WONDERFUL PEACE!

Do you want to be happy? If so, listen to this formula. It never fails.

Happy are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Happy are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.

Happy are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.

Happy are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.

Happy are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.

Happy are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.

Happy are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.

Happy are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Happy are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:3-12 NKJV)

Who gave this recipe for happiness? The Lord Jesus Christ Himself and He knew what He was talking about. Read this passage of Scripture carefully and you will discover that in order to find happiness, which is another word for “blessing,” you may find yourself in difficult situations. But even in trouble and sorrow, you may have the joy of the Lord in your heart. Notice especially the one that says we are happy or blessed when we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. This is seen in the lives of the martyrs.

True happiness does not come by seeking it for its own sake, but by seeking to be a blessing to others and by serving God with all your heart. Millions today are searching frantically for something to make them happy, but they never find it because their seeking is self-centered. It is those who forget themselves in the service for others who are truly happy. Both human experience and the Bible, prove that man’s attempt to satisfy merely his physical appetites and desires will never bring him happiness, but only despair at last.

Read the book of Ecclesiastes. King Solomon had tasted every earthly pleasure. He had delved into everything- from music to alcohol, from sex to science- and he said that in the end it was all in vain and made the spirit uneasy within. But at last he found the true formula for happiness and peace of mind.

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 NKJV)

Whether we believe it or not, this is a moral universe. Every man faces a judgment, a reckoning. As the saying goes, “chicken come home to roost.” Every cause brings its effect, both here and hereafter. What we sow, we reap; and often it is a harvest of tears and heartbreak. Not only so, but the Scripture declares that “God shall bring every work into judgment.” Someday we must stand before a righteous Judge and give an account of the deeds done in the body. So we need to remember that this life is not the end of the story, but is given to us to prepare for a life to come.

Without peace in the heart there can be no true happiness. You may rush here and there, grasp at this, seek for that, keep going in a constant cycle, searching for something or someone to make you happy, and still miss the very sense of life, which is peace of heart, fulfillment, and confidence. From ancient times men have longed for peace- not merely the ending of war, but peace of mind. In the days of Israel, the parting blessing was:

The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”‘ (Numbers 6:26 NKJV)

Even today, the Arabic salutations, “Salaam aleikum” used by Muslims mean, “Peace be unto thee.”

Jesus too said much about peace to His disciples:

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; … (John 14:27 NKJV)

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. ….” (John 16:33 NKJV)

In fact, Jesus Himself is called “The Prince of Peace” in Isaiah 9:6.

If you, my friend, do not have peace of heart, why not come to the One who can give you that peace? Jesus can bring you through the discords of life. Only He can bring wonderful music into your life. Why? Because He settles the great problem of sin in human lives. Sin is the discord in the music of your life. Sin is the tiny stone in the shoe. Wherever there is sin, which is disobedience to God’s law, there can never be peace. The Bible says:

But the wicked are like the troubled sea, When it cannot rest, Whose waters cast up mire and dirt. “There is no peace,” Says my God, “for the wicked.” (Isaiah 57:20-21 NKJV)

That is why so many peace plans among the nations fail. That is why so many efforts put to bring peace in relationships fail. Why is this? Because the heart of man is filled with turmoil and unrest, and while there is war in the hearts of men, there will be war in our relationships too.

After World War 1, one rich man offered USD 100,000 peace prize for a plan that would insure peace on earth. The judges debated a long time over the 22,000 plans submitted, but apparently passed over the shortest and most sensible plan of all, which contained just two words- “Try Jesus”. Why should we try Jesus? Nothing else has worked. No one else has been able to bring peace to the world, or even to the hearts of men.

