Don’t accept God’s will so easily.

 

We’re supposed to accept God’s will, right?  I mean, if we’re good Christians and all.  Isn’t it the hallmark of being a “good Christian” that we fairly easily accept the will of God when bad things happen in our lives?

“God provideth.  And God taketh away.”

This is what wise people say when tragedy strikes.

And I think, much of the time, this is good.  But is it possible to take this acceptance of God’s will too far?  I think so.  Just as with anything else.  This one is a bit hard to explain without getting myself into a lot of trouble, but I’ll try.

Ultimately we’re talking about this incredible question of why God allows bad things to happen.  This is tough stuff, and we’re ultimately not answering that large question here.  But only a small part of it.  Why would God allow a woman to be raped when he is ultimately in control?  There are a lot of theories.  And in this post, I’m not talking about large events like this.  Huge events that cause us to question humanity and God itself.  And I’m certainly not suggesting that getting raped is somehow discipline from God.  So let’s not lose focus and dive off into that.  Let’s have a good conversation about something that matters.  But that is not quite at that level.

I’m talking about small issues.  The loss of a job.  Foreclosure.  Car accident without major loss.  Break-ups.  Even possibly divorce.  Should we just simply shrug our shoulders in these cases and say, “Well, I suppose losing this house is God’s will.”

I don’t think so.  I think we should get pissed off.  And angry.  Even if it means being angry at God.  Because there are times when God needs to do crazy things to get our attention.  So if we just toe the line and act like good Christians who never complain about God’s will, we may be missing out on the very lesson that God is pushing us to accept.

Question: If God allows a foreclosure to come into your life, are you being tested to see how passive you’ll be in the light of his will?  Or is God intentionally trying to get you so pissed off that you finally root something out of your life that he wants rooted out of your life?  See, I’m not so convinced that God wants us to just be fully passive and just lay down at every tragedy.

Look at David in the Psalms.  A third (I’m guessing here) of the Psalms are about David being pissed off at God about one thing or another.  And letting God know it.  And what about Jacob with getting his hip dislocated.  Jacob didn’t enter into this fight with God, or an angel (depending on the scholars you listen to) and simply say, “God is fighting with me so he wins.”  No.  He fought.  And fought.  Until God literally dislocated his hip.  He was the opposite of passive.  And from there on his name was Israel.

What if Zechariah had simply folded up shop and never tried to speak again, and then never raised his son John with the strength of a man who had been afflicted by God for months without the ability to speak?  Can you think of someone more rebellious than John (other than Christ himself of course).  How pissed off do you think Zechariah was at God?  At himself?  How much did that anger fester and build until he was at a boiling point where he could hear the words, “His name is John” and finally speak them.

The Bible is a lot of things.  But a guidebook on how to live a quiet, keep-to-yourself passive life taking whatever comes your way isn’t one of them.

I am not convinced that we should so easily accept God’s will but should become angry, become self-examining, become God-examining, even possibly fight.  Because it is often through these very struggles that we become who we are meant to be.  We are the Jacob who becomes Israel.  Perhaps these minor tragedies that affect our lives are meant to press us to a point of breaking, with the knowledge that God will see to it that the pieces fall in a way that was better than when they were whole.

If you are struggling, perhaps take a break from praying for your struggle to end and pray for guidance on the change God is seeking in your life.  Pray for guidance on how to push through this tragedy as opposed to walking away from it.  Pray for the strength God is desperately hoping you will realize he has given you.  Pray for the eyes to see the discipline God is seeking to infuse into your life.

Again, this is not a simple matter.  And perhaps your struggle has nothing to do with a change God wants to see in your life.  Maybe it’s just a struggle.  Sometimes things suck.  Sometimes things are tragic.  But my encouragement to you is to be less passive in the face of God’s will and accept the challenge that the struggle presents you.  Feel the anger it makes you feel.  Feel the sadness it makes you suffer.  Get angry with God and tell him you are angry.

