Your Kingdom Come, Your Will Be Done

Today’s reading is Psalm 57 where David is hiding in a cave from Saul who is trying to kill him.

Have you ever had something “really bad” happen to you in your life? Perhaps someone close to you has died young or unexpectedly, you or someone close to you has had a serious illness, job loss, financial challenges, or divorce. How did you feel during the midst of it or after? How do you feel today? Of course you were sad, but beyond that were you feeling sorry for yourself or perhaps even mad at God. If yes, that’s ok. I would say these reactions are all normal and human nature. I’ve been there and felt that way as well.

Recently I heard someone say that one of the differences in great leaders and successful people is how quickly they recalibrate and get back to their vision and putting everyday good habits first after something bad happens or they are feeling down. In a similar way, I have to say I really admire Christ-followers who I’m sure initially feel upset, but who quickly turn to God for strength, help, and recalibrate to focus on how God can use them in their circumstances for His greater purpose and glory.

While David was fleeing for his life and hiding with seemingly nowhere to go he says in Psalm 57:2, “I cry out to God Most High to God who fulfills His purpose for me.” Jesus taught us that we must ask for what we want from God in prayer and have the faith to truly believe that it will happen. He does so in Matthew 7:7-8 and Matthew 17:20. David asked God to rescue him in Psalm 57:1 and 57:3 and believes this will happen. David also says God’s purpose will be fulfilled either way in Psalm 57:2. Jesus tells us to ask for what we want and that’s the only way it will happen, but that God’s Kingdom and will are most important. He instructed us to pray about this and keep it on the forefront of our heart in the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:10 when He said, “Your Kingdome come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” Jesus didn’t just tell us to do this, He modeled and did it Himself in His toughest moments when He knew He was going to suffer the wrath of all the sins ever committed through a brutal scourging and crucifixion. In Luke 22:42, He prayed, “Father if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” He asked for what He wanted, but in the end put God’s will first despite the incredible suffering he was about to endure. Did God remove the pain and suffering? No. And I can’t promise you God will remove your suffering during your current or next challenge. But, God did send an angel strengthening Him in that moment in Luke 22:43. I can promise you that God will be with you always through every storm and challenge. David later became king and Jesus was raised 3 days after his death to give all who believe in Him eternal life in Heaven. He can turnaround the worst of circumstances through miracles and in ways on He could do. There cannot be a miracle without a setback! And whether we actually see it or not, He’s working all things for His good and His purpose through us. We must remember that “His good” and “our good” may not be the same, and although we may suffer through tough circumstances, we should be humbled that He would think enough of us to use us for His glory even in our challenges in a similar manner to how He used His Son Jesus.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”

Romans 8:28

It is Finished.

Today’s reading is Hosea 11:12-12:14.

These verses remind us again how God feels about our sin. God is everything good and right. Sin is the exact opposite of Him and His nature. Hosea 12:1 and Hosea 12:8 discuss chasing things that don’t have eternal value but only earthly value. Often times when we receive worldly wealth we think we are invincible and don’t acknowledge that these things came from God. We think we don’t need Him. We become our own God and it’s all about us. God continued to provide for Israel, but yet Israel continued to turn their back forgetting what He had done for them. I do the same daily, and we can get a sense in here how God feels about that.

As you read verses like Hosea 12:14, it is concerning to think about the wrath of God and suffering for our sins. In his final breaths when He died on the cross, Jesus said in John 19:30, “It is finished.” The fact that He took the sin and punishment that should have mine is something that is hard to comprehend. God still hates sin the same as He always has. There are outcomes from our sin we have to deal with on this Earth. However, Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Jesus took the punishment that should have been mine and yours for our sin. John 3:17 tells us that God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world. The Old Testament, this chapter, and this book of Hosea tell us about the wrath of God and how He feels about our sin so we know how abhorrent it is to Him . However, the New Testament does not talk about suffering the wrath of God for our missteps and mistakes. Why? Because there was a new covenant established by Jesus’ blood. Jesus took the wrath and the pain that should have been on you and me on our behalf. I am extremely grateful to God for what He did through His Son Jesus which He didn’t have to so that “It is finished.”

In Whom Do You Trust?

Today’s reading is Mark 14:32-72. In these verses we read through Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, his betrayal and arrest, and Him before the Council (Jewish religious leaders).

