10 Reasons Why The World Dislikes The Christians

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Christianity, according to polls, is the largest religion in the world. But this survey is too simplistic. There is so much more to the faith than just a simple declaration of beliefs, than just going to church on Sundays, donating to the church, than this short period of piety for most during the holy week…

There is more to being a Christian than that.

Proof of this is how professing “Christians” roll their eyes when their fellow believers share their faith. They challenge and discourage those who preach the Bible while writing in their bio-data that they are of the faith.

Also, there are many who are only “partially Christian” – they take the principles they like in the Bible and then throw away the rest. They say they believe that Jesus is God, but they hang on to their 2nd and 3rd wives.

Then there are those who are just naturally superstitious and just happen to be born in a Christian background. While I was recently watching the fight between Pacquiao and Bradley in a restaurant, one “Christian” remarked before the results were announced: “Manny, you better make the sign of the cross or you will lose again…”

These are the fillers to the said number of Christians in the world. They’re the fence-sitters who like to see what’s going in the church but would rather not be involved. They’re those who don’t bother with the deepest things of God and are more concerned with their image. I’m not referring to these Christians.

The Christians referred to in this article are those who believe in the Bible as the only source of knowledge for faith. Those who live out what they regularly meditate on in Scripture. Those who deeply believe that there is only one God: the God of Israel who sent His only Son, Jesus, to be the final sacrifice for sins. Those who believe that Jesus lives to this day and will soon return to keep His promise of a new heaven and earth. Those who use all God’s gifts to bring back glory to Him and to share the gospel.

These are the Christians of old led by the same Holy Spirit. They’re the real deal.

So why does the general population, including the Church’s own members, dislike them? If you’re one of those who have always been wondering why you feel that way, below are 10 possible reasons.

1. Christians are excited about the thought of the end of the world.

While most of the world are ecstatic about a better world that is coming through science, technology and man – the believer looks forward to the day that it will crumble and die. Christians believe in this because Jesus did prophesy about it. They don’t wish for everyone and everything to be destroyed, actually. They just long to see a world without poverty, sickness, evil and death just like everyone else.

Needless to say, there are those who who primarily preach this not out of love and joy, but out of frustration because of their failures in this world.

2. Christianity calls for a holy life.

There’s just no escape from this. The Bible is clear, the struggle against the evil within will always be on the shoulder of the believer. It’s a struggle because its going against the tough grain of the human heart that just loves the flesh and the world. But Jesus paid for the price once and for all, there is no need for condemnation. Christians are free to be good and holy. Nothing separates them from the love and presence of God no matter what happens. Its like a huge free buffet with an endless supply of forgiveness, love and the power of God. And He Himself paid for the bill.

3. Christianity requires a lot of work.

The misconception is that once one becomes a Christian, there is no longer anything else to be done. The result is backsliding (going back to the old life). The call of the faith is a call to God’s work. The believer will be encouraged to be mobilized in church, to serve. He will be guided to meditate on the Bible regularly, to pray unceasingly, to share the gospel to friends and family, to preach, to teach, to feed the poor, to give… The list is endless. No this faith is not a dead end. Its a new way of life. The God Christian’s serve will not make you idle and lazy. He will turn you into someone you never thought you could be.

4. Christianity will demand your time.

Whether its attending a small group, a prayer meeting or teaching – the Church will not only ask for you to walk down the aisle or to just raise a hand and shed a few tears. The Church will ask you to replace all the useless things in your schedule with what pleases God.

5. The Church will ask you to part with your money without apology.

Jesus was clear in Scripture: you cannot love both God and money. He taught in plain language to give to the poor, the widows, the orphans and the harassed. He knows the dangers of being attached to the things in this world. He intends to replace that with Himself – the source of life. Does this mean that we ought to live like cavemen? No. Jesus simply teaches that you should be the master of your money, not the other way around.

Sadly, this is also Jesus’ teaching that most wolves in sheep’s clothing love to use.

There are many false teachers out there that look legit but are really just after your money. They would ask for it in exchange for wealth, promotion, health and power. They appear like the real thing as they preach, but a close examination of the Bible always reveals what they really are.

6. The Church will ask you to put God first.

Jesus teaches even to this day to love God above all else, and then others second. He also teaches that if you had to choose between God and friends, family, job, wealth, even health – you gotta choose God. He may appear cruel as He asks this from us, but it really is a test of faith that all Christians go through. Think about it, if we really believe that God is all powerful, good and wise – then why could we not believe that He will take care of all other matters when we put Him first?