It is only when Christ sits upon the throne of the world that man will know world peace. It is only when He rules on the throne of the human heart that there is peace and happiness within. This peace comes when we give our Lord the pre-eminence, as we read in Colossians 1:19, 20:

For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. (Colossians 1:19-20 NKJV)

We do not have to wait to go to heaven to find our personal peace and happiness. You can have that experience now. In the book of John, there is given a four step cure for worry and for peace of heart in this life:

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:1-3 NKJV)

The first rule that Jesus gives for peace of mind is to believe in God. Anyone who has real faith in God will stop worrying. Jesus called Him “Father,” and He is our Father too. When you were a little child you had no worries. You knew that Father and Mother would care for you. God is you’re your heavenly Father, so why should you worry yourself into ulcers? Why be distressed about death, finances, relationships or what other people think about you? Jesus said that faith in God is a cure for worry. “Let not your heart be troubled”- in other words, stop worrying.

and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3 NKJV)

By God’s grace, let us have faith in Him as a child has faith in his father and mother.

Now the second part of Jesus’ prescription for soul peace is “Believe also in me.” John 14:1. If you believe in Christ, you believe in the Saviour of the world who died on the cross for your sins. Go to Jesus with all your sins, accept Him as your Saviour, believe that He died for you and rose again for you to be made righteous. Quit worrying about your sins. Confess them in Christ’s name, and God will forgive you. Now step out by faith and obey the Lord. Do your part in making everything right. God will give you a new life, a regenerated life, in which you can please Him by the power of the Holy Spirit. There is no need for you to carry that terrible burden of sin, that burden of a violated conscience, which will not let you rest day or night. No need to fear your past anymore. In 1 John 2:2 we read that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world. That includes you and me and all people. Then in 1 John 1:9 it is written:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NKJV)

So if we confess and forsake our sins, we need never worry about them anymore. Jesus has taken them and buried them under His blood. Louisa M. Stead, the writer of the song, “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus,” must have had this experience. Listen to her words:

“Yes, ‘tis sweet to trust in Jesus,

Just from sin and self to cease;

Just from Jesus simply taking

Life, and rest, and joy, and peace.”

The third part of the prescription that Jesus gave for peace of mind and happiness is found in John 14:2:

In My Father’s house are many mansions; … I go to prepare a place for you.

There it is- life beyond. The grave is not the end of the story. The last word is not said at the funeral. Things that are so cruel, so unjust, so hard to understand in this world will be straightened out in the next. There is a land beyond, a reunion beyond, where the children of God will meet never more to part.

This verse in John 14:2 plainly says that there is a place for God’s people. It is a real place. It is holy, it is wonderful, and Jesus will be there. So let not your heart be troubled. Believing in God’s land of tomorrow will give you grace and strength to do His work in the land of today.

Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. (1 John 3:2 NKJV)

“Lest not your heart be troubled.” The half has never been told.

And now last of all we come to the fourth part of Christ’s cure for worry:

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:3 NKJV)

The world has not seen the last of Jesus. He is coming back. He was here once. He will be here again. We look out upon the conditions of the world today- war, famine, sickness, confusion, immorality, wickedness, riots, distress, “hearts failing them for fear.” But remember, speaking of this very times, Jesus sais:

“There shall be… distress of nations, with perplexity;… Men’s hearts failing them for fear.” (Luke 21:25, 25 KJV)

But “let not your heart be troubled.” Why not? Because He is coming again!

“Then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” (Verse 27)

So we have four great reasons why we should never worry, but always have “the peace of God which passeth all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) – in other words, happiness. There is available to you great reserves of strength and courage. Do not wait a minute longer. Accept the Lord Jesus Christ and His plan for your Happiness. Receive Him as your personal Savior before you breathe another breath. Confess all the sins you can recall to Him. Confess even those you do not recall. Ask Him for the Peace that no man can understand; Peace that comes only by faith in Jesus Christ our Saviour. Get your Bible and read the entire fourteenth chapter of John, and tis wonderful prayer will be yours:

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27 NKJV)

Do you have that peace? Seek it!

and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7 NKJV)

That peace is a promise and a taste of the peace that will reign over all the earth when:

… “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Revelation 11:15 NKJV)

Jesus is our peace now, individually; and when He comes in glory, His peace will cover the earth “as the water cover the sea.” Isaiah 11:9

BLESSINGS!

The Secret Life of Despair…

Pic from ww.christianrep.com

Pic from ww.christianrep.com

Have you ever noticed that most fungi grow best in the dark? If you were to turn light on the fungus, it would be sapped of strength, whither, and eventually die. Sexual impurity is the same: it too thrives in the darkness. Typically,  sex and pornography are consumed in secret, and as long as the sin remains in the dark, it will no doubt continue.

This is the scenario for many who have been enslaved by sex and pornography. On the outside you appear to be a respectable and upright person. You have a good job going or you are in a good school,  a leader in the church too, you share with others about Jesus, you even preach in pulpits, you are outwardly successful, and maybe even with a good family. But in secret, you are a completely different person. You are living two different lives.

Those living in deceit like this will do everything they can to protect their sinful secret life from being exposed. They become angry and defensive if questioned about any wrongdoing. People involved in sexual relationships out of marriage and pornography have a hidden secret life, and that they’ll do all in their power to keep it from being exposed. And yet, this exposure is the very thing necessary to eradicate it.

Why do we seem to have no power to overcome sin? Why do we seem to give in time and time again, especially when we have prayed so much about it? The answer is that this sinning is all done in the darkness, in secret, where sin thrives. This secret life illustrates the truth of John 3:19-20:

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.”

Please consider following passage found in the Bible:

5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” 1 John 1:5-10

The passage above shows that, while you are still involved in premarital sex and pornography, you are actually being deceived. How? You claim to have fellowship with God, yet you are walking in the darkness. In reality, you are living a lie; you are not living by the truth. I’m not saying that you are not a Christian while involved in sexual impurity, but the truth is you are not walking in truth and this is a very sad scenario. People are hiding a vast part of their lives from their loved ones, co-workers and friends. They may appear to be spiritual people who are knowledgeable about the Bible. What these people need to do is to begin to slowly, carefully, expose this hidden life to someone else, using discernment as to whom to approach and when to do so.

The passage above also tells us that if we begin walking in the light, not only are we able to fellowship with others who are walking in the light, but Jesus Himself purifies our lives! Purity is the result of coming into the light!

To be honest, sexual impurities are very private activities. Part of the reason we want to be rid of this sin is because of the shame and self-loathing that it creates in our hearts. You may think exposing this sin to another would cause you to feel the shame and loathing more intensely, but the opposite is actually true. After exposing it you will experience the pure freedom of not having to live the lie. This is a wonderful gift from God!

Verse 9 above tells us how to begin “walking in the light.” We are to first and foremost confess our sins to God. You may want to take a moment and say a prayer of confession to God. Ask Him to show you ways to begin coming into the light. Yes, it is scary to confess, and yes, it can be humbling to ask for help. But ongoing victory and purity is worth it. You may also be concerned about the effect of your confession upon those you love, especially if they are unbelievers, but consider the following words from a great man of God:

“If we obey God, it is going to cost other people more than it costs us, and that is where the pain begins. If we are in love with our Lord, obedience does not cost us anything— it is a delight.  Will we remain faithful in our obedience to God and be willing to suffer the humiliation of refusing to be independent? Or will we do just the opposite and say, “I will not cause other people to suffer”? We can disobey God if we choose, and it will bring immediate relief to the situation, but it will grieve our Lord. If, however, we obey God, He will care for those who have suffered the consequences of our obedience. We must simply obey and leave all the consequences with Him.  Beware of the inclination to dictate to God what consequences you would allow as a condition of your obedience to Him.” ~ Oswald Chambers

Now here’s another passage to consider for there are principles that you can apply it to your life:

“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. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible.” Ephesians 5:8-14

Blessings

Running Light…

Silhouette woman run under blue sky with clouds

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1

This passage describes the Christian life as a foot race. In order to run fast, we must run light. We are instructed to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” Here, temptation and sin are described as those things that hinder and entangle and they must be thrown off.

