Sin Trap

James 1:15

Then (carnal) desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

Sin is the Biblical definition of destructive conduct within relationships. The conduct includes behavior, thought, and attitude. The relationship is with the entire human race and the Triune God. It covers everyone and holds each of us personally responsible and accountable.

Initially God gave the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) through Moses for the people of Israel. These commandments outline the standards when broken will lead to destructive outcomes – Sin. The first four Commandments highlight our behavior toward God and the remaining six Commandments toward people.

Jesus summarized and expounded on the Ten Commandments with one new standard which is really the backbone of the Ten; that is to love one another as He loved us (John 15:12). His command expanded the Ten Commandments from not only behavior but how we think toward one another.

The basis of conduct within the Western world has been built upon these principles. Yet as people forget God and discard the Bible as an ancient book with no current relevancy, today’s culture is discovering the pain of sin.

The Sin Trap that we all have to avoid is thinking it doesn’t apply to us. We take hold of our pride and believe we have a better way of living out life which doesn’t include God nor the Bible. We fall into the false illusion that we can manage and control all our relationships. Or we falsely believe we are accountable to no one but ourselves.

If there is no God, then yes go and abuse yourself and everyone around you. However, if there is a God, then we all have a problem. A big problem. Since this is then HIS HOUSE, He makes the rules. If we don’t like those rules, he will gladly show us the way out. However, since he is a very generous host, we can be thankful he exercises patience with us.

Sin may be an old fashion Biblical term, but its negative impact is still real today. For those of us who understand and avoid their temptations, we have seen the joy and life’s fulfillment in the process. We have likewise when weak fallen into the trap felt the pain and destruction of our decision. When one seen both sides of the outcome, one is more bent on erroring on the side of love with its consequences rather than ignoring known destructive paths.

Sin is real. We witness the outcome everyday through our actions and the actions of others. When we think we are above such behavior, life has a way to bring us down. Yet, God has also given us a way out. His name is Jesus Christ.

When you look at the evidence of HIS life, everything HE did for you and I, you will call him LORD, GOD, and Savior. He provided the means to restore humanity’s relationship with our heavenly Father, and the means to live am abundant life surrounded by destructive, sinful behavior. He is God’s solution to sin.

The culture around you may throw sin in your face, and provide you with crazy solutions which only lead to more destructive behavior, but in your wisdom, you will note that two wrongs don’t make a right. Instead, as we mature in the faith, we come to realize Jesus has already provide us the means to avoid the Sin trap and live life to your full potential.      

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Author of e-Books

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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Grace or Enslavement

Romans 8:15

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

Both my parents were prisoners of war during World War II. They each worked in separate labor prisons in southern Germany for a good portion of the entire war. How each responded afterward throughout their life from the negative impact of such an ordeal is a lesson I carry with me every day.

They both carried scars from their ordeal. Yet Dad’s was less noticeable than Mom’s. In fact, Dad seem to take those ugly events, put it behind him, and gracefully launch himself into a productive, fulfilling life. Mom on the other hand, never seem to forget the past, continually blaming everyone whose hand she suffered under, and always considered herself a victim of circumstances.

In hindsight, their 50+ year marriage would be an ideal study of what modern day freedom and enslavement is all about. Dad and Mom were both religious, but Dad quietly practice his faith while Mom only played the part.

As Dad would always remind us, God protected him so many times during the war and throughout life, he was grateful to live in America and build a comfortable home for his family. He only had an eighth-grade education, but a strong character developed through hard work, personal responsibility, and love of God which molded him and was expressed through his skills and temperament.

Mom though never let the past die. She was a very intelligent woman and hard worker likewise with only an eighth-grade education. She could speak five languages, and cook a banquet for an army. Yet her personal demons never died. She never forgave the people who hurt her, always blaming others for her suffering, and viewed the world from a victim mentality.  

Both Dad and Mom suffered similar trials. Yet both responded in different fashions. Dad yielded himself to His God, praying twice a day on his knees in the living room early mornings and before bedtime in the evening. He didn’t understand theology but knew His God was real and with him. Mom believed God, but wouldn’t allow Him full access to change her from the inside-out. She always had to maintain control and her pride blocked anyone entrance into her heart. Like many people today who unbeknownst struggle with victim mentality, she had everything physically around her that was the good life, but inwardly fighting a war which should have been finished in 1945.

As Christ-followers, we know our heavenly Father has adopted us into His family and given us a Spirit of freedom. But we need to allow His Spirit full access into our heart and mind to change our values, perspective, and worldview. Freedom requires responsibility and strong humility. Anyone can abuse freedom, but to maintain and unify relationships requires the freedom to respect others even when we don’t agree with the other. And most importantly, when we are done wrong, the quicker we learn to forgive and move on, the more freedom grows and opportunities abound.

Being a slave to anyone or an ideology is a prison term without parole. But being an adopted child of an intimate God allows real freedom to abound. HE owns everything, knows best, and relates with everyone. He allows you and I to experience in a small way the life HE lives. HE provides resources to limit and better manage the carnal passions of our soul which boomerang into unpleasant consequences when we express them. HE knows our limitations and still loves us wanting what is best for us. As HIS adopted children, we have full access to HIM anytime we desire. We have HIS ear every time we speak with HIM. All made available through Jesus Christ who is our King.

As a servant in the house of the Lord, I am free to come and go. His grace abounds all around me. Those who try to possess me, control me, and enslave me only become more frustrated and angrier with contempt. They do not recognize nor accept the living power and grace of their heavenly Dad. If they did, they would repent, slowly watch the scales fall from their eyes and ears, and experience the life they were designed to partake. They would break the yoke of enslavement they live under and experience real freedom. The same way my earthly dad did.     

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360!
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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Temptation

1 Corinthians 10:13 

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Sin destroys relationships and life; and temptation is the doorway to sin. Temptation is not sin, but only the desire to commit an act which immediately or eventually leads to a destructive end result. Yet even before the sinful behavior takes place, many times the destructive attitude is already in place waiting to be released through an act of physical means.

Temptation is the circumstance you find yourself in that may consume into sin depending on how you handle the matter. Temptation is the test of your character. God knows who you are, and the outcome of the test only reveals to yourself where you stand. You either have the character to totally trust God or you do not. The outcome is your measuring bar.

The secret to avoid sin is to constantly pray beforehand that you are not led into temptation. Again, temptation is not sin, but only the test of your character. If you find yourself continually in situations repeating destructive vices, you need to change something.

Jesus recommends us to “watch and pray”; that our spirit is willing but our human flesh is weak. The Lord’s prayer even outlines we need to ask our Heavenly Father not to lead us into temptation (Matt. 6:13).

Temptation befalls all humans. It started with Adam and Eve who fell and led humanity into a broken, rebellious state of relationship with God. Jesus himself was tempted in the wilderness and came out victorious over Satan, and even today with yours truly who messed up again this morning. This time around I had to ask myself, what must I change. The answer: review what Jesus did in the wilderness.

First, he was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit knowingly to be tested.

Second, he fasted for forty days – leaving him in a physical weaken state but spiritually strong. As Paul writes in Corinthians, “when I am weak, then I am strong.”

When Jesus was confronted with three different options to satisfy his desires, he replied to Satan with Scripture that reflected his faith and trust in His Father. He denied himself and trusted God will provide rather than take matters into his own hand to bring about the results he knew was his immediately rather than wait unto Him.

Though unlike Adam & Eve in the garden, Jesus had total trust in His father to bring about the results he desired without destroying the relationship with Him. After the temptation, he was ministered and physically revised to commence his public ministry.

Temptation will come to all. And all will somewhere fail. Failure though allows us to experience the grace of God and help us realize the need for a savior. We become more grateful for Jesus Christ who lived a human vicarious life for us all. He was our substitute and knows the war between the flesh and the spirit.

He knows the flesh is weak. But if weak flesh and weak spirit is the culprit, what is the solution? How about weak flesh and strong Spirit?

When our eyes are on God and we truly seek to serve Him and bring glory to Him, temptation will have minimum influence and pull. It is when we allow our carnal desires to take the lead instead of the power of the Spirit that we fail.

Real freedom comes when there is no temptation because there is no desire to satisfy selfish needs. As perfect love has no fear, perfect love also has total trust in God’s deliverance. We may suffer through the process, but endurance builds godly character. We know our eternal Coach and Trainer is with us through the entire process as the foundation for godly fruit is being built through the entire ordeal.

Escaping temptation doesn’t mean we will not suffer; but shows we will not rebel against our Maker. We will endure; and we will trust Him who loves us more than anyone. For we know when this trial is over, we will stand stronger in Him than before.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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