Bible Stuff That Won't Bore You

Christianity has no power to change the world unless we live how the Bible teaches

After thirty-two years of being a Christian, I finally get what it is really about!

I know this may sound a bit ridiculous at first, but over the past two months, God brought me to a place where my attitude towards Christianity has changed so dramatically it is beyond humbling, as he set his refiner’s fire to what I thought was a sincere faith, replacing it with what the Bible, and his Spirit commend, rather than allowing me to relying on worldly ways of thinking when examining the sincerity of my walk

Among many passages, the verse God used to show me what true faith according to how the Bible defines it, which involves seeking his kingdom, and his righteousness first in all things, is noted below, as it is a teaching we read about, but almost never actually apply

Matthew 6:33
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well

As a heads up, this is the longest article on the site, but worth the fifteen minutes of reading if you are even remotely serious about increasing the sincerity of your faith–if this article does not inspire you to change your life, read it again!

And with that…

Do We Live According To What The Bible Teaches Or Just According To What We Feel Comfortable With

Did it suddenly get hot in here or what?

But seriously, this question, and its painful answer, is one of the largest reasons why Christianity has such a boring, misunderstood, and often bad reputation in our society, and guess what, most of us are part of the problem!

I say this openly as I was completely guilty of this, and have only recently been willing to acknowledge I was not living according to the gospel as the Bible instructs us to

The sad truth, is many of us approach our relationship with God in a way that does very little to demonstrate the amazing, life-changing effect a relationship with God can have, as we often treat Christianity as if it is some kind of afterthought we do not take completely seriously, even going so far as to reject the Bible’s teachings when following them would require changing our lives in ways we do not find comfortable

…um, ouch

Yes, I know we are all familiar with how the Bible tells us to live righteously, and love others, not to mention we are all probably trying in what we would call our own way to live up to what the Bible teaches, but we should compare ourselves to the following passages, as our lives may have an appearance of righteousness, blessings, and relationship, but rarely do they line up with the gospel as the authors of the Bible taught it

Double ouch!

For example, how seriously do we take Jesus’ instruction to fight sin with all of our strength, regardless of any worldly cost, do we not instead take our time fighting sins we struggle with, often without any real sense of urgency?

Matthew 5:29-30
If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell

(Jesus was speaking metaphorically, but his point was that we should be willing to sacrifice anything to prevent ourselves from sinning, and even warned us about the consequences of sin–remember he is talking to believers!)

The author of Hebrews also wrote about this, as they openly chastised people for losing perspective on how important it is to fight against sin, as we should find anything that contradicts God’s righteousness so awful, we would be willing to do anything to keep ourselves from it

Hebrews 12:4
In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood

Also, when it comes to charity, how generously do we give to those in need, and when was the last time we actually went in search of people we could help rather than waiting for someone to fall into our lap–do we even give charitably at all, let alone with a cheerful heart?

Matthew 25:34-36
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me’

2 Corinthians 9:7
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver

Even further to this, do we pay attention to, and live according to the promise of the consequences Jesus openly spoke about for those who do not demonstrate his love to those who are in need?

Matthew 25:41-43
Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me’

(Note that Jesus did not only focus on a message of repentance during his time on earth, as he is warning us to live in a way that shows we love people enough to reach out to them–these are strong words, but remember they are from Jesus himself!)

What about how we are told repeatedly in the Bible to live in such loving, righteous, charitable ways that non-believers see God’s character in our lives so strongly they praise him for it–many of us like to recycle the saying “At all times preach the gospel, and when you have to, use words”, but rarely do anything to live up to this, stop saying this if you do not make it true!

Matthew 5:14-16
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven

1 Peter 2:11-12
Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us

Or what about Jesus’ instructions to seek the kingdom of God, and his righteousness first in all things rather than chase after worldly happiness or security as our first priority in life?

Matthew 6:28-33
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well

(Jesus makes two important points in this passage, as he not only says those who seek security in material wealth, and earthly happiness as their first priority have “little faith”, but he also chastises these people even further by comparing them to non-believers by saying “pagans run after all these things”, yikes! Also, do not overlook how Jesus said to seek God’s kingdom *and* his righteousness, which means we should not only seek to further God’s kingdom, but to live according to God’s standard of righteousness, not our own!)