This may mean “throw off” the TV, giving away your laptop computer, smart phone or tablet, avoiding certain situations that tempt you. If you’ve already progressed into actual physical relationships that are sexually impure, it means you have to sever those, as well.

For some, running light may mean not being alone with certain people or even ending a relationship entirely. This isn’t an easy thing to do, but purity is worth it, whatever the cost. Think about the things that have hindered you from running this race to win and consider getting rid of them.

It’s proven that those who don’t rid their lives of entanglements just never seem to get free. They find themselves constantly falling and each time promising never to do it again. It’s very important to identify and remove that which caused you to fall. You may make excuses and say you have learned your lesson; because temptations are lessened right after a fall, you may think that you “have a handle on it” now. But it’s just a matter of time before you fall again… and usually within two weeks, down you go. This will continue unless and until you throw off that which causes you to stumble.

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof. Romans 13:14

We should “make no provision for the flesh.” For as long as you have access to pornography; for as long as you still keep company with fornicators; you can pray about not falling all day long, but as soon as you get the slightest chance, you will surely go down. Why? You fall because a provision has been made to gratify the lusts of your flesh. But when you removed them all from your life, there will not be any provision for your flesh to be gratified. This may mean such extremes as breaking friendships with those that cause you to fall, severing links with those who speak suggestively and with those who live an impure lifestyle. This is a key principle to freedom. If we allow ourselves access to that which causes us to sin, we will inevitably find ourselves giving in during a weak moment.

Take a moment and think of the areas in which provision is still made for your flesh to be gratified. Friend, if  something came to mind, that is where your next fall to sexual sin will be. It’s just a matter of time. You can be drinking the living water, exposing your sin and asking for help, and praying to be reconciled to God but, in a weak moment, you fall because there is provision made to fulfil your lusts. It’s imperative that, right now, you eradicate that from your life. If you keep it around, you are trying to run a race with a huge burden on your back; and every time you fall in that area, you add weight to the burden. Eventually, you will not be able to run the race. You’ll have fallen down off to the side of the road in the thorns and weeds.

Right about now is when we start getting objections. They usually go something like this: “But it is not the Internet that is the problem, it is my heart. Jesus says that out of the heart come the things that defile us, so I don’t want to just deal with the symptom, which is viewing pornography, I need to get my relationship right with Jesus so I can be strong enough to say “No” to pornography, no matter where I might be tempted with it.”

This is true! However, we must understand the manner in which we get our hearts right with God, so that we can say “No” to sexual sin when we are tempted by it. And there is only one scriptural way to do this: the total removal of anything that causes us to stumble. The way to be free is to remove the temptation.

You may imagine you would get to the point where you are able to look temptation in the face and say “No;” that you would finally be a strong Christian when you could face temptation and stand up against it. But do you want to be ‘strong’ or ‘pure?’ This is not the way to victory over sin.

Take careful note of this next passage:

If your right eye causes you to sin, 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 sin, 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. Matthew 5:29-30

The above verses could be summarized by the words “radical amputation.” Jesus was not referring to physical self-injury actually cutting of our hands or plucking out an eyeball. (Handicapped and blind men still lust!) What He means is that we must deal radically with whatever causes us to sin: cut it off, pluck it out, hack it off. Jesus’ method of dealing with sin is radical amputation.

Dear friends, run the race to win. Remove anything that hinders or entangles you. It’s worth it! You may delay in removing entanglements, you may remove it part-way. In every instance of a half-done job, a fall inevitably comes. Don’t hesitate to be radical in dealing with this. After all, God was radical in dealing with sin!