But don’t take the risk of missing the very breakthrough you may need because you read somewhere that no matter what, everything bad should just be accepted.  You must accept God’s will.  But don’t assume it is his will that you stop fighting at the first sign of struggle.

JDV

Now… go be amazing.  It’s how you were built.

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God’s will: I’ve had it backwards all this time.

I’m working my way through a good book titled Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung, and it’s all about his unconventional methodology behind discerning God’s will for your life.  SWEET!  I really want to know God’s will for my life, and I REALLY like things that are unconventional.  So I saddled up and started reading.  And what a HUGE disappointment!  There is no magic bullet in discerning God’s will.  In fact, I’ve been going about it all wrong all these years.  Well, “backward” would be more accurate than “wrong.”

I’ve always felt like the smaller details of my life would fall into place once I finally grasped my major life calling from God.  I don’t really struggle with the huge things in life.  My struggle is in the daily details.  My sins, my rebellions, are in the small daily diversions which are so available to us these days.  And I am a sucker for all of them.  I won’t stand before God with three or four major life rebellions to account for.  I’ll stand before Him with a list of thousands of things I either did or didn’t do that were sinful.  But every one of them on their own seemed genuinely inconsequential.

But once I receive my calling from God, that will all be over.  Because then my life will be in alignment and these things which draw my attention away from God will lose their luster, their magnetic power over me.  In other words, once the BIG thing is in place… all the little things will take care of themselves.

So apparently I needed this book Just Do Something to finally realize how completely insane this perspective is.  Trust me, even as I write this it sounds nuts to put these words on screen.  But literally until about twenty minutes ago, this was my thinking.  If only the huge driving force that I’m supposed to adhere to in life would simply be revealed, then my minor rebellions, my little failures to walk with God, will be no longer.  I’ll be so frickin’ inspired that my struggles will simply dissolve!  My near addiction to these little rebellions will be overpowered by a passion that consumes me… the passion to pursue my newly discovered WILL OF GOD IN MY LIFE!  (Read that last part with a dramatic booming voice, okay?)

Is this how anything works?  Of course not.  It makes so  MUCH MORE SENSE for God to say, “I will be patient and wait for you to follow me in all of these little things you do before I reveal to you the main purpose for which you’ve been created.”  Of course that makes more sense!  So much more sense that I’m literally embarrassed to have had to write the paragraphs preceding this one.

Why on earth would God send me on the very largest mission for which I’ve been created when I can’t string together 70 solid minutes of obedience to Him in the smallest details of my life?  Why would I expect Him to, either?  And isn’t there a MASSIVE sense of arrogance and entitlement in my prior understanding?  “Hey God, I know I basically ignore you at every opportunity I get… but that’s kinda on you, isn’t it?  Hook me up with a sweet calling and then I’ll stop treating you like a doormat.  Bueno?  Great.  Now hop to it pal.  Jeopardy is on soon.”

Wow.  That’s an only slightly exaggerated version of the inside of my head until about a half hour ago.  It’s shameful.  Thank God (literally) that he loves us as much as He does.

I spend the last couple of weeks of each year praying and asking for a single word to guide me through the coming year. It’s something I picked up from Brian Hardin of the One Year Daily Audio Bible years ago.  The word I got this year is, “Execute.”  I’m an idea guy.  But in my process of coming up with huge ideas, I really don’t execute on the basics that are the foundation of any genuinely meaningful life.  Last year my word was, “Achieve” and I ran the Chicago Marathon.  It almost killed me.  But I did it.  However, I did it in the worst possible way.  I failed to train properly.  I failed to eat properly.  I did what I usually do: I winged it.  I half-assed it.  And through sheer will and determination I finished that marathon.  I injured my left ankle and both feet doing so, though, due to my lack of preparation.  So my word for this year is, “Execute.”

How do you execute?  There are a hundred things happening in my life that point to the fact that execution is about the daily little things that add up to a major accomplishment.  These daily disciplines are missing from my life.  I am not going to understand the will of God in my life that I might receive SOMEDAY until I respect Him enough to execute on the small daily things He has ALREADY told me to do.