Life is hard. We go through many challenging times and situations here on Earth. I would venture to say some of the most difficult situations are when trust is broken and people let us down..especially those we are close to or look up to. I’ve stated this before, but it can’t be said enough, we are so blessed because we have a God who knows exactly what pain we are going through because He experienced it Himself. We read here about how stressed Jesus was knowing the pain and suffering He was about to go through on our behalf. And in the midst of getting ready to experience a punishment most of us can’t even fathom and will never have to go through, He also experienced the following within just a few hours…

  • His 3 best friends in James, John, and Peter letting him down by falling asleep, not keeping watch, and praying like He asked
  • Judas, one of his 12 disciples and closest friends, betraying Him and handing Him over to the religious leaders for money
  • His friends all leaving Him and fleeing the garden when He was arrested and needed their support most
  • The religious leaders He once likely looked up to as child or in His younger years now saying He was liar, physically striking him, and seeking to put him to death
  • Others bearing false witness against Him and telling untrue things about Him
  • As far as we know His only friend near Him while before the Council (all the others abandoned Him and were in hiding) was Peter who denied him not once, but three times

Let down, betrayed, abandoned, lied about, and alone…Jesus could have stopped it all, but He still went to the cross for each of them and for you and for me.

As tough as it is to realize and face when it occurs… our spouse, our parents, our kids, our pastors, our mentors, our best friend, leaders, and anyone we trust and hold in high regard will eventually let us down in one way, shape, or form breaking that trust. And..we will let them down, too. Despite the fact they may have let us down in a major way, we must try to move past and forgive because that is what Jesus did for you and for me. Romans 5:7-8 says, “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare to die—but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”

We must realize that Jesus is the only one who will never let us down and never break a promise. Some may say, “What has God ever done for me?”  For those who are reading this who have had a really tough life or are facing a challenging situation right now…I’m sorry. You may feel like God has let you down and that is understandable. When we dig deeper though, how can we be mad at God for promises He never actually made? In fact, Jesus said the exact opposite.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

He doesn’t say we may have trouble in this life…He says we “will” have trouble! That is why He came. That is why He went to the cross. He did that for you and for me to forgive our sins and the sin of the world. And He kept the promise of overcoming sin and death (the world) when He rose from the dead on Easter this Sunday. He did this so we can have eternal life with Him in Heaven where there will be no more pain and crying and where we will experience a joy we can’t even imagine. He is the only one we can put our trust in that will never mess up and break it. He will never let you down. He is the most important relationship in your life. Have you given your heart and trust to Him?

Completing A Good Work?

Today’s reading is Psalm 132.

Here the unknown Psalmist gives God praise for keeping His promise to David that although David would not himself build the Temple, David’s son Solomon would complete one of David’s greatest desires in doing so (Psalm 132:11-13).

Building the Temple for God was extremely important to David as it says in Psalm 132:2-5. In these verses it says David stated he was so dedicated and committed to it that would not sleep in his house or bed, or even close his eyes and rest, until the Temple was built.  However, the prophet Nathan delivered the sobering message from God to David that he himself would not build the Temple, but that his son would in 1 Chronicles 17. We can learn from David that although he I’m sure was disappointed, he was happy that his son would serve as king and gave God praise in 1 Chronicles 17:26-27.

What have you been committed to in your life that you feel God is just not bringing to fruition? Are you working towards a promotion or career goal that’s not happening? Are you wanting to start a business but don’t feel you have the resources? Are you dedicating yourself to helping a family member or friend get on the right path to make good life decisions or follow Jesus but neither are happening? Or what is a noble goal, life mission/purpose, or positive impact you are trying to accomplish but are not completing?

Why aren’t these things happening? Well..I think the first thing we need to ask ourselves is…are we working towards and desiring these things for our own glory or His? We also need to reflect on whether or not we are asking for wisdom and guidance from God on our journey or just trying to make it happen our own way. God did not let David build the Temple because he was responsible for much bloodshed and war as God said in 1 Chronicles 22:8. God did not let Moses reach the Promised Land because he did not have the faith that God would spew water from the rock from just telling it to do so,  so he disobeyed God’s specific instructions and struck it with his staff instead (Deuteronomy 32:51-52). Just like David, Moses handled the disappointing news he would not accomplish during his lifetime something he had worked most of his life towards by giving a blessing to Israel after in Deuteronomy 33.