Blessings

Who’s Your ‘Friends with Benefits’…

friends-with-benefits

She had been through five relationships already and was on her sixth when she had a life changing encounter at Jacob’s well in Samaria. We are not told what her name was but we know she was from Samaria. Her story is recorded in John 4:7-30

Jesus and His disciples were travelling to Galilee from Judea. When they came to the city of Samaria they were exhausted and thirsty so they stopped by Jacob’s well for a rest and a drink, and this particular Samaritan woman came to the well.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?” 13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

The Samaritan woman was thirsty, and that was why she had come to the well to draw water to quench her thirst, but beyond that, she was experiencing another type of thirst, one that she had tried in vain to quench, and so when she heard Jesus talk of water that would quench her thirst completely, she immediately desired it and asked Jesus to give her this water. Jesus too knew of this thirst and so He told her:

“Go, call your husband and come back.” “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.

Jesus brought up the fact that the woman had had multiple relationships (five men and a current live-in, for a total of six relationships). Obviously, she was finding no permanent satisfaction in these relationships, so she had to keep going back to find a new love, each time hoping that this time would be the last. In bringing up her unquenchable thirst” for different relationships, Jesus revealed to her that she would never be truly satisfied until she began “drinking” from the water He would give her.

There are those who for years have drunk the waters of lust and casual sexual relationships, and have never been truly satisfied. They always wanted more and continually thirst for more. “Friends with benefits’ is the norm this days. People come together to try to satisfy their mutual desires by engaging in casual sex with no strings attached. And just like the Samaritan woman  they draw no satisfaction, so they move to the next relationship to seek for the elusive satisfaction. Today there is even a rule that a ‘friend with benefits’ should not last beyond three months. This is to prevent the partners from becoming emotionally attached. Most people will testify that there comes a point where they desire much more than just sex. So the idea is to break it off before that happens and look for another ‘friends with benefits’.

The Samaritan woman had had six such encounters, when she met Jesus. He offered this woman living water. He said that if she drank it she would not be thirsty any more; in other words, she would be satisfied, and not desire one relationship after another. Here is hope for us! This is the solution to enjoying freedom from pornography, adultery, or any sexual sin. If you discover how to receive this “living water,” and how to drink it, you will not be thirsty anymore; instead, you’ll be free from sinful cravings and slavery to the flesh.

By admitting that gratifying the flesh does not permanently satisfy you, by acknowledging that you have to “drink” of it again and again, you are ready to discover what will satisfy permanently! Consider what the Bible says in Isaiah 55:1-3

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.

Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.

Give ear and come to me; hear me that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David

We are admonished to stop spending our time, energy and money on what will never satisfy us, and to drink the water that brings delight, joy and life to our souls. Do you see what we have been missing while involved in pornography and sexual impurity?

“Death and destruction are never satisfied, and neither are the eyes of man.” (Proverbs 27:20)

Switch water sources! Pornography, adultery, casual sex, etc. will never satisfy us, ever. The pornography industry makes its billions on customer dissatisfaction, and if we stay trapped there we’ll always have a continual lust for more. It’s like salt water, giving more thirst than satisfaction.

“Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.” Ephesians 4:19

“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns [Note: cisterns are designed for water storage] that cannot hold water.” Jeremiah 2:13

Notice that God describes Himself as the “Spring of living water.” He alone is the Source of our life, refreshment, joy and nourishment. He is ever fresh and new, like a spring, and to “drink” of God is to receive life and be satisfied! Turning to pornography or sinful relationships is like trying to get water from a jar with holes in it.

Now notice something about the Samaritan woman at the well with Jesus,

Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

John 4:28-30

Scripture does not specifically say why the woman left her water jar with Jesus. Obviously, she still needed to drink physical water, even after her encounter with Christ. Jesus offered her “living water” which would quench the thirst of her soul once and for all. As we learn how to drink the living water that only Jesus can give, we can leave our old “water jar” behind.

