Sin isn’t just a one-time act. It’s something that wishes to claim your heart and your life a little piece at a time. Don’t let it. Run from cynicism. Stay soft toward God’s Spirit, God’s Word, and other people.
Going to church, surrounding yourself with Christian trinkets, putting faith-based bumper stickers on your car, even going to seminary and serving in ministry will not keep you from stumbling. But Jesus can.
When we believe the deception, we commit disobedience, acting on our desires and taking the bait. And disobedience has a way of becoming a pattern that eventually leads to death, destruction, and decay – sometimes of our physical bodies, sometimes of relationships, and sometimes of our spiritual vitality.
Whatever it is that is pressing against your faith, you can tell if it’s from God if you’re being drawn to succeed and to grow. If you’re being drawn to fail and to move away from God, it’s not God’s doing.
It might be that you need to take a moment, or a day, or a week, to press pause on your life to listen. It might even be that God so arranges things around you that you’re forced to do so beyond your own will. When those times come, take a knee. The Healer needs space to work.
We enjoy God’s good gifts every day of our lives. And one of life’s most rewarding experiences comes when we trace those gifts back to their source and discover the love of a very good heavenly Father.
The heart of stone refers to a heart that has been calloused over and has become unfeeling and unreceptive to love. And a heart of flesh is one that is soft, tender, and ready to both receive and give love.
God gave up what was most precious to himself, his Son Jesus, to redeem us from the curse and condemnation of our sin. So taking care of us in times of temptation, trial, and suffering is not much of a challenge by comparison.
Salvation can be described in many ways – repenting and believing, receiving Christ, trusting in Christ, believing in him as Lord and Savior – but perhaps my favorite terminology has become bowing before Jesus as King. He saves all who are allegiant. All who surrender. All who trust in his care.
Your real identity is rooted in the purposes for which God created you. And Paul said that God’s purpose includes making you holy and blameless. In other words, while you will not reach a point of perfection in this present life, you will definitely make progress toward it.