We can learn much from David and Moses in how they reacted to not accomplishing what they thought was their life’s purpose and mission. They reacted with reverence and praise trusting in God’s decision.  Also, despite them not fully realizing the fruits of their labor and the mistakes they made, the Bible still tells us there has been no prophet of the Lord like Moses (Deuteronomy 33:10-12), and God knew David was a man after His heart (1 Samuel 13:14). The Bible tells us in Romans 5:8 that while we were still sinners Jesus died for us. He still loves us more than we can imagine no matter what we have done, and there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).

We can also learn that God will accomplish His purpose in the ways and timing He sees best fit. His ways and thoughts are wiser than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). And many times, He will accomplish His purpose through us, but we just may not witness it during our lifetime or even know it occurred. God still used David and Moses to accomplish both His goals and what they strived for…even though they didn’t witness it while here on this Earth. You never know the impact you might be having during your life which you just don’t see. Maybe you had a conversation with someone about Jesus where they didn’t give their life to Christ then, but that laid the foundation for them doing so later. Or someone saw your faith and dedication which led them to do something great with their life even though they didn’t tell you so. We have heard the great things said about someone and the impact they had at their funeral which sadly people never told them while they were living, and they likely didn’t even know about.

As you reflect on the nobleness of your vision and whether it is for God’s glory and aligns also with His vision, continue to ask for wisdom and clarity from Him in your journey. As Pastor Mike Baker stated in his 3/27/2022 sermon at Eastview Christian church in discussing Jesus’ scourging and mocking in Mark 15:15-20, God sometimes allows difficult seasons and pain so something really great will come in the end. Philippians 1:6 says, “And I’m sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Are you doing a good work? This verse says it will be completed ‘‘at the day of Jesus Christ”, but it does not say it will be completed during our lifetime. We may be like David and Moses or we may not even realize His vision and purpose are being accomplished in a different way to impact others for His glory through us.

Heart Check

Today’s reading is 1 Kings 8:22-40.

In these last few days, we’ve gotten a glimpse into the heart of Solomon. As I read 1 Kings 3:1-15 on Tuesday, it occurred to me more clearly that Solomon didn’t ask for wisdom exactly. He asked in 1 Kings 3:9 for understanding to properly govern God’s great people. Then, as a result of seeing his heart to help others God gave him wisdom, riches, and honor (1 Kings 3:12-13).

Now, now not only do we see him praising God’s greatness in adoration (1 Kings 3:1 and 1 Kings 3:27), but we also see him asking God to forgive others. He does so in 1 Kings 8:30, 1 Kings 8:34, 1 Kings 8:36, and 1 Kings 8:39. The people he’s asking God to forgive are not those who have sinned against him where he might really be elevating himself to say in a way…”I’m right..they’re wrong…please forgive them.” He’s not doing to put himself on a pedestal. He’s asking for forgiveness for his people who have sinned in general. His heart is for others in asking God to intercede on their behalf. We know God did this not only for the Jewish people, but the Gentiles as well in sending Jesus (John 3:16).

Solomon also gives us great wisdom in 1 Kings 8:39 in saying only God knows the heart of each person. How often do we judge people without knowing their story and what they are going through? We may think we know, but we don’t know what’s happened in their past or happening behind closed doors which may be causing them to act in a certain way or turn to drugs or alcohol perhaps even struggling from alcoholism which they wouldn’t choose on their own. They may be making some poor choices, but they may actually be telling God they are sorry for their sin problem and asking God to not only forgive them but help them turn from their sinful ways. On the flip side, we may think someone else has a great heart, but really has ulterior motives or is not who they appear to be behind closed doors. They may be in denial of their sin problem. Two weeks ago I wrote on Zacchaeus in Luke 19. Everyone judged him, but Jesus knew who he truly was on the inside. Yet, those Jewish leaders who many likely looked to as being great were the ones with a bigger sin problem.

A few questions for us to ponder on today.

  • Who am I leading that I should ask God for wisdom in leading them..not just at work, but in my home, community organization, or small group?
  • Who might I be judging and condemning where I may not know their whole story?
  • Do I often think about that only God knows the true heart of others?
  • How are my actions, and what is the condition of my heart right now?

Lost and Found

Today’s reading is Luke 19:1-10.

“And when they saw it, they all grumbled, ‘He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.’”

