2017-12-01 Only As Through Fire

Good Morning, December!

Not sure if anyone is catching on to a theme lately, but there is one. It’s do the hard thing. That’s the thing that is keeping you from a much deeper relationship with Jesus. Strongholds (some call them roots) keep you right where you are – stopped dead in your tracks. Jesus will gladly do what you cannot do for yourself – destroy that obstacle – but he won’t unless you allow him and cooperate with him. Plain and simple as that. Yes, you may say you want him to free you of that sin (habit, addition, person, whatever), but one little finger touching it will prevent him from doing anything for you. You may agonize, thrash, and struggle to free yourself, but you will forever remain stuck until you cut ties completely and forever.

Just ask anyone who has successfully moved on from alcoholism or a toxic relationship. Don’t ask the person still struggling. Ask the person whom Jesus has freed. He won’t, you know, until you abandon all desire to remain where you are.

Luke 9:57-62 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

We think of these in terms of salvation, but don’t forget we are to work out our salvation (Phil. 2:12). We are being saved (1 Cor. 15:1-2). Are we fit for the Kingdom if we still refuse to let go of our sinful behavior? Yes, born-agains enter the kingdom, yet we would be wise to abandon our sin, pronto.

1 Corinthians 3:10-15 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw – each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

I think I have built a lot of good things on the foundation of Jesus in my life. However, I have huge piles of wood, hay, and straw that I ignore. Heck, who am I kidding? I don’t ignore them, I PROTECT them. Sin is that combustible, unstable, unreliable, phony, and toxic material in my life. Jesus will allow me to hold on to it, but, oh, what I price I pay! Paul said these words in 1 Cor., but they are just as if Jesus said them. “[I] myself will be saved, but only as through fire.” Wow.

Why in the world would I want to harbor sin? Folks, it looks like I am on the right side of this weight stuff. I can attest to you how difficult it is to give it up – the sin of gluttony. It’s impossible. Something happened to me this time, after how many times I tried over how many years, that something changed everything. I finally really fessed up to the magnitude of my sin. It broke me. Literally broke me. I saw in my mind’s eye just how I was desecrating the holy temple of God by my sinful behavior towards food. I realized what it really cost me in terms of my own health and also how it hindered my ability to enjoy life and other people. Thank God for that! This wasn’t simply an “Ah, ha!” moment. Yes, that realization was in a moment, but it is a process of healing – once I took that last finger off that stronghold of sin. Not a moment before. Not one, single moment before.

Folks, there can be no looking back. None. Jesus is crystal clear on this. Crystal.

Father, encourage us all to do the hard thing, to take that last finger off our stronghold/roots that keeps us entangled/enmeshed/trapped in a cycle of destruction. Let us be convicted severely so that we may taste and see that you are indeed good in all things, including that which we so tightly cling. And, Father, do the same for me. I know you are not done with my straw piles. Help me. Please. Amen.

Copyright © 2017 Scott Powers

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