Christmas Begins With Christ By Nathele Graham We’ve made it through another year, and we…
By Nathele Graham
Christians live a double life, but we aren’t to be double minded. Physically we are in a world filled with sin, temptation, and evil. Old friends tempt us to return to old ways, but since coming to faith in Christ, the old ways must be put away and we need to concentrate on our true Home.
“A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” – James 1:8.
Temptations will happen as long as we live on this side of Heaven. It’s important that we willingly stay away from the things that tempt us to sin.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” – James 4:7-8.
Every Christian has a past, and temptation can easily pull us back into worldly ways. Satan doesn’t want you to draw close to God. If you do, you may influence your friends to do the same. Old friends and unbelievers around us don’t know, nor do they really care, that we’re trying to please God instead of people. They may mock us and think we’re acting strange when we reject old sinful lifestyles, but we must please God and be an example to the people around us. We are also an example to fellow Christians. If a babe in Christ sees you embracing sin, getting angry, and generally dishonoring God, then that person may think it’s just fine to sin as long as you profess to be a Christian. God will forgive, but true repentance will change your mind about sinning so temptations will lose their power over you.
We have to live in this world until God decides to take us Home, but living in the world is different than living like the world.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” – Romans 12:1-2.
Christians need to live for Christ, not for the world. If we allow ourselves to be influenced by the old lifestyles we should have left behind, we can get very frustrated. It’s a choice we make daily. Actually, it’s a minute-by-minute choice.
“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” – James 4:4.
When you surround yourself with true Christian friends, it’s much easier to stay on the strait path that pleases God. Old friends may tempt you to return to old habits of behavior, but that’s not the way to find true joy in life. When you go to work each day, the same co-workers who you have known before you met Jesus are there and expect you to be the same as you always were. Do you join in on the office gossip, or do you choose to pray for the people that the gossip is hurting? Which choice would Jesus want you to make? When you go home at night, do you choose to sit and watch television to “unwind” or do you spend time with your family? You are the example for your children to follow. They’ve been under the influence of secular teachings all day, and you need to lead them to follow Jesus. Instead of television, why not have a family Bible study. This will strengthen your own faith, and that of your family.
Christians are ambassadors of Christ to this fallen world. An ambassador represents his nation in a foreign land.
“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:20.
That’s a great responsibility, but Jesus will help us if we allow it. The Holy Spirit is sealed within us from the very moment we truly believe, and if we listen to Him, we will be better fit to resist temptation. The Holy Spirit will never lead you away from God’s truth. If you “feel” as if you should do something for Christ, like witness to a friend about what Jesus has done for you, then that prompting is from the Holy Spirit. Don’t let fear stifle the voice of God working in you.
“Quench not the Spirit.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:19.
On the other hand, if you “feel” you need to angrily chastise someone, or get even with them for a wrong they may have done to you, that isn’t the voice of God. We are supposed to pray for our enemies, and show God’s grace and mercy in our actions. Is that easy to do? Not at first, but with God’s help it gets easier. A good way to learn to forgive wrongs done to you, is to think of what Christ sacrificed for your redemption. Think of the wrongs He suffered. We all sin, and need to humbly ask forgiveness. If we want God to forgive our sins, then we must forgive others.
“And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” – Luke 11:4.
If you study your Bible rather than sit in front of the television, you’ll clearly see that God says we are to forgive others.
We need to model our actions after Jesus, and remember what He did for us on the cross. Sin comes very easy for most of us. A little “white lie” doesn’t seem so bad, but God sees sin in a much different way than people do. God says that even our thoughts are sinful.
“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” – Matthew 5:27-28.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the congregation in Corinth to encourage them to turn from the sin that was being brought in to their midst. He knew that actions begin as thoughts, so we need to control our thoughts.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds:) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.
Unless you give your thoughts to God, sin will take control of your thoughts. Be sure to keep an active prayer life and talk to God about your sin. Ask Him help you control your thoughts and actions. Humbly ask Him to forgive you when you sin. He will always forgive, but you need to earnestly repent and turn from sin.
Many people get mad at God and say “Why should I trust God. What has He ever done for me”. That’s a question that comes from pure ignorance. Instead of believing God’s truth, many people seem to go out of their way to believe some pretty ridiculous ideas. For instance, some think we die then come back over and over again until we get it right. Maybe we come back as a bug, or a mouse. I wonder what standard of perfection is required and who determines it. There are some who think that we were planted here by aliens from a distant planet. People will come up with many fables in order to avoid truth. God created everything.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him: and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” – John 1:1-4.
Why is that truth so hard to accept? Our sin separates us from God, but that’s not what God wants. He wants us to be with Him for eternity. We cannot work for eternal life, but we must have faith in Jesus. Faith in who He was and what He did.
“And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father.) full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14.
Remember that God took on human form and gave His life so by faith we can live eternally with Him.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” – John 3:16-18.
Don’t misplace your faith. Believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
If you’re one who wants to know what God has done for you, you need to also ask “What has the World done for me lately?” In the world you have death, disputes with people, trouble, illness, and no hope. Faith in Jesus doesn’t take the troubles away, but through Christ there is hope beyond this life.
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33.
Jesus entered His creation because of His perfect love for us. Jesus chose to step down from the glory of the Heavenly Realm, and live in this fallen world because He loves us. He was fully God. He had to be God in order for His blood to be untainted by sin that began with Adam. We are redeemed by His blood. He was also fully human. His mother was a mere human just like any other woman. Her blessing came because she was obedient to God in spite of what it would cost her, but still she was just a human. That meant Jesus was human and a kinsman to all humanity, no matter what color your skin, or size of your bank account. His pure blood was shed to take away the sin that has condemned everyone since Adam chose to sin. John the Baptist described Jesus as the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. If you reject Jesus, then you condemn yourself to Hell.
Time is quickly slipping away. Each day that passes is one step closer to eternity. The soul lives forever in either Heaven or Hell. Either you will die and pass from this mortal life, or the Rapture will happen and you will either be taken to be with Jesus, or you will be left to face Hell on earth. The signs are showing us that the Rapture could happen at any moment. Make your choice to choose Christ today. God doesn’t want anybody to spend eternity in Hell, and He provided the only way for eternal life…choosing Christ today is a must.
God bless you all,