Also, since Christianity is about walking intimately with God, and reflecting his loving, righteous character in every aspect of our lives, do we take it seriously that we should seek the happiness, well being, and security of others equally as our own, even sacrificing comfort, not just the excess in our lives for the sake of making sure others are seen to–do we even want to know the answer to this question?

Luke 10:27
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself

Acts 20:35
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’

1 Corinthians 10:24
No one should seek their own good, but the good of others

Galatians 5:13-14
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself”

Romans 12:10
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves

1 John 4:8
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love

I could go on, but you get the point, as when we read these passages, we quickly see how our lives, or at least parts of them, do not line up with the Bible, as we do not exactly wage war against sin as if our lives depend on it, we do not demonstrate God’s love through giving and service like Jesus instructed, nor do we put God’s kingdom, or his righteousness, first in our lives

This is not meant to condemn anyone, but we need to take responsibility for the fact that Christianity is not changing the world like it did in the early days of the church, as we are not walking in the love, power, righteousness, and intimacy with God they did, mainly because we are more concerned with living for our own worldly happiness rather than living the true gospel through love, and righteousness, taking great care to reject everything the world has to offer that would keep us from honoring God completely

…triple ouch!

The World Is Only Impacted By Christianity In A Positive Way When We Publicly Live According To How The Bible Teaches: News And Sports At 11

I know this may seem like a shocking concept, but you know that book we talk about sometimes, the one we carve out those painful ten minutes a week to read, what is it called again, oh, right, the Bible

Well, anyway, as it turns out, that book contains a lot of useful information for how to live as a Christian–who knew!?


All kidding aside, and apart from the verses noted above, there are an incredible amount of passages in the Bible we could look at to illustrate how we are supposed to live for the sake of God’s glory, but the one he used to make this concept real for me was this:

Matthew 6:33
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well

Over the last few months, God showed me that even though I was putting in some amount of effort to glorify his kingdom, I was not living in a way that reflected I was truly putting him first, either in my actions towards others or the level of righteousness I was walking in

Sure, I had stopped doing obvious, publicly visible sins that blatantly contradicted the Bible, I was giving some of what I had to charity, and was working with the poor in my area, but I was not bearing the kind of fruit in my life I knew represented the supernatural life transformation the Bible talks about, but above all, I did not have the intimacy with God I wanted

But why?

The answer for pretty much all of us, regardless of whatever excuses we make, yes I said excuses, is simple, as we generally do not want to let go of the lives we are content with, and are not willing to make the changes needed to bring glory to God’s kingdom on earth like Jesus commanded as we are more concerned with our happiness than the happiness, and well being of others

Also, do not even get me started on how our definition of happiness revolves around what the world calls happiness, as it is not like we are locking ourselves up in our houses to study the Bible or pray for days on end to the point where it interferes with us demonstrating God’s love to the world through righteousness, and loving actions

No, it is quite the opposite, as we are too busy being concerned with what we eat, who we date, what we wear, our finances, what we do to entertain ourselves, etc… to even think about others, let alone honor them before ourselves

Glorifying God’s kingdom involves loving people around us through actions, not just ideals, and by living righteously according to God’s standards, not ours

John 8:31-32
If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free

(Notice how Jesus says if we obey his teachings we are really his disciples, as he never taught anyone could just wear a Christian label without repentance and life change)

John 14:21
Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them

Luke 10:27
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’

John 13:34-35
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another

(When was the last time anyone identified or commended us as a Christian because of the way we live? This is not exactly a common occurrence, and is made all the more tragic by the fact that so many people in North America call themselves Christians)

Galatians 6:10
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers

1 John 3:18
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth

1 Peter 1:22
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart

1 John 3:10
This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister

James 2:14-17
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead

1 John 3:17
If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?

2 Timothy 2:19
Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness

These verses leave zero room for grey area, as Jesus, and every author in the NT, taught that anyone who claims to be Jesus’ disciple must obey the truth of God’s perfect, loving, holy character by living righteously for one simple reason: God is love itself!

1 John 4:8
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love

John does not exactly sugar coat the reality of how important it is to love others, as he openly says those who do not love do not know God, which leads us to question, if we are not in an intimate relationship with God because of the choices we make, what exactly do we expect to win the world over with?

