Have You Sacrificed Relationships Because of Selfish Ambition?

Have you sacrificed relationships because of selfish ambition? I have. It may look different for each of us; possibly athletic achievements, career advancements, the pursuit of wealth and possessions, social status, online fame, etc.… Anything that so consumes us we loose sight of what is really important and of those around us. We all have to ask ourselves if our personal goals and pursuits are really worth sacrificing relationships for?

We have an opportunity to have a good relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
We have an opportunity to have a good relationship with our families.
We have an opportunity to have a good relationship with friends and others around us.

How we relate to God and how we relate to people are of utmost importance.  “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)

If our goals hinder these relationships, maybe we should re-evaluate our goals.

Alcohol is Always a Good Time, Right?

We live in a culture that loves its wine and alcohol. Where I’m from people go to bars if they want to find a girlfriend or boyfriend. Others drink because of the stresses of life or it’s their idea of having a good time. But alcohol is a substance that can easily control a person. Whether through personal experience or through observation we have all seen this. I’ve seen women go home with guys they would have never gone home with if they were sober. I’ve had drunk people tell me things they would never tell someone in their right mind. I’ve seen drunk people act like complete fools and idiots, and I’ve seen drunk people become very angry, aggressive, and easily agitated. While drinking may not be condemned as a sin, getting drunk is. “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). But the Bible says a lot more about it than just this. We would be wise to reflect on what God says about it and be willing to reevaluate our own lives.

Galatians 5:19-21
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Peter 4:3-5
For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

Proverbs 20:1
Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.

Proverbs 21:17
Whoever loves pleasure will be a poor man; he who loves wine and oil will not be rich.

Isaiah 5:11
Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them!

Isaiah 5:22
Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink,

Proverbs 23:29-31
Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has strife? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has redness of eyes?
Those who tarry long over wine;
those who go to try mixed wine.
Do not look at wine when it is red,
when it sparkles in the cup
and goes down smoothly.

Proverbs 31:4-7
It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
it is not for kings to drink wine,
or for rulers to take strong drink,
lest they drink and forget what has been decreed
and pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
Give strong drink to the one who is perishing,
and wine to those in bitter distress;
let them drink and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.

Isaiah 28:7
These also reel with wine and stagger with strong drink; the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink, they are swallowed by wine, they stagger with strong drink, they reel in vision, they stumble in giving judgment.

Hosea 4:10-11
They shall eat, but not be satisfied;
they shall play the whore, but not multiply,
because they have forsaken the Lord
to cherish whoredom, wine, and new wine,
which take away the understanding.

Micah 2:11
If a man should go about and utter wind and lies, saying, “I will preach to you of wine and strong drink,” he would be the preacher for this people!

God, Show Me A Sign

How does the Holy Spirit work in the life of Christians? Is it through promptings that are based on a feeling we might get at any given moment? Is it through an unknown and ambiguous sign? I’m sure most of us have been in situations when you get a feeling or urge that you should do something and then a few moments later you start to think better of it and question whether this is really something you should do or not; before you know it you’re on a teeter totter going back and forth in your mind. Was this a prompting from the Holy Spirit?

The Bible says God is not a God of confusion but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33). So, what does the Bible say about how the Holy Spirit works and leads in a Christians life?

The Holy Spirit is…
-Active in salvation.
(John 16:8-11; Titus 3:5)
-Active in assurance of salvation. (Ephesians 1:13-14)
-Active in Sanctification or the spiritual growth of a Christian. (2 Thessalonians 2:13; John 14:15-16)
-Active in guiding us in truth. (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21; 1 Corinthians 2:10-13)
-Active in the perseverance of faith. (2 Timothy 1:13-14, Romans 8:1-17; Ephesians 3:14-19)
-Active in helping us pray. (Romans 8:14-15; Romans 8:26-27)
-Active in giving us wisdom or the practical application of our faith. (Romans 12:9-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8)
-Active in promoting Christian unity. (Ephesians 4:1-4)
-Active in fighting sin and pursuing righteousness. (Ephesians 6:10-20)
-Active in reasonable and practical Christian living. (Proverbs; Isaiah 11; Philippians 4:4-9)
-Active in discernment. (1 John 4:1-6; Acts 6:10; Hebrews 5:14)
-Active in producing the fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:16-26)

As we can see the work of the Holy Spirit is based in truth, the truth of God’s word; not in an ambiguous feeling or sense. The work of the Spirit helps us in practical daily Christian living. The Holy Spirits work is helping us actively live our faith out in a fallen, sinful, and hostile world towards God and His word. We need the Spirit to open our eyes to the truth of the gospel, to flee sin and pursue righteousness, to have the courage to share the gospel with those around us, to endure suffering and persecution, and to live with wisdom and discretion.

There is nothing ambiguous about that, rather it’s first and foremost about learning to become obedient and submissive to God and His word. And when you are living a life seeking obedience to Him, then He will guide you in His way and His time in those areas where there may be more freedom in choice; such as what job should I work, where should I live, who should I date or marry (within the Christian faith), etc…

We should not be living our Christian life based on senses, feelings, or perceived signs from God; but rather our lives should be guided by the Holy Spirit who practically helps us live out the truth found in God’s word.

A final warning about reckless living
Proverbs 14:6
One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.

Jeremiah 23:32
Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, declares the Lord, and who tell them and lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or charge them. So they do not profit this people at all, declares the Lord.

2 Timothy 3:1-5
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

Casual Christianity

Excerpt taken from this article: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/06/23/im-pastor-and-want-to-quit-church-now.html

“Only 39 percent of active believers consider the Bible as the literal word of God. Only 5 percent have shared their faith with a non-believer. More than half of all church members attend church once a month or less.

If we quit the casual way we approach God’s principles can you imagine what would happen in our personal walks of faith and in our community of believers?

My conversations over the past several years revealed the spiritual habits necessary for personal and church growth and revealed the “why” behind disengagement in the church.

The truth is, if we don’t feel passionate about something we don’t do it. If we don’t like something that happens in the church, we find another one. If the spiritual practices don’t fit our lifestyle, then we don’t do them.

This mindset permeates our “I want it now and I want it my way” culture and is only enforced through social media, website choices, TV options and countless other platforms that have risen in prominence in our lives. This is not the way God intended the church to live.

Jesus felt the church was worth dying for – it should be our mission as Christians to value living for it.”