The Rebellion – Against Sin

“Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you.” – Hebrews 12:3-5

Is there any greater battle than the one that wages within our hearts and souls? Armed Forces go into battle and give their lives, sometimes the cost of freedom. I’m forever grateful for their sacrifice so that I can sit here comfortably in a coffee-shop and express my heart and opinions on the issues. But I think there’s a battlefront that we seldom pay attention to. It’s the war that wages on for our souls – the one that claims Heaven or Hell, Life or Death, Pure Love & Joy or minimal pleasure in the moment.

I expressed in a previous social-media post that I hate sin. Scripture clearly states that the “wage of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a) and I have learned the hard way, time and again, that we cannot outrun the Kingdom Economy of reaping what we sow. But we still try – don’t we? Thinking that we are cunning and witty, we chase our own satisfaction to the point of exhaustion, realizing that it only makes us thirsty for more. But more of what? Because does anything outside of God’s will ever truly satisfy? So we find ourselves thirsting for emptiness, even if that’s not what we label it at the time. Because at the end of the day, after the contact high of that substance, person, or simply the thrill of rebellion, we realize there are places in our heart left untouched.

Our mind wanders back to the truth that we miss intimacy and closeness with God and with the Church – with people that truly know us. The depths of our hearts – yes, even the scary, dark places. This kind of intimacy does not run from conflict and does not try to retreat when things get tough. This kind of intimacy stays close and presses through. It fights to victory without worry of defeat.

But we don’t think we deserve that anymore. We couldn’t possibly. Why would God and His Church still embrace us as we are? How could our story be redeemed. By chasing counterfeit affections, we’d said “Hey God, you’re not actually good enough to satisfy and provide for my needs on a spiritual, emotional, and physical level. I do not actually believe…”

You find yourself quite sobered when that thought makes its way across the platform of your brain. Laying there in bed, staring at the ceiling in the dark, unable to sleep – “Do I really believe? Is Jesus enough for me?”

He wasn’t when we sinned. He simply wasn’t.

I hate sin.

This is where things get messy. Because we’ve sinned, we decide that we’re not good enough for redemption. We are not good enough for His Love.

So we run.

We run away from home. Away from Heaven and toward the gates of Hell. Because we’ve allowed the enemy to seduce and trick us into thinking it’s the only option so we might as well enjoy it. (What a crafty liar…)

Friends, you have not yet outrun the love of God. He’s in constant pursuit of your affection. We feel miles away from Him at times. But if we just turn around, we’ll realize He’s right there ready to take us back and restore us to our proper destiny as heirs to the throne. The bloodline of redemption. True freedom found in submission to King Jesus’ will. Ironic that it’s found in abiding by the rules, just like our parents tried to lovingly teach us.

So you may be experiencing a great deal of pain. You may be pressing through a lot of heartache. Your world as you know it may be crumbling down. It’s possible that the Lord is disciplining you. A father disciplines the child he loves. He loves us where we’re at, but he won’t let us stay there. I’d react the same way if my *future* son were in trouble.

I hate sin, because it just isn’t worth it. Anything that promises satisfaction but is outside of God’s will for our lives will absolutely never satisfy. I hate sin because it doesn’t just affect me. Like a rock being tossed into a pond, there are ripple-effects that touch the whole pond and not just where you threw it originally. The sin of pastors has crippled churches. The sins of mothers and fathers have caused another generation of the family bloodline to pick up on their life-killing habits and love-avoidant hearts. The sins of sons and daughters have left parents feeling shamed and disheartened.

But do not lose heart! Do not be dismayed. You are not yet beyond recovery. You have not yet surpassed God’s loving will to see your life restored.

In your fight against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood. Stop giving up and start giving in to God’s overwhelming love and power to overcome.

