Keep Battling What Beats You

Humble yourself, get past your pride.

There are places we are vulnerable to peer pressure and signature sins. It’s only when we let God transform those innermost places that we can be defeat what beats us.

A temporary “feel good” fix (like alcoholism, addiction, drugs, pornography, etc…) only starts to make us loathe who we are. Beyond getting over our pride, we have to keep battling what breaks and beats us. This is only done by letting God battle with us.

Blind to Yourself, Deaf to God

A critical spirit will kill any relationship. When you judge others, it’s likely because you’ve become blind to yourself and deaf to God. This means you dismiss what you’re doing wrong and then you magnify the faults of others.

Pray and ask God to help you see things more clearly and tell Him you long to hear from Him. Then, silence the critical spirit inside you.

 

Does Jesus Raise the Bar?

The Pharisees raised the bar God set for righteousness, and the world removes the bar completely. The world removes the bar by allowing everyone to simply decide for themselves how they should live; there’s no right and wrong.

Jesus came to lift us over the bar. He didn’t come to condemn the world. He came to save it! But if you dismiss Jesus, you condemn yourself.

Theory: Everyone Has A Signature Sin

Dr. Wayne Schmidt believes most of us has a “signature” sin; an area where we have a spiritual “Achilles Heel”.

If we know what ours is and it’s persistent in our lives, we have to put it to “death” daily:

Every dream passes through the cross. Every dream takes you to where you let go of everything and everyone, every agenda and expectation, and then it is only as the Lord resurrects you and your dream that you can go on.

We spend much of our time and energy trying to avoid that place. We want just enough of Jesus to make us happy, just enough to give us peace, and just enough to make things go our way to fulfill our dreams and our agenda.

Meanwhile, He wants to take us to the cross, where our selfish dreams, egos, and plans for “great accomplishments” have to die. The cross brings you to a place of total and absolute surrender of all you have and all your are.

– Chip Ingram, “Good to Great in God’s Eyes”

 

God Made the Way to Heaven

There’s a sin gap between where we are and where we long to be. No matter how much we try, we can’t earn our place in heaven.

Thankfully, God made a way – and He made it clear in the Bible. Through Jesus’s death on the cross, we can find forgiveness for our sins and restore our relationship with our Heavenly Father.

 

 

Self-Condemnation

Jesus never condemns people. Sin does that to people and Satan condemns.

Condemnation often comes because we’re either listening to other people or listening to the influence of Satan, or we’re not listening solely and first to God.

Sitting in condemnation is often an unrecognized form of pride. For some people, it’s their way of not accepting forgiveness.

Are Some Sins Worse Than Others?

Do you remember the Price Is Right game called “Hi Lo”?

The daytime gameshow standard features a particular game where a contestant is presented with six items from a grocery store. The contestant’s challenge is to pick which three of the items are the most expensive. Those three items are then placed on the “Hi” row, and the remaining three items are placed on the “Lo” row.

If the contestant is successful at determining which items cost the most, they win the game.

Now, a harmless little daytime game may not seem like a good illustration for a biblical post, but people play this game all the time with sin. In fact, it’s the basis of many a Christian’s moral compass. The question usually sounds like this:

Which sins cost me the most, and which ones can I get away with?

As human beings, we have rankings of sin. We tend to think of them as big or small, and we judge our character based on which of the big ones we’re not committing. Meanwhile, we judge the character of others on the little ones they embrace. So while we pat ourselves on the back for not murdering anyone, we cry foul when someone else watches a movie we deem inappropriate.

Here’s the truth about sin: before God, all sin—small or large—is an offense to his holiness. Any sin is enough to separate us relationally from our perfect Heavenly Father. The truth is that all sins carry a cost—which is why all sins need Jesus to cover them, all sins need repentance, and all sins need forgiveness.

Here on earth the differences we see in sin are differences of consequence. Some sins bring far more destruction into our lives on a practical level. Jesus said that lust is the same as committing adultery, but while lust can be hidden for a while, actually committing adultery will blow up a relationship in a heartbeat. Jealously wanting what our neighbor has is the same as stealing, but the police don’t lock you up for wanting your neighbor’s Harley – they only lock you up if you steal it.

If we want to grow deeper in our relationship with God, we have to get brutally honest about our sin. We have to recognize and admit that any sin creates distance between us and our Heavenly Father, and we have to lean into His grace and forgiveness while repenting of our actions. Then, we have to fight against that sin in the future by drawing even closer to God.

Hi or Lo, big or small, we all stand before God guilty as sin—but thank God He made a way for us through the covering of Jesus’ work on the cross.