Luke 19:7

These were the comments of those who saw Jesus go to the house of Zacchaeus to spend time and have a meal with him. While none of us are probably to overly fond of IRS agents (professionally at least) and probably wouldn’t want a knock on your door from one, it’s important to understand why tax collectors were thought of in such a lowly manner in Jesus’ time. Tax collectors were traitors essentially. They were Jews who worked for the Romans who occupied the area to take tax money from their own Jewish people to give to the Roman Empire. They were paid well and may had a reputation for taking a little extra off the top for themselves (or at least were suspected of). They were outcasts for betraying their own people for money. Even their own family typically disowned them.

How often do we judge someone based on their outward appearance, their occupation, where they are from, or their family like those in Luke 19:7 did? Guilty as charged. We do not know their true heart. Jesus does. He saw it with Zacchaeus. He saw it with Matthew, also a tax collector, who he asked to be his disciple (Mathew 9:9). Many suspect that Nathaniel had been wrongly accused of something when He called him to be his disciple because Nathaniel had been sitting under the fig tree alone, some believe possibly upset, and Jesus said to him, “’Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit (John 1:47)!’” He finds the good and knows when someone is not acting or living in a manner reflective of their true self. A question for me to reflect on today, do I find the good in people like Jesus?

Another question, do I try to help bring out the good in people by loving them and letting the know about the loving and forgiving grace of Jesus? I love the quote, “Who you will be in 10 years is a result of the books you read and the people you surround yourself with.” I guess you could now add to this “the podcasts you listen to.” While I find this quote to be true, I believe at a certain matureness level in our faith and confidence in our proper behaviors, we are called to try to help others who are not making the best decisions find Jesus and lead them to head in a better direction by being around us. This is what Jesus did. Why don’t we do more of this? Is it our lack of confidence? Is it not knowing many of these folks or putting ourselves in environments to meet them? Or, do we know some but we are afraid of what others would say and think and the chastisement we would receive like Jesus received in Luke 19:7?

I’m challenged today to think about Matthew 22:36-40 to go along with our text and story today about Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10. Jesus tells us that after loving God, loving your neighbor as yourself is the next most important thing without giving any conditions to how that neighbor acts or whether he loves God or you back. I have to ask myself whether I’m doing this consistently and would encourage you to do the same.

Luke 19:10 says, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” We must realize we are all lost without him. We all need Him.

Rest and Recharge

Today’s reading is Luke 4:31-44.

I have to admit reading the Bible for many years I wondered why Jesus was always instructing people not to tell others about the miracles He performed. This was perplexing to me. In these verses He even rebukes the demons telling them not to tell anyone (Luke 4:41). Wouldn’t he want everyone to know the good news of who He was? Doesn’t He instruct us to tell others at his ascension (Matthew 28:19:20? Sometime in the last few years, I’m not exactly sure how..possibly from watching the Chosen series… it became apparent to me that He needed to taper down too much awareness of what He was doing and what was going on for a period of time. If he didn’t the crowds would become so big and the demands of the people so much he would not have been able to carry out His mission and all He was called and needed to do.

Luke 4:43 reads..

“but He said to them, ‘I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.’”

The verse before this in Luke 4:42 states people sought him and would have kept him from leaving. Another way to say it, He was being mobbed.

What else did Jesus do to ensure His mission could be carried out? Luke 4:42 also reads, “And when it was the day, he departed and went into a desolate place.”

Many times throughout the Gospel Jesus took time to be alone, rest, and pray to God..including the night before His Crucifixion in the Garden of Gethsemane. He would often take off early in the morning before anyone was up and the disciples wouldn’t know where He was. It’s not like they could just turn location services or Find My Friends on!

Jesus knew that for Him to be His very best and carry out His mission to help everyone who He loved He needed to rest and recharge. He was also following the example of His Heavenly Father who rested on the 7th day when creating the world as well (Genesis 2:2).

How often do we sit in solitude when it’s quiet and no one else is around to think, read the Word, and pray? How often do we take a free day without even our spouse and kids? How often do we take a day to strategically think and plan in our personal life and careers? Most of us don’t need to minimize the crowds to carry out God’s mission for us in our lives. However, there is no question whether we realize it or not, we need to rest, spend time with God alone, pray, think, and plan to be our very best and all God’s called us to be. We all seem to wear our busyness and full calendars like a badge of honor, but if He needed to rest to carry out God the Father’s mission for his life… then I think it is safe to say we do as well.