It’s Tuesday – let’s rebel against sin and fight for love at all costs.

the-rebellion

Empowerment

Self-help books are a prominent part of the American culture. I wish that I could cynically make fun of them to the degree that I would like to at times, but I cannot deny my occasionally glancing into one at the bookstore. Titles such as, “How to Lose 20 lbs in 2 weeks” (I’m making up the title) grab the attention of the generally overweight American population quickly; I’d be among the ranks of individuals that would love a quick-fix to an issue that likely has deeper roots than that. So, where am I going with this? (Excellent question!)

I’d like to give you a brief two-part lesson on what the LORD has been teaching me over the past few weeks…

Part 1

Arguably, we should not attempt to fix ourselves by ourselves. We desperately need community with other Christians. Particularly for men in the Western hemisphere, it is seen as particularly unmanly to be in need of help, or to admit shortcomings in such a way that place us in a reliant state. Obviously, men should seek to become independent and able to lead a woman and family, according to the LORD’s will. But when it comes to matters of the heart, sin, lifestyle, and the general pursuit of holiness; there is no way to obtain it without admitting our need for help from other brothers in Christ to come alongside us in our pursuit of the Father.

Running is not my forte. But I’ve trained before. The reality is that you can run a lot further, longer, faster, and harder routes when you have someone running alongside you. You have the comfort of knowing someone else is enduring and overcoming with you. You are not alone.

Part 2

You are what you claim to be. Identifying yourself with a certain negative characteristic is paramount to giving the enemy control of that area of your life. Essentially, you are giving Satan permission to continue taunting you, pointing out your every flaw, leaving you in a state of hopelessness that will continue to persist until you call out the lies. Allow me to further illustrate this by giving an example from my personal life. A deep calling that I have felt placed upon my life is to be a confident and competent leader. Many have assured me of my competence, which is certainly appreciated, but what they cannot affirm for me is my own confidence (that is pretty much my end of the bargain to uphold). Why is this an issue? Well, I begin to use statements like, “I’m just not a confident guy”, “I cannot see myself being good enough in this position of leadership”, etc. While I may feel a general lack of confidence at the time, making such a declaration, as “I am not confident”, leads to solidifying that truth in my heart and perpetuating the effects of that becoming a reality.

Application

What is the lie that lies within your heart currently? Is it that you are not good enough? Is it that you are not beautiful/desirable? Is it that you cannot overcome [insert any and every obstacle here]? Friends, you may feel this way currently but that does not mean that is your identify. Refuse to identify with such a negative construct of reality. You are so much more than you realize and you are certainly not a failure. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future,nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8: 37-39, bold lettering mine) 

Now that you know who you are (more than conquerors), it is time to place such thoughts into action. The issue here will lie in your nature tendency to believe what you have always been taught; that you can do it on your own. “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps” is something you may have heard your grandfather say and while you should certainly not sit idle, you will need others. It is prideful for one to think they can live out their faith without the help of other brothers and sisters in the faith coming alongside them and lifting them up in their times of need from time-to-time. That reality plays a role in their lives as well and if you are willing to admit your need, then they will be much more likely to feel comfortable admitting their heartbreaks and needs as well, leading to a deeply intertwined and Christ-centered community forming that can truly call itself The Church and make a monumental impact in each other’s lives and among those that witness their faiths. 

In conclusion, you are not to walk out your faith alone. Community is absolutely critical and being reminded of this truth is just as important. We are a forgetful people. In the same regard, you are what you claim to be. You choose what reality becomes empowered; discontinue agreeing with the lies and replace it with truth from Scripture. Therefore, I am not a man lacking confidence. That is not who I am. I am a confident and competent man, created by the LORD to impact the lives of others via exhortation, encouragement, prayer, and writing/speaking in ways that reveal a transparent heart, willing to disclose all, that others may meet the King.

Who are you? You are now empowered by truth. Walk into it.

Easter Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

First of all, HAPPY EASTER! Jesus Christ IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED! There is no doubt. Jesus Christ of Nazareth was crucified, buried, and rose from the grave three days later. All four Gospel accounts make it evidently clear that Jesus resurrected and came back to speak with His disciples, that they may believe and be empowered by the Holy Spirit in order that they could preach the Good News to the nations. You and I have been granted FREEDOM; the power to break the chains of sin and to walk in the Light! Praise

Reppin' that Easter Swag!

