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Showing posts with label Rationalization. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rationalization. Show all posts

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Rationalizing Between Right and Wrong - Self-Deception Series 30 – Purity 1119


 Rationalizing Between Right and Wrong - Self-Deception Series 30 – Purity 1119

Purity 1119 08/12/2023 Purity 119 Podcast

Purity 1119 on YouTube:



Good morning,

Today’s photo of a pillar of cloud and fiery sunset on the blue sky horizon over a dusk-darkened roadway comes to us from yours truly as I captured this scene yesterday during an early evening walk on Waite Rd near my countryside home in Easton NY.

Well, It’s Saturday and as all my “weekday” summer vacation days have expired I find myself walking between the dread of watching my time off in vacation dreamland come to an end and the relief that comes from the realization that your regular routine is going to resume to bring you back to life and back to reality. 

Famous Actress, Helen Hayes, who is only one of 15 people who have won at least one Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony award is also known for having said “If you rest, you rust” (https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0371040/bio/?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm), and while I am far from being the hardest working man in show business, (James Brown – rest in peace),  I can relate to the late actress’ sentiment because while I have enjoyed the relative relaxation I have experienced recently I feel that it has caused my resolve in some areas to rust and waste away.

While I was diligent to hit the hotel gym in the wee hours of the morning last week while on the road in Erie PA, this week my physical exercise has been reduced to one short “hike” with my wife, a day of walking around the exhibits at the Adirondack Experience Museum (followed by a tour of Italy at the Olive Garden!), and daily leisurely strolls up and down Waite Road with my canine friend Harley.   This second week of “vacay” has seen no HIIT workouts, no mini circuits with V-Shred’s Vince Sant, no Tabata, and some serious slippage with the food choices I have made. Chips, candy, soda, and movie theater popcorn, oh my! Say it isn’t so, M.T,!  

I wish I could say it wasn’t so but this week I have found my resolve at maintaining my health goals has rusted away.  I wish I could say I have good reasons for slipping up but when we compromise what we know is right, there really are no good reasons for doing what is wrong.   

Sure I could say “I’m on vacation, I’m taking a break” or I could tell you how the facilities, environment, and attitudes at TammyLyn’s Countryside Estate are severely lacking and are not conducive to one’s physical health but in truth, those would just be excuses – rationalizations – reasons I use to excuse my poor decisions and behaviors. 

In the end, we are each personally responsible for and suffer the consequences for the things we think and do, and the reasons we give to excuse our deviations from right to wrong are just lies we tell ourselves!   

And that brings us to our current series on Self-Deception, where we have decided to investigate some of the ways we deceive ourselves by walking through Step 2, Deception Vs. Truth, of the Steps to Freedom in Christ to see what ways we may have been deceived by “the world” and ourselves and in what ways we have wrongly defended ourselves. 

So we present the seventh of the  “Ways to Wrongly Defend Yourself”:

7. Rationalization

The Steps to Freedom in Christ describes projection as “making excuses for my own poor behavior.”  

“I’m on vacation.” “I need a break.” “Everyone else is doing it.” “I need this.” “I’m weak.” “One time won’t hurt.” “No one needs to know.” “I can do what I want.”   “You see, I need this because…. X,Y, & Z”.   

All of these, no matter how simple or complex I want to make them, are all rationalizations – making excuses for poor behavior.  

While my excuses – that “I am on vacation”, “There’s no space to exercise here”, and “It’s just for this week” may seem like some valid reasons for my decision to “rest and not worry about it” and do things that I know are not healthy, those rationalizations aren’t “true”. They don’t actually prevent me from doing what is “right” or give me a just cause from deviating from what I know is the “right path” to accomplishing my health goal (of leaving the “obesity zone” of the body mass index forever).  Those reasons will also not free me of the consequences of my decisions either and I will have to be diligent in my efforts to “stop falling” and to pick myself up and start walking in the right direction again.   I’m not sure what these rationalizations have cost me thus far because I have avoided the scale, but my back is hurting a little this morning and that is never a good sign.

I have learned that my back tries to inform me when I have been too lazy, or I am carrying too much weight and so I know it is time to repent. Even though I have a tendency to allow myself some liberty on Saturdays and have considered them to be “cheat days” in the past,  I am progressively learning that the only one I am cheating is myself.  

So I will stop with the rationalizations and try to right the ship again by “doing something”. I won’t eat foods outside my meal plan, and I may even pick up the pace with my canine pal Harley and make our morning walk a jog because my back has reminded me that whatever excuses I make doesn’t make doing “wrong” right. 

So let’s keep walking and talking with God, because the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth and stop us from making excuses and living a lie. 

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verse comes from the section on Affliction, Discipline, Chastisement, & Trials.

Romans 5:3-4 (RSV)
3  More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,
4  and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,

Today’s verse fall under the sixteenth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Affliction, Discipline, Chastisement, & Trials

 16. “We can rejoice in our sufferings, which produce perseverance.

***Full disclosure – point 16 also references James 1:2-4 for this point, but that passage of scripture – where we get it to count it all joy when we fall into various trials - was highlighted in the fourth point - 4. God at times sends trials to develop patience in us. – of our resource a few weeks back in Purity 1105 (https://www.mt4christ.org/2023/07/worldly-standards-for-success-self.html).***

Today’s verses, Romans 5:3-4, encourage us to rejoice in our sufferings because we know it produces endurance, which in turn produces character, which in turn can produce hope. And thus when we can hope, we can rejoice.  

Again we will point out that, no, we don’t rejoice because we are suffering.  “Oh goody, I’m suffering again. That’s good.”  

No, suffering is not good. It’s painful and in no way should we fall into the trap of thinking we need to “suffer for the Lord” as a means to an end to produce endurance, character, or hope – to attain some level of “sainthood”.  

Although I have to admit that suffering does seem to be a natural consequence to deciding to faithfully follow Lord, to openly proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ, and in practicing some of the traditional spiritual disciplines, like fasting, we shouldn’t “seek suffering” to build up our faith like some game, that’s dangerous ground and honestly it can be a call from the enemy to stoke up your self-righteousness as much as it could be a heartfelt desire to answer the Lord’s call to repentance.

There is a fine line between earnestly and perhaps ascetically seeking and following the Lord and having a performance based mentality fueled by pride and spiritual materialism.  So try to be humble and sure of your motivations and discern whether or not what you are doing that causes suffering is being done for the right reasons.  

Don’t get me wrong here. “Crucifying the flesh” and repentance may very well lead you to put your body and will in subjection, causing suffering, - like when my decision to go into recovery had me suffer and literally reduced me to tearfully crying out for the Lord on my hands and knees on my basement floor in prayer to take my addictions away.  But things like that and extremes like literally whipping your flesh with self-flagellations  are different. One is the consequence of repentance and the other is some misguided attempt to “punish our wicked body”.  Although Jesus suggests cutting off limbs and gauging out eyes to keep us from sinning, because there are no scenes in the gospel accounts of the Apostles helping sinners to remove body parts, we have to believe that Jesus was speaking metaphorically, although some individuals took His words literally. 

We don’t need to cut off body parts to stop sinning, we need renew our minds with the word of God and allow the Lord to change our hearts to have victory over sins.  So we don’t need to inflict suffering on our bodies intentionally to reap endurance, character and hope.     

No, we can rejoice in our sufferings – not because we are producing them to make us holy – but because we “know that it produces endurance, which produces character, which produces hope”.   And if we break down that progression, we can see that we don’t have to seek suffering.   

The trials we face, the pain we feel, or the persecution that comes from simply repenting and obeying the Lord will test us to give up our faith and to go back to the ways of the world, the flesh, and the devil.  Just like the enemy tested Jesus in the wilderness, those three forces (the world system, our flesh, and the literal very real  forces of darkness), tempt us to stop following the Lord and use their ways to stop or alleviate suffering, but when we resist them and persist in continuing to go forward, to keep going on, or to just endure what we are going through, it “toughens” us up. Our threshold for pain could grow in capacity, our mental resolve and discipline could increase, or our prayerful dependence on the Lord’s strength can grow.  These things demonstrate we are enduring. When we examine how our endurance has changed the way we act, we realize that we have become more patient and that our very character has become more mature.  When we see that we don’t react the way we used to and have matured in the way we respond to suffering and trials, we see what the Lord has done in our lives, that we really are becoming more like Jesus, and the realization of that victory and how it indicates that the “Lord is with us and helping us”  gives us tremendous hope. God is with us and is helping us! He loves us! Even in the darkest valley, He hasn’t left us or forsaken us, and He is changing us as we carry on!

That is why we can rejoice in our sufferings, because as we endure we realize the Lord’s love for us, presence with us, and strength in us that is changing our character and giving us the hope that the One who is changing us, will remain with us, strengthen us to endure and possibly deliver us from the things we suffer.  

So if you are suffering, press into your faith in and reliance upon God and rejoice in the hope He gives you.

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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 sharing from  The Holy Spirit By A.W. Pink.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for $0.99 (https://www.amazon.com/Holy-Spirit-Arthur-Pink-Collection-ebook/dp/B008CM5292/ref=sr_1_3?crid=AHKAQOM39CTN&keywords=a.w.+pink+the+holy+spirit&qid=1684376225&sprefix=a.w.+pink+the+holy+spirit+%2Caps%2C96&sr=8-3

A.W. Pink’s The Holy Spirit

19 -The Spirit Teaching

The Spirit Applies Knowledge to the Heart

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things” (John 14:26). How urgently we need a Divine Teacher! A natural and notional knowledge of Divine things may be obtained through men, but a spiritual and experimental knowledge of them can only be communicated by God Himself. I may devote myself to the study of the Scriptures in the same ways as I would to the study of some science or the mastering of a foreign language. By diligent application, persevering effort, and consulting works of reference (commentators, etc.), I may steadily acquire a comprehensive and accurate acquaintance with the letter of God’s Word, and become an able expositor thereof. But I cannot obtain a heart-affecting, a heart-purifying, and a heart-molding knowledge thereof. None but the Spirit of truth can write God’s Law on my heart, stamp God’s image upon my soul, and sanctify me by the Truth.

Conscience informs me that I am a sinner; the preacher may convince me that without Christ I am eternally lost; but neither the one nor the other is sufficient to move me to receive Him as my Lord and Savior. One man may lead a horse to the water, but no 10 men can make him drink when he is unwilling to do so. The Lord Jesus Himself was “anointed to preach the Gospel” (Luke 4:18), and did so with a zeal for God’s glory and a compassion for souls such as none other ever had; yet He had to say to His hearers, “Ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life” (John 5:40). What a proof is that, that something more is required above and beyond the outward presentation of the Truth. There must be the inward application of it to the heart with Divine power if the will is to be moved. And that is what the teaching of the Spirit consists of: it is an effectual communication of the Word which works powerfully within the soul.

Why is it that so many professing Christians change their view so easily and quickly? What is the reason there are so many thousands of unstable souls who are “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph. 4:14)? Why is it that this year they sit under a man who preaches the Truth and claim to believe and enjoy his messages; while next year they attend the ministry of a man of error and heartily embrace his opinions? It must be because they were never taught of the Spirit. “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it” (Eccl. 3:14). What the Spirit writes on the heart remains: “The anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you” (1 John 2:27), and neither man nor devil can efface it.

Why is it that so many professing Christians are unfruitful? Month after month, year after year, they attend upon the means of grace, and yet remain unchanged. Their store of religious information is greatly increased, their intellectual knowledge of the Truth is much advanced, but their lives are not transformed. There is no denying of self, taking up their cross, and following a despised Christ along the narrow way of personal holiness. There is no humble self-abasement, no mourning over indwelling sin, no mortification of the same. There is no deepening love for Christ, evidenced by a running in the way of His commandments. Such people are “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7), i.e. that “knowledge” which is vital, experimental, affecting, and transforming. They are not taught of the Spirit.

Why is it in times of temptation and death that so many despair? Because their house is not built upon the Rock. Hence, as the Lord Jesus declared, “the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and itself” (Matthew 7:27). It could not endure the testing: when trouble and trial, temptation and tribulation came, its insecure foundation was exposed. And note the particular character Christ there depicted: “Everyone that heareth these sayings of Mine, (His precepts in the much-despised “Sermon on the Mount”) and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand” (v. 26). Men may go on in worldly courses, evil practices, sinful habits, trusting in a head-knowledge of Christ to save them; but when they reach “the swelling of Jordan” (Jer. 12:5) they will prove the insufficiency of it.

Ah, dear reader, a saving knowledge is not a knowledge of Divine things, but is a Divinely-imparted knowledge. It not only has God for its Object, but God for its Author. There must be not only a knowledge of spiritual things, but a spiritual knowledge of the same. The light which we have of them must be answerable to the things themselves: we must see them by their own light. As the things themselves are spiritual, they must be imparted and opened to us by the Holy Spirit. Where there is a knowledge of the Truth which has been wrought in the heart by the Spirit, there is an experimental knowledge of the same, a sensible consciousness, a persuasive and comforting perception of their reality, an assurance which nothing can shake. The Truth then possesses a sweetness, a preciousness, which no inducement can cause the soul to part with it.[1]

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Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

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These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

For those who require the assistance of a Deeper Walk International Prayer Minister to experience healing or your freedom in Christ, I highly recommend Christy Edge’s Life on the Edge Freedom Prayer Ministry. You can schedule a session by going to : https://cedge216.wixsite.com/life-on-the-edge     

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


[1] Arthur Walkington Pink, The Holy Spirit (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, n.d.).