No, I don’t know if God wants me to quit my job and become a pastor.  I haven’t received that major life direction yet from God.  But God did speak to me about the smaller things.  He spoke to you too.  Through scripture.  It’s easy to forget, as we’re waiting for the loud booming voice from heaven, that the voice of God is probably sitting on a shelf in our living room right now.  Real, tangible, useful direction from God on how to answer his calling in our lives.  We call them spiritual disciplines.  Prayer.  Worship.  Sacrifice.  Charity.  And the Bible is full of them.  Have you ever seen one of those funny billboards, “If you’ve been waiting for a sign… this is a sign.”  Well similarly, if you’ve been waiting to “hear from God” on how to live your life, then why not go ahead and read the book He gave on how to live our lives?

So I suppose I actually have received my calling from God.  It’s written in the dozens of books of the Bible that I’ve read over and over… but haven’t really followed.  I look forward to spending the next year executing on these small daily things that God has already called me to do.  Execute on these little daily things.  Subject my life to God in all these little ways.  All this time I’ve been praying about surrendering to God and haven’t even taken the smallest of steps like changing up my morning routine.  “Oh… you mean surrendering to God is more than just a passionate well-spoken prayer?  I actually have to change tangible things in my daily life?  Who knew??”

So that’s how my 2017 started.  It’s amazing what happens when you take a few hours away from TV and internet.

God bless you all!  And Happy New Year.

J

Crazy homeless dude…

So I’m in the city the other day and this homeless guy comes up to me and starts talking to me.  I try to be a decent guy about it but it was definitely weird.  It’s winter and this guy is wearing sandals and he’s kinda freaking the kids out.  Not going nuts or anything but the whole “stranger-danger” thing, you know.

He was actually a nice guy and seemed pretty set even though he was obviously broke.  Never asked me for money which I was sorta waiting for any minute.  And he’s telling me about how he’s at peace, blah blah blah.  And I’m like, “At peace?  Dude, nothing personal but you look like you’re having a rough time of it here.  I don’t mean to be presumptuous but how are you at peace?”

So he tells me about his dad and all this stuff and to be honest I kinda wasn’t listening 100% but he’s definitely a lot less stressed about his situation than I would be.  You need a job bro!  I finally just broke down and asked him how he can be so chill under the circumstances, and he’s like, “What circumstances?”

Seriously.  Dude.  You’re obviously homeless.  Fine.  It had to be said so I said it.  And he’s like, “Oh that.  Yeah well it works out.  Never missed a meal yet.”

Never missed a meal yet?  What the hell?  Seriously?

So I figure I’ll test the guy.  I’m no angel but I do my best to be a decent guy and I guess you could say I play by the rules.  So I’m like, “So dude.  I have a good job.  Went to school.  Do an honest business and do right by my wife.  And I’m about ten times more stressed out than you are.  What’s the deal?  Hook me up.  What do I gotta do to chill out?”

So then the sales pitch hits.  I knew it!  Dude tells me to sell all my stuff.  Now I get it.  Sidewalk preacher.  Probably has a dozen of these “homeless dude” outfits that he throws on in the back of his Rolls Royce and heads out trolling for suckers.  No dice pal.  I’m not biting.

But now I’m pissed and I kinda can’t let it go.  “So you want me to sell my stuff and give you all the money?”

“No dude I don’t need your money.  I told you.  I’m good.  Never missed a meal, remember?”

Oh so I give it his “charity” I suppose, right?  Some charity that he just happens to run, etc. etc.  No.  He tells me, “Just give it to the poor or something.  I don’t know.  There’s always going to be poor folks.  Widows.  Kids with no parents.  Help them out. But this stuff you’ve got.  It’s not helping you at all.”

Not helping me??  What like my car?  My car?  That doesn’t help me get to work?  What an idiot.