7. Christianity makes its followers appear weak and lame.

Jesus’ teachings on radical love and forgiveness, even towards enemies, is an offense to most who prefer instant justice. For the shallow others, brotherly love hints of secret homosexuality. The shameful cases of sexual abuse in the Church today committed by its leaders are only confirming these concerns… But loving unconditionally, loving the unlovable and loving even one’s enemies are also acts of faith that Jesus taught. Apparently, the kind of love that God revealed is much more bigger than what man is capable of doing. And how about justice when we’re wronged? Again, the answer is faith. Why take matters in your own hands when you have an all-powerful God who is always present and knows the perfect timing for everything? This is one of the most difficult struggles of being a Christian.

8. Christians teach God-confidence, never self-confidence.

This, I think, is the area where believers today are encountering the most resistance and persecution. The world today advocates relativism and self-sufficiency. Everyone is free to choose what they want to follow because everyone is now the god of their lives. Each person is taught to depend on themselves for everything, even things about God, which explains everything that is morally wrong in the world today. And where does that leave God? Outside of everyone’s life. No one today will readily accept that God is the source of every good and right thing.

Unfortunately, this idea has infiltrated the Church too.

Most Christian believe that they can force God to give them something as long as they believe in their mental capacity to think positive. This reduces God into a mindless genie (for more on that, click here.) The Bible is quite clear though, all its heroes depended solely on God and not on positive thinking or self-confidence. When they asked God for something, they asked like the servants that they were. Not like CEOs calling on the logistics department.

9. Christians breed fanatics.

The believers have no one to blame here but themselves. God is all about balance and fairness in Scriptures.

He only lifted this balance and fairness when the time came for Jesus to die on the cross. In that case, things became unfair – for God.

But everything else about God’s teachings encourages balance.

For example, Jesus teaches that no one who puts family first before Him is worthy of Him. Does this mean that we should abandon our kids for Him? Of course not. Because He also showed multiple times that He loves kids (and they loved him) and even His own mother. He even warned everyone who would make little children stumble in their innocence (he was also referring here to the believers with child-like faith). The ancient church also emphasized love for family. So, putting these together, this means that in our struggle to provide for our families, we should always remember that God and His work is more important than the things of this world.

But the fanatics, they get one or two teachings, focus on it and ignore all other teachings that are meant to balance it. This is why we have Christians who are racists, who are hateful, who are discriminating with their spiritual gifts, who follow false Christs and who recklessly spread their selective ideas to the disadvantage of the Church.

10. Christians elevate God above science.

Science is actually a religion nowadays that even the atheists bow to. But for the Christian, science only proves the existence of God. Any discovery by science was made by God and serves a purpose in His plan. There are many other things in the world that God created and is only waiting to be discovered. And if there is anything about the faith that science could not accept, it’s only because science is dealing with Someone that they could not possibly measure.

When Stephen Hawking declared, “There is no need for theology… There is no God…”

The Christians answered, “It is because our God is too big for your devices, your theories, your formulas and your equations… And He requires something that your science can’t grasp: Faith.”

It’s a never-ending debate. But does this mean that the Christian doesn’t enjoy science and technology? We do! But its just that we see a higher purpose to it all: it all points to Jesus, our Maker and Creator.

And the Church goes on…

These are just some of the reasons why Christians are disliked. And we know that its not going to change. Its something that we have to live with. Its part of the cross that we have to bear. And we do so joyfully for our Lord who took our place on the cross.

This faith that we have will continue, despite the regular attacks we receive. Why? Because this faith is not of this world. And the God who nurtures it is beyond this world.

A Jewish leader, Gamaliel, did well when he said this in a deliberation among Jewish leaders on what to do with the apostles in Acts 5:35-39:

“…be careful about what you’re going to do with these men… Leave them alone… For if this plan or this work is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God… you may be even found fighting against God…”

2000 years later, the Church of Jesus still stands.

 

Struggling with Discontent, part 3 of 3

This is the last installment of this 3-part article on Struggling with Discontent. In part 2, I talked about some of the things that give us discontent. Then I lingered on the inadequacy of the Prosperity Gospel to give the Christian a joy-filled life. Here’s the rest of it…

Here’s another truth. Here’s what else is real in our lives: the hard rules of the Earth.

