A Warning To Men Behaving Badly On Facebook

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I do not enjoy writing posts like this. But I feel compelled to do so. Some of you men are in spiritual danger. You need to be awakened. While women do bear a certain amount of responsibility for what I am about to address, this post will be directed toward my own gender. It is addressed to both married and single men. Men who profess to know and love Jesus. Men who want to be gratified in the flesh through Facebook interaction with the opposite sex. Men who are in grave danger, because you are playing with fire. 

Over the last few months, I have been grieved by men behaving badly on Facebook. I am seeing comments made on female Facebook profiles that prompts me to write this. I am referring to the comments you make when a female posts a new picture of herself. And I am not referring to just any picture. I am talking about pics that are mildly provocative, or in some cases blatantly provocative. There is a very real danger here that some of you guys are either blinded to, or even worse, are willfully engaging in. Either way, it is time for you to respond to the Word of God, and put to death what is earthly and sensual in you. If you are born again, bought with the blood of our precious Savior, you will heed this warning. Before writing this, I prayed for your repentance. I know the struggle very well. God saved me from a life given to sexual sin. He can do the same for you. I want you to know what true freedom is like.

Are You the Flirting Type?

Some of you guys are the flirting type. And I don’t mean the type of flirting that is normal, healthy, and acceptable. After all, if every type of flirting were wrong, then hardly anyone would ever meet, date, and get married. DUH. But men, those of you who are behaving badly on Facebook, your flirting is different than this. To those of you who love making suggestive comments on female threads, especially when they post a new picture of themselves, and THEN say you love Jesus, you are in danger. Why? Because, as R.C. Sproul says, “A profession of faith doesn’t justify anybody. It’s the possession of faith that justifies.” If you are engaging in sinful and unrepentant flirting, you may be deceived into thinking that you are truly a redeemed man. But this may not be the case. Redeemed men love Jesus. And if you love Jesus, you will also love and respect women who are created in His image. So, if you find yourself gawking at, lusting over, and commenting on sexy female photos…….examine yourself. (2 Corinthians 13:5)

You Can’t Hide From God

You love it when females post the sexy pictures, don’t you? You know, the ones with the provocative clothing. The ones you are just dying to compliment. The ones that get you sexually charged, especially when you make suggestive comments on them. Trust me. I’ve seen the comments from some of you. And here’s what you need to know: Your suggestive comments are not going unnoticed by God. He not only sees you commenting, but He knows the depths of your perverted motivation behind the act. Men, please wake up. You are making an idol of a pleasure that is wicked and fleeting. You are choosing a sexual “high” over the King of kings and Lord of lords. Sin always has pleasure attached to it. If it didn’t give you pleasure to comment on her picture, then you would just stare at her without commenting. And, of course, there would be enough sin in the staring to condemn you anyway.

The Reason You Comment

But I believe there is a reason why you go a step further than simply looking. When making suggestive comments, it fuels your lust even more. Making those provocative statements gives you more sexual release. The exchange gives you a sort of “sexual connection” to the woman.  If you make a comment like “Wow, hot stuff!”, you know that she knows that you are turned on by her. If you simply looked and lusted after her, she would never know. God would know, of course. (And He matters more than anyone!) But if you type a comment, now she knows you think she looks “hot.” And you may even fantasize that she is now turned on because you think she is hot. And that knowledge alone produces all manner of wickedness in you. It makes your hormones rage even more, and your mind race with uncontrolled lust. What a vicious cycle this is. I know this sounds like I am being hard on you. But trust me, I’ve been where you are. Before I got saved, the danger took place in “chat rooms.” Remember those? Well, now, it’s a different medium. But the heart behind it all is still the same. Your flesh is weak and satan is a roaring lion. Neither one will let you go easily. You need this warning.

Easy To Justify, Right?

I know……….it’s very tempting, isn’t it? I have red blood running through my veins just like you. We don’t always know temptation is coming. We are simply scrolling. Yes, the very innocuous act of “scrolling.” And then, out of nowhere, some girl from across the country who you are never going to meet has posted a pic that is a bit too alluring. Maybe for her the pic was just “cute” when she and her friends were hanging out on the boardwalk. A picture she may even think is innocent, with no ill intention to provoke men to lust. But unfortunately, her good intentions don’t help you when she is standing there in a teeny bikini. And all of a sudden, it happens. You get sucked in like a vacuum pulling up dirt.

What’s The Big Deal?

Guys, if you’re not careful, Facebook can be a breeding ground for this type of deception. The common scenario works something like this. Her picture is enticing. It catches your eye. And then, your hormones begin to kick in. You better keep scrolling or look away because next, of course, is your heart. You are in danger of worshiping yourself over God by gratifying yourself at another’s expense. You’re tired. You’re stressed. And it would feel great, wouldn’t it, if you could just flirt a little? Ya know, just a tiny bit? You know, tell her how good she looks. What harm could that possibly cause? I mean, it’s not like you two are going to be vulgar on Facebook or anything. At least not publicly. Your comment is just going to get lost in a sea of 100 other comments from men anyway. So what’s the big deal? It even looks like she is enjoying all the comments! You’re just being “friendly” like everyone else, right? Well, no.

The Words of Jesus

Here’s why it is a big deal. “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). So there you have it guys. When a girl is wearing revealing clothes, and you keep staring at her picture, you are committing sexual sin. As Jesus said, you are an adulterer at heart. And when you compliment her, you are diving head first into further sin. If she were to see you in person and make sexual advances toward you, you would not be able to fight her off. You would welcome her advances, and in fact, invite them. Men, start guarding your heart! (Proverbs 4:23) I tell you this because I care about you, and I don’t want you to become enslaved to the deception of sexual sin.