God! What a joyous day, filled with celebration, bright colors, laughter, family/friend-bonding, and much more.

Today, MILLIONS of people attended Easter Services! Praise God that so many gathered in my Father’s house today and sang praises to His name. Even more exciting is that hundred of thousands decided to accept Christ, rededicate their lives to Christ, and/or be baptized. Excellent! That is SO GREAT. However….the solemn reality is that many of those people still do not KNOW Jesus Christ as their LORD and SAVIOR.

“WHAT?!?!…Justin, are you judging? How could you possibly know the state of their hearts…why would you say such a terrible thing on Easter of all days…”

Before you click out and return to your Facebook, Twitter, festivities, or homework, hear me out! Please give me a chance. If you read John 15 (do it now if you can), you will see that lives that abide in Christ will bear much fruit! In fact, “If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” (John 15:6) Jesus IS alluding to Hell.

I’m going to share with you an excerpt from my personal journal that you may better understand my heart overall on this topic. I wrote this on Friday afternoon as I pondered the holiday of Easter and the salvation of my peers:

“A life that has been granted the Holy Spirit by submission to the Lord, our God will have become a slave to righteousness. Many would object to such blatant terminology, however Romans 6 makes it crystal-clear that we are to be freed from sin, “For sin shall not be your master because you are not under law but under grace.” (6:14) Skip ahead a few verses and verse 19 demonstrates the logic behind offering ourselves up for the purposes of righteousness, which is “leading to holiness!”

I’m writing on the approach of Easter, a day that celebrates life renewed! Many will attend a church-service on Sunday, some may rededicate their lives to God, and still others may choose to “accept Christ into their hearts” for the first time. Unfortunately few will allow God to change the course of their lives, leading them right back to the broad path of destruction.” (Justin Meyer)

EXAMINE YOUR HEARTS. Please….please examine your hearts. It is with grave concern, compassionate love, and a deep desire to see your lives radically transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ that you may live in the Light and walk in freedom that I write to you. God does not care what you wore to church today. Nor does He care whether or not you sat in church and heard an emotionally moving message. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22) My God is concerned with the content of your hearts and the way in which you live your life! The old saying, “actions speak louder than words” is appropriate here. ANYONE can say, “Yes, I’m a Christian.” ANYONE can say, “HE IS RISEN” on Easter morning. Few can live obediently.

A trending topic a year or so ago among my social-sphere was love-languages. It is evident that mine is words of affirmation and physical touch (I LOVE HUGS, pats on the back, etc). Throughout my personal relationship with God, I have learned that His love language is OBEDIENCE. I searched BibleGateway.com for “obedience” and found 38 mentions of the word within the Old and New Testaments. The LORD is always calling His Children to obedience. Will you obey? But oh, how unruly we can be! What foolish children; always running back to sin, thinking that this time it will be enough to satisfy! Sometimes even looking to peers to take the place of God! You do realize the individuals you idolize in this world will soon be reduced to dust for they are but flesh and bone. Worship the One that breathes LIFE!

Allow me to humble myself. I am not a pastor. I am not an ordained minister. You have not asked me to counsel you. I understand these things. However, I am your friend and/or family-member and I do believe God has granted me a decent understanding and education of His people, His Word, and His desire for their hearts and lives. And I do believe that if anything will ever satisfy your broken, sad, angry, tired, hearts that it is the love of Jesus Christ.

Are you not tired of fighting against it? Is not His Love the most beautiful, compelling, brilliant, authentic, pure, LOVE that your heart has been desiring? Will you not choose to walk obediently towards His arms. Have you not heard the story of prodigal son; the one who squandered all that had been given him, yet the Father still WELCOMED him home, threw a party in his honor, and relished even more treasure upon him. O how God desires to throw you a party, to rejoice over your radically changed life, to use YOU to change the world!