Give it to the poor.  Like just find some random poor guy and give him all my stuff?  That’s crazy.  He’s like, “You’ll figure it out.  You figured out your job and your car and your family and your house.  I’m sure you can figure out who to help by selling all your stuff no problem.”

So obviously this guy was a complete whack job and I’m not getting that twenty minutes of my life back anytime soon.

Frickin’ nutcase.

_____________________

And that, my friends, is how easy it is to reject Christ.

Go be awesome at something.  It’s what you were wired for.

J

Image credit: http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/File:Portrait-of-Homeless-Man-IMG_3825.jpg

Talking Christ out of dying on the cross.

Okay, Jesus. I get it, okay? You love all people, etc. etc. But you’re talking about dying here for these people. Dying for their sins, right? That’s what you said. Listen, do what you want. But just listen to me for a couple of minutes.

So you’re dying for THEIR sins, right? Setting aside the fact that this doesn’t really make any sense to me, let’s be practical for a minute. First, limited audience. How many people are even going to be in town to see this happen. Sin is global, dude. GLOBAL. Even if everyone in town sees you do this and stops sinning, how many is that? A few thousand? At best? Out of the entire world? Talk about a drop in the ocean. It’s not worth it.

Also, talk about giving a drunk a drink! It’s not like people are actually going to stop sinning. You’re dying for their sins right in the middle of them continuing to sin, pal. Think about that! How unfair is that? And also, doesn’t it seem a little pointless? Die for their sins and they start sinning again in what, 30 seconds? Listen Jesus, you just don’t buy a drunk a drink. It’s not right.

Also, why does this all have to fall on your shoulders? Shouldn’t their be some sort of organized initiative or program to reduce sin? There are a lot of good people and good organizations out there. If you don’t do this, someone else will.

________________________

Sounds ridiculous, right? Then why do I have this conversation all the time about the people around us who need help right now?

Have an awesome day.

JDV

Photo credit: http://www.johnlund.com

Fixing my lawnmower, and why it’s worth reading 799 words about it.

I thought the thought that everyone seems to think these days. “Time to throw it out and get a new one.” But then this voice in my head, perhaps my grandfather speaking to me from above, said, “Just flip the stupid thing over and see what’s wrong.” I could technically afford a new lawnmower. And the one we’ve had is about 9 years old. Every possible justification to get one of those new electric ones that I really want. This old beater of a lawnmower was just stuck. Push forward, nothing. Something is stuck. Wheels won’t turn, I don’t know. It was the perfect excuse to be out with the old and in with the new.

But I listened to that voice in my head and flipped it over. Some weld had popped loose and a big wedge-shaped chunk of steel was hanging down and digging into the ground. That’s what was stopping the mower. This wedge was digging into the ground. So I went to the garage, grabbed a crow bar and a four pound sledge, and I beat the snot out of it until it was jammed back up into where it looked like it belonged. And it stayed there. So then I flip it back over, pull the chord, and start mowing again. I was in a hurry because the neighbors are having a birthday party and I didn’t want to be mowing while they were having guests arrive. And now the mower is actually dramatically easier to push than it has been in years.

So why write a post about it? Well the main reason is I want all of you to know that I’m a real man who owns sledge hammers and crow bars and I hit stuff in my driveway. Mission accomplished. But this is nagging at me. I’m sort of having my “buy stuff all the time” persona stripped from me. I’ve totally lost the desire to buy a new bigger house worthy of a lawyer. I actually really love my car with 146,000 miles on it. And I like this lawnmower. I am so sick and tired of this constant pressure from television to replace everything I own. I’ve bought into this concept for a few decades and I’m starting to walk away from it.

Here’s the deal. We’re all broke. I don’t mean broke by today’s standards. Today, broke means you can’t afford to make your payments. But to our grandparents and great-grandparents you were broke if you even HAD payments. If you borrowed money to buy something it was because you were broke. Now, if you DON’T borrow money to buy something you must be too broke to afford the monthly payments.