Good intentions we never follow up on?

How are those going to minister to anyone?


When We Share Our Relationship With God, Are We Making It Appealing

Before anyone has time to get offended over this question or say things like “But we may be planting seeds, we never know”, look at these verses again:

Matthew 5:14-16
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven

1 Peter 2:11-12
Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us

I know a lot of people are shy about sharing the gospel, but even if we work up the courage to do it, we should take time to consider what we are actually sharing

Quite honestly, many of us have been Christians for so long we often forget what it is like to speak with people who have either never been introduced to Christianity or to those who have turned away from it for some reason

When we attempt to reach out to others, we have to be careful about what we say, and how we live, making sure it presents a compelling, and/or inspiring case for someone to turn to God, as we should be doing everything to represent his righteousness, love, and wisdom in everything we do

We should boldly be able to talk about God’s love, our short-comings, the things God has healed us of, and our current struggles with confidence, sincerity, and without being pushy or off-putting because we are nervous, insecure or self-conscious

This may sound like a difficult thing to do since describing God accurately can feel like an impossible task, but remember the Bible says God is love itself, so we can look at how it defines his character as we should be able to share how his love has affected us, and do everything possible to model ourselves after it, as we represent God in the eyes of the world

1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered,it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres

Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us

(It is important to understand that Jesus paid for our sins while we were still considered his enemies, as we had done nothing to deserve receiving such a tremendous gift)

2 Corinthians 8:9
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich

(We often quote how Jesus made himself poor for our sake, but we rarely do things in our lives to humble ourselves to serve, and love others in the same way)

2 Corinthians 5:19-20
…he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us

(Really think about this passage, as God is literally making his appeal to the world through us, that is an amazing revelation of how much our relationship, and the furthering of his kingdom is a partnership!)

For an example of world changing Christianity demonstrated through righteousness and love, look at how the early church lived, as they were dedicated to applying the Apostles’ teachings to their lives, frequently met and ate together to build up their Christian community, God was so powerful among them they saw many miracles, and they were so unattached to personal wealth, they did not even consider their possessions theirs, selling them as necessary to make sure there were no unmet needs within the church, and, as a result of this amazing lifestyle, it says “the Lord added to their number those who were being saved”

This is the kind of Christianity even the most bitter, jaded, doubtful person would find appealing, as it revolves around a life-changing, supernatural power, and love that cannot be found anywhere else or in any other religion!

Acts 2:42-47
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved

This passage shows how the early church lived in an incredibly beautiful way that expressed God’s multi-faceted character through love, wisdom, charity, fellowship, and power–who would not want to be a part of that kind of amazing church family?

By comparison, sadly, when we look at our personal lives, home groups, churches, etc.., we do not see this kind of Christianity

Quite honestly, we barely see a shadow of it, if even that, as many Christians rarely interact with one another outside of church, let alone go to Bible studies or share in each other’s lives in meaningful ways, and do not even get me started on how we do not share our lives with those outside the church through outreach of any kind

The fact is, our modern Christian culture is more focused with living in isolated ways that focus on ourselves rather than living for one another, and for some reason, very few people tell us this is wrong

I mean seriously, when was the last time our pastor, Bible study leader, or anyone for that matter, encouraged us, or held us accountable, to love others according to how the Bible teaches, live righteously, do good deeds that involve real sacrifice or spoke seriously about dealing with sin in a way that made us uncomfortable–not very often!

It is as if people are too afraid to deal with the difficult parts of Christianity that involve truly honoring or respecting God, in preference of focusing on basic things like forgiveness for sins–forgiveness is just a basic component of Christianity, it is not the end goal, as spiritual maturity, intimacy with God, and bearing righteous fruit are what is praised by God, not sinful weakness or a lack of maturity due to laziness

Look at how the author of Hebrews speaks about this without trying to spare anyone’s feelings regardless of their maturity level, as he is openly speaking to those who are immature, not the mature–think about that the next time a long-time Christian complains about how a message of righteousness or maturity is too difficult to digest

Hebrews 5:11-14
We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil

Hebrews 6:1-2
Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment

(Many Christians are stuck at the level of trying to let go of sins they are attached to, and many do not believe there is any form of judgment for believers, which is a whole other topic, but note how the author of Hebrews says these are “elementary teachings”, as they are things they expected even spiritually immature believers to lay hold of before moving onto more challenging concepts–many Christians never progress past these things which is quite sobering!)