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

Without Him, we’re dead. With Him, we’re ALIVE!!!

Will you choose LIFE?

In Christ,

Justin Meyer

Flirting With Darkness

How far is too far? What can I get away with in this situation? Will I end up getting caught at some point? This isn’t necessarily wrong…is it? Or my personal favorite, “well I didn’t necessarily lie, I just omitted part of the truth.” In a society filled with lies; falsified legal documents, hacked personal sites, shady business practices, and relational conflicts stemming from white lies told during our numerous gossip sessions (don’t even get me started on gossip…), there is much darkness.

We all know that this world is a broken and dark place, so get to the point Justin. Okay, okay, I will. My family of professing Christians, many of you are no different than the world! You embellish stories to make yourself seem the bigger man, you judge others in your cynicism, and often gossip about one another; rarely considering the lethal consequences this can have to relationships. There is a REASON that God instructed us to avoid such a practice 8 times within Scripture (Proverbs 11:13, 16:28, 18:8, 20:19, 26:21-23, Romans 1:28-30, 1 Corinthians 12:19-21).

One of my favorite lines from a Mark Driscoll sermon was when he said “I didn’t say your name…He did!” referring to the Holy Spirit as he addressed a crowd of men who had just been stripped of their pride. Keep this in mind if my above statements rattle your cage and you feel your blood begin to boil with defensive accusations of “I’ve seen this in your life too!” Oh trust me, I’m well aware. I’m a sinner, saved only by the grace of Christ, and any good thing that comes from my mouth, any worthwhile action, any fragment of holiness that has EVER been produced on my behalf was done by the work of Christ in my heart and life. I take full responsibility and blame for anything that is lacking in my character and life, as Christ has given me EVERYTHING that I need in order to overcome sin and to pursue righteousness. It’s a simple matter of SURRENDER. But oh how we loathe surrender…

We’ve convinced ourselves time and time again that we are capable of controlling our sinful nature and we fail every. single. time. Satan WANTS you to believe that you are capable of withstanding temptation on your own. “You don’t need accountability or to pursue the strength of Christ in order to overcome the power pull of greed, lust, anger, and the like, you can do it on your own…” We love those words of affirmation that the Devil offers us and allow them to feed our pride, giving birth to arrogance, which produces a cold and stubborn heart that despises rebuke and calls to righteousness. Hence allowing ourselves to become numb and apathetic to the ruthless effects of sin in our lives and the lives of those we love.

Brothers and Sisters, you CANNOT overcome sin on your own. You are absolutely incapable of any form of righteousness without Christ. Do not be fooled. Do not listen to these pitiful lies the Evil One feeds you daily through media, self-help books, ill-advised friends, and many other sources. You MUST seek Christ!

Fellow Believers, we must flee from darkness!

Genesis 39 depicts the story of Joseph who was being tempted by Potiphar’s wife to come back to bed with her. What does Joseph do? He FLEES! He runs…

 Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, 7 and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!”

8 But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. 9 No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”10 And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.

11 One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. 12 She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.

We must not allow ourselves to walk precariously along the edge of the Grand Canyon of sin. The analogy being that you wouldn’t want your child to play in a busy street, so your rule might be that they play in your yard or on the driveway where they are safest from harm. However, if they wander too close to the street your natural response (or at least my Mom’s) will be to call out for them to come back closer to the house where they are under your watchful eye.

If you are reading this, God is calling you back to His House. He doesn’t want you disobeying and playing too close to the street where you are in danger of being hit in a head-on collision with the fatal consequences of sin.

Stop flirting with darkness and pursue the Light; Seek Christ.

Frustration: Let’s Get REAL!

One of the many difficulties I had grasping the concept of following Christ with EVERYTHING that I had early in my college-career was the fact that all of the so-called Christians seemed to have everything together. There was NO WAY that I could be like them. Not a chance…I mean, I had problems. And they all seemed to hold their own. They attended their campus ministries, had regular church attendance, had Scripture memorized, knew all the wise things to say in various situations, and were even looked up to by a decent portion of the student body.