These rules everybody must abide in, believer or not. Yes, God loves you. But don’t think He will bend these earth rules just for you all the time. More often than not, He allows these rules to have power over us to teach us discipline, perseverance and to develop our character. In case you’re asking why, let me remind you that He’s not your genie, He’s your Father in heaven.

Whether these rules would be miraculously suspended for anyone, its His call, not ours.

What are some of these hard rules that God often chooses for His people to work under? There are many. Let’s quickly go through a few:

The Laws of Physics. Throw a Christian and a non-believer from a 20-story building and they will both fall flat on the ground, regardless of their theology. Try it. Let me know what happens. I’m kidding.

No work, no pay. Amazingly, this is the law that most of us believers think we’re exempted from. Guess what?Even if you can make a pencil levitate in Jesus name, no income will come to you if you don’t work. No certain amount of prayer will make money sprout out of the ground if you don’t work hard. But, to be clear, the opposite extreme is also true. If you work hard without God’s help, you will also be working in vain. Any work done apart from Christ will eventually fall or deliver an empty life. But prayer without hard work, is also a recipe for failure.

Life not being fair. The Earth is not designed to be a child’s playground although it may seem like that sometimes. Evil is present everywhere and it affects believers and non-believers alike. We’re not supposed to be comfortable here. The Lord has prepared a place of peace and abundance for those who do believe in Him, and one day He will renew all things when He returns. But right now, the world is filled with fallen people. Let’s be thankful that evil can only go as far as we and God allow it to go. We are here not to love the world. But to love and yearn everything that is God’s.

The Appeal of Excellence. Being a meek and humble Christian doesn’t mean being mediocre. It also doesn’t mean that you can’t compete. You can strive to be excellent & competitive without being arrogant. You simply can’t be trusted and can’t be promoted if you don’t show the bosses that you’re capable – even if you’re a devoted Christian.

Value of Time. Whether you lose time from relationships due to vices or work or because of your service to God, you will lose loved ones all the same. Just because you’re a church volunteer doesn’t mean that your marriage will be miraculously mended without spending enough time with your wife. Its the same with your kids, your family and your friends. If time is used poorly, the result is always the same regardless of our beliefs…

OK, let’s stop there. What’s the point?

Instead of wasting time wishing for a better life, wishing for the prince charming to come, for superheroes to emerge, for Reality TV producers to walk up to us, for fortune to come as we pay Prosperity Gospel tele-evangelists – why don’t we use our God-given faculties, talents and skills to get off our behind and solve them instead? Instead of spending a lot of time daydreaming, why don’t we get the gears in our minds grinding? God designed your powerful mind not to park it, but to use it for His glory.

And if we can’t solve the problem regardless of how hard we’ve tried, then maybe we’re approaching the problem the wrong way… Or maybe we’re heading the wrong direction and God’s hand is not going with us and we need to change direction…

Because of His work on the cross, Jesus now isn’t just your Lord, Redeemer and Savior. He can be your always-present life-coach if you work on a relationship with Him.

The Lord Jesus did not promise an easy life. But He did promise rest even in times of chaos (Matt. 11:28). He promised never to leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5). He promised that He will provide enough for us the way that He does for the birds of the air (Matt. 6:26). He assured us that we need not fear life with Him because He knows how to give good gifts – better than what’s in our minds (Matt. 7:11). His words bear in them power that the world doesn’t understand. Jesus is worthy of our trust. And all these promises are ours to claim by His cross (Gal. 3:26-29).

He designed each one of us to be problem-solvers not problem-hoarders.

He wants His children not to be overwhelmed but to be always persevering. Worrying and complaining only wears us down. Let us remember that Jesus is the best example of submission to the Father’s plan even when it seemed impossible. Let us also remember the great victory that He achieved and the highest authority that He has now over all things in heaven and on earth.

We have been given a Spirit of Power and not of fearfulness (2Tim. 1:7).

So lets stop fantasizing about a life without kinks and dents. Face those problems head-on and grab it by the neck. Use them as foot holds as they come. Use them to bring you ever higher. Let us work towards a life that is always resilient, always hopeful and always faithful.