It’s All Her Fault

Oh, but you say, “Jamie, she flirted with me first!” Or “She shouldn’t be showing off her tummy when she takes selfies!” What about this excuse? “I didn’t start making provocative comments. It was her.” Or how about “I was caught off guard. Really, I was!” Ok, then I give you these words from God: “For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, And her mouth is smoother than oil; But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, Sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death, Her steps lay hold of hell. Lest you ponder her path of life— Her ways are unstable; You do not know them(Proverbs 5:3-6). You are never just “caught off guard.” You have a worship problem. When you say you love Jesus, and then cater to the sexual advances (verbal or physical) of cute women on Facebook, you do not love Jesus. You don’t love those women. You love yourself. Period. 

Jesus Died For Facebook Sins

You can’t blame Facebook. Facebook isn’t the problem, of course. Your sinful heart is the problem. Facebook is merely a tool for you to get what you want. So, put the sin to death when you first recognize the temptation. When you see the mini skirt, keep scrolling. As God told Cain, “Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” So go ahead and master it. The Holy Spirit has infinite resources to keep you from falling. But you must be active and engaged, as the Scripture teaches us! Remember, we only have a brief moment to decide if we’re going to take a close gander at her, or instead keep scrolling. So…….just keep scrolling. Look away…….scroll down…….close the laptop. Pray. And as you do, think about how Jesus hung on that cross and took the punishment for all the lustful thoughts and actions of every Christian throughout history. And that includes the thousands of lustful looks and comments on Facebook.

The Progression of Sin

And don’t forget the progression of sin as described in James 1:14: “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” Men, listen to me please. Your sin doesn’t originate from Facebook. It doesn’t originate from women in bikinis or mini skirts. It comes from within your heart. The skirt just gives you the opportunity that your lustful eyes, and commenting hands, were waiting to latch onto. I know that stings a bit. It is meant to. You cannot control everything you see posted on Facebook. But you can decide (through the work of the Holy Spirit) to obey Christ by not feeding your lust.

What To Do Now

If any of this describes you, you already have something to pray about, don’t you? You could pray that God would give you pure and holy desires, and that He would grant you repentance over social media sins. Or you may even need to pray that God would save your soul. it’s quite possible that your persistent, unrepentant Facebook lust indicates that you do not really know Jesus. But it is not too late. Get right with Jesus now.

I love you and do not want you to end up in hell. I myself am still a sinner who is saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. I have to battle the sin of lust every day, just like every other man. I want you to know Jesus, and the power of His resurrection (Philippians 3:10). I want you to be forgiven. Repent, turn to Jesus, and have your sins blotted out.

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Your likes or comments are always appreciated! I will do my best to respond to each one. And if you enjoy my posts, I wouldn’t mind an extra subscriber either. (-:  God bless you, and thanks for stopping by!  – Jamie

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What If YOUR Dirt Were Dug Up During An Election?

 

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Imagine if you ran for President?  What forbidden pleasures would they find from your past?  Or your present, for that matter.  What would you do if millions found out some of the worst things you’ve ever said, either in public or in private?  Scary, isn’t it?  What if the public saw some of the most immoral places you’ve ever visited, either physically or online?  How horrifying would that be?  People you currently associate with, and people from your distant past………they would all know about what you did, what you said, and where you went.  Admittedly, if someone publicly displayed the worst statement I ever made, I could never run for President…………because I would leave the country.  I would be too embarrassed to stay.  And the last time I checked, you have to actually live in the United States to be the President.  So there is no hope for me to ever make it to the Oval Office (someone please shout ‘Amen’ here).  The pain and embarrassment of my past wouldn’t be worth the power and notoriety that come with being President.  I’ve heard too much horror about public shaming to ever willingly walk into it.

Better to Deal With Our Own Dirt

Public figures, especially politicians, are easy targets.  There will always be something exposed in their life that will make you feel better about yours.  If they are the opposing party, the media will make sure they always look really bad.  And often times, trying to defend themselves only makes things worse.  I’m not saying they are innocent of everything that is said about them.  I’m saying that, no matter who they are or what kind of life they lead, they will always be slandered to one degree or another.  It is just part of the game when you are in the public eye day after day.  It happens to Donald Trump.  It happens to Hillary Clinton.  It would happen to you too.  This is one reason why it is not healthy to consistently harp on the sins of others.  Because if this pattern of ‘harping’ continues, you’ll start to look at everyone you meet through a fault-finding lens.  If you are on this road, take a detour now.

How Close to Danger Are You?

So what is the evidence that you may be in danger of this?  Well, for one, how do you speak about others when they are not with you?  When you think of our unconverted leaders, do you criticize them more than you pray for them?  Do you mostly have words of grace, or judgment?  What about the social media threads that you find yourself commenting on?  Do you comment on those specific threads because it makes you look better, or because you truly want to edify and protect the body of Christ?  Do you comment more on threads that allow you to be gracious, or the ones where everyone is pointing fingers and pronouncing judgment?  What about the poking fun and sarcasm?  Is this more enjoyable than lifting people up?  If you enjoy tearing others down, and always pointing out their faults, you have a serious spiritual deficiency.  Remember,  when you die, God is not going to judge you based on how you compare to Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.  He will judge you according to His perfect holy standard.