Well, as an upperclassmen within the body of believers on the K-State campus, I refuse to be viewed as that Christian that has it all together. In my own opinion, the body of believers must remain authentic and real in all they do. There is an unstated pressure to be perfect; to constantly model the values of Christ without fault and if we do come to fault, then we better brush it under the rug and keep smiling. Let me make something clear before continuing…I love Jesus Christ! There is not a single doubt about that. Without Him as my LORD and Savior there is nothing worth living passionately for; at all. Nothing else will satisfy like His undying, unconditional, perfect, unconditional; love, grace, and mercy. BUT just because I am a follower of the Most High God does NOT mean that life suddenly becomes perfect. Nor does it require that even as an individual that is now slightly older and “more experienced/wise” than my classmates, that I pretend to be perfect.

So, let’s get REAL! You’ll notice that an undying theme within my writing, speech, and person as a whole is the concept that being authentic is the more valuable asset an individual can have. If you’re doubting; then tell your friends that you are! If you don’t believe you’re saved; then why put a front like you are? If you don’t have a conviction on a certain set of “Christian values” (drinking, smoking, movies, etc); then don’t pretend that you do (I’m not currently stating my position on any of the aforementioned; just saying that we should be REAL. Don’t PRETEND). So let’s do this thing! Let’s get real.

I am currently very frustrated. For those of you that have been around me the past few days; I’m NOT frustrated with you. But I am frustrated with myself. Oh so very frustrated. Romans 7:19-21 says, “For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.” I would say this verse does an excellent job portraying the current state of my mind and life. I am well-aware of what I need to be doing, the steps to take to defeat sin, and to live free from the bondage of my own hurtful thoughts but the battle against my flesh is never-ending.

Does this mean that I am doomed to a life of failure? No…Peter, who is revered as the rock that the church was built on, struggled. In fact, he denied knowing Jesus three times in one day! Before the Holy Spirit revealed Himself to Simon (Peter), he was a slanderous, envious, murder of Christians. How on earth could a man of his nature be considered worth of building the church in which we now worship Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior? And then to add the cherry on top, as a son of the Most High God, Peter DENIES His Savior, denying ANY association with the man whatsoever. He’s still saved.

It is BY GRACE that I have been saved. It is BY GRACE that Peter was saved; along with the rest of the 12 disciples, the majority of which became martyrs for their belief in Jesus Christ. I pray that someday my faith will be that strong. Similar to the faith of the young high school students at Columbine High School that stood up for what they believed in at gun-point. That’s faith!

Okay, back to my point, I am not perfect and I am frustrated. I’ve been poured into by countless people, I’ve been raised in a household that took me to church, furnished each of us with a Bible, displayed biblical values, etc and I am still NOT perfect and I am still frustrated. Why?

I’ll tell you why: My GPA is pathetic compared to what I am potentially capable of from observing my high school GPA and my previous comprehension capability. My weight is dreadful. At 6’3”, I have some room to be big, but I shouldn’t be the monstrous 270 lbs that I am. I’m EASILY 60 lbs heavier than I was as a 6’2” high school graduate almost 4 years ago. I know the detrimental effects of sin; yet I still go there. I’m convicted and have even written and taught that you either love God and hate sin or you love sin and hate God. But there are still days that I decide that I love sin more than I love my Savior!!!! If there were ever a time I’d like to cuss myself out due to frustration, it’d be now. One more reason, would be that I’m SURROUNDED by people that love and care about me but I will often choose to isolate myself, which leads to depression and far too much time to remember my own flaws.

So there ya have it…Friends, family, followers, readers, and whatever other audience I am potentially forgetting. I am not perfect. I am frustrated, but I am a believer in Jesus Christ as my LORD and Savior. I cry. I love. I sin. I fear. I struggle. I fight. I lose.