Are you uncomfortable yet, I certainly was when God first drove this all home for me, as it means real life change is required if we are serious about our relationship with him

I know some of these things may sound harsh, but we need to understand that regardless of where we are in our progression towards maturity, there are very few examples of true Biblical faith, righteousness, love, power, and charity available to us today, which is nobody’s fault except our own as a church body, as we claim to have a relationship with the very same God the early churches did, yet we live nothing like them–this is our fault, not God’s

Also, I want to be abundantly clear we should not just fault our pastors, teachers, favorite authors, etc… for the state of modern Christianity, as it is the responsibility of every believer to live, and love the way the Bible teaches, and there is no excuse for ignorance, as even a quick read through the most commonly quoted passages in the Bible shows us the standard of righteous we should be pursuing, and the love we should have for one another

Plus, you just read everything up to this point, so you are accountable now, ha!

Ephesians 5:8-10
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord

Ephesians 5:15-17
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is

“But It Is Too Hard To Live Like The Bible Teaches”

Okay, before I jump up and down like Yosemite Sam over how the enemy has convinced Christians it is not possible to live according to God’s righteousness, I am going to take a short pause

Now that I have had my personal interlude, I want to draw attention to the fact that when the enemy tells us we cannot live up to God’s standard of righteousness it is a complete lie, though it is one many Christians fall into, some even willingly so

I know this is a sensitive topic as many of us feel like we just cannot overcome certain sins in our lives, but look at what Peter and Paul taught about this topic, as they could not have been more clear that we have all the power we need in order to live just like Jesus did, ie: at a level of supernatural righteousness

2 Peter 1:3-4
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires

Titus 2:11-14
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good

(Note that “grace” in Greek means “through unmerited favor, receiving God’s influence on the heart”, as we see Paul encouraging Titus with the knowledge that God’s power can teach us to reject every sinful, worldly desire that is thrown at us, so we can live “upright and godly lives in this present age”, and even be “eager to do what is good”, as living righteously in love should not feel like a chore in any way!)

How can anyone read these passages, then turn around and say living righteously is impossible, that is literally calling God a liar!

Sure, it is not easy walking in this level of obedience at first since it takes real, determined, consistent effort, but we have been given a spirit of love, power, and self-discipline–we have no excuse!

2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline

Honestly, when I read statements like God “has given us everything we need for a godly life” it is beyond exciting, but where this gets even more uncomfortable, is that since we know God promised we would never be tempted beyond what we can bear, we must take ownership for our choices to live outside of what the Bible, and his spirit teach, as no one forces us to sin or be lazy, we do these things by choice because we prefer to

Every sinful decision we make is our own, as we choose sin according to the sinful desires of our heart, so there is no excuse for our sin, as we simply choose not to obey God’s righteousness

(Yes, ouch is right–this is some real accountability!)

James 1:4
…but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed

1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it

James 4:17
If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them

(Note that the word “good” in Greek is the same word Jesus used when he tells us to “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven”, so if we know God wants us to do something according to his love, we sin if we disobey his guidance, even if it is not something we would normally call wicked, like lust, stealing, lying, etc…)

In the OT, God said nothing he commanded the Israelites to do in the law was too hard, but we have to remember they actually had to commit actions, and often had to have them be confirmed by witnesses, in order to be qualified as sinners, whereas in the NT, Jesus raised the bar by saying even our wicked thoughts are considered sinful, and in the same way God instructed in the OT, nothing we are commanded to follow under the new covenant is too hard for us to follow, as God would never tell us to live according to a standard of righteousness that was impossible to achieve

Remember, God gave us everything we need to lead godly lives, and overcome sin through the power of his spirit!

Deuteronomy 30:11-15
Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction

Matthew 5:27-28
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart

Honestly, I have no idea why people abuse the idea of God’s forgiveness under the new covenant, as it reflects a distorted, misunderstanding of the gift of God’s power within us, as if God is only here to wipe our guilt away so we can go on sinning

We should instead view God as being the source of strength for us to overcome even the toughest sins permanently

1 Peter 2:15-16
For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves

Jude makes an even stronger point than Peter, as he openly taught that there are disrespectful Christians who twist God’s grace, which is his favor and power, into an excuse to continue their sinful behavior without repentance, which denies Jesus himself!

