I want to sincerely apologize for my hiatus. It’s been a very long two months, with end of semester papers and projects, bachelor party organizing, graduating from grad school (with highest honors-all credit goes to the Lord!), moving, applying for career jobs (any leads in sports, fitness, recreation, please send my way!) and my brothers wedding. The aforementioned should not be used as an excuse not to spread His gospel because no matter what we’re doing, as busy or as unbusy our lives may be, we must always be willing to be a beacon, to reach out to those in trouble as 1 Corinthians 15:58 says, “therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” Moreover, this comes to the topic at hand, and as you read the title, Destroy What Destroys You, we must embrace this idea as instrumental in growing and evolving as a believer.
Think about this for a second, if we all had the control, all had the patience and determination to stop sin in its tracks, we wouldn’t be sinners, right? If we were able to recognize and realize our actions and behavior were turning detrimental, then we would be living in a perfect world, right? Well, there’s our problem, as humans and especially as believers. (If you haven’t read my previous post, Jesus Loves Pornstars, I implore you to stop reading this now, and read it; it’s highly conducive to the idea at hand.) In other words, self-control is either absent or becomes subject to failure. Furthermore, what sets us apart from other creatures of God’s creation is our consciousness. Most often, we think in terms of an angel on one shoulder, and a demon on the other, so at least that’s the depiction of society. This conscious behavior, thoughts, and actions precede a choice; a choice to choose what is right or wrong, a choice of yes or no, a choice that aligns with His or not.
For non-believers, this right/wrong dichotomy is parallel to their upbringing, societal norms, or even religion. It’s in a sense their personal standard of living, able to clearly define what’s right or wrong, even with the Jesus Christ not in the picture. As believers, our one and only way of living is through His Word, through living each day as Christ Jesus wants us to, not based upon society or other standards. Innumerous studies have been done to investigate how and why people act the way they do, interestingly studying mentally unstable and felonious individuals. Researchers Cima, Tonnaer, and Hauser (2010) examined how psychopaths process and control their decisions. Specifically, they found that psychopaths and criminals alike have a “normal understanding of right and wrong, but an abnormal regulation of morally appropriate behavior.” Even though the vast majority of us aren’t psychopaths or criminals, this study and many alike positively demonstrate we all have an innate moral compass. So as criminals are beginning their sinful thoughts and actions, there’s always an escape route, there’s always an angel telling them they can be saved, there’s a definitive way out. But all too often, the devil overcomes these Holy voices to say, “no one likes you, this will show them, it feels good, you’ll be happy, etc, etc, etc.”
Oh so often, after such sinful behavior, we’re fall back to square one, we come back to the dichotomized thoughts of regret and excuses “gosh, I shouldn’t have done that, it felt good, so it was ok, I’m in a tough situation right now, so give me some slack.” It’s not until we’ve fully committed our lives to serving the Lord, praising His name, that all worldly things don’t mean anything, don’t have value to us, including sinful behavior; lust, selfishness, wicked hearts are lost at the waist side.
So you’re asking, how can I stay consistent with my faithful, devoted, loving lifestyle, being bigger and stronger than temptations? Well, it may seem easy, but you must take up the Cross daily. Whatever this may be, reading a daily devotional, studying/memorizing a few scriptures of the Bible, conversing with other Christians, or going to church, we must be involved one way or another with His Holiness. Establishing these Holy habits is a must for change to occur. If it’s reading your Bible before you head to work, do it every day, no matter the circumstance. Once you do it for about two weeks (when the action begins to be neurologically imprinted), it’ll become commonplace in your life.
As you begin this process of seeking out new and healthy behaviors (e.g. by inserting God into your life), you can begin to see/recognize how your sinful thoughts were devastating to relationships, friendships, productivity, and true feelings of love and closeness. Think about this; is it easier to give into temptation or fight it? What does it say about your character and faith in God? The more change that occurs in your life, the more you’ll realize that if He’s taken you to a tough situation, He will get you through it. No sin, no mistake is bigger than Jesus Christ and His forgiveness.
So when you come to a crossroads of sinning or not sinning, recognize the underlying problem and purge it from your life. Whether that means getting rid of a television, computer, iPhone application, friendship, or whatever is spawning sinful behavior, sever ties! You cannot expect to grow in Christ if you’re not willing to let it go completely. You cannot have one foot in and one foot out. To have a complete transformation, you must let go of ALL things. Because Matthew 6:33 says, “but seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
I challenge you today, destroy what destroys you!
Cima, M., Tonnaer, F., & Hauser, M. D. (2010). Psychopaths know right from wrong but don’t care. Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience, 5(1), 59-67.