Are you a player or a pretender?

Many people in Australia identify themselves as Christians.

Many people in Australia also like to follow football.

If you are going to call yourself a footballer, BUT

  • you don’t know the rules of football
  • you don’t sacrifice your own time to do the things footballers do
  • you don’t go to weekly training sessions
  • you don’t have the boots and gear for playing football
  • you don’t turn up to play football each weekend with the team
  • you don’t work as a team on the field
  • you don’t listen to your coach and captain

then you are not a footballer.

 

If you are going to call yourself a Christian BUT

  • you don’t read the Bible
  • you don’t know what Jesus Christ actually taught in the Bible
  • you don’t sacrifice your own time to do the things Christ wants you to do
  • you don’t try to live by the teachings of Jesus Christ
  • you don’t meet regularly with Christians to encourage each other in your faith
  • you don’t talk to God or listen to him when he tells you how to play the “Christian’ game
  • more importantly, if you have not actually and specifically decided to stop living a life that is not pleasing to God
  • and if you have not accepted God’s offer of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ
  • and if you do not have the Holy Spirit living in you (Romans 8:9)

then you are not a Christian.

Pornography and masturbation among Christians: lets fight it out loud!

In this post I’m linking to a refreshing and honest article by Amanda Robinson, a Christian writer who confronts the very real issue of pornography and masturbation and the Christian walk.

This topic is such a personal one that much of the time it is avoided by men, especially Christian men, but the result is that the issue is never addressed and brought out into the open where it can be dealt with honestly and effectively.

Hiding the issue it will not heal it.

I remember in my school days, (I would have been about 15 or 16), I was one of a large group of friends who regularly had food fights with another group of guys in the school quadrangle.

After one such food fight, a brave soul on the opposing team somehow opened the topic of masturbation – loudly across the quadrangle. There was instant silence.
“What?” he said, “We all do it!”

Raising the issue inspires the same response today.

Maybe we don’t all watch porn and masturbate – I pray that God is opening our eyes to the damage it does to our own hearts and minds as well as the damage it does to our opinion of the people we watch and especially our view of women in general – but for those of us who struggle with it – let’s make a resolution to stop and to remove from our lives the recurring feelings of shame and self-reproach which it brings.

Let’s bring the issue out into the open, sensitively and sincerely, amongst trusted, mature Christian friends, so that we can confront the issue and begin to conquer it and so that we can hold one another accountable. And let’s begin to live in the purity which Christ desires of us.

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears,we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. 1 John 3:2-3

A Spirit of Fear

The Holy Spirit of the Most High God can be a troublesome fellow. Some would like him to pretend to be dead, others invent situations in which he never had any part.

I have to admit, I have tended to intellectualise him too much. I guess I have been scared of what he might do to me, especially if he were to do it in public. A blessing from God through the Spirit might be a wonderful thing to God, but to me in my fearful, timid self-absorbed and sinful little world, it seems more like an occasion for embarrassment accompanied by bouts of uncontrollable scarlet cheeked blushing.
I know, I shouldn’t be ashamed of Jesus or of the Gospel, but I am shy, I am timid and I am human. No excuse, you say, and I hear what you say, yet I still struggle.

But the cheeky fellow has been accosting me of late, urging me to listen to him, to soften my heart to his influence and to break down the walls of self-righteous intellectual justification which I have raised about me to “protect” myself from his movement in my life.
He has opened my eyes to the verse at Galatians 5:22:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

He says, “Let me speak to you. I am gentle. I am kind. I am patient, and If you let me guide you, you will have more self-control, not less. You don’t have to fear that I will force you to roll about on the floor babbling, or that I will possess you and make you do things which you would never do of your own volition. That comes from the evil one. I am not about possession, I am about persuasion.”

These words are soothing to me. They give me confidence in him. They let me see the words of this verse with fresh eyes. He wants to partner with me in doing the work of God. He wants to build me up, not to humiliate me. He wants me to experience the joy of fellowship with God and he wants me to share in the knowledge of the living God. He wants to lead me by springs of living water and to make the path before me level. He wants to display the awesome power of God in my life. He wants to love me so desperately and he yearns to be close to me. He delights in me and wants me to know it.

How foolish I have been.

Come Holy Spirit, come!