Struggling with Discontent, part 2 of 3

In part 1 of this article, I enumerated some of the things I blame for our habitual discontent.I ranted about some of the nice things most of us love to watch and follow (Disney movies, Hero movies, reality-TV, tele-evangelists, etc…). I expressed that I think these, despite of their good intentions, teach us never to be content with what we have.

Here’s the rest of it…

All these and more give us discontent. They pressure us to come up with a solution that will make all our troubles go away— or be labelled boring or unblessed. These suggest that money, fame and power will solve all problems. If only we could just break-free from the prison that we’re in. If only we could escape…

But what is real? Your life is real. Your problems are real. Your job, no matter how meager it is, is real.

Let’s get even closer to reality…

Girls, odds are, no prince charming will come to your rescue. And guys, for goodness sakes, find a job or build a business when you can and don’t wait for good fortune. Stop trying to become someone you’re not.

No superheroes will come to save us from a failing economy. We’ll just have to figure it out ourselves.  Most of the time, the greatest dangers we face is not physical and do not come from zombies or cataclysmic events (good luck to the doomsday preppers out there). The real heroes are those who do their jobs well and add value to the community.

Stardom is not the solution to anyone’s problems. We need to tell that to the youth. There are millions wanting to be in a Reality TV Show. Even if you can manage to get in, its no guarantee that you’ll stay up there for long. Stars do fade and fall, often. And, even if you’re just a simple fan, try to look at how much of your time and money is spent on watching them on TV and on buying the products that these shows promote. You buy them because you’ve been taught that what you see in the mirror is below expectations. Can you spell S-U-C-K-E-R?

Politicians are necessary. We do need to respect and submit to them. Someone has to lead and take care of the nation. But its just wrong to depend on them to make our future brighter. These guys are not at the very top of the society, we are. That’s why they’re called public servants. Its just sad that the public perception is inverted. Its a pity to see that there are unfortunate citizens out there depending on hand outs from the government without looking for a way out of their situation; thinking that they are entitled to government help because they have voted for those in position. Progress in our lives can’t be entrusted to politicians. They’re too busy promoting themselves. Depend on them for your personal progress, and the result would be a joyless life full of bitterness.

This may come as a surprise to you, but please read on after this:

Do not entertain any preacher who teaches that God will shower you with money, fame and good health for as long as you are faithful with your giving.

This is where I’ll linger… You only have to take a second look at Bible stories and you’ll realize that it is filled with, not only blessings, but sufferings as well. Living a Christian life is no guarantee that your problems will go away. It’s not a bed of fragrant flowers. Being a believer does not guarantee that your sickness or difficulties will disappear. Paul did all those great feats of faith with an illness. The Lord Jesus Himself was born into a simple life. You know how the rest of His story goes.

There are preachers who will teach you that since Jesus suffered and died already, you don’t have to. This is true, but it should always be followed by this other truth:

We are not in charge, God is.

Yes, there are abundant blessings, healing and prosperity— all good things— from God through the cross of Jesus. Amen to that. But He also has a grand plan that will be followed. Sometimes, it is part of His will for suffering to stay, for evil to triumph, for poverty to linger, for sickness to occur. Why these have to stay, no one knows for sure (more on that here). That’s why faith (believing in God and His goodness despite of difficulties) is very important to us and to Him. This is why, in the gospels, Jesus emphasized the value of faith, even if its as small as a mustard seed.

The Lord’s sovereign plan will not take a backseat so you can have your little project. The prayers we say are not to change His mind, it’s to mold ours into His.

End of Part 2…

Struggling with Discontent, part 1 of 3

Image by Roberto Bouza via Flickr, Creative Commons

Why do we spend so much time wishing for someone else’s life? Why are we so paralyzed by the things that we don’t have? Why do discontent and worry have a firm grip on us?

I blame Disney. With all its fairy tales where evil always loses to good; where dreaming and hoping always bear fruit as long you keep on believing; where young girls are taught to depend on the coming of the prince charming while wasting every second of their lives daydreaming; where young boys are taught that only those with the looks, the armor, the castle and the horses should do the venturing and the leading.

I blame the superhero movies that I love; where the fate of the world lies often on one man or a small group of individuals with superpowers; where we’re taught that we need extraordinary circumstances to be able to make a difference (get bit by a radioactive spider, be born from a different planet, be ultra rich); where it’s suggested that normal people should stand aside, scream and panic, as the mighty ones do all the work.