What do you need to do to create some buffer and recharge time? How much better would you feel throughout your day if you were up even 15 minutes earlier and had time to drink your coffee, read your Bible, and pray alone before anyone was up? Commit to trying it for one week to see the impact. Also, take some time now to block off a day to yourself in the next 30 days. If a day is too much, start with an afternoon. I just heard the quote recently that “an inch of action is better than a mile of intention.” Let us follow the example of Jesus so we can be all God’s called us to be and carry out His mission for our lives. He needed it to carry out His, and we need it too.

Let Me Tell You About My Jesus…

Today’s reading is John 14:1-14.

Jesus said in these verses…

“Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”

John 14:9

“I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who is in me.”

John 14:10

“Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on the account of the works themselves.”

John 14:11

Jesus made it clear people should know who He was and who He was from and who He represented by the life He lived and His actions. I wish the same could be said about my life consistently.

I’ve heard it said that rules without a relationship is harassment. Sadly, many non-believers think the Bible and Christianity is just about following a bunch of rules. Does that attract them to following Christ and becoming a Christian? Look at the verses and quotes above from Jesus. If each quote from Jesus above were said by each Christian, and they could answer them in a similar fashion to Jesus in that their love and positive works were displayed daily in their actions..how many more people would be attracted to learning about the Gospel and would ultimately say yes to believing in Jesus? How true is the popular hymn, “They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our Love?”

Our life should be lived in relationship with Jesus. Pastor and author Bill Hull says he wakes up each morning and asks, “Good morning Jesus..what are we going to do today?” How might asking ourselves that question change our actions and how we live our life which would attract non-believers? Imagine if we were in communication with Jesus all day and if He were our GPS for all actions and decisions. We should all reflect on this and ask the question…is Jesus guiding the big and small things in my day in life through communication with Him or do I just think about Him during specific prayer times, church, and small group/Bible study? I know more days than not I don’t think about or talk to Jesus throughout my day. He does not lead my thoughts, decisions, and actions throughout my day like He should.

Many other religions believe in multiple gods. They think Jesus is good guy and much like other gods. They don’t know the difference. Eventually they must know what Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the way, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” They must know there is only one way to eternal life through belief in Him. But holding up a sign on the street saying, “Repent, believe in Jesus, or you are going to Hell!” is not the way to do it. As we said earlier, rules without a relationship is harassment.

Let us reflect on how we can act and speak in a way that whoever has seen, heard, and known us also knows the Father and Jesus (John 14:9-11). Then, once we’ve established a relationship with others they will likely ask us more questions on why we act and speak the way we do or like the song says we can simply say..”Let me tell you about my Jesus…” Will we still mess up and make mistakes? Yes..we absolutely will and that sometimes opens an even bigger door to tell them about the free gift of His grace, His love, and His forgiveness which is also available to them.

Anne Wilson – My Jesus (Official Music Video) – YouTube

Champ to Chump…to Champ Again??

Today’s reading is Luke 9:18-27.

Here, in Luke 9:18-20, Peter correctly states the Jesus is the Christ when Jesus asks him who He is. I would imagine this was one of Peter’s prouder moments. Can you imagine Jesus basically saying to you, “You nailed it!” Have you ever had one of those spiritual mountaintop moments where you felt like you did the right thing?  Maybe you spoke the Gospel or encouragement to someone who needed it, helped a homeless person, gave an amount more than normal to the church for a certain special offering or building project, or stood strong and avoided a temptation. However, we know it’s pretty easy in this world to go from champ to chump very quickly!

Peter experiences this when in both Mark 8 and Matthew 16 he tells Jesus that he cannot be crucified. Remember, Peter knows Jesus is Messiah. But, He and the other Jews incorrectly thought the Messiah would be an earthly king and save them from Roman impression. How many times do we think we know God’s plan, but His is different?! Jesus goes so far as to say to Peter, “Get behind me Satan..” in both Mark 8:33 and Matthew 16:23. Can you imagine Jesus saying that to you? We see again in Mark 14:30 Jesus foretells of Peter’s future mistake saying Peter will deny Him 3 times before the rooster crows twice to which Peter replies in Mark 14:31 he will not and will die with Jesus. We all know what happens!

Pastor Mike Baker spoke on this topic in his 1/16/2022 sermon at Eastview Christian Church. He asked the question, how do we proceed in life know the challenges and temptations which will come?