How Do We Forgive the Unforgivable?

When Jesus taught us to pray, we are to forgive OTHERS as He forgives us. So Jesus immediately recognized that we need to forgive others.

We have to practice forgiving other people. When we forgive others, we release them from our own bitterness, not God’s accountability.

If we don’t release bitterness, it could destroy our lives. As difficult it is for us to forgive others, to that degree we learn what it cost God to forgive us.

How Do You Live Free From the Guilt of Sin?

There is a difference between felt guilt and guilt for before our Holy God.

We are guilty before God for our sin, and that’s the guilt that Jesus covers on the cross.

There is also a guilt that we feel for hurting someone we love, and when we sin against God, we hurt Him. He forgives us through Jesus and asks us to release that, but remorse does matter.

Remorse demonstrates the authenticity of our love for God that we have to release. If we didn’t have it, there’s something very wrong in the relationship.

The freedom that God provides is the freedom of the consequences of sin eternally. We never before God and through Jesus will carry the consequence of our sins. But on Earth, there are very real consequences in society. We aren’t free of consequences on Earth. This is the reason God says “Don’t sin.” We’re going to be free in Heaven, but the destruction will be felt on Earth. That often destroys marriages, families, finances, careers, futures, and emotional souls.

Discussing Your Faith With Non Christians

Whether you’re a new follower of Jesus or someone with a deep relationship with God, talking about your faith with someone who doesn’t share it can be challenging. And when the person to whom you’re talking straight up says they don’t believe in God, it can be downright difficult.

That’s because many times Christians approach talking to an atheist like a soldier approaches war: victory against the enemy at any cost.

But, as PK shared during the Q&A, talking with an atheist isn’t about winning an argument—it’s about sharing how your faith makes a difference for you. The Apostle Peter suggested that approach as well; in 1 Peter 3:15-16, he writes:

“Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick.”

Did you catch that? The foundation of effective witnessing isn’t clever arguments or well-reasoned explanations. It’s not rhetoric or presentation or persuasion.

The foundation of talking about your faith is living it out daily.

Why is that?

PK mentioned in his answer that most people who come to Christ do so not because of theology or philosophy, or even the compelling evidence for Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection. They aren’t convinced by the evidence for the Bible’s reliability, or even by well-crafted sermons and excellent music.

Most people begin their journey of faith by what they experience—the interactions they have with people who say they follow Christ. When men and women of the Kingdom live with grace, love, and conviction, it makes an impression on those who don’t know Jesus.

When our actions are spurred by something greater than self-interest or the desire to prove ourselves right, something stirs in the souls of people who don’t yet believe in Jesus.

Peter said, “Be ready to speak when someone asks you about your faith.”

Why would they ask?

Because they see how you live. They see your kindness, your generosity, your commitment, and your respectfulness. They see you handle stresses and disappointments with the same grace that you handle success.

They are looking at you as the first evidence of God. And when they see it in your life (when you bear spiritual fruit), the Spirit of God can prompt their curiosity.

When it comes to talking to your atheist neighbor, co-worker, or friend, always remember that the most impacting thing about Jesus wasn’t what he said, it was who he was. When we draw near to God in our own lives, we live and love like Jesus and our witness becomes more compelling.

It’s not about our being smarter, it’s about our being more like Jesus. As PK said, “Arguments never brought anyone into the Kingdom.”

But love on display?

It’s been changing the world for over 2,000 years.

Self-Correct

Download Full Fight Night Rules

Healthy Relationships Have 3 Habits:

  1. Close enough to listen.
  2. Clear enough to compromise.
  3. Committed Enough to self-correct.

What I Need To Know:

  • Trust is the foundation of relationships.
  • Self-correction is the foundation of trust.

What I Need To Do:

  1. Keep my word.
  2. When I mess up: The evidence of the other person’s love might be forgiveness; but the evidence of my love is self-correct to keep my word. (striving to require less and less forgiving for the same thing)

Questions:

  • Is it time for you to finally surrender to God (walk with God)?
  • Will you make these 3 healthy habits the practice of your marriage? 

Letting Go of Bitterness

We live in a fallen world where people hurt each other, and we’ve all been wounded. Sometimes the more you open your heart, and the closer the relationship, the deeper the pain. If you have pain from your past that you’re clinging to, follow the example of Jesus. Of His 12 disciples, one betrayed Him, one denied Him, and they all abandoned Him in His hour of greatest need. Jesus chose to forgive them – and forgive us – and sacrifice His life to restore us all to our Heavenly Father.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Ephesians 4:31-32