I blame the Reality-TV industry. I’ll throw-in show business as a whole as well. They teach us that anyone can be popular and glamorous; that if we keep auditioning, we too can be the next star; that as long as we devour all the beauty products that they sell, we too will eventually be discovered. They propose that as long as we stay beautiful, fabulous and visible— things will turn out OK. They present themselves no longer as entertainers but as the ultimate solution to poverty and hopelessness.

I blame politicians. They always promise to end ancient problems but often end up causing new ones instead; who present themselves as the ultimate solution but reveal later that they have short-term memories; who will indeed implement projects but for their own future campaigns; who will take the hope of the people but give little back to them.

I also blame those irresponsible Tele-Evangelists. Particularly those that preach solely the Gospel of Prosperity. Those who claim that hardships and difficulties are not meant for the genuine believers of Christ; who preach that for as long as we have faith, our businesses will prosper; who say that for as long as we “pay” our tithes and offerings to their movements, the Lord will always “return our investments” beyond our imagination (I wonder what they were thinking when the recession came in 2008?). They who claim that they can command the Holy Spirit of God. Who show as if they can “shoot” blessing from their hands; who then wear expensive suits, ride luxury cars, personal planes and go on spending sprees— all for the “glory of God”.

All these and more give us discontent. They pressure us to come up with a solution that will make all our troubles go away— or be labelled boring or unblessed. These suggest that money, fame and power will solve all problems. If only we could just break-free from the prison that we’re in. If only we could escape…

But what is real? Your life is real. Your problems are real. Your job, no matter how meager it is, is real.

End of Part 1.

Click here for part 2 of this article…

The Power Of Desire

Firedancer

Your deepest desires dictate your actions.

Our desires have multiple layers. Its coverings are like that of an onion. The outer coverings are a reflection of what’s inside. There are many layers, but when you peel them off, you’re left with a small compact center.

Our desires are often a reflection of the deepest ones. And if you dig deeper, you’ll understand yourself better. It is profitable to a person if, before doing something, he asks himself first, “Why am I doing this?”

Our desires can be tricky. Most of the time we think that a certain desire is the very reason why we do things but later on discover upon introspection that the desire is actually just a result of an even more powerful desire hidden deeper in our hearts.

Let’s say you got angry at a sales clerk at the mall, shouting at her after she told you that you can’t return an item. At first, you believe that you’re emotionally stirred because its an injustice, that you need to set it right because you’re being wronged. So you scream at the clerk without so much as asking her what she’s went through that day and how low her salary is.

You walk away satisfied that justice had been done. That satisfaction is lifted up all the more by the fact that justice had been done yourself. And then days later, in a moment of calmness and reflection, you dig in deep into your heart. And then you find that the incident with the sales clerk was not about justice at all but because of a very deep desire of yours to be respected and even feared. Because once upon a time in grade school you were terribly bullied and no one interfered for you and you promised yourself along the way that it should not happen again. And that desire to protect yourself gave birth to your thirst for justice and vengeance. And at that moment with the poor sales clerk was really not about her, the mall and not even about the $10 shirt. Without you knowing it, one of your deepest undisclosed desires have taken control of you. That whole incident was in fact the 8-year old you, defending itself from the kids that bullied you decades ago. It was an unsettled part of you bursting out.

This is important I think because it will add value and nobility to our lives.

It could free us from our bondages. Upon realizing that a desire for prostitutes is rooted on a deeper desire for acceptance because the person was once upon a time rejected too many times by too many people – money and effort can be redirected to better things that soothes the same desire.

It could intensify our passion for work. On the verge of giving up, a person can recover from burn out after successfully uncovering that he has been working not just because of his desire for money but because of his desire to preserve the heritage of his parents.

It could help us with life-changing decisions. An aspiring politician can postpone his plans upon figuring out that his drive to succeed is not driven by genuine public-service but because of a deeper desire for fame, power and money. If all politicians did this, I wonder what kind of world we’re all living in right now?

In the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Bradberry and Greaves teaches us that looking deeper into our hearts is the key to making better decisions:

The biggest obstacle to increasing your self-awareness is the tendency to avoid the discomfort that comes from seeing yourself as you really are… Rather than avoiding a feeling, your goal should be to move toward the emotion, into it, and eventually through it…

This brings to mind what Jesus said in Matthew 12:34-35 about the source of the words we speak and the things we do:

For the mouth speaks out of the overflow of the heart. A good man produces good things from his storeroom of good, and an evil man produces evil things from his storeroom of evil.