Redirect Your Eyes

Take your eyes off of Donald Trump for just a few moments.  I realize it’s so hard to do that when the media keeps pounding away on every single thing he says and does.  Not only that, but we are constantly reminded of all the bad things he ever said and did in the past.  Even though the election is over, and Trump is the President-Elect, the dirt digging continues.  Granted, much of what he has said deserves to be brought into the light and examined.  And some of it should be outright condemned.  But I’ve noticed that some people are over-fascinated with his faults.  Some just have a beef with everything he does, and want to paint him as the worst lowlife to ever win a presidential election.  Many people are just watching and waiting for him to screw up……and then of course, to let everyone on Facebook know just how “right” they were about not voting for him.  It would be foolish to deny that this kind of thing is happening almost daily on social media.  Not everyone is guilty, but some definitely are.  Sadly, it is becoming normative to slander Trump, his family, and anyone that works with him.  This approach isn’t working.  Just take a look at the news.  These are some sad days for the stars and stripes.  There is a much better way to deal with all of this.

Slander Is Not Holy

The attitudes described above are not Christian.  Exodus 22:28 states, “You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people.”  Pretty clear text.  And no, I am not condoning the sins that Trump has committed.  I am simply saying that God is His Judge, and this obsession with his sins has got to stop. There is a serious warning here: a warning that we dare not miss as ChristiansWe can become distracted from our own sinfulness (and need to repent), by being more distracted over the sin of others, especially when we dislike that other person.  And when we are too distracted from our own need to repent, we forget about how much we need Jesus every moment of every day.  And sin goes unchecked in our Christian walk.  Self-righteousness is not far away when this kind of thinking prevails.  A skewed view of the cross is also not far away.  We are a train wreck waiting to happen.

Be Careful of Holier-Than-Thou

Most unconverted men aren’t that different from Donald Trump.  Not true you say?  Guys, especially those of you who were saved later in life (like me), let’s be honest.  What if some of your past interactions with women were exposed to the general public?  You know…….the workplace flirting?  Your time at the bars and clubs?  The gym?  Oh, and what about all the text messages and “private” chats you had?  How would you feel if any of these messages were shown on the Nightly News?  What about the next time you have dinner with your family?  Would you be able to look your sister in the eye?  I don’t know about you, but I would be mortified if some of my conversations were recorded and played back to the general public.  The shame would be unbearable.

Sexual Idolatry

It is really scary just how the unregenerate male mind works.  For most unsaved men, sex is his god…….or at least one of his primary gods.  It’s usually what drives him.  It’s what he thinks about.  And when your heart is filled with the god of sex, the overflow comes out in conversations with attractive women.  It is a sickening, but accurate, reality.  Donald Trump certainly went too far in his recording.  No question, bragging about groping women is wicked.  But let’s be honest men.  Most of us have been guilty of objectifying women in one way or another.  Our sin is deserving of God’s wrath too.  In our pre-Christian days, we often treated women as though they exist for our pleasure alone.  Aren’t you glad they never put you on a hot mic?

Before Coming to Christ

When I think back on how I lived before I came to Christ, it really scares me.  And it scares me even more to think about what I would have become……had God not so graciously intervened.  But remembering how bad I was also helps me to appreciate Jesus even more.  And for this reason, we ought to stop with the constant focus on the sins of Donald Trump.  If we continue to talk about all of his faults, we are playing the ever dangerous “comparison game.”  And when you play that game, you never appreciate the cross of Christ.  What you appreciate is how good you are compared to others.  If these thought patterns continue, they will destroy your peace.  The Christian life will never be lived out with sacrificial love toward others.  It’ll be lived out with a constant eye on the behavior of others, whether they are in the White House, or in your small group at church.  You’ll get more pleasure out of observing than serving.  Please don’t go there.

Ladies, Have You Been Guilty?

Ladies, it is difficult for me to say this, but it does need to be addressed.  While I admit that Trump has been a womanizer in the past, and it is easy for us to paint him as an evil pervert, I must ask this question: Hasn’t Christ forgiven you of sexual sins?  Can you claim any righteous superiority over him?  Think for a moment.  Have you done anything to contribute to the hyper-sexualized culture we find ourselves in?  Anything at all?  What if pictures you put up on a dating site, or social media account, went viral publicly during an election season?  Did you ever send any racy pics to the opposite sex?  If it ever came out that you did, how shameful and horrifying would that be for you?  I mean, most everyone you know would see them!  You know that “hole” that was created when your past dirt was dug up?  It would now be time to crawl into that same hole and never come back out.

The Very Thought Of It Should Make You Blush

Imagine this.  You’re a woman in the midst of campaigning for a prestigious government office.  One day, you’re sitting in your living room watching CNN.  You want to see how well you’re doing in the polls.  You want to hear what your opponent is currently saying about you.  And then, all of a sudden, there it is……..on your TV screen.  It is a video of you from 10 years ago, before you met Jesus.  Needless to say, your spring break outfit is shockingly immodest.  And you are chugging a beer as you speak.  Your drunkenness is painfully obvious to everyone.  You may not even remember the day the video was taken.  You probably don’t remember who those men are standing next to you.  But now, because of that one crazy weekend years ago with your friends, millions of people now stereotype you as a drunken, promiscuous flirt.  And you are publicly shamed for it.  Worst of all, there is nothing you can do about it.  Apparently an old boyfriend you broke up with now wants revenge.  He found this picture and now wants to make life miserable for you.  He finds joy in it.  And as wrong as that is, people will stoop to such nastiness in a fallen world………with almost no guilt whatsoever.  Does this hypothetical scenario frighten you?  Does it soften your heart a bit more toward those in the public eye?  Does it make you appreciate Jesus more for all that he has forgiven you?

