2 so that he can live the rest of his mortal life guided, not by human desires, but by the will of God.– 1 Peter 4:2 ISV
We may look at the list of things that pagans choose to do and with great relief, say “I never gave in to any of those things.”. But let’s take another look. A synonym for debauchery is decadence which is defined as excessive self-indulgence. How much time and money do we spend on thngs that benefit no one but ourselves? At what point do our “needs” actually become only our “wants”? Then there is lust, usually taken in the sexual connotation, but let’s spread that out a little further. How about the desire to control and to have a high position? Or the desire for things? And then there is that ugly word, idolatry. No statues or figurines in the house? How about things that we spend inordinate amounts of time and money trying to acquire? How about persons on whom we spend inordinate amounts of time and money trying to please and/or appease? How about things and events that we spend way, way too much time talking about? If there is anything or any person in our lives that we feel so strongly about that those feelings would cause us to be unkind to and/or hurt others, those are idols. If we are guilty of any of these things and suffer in any area whether it be financially, emotionally, or spiritually, then we are not suffering for Christ, we are suffering from bad decisions and there is no reward for ourselves and no glory for God. We need to decide that we are done with sin, commit to doing God’s will and then when we suffer for His sake, Christ will receive the glory and we will receive the reward in heaven. We have all seen those dirty cars where someone has written on them “Wash Me”. When our lives become so cluttered and covered with things and issues, maybe we need someone to write on our our hearts, “wash me”.
Isaiah 1:18. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
16 I tell you the truth, a servant is not greater than his master. A messenger is not greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, you will be happy if you do them. 18 “I am not talking about all of you. I know those I have chosen. But this is to bring about what the Scripture said: ‘The man who ate at my table has turned against me.’ 19 I am telling you this now before it happens so that when it happens, you will believe that I am he. 20 I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send also accepts me. And whoever accepts me also accepts the One who sent me.” 21 After Jesus said this, he was very troubled. He said openly, “I tell you the truth, one of you will turn against me.” 22 The followers all looked at each other, because they did not know whom Jesus was talking about.—John 13:16-22 (NCV)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
When we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we are freed from the bondage of sin, but if we are serious about our repentance, we become bond servants to Jesus Christ. A bond servant is not a slave, he is one who chooses to serve his master because of his love for the master. We should serve Jesus not out of bondage or fear, but simply because we love the One who chose to give His life for our redemption from sin. Jesus had set the example of being a servant to those around Him. He expects us to follow that example because a servant is not greater than His master. It should give us joy unspeakable to serve a risen Savior. Again, Jesus lets us know that He is aware that He will be betrayed and that He knows which one will betray Him. The disciples could not imagine that one of them was the betrayer. If we accept Jesus then we accept the one who sent Him and that is God the Father. He was also telling the disciples and us that we will be accepted when we are sent out by Him. Jesus fulfilled His mission, the disciples fulfilled their mission and the Church has carried on since then. Now, it is our turn. Let us not be the generation that fails to continue to spread the Word of God. When Jesus sends us out, He has already prepared the way. We might not get to see the results, but God’s Word never fails.
10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; 11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.—Isaiah 55:10, 11 (NASB)
7 Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. 8 You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door! 10 For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.—James 5:7-10 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
God has never failed to fulfill a single promise that He has made. Jesus said that He would be coming back one day and so He will. We wait with eager expectation for that day to come and it is nearer than it has ever been. Will He come in our lifetime? We have no way of knowing and it doesn’t really matter. Waiting, in a Biblical sense, does not mean that we sit around and twiddle our thumbs. God has a plan and a purpose for each of us. We are to be redeeming the time while we are here on this earth. We do that by laboring in the harvest. Jesus said “the fields are white for harvest, but the laborers are few”. That doesn’t mean that we have to be pastors, ministers, preachers. missionaries, teachers, or involved full time in any Christian ministry. Our neighborhoods and our workplaces are just as much “fields white with harvest” as any foreign land. Work while you wait. If God hasn’t given you any new directions then keep laboring in the field that God has you in now. God will honor your faithfulness. Just like some of the old prophets, we may never see the results of our labors here on earth, but we can be sure that if we speak His Word, it is powerful and effective.
10 “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry.
11 It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.—Isaiah 55:10, 11 (NLT)
6 You want me to be completely loyal, so put true wisdom deep inside of me. 7 Remove my sin and make me pure. Wash me until I am whiter than snow! 8 Let me hear sounds of joy and happiness again. Let the bones you crushed be happy again. 9 Don’t look at my sins. Erase them all. 10 God, create a pure heart in me, and make my spirit strong again. 11 Don’t push me away or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Your help made me so happy. Give me that joy again. Make my spirit strong and ready to obey you.–Psalm 51:6-12 (ERV)
God is waiting to show you the way.
Have you ever had those times when you didn’t “feel” saved? I certainly have. But we have to remember that salvation isn’t about feelings, it is about a decision. Sometimes those feelings cause us to feel separated from God. When we realize that we have sinned, we do feel alone and far from God just as David in this Psalm. Our reaction needs to be the same as David’s. We need to ask God to make us pure and loyal to Him so that we can hear those sounds of joy again. Ask God for His forgiveness and He is always ready to restore us. Some people have the idea that God is just looking for reasons to punish them, nothing could be further from the truth, It is His joy to restore us and bless us. We, as human parents, want our kids to have everything they need and be happy and joyful. God loves us and our children much more than we can ever imagine. He is faithful to forgive and His mercies are new every morning. God promises us in Romans 8:37-39 that “nothing can separate us from the love of God”. Nothing means no thing, no person, no creature in heaven or on earth. So, if something is bothering you, just practice the three Rs–Repent, Relax, Rejoice!