Sunday, December 27, 2009

Batteries Included

I wonder how many frustrated parents assembled some special toy for their child this Christmas, only to discover “batteries not included”? To have the shell without the power to run the device is quite irritating. No toy should be sold without the batteries to run it, wouldn’t you agree?

Well, praise God that salvation comes with “Batteries Included”! You know what I am talking about – the power of the Holy Spirit. When we repent and trust Christ for salvation, the batteries are included because we immediately receive the person of the Holy Spirit. He comes to indwell our lives! “If you have not the Spirit of Christ, you have not Christ” (Romans 8:9).

For a Christmas toy, the batteries serve two important functions. First, they enable the toy to do what it was created to do. Without the batteries, the toy is lifeless. Second, the batteries empower the toy. They give it energy and power to fulfill its everyday function.

In the same way, the Holy Spirit gives us life. The Holy Spirit brings us to salvation. The Spirit convicts us of sin, enables us to repent, and gives us the faith to receive Christ. At salvation, the Spirit enables us to begin our purpose for which we were created – to know God and make Him known.

Furthermore, once we are in relationship with God, the Holy Spirit empowers us. He lives through us. He directs us. He gives us the strength to do God’s will. He works in us to will and to do for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). Apart from Christ’s indwelling presence through the Spirit, we can do nothing of any eternal value.

Praise God the batteries are included! Just be sure to keep them charged!

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” Ephesians 3:16-17

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Lessons From Tiger Woods

In light of the recent tragedy in the life of Tiger Woods, I want to include on my blog something I read several years ago that really spoke to me. It was written by former pastor and author, Randy Alcorn. It was first published as an article in Leadership Magazine.

He simply shares the many possible consequences if he fell into sexual sin. It is good for us to remind ourselves of what “could happen” if we gave into temptation.

Satan is very crafty. He only wants us to see the immediate gratification in sin. He wants to blind us to what is on the other side of sin. Let us seek to live holy lives, and thus experience the great joy and peace that comes from staying in God’s will!

Consequences of a Moral Tumble

By Randy Alcorn

“Whenever I feel particularly vulnerable to sexual temptation, I find it helpful to review what effects my action could have:

  • Grieving the Lord who redeemed me.
  • Dragging His sacred name into the mud.
  • One day having to look Jesus, the Righteous Judge, in the face and give an account of my actions.
  • Following in the footsteps of these people who immorality forfeited their ministries and cause me to shudder: (list names)
  • Inflicting untold hurt on Nanci, my best friend and loyal wife.
  • Losing Nanci’s respect and trust.
  • Hurting my beloved daughters, Karina and Angie.
  • Destroying my example and credibility with my children, and nullifying both present and future efforts to teach them to obey God (“Why listen to a man who betrayed Mom and us?”).
  • If my blindness should continue or my wife be unable to forgive, perhaps losing my wife and my children forever.
  • Causing shame to my family (“Why isn’t Daddy a pastor anymore?”).
  • Losing self-respect.
  • Creating a form of guilt awfully hard to shake. Even though God would forgive me, would I forgive myself?
  • Forming memories and flashbacks that could plague future ministry with my wife.
  • Wasting years of ministry training and experience for a long time, maybe permanently.
  • Forfeiting the effect of years of witnessing to my father and reinforcing his distrust for ministers that has only begun to soften by my example but that would harden, perhaps permanently, because of my immorality.
  • Undermining the faithful example and hard work of other Christians in our community.
  • Bringing great pleasure to Satan, the enemy of God and all that is good.
  • Heaping judgment and endless difficulty on the person with whom I committed adultery.
  • Possibly bearing the physical consequences of such diseases as gonorrhea, syphilis, Chlamydia, herpes, and AIDS; perhaps infecting Nanci or, in the case of AIDS, even causing her death.
  • Possibly causing pregnancy, with the personal and financial implications, including a lifelong reminder of my sin.
  • Bringing shame and hurt to these fellow pastors and elders: (list names).
  • Causing shame and hurt to these friends, especially those I’ve led to Christ and discipled: (list names).
  • Invoking shame and life-long embarrassment upon myself.”[i]

[i] Randy Alcorn, “Consequences of a Moral Tumble,” Leadership Journal Volume 9, Issue 1, Winter 1988: p. 25.