Imagine you woke up this morning 15 minutes after you were supposed to leave for work, panicked and calling your boss as you throw on some clothes and attempt to look somewhat professional.
You arrive to work 40 minutes late, apologizing profusely as you walk through the door.
But as you sit down at your desk, your co-worker walks in, throwing tasks at you left and right before you've had a chance to catch your breath. That's when you lose it.
Yelling at your co-worker, you give them a few choice words and tell them to come back later.
We aren't perfect. We fall and fail every day of our lives. Whether we steal, cheat, lie, think a lustful thought, snap at our spouse, or yell at our kids, we cannot escape the sinfulness of the flesh while we are here on this earth. That is why Jesus came, and that is why we need him so desperately.
As discussed in part 1 of this series, once we belong to Christ, we are called to live a different life. We are called to live in a way that shows the world what we have- to reject our dirty, rotten sin, and take up a life of purity. Complete perfection is not possible in this lifetime, but a changed heart and lifestyle is. God can take the worst of sinners and transform them into something clean and beautiful.
The thing is, friends, I know so many people who think that they can live however they want to. They think that the Bible is sometimes true and sometimes not. They invent their own God by picking and choosing what sins "their God" disapproves of.
We cannot be like this. We must reject sin if we follow Christ. Sin is real. Sin is something that grabs us like a vice grip and holds tightly until we are deep in our grave- unless we repent and give it to Jesus.
So if we shouldn't go on sinning, then how do we go about changing our ways? What does it take to go from living to please ourselves to living to please an invisible, yet very real God?
So How Can We Grow?
The Bible says that we are to renew our minds through God's word (Romans 12:1-2). The more time we spend in God's word, the more we recognize truth, the right way in each situation, and the more we are able to live out a godly life (Psalm 37:24). Reading the Bible doesn't make life easy, or give us the answer to every difficult decision, but it does give a guide of how to live, and it allows us to get to know the heart of our Savior much more deeply. It transforms our hearts.
Holiness also comes as we pray and ask God for it. As we seek God's face, He will constantly be growing us (Psalm 145:18). Just talk to Him. Ask Him for help. I can say from experience that it will not always feel like God is helping, and sometimes, even when we are not living a life of sin, He can feel far away, but He is always right there. So pray.
God also calls us to chose our friends wisely, so that we aren't pulled away from our faith (Proverbs 12:26). If we are spending all of our time with people who don't believe in Jesus, they will rub off on us. This isn't to say that we shouldn't have friends that aren't Christians; it simply means we need to be wise about what we do and who we spend our time with.
Now, About Those Friends...We need people who will build us up in truth, and people who aren't afraid to call us out on sin when we are going down the wrong path. A real friend shows us (lovingly) when we are living wrongly. Some people call that judging; I call that friendship. Be willing to develop friendships like this, but always discern whether or not these friends are actually building up and giving godly help to walk in the right way. There is a huge difference between being a good friend and helping others see their sin versus being critical and judgmental. The latter is not the kind of friend God is calling us to. We must recognize the difference.
So what is the difference? How do we tell the difference between a "friend" who judges and a friend who is pointing out our sin in love? Come back next Tuesday to find out!