Also, in Mark 7:15, He reminds us that we should be more careful of what’s going on inside than the food that we’re ingesting:

Nothing that goes into a person from outside can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him… For from within, out of people’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, evil actions, deceit, promiscuity, stinginess, blasphemy, pride and foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a person.

The widely accepted school of thinking teach that the way to discipline is the reward system. We reward what is good. We punish what is evil. This works, but most of the time it doesn’t. If it does work, it does so temporarily. Proof is the overcrowding of our prisons worldwide. There is clearly a missing factor in the way we correct ourselves.

Desires are powerful. Especially the deepest ones that hide deep in us. Those desires that have gained the ability to create multiple coverings around it. Desires that are able to tap into the power of the mind to dig itself deeper and deeper into the darkest parts of the heart.

Good news is, we’ve been equipped with the ability to harness these desires. We can either harness them and use them to propel us. Or we can allow them to subdue and control us.

The Bible offers help to those subdued by unwanted desires. And David asked from God in his writings in Psalms 51:10-12 for intervention because, just like us, he had desires that were getting out of control:

Create in me a pure heart, O God… Renew a steadfast spirit within me… Restore me… Grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

And the Lord answers in Matthew 11:28 and 2 Corinthians 5:17:

Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest… If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

No one comes to Jesus without being changed. Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church said this:

The true mark of a genuine Christian is a changed life… his sanctification.

There is only one requirement God asks a person for Him to give the power to overcome unwanted desires. No, its not to buy a book or to deposit $100 in a televangelists’ account or to touch a TV screen like some idiot. Its simpler than that. It’s in Psalms 51:17:

The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart.

Come to Him with pride and your academic prowess, and He will not come. All you’ll see are the inconsistencies in the BIble. Come to Him with your desire for prosperity and you will find the company of heretical fanatics. But have that broken, humbled heart the Lord requires, and He will come to you and change you into the person you were meant to be.

The best parts of your life yet are in His hands.

Handed Over: The Christian’s Only Fear

The Scream, a painting by Edvard Munch via Wikipedia

The Scream, a painting by Edvard Munch via Wikipedia

There are few things that a Christian truly fears. I don’t mean here that believers are emotionless. Sure we get startled in an explosion. Or get anxious about some things beyond our control. Or get scared of heights or spiders. We do have our phobias still. We’re human after all.

The fear that I mean here is that state of being continually fearful. That fear that is the blackest of blacks. That fear that consumes you day and night and makes you give up on life. The fear that has no hope of rescue – that’s the fear that I mean, the fear that a Christian doesn’t have.

How can we have that kind of fear in our hearts if we are children of an Almighty God? How can we continually be afraid of anything if we have a Mighty Father beside us, 24/7?

No believer continued to be afraid when the recession hit in 2008 because we knew then that our Provider never left our side. No Christian was desperate as Supertyphoon Yolanda hit in 2013 for we knew then that He is always in control. How could we be afraid today of what will happen to our kids in the future if we know that God loves our kids more than we ever could?

We just can’t be afraid.

Sometimes we get derailed, we stumble a little bit, but we always find our balance. Sometimes we fall, but our hope never runs out. We always rise again for our Lord who gave everything up for us in love.

But there’s a fear that a believer does have. A fear that separates the genuine from the fake. For this fear only grips those who truly love God and desire Him deeply.

This fear is the Christian’s fear of being handed over to his or her unholy desires.

This is the fear of being allowed by God Himself to what you think is nice after He kept you away from it for so long. This is that event in a believer’s life when our conscience stops working and we go through a downward spiral of sin. That terrible time when God lets you go and stops interfering. You think that God is OK with it regardless of what’s in His Word, when in truth, He’s already miles away from you.

Picture a cat surrounded by a gang of pit bulls – pit bulls that haven’t eaten for days. The cat’s owner did all he could to keep him away from them, but the cat is stupid. He thinks that the pit bulls are friends and all that barking means they like him. No matter how sophisticated the cage is, the cat always finds a way to get out and rush to the other side. The owner always caught him in the nick of time. But then the cat is relentless. He wants what he thinks is the best for him. And he sees the owner not as a protector, but a dictator and oppressor. So what does the cat do? The next time his owner catches him, he claws and bites. The owner realizes that the cat’s problem is his desire, entrenched deep in his heart; reason will not work at all. So he sadly lets his cat go, and waits. What does the owner wait for? The cat’s own realization that he was wrong all along and his master is right. The cat’s own willingness – his panic – to get back to his master’s arms.The owner doesn’t want it, but the cat won’t listen to reason and will rather experience the pain and separation.

