WRONG IDEAS ABOUT GOD EFFECT THE WAY YOU LIVE
by David Sisler
You first met Darcey (not her real name) in this column 16 months ago. A single believer for seven years, she had recently met a 25 year old married man and became sexually involved with him. Six months before Darcey wrote to me I published a column titled "True Love Waits." Reading that piece, she was struck by the idea that a sexually active person could stop, become celibate, and wait for marriage before entering into another sexual relationship.
We corresponded briefly, and then she stopped writing. In respect of her privacy, I did not pester her, but about two weeks ago, cleaning up some old files, I came across her email address, dropped her a three sentence letter, and asked her how she was doing. What follows is from her letter to me and my answer.
"I don't have good news. My life has totally spun out of control. I didn't stop fornicating at that time, even though I thought I was determined to stop. Every time that it has happened, I have gone to God, apologized and thought I was set free. Then after a few months something will happen and I fall again.
"The roller coaster that my spirituality and my sexuality have lead me through this past year has been so overwhelming that, not only am I now in a big depression, but I have strayed from God.
"I won't deny to you that a big part of why this is happening has to do with the fact that I am mad at God. I know I shouldn't be. I know that I should stay faithful to him and have faith in him but those were difficult things before and they seem impossible now.
"I've been having problems with my father, not because of what I've been doing (he's not Christian, so he doesn't see anything wrong in it). Add to that, I have been working for the past year, and lost my job the week before Christmas, I got the great news that my car is going to need the transmission fixed, AND as if all that wasn't enough I got the flu for new year's eve and spent the night laying on my sister's couch with a really high fever praying to God asking him to cut me a break. I know no bad deed goes unpunished, but isn't he supposed to be the merciful one??
"Hearing from you reminds me that God hasn't forgotten me completely. I just hope [for answers] SOON, because I am tired now, emotionally, spiritually and physically."
I told Darcey that I cannot begin to understand everything that is happening in her life (understanding what goes on in my own is not often possible), but unfortunately, she – and she is not alone here – has some wrong ideas about God, and those ideas are affecting, in many ways, the pattern of her (yours, too?) response to him and to others. What follows is part of what I wrote to Darcey, and now to you, if you need to hear it.
First of all, God loves you! He proved that on an old rugged cross, outside the city of Jerusalem one morning 2000 years ago. At a site near the local garbage dump, he watched as his only son, Jesus, was nailed there, squirming and twitching and dying in indescribable pain. This death was not a simple execution. It was a once-for-all payment for sins – yours and mine. No matter what else you feel inside, grab the old rugged cross and hold on for dear life, for eternal life! Go into the Upper Room as Jesus holds out his nail scared hands to Thomas, pulls back his robe and shows the spear wound in his side, and know that it was not just for Thomas, it was also for you! That is your eternal life! Trust it!
Secondly, and this is harder to understand for most of us, coming to Jesus Christ in a step of life-changing faith frees us from the eternal consequences of our sins, but it does not, free us from difficult, even tragic circumstances in our every day lives. Even believers in Jesus Christ have problems with their parents, lose their jobs, have car troubles and get the flu at the most inopportune time. Christians even have trouble controlling their sexuality and give in to temptation. It is not God's fault. It is the result of being a human being. The rain falls, the Bible says, on the just and on the unjust, and so do problems. And some problems we make for ourselves.
There is a false theology about these days that says that God wants you to be healthy, happy, and rich all the time, and if you are not, there is something wrong with you. That is man's theology. It is not God's! Jesus said, "In this world you will have tribulation – you will fight with your Dad, your car will break down, you will get fired, and catch the flu – but be of good cheer!"
And we say, "Yeah, right, Jesus! Put up with all of that crap and still smile. You are nuts!" To which Jesus says, "I meant it! Be of good cheer, because I have OVERCOME the world! And I did it for you!"
What did Jesus mean when he said, "I have overcome the world?" It means he has conquered it, he has carried it off victorious.
Get the picture: there is a battle, a great battle, two awesome foes, and one of them wins! And the winner, picks up the loser, throws him over his shoulder, and carries him away, as one of the spoils of the battle. The loser is now a captive, he is now a slave, he now has no power of his own and is totally subject to the winner.
Jesus is the winner, and in him, so are you! The world – the fights with your Dad, the job, the car, the flu, the men with whom you have had sex – are the losers, and if you will live in Christ's victory, you will have his victory. The problems will not go away automatically, but the strength to live an overcoming life will grow in you and when temptation comes again, you will have more strength. Each victory gives more strength. Each defeat should give more resolve – this is not the way Father means for me to live and I will not settle for this!
Turn your face towards Jesus and determine to live in him and for him, one day, one step at a time. He is there. His arms are open. He is the man you need to love, and love completely.
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Copyright 2001 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.
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