The Apostle Paul could be writing these Scriptures to us today…Dear friends, stand firm and let nothing move you. For it is only by the Lord’s help that we can choose faith over fear, peace over panic, and worship over worry. Paul goes on to exhort us to look beyond ourselves and serve others. For just because we’re facing difficult times doesn’t mean what God has called us to do is now exempt, futile, or pointless in His eyes. Quite the opposite! Earlier in this Chapter, Paul writes that we are God’s fellow workers, (I Corinthians 3:9) and nothing we do in His Name will ever be insignificant, unimportant, or unworthy of the calling. Be the hands and feet of Jesus to a lost and dying world today and make a difference!
We all are born with a sin nature. You don’t need a teach a baby how to be crabby and out of sorts…they arch their little back, face beet red, as they let you know in no uncertain terms they’re unhappy! No, thanks to Adam and Eve that sin nature has been handed down from generation to generation. In Psalm 51:5 David laments about this sin nature when he says, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” From the first Adam we obtained our sin nature…but the second Adam, Jesus Christ, came to redeem us from it.
Let’s get this straight…God does not tempt us. Instead, our own evil desires do a really good job of that. And it’s when we allow our own deceptive imaginings to fester and grow, that sin has a foothold. You might call this day-dreaming…part pleasant reverie, part suggestive fantasy…but all of it giving rise to deception and lies in our thought life. And whenever you allow your day-dreaming to “go there”…whatever that is for you, you’re being tempted to give in to sinful thinking. That’s when we need to stop and remember II Corinthians 10:5, which cautions us to take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.
Are you bound up in the burial clothes of sin? Do addictions have you shackled to a life you hate? Do you long to be free of the things that have kept you from moving ahead? Then obey the command of Jesus, “Come out!” Yes, the decision is yours to make. You can remain wrapped up tightly in the burial clothes of sin, guilt and shame…or you can walk out of that grave you call your life today and live.
As His ministry became more well-known, Jesus became more popular among the social outcasts. Why? Because He wasn’t concerned about maintaining His squeaky clean image, or only being seen with the right people. Jesus went where the need was. So here we find Jesus at a large banquet made up of every kind of questionable personality and reputation. But He looked beyond the person and saw their potential… and wasn’t afraid to go where they lived. You won’t find the healthy in the hospital…you’ll only find the sick. Just as you won’t find most lost sitting in the pews on Sunday. As Christians, we need to be willing, just like Jesus, to go where the need is.
Turning away from the Lord can be very subtle. Every time I tell myself that I believe God…but then in the next breath lament that I’m not worthy enough to be used by Him…I’m turning away. Or every time I’m confronted by God’s truth and I distance myself rather than allow His truth to change me…I’m turning away. The deception of sin will always be veiled in mistrust and disobedience.
When Jesus spoke of man’s corrupt, sinful nature He always addressed it in its ultimate result. For example, Jesus never warned us that we must not covet because it might lead to stealing…He said rather, You must not covet because it is stealing. The same goes for all the fleshly appetites and passions that come from our human nature. If you think it – Jesus says you’ve already done it in your heart…from lust to murder. For anytime we allow fantasy to fill our mind instead of truth, our flesh is winning.
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to not go along with the crowd. Sure, the peer pressure is strong, and we want to fit in and not seem odd…but we also realize what the crowd is about to do is just plain wrong. Deuteronomy 13:8 tells us to not yield to or even listen to the enticements from those who are sinning. And the old excuse of, “Everybody’s doing it!” can’t stand up to the truth if it goes against the word of God. For any words of persuasion, guilt, or deception we hear will never change wrong into right.
The world doesn’t talk about sin as such. To them, sin is an archaic word. They’d rather shape the idea of sin into a palatable and more tolerable commodity that people will just accept without question. I found an interesting quote about this. The world says, ” My right is my duty.” The Christian says, “My duty is my right.” The question here being – what is your focus…putting yourself before others… or putting others before yourself? This is where sin and truth collide…it’s where the world deceives us into thinking sin isn’t that big of a deal…but truth tells us we need to come out from under the cloud of lies and self-indulgence and repent.