June 19, 2010

Elephants in Our Midst series: Part 4 Ungodly Relationships

The world tells us things today like, "You deserve the best" "Don't settle for second best" "Don't let anyone treat you like less than the best" "If you see something you want, go after it" etc. etc. etc.
It tells young men and women to satisfy their playful sexual desires. It tells men to treat women like property. It tells women to manipulate men into giving them whatever they want. It tells men to use force to get what they want. It tells women to use the lust of men to get what they want. The world tells us to honor ourselves first and others second. As long as everyone honors themselves, everything will be fine. If someone chooses to be humble and meek and go against this strategy, then it's their fault for getting hurt.

Jesus said, " Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

It sounds like Jesus thinks a little differently than the world does.

How do we dishonor each other in relationships and thus displease God?
the opposite of poor in spirit is pride
the opposite of those who mourn is apathy and un-compassion
the opposite of gentle is harsh or violent and usually comes from uncaring
the opposite of thirst and hunger for righteousness is conformity to the world
the opposite of mercy is cruelty and legalism
the opposite of pure in heart is a seared conscience and defiled mind and heart
the opposite of peacemakers are grumblers, mockers, gossipers, and decievers
the opposite of being persecuted in the sense of this passage is being readily accepted by everyone because you don't stand for righteousness when it is mocked.

Paul says in Romans 13 that love is the fullfillment of the law.
8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 10Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

But then he says two remarkable words immediately after:
"Besides this". In other words, he says this is the fulfillment of the Law, but there's more to being a Christian than just loving. So - what is the more?
Romans 13:11-14
"Besides this, understanding the present time, the hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

Put off fleshly desires, put on the armor of light and put on Christ.

Do you have the elephant of ungodly relationships in your life? Are you and everyone around you ignoring it just to avoid the unpleasantness of confrontation or not being able to satisfy fleshly desires? This is usually one of the most obvious and yet remains one of the most deadly elephants in Christianity today. The Bible is clear on what makes a relationship ungodly. We need to deny self and put on Christ in order to get rid of this elephant.
If you find yourself in an area you don't know how to get free from, please peruse the links I have posted to the upper right of this blog. They are all wonderful ministries full of helping resources!

With you for His glory

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