  1. With humility (1 Corinthians 10:12)
  2. With resistance (James 4:7)
  3. With the Resurrection in Mind (John 16:1)

For more on this topic, check out his sermon here. https://youtu.be/kYrRXVt8-Ns

I specifically like all the ways he says we can face Satan with resistance. Jesus tells us in Luke 8:23-27 that we need to deny ourselves and take up our cross. However, most of us deny Jesus, rather than ourselves, in the following 3 ways Pastor Mike speaks of.

  1. With our silence
  2. With our lifestyle
  3. With our Disassociation of God’s Church

However, Jesus still went to the cross for you and for me…even though He knew what we would do just like Peter. Despite Him knowing Peter’s failures, He told Peter he would build His church on Peter in Matthew 16:18.

Let me ask you a question, how can God use you despite your past..and even future…failures? What I love about Mark 14:30 telling of Peter’s failures and that he would deny Jesus is that Mark was telling the Gospel story through the eyes of Peter. Peter himself was telling of his failure. Why? He knew you and me would need to know God can still use us despite our failures and mistakes.

Are your past missteps holding you back? Or, have you moved on and God is using you, but have you told those mistakes to others who may need to hear your story so that they can themselves move past their own mistakes so God can in turn use them? I believe all of our entire stories are part of God’s plan and bigger story of His Gospel. There are no edits that should be removed from our story. Are we vulnerable enough like Peter to tell those to others to help them? The best leaders and coaches I’ve had are not the ones that seem perfect, but the ones who can relate to me because they have had the same challenges. We have all gone from champ to chump at one time or another like Peter. Let’s share our story with others as part of God’s greater Gospel story to impact them for His Kingdom. We can let them know God can still use them for big things. Most importantly, we can let them know we are all champs in the end and will spend eternity with Him in Heaven when we believe in Jesus and His forgiveness on the cross and Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Dead to Sin or Alive in Christ?

Today’s reading is Romans 6 as we continue our theme to start 2022 of God’s Word of Life.

If I were to ask you what you were passionate about, what would some of your top answers be?

Many might say family, fitness, reading, their favorite sports team(s), and hopefully their faith amongst other possible responses. For me I would likely say family, my faith, and likely Illini basketball, too.

Romans 6:12 discusses being a slave to our passions/sin.

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body to make you obey its passions.

Romans 6:12

I have to admit that I have thought about how I can’t imagine being a slave to nicotine, alcohol, or drug addiction as some are. While I understand these addictions are such that some truly can’t help them due to genetics or disease or other underlying challenges, and yet at the same time I’m embarrassed to say I can still be prideful and quick to judge others with these issues. My brother Chad talked about the problem with being judgmental Monday. Not only am I becoming more aware and having empathy with those challenges, I’m also more aware that I can be a slave to other sins and addictions myself (Luke 6:41). I can be a slave to my phone, social media, trending news/politics, or prioritizing interest in sports over faith and family at times. We can use our phones to stay in touch and nurture healthy spiritual relationships with others, use social media to spread the Gospel, and sports as a platform to share the Gospel as well. However, we can also use these tools in a negative way where they become too much of our focus, as well as use them for the wrong reasons.

A small group friend of mine who has gone on mission trips to areas which don’t have the money and technology we have in the US once commented that you don’t see demonic possessions much in the US so many don’t think they happen anymore like in the Bible. However, he has experienced them and has observed they are more common in other countries where he’s been on mission trips which aren’t wealthy like the US. His hypothesis is that Satan does not need to use demonic possessions in the US because he has plenty of other ways to tempt and control us through the love of money, technology, drugs, and alcohol which is readily available at our fingertips in the US. It is an interesting observations and point he brings up.

While we are still sinful humans who will make mistakes, Paul discusses in Romans 6 that through our baptism, belief, and Christ’s Resurrection, we are no longer slaves to sin and dead in our sin.

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in the newness of life.

Romans 6:4

So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 6:11

As we reflect on this chapter, I pray we take notice of our actions and habits and have self-awareness on whether we are acting in manner more closely to being a slave to our sins or acting more in a way which displays we are alive in Christ Jesus.

Paul ends chapter 6 with the ultimate mic drop on this topic. As we and others in our lives are under construction, I also pray we keep this in the forefront of our thinking and share this great news with others.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23