Tag Archives: the Cross

The Sin You Thought Wasn’t a Problem…is a Problem

FearWhen we think about godly living, most of us think of some sins as obvious. Drunkenness, for instance, is something we want to avoid. Scripture makes that pretty clear:

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, Ephesians 5:18 (ESV)

Among believers, at least in North America, there is a healthy stigma with being drunk, and so most of us are careful to avoid consuming too much alcohol. But there are other significant sins that do not have such stigma, and it probably wouldn’t be such a bad thing if they did.

Consider Jesus’ words of warning about being ready for the last days:

“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.” Luke 21:34 (ESV)

When it comes to what Jesus is warning us against, it almost looks like one of these things doesn’t belong. According to a Greek dictionary, the word translated dissipation refers to “unbridled indulgence in a drinking party”, so it’s very similar to drunkenness. And then we have this phrase, “cares of this life.” We might perhaps better translate this, “the cares of daily life.”

The Cares of Daily Life

Come on, is it really that bad to be weighed down with the cares of daily life? Apparently, yes, for Jesus is saying that our hearts can be weighed down with worries about car repairs, clothing, and the health of our pets as much as they can be weighed down with alcohol. How does this work? Well, alcohol puts a person out of commission to serve God, and…so do the cares of this life. Our little fears throughout the day distract us, keeping us from focusing on Christ and His Kingdom. And the effect is that we are not prepared for His return.

So it’s funny that we Christians can talk about our worrying like it’s nothing: “I’m such a worrier,” we say. “Oh, yeah, me too,” our friend replies. (I know wherein I speak – I’ve said this sort of thing way too many times.) But how many people do you know who come to church laughing and yucking it up about their “big ol’ hangover” from Saturday night? Not too many I would guess.

So what to do with our worries?

1. Stop…and realize that it’s a sin to worry. Then begin to take it as seriously as you would a developing habit of bar-hopping on the weekends. By the way, I’m not advocating putting yourself on a guilt trip – that definitely won’t help – but I am saying that sometimes we have sins in our life that we don’t think of as sinful. The first step toward eating less, in other words, is to call yourself a glutton. And as long as we keep laughing about our “cares of daily life” habit, we will never take worry seriously enough to defeat it.

2. The second step is equally important: Prayer. Devote yourself to prayer over the items on your worry list, then wait for the peace of God to come and guard your heart. (See Philippians 4:6, 7) Much has been written about this, so enough said.

3. Finally, keep the cross always in front of you. It’s Calvary that tells us that, yes, our sin is bad, but it’s also forgiven by the God who loves us so much that He died for us. If He cared so much for us to walk in the way of the cross, will He not care enough for us to handle everything else. Romans 8:32 comes to mind…

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32 (ESV)

Or, as Tim Keller wrote in The Reason for God:

“The fact that Jesus had to die for me humbled me out of my pride. The fact that Jesus was glad to die for me assured me out of my fear.”

For tomorrow, Thursday, July 30th: Luke 22


Posted by on July 29, 2015 in Uncategorized


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We Need the Cross Everyday

Here is one of my heroes, D. Martyn Lloyd Jones, writing wisely in his book, aptly titled The Cross, about one of the great verses in Scripture…

“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galatians 6:14 (ESV)

“(He does not) say that it is just something at the beginning of the Christian life. There are many Christians who have said that in one way or another. You start with the cross, they say, then you go on to what they call a deeper Christian life. The cross, they say, is only for conversion, the cross only deals with forgiveness of sins. It is something that marks the beginning, and then you go on and you do not come back anymore to the cross. You start there, but then you leave it, and you go onto the deeper depths of the spiritual life.

“That is not what the Apostle Paul says. Here is a man writing at the full height of his maturity as a Christian, the great Apostle to the Gentiles. At the very height of his experience he says, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.” He has not left it to go on to some higher reaches. The cross is still everything to him. Why? Because, he has found that everything proceeds from the cross. It is the source and the fount of everything that he has as a Christian, everything that he has become, everything that he can ever hope for.”

For tomorrow, Tuesday, June 23rd: Ephesians 1

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Posted by on June 22, 2015 in Uncategorized


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How We Are Outwitted By Satan


We are often confused about the main way the enemy of our souls attacks us.

Now I’m sure that he comes against us in many different ways, all of which I myself do not know; but I think we too often imagine Exorcist-like warfare with crosses held high and twisting heads as in the movie. And while I’ve never seen “The Exorcist” and thus don’t know the music, I think we imagine our warfare with Satan to be set to music like the “Psycho” soundtrack, the now well-known shrieking sound of mainstream slasher movies.

However…in reality, his efforts against us need no such melodramatic tones. Instead, apparently, he just quietly whispers unforgiving thoughts in our ears, and therefore keeps us from reconciling with one another. How subtle and simple and…incredibly destructive.

Paul knew his plans, and so he wrote to the church at Corinth, apparently about the man who had led a revolt against the Apostle himself:

So you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs. 2 Corinthians 2:7-11 (ESV)

Do you understand what God is saying through the Apostle? It’s this: Be sure to forgive, so you will not be outwitted by Satan.

You see, our enemy needs no loud pulsing music, no twisting heads or bloody knives, no Ouija boards or tarot cards. All he needs is a thought…or two: “She’s acting so nice to you now, but think about how she hurt you.” “Don’t forget what he said.” “I know it happened 10 years ago, but you should never forget the wrongs committed against you.”

And if you buy it, if you listen to him, the enemy will have a foothold in your life to plant a root of bitterness by which you yourself and many others will be defiled (Hebrews 12:15).

I know that some reading this will have encountered horrible injustices in their lives, wrongs committed against them that I can really not imagine. So I do not say forgiveness will be easy. In fact, it is one of the hardest things we ever do, because the only way we can truly grant mercy to someone who has hurt us is to in a sense, pay for their wrongs on our own. If you borrow my car and wreck it, either I make you pay for repairs or I pay myself, but true forgiveness always comes at a cost. Anyone looking at the cross knows that.

Thus, Calvary becomes the source of our forgiveness and the source of our strength to fight against the enemy’s designs. For the One Who said of His crucifiers, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34), also forgave the likes of us sinners who have trusted in Him.

He only asks of us that we extend the same costly forgiveness to others, and when we do…we crush the plans of the enemy.

For Friday, May 29th: 2 Corinthians 3

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Posted by on May 28, 2015 in Uncategorized


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