We Are Not Better Than Trump, or Hillary

We all think we are though.  But Christian, please listen to me.  This is such a dangerous place to be.  Believe me, I was there and it is not a good place.  After the infamous recording played (of Trump bragging about groping women), I remember thinking how superior I was when it came to my treatment of women.  I was comparing myself to Trump, and was so proud of myself for supposedly coming out on top.  But God’s Word is powerful!  Romans 12:3 states, “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”  And Scripture also says, “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).  It would be good to keep these passages stored in our hearts.

The Solution

As my web page title states, let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus!  Not on Trump’s sins, and not on Hillary’s sins.  All that will accomplish is making you feel more superior to others.  And that will eventually drive a wedge between you and Jesus.  And that is something you simply cannot afford.  Keep your eyes on that precious cross, and you will have no desire to keep them fixed on the White House.  And just to clarify, not all of you are guilty to the degree I am warning about.  I am speaking in general terms here.  But those of you who are guilty of building yourself up at the expense of others’ public shame, you ought to repent.  Because at that moment, your soul is likely in more danger than either Trump or Hillary.

God knows all of your dirt.  All of your filth.  And yet, if you are in Christ, it has all been washed away.  He will never dig it up and expose it.  He will never publicly shame you for your dirt.  Jesus underwent all of that public shame for you……..directly in your place.  Praise His Holy Name!!  And keep your eyes fixed on our glorious King!!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! If you enjoy my articles, you can subscribe to this blog by email. It’s free!  And no spam at all! Simply find the box that says “Stay In Touch!!” and enter your email address. The box will be on your upper right (computer), or bottom part of your screen (phone). I appreciate your support!  (-:

 

20 Dangerous Temptations For Christians During Election Season

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I watched it all.  Wow, there was a lot of past sins brought up during the debate the other night, wasn’t there?  Both candidates couldn’t wait to dish out some dirt on their opponent!  Hillary accuses Trump of financial misdeeds and past racism.  Trump reminds everyone about Hillary’s e-mail scandal, and is shocked when she refers to it as a “mistake.”  His words were “You did it purposely!”  OUCH.  But of course, she returned the favor later on…..by bringing up his past misogyny.

There was also a lot of sinning that took place during the debate. It was very easy to spot, wasn’t it?  Almost too easy.  Both of them being prideful, while defending themselves against every past wrongdoing.  Trump cuts off Hillary before she finishes, nearly shouting in the process.  She returns the favor.  The moderator Lester Holt gets interrupted…………AGAIN!!  Hillary displays a prideful smile when the camera closes in.  Trump has, what looks to be, an angry face as he waits to answer.  You didn’t have to go looking for sin that night.  It nearly jumped through our TV screens.  Is it just me, or did it seem like a couple of schoolyard boys at recess tattling to get the other kid in trouble?!  And then, not letting the other kid finish his sentences, lest more incriminating evidence come out!  It was indeed very surreal at times.  In fact, Time Magazine counted 84 total interruptions of the current speaker during the 90 minute debate, 55 of them by Trump.  Accusation, defense, interruption.   Another accusation, followed by another defense, and of course, another interruption!  That night was proof that the Bible is 100% accurate about sinful human nature.

 

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Oh……..but there is another place we can look for that proof.  We don’t need to turn on a debate to find sin.  We need only to look inside.  And we don’t need to have a controversial election going on to find sin inside of us either.  Elections don’t make Christians sin.  Neither does Facebook, Twitter, or the cafeteria at our workplaces.  But these events and situations often reveal the sin already inside of us.  It’s just there…..always.  Well, at least until we die or our Savior returns.  James says that “each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (James 1:14-15)  Sin emanates from within, not without.

I am aware that there is a such thing as righteous indignation.  I also believe that wise and beneficial critique about the election (and even particular candidates) is needed, so that we might be informed enough to make good choices.  I also believe in healthy, kind, and patient debate among Christians. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)  These are all good things.  However, we must be constantly aware of a couple biblical truths (truths that we too often ignore): 1. The devil is real, and he has come to “steal and kill and destroy”  and 2. We have hearts that are weak and deceptive. (see Jeremiah 17:9)  Satan can take good things and twist them for evil purposes.  Let us be mindful of his schemes before we are overtaken.  And we can just as easily deceive ourselves.  Remember: “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.” (Proverbs 22:3)  Seek refuge in the Lord……..not just after the temptation hits you like a ton of bricks, but before it even approaches you.  Be ready.  Be watchful.  Be humble.  And be encouraged always with this: “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)

On the flip side, if you believe that you have no need to listen to others viewpoints, or that you are the only one who can give out that wise and beneficial critique, or that you have no danger of any temptations during this election season, then this would be a good time to bail out of reading this post.  It will not help you.  But if you’re like me, and need to fight hard against pride and misplaced trust, then please read on.

Christians fight all kinds of temptations every single day.  But during election season (especially the Presidential election), we are more susceptible to certain sins.  I’ve noticed it in my own heart and- from the conversations I observe among other believers- this may be a problem for some of you also.  For each temptation, I give one or two Scriptural warnings beneath.  There are obviously many more that could be added.  But most of these are pretty self-explanatory.  And to keep this from being 10 pages long, I decided to show mercy on you and keep it shorter!  The list is not ranked in any kind of specific order.  I listed them as each were laid on my heart.  So……let’s get to it.