We switched to paying cash for everything a couple of years ago and it has this rather liberating effect on our marriage and our lives. We don’t even use a debit card. I changes the smallest details. I need to keep track of how much gas is in my car and grab cash before I leave if I need to fill up. We’ve put our financial lives into reverse and paid off tens of thousands of dollars in debt since we started this mini financial revolution. This is my own personal small way of flipping the bird to all the advertising agencies that want so desperately to convince me that I need to replace everything in my house.

I don’t. And these people are not helping us. They are robbing us of our lives. Driving us to maintain two-income households and hand our kids off to daycare. They have tricked us into thinking that all this crap will make us happy. We talk a lot about the need to make sacrifices for God. But we really don’t. The things God wants for us will make us happy. They may also may us broke. But being broke just means we’ve cast off the junk that clever advertisers have made us believe will bring happiness.

And I’m tired of it. And done with it. My old house with tons of problems and a genuinely dangerous worn out driveway is just perfect for me. So is my aging car and my lawnmower than requires the occasional beating from a sledge hammer.

God has things in store for me that deliver a level of happiness that cannot be captured in the glossy pages of the Sunday morning sale papers.

Let’s quit paying money for all this crap and start using it for genuine joy. The joy of giving. Of helping someone without ever needing anything in return. Let’s all go make a ton of money, but keep driving our same worn out cars and keep pushing out same worn out lawnmowers. And let’s use what’s left over to chase down some amazing happiness.

JDV

 

Photo credit: http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hub/330834/file-478210003-jpg/Blog_Images/3716809618_16126ea4d6_z.jpg?t=1403890002171

It’s just not funny anymore…

I have kind of a natural ability to make people laugh. If you could see a shot of me in a swimsuit you’d know why!

You see that right there? That opening? That little crack about myself? I do it all the time. All the time. I think it’s about enough. I cut myself down constantly. It originally started with the desire to not be one of those Christians that acts like he knows everything. I wanted to be, and still want to be, just the “regular guy” who is in on this shockingly cool story that most of the world misunderstands (including most Christians I think.)

So I make fun of myself. I laugh about my weight. My lack of punctuality. Missing goals at work. Starting things and never finishing them. I joke about it. But at what point am I actually just normalizing all this stuff I do? You make light of something for 20 years and all of a sudden one day you wake up and realize you’ve accepted these things as normal.

That day was today for me.

Let’s not take this too far.  There’s still plenty in life that is hillarious.  I’m not going to become one of those blowhards that acts like he knows everything. I don’t know everything. But being 80 pounds overweight isn’t funny. My wife doesn’t think it’s funny. She sits sometimes wondering what life would be like if I died early. That’s not funny. Being late to meetings isn’t funny to the stressed out client waiting to talk to me about the biggest issue he has going in his life right now. Missing my goals at work isn’t funny to the bosses that absorb the lack of revenue out of their own pocket when I fall short.

I’m literally laughing my way out of the calling I’ve been given, and using humor as a means to desensitize myself to the ways in which I am sabotaging my own success in answering that calling. This isn’t hard news for me. I’m not beating myself up about it. But I’m having my eyes opened to the fact that this is serious business. There is a place for humor. But I’ve added humor to a lot of places it doesn’t belong.

Don’t worry.  I’ll probably never stop laughing about the US Congress.  And lots of other stuff in life is funny.  And humor is a gift.  Up to a certain point…  and I think I just found that point.

Thanks for reading and sharing this on Facebook or Twitter.

JDV

Photo credit: http://archive.indianexpress.com/news/us-man-faces-jail-for-laughing-too-loud/1084562/

A classmate’s funeral, and the goodness of Tom.

 

When I was in law school, there was a student that basically everyone knew. Adam was outgoing, funny and easy to like. He always wore sunglasses and he was one of those guys who could pull it off. If I wear sunglasses all the time, it just looks like I forgot to take them off. Adam was cool.

And something shocking happened. Halfway through our second year he took his own life. And no one saw it coming.

