why do we act like we are a prisoner of our past and who we once were?
that we are in chains.
forever enslaved to our temptations and sins.
isn't that what Jesus died for?
i mean. i would say it's just me that believes this. but. i know that its not.
the very beginning of that video is a john piper quote from his series on Romans 8:10-17 called, "How to Kill Sin". you can read or listen to on that link... it is a sermon, so it's not short. but. i challenge you to spend the time to listen to it. i promise, it will not disappoint. just a forewarning. most of the rest of this post is portions from that sermon...
"If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh - for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him."
Jesus said in Matthew 11:12 "From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force." Do you want to enter the kingdom of heaven? Take it violently! But violence against whom - or against what? Listen to Jesus' answer: "If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire" (Matthew 18:8). Do you want to enter life? Take it violently. Cut off your hand or your foot if you must to keep from stumbling. It's a picture of the most radical kind of assault on our own sin. Not the sins of others - our sins.
Lay that on top of Romans 8:13, "If by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live." Do you want to enter into life? Do you want to live? Get violent. Get a wartime mindset. Stop making peace with ears and eyes and tongues and hands and feet that betray you like Judas, and go over to the side of the enemy and become instruments of sin and make war on your soul. Put to death the deeds of your body.
there is a mean streak to authentic self-control. self-control is not for the timid. when we want to grow in it, not only do we nurture an exuberance for Jesus Christ, we also demand of ourselves a hatred for sin. the only possible attitude toward out-of-control desire is a declaration of all-out war. there is something about war that sharpens the senses. you hear a twig snap or the rustling of leaves and you are in attack mode. someone coughs and you are ready to pull the trigger. even after days of little or no sleep, war keeps us vigilant.
There is a mean, violent streak in the true Christian life! But violence against whom, or what? Not other people. It's a violence against all the impulses in us that would be violent to other people. It's a violence against all the impulses in our own selves that would make peace with our own sin and settle in with a peacetime mentality. It's a violence against all lust in ourselves, and enslaving desires for food or caffeine or sugar or chocolate or alcohol or pornography or money or the praise of men and the approval of others or power or fame. It's violence against the impulses in our own soul toward racism and sluggish indifference to injustice and poverty and abortion.
just consider this something to think about for you memorial day... a holiday that we celebrate, as a country, to honor and remember those who have and are serving our country... i challenge you to listen to that sermon sometime this extended weekend, or while you're sitting in your office, or hanging out by the pool, download it and put it on the ipod. because just as we are to be remembering those who have fought and died, consider the casualties we are called to make as Christians. are you willing to make them? do you have self control? i think it is about time we stop kidding ourselves that there is no war going on inside of each of our hearts. which side will you battle for? do not forget :: Christianity is not a settle-in-and-live-at-peace-with-this-world-the-way-it-is kind of religion.
:: MAKE WAR ::