During election season, Christians are more tempted to………… 


1. Argue…….a lot!

The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out. (Proverbs 17:14)

As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife. (Proverbs 26:21)

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. (James 4:1-3)


2. Become overly anxious that our particular candidate might not win

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6)


3. Run to Facebook or other Social media for comfort, WHEN we become anxious (for more on this issue, go
here)

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. (Psalm 56:3)

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. (Psalm 20:7)


4. Become too prideful that we (as individuals) have all the right convictions about who the best candidate is (if any are chosen at all)

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)

Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them. (Proverbs 26:12)


5. Not listen to others counsel because we are so caught up in the fact that we already have the “correct” opinion

Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice. (Proverbs 13:10)

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)


6. Become foolish (for the same reason as #5)

Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them. (Proverbs 26:12)

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. (Proverbs 3:7)


7. Speak evil against a future ruler  (I’m not referring to honest, biblical critique here, but the negative, slanderous, anger induced rants that do not have everyone’s best interest at heart)


“You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people.” (Exodus 22:28)

Even in your thoughts, do not curse the king, nor in your bedroom curse the rich, for a bird of the air will carry your voice, or some winged creature tell the matter. (Ecclesiastes 10:20)


8. Speak evil to, or about, other believers who disagree with you (whether by mouth, text, or social media)

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)

Jesus said, “I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak.” (Matthew 12:36)

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. (1 John 4:20)


9. Think that
 we are so much better (either politically or morally) than the candidates we don’t like

Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12)

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. (Romans 12:3)


10. Speak too much about our opinions.  This temptation is especially dangerous if we have any kind of platform, like a ministry, social media account, or……..AHEM………a blog

When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. (Proverbs 10:19)

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. (Proverbs 17:28)

 

 

11. Forget that God is sovereign no matter who wins, and that His purposes will be accomplished

Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. (Psalm 135:6)

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. (Romans 13:1 … emphasis mine)


12. Forget that this world, as it is now under the curse and largely in rebellion to Christ, is NOT our final home

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more……………….He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:1,4)


13. Spend way too much time trying to persuade others, that we neglect the more important matter of spending enough time in God’s Word

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:15-17)


14. Lose our joy and contentment

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (Philippians 4:12)

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. (Psalm 94:19)


15. Love winning more than we love Jesus

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. (Philippians 3:8)


16. Place too much reliance upon man, instead of God

It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. (Psalm 118:8)


17. Become thankless complainers

Do all things without grumbling or disputing  (Philippians 2:14)

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)


18. Talk more to other people about the candidates, instead of praying to God on their behalf

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)


19. Become blinded to the more important and immediate needs of your local church, and sharing the gospel with the lost

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)

So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10)

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” (Romans 1:16-17)


20. Think too much about temporal, non-spiritual matters….and not enough about eternal, spiritual things

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)

Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. (Psalm 119:97)

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2)

 

** A Final Word of Encouragement **

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. (Revelation 21:3)

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5 Reasons Why Your Facebook Manners Are More Important Than Your Vote

 

What you say and how you say it is more important than who you end up voting for.  Who you end up  voting for is a matter of conscience, and reasons will vary from person to person.  I will talk about all that in a few moments.  But rudeness in speech, or writing, is a  violation of God’s law.  Lack of self-control is a work of the flesh and not the Spirit.  When we fail to love others, it misrepresents God’s holy character to other Christians……and to the world.  In other words, the love we show to others when we communicate carries more weight in Heaven than the time we spend inside the polling booth.  And besides, you’ll spend way more time doing one than the other. 

I am speaking about your rhetoric here.  According to Wikipedia, rhetoric is defined as “the art of discourse, an art that aims to improve the capability of writers or speakers to inform, most likely to persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations.”  We use it more often than we realize.  Some days it’s constant.  Other days not so much.  But ultimately, we can’t get away from situations where we need to use words to persuade others in some way.

When you are gone from this earth, people will still remember your  words…….especially words that had either a positive or negative impact on them.  But most people won’t get into the ins and outs of who you voted for.  Life and death are in the power of the tongue, says Proverbs, not in the power of your vote.  Yes, who we vote for is important, and I recognize that.  But there is something far more valuable that looks to be a blind spot amongst some Christian social media users.  God has recently shown me my blind spot, or at least one of them!  And had He not shown me, I may have alienated one of the best guys I know with my prideful and ill-timed rhetoric.  It isn’t too late for me, or any of you.  With the election still nearly 3 months away, we have time to make strides in our social media sanctification.  This isn’t to say that everyone on social media is guilty.  But I have seen a pattern, both on Facebook and the Blogosphere.  I have seen it now in my own heart.  The last one took the longest for me to notice.

And let’s be real here.  Not one Christian has all the right answers on this political stuff.  The minute we think we’ve made the greatest argument for our candidate (or non-candidate if you’re not voting), the chair gets pulled from under us and someone comes up with a rebuttal that we simply cannot refute.  Of course, in many cases our pride will surely make an attempt to refute it.  We often do this even when we know we’ve lost.  (Married men, you know what I’m talking about!  We are guilty as charged.)  And even after our pride miserably fails, and we know we can’t refute someone, we will google search to see the best responses others have come up with.  And if google has nothing, we’ll youtube it.  That way, we have a ready arsenal to strike down the latest aggressor against our “perfect” political opinions.

In some ways, this year’s election is a lot like the last one…….and the one before that.  We have two primary candidates, and a few third party candidates as well.  Christians went to that all important forum to voice their most highly prized opinions: social media.  What’s wrong with that?  Nothing.  Social Media can be a great tool.  Notice I said it can be a great tool.  But just like a hammer, it can either be used to build up, or to destroy.  I have seen everything from questioning people’s salvation because of who they are voting for, to the prevalence of the “why I’m right and everyone else is wrong” attitude, to outright anger and vitriol directed toward any disagreeing parties.

