The New Life and Exposure

In the past, I have spouted on and off about what makes someone a true Christian, as opposed to a Christian by title. At times, it may have been what Christians should and shouldn't do, say, or think. I wouldn't be the first or the last. Preachers stand on the pulpit and inspire, scold, and/or educate. Many who have held, read, and believed in the text of the Bible have stood on a soapbox at least once or twice on the subject. Today, I touch a few thoughts on the matter, starting with a scripture that inspired this blog:

The New Life
17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!—21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.  
25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
(Ephesians 4:17-32, ESV)

One of the many chief precedents of being a Christian is putting yourself aside and living in Christ. You have accepted Christ Jesus as your savior and place yourself on the cross along with Him. In His death on the cross, your sin dies with Him. Your life begins in the resurrection of Christ. You are in Him. He is in you. There can be no separation. You are one with Christ Jesus. To separate yourself from Christ is to die in sin. To live through Christ is to live and walk in salvation.

What does that mean? Well, in practice, it means all of the sinful things you used to do, by habit, must cease to be your habits. These verses give examples like lying, having fits of anger, holding grudges, theft, slander, insults, other harmful speech, vulgarity, sensuality, greed, and more. All of this stuff we think we won't do or don't do, then we'll do it. There are many cases where people don't even realize they did it. What I strongly believe is that being a Christian is an actively practiced and intentional progression towards complete purity, cleanliness, and perfection. Of course, in this life, we will not attain perfection. However, as a Christian, it is our responsibility to pursue, live, and walk in Christ.

What does this mean? We have to live intentionally and re-examine our actions and words. All the things we may have enjoyed saying or doing that are of this world, cannot be who we are anymore. Put off your old self! No cursing. No sex outside of marriage, unless it will be followed immediately by marriage. No more little white lies. No manipulating people to get things you want. No more laziness. No more idolizing earthly celebrities, but only our God in Heaven. We are Christians. We represent Christ Jesus on earth. We are His witnesses. We are to be vessels of the Heavenly Father's will. When we speak, we should project His voice and not our own. We are to make God our center of being.

We are to unravel ourselves from the binds of the worldly tendencies we enjoy. And yes, salvation is not as much about our acts, but our faith. Our faith in Christ is paramount. He died for our sins. He is our gateway to the kingdom. However, our acts, all of which are before God, do have consequences and affect our relationship with God. (Are our habits not a reflection of our faith and/or relationship with God?) When we intentionally and willfully disobey His command and disregard His divine wisdom, we pervert ourselves and hinder our progression towards godliness. We make ourselves vulnerable to worldly things and fall into behavior which hinders or shatters our spiritual growth.

Now, practically attaining godliness involves regular prayer, communion with God, community within the body of Christ (that means spending time with other Christians), reading of the Word, applying the Word to your life on a daily basis, and more.

One of my suggestions, in addition to all of the previously listed things, is to write down all of your vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and temptations on a piece or pieces of paper. Then, read that list in a prayer before God as all the things you will overcome through Him and open yourself up to His grace, love, and blessing. Do this often, revising your list as He works in your life. Thank Him daily. Make another list of people in your life you would like to be a blessing to. Read that list in a prayer before God. Serve Him by being a blessing to others. Those you know. Those you do not know. Those you like. Those you do not like. You will see His blessings in your life, their lives, and your actions will be a testament to God. You will vibrate with godliness and inspire faith of God in others. Share your experiences with others, and give God the credit that is notably due.

I got off track! My whole purpose of this blog was to mention something that strongly impacts our minds and negatively influences our track towards godliness.

EXPOSURE

What we expose ourselves to can be a threat to our godliness. 'Sex sales' is one of the themes of the media these days. You see scandalous Victoria's Secret and beer commercials. Most TV shows are full of the most attractive women. There's sex and flirtation in those TV shows, movies, music videos. The music we listen to has innuendos, explicit remarks, and plenty of vulgarity. Some genres are worse than others (cough: hip hop, rap). It's hard not to go throughout a day for some or a week for others without seeing it.

Now, what is my solution? Well, two years ago, I made the decision to change my diet to something healthier. I gave up beef, pork, alcohol, and dairy milk. I cut down significantly on coffee, candy, carbonated drinks, sweet snacks, fast food, and most junk and processed foods or food-like products. That was because I valued my physical health. I realized what I took in determined my weight, blood sugar, immune system, energy, and more. I also decided to consume more vegetables and fruits, drink MUCH more water and juices, and exercise more regularly.

Well, the same thing must go for my cognitive and spiritual health. In order to be healthier and purer mentally, and spiritually, there are certain things I have to give up like movies or TV shows with explicit sex scenes, graphic violence, and/or vulgarity. Comedy shows with crude language and jokes. Instead, I should watch more educational TV shows and read. That will exercise my brain and feed it knowledge that will help me grow. It will also improve my spiritual immune system. What we put in our bodies affect our physical health. What we expose our eyes and ears to, and digest in our minds, impacts our mental and spiritual health. As Christians, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Our eyes are the windows to our souls. What we hear, we usually repeat. We speak from our hearts.

In all of this, the more we expose ourselves to worldly things, the more vulnerable we are to worldly things. If you watch sexy television shows, you're more vulnerable to sexual temptation. The more vulgar music you listen to, the more likely you are to speak vulgar things. So, in our quest to be more Christ-like and free of sin, we must turn more to God and let go of things of the world.

At first, you will miss these things you were attached to. You will feel a resistance. You will hear the argument that these things aren't really that bad. You will hear the argument that hey, it's all in good fun. You might even think that God is okay with you watching a little tit action once in a while. You're an adult. You can watch whatever you want with your lust-filled eyes. The answer is no. These are all things of the world. Purge yourself of worldly things.

Embrace purity. Let rest your old ways. Put off your old self. You are Christian. You are now one with Christ. You cannot pursue the impurities of the flesh and Christ. Salvation is Christ. The world is death. Let go...


CONCLUSION

Remember my suggests about the list of weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and temptations; people you want to bless; and make a list of your strengths and many blessings for which you want to thank God. Praise God on a regular basis for the many things you've taken for granted. A changing of a light from red to green when you were in a rush. A kind gesture from a stranger, who God works through in your time of need. Let go of the many things you didn't truly take to heart as worldly things, but are holding you back from the purity and godliness of Christ. Let not the things of this world withstand in your heart. Persevere in your pursuit of Christ by avoiding the regular exposures of temptation to sin, be that sin lust, vulgarity, anger, or wrath. Be good to your neighbors and enemies, and represent God's grace and mercy. Let your words and habits glorify our God.

I have added a prayer request link to my blog on the right of the screen. Send me a prayer request. I will acknowledge you when I have received it. I would also ask that you would pray for others who have posted their prayer requests on the page.

Peace to you my friends, brothers, and sisters. May the Lord Jesus's grace and love fill, revive, and sustain your hearts and souls.


(As always, revisions and amendments to my post may come later in the day...)

Comments

Popular Posts