I wouldn’t have called him a friend. We chatted in the halls among a group of classmates from time to time, but never one on one. But I knew him. We all did. But we didn’t know he was Jewish. We received notice that a service was to be held in his temple. So a group of friends and I were sitting around the table discussing whether we should go. And Tom was with us.

Tom always has a slight smile on his face, like there’s something making him happy that we don’t know about. And Tom keeps things simple. He was an average student in law school. While our goal was to graduate in the top five, or top fifteen, or whatever, Tom’s goal was to graduate. I get the impression that Tom enjoys the moments that he is in, while everyone else runs around trying to figure out what they are going to do in the moments still coming. Tom is a good guy.

So there we were going around and around. “We didn’t know Adam that well.” “I’m not even sure I’m allowed to go into the temple, I’m not Jewish.” “Do we bring anything?” “What kind of card do we get?” “I wonder if he would have wanted us to go.” Listening to us Lutherans and Catholics sitting around, you would have thought Adam was an alien.

And then Tom… “When a classmate dies you go to his service. You just go.” And then he walked away.

Here we were mustering up all the intellectual capacity we could find, and Tom nails us with the simplest of statements. A statement that arose not from his mind, but from his values. Values with roots running so deep that you don’t think them over. They just guide you.

I’m going to spend some time being like Tom. I’m going to take a quick and simple look at my decisions today and run them through the simplest of filters: My values. Without over thinking. Without analyzing.

“You just go.”

Thanks Tom.

JDV

Photo credit: http://www.irakaufman.com/images/pageimages/star.jpg

Should terrorists be tried in civil courts?

This looks like a major departure from my standard blog content, but stick with me for a bit. As always, I’ll find my way back to God. And that’s easier than you might think on this one. This is not a political post per-se. Let’s dive in.

When you catch a terrorist, you have three basic options. Take him or her out right there on the spot, give them a military trial, or give them a civil trial. I’m not an expert on the many technicalities and procedural differences but they don’t really matter. It’s safe to say that a civil trial gives the terrorist the best opportunity to go free. And that’s exactly the option I am arguing in favor of in this post.

Why would I advocate for this? By definition, a terrorist is someone who abandons traditional combat between trained soldiers and murders innocent civilians in order to intimidate the remaining civilians into submission. They bomb public places, murder children, behead prisoners, all of which is often done on video for the world to see. And their goal is total submission and domination. Let’s not pussy-foot around this issue. We are talking about the most basic and pure form of evil here.

But here’s the deal. The point at which we decide that there is a threshold you can cross over in order to rise to the level of a different type of justice, our entire system of justice falls apart. Our criminal justice system is not perfect. But when you look at gross failures of justice, the cause is never a failure of our Constitutional principals themselves. It is invariably found in the failure to properly apply those principals.

I understand the arguments against me here. Terrorists, for the most part, are not citizens of the United States so we are not required to extend Constitutional protections to them. But the spirit of these principals is that they apply to everyone. Everyone. Aren’t we just getting off on a technicality here? The concepts were not implemented because they were good for legal citizens of our nation. They were implemented because they are right. And “right” doesn’t have borders.

There is an inescapable truth here. Applying a different standard or process for terrorists requires by its very nature to pre-determine the guilt of the accused. After all, if you are sure enough that this person was a terrorist to put them into a different category of justice, then why bother having a trial at all? You’ve already reached your conclusion. And that type of pre-judgment was precisely what we were trying to eliminate with the 4th and 5th amendments to the Constitution.

Ultimately, we want to be sure we put this terrorist away for good. Take no risks. But this position turns the entire process on its head because the only way we can take this position is if we’ve already determined guilt without the benefit of any trial at all. To me this all comes back to integrity. If we are going to respond those who attempt to destroy what we believe in, then we must do so by way of the very system they hate so much. There is ironic justice there, and it sends the right message to the rest of the world. Throw whatever you want at us. Our system is fair. Our system is true. And it applies to all.

