Tuesday, July 1, 2008
When the Devil Worrys You for your Soul
"In fact, I don't understand why I act the way I do. I don't do what I know is right. I do the things I hate...I know that my selfish desires won't let me do anything that is good. Even when I want to do right, I cannot. Instead of doing what I know is right, I do wrong."***
Heh, heh, heh, what'cha thinkin' about, eh?
I was wondering about ...
...doing enough good works, right? You should wonder. Always talking and writing about God, why don't you go to church...
Are you accusing me of not going to church? I go every Sunday.
Oh, big whoop. Singin' and sittin' for an hour, that's real productive.
It isn't just an hour. I go to Sunday school and evening Bible study as well.
Yeah, but you're never there for Wednesday night prayer meeting, are you? You should be worrying. You don't go to church enough, don't read the Bible enough, don't pray enough, don't witness enough, don't give enough. My dear friend, don't think you'll get to Heaven knowing the right words, and not do a lot of works. See I know my scripture, James 2:14.
That's not exactly what it says.
Maybe you should worry if you really were saved, though I don't see what you had to be saved from myself. Or maybe you've lost your salvation cause you just don't do enough? Does merely talking about faith mean you really have it? That's from James again in case you didn't know. I know how hard it is for you to memorize scripture by chapter and verse. Besides I know for a fact you still commit a sin now and again. A saved person can't sin, right? No wonder your worrying.
I'm wasn't worrying.
Well, why should you. A little sin doesn't hurt anybody. It's not like you murdered someone after all. "Sound good, you take care of the faith department, I'll handle the works department". I know how to make works payoff for you and I also know how to show you a good time. Nothing wrong with a bit of fun now and again. Get your mind off worrying about your salvation...
You're getting boring, Satan, stop misrepresenting everything.
You calling me a liar?
I am Lucifer, the bright and morning star, the...
Satan, in the name of our Lord, be gone.
Okay, you don't have to start name dropping. I'm outta here, but you better worry about what I said.
Worry about what you say? That's a trap. I'll contemplate what God has said and not worry as you accuse me of doing. Worrying is a sin. Jesus said, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?" (Luke 12:22-26 NIV)
Knowing worrying is a sin is one of the reasons I know I am saved. When I came to the Lord and asked, He didn't give me a stone, He gave me Bread. I knew I was different inside. When I read the Bible, it wasn't a lot of gobbledygook anymore, it made sense. I wanted to read it and when I read I always found more to know. I wanted to go to church where that Book was used in the teachings. I wanted to be involved in ministries. i wasn't angry at preachers, wanting to make fun of them and Christians anymore.
And I knew when I sinned. That is one of the greatest differences telling me I was saved. Yes, the flesh is still tempted and yes, sometimes I do what I ought not, but when I do I immediately know it and feel anguish inside and I confess it and ask forgiveness. I don't live in or for sin anymore. Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Romans 8: 12-14 NIV)
Before I was saved what was sin? Something bad people did, not me. I never murdered anyone, raped anyone, robbed a bank, stole a car, burned down a building. The things I did didn't hurt anyone. So I bought a lot of books and magazines at the adult book store, so what? How did that hurt anybody? It was legal. I wasn't actually doing the things, just looking at somebody getting paid to pose. It wasn't as if I was cheating on my wife with someone. No harm, no fowl.
Yes, when I was unsaved I didn't even acknowledge such things were sin. If I didn't acknowledge God and sin is disobedience to the will of God, of course, I wouldn't acknowledge sin. Did I really deep down not know it was sin? Certainly,I knew, God has made himself known to all men. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. (Romans 1:20) But when I was unsaved, I rationalized sins away. "It doesn't matter is I take home some supplies from work. They have plenty, they'll never miss a few things. Besides, they owe me for all I do around here I don't get paid for."
Hey Devil, those words at the beginning that made you accuse me of worrying about my salvation weren't mine and you know it, because you know scripture well, don't you? They were Paul's words in his letter to the Romans. "So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin." (Romans 7: 20-25 NIV)
And that's the answer to your question of what did I need to be saved from. I needed to be saved from sin and thus, saved from death and saved from Hell.
As to losing my salvation because I don't do enough good works, I say, I can't earn salvation by works, neither can I lose it by works. If I am not doing any works or I am living a life of sin, what are my fruits? You will be known by your fruits, Satan. You can't lose your salvation if you never had it.
Doing enough for God is impossible for us. As a Christian, though, it is my desire to do deeds for the Lord more and more. We can never do enough for God, but the paradox is sometimes we can do too much.
How can that be? Satan, you know the answer because you're behind us doing too much. You love it when we get so caught up in "works" we lose our focus on Jesus, don't you?
It isn't the number of works I do, it is what I do with love. There are obligations which are a sin to neglect, even if neglecting them to do a good deed. There is a duty to an employer to do the job for him as if working for Christ, because in fact you are. There is an obligation enforced by a vow to love a wife as Christ loves the Church, to spent time with her and to submit one's body to her. There are other such requirements as a citizen, as a parent and as a child. All obligations commanded in the Word of God. Although church (with a small c) is important, it is the Church (with a capital C) that is more so. Christ and obedience to God is central, not doing just for doing. It is not the work that counts, but the spirit in which it is done.
Let me give an example. When my wife and I were young in the Spirit, we were very active in our church. We were always there when not at work. But we had no children then and we were doing it together (although it was too much because I was pushing my wife into things she didn't feel comfortable doing and I had to mature and learn that was wrong). There was another young couple, who had two children, who also were in the church all the time, I think even more than we. They felt they were doing the right thing. But they were doing too much and not enough at the same time. They were doing too much to give enough attention to their children. Their children were in the church all the time as well, because they had to be. Thus they weren't making friends with other children, weren't home to play with their toys and even though mom and dad were in the same building, they were not with their kids and their children were lonely. What will it mean to a child to say God loves them if they don't feel the proper love from the parents who tell them that?
We aren't called to do more and more good deeds, we are called to a balanced life led by the Spirit and to make the Good News known. We can't bring a Gospel to people, telling them His yoke is easy and His burden light if we are bent over by the extra yokes of works we place on ourselves. Trust the Spirit's leading in the deeds you choose, not your self worrying that you don't do enough.
And remember if your desire is on the things of God and not for the things of this world, and you have accepted God's gift of grace, and your heart is troubled when you are tempted, and you are telling others of Christ, then you not only shouldn't worry, you shouldn't even wonder about the security of your salvation. Just remember what Jesus promised: Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:35-40)
Don't you agree, Satan?
Oh, that's right, he left. He didn't like my other company.
*** From Romans 7, Contemporary English version