Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Antidote for Sin

Daily I read the MacArthur Drawing Near Devotional Bible and the devotion I read a while back said that Love is the Antidote for Sin. I wanted to share what I learned here.

The Antidote to Sin

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It goes on to state two sections of bible verses. (emphasis mine)

The book of Matthew tells us what the greatest commandment is:

34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  - Matthew 22:37-40

Then Paul in Romans tells us that love is the fulfillment of the law:

8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. - Romans 13:8-10

What the devotional is saying is that when you love others, you will not want to sin against them. That is why love is the antidote to sin. If we love as Jesus loved and as God loves us sin will naturally disappear. Don't you agree?

I highly recommend the MacArthur Drawing Near Devotional as each month a new topic is covered. August was the month to talk about love. After reading the devotional for the day you have some parts of the Bible to read. You read from the Old Testament, Psalms/Proverbs and New Testament every day. The Psalms and New Testament are read twice during the year.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Did Sin Cause My Depression?

Sometimes Christians with Depression wonder if they did something to deserve their suffering. They wonder if their sin caused their depression. Some things I read in a recent book, Depression, Anxiety and the Christian Life (my review) made me think and I wanted to share.

Did Sin Cause My Depression?

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Did Sin Cause My Depression?

It is true that some of the hardships we encounter are a result of sin and so sin can cause or worsen depression and sometimes it's not related at all. It's not usually one sin that causes an illness but many sins over a long period of time. However that's not what you should be worrying about. The cause of your depression for the most part is irrelevant. It's what you do with that depression.
If they were more aware of how sinful is their overvaluing the world, failing to trust God, having bitter thoughts of him and meager, unholy thoughts about his goodness, and devaluing the glory of heaven (which should give them some solace even in the most desperate state), as well as their being frequently impatient, worrying, and discontent, and their denying previously received mercy or grace, this would do them more good than words of comfort.  - from Depression, Anxiety and the Christian Life
What this quote is saying is that by doing those things, you are sinning. Someone telling you that they are sins and that you should work hard to overcome them would be better than just simple words of comfort such as "don't worry, it will be okay." Hope is important but just hoping it will get better is not taking matters into your own hands.

Words of Wisdom

Don't make the world more important than faith. Trust in God, resist bitter thoughts of God and unholy thoughts about his goodness. Watch your impatience, worry, discontent and don't deny already received mercy or grace or deny that you will receive more.

Sin Doesn't Mean...

However just because you might be struggling with sin (as we all are in some way), it doesn't mean that you are not worthy of grace or that God doesn't love you.
On the other hand, if they foolishly imagine that all these sins prove them to be devoid of grace and that God will count the Devil’s temptations as their personal sins, condemn them for the very things they abhor, and reckon their very illness of depression to them as a crime, these notions need to be refuted and discarded. Otherwise, they might mistakenly relish their disordered emotions and sufferings. - from Depression, Anxiety and the Christian Life
God doesn't count the Devil's temptations as yours, as long as you resist them. God doesn't consider your illness a crime either. God loves you and your imperfections but he hopes you will be able to resist sin and try to live as he would.

Repent of your sin, ask for forgiveness and then work on your illness. It's hard, trust me I know. But you have to take an active role in your depression to get rid of it. It won't go away by itself. God Bless!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Choosing Life (Suicide and Faith)

I suffer from Bipolar which means I have struggled with Depression and Mania and have dealt with suicidal thoughts most of my life. My manias are dysphoric which means that instead of feeling excessively happy or having grandiose thoughts (I'm better than others or I can conquer the world) most of the time I feel excessive anger, anxiety and obsessive thoughts when I'm manic. It also means I get suicidal thoughts during depressions and manias.

NOTE: This post may be triggering to some. It talks about suicide. Please read with care.

Choosing Life - Suicide and Faith

If you've struggled with suicidal thoughts and you believe in God you may have wondered what God thinks about suicide. I have been suicidal off and on for many years but I've only been
Christian for just under 5 years.

Before I believed in the Christian God, I thought it didn't matter if I committed suicide because when I died I thought I'd be reincarnated to another life no matter how I died. Once I started being a Christian I struggled with what God would think if I killed myself. Does it matter? Would I be welcomed into his arms no matter how I died? Surely God would understand that I was suffering. Surely God didn't want me to suffer right?