Jude 1:4
For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord

(In Greek, the word “ungodly” means “without reverence for God”, so we see that as evil as these people sound on the surface, they are not that far from most Christians, as many of us lack true reverence for God in a way that leads us to not abuse God’s grace as we often sin with the belief God will just forgive us anyways–never happens right?)

It is so weird that people often repay God’s kindness with ongoing sin, and even make excuses for why it is okay with statements like:

“God knows my heart”

“I know the Bible teaches against this, but God wants me to be happy”

“This is okay, Christianity is all about forgiveness”

…um, no

I mean seriously, when God’s spirit was placed within us, our level of righteousness was supposed to go up, not down

Like, duh!

Romans 8:3-4
And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit

Also, to quote Peter, and Paul again, we need to realize God’s power within us can change our hearts so we can actually escape the desires of temptation, as that is what participating in God’s supernatural, holy nature is about, ie: rising above both sin, *and* temptation altogether

2 Peter 1:3-4
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires

Titus 2:11-14
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good

What are the desires they speak of saying “No” to, and escaping altogether?

They are the things that separate us from God, as they lead us to deny him in our lives, guiding us toward laziness, to live for ourselves, to be unforgiving and bear grudges, they cause our love to grow cold or never develop in the first place, to become irreverent and disrespectful towards God, to be selfish and not generous to those in need, to be comfortable with our sin and to live according to a righteousness we decide is acceptable rather than follow God’s standard, the same standard he commanded us to live according to in order to prove ourselves as his disciples

The enemy wants us to live apart from God, both in our character and in our relationship with him as it also makes us terrible witnesses

Titus 1:15-16
To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good

Even though some sinful areas of our lives may feel impossible to overcome, we can be encouraged by looking at the smaller areas we have already reached freedom in, and remind ourselves not every fight requires the same amount of effort or time, as some are definitely more challenging than others depending on how much healing and determination is needed

Whew, we covered a lot!

And, now that all the bombs have been dropped…

Okay, Now What

Rather than look at all of this and let the enemy have a field day telling us we are not good enough to live righteously or that God is impossible to please, etc…, we should ask ourselves:

“How can I live according to what the Bible teaches starting right now?”

Great question!

For me, here is a list of things I did over the past few months to line my Christian walk up with the Bible so that I could lead by example, and become incredibly intimate with God:

  • I fasted a number of times and re-dedicated myself to God, promising to not touch, think or look at anything that was evil in any way
  • Started constantly asking God to refine me through hardship, trials, and blessings according to whatever pleased him
  • Began studying the Bible more, which is saying a lot since I could not keep myself out of it in the first place
  • Made a tremendous effort to start spending more time with other believers both in group, and individual settings, but not just for social activities, ones that revolved around studying the Bible and encouraging one another towards love and good deeds
  • I cut out all sorts of entertainment activities that were a complete waste of time like movies, Facebook, news sites, YouTube, video games, etc…
  • For any media based entertainment I do partake in, I instantly shut off anything that is remotely offensive to God’s holiness without being permissive of anything
  • Started giving more to church and to a Christian charity I work with, donating based on my gross salary, not NET
  • Looked for opportunities to serve more in my community, both inside the church and out
  • Helped people out as much as possible financially when they had needs, and even blessed those who did not have anything particular they needed help with

For you, the list may look a bit different, but my goal was to not just talk a better game, but to live one, and wow, the intimacy with God I started having is astonishing

When people in the Bible wrote about the joy of the Lord being their strength, honestly, this is horribly misunderstood, as when God’s presence comes in abundance it is beyond amazing, it feels like love-driven electricity, and there is tremendous spiritual power when praying now, way more than I have ever experienced

I am definitely not encouraging people to follow their feelings or sensations as a barometer of health in their relationship with God, but yikes, there is no mistaking when God draws near as it is so powerful it is like getting hit with the biggest flush of joyful love one can ever experience, so far beyond anything what we call romantic, as it feels so pure, there is no way to compare it with anything physical

(Think about that the next time you pine for a relationship, they are nothing compared to God’s presence, trust me!)