She left her water pot because she had now found a well of ‘living water.’ She had come to the well for literal water and that was what her mind was set on. But now that she had obtained salvation, she did not think any more about her water pot. It is always this way. Once our souls truly perceive Christ, once we know Him and receive Him as our Savoir from sin, we turn away from what we used to think about. Her mind was now fixed on Christ, and she had no thought of well, water, or water pot.” Granted, even after we come to Christ and learn to drink of His living water, there can be a time when we must learn how to leave the other “water behind” and it is certainly not always an instantaneous exchange of water, like the woman at the well did. I’m not saying that it always has to happen in this manner, but what I’m saying is that as we drink of Christ’s living water we are able to leave behind the sinful water.

My heart’s desire now is to see you drinking the living water; the water that satisfies forever. Jesus is our friends, and yes His friendship with us brings far greater benefits, but Jesus is much more than friend with benefits. He’s not interested in a casual relationship, He wants us to have a deep relationship with Him. Consider Jesus as your ultimate FRIEND and he will quench all your desires. Drink from His word daily, pray without ceasing, meditate upon His word, feed on it, let it take over your mind and you will thirst no more.

Blessings

Abisalom O.

 

 

A Doorway to Slavery…

There is an untruth floating around Christian circles that masturbation is not a sin and that it is acceptable under certain circumstances.

Some believe that masturbation is acceptable:

  1. For single people
  2. For married people who have to endure prolonged absences from their spouse
  3. As a preventative to committing sexual crimes

Some pastor’s today even recommended masturbation for people of all ages to “release stress for singles”, to “relieve pressure when away from a spouse”, and to “prevent sex crimes.” They also gave instructions on how to teach masturbation to young children and blatantly state that God gave masturbation to us as a way “to enjoy sex before marriage.”Image

If only they knew about the very many people out there who have become enslaved to gratifying their flesh by the act of masturbation–many without using pornography. They are slaves to their own lusts; unable to break free from this debilitating habit that has crippled their walk with the Lord. Because they are unable to stop this behavior, they are guilty and some feel ashamed and frustrated. Some who continue in this habit have difficulty interacting in social situations because they know they have a secret-a dark secret that they are slaves to self-sex. Moreover, I wish these pastors could watch as God sets these captives free from masturbation and hear their testimonies how depression, paranoia, stress, etc. disappeared when God set them free from gratifying their flesh, and from sexual impurity of all types.

Some Christians believe that, because masturbation is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, God does not consider the presence or the absence of the activity important. But is this really accurate? Is God truly silent about masturbation? Is the absence of the word “masturbation” in Scripture God’s way of giving His approval to men and women gratifying their flesh? Remember, the word “pornography” itself is not in the Bible (although the root word is), but there are biblical principles dealing with both pornography and masturbation. Neither is the word “smoking” in the Bible, nor are many specific words dealing with specific sins of the flesh. Yet we should not require the naming of every specific detail associated with every specific sin in order to recognize that we need to avoid them.

Although it is true that the Bible does not use the word “masturbation,” Scripture has not left us in the dark about whether it is right or wrong. Masturbation is not a “gift of God” for single people and it is not a “preventative for sexual crimes.” It is indulging the flesh, which leads to sin-slavery. Jesus’ statement “everyone who sins is a slave to sin” (John 8:34) applies to any area of self-gratification.

Masturbation makes us begin to live according to the dictates of the flesh and to become slaves to the “misdeeds of the body.” Scripture warns us about this kind of activity, “For if you live according to the flesh (by giving in to its desires), you will die” and tells us how to stop, “but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13). In reality, masturbation is an expression of self-gratification and of sexual self-idolatry. It is deceiving and enslaving. Let us see these truths from Scripture:

“Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.” Romans 6:19-20

This verse teaches that offering leads to slavery. When we “offer the parts of our body” to sin, we become a slave to sin. Some say that masturbation “relieves the pressure” so that we can function normally apart from a spouse, or to keep us from committing worse sexual acts. Masturbation only “relieves the pressure” temporarily. The pressure will soon be back and masturbation will need to occur again, and again, and again. This is simply slavery to the flesh. But if we offer the parts of our body for righteousness, we will become slaves of righteousness. So, present your body a living sacrifice; offer the parts of your body to God and your slavery to Christ will produce freedom from self-gratification.