I had searched online for what the Bible says about suicide but wasn't happy with the answers one way or the other. Luckily I chose life. I'm not currently suicidal (thank goodness) and am doing okay. But I recently came across Deuteronomy 30 in my reading and I wanted to share what it says with anyone who might have considered suicide or might consider it in the future.

Deuteronomy 30:19-20

19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

God says "Choose Life."

Okay so God wasn't talking about suicide but I still feel like this is his message to me.

The commentary on this page says this about this passage:

"Every man wishes to obtain life and good, and to escape death and evil; he desires happiness, and dreads misery. So great is the compassion of the Lord, that he has favoured men, by his word, with such a knowledge of good and evil as will make them for ever happy, if it be not their own fault. Let us hear the sum of the whole matter. If they and theirs would love God, and serve him, they should live and be happy. If they or theirs should turn from God, desert his service, and worship other gods, that would certainly be their ruin." 

So the phrase is about choosing God, loving God and serving God so that we may live through him. I feel this is still what God wants me to think of if I consider suicide thoughts. If we seek him and follow him we are doing it so we can live with God when the time comes and so we should be doing so only when HE decides the time comes.

I don't think it's a matter of whether you will go to Heaven if you kill yourself or not. We still go to heaven when we sin as long as we accept Jesus as our saviour and try to life like he would. I think if we DID go through with it, we would still be accepted into Heaven. HOWEVER, God wants us to choose life, now and then with him after we die, as HE wills it.

These are just my thoughts and I am still studying more but I hope it is helpful to someone.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Sinning is Like Cheating on God

When we accept God as our Saviour, we enter into an intimate relationship with him. The Bible compares the love of a man and woman to the love God feels for us. It compares a marriage with how the Church (us) is married to God.

Ephesians 5:25 ESV /Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,

Ephesians 5:22-33 ESV / Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word...

So therefore, when we let Satan tempt us and we sin, we are dealing with him instead of God. In essence, we are cheating on our relationship with God.

A small sin might be equivalent to lusting after another while a bigger sin might be equivalent to fully being intimate with another person.

Our relationship with God is important and special and we are to be faithful to God.

Deuteronomy 28: 1-2 / And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God.
This does not mean that if we sin, God will "break up with us." He is faithful to us as well and will not abandon us because of a little sin. As long as you repent of your sins and try to live a sinless life he will always be there for us.

1 John 1:9 ESV / If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

The next time you are tempted to sin, remember that you would be cheating on God and stay faithful to him.

James 4:7-8 / Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.

Monday, October 1, 2018

I'm Not So Bad, Everyone Sins.. Right?

I was reading a book today and something I read about sin jumped out at me and made me think. Let me share.

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"No one is above the dilemma. No one is righteous enough to escape God’s judgment. Solomon wrote, “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins” (Eccles. 7:20). The apostle Paul wrote, “None is righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10); and, “There is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (vv. 22–23). Notice carefully that when Scripture mentions our fallenness and the universality of sin, the point is never to excuse (or even to mitigate) the guilt we bear as sinners. No one should ever think, I’m not so bad. After all, everyone sins. But when Scripture speaks of the fact that all have sinned, it is always to stress the truth that without a Savior, the whole human race would be utterly doomed." 

 - from The Gospel According to God by John MacArthur (emphasis mine)

It can be easy to think that since everyone sins, it's not really that bad. Or to compare your sins with the sin of someone else. "Well at least I don't do that!"

When the bible tells us that we all are sinners it's not so we will think any of these:

  • "We all sin, it's not that bad"
  • "Well we are all sinners anyways so what's the point of trying to be good"
  • "No matter what I do I'll always be a sinner so whatever"
  • "My sin isn't as bad as my friend's sin"

As the above quote states, it's so we will think this:

"Since we are all sinners, we all need our saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Even though we will never be perfect, sinless beings, it doesn't mean we shouldn't try to do good as often as possible. We are to imitate Christ and TRY to live sinless lives.

1 John 3:6-10 New International Version (NIV)

6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.