Thinking Biblically

I was going to title this post Heartburn,  but I think I’ve already used that.  And this title is probably more to the point, anyway.

This is not a new concept. When I went looking for an illustration, they were abundant. Hundreds of other people have written recently on this topic.

And yet–look at the incredible election cycle we’re enduring, just for starters. Neither of the candidates thinks biblically, and that’s all we need to know about why we’re in this mess.

However, this post is not intended to be political; it is intended to be very personal, as if you and I were sitting together, perhaps in my counseling office.  I can’t hear all of the pain and problems you’re dealing with, but I can tell you this:  The answer lies in learning to think biblically about your situation.

 You can get some good advice from people who aren’t particularly biblical thinkers.  We go to unsaved doctors and dentists and so on all the time and follow the directions they offer us. But when it comes to matters of principle, matters of relationships, matters of walking wisely in this worn out old world, then you need to go to God’s Word.

Thing is, we can’t think biblically if we’re not reading the Bible; if we’re not studying, not under good biblical preaching, not learning and growing in the Word.

It is that with which we are filled that controls our thoughts, behaviors, words and emotions. If we are filled with lust, then that’s what will be evident in our lives.  If we are filled with hatred, anger, bitterness, envy, self—then that’s what will be manifest in our lives, no matter how hard we try to cover it all over with a gloss of spirituality.

We live in a world that bombards us with lust. Advertisements, billboards, prime time TV, so-called music that is full of anger, violence, and lust; all these things are tempting us at every turn.  I’ve had more than one man in my office tell me that it’s really hard for a normal man to maintain a pure mind these days.  Actually, I think that’s always been the case; I think it’s just getting worse as we move farther away from biblical concepts of thought, behavior, appearance, and language.

Yes, I have heartburn.  I have deep concerns for young men entering a world that tells them pornography is just fine; that the objectification of a woman’s body is no big deal; that masturbating to porn is normal and healthy because, you know, a man has needs.

I am even more amazed that (usually, not always) younger women are becoming more involved in watching porn, finding it exciting, stimulating, fun.  They see no problem with it, and think I’m just too old-school to understand.

No, I’m not.  I do understand.  I also understand that rattlesnakes will kill  you if you play with them. I avoid what I know can cause me terrible harm.

The problem with porn is that it’s a fake relationship that requires nothing of the watcher; at the same time, it creates a lack of interest in the watcher’s spouse, because sexual needs are being met while watching porn.

You may think it’s spicing up your sex life. In actuality, it’s slowly poisoning your mind and emotions, and you will pay the penalty in a broken marriage or a broken life. It’s evil. It is not biblical, it does not come from God.

Keep in mind that the first thing Adam and Eve noticed after they sinned was NOT that they had disobeyed the God of Creation; it was NOT that the fruit left a bitter aftertaste. No, it was that they were naked. The very first thing the scaly finger of Satan corrupted after the Fall was human sexuality, and we’ve been having trouble with it ever since.

I could go on at length here, but I have neither the time nor the energy at the moment. Maybe there will be more along this line on this blog on Fridays, I don’t know.

What I know is that it’s time Bible-believing Christians stop participating in what the world tells us is okay.  It’s time we acknowledge to fellow believers that we’re dealing with sin in our lives, and to ask them for prayer and accountability. The Bible tells us to confess our sins to each other (James 5:16). That doesn’t mean we go into gross detail. It means we admit that we’re tempted, have fallen to something sinful, that we need the prayer support of our brothers and sisters in Christ. That’s all.  It’s time that our prayer requests not be just a list of physical problems. Nothing wrong with holding each other up in prayer for health issues, but really, is that all we have to pray about?

Philippians 2:5.  Colossians 3:16. Galations 5:16.  Just for starters.

A Little Encouragement

Psalm 39:1-3. “I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.”

The bridle in this verse is like a muzzle you would put on a dog to keep it from barking.

If we can muzzle our mouths so that we don’t sin with our words, we will also reduce the likelihood of sinning in other ways.  The tongue is such an unruly member, and has created worlds of hurt.Even when we are speaking truth, we need to be careful not to sin. Truth can be spoken with malice, and with the intent to do harm.

