Archives For Gospel Strategies

This secret is for those times that you do not want to come to God because you feel guilty about your sin or your lack of love for him. This happens to me a lot.

Whether it’s because I got angry with someone, cut corners at work, ate something I knew wasn’t healthy, told a “white lie,” or gave in to a temptation to lust–I frequently find myself with too much to confess to want to come to him in prayer.

I screw up in some way several times a day at least. And I am keenly aware of it when I think to myself that it’s been too long since I’ve really prayed to God. It’s incredibly discouraging.

But God reminded me of something that surprisingly helped me a lot. It’s surprising because at first it sounds like bad news. But upon further reflection you’ll see that it is actually extremely good news.

Here is the secret:

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Ultimately all desires are at their root a desire for God. The desire for love, respect, acceptance, pleasure, comfort–all desires are meant to be fulfilled in our relationship with God.

But for many of those desires he gives us foretastes of himself through his blessings. We find love from friends and family. We get respect from colleagues and children. We are accepted by friends and organizations. We find pleasure in food and play and (marital) sex. We are comforted by music and hugs and nature.

But all these things are meant to reflect and point us to the true answer to our heart’s desires: Jesus Christ.

Take note today of how you have your desires met and think about how it is only a picture of your relationship with Christ.

My Chronic Anger

January 3, 2013 — 2 Comments

I realized today that I’m still angry at God for how my life is going. I have repented of this anger many times before. But I am realizing that this is something I need to daily surrender to God.

It seems ironic to me but I am angry that he hasn’t yet provided a way for me to be in full time vocational ministry. Others around me keep getting amazing opportunities and I’m stuck fixing air conditioners.

I believe that God is sovereign and good and thus is working everything for my greatest joy, but I’m having a hard time enjoying where I am now.  So again today I had to repent for holding that against him and not trusting his eternal wisdom.

Are you chronically angry at God for anything?

Merry Christmas! I will be taking a break from the blog possibly until the new year. Unless I get otherwise inspired.

Be sure to return the first week of 2013! I will be starting a new series about the specific aspects of the Gospel that kill lust.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday!

Grace and peace,
Peter

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.

David wrote Psalm 13 above in the midst of a spiritually dry time. When God seems far away or against us, we tend to try harder with our spiritual disciplines in order to climb our way out of the pit. But God often sends the pit not so that we try harder but as a way to increase our hunger for him. It takes a desert to really appreciate an oasis. It takes thirst to love a drink of water.

We tend to think that a dry time in our faith means that we have failed in some area of our walk. But these times are actually given to build character. Many times they have nothing to do with consequences for disobedience.

Below is an outline of what we can learn from David’s prayer in the midst of the spiritual desert.
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This morning temptation was really strong to find comfort in lusting online. I have to confess that I started to wander. But God reminded my of my own post yesterday.

It was difficult to thank him when I just wanted to let go and indulge in lust, but I just started praying, “Thank you, God… Thank you, God… for calling me to an eternal life of eternal pleasures. For treasuring me because through Christ you see me as I was meant to be all along. For giving me the power that raised Jesus from the dead. For beautiful music and delicious food…. etc.”

It made all the difference. It does work.

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Yesterday I talked about how Ephesians 5 says that thankfulness will keep you from coveting immoral sexual pleasure thus saving yourself from being denied entrance to the Kingdom of God.

But I also pointed out that there are many times where I cannot come up with anything powerful to be thankful for when the temptation to lust is strong.

Today I want to help us work toward an understanding of what we have in Christ that will equip us to be thankful.

If you look at the first three chapters of Ephesians you’ll see that Paul is actually building a very strong case for what we can be thankful for. In the first chapter alone I count at least 20 things God has done for us that we can be thankful for.

In this post I want to focus on three of those:
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I know… It’s a little after the fact to do a post on giving thanks when Thanksgiving was a few weeks ago. But just like a student often forgets everything they learn after the exam, we also tend to say, “I gave thanks already this year. What’s next?”

So here is my post-thanksgiving plea to be thankful all year. And I get my inspiration for it from this passage about sex:

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This is the final post for the body series. Below are the eight little known truths restated and one application point for each that you can start doing today (click the titles to read the post for each truth in a new page/tab so you can stay on this one as a reference):
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[This post is part of a series covering eight little known theological truths about the Christian’s body]

Knowing where the battle truly lies makes all the difference. In the last post we discovered that the Christian battle is not new soul vs. old body, but new nature vs. old nature.

In this post we will look at how that understanding shapes our approach to killing lust in our hearts. Colossians 3:1-17 is possibly the best summary of the battle. I highly encourage you to read it sometime this week through this new lens of sin nature vs. Spiritual nature.

Understanding the battle this way shows you that it is a holistic inner conflict where your body and soul together are torn between submitting to your old sin nature or your new Spiritual nature.

Your sin nature has been dethroned. But it is very manipulative and can often convince you to still obey it.

Here is how Colossians 3:1-17 breaks down the battle:

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