Call Your own Foul

LiarDo you know someone who always seems to tell the truth no matter what the situation is? If you do not know someone like this then let me tell you that you are certainly missing out. I had the opportunity to be reminded of this by my boss today when she owned up to a simple mistake that she had made. It wasn’t anything major but rather than trying to hide it or blame it on someone else she simply called it like she saw it. She realized that she had messed up and that was all there was to it. My pastor, Matt Forrest, calls it “calling your own foul.” I’m not sure if he got it from someone else, but I like it and it really fits. He likens it to playing a pickup game of basketball and how when you are playing a pickup game you don’t have referees or anything so you simply call your own foul. No one necessarily likes to admit that they have done something wrong, but in basketball it definitely keeps the game more civil.

We can apply the same principle to our lives and our following of Jesus. We all know that God’s ways are contrary to the ways of the world. The world is under control of Satan, the Father of lies (Jn. 8:44), so this makes sense. The world says to save face and to never admit when you are wrong. But God says that “there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Prov. 14:12). Have you ever lied about something just to have it eat away at your soul? I know that I sure have. Ephesians 2:1-3 says “you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” I was once dead in my transgressions and sins. Really? Is the reality of sin really that harsh? The answer is YES and we all have a choice to make.

truth-257160_640Andrea Lucado in her post The Problem with White Lies states that “No matter how tiny our white lies are, they affect us. With each one we tell, lying gets easier and easier, and the truth gets harder and harder.” Even little lies affect how we live our life and lead to death. Romans 8:5 says that “those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” So, are you being driven by your sinful nature or by the Spirit? A good test might be to see how you feel asking God to bless your lie, no matter how big or small. We might hope that things will turn out when we lie, but we know in our souls that a lie is a lie and eventually our whole life becomes a lie if we let it. So are you really a Christian or is that a lie? A front that you put on for others? I pray that we can all be more honest in our daily lives and show the world what freedom looks like. Which path will you choose? Life or death? Confession or denial?

Father, forgive me for I have sinned. Lord I know that I have lied in the past and I know that it was wrong. If I need to seek forgiveness from someone that I may have hurt I pray that you would reveal that to me now and I ask for the humility and courage to be able to ask for forgiveness. Lord, I do not want to be weighed down by my past. Just as Psalm 51:10 says, “create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” I want to make things right and I want to follow the straight and narrow path laid out before my feet. Lead me every step of the way Father. It is so tempting to just let my lies be as they are, but I want the freedom of knowing that I am following you where you lead me. I thank you for your Son and for the forgiveness of my sins. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

Temptations are common

Temptation is something that we all have. We all deal with it in our own ways, but we all have it. Temptation in and of itself is not a sin, but all too often it quickly turns into sin through our indulgence. Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire, when that desire is allowed to continue it gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death (James 1:14-15). We all have desires in our hearts that lead us down different paths. Unfortunately those desires are wrapped in flesh and if we are not careful they can lead us straight to sin. Have heart though because if you are with Christ you died with Him when you entered into the watery grave and we believe also that we live with Him upon being risen from the water, just as Christ rose from the grave (Romans 6:8). When Christ died he died to sin once and for all and we must also consider ourselves dead to sin and alive in Christ. We must not let sin rule in our body by obeying its passions, for sin no longer has control over us (6:10-14).

It may feel as though we are under the control of sin at times, I know that I have certainly felt this way, but we always have a choice because God will never allow us to be tempted beyond what we have the ability to escape from, for He always provides a way out (1 Cor. 10:13). It is a misconception of many that once we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior that we will never have temptation and will never succumb to sin, but the reality is that God wants us to worship Him and follow willingly. Sin will actually draw us closer to Christ if we allow it to by leaning on him in prayer and petition, by keeping our spiritual eyes open and searching for the way out that God has provided for us. It has been my experience that the times that I have let sin win there has always been a way out that was provided to me, but I chose to ignore it. Can I say that this is a common problem. It is not easy to resist the enemy and you are not the only one who struggles with this. Paul who authored much of the New Testament was in the same boat and even says in Romans 7 that he does not understand what he does because the things that he does not want to do are the very things that he does and the things that he desires to do he does not have the ability to carry out.

Paul is speaking of the war that is fought within us everyday in our own lives. There are times when we succeed in the battle, but it is not over for there will soon be another temptation lurking around the corner. Satan is the father of lies (Jn. 8:44) and wants you to follow him by deceiving you and distorting your vision and your very thoughts into believing that things will be easier if you just give into your desires, but you and I both know that it will not be easier and will definitely not be better. We know the feelings of despair, guilt, and helplessness that we feel afterwards, but those feelings are not from the Father. They are indeed from the enemy, the very tempter who told you that it would be ok to do it just this once, that no one is looking, that no one would ever know. Satan is the master of deception and only comes to steal, kill, and destroy all of the good things that we have in life, but Jesus if we chose to follow Him will give us life to the fullest(Jn. 10:10).

Protect us Lord from our inner desires, protect us from the desires of the flesh that lurk around the corner waiting for the perfect moment to temp us. We thank you that there is always a way out, a way to flee from the temptation. Father help us to see the way out and to be able to identify these temptations for what they are, lies of deception put in place by Satan who wants us as his very own. We are not his though, because of your Son who has paid the price for us already. Lord we praise your name on high and marvel in your glory! How blessed we are to have a Father who loves us and protects us by giving us a way out. Help us to be a light to the world, help us to stand beside one another in our struggles, and to take a stance against the enemy who wants nothing more than to destroy us. Help us to be ready for the war that is all around us. We are your warriors and we say “yes” to you and “NO!” to the enemy. Guide us Lord. In Jesus name. Amen