Sorry, I know this is hardly an eloquent depiction, but it is really hard to describe

Also, I know it sounds weird for someone you do not know to say “you are doing it wrong”, but honestly, the majority of Christians are doing it wrong, as when I ask people if they have experienced this kind of intimacy they have no idea what I am talking about, as during these past few months, I have truly learned what Jesus meant when he said:

John 14:21
Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them

Honestly, no matter what anyone may say or think, there is just no mistaking when this happens, as I thought I was doing well, but after thirty-two years of being a Christian, this was the biggest “Oooh, so *that* is what Jesus meant!” moment I have ever experienced in my life, as I had previously only felt this lightly or on a few rare occasions, but it is so strong, and consistent now

Now that I have walked through this door, I see why this relationship is so amazing to guard, much more than I ever did, as it is not a one-time accomplishment, it requires ongoing righteousness, obedience, and respect for God to maintain, as he is still the God of all creation, one who deserves to be greatly feared–to take God for granted at this point of the relationship would be pure stupidity, as who would reject the greatest love they have ever known when they find it, especially for anything so worthless as what the world offers?

James openly taught that rejecting God in favor of the world causes us to become his enemy, and remember, he was talking to believers when he wrote this!

James 4:4-5
You adulterous people don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us?

James 4:8
Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded

Oh, one other thing I have noticed, is when I am around other sincere believers who have a passionate hunger for God, which is, sadly, not as often as one would hope, I can feel God’s presence well up inside me in a way that makes me want to hug them, and jump up and down with excitement at the same time–I am not a huggy person normally, trust me

None of this would have been possible if I had not started fully living according to how the Bible teaches

I want to be clear I am not saying any of this to brag or sound superior in any way, I just want to give feedback on what this type of life transformation looks like, as this kind of relationship is available to us if we are hungry for it, and willing to put in the effort it takes to reach spiritual maturity–be encouraged, and be ready to fight along the way knowing God has already won the victory on our behalf!

2 Corinthians 5:21
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God

Hebrews 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him

This article was long, and I am thankful you made it to the end

Also, prepare for more bombs being dropped–I am back!

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  • Hello, I’ve been a bit confused lately on some things, and I’d just like to ask you:
    What are your views on the Trinity?

      • I’ve just been super confused about it.
        Recently I’ve been going to a Bible study every Friday night in a Church of Christ, and one of the things that they teach is that there is no Trinity. Jesus is not God, He is the Son of God. While I understand this, as even in Scripture Jesus says He is not God, I’m just- Urgh, I’ve no idea how to explain it, but this has really taken a toll on my spritual growth, as it seems instead of moving forward, I’m moving backward because of my confusion over what is the truth of the God I’m serving.
        I’ve been learning so many different things, and I’m just confused about all of it.
        I’ve just no idea about anything right now, it seems, and I’ve been really low about it for these past two months or so… add in a couple of breakdowns, too…
        I want to deepen my relationship with God, I want Him to be all I live for, but since I gave my life to follow God’s law and seek His righteousness and love, I still don’t feel His presence and am still so wrapped in so many things that are keeping me from Him. I don’t know how to worship Him since I don’t know who He is.
        I don’t know if Jesus is God in flesh or if He’s just as the Bible says, the Son of God, Whom the Father exalted.
        I’m sorry I’m all over the place, but there are so many confusing and stressful thoughts just eating away at me because of this.
        Please help me understand this?

        • Hello,

          I am not sure what passages those people are using to say Jesus was not God, but that is not true

          John talked about this definitively in John 1:1-18

          John 1:1-18
          In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it

          There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light

          The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God

          The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth

          (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known

          At the beginning of this passage we see Jesus is God’s Word, which he spoke all things into existence with, so he is not just a man God glorified as he was the one through whom God spoke all mankind into existence along with everything else

          Also, notice how at the end, John plainly states, “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known”, as John clearly explains Jesus is God as he “is himself God”

          Not exactly confusing!

