Monday, March 10, 2014

Are You a Fake or Genuine Christian?

 

 
It is discouraging, disheartening, disappointing, saddening, and honestly unfortunate that so many professing Christians (who may even attend church weekly, pray daily, and read the Bible sporadically) still play around with their sins of choice and dismiss the fact that Christains are called to be Christ-followers; His ambassadors in this world, salt and light to a dying (and watching) world, and that God's grace is not to be taken lightly.  I challenge you to read Romans chapter six and then see how your perspective on sinning willfully changes under the guise of "God will forgive me".
 
The media, social networks, the internet at large, conversations among our peers at work or school, billboards, song lyrics, and so, so much else around us, is enticing in many ways and unless we seek to fight by being a real Christian and guarding our heart, mind, eyes, and secret fantasies...lust will keep us hooked to its momentary and fleeting pleasures.
 
It is a given that we are living each day in a world that sees sex more like a thrill to be had with whomever and whenever without the need of any genuine commitment.  It's obvious that lust abounds through entertainment, books, magazines, and even articles...not to mention all the clothes available at stores, even for young children, that hint at sexuality.
 
My question is:  As Christians, what is our excuse for willingly feeding our lust?  Is it because it feels good?  Is it because we "can't help ourselves"?  Is it because we question how God expects us to live pure in a world that is rampant with perversity? ...
 
Whatever our reason (as logical as it might seem in our own minds), we must bring everything back to the word of God and seek to live how God calls His children to live.  To be in the world, but not of it.  To guard our hearts (Proverbs 4: 23), renew our minds (Romans 12: 2), for those who are not yet married to abstain from sexual immorality (First Thessalonians 4: 3), to pray (Mark 14: 38), and to grow in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5: 22-23) which includes self-control.
 
"Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires."  Galatians 5: 24
 
"But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.  For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God."  Ephesians 5: 3-5
 
"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."  Philippians 4: 8
 
"abstain from every form of evil."  First Thessalonians 5: 22
 
"Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am being tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.  But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.  Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death."  James 1: 13-15
 
If guarding our hearts entails no longer having HBO or cable because we know when our favorite programs are on and always end up giving in to porn this way...so be it.
 
If guarding our hearts and abstaining from sexual immorality means we stop filling our minds with erotica materials of all sorts, no longer listen to the songs we enjoy that are filled with obvious sexual references, and getting rid of all the pornography magazines and videos we own, so be it.
 
If guarding our hearts means using an Accountability report and Filtering service on our computers and all other devices, so be it.
 
If guarding our hearts means finding a different route to drive to work (yes, even if it takes an extra twenty minutes!) so we don't pass the adult store we are tempted by or those raunchy billboards that always catch our eye, so be it.
 
I am by no means speaking in a self-righteous manner; for, I know the depravity of my own heart and how easily I would fall and willingly I would give in to certain temptation were I to allow myself the freedom to not apply the steps listed above.  I know how easy it can be to view pornography (whether it is in the middle of the night or alone in your room or office during the day) and how crucial it is therefore to use a filtering service like Covenant Eyes.  And I also know how enjoyable sin can be, especially when we leave the lusts and desires of our hearts unchecked by not taking the necessary steps toward repentance and our sexual cravings take us over, (literally).  Sometimes even to the point where we feel like we HAVE to have it.
 
When it comes down to it, would you like to spend your few, precious years on this earth pursuing (or allowing) anything that would bring you pleasure...or will those of you who claim to know Jesus and be a Christian actually take the steps needed to walk in purity so the watching world doesn't dismiss Christ's claims and the Bible as foolishness because a supposed Christian lives no differently than those who don't claim to know the Lord?  I believe it was Gandhi who said, "I like your Christ.  I do not like your Christians.  They are so unlike your Christ."  I forget who also said, "I will follow Christ when His followers follow Him."
 
Now, on the same note, Jesus never said, "Follow those who claim to believe in Me."  He said, "Follow Me."  (The above quotes are just incredibly insightful!)

Obedience to Christ does not equate salvation, yet it sure is evidence of a life that has been saved, transformed, and is being sanctified more over time (it is a process).
 
Please keep this in mind.

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