I wonder if this might be called the super-size age. “Up size mine, please.” More and bigger is the cry. Does man’s fleshly appetite know any limits? Our appetites are given to us by our wonderful, loving, all-knowing, all-good God. They are good when seeking the right things under the control of His Spirit. What do your appetites seek?
“Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things” (Philippians 3:19). “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof” (Romans 6:12).
“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God” (Psalms 42:1-2)?
“For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:5-6). “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Romans 8:13). May we feed the spirit and starve the flesh. “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14).
I consider myself quite active in sharing Christ. I have a long list of people I pray for almost daily. I actively seek to engage neighbors with a desire to get to talk about spiritual things. When I am in stores or pumping gas, I try to strike up conversations with that same goal. I’m motivated by my love for the Lord Jesus and for others. However, there is something that I’m very reserved to do and that is to hand out tracts.
We have known a missionary couple, serving with their large family in Africa, for almost twenty years, and we observe their lives. They are the most active soul winners I know whether stateside or in their country of ministry. They recently came back to the US for a son’s wedding. They were engaging people in spiritual discussions or handing out tracts at every opportunity. It’s who they are. I love that about them.
I have really good “reasons” why I don’t hand out tracts (at least I have convinced myself for the almost 50 years I have been saved that they are good reasons). So I asked their thoughts on my “reasons.” They gently reminded me of the power of the Word and prayer (Ugh, where’s my faith?).
What if over those 50 years, I gave out 100 tracts/year? That is only 2 tracts a week. That is nothing, agreed? Out of 5,000 tracts, what if 10 people were saved? Would that be worth it? What if only 5 were saved? Now what if only 1 single person was saved from eternity in hell? Of course that answer is YES!
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
Frankly, I have come to believe my “good reasons” stem from my pride and a lack of trust in the power of prayer and God’s Word.
My brothers, I’m publicly repenting.
My heart deeply grieves for the dire need for us to be men of God, serious about living for Him Who died for us. Our Savior humbled Himself by leaving the glory of Heaven to come to this world to redeem for Himself a peculiar people. Are we living for Christ or the “gods” of this world?
I believe we are living in the midst of a modern-day example of the Corinthian church. Paul’s admonition to them is highly appropriate for “us” today.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
Brothers, do you love what unbelievers around you love? Are you spending your time on those things? Your children will love those things also.
If you or someone you know has peripheral neuropathy you will have a practical understanding of how important it is for feet to communicate injuries (for example) back to the brain. A person with neuropathy might step on a nail and not even know it needs to be treated to prevent infection. If left untreated, serious infection sets in, and the danger of foot amputation is real.
The body gives us a good example of how important communication is in life. Communication is the lifeblood of relationships. No communication, no relationship, and poor communication yields a poor relationship with the potential of severance. How many divorces might not have happened if communication had been diligently worked on?
Teri and I have been married 49 years. We know each other quite well, and you might expect that by now communication is easy, having had so much time to “practice.” Yet, we are often amazed how we can still sometimes misunderstand each other. It continues to take effort to communicate well, but it is worth it. Oh my brothers, we communicate with those we value.
Communication takes your time and energy. Get rid of distractions, and make dedicated time with your wife a priority so you can talk.
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25). I have never had a husband tell me he regretted time spent nurturing communication with his wife. Love her by well by communicating with her.
Ahhh, so pleasurable! It is not an opioid but just as addicting and how painful the with-drawl will be. Most are introduced to it as children, and by adolescence they are hooked. It does not have a stigma in our “circles” because it isn’t considered by most to be sinful. Since it isn’t seen as sinful, the appeal is irresistible. So what could be possibly wrong with it?
Could it be the reason why the American church has not been about the Lord’s business, why many fathers shrink from their responsibility to disciple their children, why children have no interest in being discipled? Based on my observation, it appears to be the “free pass” to do anything that is not overtly sinful. It keeps God’s children from being busy with their hand to the plow, from redeeming their time wisely in serving Christ. Might it be Satan’s most clever deception yet?
“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11).
Oh my Brothers, even if FUN is neutral and not sinful, it is not excellent and will not bear fruit to God’s glory.
“Thank you for recognizing the weakness of all of us men. I can’t help but think of Sampson. In one way, I cannot be compared with Sampson. I don’t have the physical strength. But, in another way, I can be compared with him. I am a man. Sampson had the Spirit of God when it came to his physical strength. But–his appetite was not controlled by the Spirit of God. And, how sad that he came to understand his spiritual blindness through his physical blindness.
Ironically I have been meditating on Titus 2 this past week. It has struck me like a load of bricks how the Grace of God is teaching me to DENY. I must say “NO. NO, NO” to my flesh the world and the devil. It is not Christian liberty to say yes. Jesus said no about the “harmless” temptation of turning stones into bread. I must not try to excuse anything as “harmless”. I must live by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. I think that Christians are always in danger of allowing themselves to be governed by what falls into a category called “harmless” instead of what is pleasing to the Father. May the Grace of God continue to sanctify me. Thank you for your ministry.” Aaron
“As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” 1 Peter 1:14-16
I think most realize that with the convenience of the smartphone comes lots of curses. I’ve known many who have admirably said they won’t have one. We use Accountable2You on my technology because the flesh is the flesh. Mine is as rotten as yours.
The weather program I used for years began having ads on it. At first, the ads didn’t bother me, but when they began including sensuous women’s clothing ads, that was unacceptable. I clicked “feedback” and selected “inappropriate,” which closed the ad. However, soon it was back.
Even though I really liked that weather app, I decided I won’t compromise. I don’t want women’s flesh staring me in the face every time I check the weather. Even if many (most?) Christians would deem those ads not sinful, it’s small compromises that lead to darkness. Therefore, I deleted that weather app, and I’m getting used to another without ads. For similar reasons, we don’t have a TV or watch movies.
My brothers, only a fool trusts himself. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it”(Jeremiah 17:9)? That is why we are told to run from our lusts, not control them. “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22).
When someone asks me how I am, I will almost always reply “Blessed.” (BTW I found that to be a great conversation starter with the lost). In this country most of us are so crazy blessed. Even considering day-to-day problems and illnesses, we are blessed beyond imagination (to include those who don’t know the Lord). Grocery stores are lined with food, gasoline at the pumps, cars to transport us, water from faucets and indoor toilets. Since creation, people spent great amounts of time just to manage the necessities of life. Are you grateful?
Consider all the time that has been saved each year in fast transportation, not having to grow your own food, manage water and hygiene. How is it being redeemed? “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16). The fool squanders but the wise sees the great value of his (the Lord’s) time and will exchange it for something more valuable.
As the world’s population doubled and tripled, the conveniences give us more time to be about the Lord’s business. We will all stand before the Lord to give account of how we used our time. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
When asked by the Lord to justify how we spent His time (He owns all of us), it won’t go well to say, “I had so much fun. Lord, as You know, I was careful not to use my time sinfully.”
- In the Word?
- Discipling your children?
- Investing in your wife?
- Ministering to the saints?
- Reaching the lost?
Brothers. May those be the things that thrill our hearts.
Our family used to go to Colorado for hiking. We loved the altitude, beauty of God’s creation, and rigorous hikes. With the mountains comes tight curves, guardrails, and steep drop-offs next to the road. It wasn’t uncommon to see a damaged (and repaired) guardrail where someone left the road and was hopefully stopped before plunging down the mountainside. No doubt the guard rails were not 100% effective and some would have come to a sudden stop at the bottom after a thrilling decent.
What sort of dad would you consider me to be if I loved driving as fast as I could on those roads for the sake of my pleasure while ignoring the risk to my family? Yet, isn’t it common for professing dads to flirt with grave moral danger by their viewing pleasures which excite lustful passions? From sensuous movies (considered not sinful of course) to football games with beautiful, seductive cheerleaders, many are choosing to view these things.
Oh my brothers, could it be that the greatest danger to our walk with God is not what is evil but what is justified as neutral or harmless? “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).
I plead with you to purpose that you will only give your attention to what is edifying.
“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Corinthians 6:12).
“Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another” (Romans 14:19).
What is your favorite topic to talk about? What lights you up and grabs your interest most? When around others, what are your go-to topics? Is it politics, work, cars, hobbies (hunting, fishing), or sports? “They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them” (1 John 4:5).
A person’s speech reveals the treasure of his heart. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh” (Luke 6:45).
The point here is not to be condemning but to stimulate improvement. Examine your heart. Is the Lord and His work in lives (including our own) what most thrills you? If not, something isn’t quite right. Maybe your soul isn’t feeding on the Word daily but on the world’s message. Or might there be hidden sin or unresolved offenses? There should be no more thrilling subject than the Lord Jesus, His Word, and His working in souls.
May our speech reflect the glory due His Name. May we seek Him, praise Him, and meditate on Him and His goodness. “Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD” (Psalms 105:3).