It always blows my mind to see God work. I know in my head that God loves me and He sees me, but when I actually see Him in the little things… like when a sermon is just for me or He answers a prayer in some crazy mind-blowing way that couldn’t be coincidental… that’s when I truly feel His love for me in my heart. It just reminds me that I’m never invisible. Even though right now I’m completely off the grid because my cell phone decided to die and never come back to life again this morning, and no one can contact me and I’m having a small mental break down that probably isn’t healthy, I’m not invisible to God. I don’t need to call Him to know that He sees me and He’s readily available to me. I don’t have to get his attention. In fact, most of the time He has to get mine.
This morning at church, my pastor did a sermon on Ephesians 4:17-24. This was definitely one of those “wow, God’s really talking to me today” kind of sermons. The whole passage starts out with Paul telling the church at Ephesus that they should no longer walk the way that the Gentiles walk, because they are different. When he says Gentiles, he means people who don’t know Christ. This alone is really powerful because I think a lot of times we just do what other people do because other people are doing it, and we don’t even think about the fact that we should be different. As humans, we want to be accepted, and in order to be accepted, we have to be the same. I’ve learned that you can’t have acceptance from the world and be a true follower of Jesus at the same time. It just won’t happen. There’s a spiritual war going on in this world around us, and the Devil is everywhere. If we aren’t standing strong for Jesus, by our apathy we are one less person for satan to worry about, and one more person conforming to the evil ways of this world. The reality is you’re in the game whether you like it or not, and you have to pick a side. By choosing to do nothing, you’ve chosen your team.
Paul continues to talk about how the people had become calloused to the things of this world. Living in this ugly world, we see ugly things every single day. The first time I heard a cuss word on tv I’m pretty sure I reacted a little differently than I do now, but to be honest I don’t even remember the first time I heard a cuss word on tv because it’s so normal to me now. It’s things like this that should scare us. Sin works the same way. When you sin, you hear the Holy Spirit screaming at you and you feel guilty and disgusting. But if you continue to do the same thing over and over and over again, eventually the Holy Spirit’s voice becomes quieter and quieter. If you continue long enough, it’s barely a whisper. And then suddenly you find yourself sinning and hearing nothing. That’s a terrifying place to be. The truth is, God said in His word that He “turned them over to their sinful desires” in Romans 1:24. He will eventually stop telling you to stop if you ignore him long enough. He’s not there to annoy us, He is there to help us. I for one never want to get to the place where it no longer bothers me, and today I just felt so convicted about so many things that I just no longer feel bad about.
Another thing he said that just really jumped out at me was all sin starts with a thought. It starts in your mind. No one is above a thought, and there is no sin that you or I am above. No matter how terrible you think someone else is, you have the very same potential inside of your wretched and warped heart. We are all dirty and disgusting sinners away from the arms of Jesus, and if we run long enough He’ll stop chasing us. It says in Romans 1:25 “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator- who is forever praised. Amen.” Isn’t it crazy how we can worship the stuff God has made more than He Himself? I for one am so guilty of that one. We are always worshiping something, whether that be our possessions or our appearance or even a person in our life… we are always worshiping. When the object of our desire becomes anything but God, we are empty and we are not filled. Why would we want to worship things and people that God has made when we can just worship God himself? It seems so ridiculous, but we do it time and time again. And it all starts with a thought.
Sow a thought, reap an action
Sow an action, reap a habit
Sow a habit, reap a character
Sow a character, reap a destiny
If you’ve become calloused and you want to feel again, the first thing you have to do is decide to decide. You have to make a concious effort to surrender the sin you’re hardened to to Jesus and make a plan for how you’re going to stand against it. You can’t just wait until you’re in the battle to decide how you’re going to fight. The second thing you need to do is remove distractions. If your television makes you sin, turn it off. If your friends encourage you to sin, stop hanging out with them. If your boyfriend or your girlfriend encourages you to sin, break up with them. Ain’t nobody got time for that. But the third and most vital thing is replace those things you remove with things of God. If you don’t, they will come back and often times they will bring new sin with them. You can decide to stop sinning all day long, but if you are not constantly filling yourself up with the things of Jesus and spending time with people who love Jesus, you are going to find yourself calloused to the same sin next week that you were yesterday. We are constantly bombarded with temptation, every single moment of every single day, and no one is above temptation. That being said, if we are contantly bombarded with temptation, we have to contantly be protecting ourselves against it, or we will give in. We cannot stand against sin and win by ourselves. So read the Bible and pray without ceasing and find someone you can talk to about it, because a numb life is not a life that God desires for you.
And hey, you look good today.