“The Right Bait & the Process of Sin” November 23

 

The Right Bait & the Process of Sin - What is the process of sin in your life? God has clearly explained it so we can avoid its pitfalls, but would you recognize it, if it was happening to you?What is the process of sin in your life? God has clearly explained it so we can avoid its pitfalls, but would you recognize it, if it was happening to you?

 

Today’s Readings:
Ezekiel 37 & 38
Psalm 132.1-9
Proverbs 29.4
James 4.1-17

 

The Right Bait & the Process of Sin

 

James 4.1-17:

The Process of Sin

 

There is so much in the book of James and this chapter is no exception. Verse 4.1 coupled with chapter 1.13-15 give us great insight into the process of sin in our lives.

Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? (4.1).

We often point outside ourselves to other people and circumstances as the reasons for our problems and conflicts. But James clearly tells us they come from our own sinful desires. We do what we do because we want what we want; the problem is not outside of us, but within us!

Sometimes we even attempt to put the blame on God for our sinful behavior. “I prayed and prayed for God to help me (deliver me, remove this sinful desire, etc.), but He just hasn’t.” Chapter 1.13-15:

13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

The Process of SinVerse 14 uses a fishing analogy. Each of us is lured or enticed by our own desires just as a fish is enticed to “take the bait.” And like the fish, we often fail to believe the bait has a hook in it! Once we take the bait we are “drawn away” or we might say, reeled in.

Next James uses a birth analogy: “Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”

First, there is the sinful desire. We start thinking about that man or woman at work. We justify it by saying, “There’s no harm in it. I’m not going to do anything about it!” Pretty soon we start telling ourselves things like, “Well, if my spouse paid more attention to me …,” “He makes me feel desirable,” “At least she respects me,” or a million other variations of the lie.

The desire has been conceived. It’s not full grown yet, but it’s taking shape in the womb of our sinful hearts. And when it’s full grown it gives birth to sin. If we don’t stop it in its tracks, it will be followed by death: guilt, fear, anxiety, embarrassment, humiliation, destruction, even divorce!

Of course, lust and sexual immorality are not the only areas where sin can entice us. It might be just one drink, lying to make ourselves look better, cheating, gossiping, or a million other things.

God included this passage in His Word to reveal the process of sin so we can recognize and avoid it. And if we are already nibbling the devil’s bait … or worse … so we would repent and cry out for His help.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Ezekiel 37 & 38:

Dry Bones & Resurrection Life

 

In chapter 37 Ezekiel sees a vision of a valley filled with dry bones. God tells him He is going to bring the dry bones back together, cover them with flesh, and breathe His Spirit into them. (I can’t read this passage without humming the old song “Dry Bones” that many of us sang as children. Anyone else?)

The dry bones represent the Israelites who had been dispersed among other nations. God promised He would restore them to their land and give them His Holy Spirit.

God also brings resurrection life to our sinful, dry lives. He redeems our pasts, restores where there is death and devastation and breathes life into marriages and relationships that have fallen into disrepair. Continue reading

“Recognizing the Process of Sin”

LIVING BETWEEN THE ALREADY & THE NOT YET – Part 3

 

process of sin

 

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.

The first post was “5 Ways God Finishes His Work in Us” based on Philippians 1.6. In it I said that God is progressively changing and growing us as we learn to:

  1. Count it all joy when we encounter tests & trials.
  2. Accept His discipline.
  3. Keep the two great commandments.
  4. Overcome evil with good.
  5. 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

November 23 “Dry bones & the devil’s bait”

Skeleton dry bonesOnly God can bring life where there were once dry bones. He not only restores our sinful lives when we repent and turn to Him, but when we belong to Him, He helps us recognize the enemy’s plan to lure us back into sin. Satan is neither omnipotent nor omniscient, but he has had a few thousand years to figure out what kind of bait we will bite! God’s Word helps us see it for what it is!

Today’s Readings:
Ezekiel 37 & 38
Psalm 132.1-9
Proverbs 29.4
James 4.1-17

 

Ezekiel 37 & 38:

Dry bones & God’s sovereign care

In chapter 37 Ezekiel sees a vision of a valley filled with dry bones. God tells him He is going to bring the dry bones back together, cover them with flesh, and breathe His Spirit into them.

The dry bones represent the Israelites who had been dispersed among other nations and whom He promised to restore to their land and give His Holy Spirit.

I can’t read this passage without humming the old song “Dry Bones” that many of us sang as children. As I was looking for a YouTube version, I came across this powerful video illustration of Ezekiel’s prophesy.

 

God also brings resurrection life to our sinful, dry lives. He redeems our pasts, restores where death and devastation has occurred, and breathes life into marriages and relationships that have fallen into disillusion or disinterest.

In chapter 38, God begins to speak to Gog and Magog, a powerful nation and its ruler, who would come against the Jews with great numbers of people after they had been restored to their land. According to Matthew Henry’s Complete Commentary on the Bible this probably took place sometime shortly after their return from captivity.

Even though God was assuring His people that they would be restored, He didn’t want them to believe they could expect complete rest from trials and tribulations in this life. Jesus told His disciples much the same thing:

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (Matt. 16.33).

While Ezekiel 38 had a near future fulfillment, it also speaks of a time that is still to come. Revelation 20:

7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.

After the millennial reign of Christ, Satan will be loosed briefly once more, so that those people who were born during that time will have a chance to either accept or reject Christ. Afterwards when he attempts to come against God’s people, he and his followers will be destroyed and cast into the lake of fire.

We should take great comfort in this portion of Scripture in Ezekiel 38 about God’s sovereign care. Although, God may use our enemies to test and strengthen us, we can be sure He will give us the grace we need, either to deliver us from the danger or see us through it.

 

prayerPsalm 132.1-9:

Pray for our pastors

Verse 9 begins, “Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness.”

What a great prayer to pray for our pastors and Christian leaders, that God would protect them and give them His righteousness. Continue reading