For some reason, I thought the days would pass by slower once we started the new year. It’s hard to believe that it’s the 10th already!
I have a couple prayer requests. First, please pray for a young woman, a daughter of good friends of mine. She is going through another bout of an eating disorder. Second, please pray for a new men’s group I will be part of. Our intention is to break chains that bind us. We desire more than the normal bible study or men’s group. We want to destroy strongholds. Perhaps this will be our theme passage:
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
This should be fun! When someone messes up, the rest of the group will pounce on him! In fact, we will be ready and anticipate it!
No, that’s not what Paul is talking about. He’s talking about us taking control over our thought processes, getting rid of those thoughts that harm us and encouraging those that do us well. After all, our sin begins in our minds, does it not? We’re going to talk about the things we think of, to expose those patterns that lead us to sin, so that we may finally break free of that which is seriously interfering with our walk with Jesus.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be done with some serious junk? How many years do we need to complain about the same sin yet never make any progress to ridding ourselves of it? If you have been in a long-term group, do you see the same prayer requests week after week, year after year? Do you hear the same problems?
Problems with Spouse or Family
Anger or Resentments
Alcoholism or Drug Abuse
Adultery or Pre-Marital Sex
My goodness! I need to stop there. Can you see these recurring problems within your small group? Do you even have a regular small group? Do you see these problems in your own life? How long have they been there? What progress have you made in getting rid of them? Are they, in fact, getting worse?
Folks, the hard truth is that we are allowing ourselves to be cheated out of a much deeper, richer relationship with Jesus because of our sin. Maybe you are satisfied with your walk with Him. Are you? Really? Maybe you don’t even desire to get any closer for fear – of what? Fear that you will enjoy Jesus so much that you talk about him all the time? Seriously, folks. If we are honest, we best enjoy life when we are drenched in the Spirit. Why not seek more of that?
Part of the reason, I suppose, is that we have become complacent about the sin in our lives. It is “normal” to have sin, right? Heck, even Paul had his “thorn”, and so do I. Right? Wrong. We have bought into the lie that there is nothing we really can do about our sin and must become used to it if we are to find peace.
Hogwash! Listen, God did not intend for me to struggle with booze. Or food. Nope. Jesus came for many reasons, one being to destroy the works of the devil. That’s sin, my friends. We aren’t meant to suffer life in sin. Yes, we may suffer lifelong consequences of sin, but we don’t have to continue to suffer IN sin. Big difference. Long-term obesity may give me permanent diabetes. I will then have to live with that. God may or may not heal me of it. However, he will not leave us obese if we desire to honor our bodies and be thin. I guarantee he will honor that desire and answer that prayer. Think about it. “Lord, I really desire to be free from obesity. Please help me.” Does our God say, “Nope. I prefer to see you in sin.” Ridiculous, right? Yet, that is what we seem to think he desires.
So, please pray for this new small group, that we grasp hold of biblical truth and apply it to our lives. Pray that we may be salt and light and encouragement to others we come in contact with. Let us make such a difference in our lives that others will follow our lead. Please, pray for us, that we engage Jesus. Folks, we already have everything we need. We just need to do it.
John 8:31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,
Philippians 2:12-13 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Hebrews 10:23-25 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
The issue isn’t God’s promises; it’s my willingness to take him up on them. Is it not?
Father, please show yourself to the young woman and her family, that they may actively engage everything that you will provide so that she may allow you to break the chains that bind her. Do so, as well, to the new group that is forming. Finally, let all the readers of this letter stop and think – and then act – so that they, too, may begin destroying strongholds. That’s what Jesus has done for us. Encourage us to see this. And act. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers