A few thoughts on fighting against sin, and making Christ your treasure.
A few thoughts on fighting against sin, and making Christ your treasure.
My Grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness. 2 Cor. 12:9
The daily battles never cease. Adversity is a companion I know too well. My strength is gone, and despair brings me low. I ask again for release from this, for I fear it will be the end of me. The enemy gathers to devour me. Their strength seems overwhelming. Lord, deliver me from this weakness. I see the wicked live in peace as I strive to do your will, and yet I suffer day by day. If it be your will end this suffering.
Then your word rings clear. “My Grace is sufficient for you”. Three times you’ve cried for relief, because you believe this is holding you back. What you don’t see my child, is that this thorn you so much dread is one of my precious blessings which is not killing or holding you back, but spurring you on and giving you strength.
The death that you feel is the old nature dying, and though you feel held back you’re actually moving more swiftly because your focus is clear and your resolve is set on Me. Without this you would be easily distracted. Without this you would stumble in your own strength, and though Satan thinks he buffets, and your faith is being tested, I am crowning you with perseverance, character and hope.
Humility is another gift that is given though this and the broken and contrite I will never turn away. So walk on and know that I am sovereign and embrace the benefits of this adversity. For I alone am God and I know my children well, you will never be tested more than you can handle, and I will bring you home.
Many Christians are familiar with the music of Ray Boltz. In the 1990’s he published several songs which stayed on the Christian music charts for months and found their way into the “special music” section of church services everywhere. A few of his hits were “Thank You (for Giving to the Lord)” “Watch the Lamb” and “I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb” Well, he has come out to let the world know that he is a homosexual.
So what should we think about the “coming out” of such a notable Christian figure, especially since he is now claiming to be happy? Besides the obvious sorrow we should feel for the destruction caused to Mr. Boltz’s family by divorcing his wife and the grief of his four children, and sorrow for Mr. Boltz himself as he is now living outside the revealed will of God, this should cause us to think for a minute about the deceptive nature of our enemy.
Scripture says that our enemy prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, and much too often we as Christians do not take this warning seriously enough. Now I do not claim to have insight into the exact reasons why Mr. Boltz decided to grab on to his lusts and forsake his obedience to the Lord, but there are a few general things which usually take place in all these instances.
First, it did not happen overnight. Falls of this nature usually progress from what we sometimes consider lesser sins. Thoughts enter the mind and instead of dealing with them they begin to be dwelt upon. Then those thoughts progress into small acts of compromise and years later there seems to be no way of reversing the trend. The warning here should be clear, with whatever sin we are dealing, one of the key battlegrounds if not the key battleground, is the mind. We must take every thought captive and not wait until they manifest in other ways.
Second, there is the questioning of God. “Did the Lord really say?” is the question that inevitably comes to mind. During this point, whether consciously or unconsciously, something begins to cause us to put scripture in a place of less authority. Unfortunately, what usually takes its place and causes revision to our interpretation of the clear word of God is “happiness.” And this certainly played a part in Mr. Boltz’s story. He mentions in his coming out interview in the Washington Blade, that before he came out he was unhappy and even depressed. So much so that he had to go on anti-depressants. So why would he bring this up? Though he does not state it explicitly, it is for the simple reason that he wants us to make the same logical conclusion he has made. That if I am not happy I must be interpreting scripture incorrectly, after all God would not make me in such a way where I would be unhappy.
Third this trend of putting happiness first did not come out of nowhere. It saturates American evangelicalism, and is clearly a device of the enemy. All we have to do is listen to Christian music, Christian conferences, and even the preaching in many churches to see this is this trend. The true gospel has been substituted. Instead of preaching law and gospel where we are told the truth that we need to come to Christ because we are sinners deserving of wrath, and that the wages of sin is death, what is preached in its place is sorrow and self-esteem. The reason you need to come to Christ isn’t because you are sinner deserving wrath, but because you feel lonely, things aren’t going right in your life, and because you are unsatisfied with your life at the moment. It turns out that this is why you should come to Jesus. It’s not sin and the need of repentance. The problem with this is evident when we ask, what happens when a “Christian” becomes unhappy, lonely, or unsatisfied, what is the problem now? They already have Jesus. The problem must be with the way we interpret Jesus. And so it goes.
The problem with all this is that striving against sin, whether in us or in others, is never comfortable or pleasant. Even striving against sin can make us lonely, because some people will reject us for it, and we will even face times of heaviness and great sorrow because of it too.
The author of the book of Hebrews makes this point when he encourages his readers to press on in their fight against sin. He reminds them that they “have not resisted to bloodshed striving against sin” (Heb. 12:4).
So this would be my words of encouragement to Mr. Boltz if I had a chance to talk with him. Yes it is hard struggling against the assaults of such strong sinful lust, and it may cause you unhappiness for a time, but you have not yet resisted to bloodshed, and it would be better to enter the kingdom of heaven after a long and unpleasant fight, than to go to hell on beds of ease. Come home Mr. Boltz. Go back to your family if they will have you, and start fighting against sin again, for any temporary happiness you think you now have will be short lived. And even though living a life battling with sin may be tough, it cannot be compared to the glory that awaits us in heaven with our Savior.
I pray that Mr. Boltz is indeed a Christian who will be brought back by the chastening hand of the Lord (Heb. 12:11), but the unfortunate thing for many who find themselves in this situation is that they never come back because they are not his, and scripture is clear…
“If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons (Heb. 12:8).
May we all be aware of the roaring lion and his tactics. May we guard our hearts diligently even when it is painful. For the Word of God is clear…
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor. 6:9-10)”
I for one will not be glad that Mr. Boltz has found a home in the homosexual lifestyle, even if he does claim to have a happiness he didn’t have before. Instead, I will weep for him to come home.
Below are the two quotes that are given in the video…
“We should never come to such difference with true Christians without regret and without tears. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Believe me, evangelicals often have not shown it. We rush in, being very, very, pleased, it would seem at times, to find other people’s mistakes. We build ourselves up by tearing other people down. This can never show a real oneness among Christians.
There is only one kind of person who can fight the Lord’s battles in anywhere near a proper way, and that is the person who is by nature unbelligerent. A belligerent man tends to do it because he is belligerent; at least it looks that way. The world must observe that when we must differ with each other as true Christians, we do it not because we love the smell of blood, the smell of the arena, the smell of the bullfight, but because we must for God’s sake. If there are tears when we must speak, then something beautiful can be observed.”
-Francis Schaeffer, The Mark of A Christian-
“The great trouble is not that we love those who are not Christians too much, rather that we do not love them enough. If we really loved them, we should not be content with the relationship to them involved in the comparatively cold brotherhood of man, but we should long passionately, and by the preaching of the gospel we should make constant and earnest endeavour, to bring them in with us into the full intimacy of the household of God.
-J. Gresham Machen-