This is what happens to a Christian who will not stop on doing what he knows is wrong. This is what happens when the believer ignores the Holy Spirit and refuse to repent. God doesn’t want it because He knows it will hurt the believer, but the believer keeps wandering away and sees God as his oppressor. So God lets go. With great sorrow, He stands back as His child is devoured by sin.

This “handing over” is found in Scripture. The ESV and KJV Bible calls it “give up”. The HCSB Bible calls it “deliver over”. The NIV Bible calls it “give over”.

Let’s use the ESV for this article…

“So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels.” Psalms 81:12

“For this reason, God gave them up to dishonorable passions…” Romans 1:26.

“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done…” Romans 1:28

Ephesians 4:19 is quite special because it shows the sinning Christian’s personal choice to give himself or herself over to depravity: ‘Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality…”

To illustrate this more, think of David and his adultery. After that, think of Solomon, his concubines and idolatry. Think of what happened next when God have them over to their desires.

This also brings to mind the BTK killer, Dennis Lynn Rader, of Wichita, Kansas who killed and tortured 10 people between 1974 to 1991. He was arrested in 2005. During the time of his arrest, he was president of the congregation council of Christ Lutheran Church in Wichita. Before his arrest, he wrote letters to police and media about his previous crimes. These letters were not letters of remorse but of boasting and taunting. Hiding behind an alias, he told the world of his desire to defile and murder women and children. It was discovered later that some of the letters he made were written in the church using the church desktop computer. When he pleaded guilty, it was without remorse. Police say that there are many “lucky” people because Rader was on the verge of relapse when he was arrested. He is now in solitary confinement. (Source: Wikipedia)

I will not say that Rader was never a believer in the first place and will go to hell. I don’t know that. Only he and God does. But here’s what I’m sure of, while he was a part of that church, God reached out to him repeatedly. Many times God forgave him and urged him to surrender. Many times, God would fight for him and tell him to stop his evil desires so that he won’t go back to where he came from in 1991 when he killed his last victim. But somewhere along the way, God had to let go. Why did God give him that much time? Why didn’t God strike him with death and disability right away? That is not for us to know. Fact is, God reached out to Rader. Rader wanted out. God let him go.

Christian, are you in that crossroad right now where God tells you to stop? Is the Lord urging you in your spirit to come back to him?

Is it a little stealing from the company funds? Don’t wait for God to let you go and let it grow into a full blown corporate crime.

Is it just a little gambling? Your God is trying to hold you back from bankruptcy.

Is it a little porn? If God let’s go, you won’t just lose your family, you could be on your way to becoming a pedophile. Maybe your first victim would be your own daughter.

Is it just one night of liberty with your boyfriend? If God let’s go, you better be ready for single parenthood.

Is it just a little torture of a puppy? Why do you think we feel so horrified when we see that done on any small animal? That’s God telling us that it’s not right. Dennis Rader started his serial killing with animal torture.

If God holds us back, it’s only because He wants us to get back to safety. Let’s love that about our Father. It’s an indicator that He’s there and that He cares.

It is with these same thoughts that David wrote, “..Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me…” (Psalms 23: 4).

I would rather have His loving discipline than live a life of separation from my Father.

David’s Deliverer

Why did King David call God his Deliverer? When the Lord tells us in the Bible that He will “deliver” His people, what does it mean? Why do we ask Him to “deliver” us from our sins in the Lord’s prayer?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word deliver as “to set free”, “to take and hand over” or “to surrender”… The meaning differs depending on how you use the verb. But in David’s case, the second definition would be the most appropriate application.

He calls God his Deliverer because when he faced the super soldier Goliath and he only had his faith, his sling and some small pebbles – God took him and handed him over to victory and glory. Both of which would have been impossible without God.

Its tempting to say, “Good for David, he has friends in high places. Too bad for me, I’m at the bottom of God’s priorities…”.

Its true that God favored David from the very beginning because he was after God’s own heart. That means that David didn’t want anything else in his life but God. When he did something, God was always first in his heart.

