Practical Proverbial, from Titus, 23 July 2019

To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.  Titus 1:15-16 (NIV).

Before moving on from these verses, we have to talk (again) about sin.   Remember from last time how I said that a friend called me out for calling out a specific thing as sinful.   And that sin is a destroyer.   And, more important than these, that Jesus annihilated sin by confronting it and leading us from it.

Here is a partial list of my many sins:  being unloving, lying, ungratefulness, adultery, blasphemy, theft, anger, hatred, intolerance, judgmentalism, lust, unkindness, unfaithfulness, coveting, dishonor, unrighteousness, vulgarity, immorality, envy, greed, disobedience, drunkenness, rebelliousness, sloth.

Need I go on?   These are just a few that rattle off the top of my head.   There are more.  I regret them.   I’m sorry I did them.   I’m even more sorry I hurt others in doing them.   If all I focused on was my sins, I couldn’t function.  Indeed, there would be no point in going on if the only thing worth living for was evil, more sin.

The thing about it is, when you’re living in the middle it, those sins are all you want.   They’re a twisted poison that infects your heart and mind.   They’re a heroin rush.  They’re slavery disguised as freedom.  You think they’ll make you happy but you know deep inside that’s really a lie.  You say you believe in God but you never really do.   You refuse to give yourself over to God, so hypocrisy simply becomes yet another sin you’ll just live with.  You don’t like it; you don’t even want it, except you do.   Except they occupy your thoughts and become your focus.

Jesus rewires that thinking.

His focus is purity; His purity.  He longs for you to have it.  He looks into your heart and sees someone better.   He looks at you and says to you, “let me take that from you.”   He sees those sins and asks you to give them over to Him, so that He can carry the guilt and the hurt and the shame and the impurity of them.   He who is only that purity and has no sin takes your sins and takes them off you so that you don’t have to deal with them anymore.   He offers you true freedom.

And even after that happens, we make mistakes.   Even after, we deal with the consequences of our actions in that past ‘life.’  Even then, He is with us, helping us to stand, helping us to keep our focus on Him.   Helping us to apologize when we do wrong.   And helping us to stay free by resisting the temptation to fall back.

For further reading:  Titus 2:1

Pure, saving Jesus, thank You for saving me!

Advertisements

Daily Proverbial, from James, 15 October 2013

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom.  James 2, verse 12.

This one completely convicts me.  It really does and it hurts.   You see, I’m judgmental.  Get on my Facebook page and you’ll find me railing against things I don’t believe in, things I think are genuinely bad for the country and our world in general.   Many believe the same thing, but I really speak out against it, and that isn’t necessarily a good thing.  I don’t just use social media as a way to keep in touch or share trivial stuff:  it’s a platform to advance what I believe, especially my faith and my belief in American tenets.  

Yet I don’t always bring good credit on that faith or patriotism.  It’s tedious to argue with people about matters of principle and politics, and I don’t see how anything I’ve said or done has positively swayed anyone’s opinion.   I think you could reasonably argue, though, that there are things I’ve said and done online that have negatively swayed people, and I’m ashamed of that.  I won’t curse you out or call you names or belittle you as a human.   But I can eviscerate your position and make it seem like you are lower than low for simply standing up for what you believe in, too.

I’m ashamed of that.   To quote a friend, it makes me ‘judgy.’  It’s not just unattractive:   it’s wrong.

It makes me a hypocrite.   It’s true, there are people who will twist and turn your words and use them against you, using your faith or your beliefs as a way to hammer you while they hide behind a sheer veneer of their own hypocrisy.   That doesn’t matter.  It’s not the point because, when the admission of judgmental hypocrisy is made, I’m only responsible for me.  I’m the hypocrite.

The freedom this verse is talking about isn’t one guaranteed by an earthly Constitution.  The source of all freedom is Jesus.   It was in faith in Him that our ancestors sought refuge in a new world.   It was in faith in Him that those ancestors enshrined their beliefs about human liberty in the most influential government documents ever written.  Yet His freedom is freedom of the spirit, freedom from the slavery of sin.   It was something He bled and died for so that all men would know they are equal in Him.  All of us are sinful, and all of us have our judgmental and hypocritical faults.   Only through Christ are those faults neutralized and His glorious freedom advanced.   Social media may debate this, but nothing can ever deny or destroy it.

A judgy old coot like me would do well to remember it.

Freedom Jesus, thank you for setting me free.   Help me to stay free through clinging to you and laying aside all that isn’t You.

 

What keeps you enslaved?

What do you think about your freedom?

How does Jesus set you free?