Another argument that some make in favor of masturbation is to say that it is much like eating food: if we indulge ourselves, we can become slaves, but what we need to do is learn to control our appetite, not stop eating. So, in the same way, we need to control masturbation and not become a slave to it, but it is not sin to masturbate any more than it is sin to eat. But there is a major problem with this argument: eating is a biological necessity. If we don’t eat, we die. Sex is not a biological necessity; rather it is a desire.

“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” Romans 8:5

Masturbation fixes the mind on the desires of the flesh, and burns the image of nudity and sex into the mind. With each occurrence of masturbation, that image becomes clearer and more intense, and can become a tool of the devil to set up a thought-stronghold. (Consider 2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

“So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:8

Here is the real problem of masturbation: If you are masturbating, you are pleasing only yourself. Your actions are displeasing to God because you are “in the flesh” and a slave to lust. You are offering the members of your body in slavery to impurity and your mind is set on what the flesh desires.

There is a way to be free from slavery to the flesh, and we should not rationalize it as “acceptable under certain conditions” or we are helping to promote the slavery of those who believe us.

“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.” Galatians 5:16-17

Why is masturbation a sin? It is a sin because when we masturbate we “gratify the desires of the flesh,” which we would not do if we were walking in and living by the Spirit. Let us make this point clear. If we are walking in the Spirit and living by faith, we will not gratify the lusts of the flesh.

“So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.” Romans 14:22-23

Masturbation is a sin because it does not come from faith. I cannot believe the promises of God to supply my every need (Phil. 4:19), to make a way out of every temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13), to keep me from falling (Jude 24), and fall to self-gratification at the same time. Masturbation is not of faith, therefore it is sin.

The way to be free from it is to totally and completely reject it at all times. As we avoid situations that stir up impure thoughts, and as we immerse ourselves in God’s Word, and if married, as we turn to our spouse to enjoy sexual intimacy, we walk away free from the prison of sin. As we “lock the door” to self-pleasing, and “bolt it shut”, and post a “guard”, we can be free from it, free indeed (John 8:36).

When people say that “masturbation is not mentioned in the Bible”, as if somehow by God’s apparent “silence” on the issue He was approving it, I agree with them that the word itself is not mentioned in the Bible, and then try to help them to see that it should be mentioned if God approved of it. For instance, let’s examine this passage:

Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. 1 Corinthians 7:8-9

This is the place where God should mention the word “masturbation” or at least speak of self-gratification if, indeed, it were an option. It would have been easy for Paul to say, “It is better to masturbate than to burn with passion.” No, there is no mention of the word “masturbation” or even any indication that self-sex is acceptable. The “burning” has only one biblical outlet, and that is with a partner in marriage. Any act of sexuality performed outside of marriage is a perversion, and to be avoided.

About Jesus Christ, God the Father says, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And why? Because He lived a life of obedience unto death, even death on a cross. And we are unworthy to be called His disciples unless we daily take up the cross and follow Him. Taking up our cross means sacrificing our flesh, not gratifying it. It means dying to self, not living to please the flesh. Oh, how we need the teaching of the cross of Jesus Christ in these instances. The cross shows us One Whose flesh was crucified, not “controlled”. The cross shows us that we are not to “relieve the pressure” but endure to the point of shedding blood. Stating that masturbation is acceptable “under certain circumstances” is a denial of the cross, for Christians are to follow Him Who died to His flesh.

The truth of the matter is that it is so much easier to totally crucify than to attempt to “control;” for every time we give in to the flesh, it stirs up impure thoughts and strengthens them, making it easier to give in again the next time, and the next. It truly is easier over time to totally deny and refuse self-gratification than it is to “cut back” or to somehow attempt to “control” our flesh. Scripture does not give us any command to “control” our flesh, but many times commands us to “deny” it, and to “crucify” it.

