Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness. Because, as Paul said, bad company corrupts good morals.
Anyone who thinks the Bible is an old dusty book with little current application has only to read the book of Proverbs and other passages in light of today’s headlines. Just consider the growing list of those accused of sexual immorality, greed, and corruption:
Hollywood elite who looked the other way as directors and other powerful men preyed on young women.
The perpetrators themselves.
Politicians who have been corrupted by power, position and the ability to spend tax-payer dollars to cover their indiscretions.
Others afraid or unwilling to criticize, perhaps wondering if they’ll be the next to be outed or accused.
Women who have been willing to tolerate abuses to get what they wanted (yes, some were naive or fearful, but do we really believe all of them were mere victims).
Those willing to use money and favor, if not, out and out bribery, to get a desired outcome.
Those willing to accept it.
Politicians and media people willing to stack elections in favor of one candidate or the other; one party or the other.
And many other examples.
But bad influences don’t just exist in politics and the entertainment industry. They can exist with our friends, advisers, co-workers, business partners, spouses, and those with whom we spend a great deal of time, whose favor we desire, or whose influence we come under. Continue reading →
What is God’s “umbrella of protection” and how do we stay under it in the home, in the workplace, and in other areas of life? How, also, do we put ourselves outside His protective authority? And how does the Church itself act as an umbrella of protection for its members? Continue reading →
Today we’re going to continue to talk about guilt, what it is, and why we experience it? We’ll look at how the world views it and the biblical perspective on it. Finally, we’ll talk about what God has to say about handling guilt biblically?
Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.
Handling Guilt Biblically Part 2
We’re in a series on “Handling Emotions Biblically.” In previous posts we covered anger, depression, fear and worry. If you missed any of them, just click on the link.
Last week we looked in depth at Psalm 38 which was written by David as he struggled with guilt and depression.
Today we’ll look at how guilt and shame are tied to other negative emotions like fear and shame. We’ll also see how the culture has tried to remove all restrictions, including God’s law, to alleviate feelings of guilt, instead of dealing with the root issues. Then we’ll look at what guilt is biblically and how God says to deal with it.
An Unholy Trio: Guilt, Fear & Shame
A few weeks ago we looked at the first time fear showed up in the Bible. Adam and Eve had disobeyed God and eaten the fruit they had been forbidden to eat. When their eyes were opened and they realized what they had done, Genesis 3 says:
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. 8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
That fear was triggered by guilt and shame. Their response was to hide and when confronted to shift the blame to someone else:
12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”
13 And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Since that day in the garden, human beings have perfected the art of blame-shifting and tried to cover our guilt with all kinds of fig leaves. We’ve blamed our parents, our economic situations, society, cultural demands, and religion just to name a few.
The World’s Fig Leaves
The Psychology Fig Leaf
Secular psychologists told us that religion and society imposed unfair “codes of conduct” on us and that was the root of our guilt. The answer we were told was to throw off those constraints and create our own definitions of what’s right and wrong.
Isn’t that what women’s liberation, the sexual revolution, the right to abortion, the demand to be gay, bisexual, transgender or whatever we desire, are all about? In our attempt to alleviate any guilt, we’ve re-written the code.
The Environmental Fig Leaf
Behaviorists came along and blamed the environment. They said we shouldn’t feel guilty. It’s not our fault. It’s because we’re poor and uneducated. Or it’s the way our parents raised or neglected us.
The Low Self-Esteem Fig Leaf
The self-esteem movement told us it’s because we don’t feel good about ourselves. We must raise our self-esteem so we can eliminate those negative emotions.
The Medical Fig Leaf
The medical world has clouded the issue, too. Drunkenness is now called a disease, alcoholism. Rebellion is oppositional defiance disorder. Sexual immorality is a sexual addiction.
The problem is when we quit calling things what they are, the answers get obscured, as well.
The Effects of Living in a Sin Cursed World
No one would deny the the environment in which a person is raised has an effect on them. But we have a choice as to how we’ll respond to those factors. And because of our fallen nature we can have a predisposition to certain kinds of sin, weaknesses, where we need to depend on God in a greater way.
And, certainly, we need to examine any “code of conduct” in light of God’s Word. Legalism and false religions are full of man-made rules. But the answer isn’t to come up with what seems right to us.
There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death (Prov. 14.12).
And nowhere in the Bible are we told to esteem ourselves, but rather, to esteem God and others. We’re not to denigrate ourselves, but neither are we to think more highly of ourselves than we should.
For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith (Rom. 12.3).
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself (Phil. 2.3).
Whatever our weaknesses, whatever our environment, God has promised that if we belong to Him, He’ll give us the grace we need for every situation. Continue reading →
When sin entered the world it was accompanied by an uninvited guest … FEAR. Yet, the Bible tells us over 450 times, “fear not” or similar words. Find out the two root causes of fear and learn to overcome it biblically in your own life.
Handling Fear & Worry Biblically Part 2
We’re in a series on “Handling Emotions Biblically.” We’ve covered anger and depression. Last week we started talking about fear and worry. If you missed any of them, just click on the link.
Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.
Fear & Worry
Last week I said that some sins are so common they’ve almost become acceptable, even among believers in Christ. Though we may spin them with words like: concerned, disturbed, or troubled, fear and worry fall into that category. Last week we focused on worry, how it comes from a divided mind, that it has sinful roots, and how it’s a form of idolatry. Today we’ll focus on fear.
The minute Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying God, an uninvited guest called “fear” showed up, too. Genesis 3:
8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
9 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”
10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
When Cain killed his brother Abel and was banished, he responded with self-pity and fear. Genesis 4:
13 And Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear! 14 Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me.”
