If there is one thing I desire, it is to be faithful. I pray daily for God’s help in that area but often I’m reminded that I need to choose the path of faithfulness. Temptations abound, even for the Christian. If I do not desire faithfulness with all my heart, to the point that I am willing to make right choices, it is like asking God to help me lose weight while I eat every dessert and carbohydrate in sight. It’s not going to happen. First Corinthians 10:13 tells us that God will provide a way of escape from temptation but I will add that He won’t make us walk through that door.
This is a lesson I am still learning. I like quick fixes. I would prefer to be so close to God that I don’t desire to sin but there are still areas where I must choose on a daily basis to take the right path. Sometimes I win; sometimes I fail. Thankfully, I serve a merciful God who will allow me to get back up and try again. The more I choose the path of “right,” the easier it becomes the next time.
Years ago, a friend told me that it was easier for her to not eat any sugar than to eat a small bite. If she allowed herself any, she would end up eating more than she should. It is that way with sin. If we allow ourselves a slight indulgence, we will not be able to stop with that. It is much better to weigh everything we do in light of God’s Word. If He says to do it, do it with all your heart. If He says don’t, stay as far away from it as you can. If there are things that are not clearly stated in Scripture, see if there are principles in the Bible that would speak to the situation. If you have the Spirit of God, He will show you right from wrong. When He does, you have a responsibility to walk in that. Anyone who knows to do right and does it not, to him or her especially, it is sin.
I hope you will choose to be faithful today. Study the fruit of the Spirit and examine yourself to see how those line up in your life. What about the two great commandments: loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and loving your neighbor as yourself? That is the standard–not whether we are living better than our friends and neighbors, but if we are pleasing God in everything we do.
I agree with you in that we who are redeemed make a choice to obey or not. But – our best deeds are still twisted by our sin. This is why none will be perfect in the flesh. Hence, the standard for Christians is not the summation of the Old Testament that you cited (the two greatest commandments). Those, as so many other calls to perfection do, call us to look upon and depend upon Christ – the One who fulfilled the Law and sinned not. 1 John is a much better test for the Christian to see if he walks in the light or not.
1 John reinforces the two greatest commandments. “How can we love God and hate our brother?” If I love God as I should, I will love my Brothers and Sisters, and I won’t cheat, lie, commit adultery, etc. I agree that, without Christ, I cannot love them as I should but, with Him, I can do all things.
Context, my sister. When Paul wrote those words (I can do all things in Christ Jesus), he was talking about having learned to be content with much and with little. the Scriptures do not teach us we can be perfect as Jesus was and is while we are still here. We are sinful until we die or the Lord returns, though not slaves to sin. John Wesley taught that a Christian could be perfect (George Whitefield recorded his meeting with one Wesley disciple who claimed to have accomplished that feat) but such contradicts what John wrote in 1 John.
We who are indwelt by the Spirit of God can love Him and His people, but will only do so imperfectly in this life. And we cannot do “all things”.
“But – our best deeds are still twisted by our sin.”.
I did not see our sister promoting the error of Wesleyan perfection as you implied in your comment. True we are but dirt, but we are now redeemed dirt. If our best deeds are wrought of faith they are not twisted by sin. Where did you get that wording from anyway? Maybe if you could relate it back to God’s word your position would be more clear? If you were calling for humility in our obedience and pointing out that we do not know our hidden faults I would offer you an amen bro, but I am not sure if that is all you are saying?
Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
From over here it looks like you would have replied to Paul ‘we were actually created in Christ Jesus for good works twisted by sin’.
Collosians 3:14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.
Or corrected him by saying ‘But above all these things put on love, which is twisted by our imperfection’
Respectfully in Christ -Jim
Jim, The good in our works is 100% due to the Spirit of God within us, not due to ourselves. Perhaps I oversimplified, but though we are redeemed, we cannot – in and of ourselves – do truly good works. Such were prepared before time for us and we will walk in them – because His Spirit works in us to will and want to do good. We will not be perfect in these fleshly tabernacles. All the perfection Paul is speaking about is attributed to the Holy Spirit, not us.
Titus 2 -11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”
I don’t disagree with you Manfred, on the best day of our Christian walk we would be damned apart from the blood of Jesus. Yet what Paul wrote to Titus is that Jesus died to redeem us from every lawless deed. I am going to believe God on this, things hoped for though yet not seen. Be careful you are not found arguing with what God’s word says. That’s all. I felt our sister just shared what God’s word said and over-reacted in the other direction.
Thank you, Brother Jim. My point was to encourage people to be faithful to the Lord and to honor Him in all they do. I know we can’t do that without His help but I see way too many professing Believers who aren’t even trying. I appreciate you taking what I wrote at face value instead of interpreting what I meant. I do know I may not always be as clear as I should be. Sometimes I assume things are understood but I’ll try to be mindful that they may not be to my new readers.
To be clear when I wrote ” I felt our sister just shared what God’s word said and over-reacted in the other direction.” – there was a typo as it should have said Manfred over-reacted, I did not mean to imply that you did. God bless you sister, it seems your voice adds much to this site. in Christ -Jim
1 Corinthians 12:18 nkjv ~ But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be?
Thank you so much. That means a lot.