Uncle Cookie?! – When Needs Become Wants - Purity 632
Purity 632 01/19/2022 Purity 632 Podcast
Today’s photo of the snowy peak of Whiteface Mountain under a crisp and clear blue sky comes to from a friend who actively was cheering for the white stuff to fall from the sky since the end of November and now we know why, he’s a skier!
While there is a lot of grumbling and anxiety that is expressed about coming snowstorms, our friend has a different perspective. The snow allows them to do something they love so they see the accumulation of snow in a different light. I am sharing a couple of other photos on mt4christ.org this morning that feature some other beautiful views from our friend’s skiing excursion from this past weekend and they are worth checking out.
Well it’s Wednesday and I chose this one to feature because it is a perfect representation of the midweek hump that we will ascend, summit, and overcome by day’s end. I also chose it because of our friend’s different perspective regarding snowy weather.
A huge part of cultivating the fruit of the Spirit of peace and joy in our lives has to do with our perspective and the key to victory is to first embrace our identity in Christ and a Christian worldview that recognizes that God is sovereign over and above all things and that His word is true. When we come into alignment with God’s perspective, we see our lives and the world in a whole new light.
But the success of our victory goes beyond just knowing who we are in Christ and knowing who God is. To overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil, we have to examine our lives and see what idols we still have in our lives after coming to faith in Jesus Christ.
An idol would be something we worship. I am not talking about a statue of Buddha or anything like that but if you do have something like that in your home and you are a Christian, I would encourage you to follow the examples of the people of God in the Bible who tore idols down and destroyed them, by throwing them in the trash. There are not many pathways to God and if something is not of Christ, it is anti-Christ and represents the kingdom of darkness no matter of sweet, kind, or endearing other religions may seem that makes them all the more sinister as they attempt to lead you to road of perdition.
No, the idols that may be in our lives that we worship instead of God can be things like money, our families, our careers, our possessions, our bodies, our accomplishments, our relationships, sex, food, drugs, or alcohol.
If you notice, a lot of these things are things we need. We need relationships, a career, a family, a purpose, our bodies, love, and food. Some would say we as a race we would need sex too. I would agree that sex allows us to have a family of our own, to continue the human race, and that sex is also a way a husband and wife can express their love for one another in the confines of God’s only approved sexual relationship, a marriage.
The problems that we face in life often result from when we make these needs idols in our lives and go to them to find our sense of acceptance, significance, and security when we should receive those things in our relationship with God.
God will never fail us but those other needs that become idols eventually will.
A true sign of one of these things becoming an idol in our lives is when one of these needs become a “want” : when these things become more important to you than your relationship with the Lord or they result in negative consequences and negative feelings.
Recently, my struggles with food came abundantly clear to me as I officially ended the food plan I was on back in September with the rationale that it was too expensive and that I could take the principles that I learned from it and do it on my own with inexpensive alternatives.
But as time progressed, I began to compromise my convictions and overindulged or ate the wrong kinds of food. My view of food changed from something I needed to something I wanted and in several instances I ended up in the addictive cycle of binging on sweets and then feeling guilt and shame.
Unfortunately, I actually hardened my heart against these convictions and in a real spirit of rebellion of “I want what I want”, I continued in my sweet binging ways to the point that my new nephews and niece game me the nickname “Uncle Cookie” after a shameless display of sampling and then devouring a large amount of that delectable treat at their home in December. Aren’t the holidays, great!
So after the reckless abandon of my need becoming a “want” to the exclusion of self-control, to the extent that I even had instances of shamefully tried to hide my snacking like an addict, I was eventually pulled out of the darkness by a spiritual discipline and tradition of my local church.
Although I have been “released” from Rock Solid church, it was the church that created an environment where I was able to grow in my faith and to be transformed. So whenever I refer to it, I will not call it “my former church” and although I do attend services at Starpoint church now, I will continue to call Rock Solid, “my local church” or “my church” going forward.
Anyway, my church, Rock Solid church, and its leadership, obviously had a big impact on my life, and one spiritual discipline that they encourage is fasting. Each new year, the church holds a corporate fast and encourages its members to develop a personal fast where they devote the time they would be eating to seeking the Lord and His guidance. There are no “rules” in terms of how you fast. You choose your own way. Be it a meal a day, or certain foods, each person decides what and if they will fast.
I have experience in fasting because of this tradition and was thankful for the reminder of how I could repent of my sins of the flesh. So on January 3rd, I began fasting. I only drink water and other liquids when I fast and after the first week I knew I decided the right course for the new year.
I must have gained 20 plus pounds in the three months I indulged my food addiction, and I am happy to say that because of the fasting I have nearly returned to where I was back in September in terms of my weight. But more importantly, my eyes have been opened to the insidiousness of my food addiction and the depths of depravity that my indulgences led to. I desire to be healthy and what I was doing was not healthy and my behavior showed the classic patterns of addiction.
So, I thank the Lord for the clarity He has given me and the newfound conviction to continue in my intention to be healthy and crucify the flesh through the renewing of my mind and the changing of how I view food.
Fasting has given me a renewed spirit and has assisted me in regaining some ground in the battle of the bulge but in order to continue on my path to optimal health, I will have to change my perspective and examine what works and doesn’t work in terms of eating.
You can’t abstain from the things you “love”. “Yeah I don’t drink anymore but man do I love it!” That’s a recipe for disaster. We can’t play nice with the things that would destroy us. We need to have a truly accurate view of what these things did to us and remember the pain that accompanied their pleasures. We need to change our perspective and live with it.