We fear what God will do. We fear what people will do. We fear what people think of us. We fear someone taking advantage of us or not loving us. We fear being disrespected. We fear all over the place.
Yet, in His Word, God told us not to fear over 450 times.
He told a fearful mother:
17 … Then the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said to her, “What ails you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is.18 Arise, lift up the lad and hold him with your hand, for I will make him a great nation” (Gen. 21.17-18).
He assured the nation of Israel of His help and deliverance by telling them to “fear not” (Is. 41.10, 13, 14). And in chapter 43 He said:
1 But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.
In Exodus 4 God reassured a fearful, insecure future leader:
1 Then Moses answered and said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’”
10 Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”
11 So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? 12 Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”
And when he persisted, God sent his brother Aaron with him (Ex. 4.13-17).
In the New Testament, Paul told a nervous young preacher named Timothy:
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Tim. 1.7).
Aging parents, health concerns, rebellious children, financial worries, safety issues and more. For many of us, they can lead to increasing fear, worry, and anxiety ranging from mild to paralyzing.
As believers we know we should trust God rather than be fearful and worried, but the peace we desire and God wants us to have, seems elusive.
We know the answer lies in our relationship with Christ, but sometimes we need practical advice on how to break those old habit patterns. Elyse reminds us:
[Jesus is] the only one who intimately knows all our thoughts and fears. He’s the only one who is able to deliver us. That’s because He’s faced the greatest of all fears for us—the fear of death and separation from God— and He’s come through victorious. The Bible teaches that one reason He left heaven and came to earth was to “deliver those who through fear…have been living all their lives as slaves to constant dread” (Hebrews 2:15 TLB).
Our fears are like chains around our hearts—they paralyze, entrap, and enslave us. But Jesus Christ holds the key that can unlock and banish all your fears. He’s able to do this because His love is more powerful than your fears. It’s His plan to teach, encourage, and transform you into a person who trusts Him— even in the face of your deepest worries and anxieties. He doesn’t promise to make you perfect here on earth, but He does promise to work mightily in your heart now and will ultimately, in heaven, completely free you from every fear.
She goes on to help us identify the source of our fear, worry, and anxiety. Then through careful application of the Scriptures and personal examples, her own and others, she helps us:
Cast all [our] anxiety on him because he cares for [us] (1 Pet. 5.7).
Mondays @ Soul Survival is a place to share your insights about God and His Word, parenting, marriage, homemaking, organization and more. Feel free to link up multiple posts as long as they are family friendly. Remember this is a Christian site. I would love it if you link back in someway and share the linkup on social media. I pin many of your posts on my “Mondays @ Soul Survival” Pinterest boardas time allows. Continue reading →
This week’s question: “Should such a man as I flee?” (Nehemiah 6.11).
Nehemiah had what may have been considered a cushy job in Babylon, but he had a heart to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls that had been destroyed and were still in ruins.
He started out well and after six weeks he was closing in on the finish line, but when the end was in sight, an enemy sought to derail him. Hawkins writes:
Sanballat— Nehemiah’s longtime nemesis— and his deceitful friends made a final attempt to derail him. They sought to trick him into a meeting that was designed to get him off on a side street. “Come, let us meet . . . in the plain of Ono” (Nehemiah 6: 2) was their invitation.
Many of us have gotten off on a side street. Sometimes in our careers or perhaps in our marriages. And other times in our ministries. We started out with a great plan or goal, but the enemy came along and distracted us.
Nehemiah, however, refused to get distracted. He sent Sanballat a message, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” (v.3).
When Sanballat realized he had failed to distract Nehemiah, he tried another tactic: the threat of danger. He sent a secret informer who said, “Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you; indeed, at night they will come to kill you” (v. 10).
But Nehemiah responded, “Should such a man as I flee? And who is there such as I who would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in!” (v. 11).
The author goes on:
In contrast to Nehemiah’s perseverance, we live in a day when we see a lot of men and women fleeing, running out on responsibilities and opportunities and away from risks. This escapism takes all kinds of forms. Too many wish with the psalmist, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest” (Psalm 55: 6). Guess what? You don’t have any wings! You can’t just fly off. You can’t run out every time things don’t seem to go your way.
How about you? Have you allowed yourself to get sidetracked? Do you need to refocus on the purpose you had when you started your blog or other ministry? Do you need to recommit to your marriage or some other endeavor? Is there some area where you have let fear or escapism take over?
Let me know in the comments.
Next week’s question is: “If a man dies, shall he live again?” (Job 14.14)
Last week’s question: “Why are we sitting here until we die?” (2 Kings 7.3). Read it here.
You can get a copy of The Jesus Code and follow along with these 52 vital questions. The chapters are short and can easily be read in one sitting. If you do, I’d love your feedback. Click here to get the book or here for Kindle.
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Several weeks ago I started this series, “Living Between the Already and the Not Yet.” “The already” is who we are in Christ and have been since the day that He saved us. The “not yet” is who we will be when we stand before Him faultless, in other words, when we are like Him.
Count it all joy when we encounter tests & trials.
Accept His discipline.
Keep the two great commandments.
Overcome evil with good.
Trust in His sovereignty.
In the second post, I talked about “Responding to Difficult People.” We all have one or more of them in our lives, whether it’s a child, a family member, a spouse, a co-worker or someone else.
I used a simple counseling diagram we call the “Y-chart,” to demonstrate how responding God’s way results in peace and blessings and how our load in life gets easier. But when we respond our own way, it results in tribulation and distress (anxiety, fear, worry, stress, depression) and life gets harder.
RECOGNIZING THE PROCESS OF SIN
In this post I’m going to talk about the process of sin: how it works, why we fall into its snares, and how we can avoid it. Continue reading →