Where does this find it’s way back to God? In a simple phrase: “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.” These words were spoken by a man who had nails through his hands and feet about the very men who drove those nails in. The message is clear. We have a responsibility to remove the ability of terrorists to repeat their evil deeds. This means imprisonment. But beyond that, our job is to love these terrorists. Yes. Love them. In exactly the same way that Christ forgave and loved those who nailed him to a cross, we are to forgive and love those who attack our innocent civilians. That’s not a suggestion. It’s a requirement. And the fact that it’s hard doesn’t act as a free pass to simply take revenge regardless of how many layers of legal procedure we run it through to make it feel less like revenge.

Those are my thoughts. Thanks for reading.

JDV

What an inspiration!

Just received some amazing news about an amazing friend. He lives a life that is more radically abandoned to God than anyone I’ve ever met. Years and years ago he turned his life away from one of obsession with money and everything that comes with it. Now he runs a martial arts academy, doing amazing work with kids and infusing Biblical principles into everything they do in an intense and inspiring way. He also takes annual mission trips to feed the hungry in Central America. This guy operates at a level of connectedness with God that I can barely even fathom. Every minute of his day is consumed with service to God. It’s in inspiration just to be around him. Unbelievable.

So last night I received an invite via Facebook to attend his ordination ceremony. What? I had no idea this was even on the radar. He and his wife are being ordained as ministers. This is awesome news! It could not be happening to a more deserving family. And it makes their lives, their marriage, their connection with God, their discipline, their radical abandonment, that much more inspiring.

I’m a pretty decent guy. But I am suddenly launched into wanting what he has. Not in an envious way. But in an inspired way. When people tell you to live a life for God that makes others want what you have, that’s this guy. And I don’t even need to go through the “how does he do it” list of questions. I know what he does. I know how he lives his life. I just need to do it.

So happy for he and his wife and their family, and starting today off feeling exceptionally inspired to work toward a life of abandonment like theirs!

Go have an awesome day everyone!! Live your life today in a way that everyone around you is inspired to abandon their lives to God in an amazing way.

You are alone in your sin.

You need to get a handle on this sin thing.  What’s the matter with you?  You realize don’t you that most people don’t “struggle” with this they way you do, right?  There must be something wrong with you, some wires crossed.  Whatever it is, you need to draw back into yourself and figure it out.  Put prayer on hold, would ya?  You can’t be praying in the middle of this giant mess you’re in.  And think about your wife, your family, your friends.  Listen, I’m your friend, and you have got to get a handle on this.  I know you supposedly had a “good day” yesterday but how long will that last?  You really think you can string together even five decent days in a row?  When has that worked out?

Get to work on this.  Figure it out.  You’re on your own out there until you can get this sorted out.

_____________________

Ever heard these words?  Yeah.  I have.  All the time.  This is that conversation the devil likes to have with you in order to guarantee that you never break free from sin.  Yes, the devil can actually use your own battle with sin against you.  A crafty little bastard.  Fighting him off can actually fuel his game.  Distance from God.  It’s all about distance from God.  How many times have I skipped prayer because of recent sin?  Mission accomplished, devil.  Well played.

So let’s set it straight.  If you are stuck in sin YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  But you had better get about the business of surrounding yourself with strong Christians who don’t define their faith as a means by which to judge the sins of others.  You need real Christians, not Christians who are full of crap.  You need scripture, and you had best not ever… EVER… step away from prayer.  I don’t care how much you lose your battle, you get back onto that battle field with your Christian friends and your powerful God and you fight again.

Got it?  Don’t believe the crap you hear.  Because you’re going to hear it.  Over and over.  But you’ve got an army behind you.  Want me in your army?  I can do that.  james.d.voigt@gmail.com.  And trust me on this: with me in your army you will no longer be alone in your sin!  We’ll fight it off together.

Take today and kick the living crap out of your sin.  Team up.  Pray up.  Bible up.  And start kicking.

 

We were built to be heroes.  It’s about time we start acting like heroes.

 

Photo credit: Leni Tuchsen / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)