In this awful political season here in America, words have filled the airways, print journalism, and cyberspace. Words have been used to slander, to accuse, to participate in petty name-calling. It’s shameful.  I will be SO glad when it’s over, although no matter which candidate wins, I don’t imagine the carping and complaining will stop.

Christians  need to be careful, even when our hearts burn within us, that when we speak, we speak with both grace and truth.  There is much in this campaign to stir up my own desire to come roaring out of my corner and set everything straight, believe me.

Sometimes, though, it is better to put a muzzle on my mouth so that I avoid sinning.

Proverbs 20:1 says that the heart of the king (ruler, leaders) is in the hand of God, and He can turn that heart wherever He chooses.

Trust that. God is not at the mercy of politicians.

Friday Counseling Issues: Is it a Mistake, or is it Sin?

I am fed up to here with political correctness.  We have become so accustomed to framing our speech in ways to avoid offending anyone that we don’t even realize we’re doing it, and still people are offended. You can hardly say “Good morning” these days without someone accusing  you of being some  horrible thing that ends in ist. Racist, sexist, some kind of phobic, judgmental, legalist, and so on.  If you hold an opinion that differs from the politically correct agenda, you are the worst person in the world.

And God forbid that you should be an outspoken Christian!

You can approve of abortion. You can be sexually promiscuous. You can have affairs on your spouse. You can ignore your kids’ character training and allow them to terrorize the neighborhood in the name of free expression. You can use foul language, you can ruin people’s businesses and lives if they don’t bow to the GLBT agenda, but if you DARE to be a Christian and name sin for what it is, then you, of all people, are the worst sort of bigot.

Let me pause here. Westboro Baptist “Church” is a desecration.  They bring shame to the name of God and to believers everywhere. That is NOT Christianity.

My particular gripe today is the use of the word mistake as a euphemism for sin. The Clintons are perfect examples.  Remember years ago when Bill went to the Rose Garden, biting his lower lip, and “apologized” to America?  Remember what he said? “I have done wrong, I have sinned against you all, against, Monica, and against God?”  No.  Not even close.  He said “Mistakes were made.”

Please.  First, he used the passive voice.  He didn’t even have the courage to say “I made mistakes.”  No, he leaves it to the listener to decided who made these mistakes, and what they might have been. What a cop out.

And now we have Hillary saying her criminal behavior with her private server was a “mistake.”  No.  There was no mistake. It was deliberate, secretive behavior that broke every ethical, moral, and legal policy governing the behavior of a high government official.  She lied. She cheated. She endangered lives with her manipulations and misbehaviors.  She’s guilty of far more than General Petraeus was; she’s guilty, and so is Obama, of far more than Richard Nixon was. Guilty of a mistake?  No. Guilty of sin.

And she’s going to get away with it. She’s been getting away with it since she was fired from the Goldwater campaign way back in the dark ages. I don’t know how she does it, but you can bet there’s nothing open, transparent, honest, or ethical about what is going on. The guy who maintained her private server has now refused a deal to tell what he knows in return for immunity from prosecution. Nope. He’s zipping his lip, and I can’t help but wonder who got to him, with what threat or promise.

Obama came out in her defense yesterday.  Somehow that doesn’t make me feel any better.

We need to stop calling deliberate, self-centered wrong behavior a mistake. A mistake is what happens when you miscalculate a column of figures, or have trouble balancing your checkbook. A mistake is unintentional, and it can usually be corrected.  A mistake is taking the wrong turn because your map is confusing or inaccurate.

Deliberate, measured, secretive behavior that harms the security of a nation is not a mistake.  It is sin. Deception and lies are not mistakes. Breaking the rules is not a mistake. It is sin.

Our children are growing up in a society that has bowed to this nonsense.  None of them are sinful. They just make “poor choices.”  They don’t need to be disciplined.  They just need to be “redirected.” Our children are not little sinners. They all have “good hearts.”

No, they don’t. Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”  Romans 3:23 says, “For ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” John 3:16 says, “For God SO LOVED the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Jesus did not come to suffer and die for a world full of people who have good hearts but make poor choices now and then. He came to die for a fallen race whose hearts are so darkened with sin that they excuse the worst behavior as a “mistake.”

We need to quit allowing the Thought Police to control our thinking, and replace them with the Word of God.