So, let us be practical on this subject. Some may have children or know children coming into puberty and we know they will masturbate. How do we converse with them on this topic?

First, instruct them about the cross. Tell them that Jesus Christ laid down His life for us, and He requires us to lay down our lives also. He presented His body as an offering to the Father and we can, by the power of the Holy Spirit, offer our bodies a living sacrifice. We talk about Jesus refusing to gratify His flesh when tempted by the devil, and that His flesh was nailed to a cross. In the same way we should count ourselves dead to sin. Talk plainly with them about the enslavement that masturbation will bring, if they were to offer the members of their body for sin. Tell them that the desires they have are given by God to experience pleasure in marriage and to procreate, not for selfish reasons. They must understand that to follow Christ means that masturbation is not an option. It makes it so much easier for them, when the temptation comes, to not even consider it as a possibility, rather than try to decide if this is a time it must be “controlled” or if they can give in to the desire.

Here is a testimony of one who was once a slave to masturbation but is now free:

“My problems began when our youth pastor told me that the Bible does not mention masturbation, therefore God must not condemn it. He told us that as long as we were masturbating with thoughts of our future spouse then we were not sinning. My masturbation began slowly—only using it once a week or so. I felt guilty, like I was giving in to sin rather than denying the flesh, but my pastor said it was a helpful tool, and that it even prevented sex crimes when used correctly. Gullible as I was, I believed him. I soon began discovering that offering the parts of my body to self-gratification did not permanently decrease desire or relieve pressure–quite the opposite–the more I masturbated, the more I engaged in it.

I honestly do not know what happened–one day I had just finished masturbating alongside a road, for the 3rd time that day, when it dawned on me that I was a slave to masturbation. What started innocently, and with the full approval of a religious authority, trapped me into a vice that completely choked out all spiritual life in me.

Oh how I wish that pastor had preached the Word correctly, even if it would have made him less popular. I wish he had explained to me that unless I denied myself (not indulged myself) and took up my cross daily I would not be worthy to be His disciple. I wish he had told me about the principle of slavery–that we are slaves to whatever we offer ourselves to. I wish he had told me, plain and simple, that it is so much easier to totally and completely refuse masturbation–that it is not even an option for a Christian–than to attempt to ‘control it’ and ‘only use it under certain circumstances.’ If only he had not used that worn-out phrase ‘the Bible doesn’t mention it;’ and instead taught the principles of Scripture.

I am not blaming my former pastor; my own deceptive heart loved hearing what he preached, and I am responsible for my own actions. I just wish I would have had a man of God who could have helped me learn to deny and crucify, rather than rationalize and justify.”

Another testimony from a 17-year-old young:

“Every time I get the urge, I can’t resist masturbation. I have tried to fight it for many years, and, although I have had a few temporary victories, I never completely defeated it. I desire to live all of my life for Christ, and this can’t be done until I defeat this fiend. I also want to remain pure for my future wife, and if I continue down this path, I know that wish will not become true.”

Masturbation is a doorway to slavery! May God grant you freedom in Christ if you are enslaved.

Yes, it is possible to be free of this debilitating and sinful habit. Through God’s grace, we can resist the devil and the pull of our own flesh. We can come to Jesus Christ and receive His powerful assistance, and we can cease stealing the love that is due to our spouse and instead learn to turn to our spouse, as the Scriptures teach, so that we might honor and glorify God with our bodies. Those who are single can likewise turn from self-pleasing to Christ, and find in Him powerful help in time of need. Through the power of Christ we can defeat the powers of darkness that seek to make us slaves. There is freedom in Jesus, real freedom, lasting freedom.

May God give us each grace to choose to please the Lord by offering our bodies a living sacrifice, and turning to our spouse if married, rather than pleasing ourselves through masturbation.

This article is an edited version that was originally written by Mike Cleveland and published on http://www.settingcaptivesfree.com