So I don’t know if have idols in your life. I don’t know if you have made some of your “needs” into “wants” that are causing you to feel bad about yourself. But if you do I can tell you that God doesn’t want you to be in bondage. God wants what’s best for you and if you examine your life and find something that is out of balance, God can help you to be free of it by giving you His love, strength, and guidance.
So don’t beat yourself up, nobody’s perfect except for Jesus. But don’t stay in the muck and mire of confusion when God will lift you up and put you on solid ground. So take that hand He is offering you and keep walking and talking with God because it is only through Him where we can change our minds, our hearts, and our lives.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty.
Today’s verse highlights the unshakable faith of Daniel when he was faced with a punishment that would almost certainly lead to His death.
Our resource, “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men” shares today’s verse under the heading of “Confidence” and I’m glad it does because that means they are highlighting Daniel’s faith here.
Yesterday’s verse Psalm 121: 8 highlighted the fact that God will watch over us and I had to go back to see if this verse was being used to focus on God’s protection because if it was I was going to have to point to the harsh reality that sometimes God allows suffering and death in our lives, which could lead us to the false conclusion that God doesn’t protect us. So don’t go around testing God by telling people to throw you into a fiery furnace, today’s verse isn’t a promise that no harm will befall us.
Today’s verse is an illustration of the type of faith that we are supposed to have as Christian: the type of faith that will not renounce our God even in the face of death.
So why was Daniel so “confident”? He was confident because He knew the Lord, had a devoted practice of worshiping Him in prayer, and he had experienced the Lord’s providence before. He loved the Lord so much because of what He had done for him that the idea of renouncing His faith was so distasteful that He would rather die than to dishonor God.
Did Daniel know he would be saved? Nope. The next verse in Daniel tells us he was ready to die, where Daniel said:
18 But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”
Talking about rejecting idols and false belief systems! Daniel had the “God perspective” and knew that even if He did die, he would live in God’s kingdom for all eternity.
So stand fast in your faith and be confident that, with God, we receive His eternal protection and the ability to overcome this world and all the things that would threaten to destroy us.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue to share from Dr. Neil Anderson’s . “Restored: Experience Life with Jesus”. Today, we continue sharing from Chapter 5.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Neil Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work.
LEARN TO TRUST GOD
Beth was raised in a legalistic church-going family. When she met and married Todd, who was a Christian, she fully expected that her life would be satisfying and that he would be able to meet all of her needs. Her fantasy faded as the marriage failed. Disillusioned and angry with her parents and husband, Beth developed a deep distrust of God. This attitude led to open rebellion and despair. She dabbled in false religions and adopted a worldly lifestyle.
She was given some of my books and tapes, but for months she was afraid to read them and listen to them. Through loving persuasion, she reached out for help, and she was taken through the Steps to Freedom.
The changes in her life are beautiful. The rebellious spirit is gone, and she said, “I feel like I’m in love.” And she is in love...with Jesus the lover of her soul. Before, she tried to “make things happen” by attempting to control people or situations in the hope that her needs would be met. But she gave up her struggle for self-fulfillment, and now the Lord is filling her with a growing sense of peace and security. She said, “I no longer want the things I used to crave for; I just want to know Jesus better.”
When we attempt to take things into our own hands, we have the feeling of being in control. But what or who are we really controlling? Did we have control of when we were born? To whom we were born? Where we were born? When we will die? Do we have the right or ability to control other people and the circumstances of life so that everything becomes beneficial to ourselves? No, the only real control we have is deciding whom we will serve. Paradoxically, only when we surrender completely to God do we have self-control.90
LIVING UNDER AUTHORITY
The Lord said, “Rebellion is as the sin of divination [witchcraft], and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.”91 Defiance against authority places us in the camp of the enemy and subject to his influences. The god of this world, the prince of power of the air, is roaring around like a hungry lion seeking someone to devour. God says, “Get in ranks and follow Me. You are under My protection if you are under My authority.” Satan was the originator of rebellion, so when we rebel, we are following his lead. If people truly understood the reality of the spiritual world and the choice they are making, they would immediately renounce any rebellion and submit to God.
We live in a rebellious age. Everyone sits in judgment of those who are in positions of authority over them. We go to church and critique the choir or the music instead of entering into the experience of worshiping God. We sit in judgment of the sermon instead of letting the sermon sit in judgment of us. How many times have you heard people coming out of church criticizing the music or the message? We are critical of our president, our governors, our pastors, our teachers, our spouses, and our parents.
We are commanded by God to submit to and pray for those who are in authority over us. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.”92 God’s desire is that we yield ourselves to Him and demonstrate this allegiance by being submissive to those He placed in authority over us. We surrender our right to rule and trust God to work through His established lines of authority for our good. It is a great act of faith to trust God to work through less than perfect people. Actually you are submitting to their position of authority, not the person.
Scripture does teach that there are times when we must obey God rather than man. When governing authorities require us to do something that God commands us not to do, or try to prevent us from doing something that God requires us to do, then we must obey God rather than man, as did the members of the Early Church in special occasions.93 We also have no obligation to obey people who try to exercise authority outside their jurisdictions. Your employer or school teacher has no right to tell you what to do in your own home. A policeman cannot tell you what to believe or where to go to church, but he can tell you to pull your car over and give you a ticket if you are breaking the law.
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship