Reckless Abandon – Being Real and Being Compassionate - Purity 604
Purity 604 12/17/2021 Purity 604 Podcast
Today’s photo of the fading sun beyond the horizon with a tiny nearly full moon rising somewhere between Glens Falls and Easton, NY comes to us from a “special friend’s” commute home from work on December 15th. As another work week begins to fade to black and we are just a week away from Christmas Eve, we can rejoice over all that the Lord has done and thank God it’s Friday!
Of course, in truth we all have a lot more to be thankful to the Lord for than just another Friday. Personally, I am in a constant state of thankfulness and wonder over how the Lord has transformed my life and taken me out of the darkness that I lived most of my life in.
Marijuana, Michelob Ultra, Porn, Video Games, Rap, Rock and Alternative Music, Vicodin, Ecstasy, Vodka, Magic Mushrooms, Internet Drugs, Sports Gambling, NFL Football, and Electric Guitar.
Now, while that list could describe some of my old friends’ current Christmas wish list, it actually describes some of the things that I went to for relaxation and comfort when we rolled into the weekend in years gone by, before coming to faith in Christ. Okay, let’s be real. Those things weren’t just for the weekends, those things were good for any day of the week as I lived by a philosophy of meeting all my personal desires as they came up.
I recently sat down with someone who reminded me of my former self and who is surrounded by the trappings of addiction that I used to be in bondage to but seemed blissfully unaware of the very real danger that they are living in. I felt great compassion for this person but felt absolutely powerless to convey what I wanted to say without coming across as judgmental or old so I have taken the stance that I will remain silent and pray for the Lord to convict them and bring them to repentance. I have made the hard choice to be present and ready to encourage but not to preach.
I know that no amount of preaching would have changed me in my former darkness and instead am leaving them in the Lord’s care. I feel almost reckless or irresponsible in trusting the Lord with this situation, but I somehow feel that this is the course I am being led into.
I guess the Holy Spirit’s strategy in this is to love them anyway? Or I am to shine a light by my example of recovery and Christian discipleship in their lives? Honestly, I don’t know but every time I am thinking about “saying something” I feel led to remain silent. So I do, and will, and will wait on the Lord to see how this goes.
Unfortunately, this person doesn’t seem to be content in their personal choices of addiction and actively encourages the corruption of others. While it is hard to imagine anyone being impressed by their lifestyle and wanting to follow in their footsteps, I fear not only fear for this person but for those in their circles of influence.
Scripture indicates that sinners are not content to sin but will feel compelled to justify themselves in their sin and seek to encourage others to join them on the road to perdition. The Bible is the truth, and you can see its wisdom in situations like this.
Depression, Anger, Wanting, Fear, Anxiety, Hatred, Lust, Shame, Guilt, and Suicidal Thoughts.
This could be a list of things to ask about on a psychological evaluation, but it is also a list of how I felt while I was engaged in trying to satisfy myself with the previous list that began with Marijuana and ended with the Electric Guitar.
I apologize to my friend, Bob, we both know that the guitar is not evil in itself but when we look to it or any other hobby for our peace instead of God we know we have gone astray.
Anyway, I give that list of negative mind states because I know that they are all usually present in someone caught up in the cycles of addiction.
While the secular world now allows for “recovery” to be defined by each individual and allows for the possibility for recovery to mean “less drugs and alcohol” or whatever the individual may choose, I have to point out that while we can play games with the amount of substances we take, or change them to not so illicit alternatives, those negative mind states basically will go untouched.
The dangers of being “open minded” to recovery alternatives like safe injection sights or the use of a drug to cure my drug habit is that of the ultimate hopelessness we end up allowing people to live in.
At one point in my life of addiction I was so low that I was willing to try anything to “feel good” again. I found some drugs available via the internet, but they were labeled “not for human consumption” and the literature was about 50/50 on whether this drug would get you high or kill you.
People had been known to get high on this substance and others reportedly had died from it. I was so depressed, and frankly when you are in an addictive cycle you sort of have a death wish, to make it all go away, or at least I did and I’m not afraid to admit it, - I was so depressed that I figured I would give it a try.
So I wrote a note to my wife and kids saying I was sorry, and not knowing if I would live or die took the substance. I didn’t die, I got high, and I tried it more than once. I eventually stopped taking it because it did make me sick on a few occasions and I didn’t like that.
