Wednesday, October 28, 2015

5 ways we normalize sin

Because it doesn't have to be so normal.

1. We choose to expose ourselves to sin.

Ok sure. There is sin everywhere. We are all exposed to sin every single day.

You're exposed to sin! You're exposed to sin!

And even more than just being exposed to it, we fall into it too. (But we thank God for Jesus because He defeated sin and we are being transformed into His image daily.)

But anyway.

When I say that we expose ourselves to sin, I'm talking about when we have a choice. Not when we are forced to be around someone cursing at work, but when we go home and watch shows with the same language.

We tell ourselves that even though we choose to watch it, we would never actually do it.

Who me?
Sin becomes normal when we stop carefully guarding our hearts.

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
[Proverbs 4:23-27 NLT]

2. We simply leave the house.

Seriously, we don't have to look very hard to find what society says is normal. Our culture reinforces the sinful ideas we exposed ourselves to in #1, so the seeds we planted inevitably get watered.
We literally have to fight our flesh to rid our minds of these ideas, anything less is practically accepting defeat.


3. We put ourselves in tempting environments.

Any faith we have in our flesh is a recipe for disaster.

Not the tough situations God allows to experience to help us grow, the other ones. The times we go as far as we can go just to see how far we can go without ever actually...going. When we rely so heavily on the grace of God that even gravity couldn't hold us.

When we hang out alone with the person we like, knowing we shouldn't. When we choose to have a glass of wine instead of just going to sleep. Or when we go to a party, just to umm...see who's there?

Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

[Matthew 26:41 ESV]

4. We don't take our thoughts captive.

I mean it's just a thought. How much damage can it really do?

Thoughts have power. Especially for people who think a lot more than they talk. We have to rebuke and repent for our thoughts, because we have the mind of Christ and the enemy can't have that space.

You have the commandment that says, 'You must not commit adultery.' But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
[Matthew 5:27-28 NLT]

5. We don't speak up for what we believe. 

One of the best ways to convince our hearts to hate sin, is to defend righteousness at any cost. It's as simple as saying "yes" when someone at work asks if something that feels so good can really be so bad for you.

Or politely turning down an invite because though it sounds fun, nothing good can come out of going.

Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
[Ephesians 6:14-15 ESV]

The sin in our lives doesn't become normal overnight. When we ignore the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit leading us to righteousness, we slip into unsafe territory. Only by remaining in God's word and staying grounded in truth, can we conquer the very thing we were all once slaves to: Sin.

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Friday, October 2, 2015

8 things that inevitably happen when we worship

Because things happen.

1. God softens our hearts.

There is no longer any room for anger or bitterness. Our hearts become impressionable and receptive to the Spirit of God.

You can kiss those walls you built good-bye. They don't stand a chance.

 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
(Ezekiel 36:26)

2. We feel some type of conviction.

Sometimes I can cruise through my day, conveniently ignoring God's voice, without ever admitting I feel any real conviction.

In worship however, our convictions immediately make themselves known. The Holy Spirit guides us to repentance.

Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
(Proverbs 28:13)

3. We have peace.

It means no worries.

Life really sucks sometimes. It's biblical.

We say things we regret. Wish we said things we never did. Give in to temptation. Make mistakes we thought we outgrew. Feel pressure to be further ahead. Have anxiety about the future. Get lonely.

Try to run on our own strength. We burn out. We burn bridges. We cross oceans. We aren't as good of swimmers as we thought.

But in the presence of the Lord, we feel light enough to float.

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33)

4. Specific people come to mind.

Sometimes we think of ALL the things we could be praying for, and the list seems completely unconquerable.

When we worship, the Holy Spirit places individuals on our hearts. Sometimes, those people and those situations are exactly what God wants us to pray about.

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplication, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
(1 Timothy 2:1-2)

5. We get a sense of urgency.

When we cry out to God, we are essentially saying, "Change me now, God. I literally can't go on another day like this."

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
(Hebrews 4:16)

6. We actually trust God.

Just think, we could still be out trying to fix our problems right now.

When we choose to worship, we choose to surrender everything we're going through, to God.

Cast your burden on the Lord,
And He shall sustain you;
He shall never submit the righteous to be moved.
(Psalm 52:22)

7. We make God a priority.

Even when we know spending time with God is the most important part of our day, it can be easy to make excuses. With a jam-packed schedule, it's convenient to find something else to do instead.

When we worship, we are putting God first. He becomes our right now.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
(Matthew 6:33)

8. Our faith is made stronger.

You may not have reflected Christ in everything you did this week, or even today.

But when you decided to kneel before the Lord, you trusted that He would make something beautiful out of your scattered ashes.

And that takes faith.

(I blogged about faith here.)
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*Check out my current favorite worship albums! I'm listening to Simple Gospel by United Pursuit & Here is My Worship by Jaye Thomas.
** If you're interested in enjoying some new music, my friend Tobi is releasing her debut EP this month. She is an extremely gifted artist who refuses to limit what God can do through His children's worship and obedience. She dreams of seeing people healed through her songs.

You can learn all about Tobi and be on the lookout for new music, by visiting her site.

• • •

What's your favorite thing about worship?