This subject has been on my heart a very long time.  But I kept putting it off thinking that things would get better.  I thought the day would come when I would jump on Facebook and see well-organized political debates saturated with kind, humble rebuttals up and down my news feed.  It never happened though.  But something else happened that I really did not see coming: my own sin was exposed. I involved myself in a dispute with a brother who loves Christ more than most people I know. In attempting to defend my political choices, I offended him instead.  I place the blame on myself.  He is too godly to allow me to do that though, so he ended up apologizing to me as well.  I entered the debate trying to break his reasoning down.  I wanted to show everyone on that post just how clever my argument was.  Clever, maybe.  But hidden in so much pride and defensiveness that no one would have noticed anyway.

Brothers and sisters, do not let this get the best of you.  Watch out for the evil one here, because he is out to devour you and your friendships in Christ.  And believe me, if he can do that, he doesn’t care one bit whether Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or a Third Party candidate wins.  He is more interested in getting you to demean others on your way to the polling booth.  He is more interested in getting you to craft that perfect sarcastic response to someone in your Facebook comments.  People, I fell victim to this recently.  By God’s grace, things have been made right with my brother.  But this is a warning to all.  I care about how the body of Christ treats one another.  And we cannot simply blame the devil for these things.  Our hearts condemn us as well.

Christians, Scripture has much to teach us when it comes to our social media habits.  I hope and pray these points are beneficial to you.  I am only scratching the surface here, but I’m convinced it’s that important.  Why should you care so much about how you engage in Facebook debates, especially the political ones happening all the time on our newsfeeds?  For many reasons.  Here are 5 of them!

1) God will judge our words.  We will give a direct account to Him on our Judgment Day.  Jesus said, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37)  Yes, every careless, meaningless word we have ever spoke verbally, or written on blogs and social media will be brought into account.  These aren’t just words that were intended to tear people down, but words that were not used to build others up.  Ephesians 4:29 states, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”  Please……don’t play with fire on this one.  Also, read this helpful but terrifying quote from Stephen Charnock: “Can a man’s conscience easily and delightfully swallow that which he is sensible falls under the cognizance of God, when it is hateful to the eye of His holiness, and renders the actor odious to Him? . . . Temptations have no encouragement to come near him that is constantly armed with the thoughts that his sin is booked in God’s omniscience.”  You may get the best of someone on Facebook.  You may copy the best quotes into your comment section.  You may have more people agreeing with you on a particular post.  But if your words are careless, the One who has eyes like a flame of fire knows what you are doing.  So before you post that meme meant to dehumanize someone else’s favorite candidate, think about it long and hard before you click the infamous “post” button.  In fact, I say read it about 5 times before you post it!  And if you’re still unsure, have someone you love and trust read it.  Remember, if it tears someone down, it could be brought up at the Judgment.

2) Presidential terms last for only four years.  Our unity in Christ lasts forever.  Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:13, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”  I used to wonder what this verse meant when it said the greatest is love.  Most commentators believe that love is listed as the greatest because Paul knew that faith would one day become sight.  Hope, which is our certain expectation even now, will become a reality one day.  But love will go on and on and on……………forever.   It continues into the New Heavens and New Earth.  Jesus will love us forever.  Christians will love Him forever.  And we will love each other forever.  And each Person of the Trinity will love each other Person forever and ever.  Beautiful thought, isn’t it??!!  Folks, whoever gets elected will be ousted in either 4 years, or 8 years.  Their term will come to an end.  And they too will one day come to an end.  Since love lasts forever, why not practice it now?  We’re commanded to do so.  God delights in our obedience, and so should we.

3) The world is watching.  In John 17, Jesus speaks these famous words: “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,  I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”  Very simple.  Lost people are watching us.  Jesus has told us this clearly.  In fact, I did not quote the whole section, but he says this same thing in back to back verses.  Christian, the world is watching everything you do.  They are watching you at work, when they come to your home, when they visit you at church, and when you post and comment on Facebook.  Let us make sure we are representing our Savior well.  God wants His children to show the world that we love one another.  Let’s start obeying that commandment with every part of our lives, especially when engaging in social media debates

4) Bad conversational habits lead to sinful patterns that will be hard to overcome.  Often times, we worry more about how to refute an argument than we do in listening to it.  Our objective should be to further conversation, not strike it down.  Sometimes we are planning our response as the other person is speaking.  This leads to nowhere good.  James 1:19 everyone: “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”  Everyone is talking.  Everyone is writing and commenting.  But very few are listening.  And sad to say, very few are thinking before they speak.  This is not the way of Christ.  Let us be mindful of these sinful patterns.  And let us repent of them.  Otherwise, the enemy will get a foothold.  And social media is an easy place to establish bad patterns.  It is so tempting to quickly respond to someone who is not standing right next to you.  But be careful, those comments will hurt someone.  Trust me.