          Also, in the OT, one of the words God used to describe the Messiah was “Immanuel”, which means, “God with us”

          Isaiah 7:14
          Therefore the Lord himself will give you[c] a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel

          Matthew 1:22-23
          All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”)

          So, again, we see the Jews were very aware that the Messiah was not just a man, but God himself

          This is important to understand, as it would change everything if God did not sacrifice a piece of himself, but a man he just honored, as it would show God did not love us as himself like Jesus taught us to love one another, as he paid no real sacrifice for us

          John 15:12
          My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you

          Also, God values his word, Jesus, and his reputation/name, above all things, which is a high price to pay for our sins, and a further demonstration of how much he truly cares for, and adores us

          Psalm 138:2
          …for you have exalted your Word above all your name

          When people distort who Jesus was, it robs us of understanding God’s character, as it denies his loving, pure, humble nature

          Regarding the other things you mentioned, what are some of the areas in your life that are challenging to let go of, we have to remember God never allows us to be put in situations we cannot overcome–this is encouraging!

          1 Corinthians 10:13
          No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it

          Not only is this is an amazing promise, but also a reality check, as that means we are accountable for things we willingly do that separate us from him–eep!

          Creating intimacy with God is not as easy as people often think, nor does it look like anything we imagine, though many are too reluctant to let go of their lives enough to truly find them, I did this for decades, so I know how dangerous the trap of worldly happiness can be

          John 12:25
          Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life

          Based on what you said, is the church you are at now a place you have been a while, do you have good Christian people to connect with?

          I am not talking about empty, socializing friendships, but ones you can grow with in God–encouraging one another to love and good deeds

          Hebrews 10:24-25
          And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching

          • When he explains to me why the Trinity doesn’t exist, he never uses opinions but scripture.

            As for John 1:18, when looking it up to see the different translations, I came across this:


            article. I know that it’s a weak argument to give an article by a person you can’t communicate with. But whenever there is a verse that points to the Trinity, and I look up the words and meanings, oftentimes it seems as though there were some mistranslations or an adding of words, so it confuses me even more. It really makes me question.

            I still have a lot questions to ask the pastor I am speaking to, one of which is the Immanuel subject, but everytime I seem to have come across something that surely points to the Trinity, he shows more verses that point otherwise, often within context.

            As for some of the complications I have been going through, I know that I can get through them with strength through Christ, but often I am just such a coward. Cowardice is a big sin that has really been obstructing me.

            See, I’m taken to and from school by the mom of my friend, of whom I had been best friends with for about six years. Another one of my friends rides with us also. After school, I spend about two hours with the friend whose mom drives us until I am taken home. All of them do not believe in God. They’re all a bit bitter about it.
            I kind of had a problem with their unbelief before I gave my life to living for Christ, but it was really taking a toll on me when I gave my life to following Christ last August.

            Around the end last December, right before Christmas break, I had told them I couldn’t be around them anymore, spending so much time with them, because I felt they were hindering me in my walk with God. I explained that I loved them, yes, but I couldn’t be bffs with people that weren’t going to help me grow in my journey, that instead, I felt, were only desensitizing me to sin.

            I know now I probably could have worded it differently, and perhaps I went about it a little wrong, but I felt I needed to distance myself from them, go off and make new /godly/ friends. I wanted to get away. But it kind of all blew up in my face and they were all against me, and I never left.

            We haven’t mentioned it since, and I don’t talk about God anymore around them. It’s been about five to six months since then.

            I know it’s cowardly, and recently I’ve been getting my vigor back, little by little as I realize my fear shouldn’t conquer me, but I’m about to move soon to a different state. I just feel that over all that time I could have showed the love of Christ and spoke of God’s word with so much passion, but I didn’t because I was afraid of them. I’ve cheated both them and myself. It’s really taken a toll on me because I’m surrounded by ungodliness whilst around them and I don’t know what to do about it. I’m afraid to just tell them to stop. Stop cursing. Stop playing ungodly music. Stop doing a lot of things. I know I can’t change their lifestyles, but I know I could say something, but I’m afraid to. And to be honest, I’m not sure if I should just ask my mom to please take me to and from school, even if it would inconvinience her, or stay and try to show how different I live with the love of Christ guiding me.

            It’s that. That’s what’s been holding me down for so long, I think, but I’m just not sure how to go about changing it. Should I stay or should I go, I feel, is the question that I think has been hindering me.

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