And that’s quite difficult to do in the 21st century, I admit that. Today, entertainment and information is literally just at the tip of our fingers. Knowledge is so easy to find. We don’t need anyone to explain anything to us, because we have a huge bank of information in the internet. Our prayer life and meditation is replaced by Google and YouTube. The modern man finds these sites more useful because they provide solutions within seconds. While prayer, church and Bible study – they take hours of your time without coming up with a solution.

Most don’t realize that Christians have something that David would have given all his royal treasury to acquire – the cross of Christ.

While David was a great man and a great King, he was still separated from God. He had faith, and God was pleased with that, but he didn’t have what you have: the very personal presence of God because of Jesus Christ.

What’s the value of that? Everything.

Because of what Christ did on the cross, David’s Deliverer is now your Deliverer. No, you’re far from deserving this gift, but He will create in you a pure heart. Yes, it’s impossible for you. But not for God.

To further illustrate this enormous favor from God, picture in your mind your favorite logistics company. What do logistics companies do? They deliver. Its not possible for you to take the plane just to deliver a parcel and go back again. It will take away too much of your time, your strength and money. So you go to the logistics company who specializes on doing that on a regular schedule for a small fee. So you, now, don’t have to do anything. You just stay where you are and your important parcel will be delivered to where it should go. You will have done something that would have been otherwise impossible without the logistics company – your “deliverer”.

I think you can sense where this is going now…

When Jesus died for you on that cross, He made David’s God, yours. Regardless of your past or your present situation. If you believe and ask Him to come into your life, He will come and never leave you. As you seek to know David’s God everyday, as you go deeper and deeper into the Spirit of God, you will find that He really does sees you as His very own son now. And as the day goes by, you will no longer recognize the person in your mirror.

David was just a favorite of God. The believer becomes a son or daughter of God. How much more will the Lord deliver His own to freedom, to victory to green pasture?

So. Much. More.

Its not possible for you – child of God – to get that job, that promotion, that home, that financial freedom that you aspire for, on your own. It is not possible for you to sever your ties with your most favorite sins on your own, because you really desire them and resisting fiery desires are quite difficult for all of us. But with your faith, your sling and some stones – it is. Why? Because David’s Deliverer is now yours. The same God who guided that pebble to the right spot on Goliath’s head will take even the smallest of your efforts further than you ever can. Yes, it’s too far. Yes, it’s too difficult a climb. Yes, it’s too painful a journey. And your Father in heaven is excited for you to get into that secret place and to call on your Deliverer.

God aches to be your Deliverer. If what you’re asking for is good and aligned to His plans for you, He’s excited to move alongside you.

He will strike down your goliaths one at a time. He will part your red sea one after another. He will feed your five thousand over and over again. Why? Because you have surrendered all to him as David did. Because you have received His Son Jesus into your heart and now claims you as one of His own. And when He does, He never will leave you.

Some aim to become like David and Solomon. They like referring to these great men when they commit adultery or when their flaws are singled out.They will quickly point out that even David and Solomon had concubines and were imperfect. So they too can have concubines and can keep their pet sin.

Modern day fools.

I think that’s a mistake. You and I were given so much more than David and Solomon combined. And so our goals must be higher.

Don’t aspire to be like David and Solomon. Aim to be better. Aim higher. Because the Son of God, Jesus, paid the highest price to make David’s Deliverer – yours.

Would you like to start that journey with Jesus? Would you like that new life and be that new creation? Would you like to discover more from God than the shallow knowledge that your friends have? Please pray this prayer in your own heartfelt words:

God of Heaven and Earth, God of the Bible. God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God of Moses and Elijah. God of David and Solomon. I invite you to come into my life through the cross of Your Son, Jesus. I admit that I can’t do it on my own. I am a hopeless sinner and I can’t stop hurting you. I’m tired of it all. I need help. I surrender my life and my soul to you. I don’t know how this works, but please be my Father, my Savior and Deliverer. Bless me with faith. Change me from the inside and out. Set me apart and make me Yours. And as I wait for the change to come, I commit to get to know You in the Bible regularly, to get to know imperfect believers like me regularly, to be a part of your church, and to spend time with you often in moments of reflection. Thank you for Your love. In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I pray, Amen.

May 2014 be the year of the Lord Jesus for you.