September 25, 2011

How to stop being buddies with sins II

No one who sincerely has opened up to Christ delights in living in sin. Once any sin is committed, the Christian is sorry he undertook such act. The hearts of a number of Christians are not seared though they struggle with sins. Some of us have become frustrated thinking the sins we struggle with have overpowered us. We have hated and quarrelled with ourselves when we could not resist temptations.

Overcoming sin is not what we can do by our strength. We need Jesus! We need the Word. Hence the next approach on how to stop being buddies with sin is:

Eating the daily bread consistently
For us to better understand the urgency to consistently pray, study and meditate on the word of God (the bible and God’s word through our inner man and children of God), God gave me an illustration:

For many of us that have a computer, be it laptop, notebook, desktop, tablet, etc; we know that when we don’t install an antivirus, our personal computers get contaminated. This contamination can affect the computer in various ways. Malware is a term used to describe unwanted and malicious softwares programmed to destroy files, cause data loss, reprogram a computer, steal information, send email spam, and the list goes on. Malware include viruses, worms, trojans, rootkits, backdoors, spywares, botnets, keystroke loggers, etc. These are computer contaminants which can make computing, browsing, and online shopping experiences uncomfortable and frustrating. So to avoid such frustrations and losses, we ensure we use antivirus. An antivirus software is used prevent, detect and remove malware. Recently there are anti-malwares with total internet security ensuring computing, browsing and online shopping experiences can be stress free. However, it is not about just installing an anti-malware; the anti-malware has to be consistently updated because creators of malware are consistent in their creation.

If we can work at preventing viruses, worms, trojans etc from infecting our personal computers or stealing information from our laptops/computers; should we not also safeguard our souls and spirits? Sins are contaminants that the devil consistently brings to our attention. Some of them are obvious but too enticing and pleasing for us to reject their invasion. Some are concealing like the trojans preventing us from recognizing them initially until friends or families bring to our attention the unpleasant trends in our lives.

Studying and meditating on the word is like an anti-malware to detect and prevent sin from taking root in our lives. In the last article we discussed making prayer which is another anti-malware a lifestyle. Each anti-malware must be updated as the devil will consistently run to and fro looking for an unprotected child of God to kill, destroy or steal from. Praying and studying the word form part of our daily security from the schemes of the enemy.

Never read the bible for formality sake but study so the word which is Jesus (John 1:1-2) can be internalized. See the word as your daily bread without which you cannot survive or withstand or shield away the darts of the enemy. The word taken in yesterday may not be enough to resist the schemes of the enemy today. As the days go by without the study of the word, you become unprotected and exposed to the enemy to do as he pleases.

Hebrew 4:12-13 (The Message)
God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon's scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God's Word. We can't get away from it—no matter what.

Ephesians 5:26 (The Message)
Christ's love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness.

The word of God is sharp enough to uproot all that is not of God within us. The word of God shields and defends us. It provokes us to listen and obey God. In addition, the word of God beautifies and causes us to radiate with holiness.

Let the children of God arise and stop being buddies with sins by consistently; never relenting to study and internalize the word of God. 

Image by Jane Conversano @ dreamstime

September 11, 2011

How to stop being buddies with sins

In the last article, I had some illustrations to show we can stop being buddies with sin. We need to be tenacious in kicking sin out and it has to be sustained. We have to match force with sustained resistance. We must continually resist the devil and refuse to gratify the desires of the flesh.

In this article, I would like to share one of the ways we can stop encouraging the devil to run our lives.

We should have sustained prayerful lives
Prayer is a two-way communication with God whereby we pour out our hearts – needs, desires, fears, queries – while God shows us his ways and deeds. It is an avenue for God to rub off himself on and in us. If we are consistent, he reproduces his character in us and over time we can become his splitting image. Prayer is never a hit and run process. It is not meant to be occasional or to be undertaken only when we are in need. So when we are consistent in prayer, the devil loses his hold; we focus on pleasing God and as we continue to focus on God, righteousness becomes a lifestyle.

I have shuttled between prayerlessness and prayerfulness; and so I know the difference. When I am prayerless over a period, I begin to pick up sinful habits that I had conquered. This is compounded when I am in the midst of people that encourage such sinful habits.

However, one thing I noticed in this shuttle between prayerlessness and prayerfulness is that God did not abandon me. He would always nudge me back to him. I can’t help but to wonder if it is because of some prayers I had prayed early in life.

I remember way back in 2003, I prayed, “Oh Lord, please do not let my conscience be seared. Let me be tied unto you like the belt of man is tied unto his waist”

Sadly, I have been on this shuttle several times over the years; the inconsistency has done me no good. It affects the spiritual temperature leaving one lukewarm which God detests and provides a loophole for the devil to creep in gradually and if the lukewarmness continues, the devil strategizes to make one his abode.

When I am in the prayerful zone, I am safe, swimming in the ocean of righteousness; feeling like a conqueror and I testify of God’s goodness freely.

When I am in the prayerless zone, I am like a house infested with all sorts of insects. I know I ought to get rid of them but I continue to encourage their presence and at some point I begin to think I can leave with them as long as they are not visible to visitors. It is also difficult to testify of God freely without being overwhelmed by guilt. In addition, there is a voice that is quick to remind me of my sins.

A skin infection starts on one spot and spreads all over the skin. A small fire at one end of the forest can raze the whole forest. A crack in a dam can lead to flooding in a city destroying infrastructure and taking lives.

 I choose to think of prayerlessness as a sin – a small unrecognizable sin that initiates more and bigger sins. It is an un-ceremonial and unacknowledged invitation to the devil to take charge of our lives and destroy us. The devil will take charge without us remembering when we handed the driver’s seat to him. If we leave him long enough, he will cause such havoc with terrible consequences.

If we want Jesus to be continually in the driver’s seat; live a righteous life and be above principalities and powers, then we must be prayerful.

If we want God to reproduce his character in us; then we must be prayerful.

We must make prayer part of our lifestyle; we must delight in communicating with God continually. Only then can we overcome and stop being buddies with sin.

Image by Coral Coolahan @ dreamstime