I was reading a book on leadership by Billy Graham. He was speaking about an incident in which he inferred that Ruth’s father (his father-in-law) was not saved because of his denomination, i.e. due to the beliefs and tenets upon which this religion was based. Which, in my mind brought up an interesting point: Who are we to that one is, or is not saved? After all, don’t we all sin? Isn’t it written:
“There is none who does good, No, not one.” ~Psalm 14:3
Hence, we are all sinners and doers of evil. Also, it is written in the book of Genesis:
“…the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth…” ~Genesis 8:21
There is a meme running around on Facebook which states, quite truthfully really:
There are other variations, but I believe they make a very valid point. Although, to a degree, it is taken out of context within ourselves. One of the commands given to us (within the laws) is this:
“…you shall put away the evil from among you.” ~Deuteronomy 17:7
However, I read this not as a community or societal action of primary importance, but of secondary importance. The primary importance is placed upon “you”, of course this is my opinion. But think on this for a moment, When God was speaking to Cain, and it was said:
“If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”” ~Genesis 4:7
God was speaking directly to Cain, and for that matter…each and every one of us. We must control our own urges, desires, our sinful natures. We must place them under our control. Or more to the point, we must submit ourselves to God’s sovereignty. We must emulate the Christ in our everyday lives. In the midst of temptation, we need to be screaming out to God for His guidance and help. But all too often, we just give in to our sinful natures. Why? Firstly, because it is easier to sin and ask for forgiveness later. Secondly, because following God’s ways of righteousness, and spiritual revival within our hearts is, quite frankly too damned hard. These answers may surprise you. They may even astound you. But in our hearts you know you have felt that way, or some manner like it!
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” ~1John 5:3
While God’s commandments are not burdensome in and of themselves, we make it much harder than it ought to be, because let’s face it…we want a simple and easy life. But we also know that easy and simple is not what we were promised. Anything good takes an amount of effort, sometimes more than we can bear…but God is willing to add to us the blessings of accomplishment if we will only try without ceasing! God will have your back and He will support you, and me. But we need to do our part. If you want a better world, society, community, country…you have to spread the word and message of God as it was given to us in the Great Commission:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” ~Matthew 28:19-20
There is no such a thing as an inappropriate audience, because everyone needs to hear it…we were told to pass on the word! There is no such thing as an inappropriate time; although, there are better opportunities than other. But God will guide you in these matters.
Get into some quiet time with Him and seriously pray. Talk to Him. Listen for His voice. Seek His wisdom! For it is not until we fully and completely turn ourselves over to our Creator and to Jesus, that we will continue to be tempted. Unfortunately for all of us, it will not stop there, because we will be attacked by our temptations even more so until that time when we get hold of our carnal natures and God firmly has a grasp of us; thereby acknowledging that we have completely trusted in Him and Him alone for our eternal lives!
While we know that we “…can do all things through Christ who strengthens…” us (Philippians 4:13), intellectually; but many of us fail miserably with our spiritual understanding and truths! We can all use work on such things. This promise has such profound meaning, spiritually…but we all seem to rest on earthly meanings and descriptions. What is wrong with this picture? Like anything else in life…we are afraid. Afraid to stretch our faith a little bit further. We are afraid to stretch our limits just a little bit more. We as man have a nasty habit of fearing the unknown, but it is in the unknown where God seeks to take us; thereby enabling us all to spread our wings, so-to-say, and perhaps even test our fortitude. Through such testing, we build our character, integrity, mental acuity & strength, and other such valuable traits which will allow us to fulfill our purpose for our God!
We are sinners at our heart, our imagination, and at our baser instincts. But we can also be forgiven for all our sinfulness, we just have to ask for that gift. God freely offers each of us…all of us…the forgiveness we desire & need. It is out there for all, to be had by all, but you (we) need to change, truly desire to change ourselves. We also need to learn to control ourselves, our base instincts, rule over our sinful nature, etc.
Believe it, or not, God does desire to see each and every one of us in heaven; however, He wants each and every one of us to choose to submit ourselves to Him and His rule over our lives. People often think God is a heartless, megalomaniacal, egomaniac…along with numerous other descriptive terms. But the fact of the matter is that God created you and He loves you.Therefore, you are His property and He can do whatever He wishes with or to you.
“The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.” ~Psalm 24:1
The question is, or remains to be, What are you willing to do for such love shown to you? God gave you the breath of Life, the gift of Choice, and the passions that are in your heart (at least the good ones!) YOU must rule over all of the bad thoughts and sinfulness within yourself. With God’s guidance and help you can do all things, both within and without yourselves.
Keep the faith and God will keep the promises. We are all sinners at heart, but what YOU do with that free bit of knowledge is all on YOU. Are you wise or knowledgeable? Prove your wisdom by applying the knowledge you gain from the bible toward the ruling over your carnal and sinful nature, this will get you farther in life than anything else from an ethical standpoint. Many will judge you on how you act, and they do so daily whether you notice it or not. Here is a nickel’s worth of free advice: What you do in secret should match what you do in your public life. Most people’s secret & public lives are diametrically opposed or contradictory. Train, or rule, yourself to where you are ethical and good in both secret, as well as, public!
May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!
MK Murphy, PhD, DD