesh. We must constantly and frequently go to God and ask for forgiveness (1 John 1:8-10; Proverbs 28:13).
Repentance or turning away from sin is the only way we can draw close and remain close to God. When we go to God often and confess our sins we will then be blessed with a feeling of peace and relief (James 4:6-10; cf. 2 Chronicles 15:1-15). The result is we feel closer to God. We can then be confident and have the faith and courage to know and know that we know that God has the ability to deliver us from any trial that comes along. This does not mean however that we never suffer while living on this earth. There comes a point where God lets the natural processes of aging or disease take their course and our lives come to an end. Or perhaps we will come to our end as a result of persecution for our belief in God. In any event, what we need to understand is God is completely involved in our lives when we commit to Him. God at some point will allow us to go to our grave as He also allowed all the original disciples to go to their graves. He will not always preserve us alive but He will preserve us for His kingdom if we trust in Him.
Jesus Christ rebuked the Sadducees and the Pharisees because they were hypocrites, saying one thing but doing another (Matthew 16:1-4; 23:1-33). We must not be hypocrites, but rather sincere, genuine, solid through and through. God tests the genuineness of our faith, to see how well we will hold up under pressure (1 Peter 1:6-7).
High powered CO2 lasers used in various industries require focusing lenses that are of the highest quality. The material Zinc Selenide is produced in large sheets but only 15 to 20 % will be of the quality required for high-powered lasers. The remaining 80 to 85 % will have to be used for other applications, because of minute internal defects that can only be detected by very careful examination.
Laser energy being transmitted through the lens is very unforgiving. If any defects are present the energy of the laser will be absorbed by the defect causing a premature failure of the lens.
Drawing an analogy God examines our hearts and minds (Jeremiah 17:10; 20:12; 1 Corinthians 3:13). God exposes to us through His word and the Holy Spirit our defects. And we either correct those defects or we may suffer premature failure (Hebrews 4:11-16). The more free of defects we become the more powerfully we can reflect God’s character and the more powerfully we will be able to work for God (1
Peter 1:12-16; 2:9-12).
We will have to wait for the change from corruptible to incorruptible to be 100% free from defects but we cannot use that as an excuse. We must strive to change now. If we aren’t diligent time can pass and it can become harder to change as habits become our character. We want to make sure we are solid and sincere and the only way we can do that is to continually go to God with a repentant heart.
As Christians the only way we can be sure God is on our side is if we are on His side, because He won’t be on our side unless we are living the way we are supposed to be living according to His word (Joshua 1:5-9; 24:20; 1 Chronicles 28:9; 2 Chronicles 15:2; Hebrews 13:5-7).
Sin has the ability to destroy us. It will destroy our courage, our faith and ultimately our lives if we let it.
Luke 21:36 tells us to “Watch and pray always that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” What are we to watch?
Words for Thought
Watch your thoughts; They become words.
Watch your words; They become actions.
Watch your actions; They become habits.
Watch your habits; They become character;
Watch your character; It becomes your destiny.
Copyright © 2014 by Ken Johnson
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Unless otherwise noted Scripture taken from the New King James VersionTM
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