Tag Archives: world

Spiritual Baths

One of my first jobs was washing garbage trucks. I know what you’re thinking and yes, they do get washed. Why? I don’t know. I would be in the lot where they park them after dumping the trash in the landfill and walk down the line with a pressure washer to clean them. It was nasty. It was disgusting. It didn’t pay well either. I was still in high school at the time and didn’t have a driver’s license yet. My parents would pick me up at the end of my shift and I’m sure they were thankful they had a truck.

I had to ride in the back of it to the house because all of that filth and junk that was inside if them shot out at me while I washed them. I stunk. Badly. My parents would make me hose off in the yard and then get undressed in the garage before I went to take a shower. My clothes were permeated by the smell of garbage. Thankfully the washing machine was just inside the door to the house from the garage and they were washed quickly.

While I have a different job now, the same thing happens to me spiritually. I hear people’s conversations, I watch TV or movies, I hang out with non Christian friends and I go out to public places. All of those can have the same impact on my spirit man as the trash did on my physical man. I get contaminated by the things I hear or see. My spirit is permeated with the spiritual trash that I get around. I pick up the stench of the world and all I want to do is clean my spirit man off.

We can’t run from being in this world. We were called to be separate, but we were also called to be in the world. Jesus didn’t keep away from the things that got Him spiritually dirty. In fact, that’s where He spent most of His time. He went into the houses of sinners. He ate dinner with people who were unclean. He allowed a prostitute to wash His feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. I’m sure all of those things collected on Him like stench.

Just like when I was younger and needed a bath, my spirit man needs a bath every now and then. How did Jesus do it? He always went away to a private place and spent time with God. The only way to stay clean from the filth of this world is to get into God’s Word and to spend time in prayer. Just like you don’t bathe in public, this is something you do in private. You get alone with God. You get away from everything that will distract you.

Jesus showed His disciples this. He often went away to a secluded place. He would take them with Him and then go a stone’s throw farther. Corporate prayer is good. Reading and studying the Bible in a group setting is great. You also need to be doing those things on your own to give God time to speak to you personally. Let Him clean you up daily so you can go back out into the world each day fresh with His presence and aroma around you.

Discussion Question: What are some things you do to wash your mind and spirit from the things of this world?

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Truth or Consequences

Do you have what it takes to do what’s right when everyone is telling you to do otherwise? We all face choices like this in our lives. For some the consequences are higher than for others. Would you be willing to lose your job over doing what God told you versus what’s politically correct? Would you be willing to risk your life? Would you be willing to go to jail? The choices I’m presenting are faced by Christians all over the world every single day.

It’s nothing new. We just don’t hear about it on the news. I personally know people who would lose their lives if caught for doing what God asked them to do. The choice is, “Do I value myself greater than God’s Word?” If you value what God says above anything else, you’re willing to take that risk. You still aren’t guaranteed security just because you do what’s right. What is guaranteed is favor with God, which should be valued higher than favor with man.

In I Kings 22, King Ahab and King Jehoshaphat teamed up to go to war to retake one of King Ahab’s cities. King Ahab sent for his prophets to tell him whether he’d be victorious. The 400 prophets spoke in unison to the king and said he’d be victorious. Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there not a prophet from The Lord here?” Ahab said there was one, but he always prophesied against him. Jehoshaphat said that they should hear from him too. So they sent a messenger to get him.

Here’s where it gets interesting. In verse 13, the messenger gets to Micaiah and says, “Look, all the prophets are promising victory for the king. Be sure to agree with them and promise success.” The Bible doesn’t say, but I’m sure he was instructed by someone above him to relay that message. The message came through loud and clear, “It will be bad for you if you don’t do what’s politically correct. Agree with all the others or else (My version).”

Micaiah had a choice to make. He could choose to bow to the pressure of what the rest of the “prophets” were saying or he could seek God for himself to see what God said. He chose to have a little fun. When Ahab asked him, he said, “Go ahead. An easy victory. God’s gift to the king (MSG).” King Ahab knew he wasn’t telling the truth and demanded it from him. So he told him that not only would he be defeated, but he would also be killed in the battle.

One of the men with King Ahab walked up and punched him in the face (look it up if you don’t believe me). The king then ordered that he be arrested and to only be given bread and water until he returned from battle safely. King Ahab was killed that day as the prophet had spoken. The bible doesn’t say what happened to Micaiah, but even if he spent the rest of his life in jail, he knew that it was more important to obey God than man.

What choices are you facing today? Are they opposed to God? Is it more popular to go with the public opinion? Ultimately what matters is your obedience to what God says. While its easier to follow the crowd or to do what others deem as acceptable, God’s Word is the standard for our lives. Here’s what Jesus said, “If you find the godless world is hating you, remember it got its start hating me. If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own. But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you. (John 15:18, 19 MSG)” Where do you stand?

