by Susan Sampson

Focus passage: 2 Timothy 3:1-9. Avoid such people.  This was a difficult lesson for me.  When I read the focus scripture all I could think was that the description of the people fit me.  It was difficult not to fall into despair and feel condemned.  Praise God for the reminder and exhortation Laurie gave to us to no longer identify with who we were before Christ!  Praise God that she pointed us directly to the gospel, to the death and resurrection of Christ!  May we all see this long list of sins and understand that is what put Christ on the cross.  This is why He came.  He paid the penalty that we should have paid and would have paid had He not come – and now “it is finished” (John 19:30).  Now the Spirit of the living Christ dwells in believers.  Listen to the truth – STOP and hear the very words of our Lord.  Do not listen to your feelings!! “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  All this is from God…” (2 Cor. 5:17-18a). We must now believe this is true.  We must now identify with Christ and walk forward in His grace.

Yes, it is true, we do still have our flesh.  But Christ has broken the power of sin and has given us power over our sin.  “For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self control” (2 Tim. 1:7).  So how do we avoid being “such people”?  We must kill the flesh.

Laurie exhorted us to take just one sin and to “get radical with it”. She gave the example of getting a radical new haircut.  We would never cut just a part of our hair off.  It ALL has to go.  Jesus speaks to this very thing.  “And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away” (Mat. 5:30a).  This week I noticed the yard of of one of my neighbors.  Their landscaping is stunning.  But this week they pruned everything.  Their beautiful knockout roses were cut down to a nub!!  Hydrangeas all cut back only to a foot above the ground.  It was radical.  All I could see was dead looking stumps.  And yet I know what will happen next year.  The flowers will be in full bloom, even more beautiful than before!  Let’s get cutting!

But how do we get radical with just one sin?  This was in our lecture notes.

  • See your sin as God sees your sin and call it sin
  • Don’t give in to your sin.  Say NO by faith!! Say “no” to your sinful desires
  • Humbly trust in God and not your own strength (or I would add – our feelings)
  • Walk forward in faith believing that Christ is in you

I urge all of us to prayerfully and diligently spend time with the Lord in our homework on Day 5.  The Taking the Truth to Heart and Bringing it to Life page is a gift from the Lord to help us.  He knows our need.  He knows our hearts.  He wants to help us.  Only Christ can give us power over our sin.  He is our Victory.  Please don’t just gloss through this to get it done.  Cry out to the Lord for Him to show you what He wants to show you.  Then may we all by God’s grace respond in humble obedience.  Not turning a deaf ear to the Spirit.  Not being stiff necked.  But turning to the only One who can forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.

Remember the woman with the alabaster jar of perfume?  It was worth a years’ wages.  She broke it and poured it out on Jesus’ feet and then wiped His feet with her hair. This was radical.  This was Mary.  Lazarus’ sister.  He was there too.  Jesus had brought him back to life.  Mary had witnessed this miracle.  The disciples had witnessed the same miracle yet the bible says they were “indignant.”  But it was personal to Mary.  It was also just 6 days before the Passover.  They gave a dinner for Jesus.  John says that “Martha served.”  But what Christ says about Mary is “she has done a beautiful thing to me” (Mat. 26:10).

It’s less than 2 weeks to Thanksgiving and Christmas is just around the corner.  I feel the pressure.  The pressure from a long to-do list.  But I want to be Mary.  I want to LOVE God with ALL my heart, soul, mind and strength.  I want to abandon my heart, soul and mind and strength at the feet of Jesus.  I want to abandon my need for control, my desire to get it all right, my fear of failure and give my Savior ALL.

Lord Jesus, break our hearts like that alabaster jar and render our hearts completely yours.  Enable us to live the gospel and be the Light in this very dark world.  Help us not to be intimidated or afraid of the darkness in the world or in our hearts.  Help us run to you, Abba, as a little child would when they get afraid of the dark.  Help us believe who we are in Christ and that you created us for Christ and not this culture.  Christ has come and He is coming again!

 

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