5) You could be wrong.  Others have just as strong convictions as you have.  Every true Christian wants to do the right thing.  And we all believe we are doing the right thing with our vote, or non-vote.  We should not think too highly of our own opinions on this election.  Why?  Well, besides the dangers of pride…….I would also say that an election that has caused so much disagreement in the body of Christ indicates that no one has this all figured out.  If it were that simple and clear-cut, then we would all be happy happy, joy joy. (some of you get that)  There are godly people on all sides of this monster.  Some are voting for Trump, some Hillary, some Third Party, and some not voting at all.  Many Christians are presenting this election as clearly a black and white issue, failing to see that there is much gray in it.  If there are godly men and women who think so differently on this election, then who are any of us to say that our arguments are definitely the best?  Can we not show grace and tolerance for others we disagree with?  We all believe we have great reasons for how we are going to vote, or not vote.  Conscience is the determining factor here.  Of course, our conscience should always be shaped by Biblical principles.  There are also other things people take into account when they vote.  Things like: their background and experiences, what their ethnicity is, their knowledge of the candidates, specific issues they believe are most important, how a particular candidate will affect other branches of government, etc., etc.  The list could be almost endless.

 

♦ A final word of hope and encouragement for those of us who have sinned.

There is abundant forgiveness in Christ!  Amen and Hallelujah!!  God is merciful and gracious.  1 John 2:1, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”  If you have sinned in your words to another Christian, or anyone for that matter, look to the cross of Jesus Christ.  There you will find cleansing.  If you believe now that meme you posted was nasty in its portrayal of your least favorite candidate, confess to God how you offended your brother or sister.  And I would even suggest you confess how you did not honor those in government positions.  We are to pray for them.  We are not to mock them with memes that are cruel and dehumanizing.  Remember, Christ died for sinners.  He will forgive you, and give you the strength to move on.  His Spirit will bring repentance to your heart.  I know how charged up politics can be sometimes.  But we must walk by the Spirit and not let our emotions rule over us.  It is not a sin to use Facebook to post about controversial issues, but God help us when we do!

Love lasts forever.  Love endures all things.  Presidential terms do not.

 

For additional help on taming the tongue, or taming the clicker on your computer mouse, here is the best sermon ever on how to use words, and how not to use them.  You can tell I am not biased at all on how good this sermon is.  Paul Tripp really nails it here.

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Cowards Will Not Enter God’s Kingdom, part 2

 

In my previous post on fear, I wrote about how fear is not often spoken about, nor thought of as one of the more heinous and wicked sins Christians deal with.  And although this is not universally true for every believer, in my experience fear has mostly fallen by the wayside, when it comes to tackling it head on.  I suspect that many of you would agree with this.  But I believe it is time to get honest with ourselves, and I include myself at the top of that list.  Unbiblical and unholy fear can destroy us, if we neglect to deal with it.  I am so thankful to the Holy Spirit for making me aware that I need much work in this area.  And I hope and pray that He does the same for you.  No one is immune to the fear of man, or fear of the future.  And don’t forget the enemy knows that if he can get you to fear man, that you will not fear God.  And that is the most dangerous place to be!  As Jesus said, you cannot serve two masters, only one.

Now please do not misunderstand me, there is a type of fear that is natural and good.  If you see a grizzly bear while out hiking, you should get scared!!  That is natural, not sinful.  As far as whether you should run from the bear, or stand and face him or her head on, I’ll leave that to other experts.  I am no outdoorsman.  What I am referring to is ungodly fear, especially the fear of man and fear of what might happen to us in the future.  These two often go hand in hand.  This is the type of fear that makes us shrink back from obeying God, and causes us to please man instead.  It’s the type that does the comfortable and easy thing, instead of obeying Christ.  This type of fear is one of the reasons our Lord Jesus had to die on the cross.  Sinful fear had to be paid for by our Savior.  That blood flowing at Calvary didn’t just pay for murder, homosexuality, adultery, jealousy, and pride.  It paid for sinful fear as well.

Perhaps this would be a good time to define exactly what we’re dealing with here.  According to dictionary.com, fear is defined as “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.”  So, when we are talking about sinful fear, we must take the definition a little further.  When I put it all together, I would define sinful fear as this: “believing, and acting on the belief, that pleasing people and avoiding the unpleasant consequences of not pleasing them, is more important than standing up for the truth of God and obeying the commands of Jesus Christ.”  I may adjust this definition in the future, but I am afraid to right now. (my laugh track is already dying out)

Over my years of walking with Christ,  I have seen the increasing temptation and allurement of giving in to ungodly fear.  And, from time to time, I find myself succumbing to its attraction.  Succumbing to fear of man gratifies us in the moment.  It brings with it a sense of relief, and the ease of avoiding what might happen to us.  Fortunately for us, God is all too aware how much His children are in danger of this attraction!   He has given us abundant warnings.  Maybe not as much as other evils, right?  I mean, certainly the most repeated commands in all of Scripture are the “do not commit sexual immorality” type commands,  right?  With all of the debauchery going on today and throughout history, and with all of the pain it causes to ourselves and our families……not to mention society at large.  With the toxic increase of sexual sin in our nation, surely that must be up there as most repeated??!  Oh wait a sec……… my apologies, there is something worse than that I’m forgetting.  The most repeated command is, of course, “Do not murder!”  That has to be the most repeated, right?  Taking a human life??  Of course!  Ok, I think you get my point, and you see where I am headed.  According to research (and I’m taking everyone’s word on this one), the most repeated command in the Bible is some form of “Fear not” or “Do not be afraid.”  Maybe we know this to be intellectually true, that it is the most mentioned command in the Bible.  But do we act like it most of the time?  Hmmm…….

We sometimes hear about men and women having study groups, undergoing therapy, enrolling in “12 step” programs, and starting entire ministries dealing with all manner of sin issues.  Everything from drunkenness, gluttony, homosexuality, pornography, anger, and adultery.  And don’t get me wrong.  These are serious sins, as all sins are.  We should never neglect fighting any sin that we’ve been made aware of.  The Christian life is all about looking to Jesus Christ for all of our joy and fulfillment, and fighting against anything that hinders that joy.  And all of these sins I mentioned (and many I did not), will hinder your joy in Christ.  So fight them with all the weapons God has given us. (See Ephesians 6 for this).  But now is also the time to get real against fear of man.  Let’s put it to death, through the working of God’s Spirit.  Here is the question you and I need to ponder: Since “Fear not” is the most repeated command in Scripture, how and when are we going to start attacking this sin with fervor?  At some point of my blogging experience, I plan on writing about ways in which we can successfully put the fear of man to death.  So until then, remember this warning along with a precious promise: “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.” (Proverbs 29:25)

Cowards Will Not Enter God’s Kingdom

 

Lord willing, this is just the start of a series of posts regarding the sinfulness of fear.  Yes, you read that correctly.  There is a kind of fear that is wicked: the fear of man.  Jesus also warns us not to fear the future.  We don’t often equate this sin as being as evil as other sins in our own lives.  And even when we discuss the wickedness of other men in the pages of the Bible, we rarely ever focus on the fear of man.  We talk about Adam and Eve eating from the Tree, and also of Abraham’s lying and David’s adultery.  We talk of the deception of Jacob, the self-righteousness of the Pharisees, and the betrayal of Judas.  But how often do we speak of Peter’s sin of refusing to eat with gentiles, when he was afraid of the reaction of the Judaizers?  Or how about when the Apostles scattered in fear the night of Jesus’ arrest?  We may talk about fear when we read those passages, but I don’t sense as much conviction in this area as compared with other sins.

I was moved to write on this topic after reading Wayne and Joshua Mack’s excellent book Courage: Fighting Fear With Fear.  If you struggle with persistent fear, or even occasional fear (that would be all of us!), then I would highly recommend their book.  With that said, just how sinful is it to be a coward?  God says it is this sinful: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”  (Revelation 21:8 KJV)

If you are a Christian reading this, I suspect many of you, like myself, have wondered how the “fearful” ended up at the top of this list of sins.  Why not murderers and prostitutes?  Or even idolaters, right?  Take a close look at this passage in Revelation 21:8, and also 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, as well as Galatians 5:19-21.  Most of us would be able to identify which of these sins are most problematic for us.  We certainly have not committed all of these sins outwardly, but inwardly we are guilty as charged.  The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) makes this fact abundantly clear.  If you are born again, most of these sins come to mind often.  They are obvious to us, and we see the sinfulness of them clearly…….well…..not always.  Sometimes we are blind to them and need to be rebuked by other Christians, or be disciplined by the Lord.  Conviction comes.  These sins may not always be easy to mention, but we seem to get them out in the open eventually.  If not to other Christians, certainly to God.

To be fair, some of these sins do make us blush, and sometimes we just don’t feel comfortable talking about them.  Some of them even keep us from looking at others in the eye when we do confess them, or when we are giving our salvation testimonies.  Some of these sins we would be embarrassed and, dare I say, afraid to mention we’ve committed when Christians of the opposite sex are in the same room.  Of course, it is a good thing to keep in mind the company we are with when we confess or share testimonies.  The ones I’m referring to are obviously sins of a sexual nature (lust, fornication, homosexuality, adultery, pornography, etc.)  We may not have committed all of them in our actions, but again, our hearts betray us with inner corruption.  And most of us (men especially!!), to one degree or another, still battle with many of these sexual sins.  And until we go to be with Christ, we will continue to battle them.  But the point is this: even with “embarrassing” sins, we still recognize these particular sins for what they are.  It is only the embarrassment and the shame of them that keeps us from exposing them.  They don’t exactly work well as the grand topic of conversation at your next co-ed Bible study!  Not to mention the inappropriate context when children and teens are present as well.  But otherwise, if we are having a Bible study with people of the same gender, we will admit these things from time to time, especially as we get to know specific brothers or sisters really well.  But fear still isn’t much spoken about.  It shows up at the top of the list in Revelation, but it often shows up near the bottom of our “personal list” when it comes to our sanctification.

Outside of the sexual sins, most of us will freely admit (in almost any situation I might add) to others that we’ve lied, stolen, been envious of others, been greedy, have had rivalries with others, and even drunkenness.  We admit these are sinful.  We often confess them to others.  And if we sin in these areas, we usually keep short accounts with God as well.  Not always, but often we do.  And even most unbelievers would admit they have done some of these things, and they even understand why those things are wrong, whether they admit it or not.  But I highly doubt most pagans would consider their fears as being sinful.  In fact, do we ever bring that sin up to them when we are witnessing?  Nope.  But let’s be honest here, dear brothers and sisters.  How often do we confess being “fearful” to other Christians?  Do we recognize the heinous nature of being a coward?  Worse yet, do we understand how wicked this sin is to Jesus Christ?  Do we quickly pass through the “sin lists” in the Bible and hone in on the ones we want to notice, like the ones we think are “really bad” and are worth fighting?  And most importantly, do we realize that if we live a life consistently marked by sinful fear, without repentance, that we are giving evidence that we are not even saved?  The study has been an eye opener for me, and it has been very convicting.  But I have so much more to learn in this area, both knowledge wise and experience!  As I continue to post on this topic, please know that I have seen my failure in this area.  I am pointing back at myself before I am pointing at you.  Check back with me soon as I continue with this topic.  Hopefully this will whet your appetite.  So until next time, remember these precious words:  “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).