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Truth or Consequences

Do you have what it takes to do what’s right when everyone is telling you to do otherwise? We all face choices like this in our lives. For some the consequences are higher than for others. Would you be willing to lose your job over doing what God told you versus what’s politically correct? Would you be willing to risk your life? Would you be willing to go to jail? The choices I’m presenting are faced by Christians all over the world every single day.

It’s nothing new. We just don’t hear about it on the news. I personally know people who would lose their lives if caught for doing what God asked them to do. The choice is, “Do I value myself greater than God’s Word?” If you value what God says above anything else, you’re willing to take that risk. You still aren’t guaranteed security just because you do what’s right. What is guaranteed is favor with God, which should be valued higher than favor with man.

In I Kings 22, King Ahab and King Jehoshaphat teamed up to go to war to retake one if King Ahab’s cities. King Ahab sent for his prophets to tell him whether he’d be victorious. The 400 prophets spoke in unison to the king and said he’d be victorious. Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there not a prophet from The Lord here?” Ahab said there was one, but he always prophesied against him. Jehoshaphat said that they should hear from him too. So they sent a messenger to get him.

Here’s where it gets interesting. In verse 13, the messenger gets to Micaiah and says, “Look, all the prophets are promising victory for the king. Be sure to agree with them and promise success.” The Bible doesn’t say, but I’m sure he was instructed by someone above him to relay that message. The message came through loud and clear, “It will be bad for you if you don’t do what’s politically correct. Agree with all the others or else (My version).”

Micaiah had a choice to make. He could choose to bow to the pressure of what the rest of the “prophets” were saying or he could seek God for himself to see what God said. He chose to have a little fun. When Ahab asked him, he said, “Go ahead. An easy victory. God’s gift to the king (MSG).” King Ahab knew he wasn’t telling the truth and demanded it from him. So he told him that not only would he be defeated, but he would also be killed in the battle.

One of the men with King Ahab walked up and punched him in the face (look it up if you don’t believe me). The king then ordered that he be arrested and to only be given bread and water until he returned from battle safely. King Ahab was killed that day as the prophet had spoken. The bible doesn’t say what happened to Micaiah, but even if he spent the rest of his life in jail, he knew that it was more important to obey God than man.

What choices are you facing today? Are they opposed to God? Is it more popular to go with the public opinion? Ultimately what matters is your obedience to what God says. While its easier to follow the crowd or to do what others deem as acceptable, God’s Word is the standard for our lives. Here’s what Jesus said, “If you find the godless world is hating you, remember it got its start hating me. If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own. But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you. (John 15:18, 19 MSG)” Where do you stand?

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Living set apart

As a Christian, I have always wanted to please God with my life. I think that is the goal of most Christians. Just like any goal, it is difficult to accomplish. We cannot seclude ourselves from the world to accomplish this goal because Scripture tells us to be in the world not of it. By being in the world, we get exposed to things that are against what we believe. We get exposed to temptations. We are pressed on every side to change who we are into conforming to the things of this world.

We have to resist that. We are called to be salt and light. We are called to be set apart, but how do we do that? How can we effectively live a life for Christ while being pressured to live otherwise? That is the daily challenge that we face as believers. We have the Spirit of God living in us to empower us to live a life worthy of the call. Do we access that power daily though? For me, it’s a struggle some days.

In Romans 12, Paul gives us some insight into what we can do to live in the world, yet set apart at the same time.

1. Be a living sacrifice

This is one of the hardest things to do. I once heard that the problem with a living sacrifice is that it keeps climbing off the altar. God has given us that free choice daily to lay down our lives, wants and desires for His. A living sacrifice means just that. Each day, I give up my agenda for His. I give up my wants for His. I give up what I desire most for what He wants.

Paul said that this living sacrifice should be devoted, consecrated and well pleasing to God. It is a form of spiritual worship that is deeper than singing songs on a Sunday in church. It is true worship when I live a life that is devoted and consecrated to what He wants me to be and do.

2. Don’t conform to this world

Daily we are pushed to conform to what others want. We are asked to go along with the flow, to be tolerant and open minded. We are told that what we believe is archaic and not in step with where the world is now. Christianity is considered outdated and should be changed to reflect our culture. That is not what God intended for us though.

If no one around you can tell that you are a Christian and that your life is different, you may have conformed to this world without even knowing. Scripture is very clear on how we are to live. We are to take up our cross daily for Christ, crucify our fleshly desires and follow after God.

3. Be transformed

We are to be changed by the entire renewal of our mind. It should have a new set of ideals and a new attitude according to Paul. He understood that to make a permanent outward change, it starts with the mind. We cannot live how God intends for us to live without having our minds changed.

We have our minds renewed daily by spending time alone with God and by reading His word. We must take that time daily to renew our mind and our spirit. We get covered with dirt and junk from being in the world day in and day out. We need that daily cleansing to keep our minds fresh for God.

Paul says if we do these three things, we will prove what is the good, perfect and acceptable will of God. We can live for Him in a world that does not know Him if we know how to. Which of these three steps can you start to work on today in order to live the life you were called to?

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