We have all heard and read many things about overcoming sin and being an overcomer.
I think as many times as I have failed to overcome something, it has gotten to be a little fuzzy in my head about how I am ever going to be that overcomer that John mentions in Revelation 3:12
Rev 3:12Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God,which isnew Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: andI will write upon himmy new name.
As I recall Paul had a similar thought as he wrote in Rom 7:15
Rom 7:15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
But Paul had the help of God’s Spirit within, working in his mind, to help him see the goal at the end and that resulted in an emotional and logical uplifting of his spirit that allowed him to rise above all that was happening to him and give him strength and hope to continue on to perfection. Notice as he goes on in Romans 8:18
Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Paul reveled in that hope and from it drew his strength to fight the pulls of the flesh as we should as well.
I think an attitude adjustment can be a real help in dealing with sin in our life as well as the trials that are always there to strengthen and teach us. Sometimes it requires that we look at things a bit differently and sometimes we go through a lot just to get to that point of a change in our thinking, our mindset, if you will.
God has an interesting tool at his disposal, one that He seems to use regularly to check our spiritual health perhaps. I call it God’s Thermometer.
Lets see if you can see what I saw as I was going through this last round of trials and failures on my part to keep my end of the bargain I made with God.
Our move to Texas has turned out to be a very good thing but we went through a period of time getting here that was perhaps the most stressful of any that I have gone through.
Just as a quick peek as to what I mean, the trip itself that my wife and I made with all the pets of three households, should have taken 2.5 days, instead it took 7 agonizing days. We started out pulling an older but basically sound trailer with all our animals in cages and ended up with a trailer that was literally held together with 4 packing straps wrapped around it to keep the skin from falling off. The frame was warped and the bumper gone completely and we ended up having to buy two brand new trailer tires just to get us the last leg of the trip to our house in Texas. Ugh! What a trip. It seemed like everything that could go wrong did.
I was not used to things like this happening. I trust God to keep these major problems at bay for the most part and I truly believe He does. Yet here was a situation where major problems, repairs, accidents and breakdowns kept happening one after another.
I just could not wrap my mind around why so many and in such rapid fire order. Not only that but my peace was completely broken I was alternately wading through the problems like something made out of stone or raging completely out of control. At least it seemed like that at the time. My wife concurs! 😉
Yet I began to see God’s hand in absolutely every problem that happened. Immediately there appeared an answer or a way out of the immediate problem, the problems did not stop coming but each one was able to be overcome and a way was made possible, I could see God’s hand in it. I began to remember how He had helped in the past and the things He has done throughout history for his people.
This is a story of what happened to me that I am sharing and what I discovered from going through it.
Things had been fairly rough for the last two years we had been either moving or planning on moving the whole time. I got kind of seared by the problems. Mostly I just put my head down and waded through them one after another with not much feeling either way.
I figured I would give it to God and let Him handle it.
Sometimes we cop out on life by not allowing ourselves to feel what is happening to us. I don’t think God likes that tendency in His people. This neutral feeling when going through a trial tends to defeat the purpose of the trial it seems.
I mean think about it in terms of the ERA’s of God’s Church. He told us in Philadelphia hold fast and overcome to the end and then He went on to tell the Laodecian Era that they had become lukewarm and were blind and naked. Why how could that have happened I wondered.
Then I thought about what I had been going through and how I had dealt with it. I began to see that you can’t just hold fast to something without any expression of feeling toward having it or losing it. Because if you don’t have any feeling then you begin to get lukewarm to everything. And the more lukewarm you become the less understanding you have, you become eventually blind to your condition. You become naked without even knowing.
Hah! in my youth there was a song by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition called “Just Dropped IN” in the song, he was dropping in to see what condition his condition was in! It was a drug culture song about LSD actually I think but the wording fits so well here I thought I would mention it. When we feel no emotional content to the trials and troubles of this life then we for sure need to check out our condition, to see what condition it really is in!
You can see how God sees it by the way He looked at Esau, notice in
Heb 12:16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.
God wants to see our feelings always he tests us and puts us under trials to see how we will react yes but also to see what it makes us feel about the trial. If we cut off our feelings from Him then how can he judge when the trial or test has had its affect?
If we don’t care anymore than Esau then we are considered profane in God’s eyes. If you look up the Greek word translated as profane it means heathen or Godless person.
Seems like God wants us to care very much. And I wonder how many times we have to go through trials just to get us to the point where we do REALLY CARE! And are willing to SHOW that feeling.
Look at how many times in God’s word that he stresses emotionally charged aggressive actions by His people.
Here are a few of the scriptures that might show that:
2Pe 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Here is our goal in a nutshell. We are to be Partakers of the Divine Nature of God! This is what should drive us. And then notice that he says to give ALL DILIGENCE to add those things that will make that calling sure.
2Pe 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
2Pe 1:6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
2Pe 1:7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
2Pe 1:8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rev 3:19As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Notice that He wants us to be ZEALOUS in our repentance. Take a look at how Paul describes the emotions that should be a part of real repentance.
2Co 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
2Co 7:11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
Look at the emotions involved here: carefulness(earnestness), indignation, clearing of yourselves(eagerness),fear, vehement desire, zeal,punishment(readiness to punish wrongdoing)
Can you see the emotional content of the repentance being shown here! These people were not looking at this sin in a ho hum attitude. They wanted it corrected and wanted it to be correct now!
That is the way we must be to get sin out of our lives. God says for us to HATE sin!
Psa 97:10 Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.
If you want to control sin in your life you have to learn to HATE IT. Notice the emotional component to overcoming sin.
When God wants to see how we are coming along spiritually he just looks at the emotional response we have to the trials and tests that He gives us.
You know it is one thing to deal with the Master Potter when he is only using a hammer and chisel to shape us but there are times when He reaches for the Jack Hammer. That’s when we need to be paying real close attention to get that one over quick.
I noticed another scripture that I had not seen before:
Pro 8:13 The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.
Psa 111:10 The fear of the LORDis the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.
We have all heard that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom I think but in the verse above he tells us what the fear of the Lord really is – it is the Hatred of Evil or sin.
You want to really be overcomers then learn to really hate sin.
I noticed the other day I did something that was wrong to do, no big deal I thought but it was sin. I was lookng at that as oh no I did it again when am I going to ever get rid of that sin.
Well the problem was I was too comfortable with that sin. It was a part of me, I had had that for 50 years at least! I asked God to forgive me but there was no emotional component to it. Do you think He really did? I don’t. I have got to learn to hate that sin with such a vehemence that I will never do it again.
I can’t say oh there it is again poor me! God is not going to tolerate that. We cannot take sin in a lukewarm attitude like that.
It is like Paul says in
Eph 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
Eph 4:27 Neither give place to the devil.
Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Get angry about your sins put them away because if you do not it gives satan a way to get into your life and mess things up.
Also it grieves the Holy Spirit. The more we sin the more the Spirit is quenched the more we bring our bodies into subjection the more the Spirit can grow in us.
Start using the emotions that God has given us to deal with sin in our lives and we will be able to gain control over these sins in a real meaningful way.