So I know what hopelessness and a life of addiction can make you capable of. Your pain can be so great that you take chances that could cost you your life. So instead of advocating for medications or moderation for recovery. I know that you have to stop completely, and you have to have hope.
So I offer the hope of the new life that comes from faith in Jesus Christ, and I offer it in full and with all its implications.
The biggest complaint the nonbeliever has of the church are of the hypocrites in the church, those who proclaim faith in Christ but who live just like the rest of the world but claim to be holier than thou.
I had similar complaints before coming to Christ. So when I heard the gospel message that saved me. I endeavored to make sure “this thing was real” and that if I was going to “do this” – be a Christian – I wanted to “do this!” – be a real authentic Christian.
So I have tried to follow the Lord’s call to be that and to live according to His ways and discovered that the path that the Lord has for you to walk isn’t always easy, but it will take you out of the darkness you are living in by trying to satisfy yourself according to the world’s ways and it doesn’t play games with your sin.
Just because Christians are forgiven doesn’t mean there are no consequences for sinning. If we choose to sin we choose to suffer and stay locked in bondage to our sin and all the negative mind states that come with them.
So as we draw close to Christmas, decide to have a real Christmas by being a real Christian. Don’t just talk the talk and thank the Lord for saving a “wretch like me”. Walk the walk and practice what you preach. Repent of the things that you aren’t good. We are personally supposed to take responsibility for our lives in Christ by picking up our crosses and following Jesus into a life where we have progressive victories over the things that ensnare us and that is defined by an increase in the fruit of the Spirit.
But as for the weaker brother or sister, or the ones who are lost and who are so entangled by the lies of the enemy, let’s love them anyway and try to encourage them to discover the hope and new life that comes from not just saying the name of Jesus but by following Him.
So be wise and discerning. Don’t compromise with your personal sin but realize that it is the Lord that grants repentance, so you need to surrender to Him in order to be set free.
And know that no amount of “tough love” will change the hearts of those who are trapped. Christ sets the captive free and all we can do is pray, encourage, and point to the One who bought our forgiveness and who gives us new life.
Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
5 Then you will understand what it means to fear the LORD, and you will gain knowledge of God.
JESUS—THE JUDGE OF HUMANITY
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him and he will separate the people from one another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
What is your concept of Jesus Christ, my brother? If the “ten-cent-store Jesus” that is being preached by a lot of men, the plastic, painted Christ who has no spine and no justice and is pictured as a soft and pliable friend to everybody—if He is the only Christ there is, then we might as well close our books and bar our doors, and make a bakery or garage out of this church!
But that Christ that is being preached and pictured is not the Christ of God, nor the Christ of the Bible, nor the Christ we must deal with.
The Christ we must deal with has eyes as a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished brass, and out of His mouth comes a sharp, two-edged sword.
He will be the judge of mankind. And, thank God, you can leave your loved ones who have died in His hands, knowing that He Himself suffered, knowing that He knows all, that no mistakes can be made, that there can be no miscarriage of justice, because He knows all that can be known!
This is one of the neglected Bible doctrines of our day—that Jesus Christ is the judge of mankind.
The Father judges no man. When the Lord, the Son of Man, shall come in the clouds of glory, then shall be gathered unto Him the nations, and He shall separate them.
God has given Him judgment, authority, to judge mankind, so that He is both the Judge and Saviour of men.
That makes me both love Him and fear Him! I love Him because He is my Saviour and I fear Him because He is my Judge.
Human justice does its best, but because it is not all-wise it makes mistakes.
But God Almighty is never going to judge the race of mankind and allow a mistake to enter. The judge must be one who has all wisdom.
Therefore, I appeal away from St. Paul; I appeal away from Moses and Elijah; I appeal away from all men because no man knows me well enough to judge me, finally. And I don’t know you well enough to judge you, finally.
I may pass brief judgment upon you on some simple matter, or you on me, but when it comes to the placing of my eternal and everlasting soul somewhere, I don’t want any mistakes made.
To be a judge, according to the Scriptures, the judge considers those who are accountable to Him, and accountable to Him not by a law imposed by another, but accountable to Him morally and vitally, rather than merely legally.
And in order to be a righteous judge of mankind, the judge has to have all knowledge so there can be no error.
In human affairs, many an innocent man has been hanged. Many a “life-termer” has died in gray pallor behind prison walls while the rascal who actually committed the crime died in his own bed, surrounded by his friends.
Tozer, A. W. (2016). From heaven: a 28-day advent devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.
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