June 1, 2013

Column: G. David Henderson: Our responsibilities for Christ-like morality

“... man did eat angels’ food” (Psalms 78:25)

If you are a follower of Jesus and you have asked God innumerable times to remove a certain sin from you and he hasn’t yet answered your prayers, I believe all the many Scripture references in today’s devotional will show you the reason.

Psalms 4:4 and 77:5-7, and Ecclesiastes 1:16 teach that our praying only to God to help us not sin is not sufficient for us to live pure and holy in our impure, unholy society. Those Scripture references teach that God also requires us to pray the same prayers to ourselves (“commune with our own heart”). We are to pray and talk to ourselves to not sin, as much as we pray the same prayer to God.

Sometimes God’s silence toward our prayers means he believes we can achieve that which we are begging him to do for us. Whatever God believes his salvation has us newly created to achieve, he will not do for us.

To the readers who have sincerely begged God innumerable times to cleanse and keep sins out of your mind and heart and nothing has changed, obey James 4:7-8: “(you) cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and (you) purify your hearts, ye double minded.” A cleansed mind and heart are not the responsibility of God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit. Such is our responsibility to discipline and control what our minds think and don’t think.

To the readers who are always begging God to get the devil off their back and God hasn’t answered their innumerable prayers, obey God’s instructions that you “resist the devil, and he and his sins will flee from you (1 Corinthians 6:18; 10:14; 2 Timothy 2:22).” 1 John 5:18-19 actually promises that even though sin surrounds every area of us while we live in this sinful, perverted, depraved society, his salvation actually has us empowered for us to “keep ourselves” from the wickedness of this world even touching us! James 1:27 promises the same.

God will not protect sin from tempting us. Such is our responsibility to keep ourselves out of the presence of sinful people, places or substances that are our most powerful temptations against our Christ-like morality.

God has never promised that our obeying the self-discipline Scripture references in this devotional will be easy and effortless. He has promised exactly the opposite in 1 Peter 4:1 that warns some of our sins might be so deeply rooted inside of us because of uncontrollable addictive indulgence that we might even have to suffer to kill the power of addicted sins inside of us. Christ’s sufferings alone might not be sufficient to break uncontrollable addictive sins.

Whatever responsibility God has given us to achieve Christ-like morality, he will not do for us. He will work with us so long as we work; but for every moment we aren’t working to overcome the power of sin in our behavior, God also stops working with us, as seen in the many Scripture references presented in this devotional.

Proverbs 25:28 warns that for every moment we don’t apply self-discipline against the power of sin controlling us, we are like a city whose protective walls have been destroyed to the ground, and any sin and uncontrollable addiction have unhindering access to control us mentally, emotionally, spiritually, morally, physically, financially and materially.

Until the first Saturday of next month, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.”

The Rev. G. David Henderson is the pastor of Temple of the Lord at 611 S. Green St. in Dalton. You can reach him at angelsfood@optilink.us. His column appears on the first Saturday of the month.