This leads to the next chapter of my learning process as a believer though…as mentioned in “The Battle: Dying to Yourself”, I mentioned that the personal pronouns such as “I”, “Me,”, “Mine,” etc were detrimental to us dying to ourselves and allowing Christ to dwell and live within us. So, I will close with a request. Pray that Justin Meyer dies to himself.

Jesus Christ of Nazareth was crucified, buried, and pronounced dead, but He conquered death and was victorious over sin when He rose from the grave!!! If Christ has the reigns, if Christ takes the flesh that I have and uses it for the glory of His Kingdom, then Christ WILL be victorious and I will have been saved from myself. THAT is salvation. That is the truth of the Gospel. That is what makes 2 Corinthians 5:17 possible.

Blessings Family!

P.S. I encourage you to join me in this battle of dying to yourself and allowing Christ to live within you. It truly is a never-ending battle until the day that we are sanctified with Christ upon His second coming, BUT we can experience, freedom, and victory within our lives. It won’t be glamorous, perfect, or pretty. There will be pain, bumps, bruises, and the occasional extra 50 lbs of flesh that needs to be lost. But ask yourself…have you find anything better? Has sex fulfilled you? Has alcoholism made you happy? Do drugs make your life better? Are you saved by self-infliction or self-glorification?

The Battle: Dying to Yourself

           When you’re in a conversation with another person, the first question asked within American culture is typically “How are you?”…If we’re honest with ourselves, the majority of us ask the question not for the answer of the person we ask, but for the general custom of reciprocating that question. In plain English, we’d rather talk about ourselves than know how others are doing. This is human-nature…in the natural state. Terms like “I”, “Me”, “Myself”, “Mine”, etc become the prefix for a vast quantity of our spoken and written sentences. I’m guilty as well. It’s very easy for me to write to you about myself… how I’m doing, what I’m feeling, the things that have been on my mind, but it’s difficult for me to focus on things that are not of selfish nature; not self-oriented.

            All people have certain shortcomings. Some aren’t punctual. Others gossip about their friends. And yet others are simply apathetic to the world around them. All of which are sinful. God created us to love Him and love others. Nowhere in Scripture are we commanded to love ourselves…we are commanded to love others as we love ourselves (because God already knows that we love ourselves way too much, which is what makes it difficult for us to love others to that same degree). Society has taught us that in order to be successful, we must have good self-esteem. Our teachers have told us to keep our heads up and to never lose. We’re always selling ourselves to the world.

I’ve got to be honest with you…I, Justin Meyer, am not a very good product to sell. There’s that filthy self-oriented term “I” again. I can’t figure out a way to write this part without it though, so bear with me. I’ve gotten into credit card debt and lied to my parents about it. I’ve dabbled in the sinful world of lust. I’ve squandered a good year or more of my college-education being self-absorbed; whether via social media, chronic-depression, or a very selfish focus within my relationships. God has blessed me with the cream of the crop when it comes to fellowship. Few will ever have the caliber of friends that I do. To those of you that read this, I am incredibly grateful for your patience and unconditional love with me.

The bottom line is that I will fail. Every. Single. Time. I have given up…its okay though. This needed to happen in order for the next leg of the journey to occur. Galatians 2:20 states, “For I have been crucified with Christ, I no longer live but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” A few chapters later in Galatians 5:24-25 it says, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” So why is it okay that I will fail every single time? Because I must die to myself anyways. The old Justin Meyer MUST be put to death. 2 Corinthians 5:17 states, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come.” By the power of the cross, I can become a new creation under the authority of Jesus Christ!

Now, by absolutely no means is this easy…I don’t write to you as an expert. I’m an amateur and have much to learn from those before me. Thankfully there’s the Word of God that captures many faithful brothers and sisters in Christ whom have gone before and walked life on the straight and narrow path. There is much comfort, exhortation, and hope to be found in Romans 6 on this issue though. Take a minute to slowly read the chapter that I’ve copied and pasted from BibleGateway.com below. I would’ve only selected a few verses, however, I feel that the entire chapter is very important and speaks the truth of God far better than I could place eloquently into type.

Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ

 1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

Slaves to Righteousness

15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

19 I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[b] Christ Jesus our Lord.

The main point made is that I no longer have to be a slave to sin but I should joyously embrace the idea that I am a slave to righteousness should I choose to follow Jesus Christ as my LORD and Savior with all of my heart. Authentic followers of Christ are incredible difficult to find in the world we live in. 1 John teaches us to examine our hearts often to see if we have been diligently following Christ. I must say that the past few weeks I have certainly not been walking the straight and narrow, but rather I have been attempting to patch the holes in a sinking ship. The ship being me: my dreams, my efforts, my plan. Well folks, that ship has sailed and it has been sunk by the storms of life, the mighty hand of God, and because I was the captain of that ship.

I’ve found myself on a deserted island with nothing but the relationship that I have with Christ, His Word, a notebook, and a few faithful friends that have pledged to stick with me through thick and thin. The battle to die to myself has just begun. In order to advance the Kingdom of God and allow Christ to dwell within me, I must allow myself to kneel before God and state that He has control. Something that is incredibly difficult for a man to do, since we are so prideful in nature.

I mentioned earlier that my personal weaknesses are being self absorbed especially through social media. So through the very strong urge and encouragement of a friend that cares about me immensely, I’ve given him my passwords to my Facebook and Twitter accounts, so that I can only be on them for short periods of time when he’s around. I’ve deleted my Google+ account and Netflix account. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I WILL succeed this semester by the grace and power of God. I WILL give my life over to sharing the Gospel and making Jesus look as good and faithful as He is; whether in conversation, at the gym, or in my professors’ offices when asking for help on my rather intense class line-up.

My prayer tonight is going to be Psalm 73:25-26, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

You can join me in this by praying that God truly becomes my ‘everything’; my portion forever. Also, those of you reading this should seriously examine your hearts as Scripture exhorts us to do and see if you have truly died to yourself and have allowed yourself to live by faith in Christ alone. My prayers are with you all this evening!

Blessings,

God’s Servant

Life: A Mundane Routine or Passionate Adventure?

We are creatures of habit. Some of us have better habits than others. College students find themselves with the typical habits of going to bed too late, procrastinating on assignments, etc. Adults in the workforce may have the habit of waking up at the same time daily, heading to work, and dinner with the family, TV time, bed, and then repeat the process again the next morning.

I’ve heard some of my peers talk about how they feel a total lack of enthusiasm/excitement in their lives. “We’re stuck in the same routine, always chasing after the same things…and at the end of the day, what did I actually accomplish?”

I think that this particular person could be asking the right question…What is the purpose of our routine lives? Is it to earn that high GPA so that we can obtain the next scholarship? Is it to be promoted through the ranks in the corporate world? Or…is there perhaps a greater purpose to our existence that is being overlooked? I would like to believe this is the case.

For those of you that claim to be believers in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior; this should certainly be the case. But I believe the issue arises at our very core. We are self-focused beings. We are inherently selfish. Now before you are up in arms in disagreement with me. Consider this…Look at the things that you can claim as your own in this world. You’ve got your iPod, iTunes, MySpace, Personal settings on the computer. YOUR car. YOUR phone..etc.  I believe my point can be seen. And the majority of our time can often be spent adding to these materialistic comforts. But is this the sole purpose of life?

There answer is, absolutely not!

Brothers and Sisters in Christ we are not supposed to be living routine, mundane lives. As vessels of our Heavenly Father, our lives should be absolutely filled to the brim with adventure! John Eldredge states in his book, Wild at Heart, that men are designed to have an adventure to live, a battle to fight, and a beauty to rescue. What about this could possibly be boring? The life-source of motivation should be Scripture though of course; not the mere words of a man. Looking at the Gospel and the words of Jesus Christ, himself, we have Matthew 28:18-20,

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

In Galatians 2:20, Paul writes, “I have been crucified with Christ. I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loves me and gave himself for me.” Living our lives for ourselves is out of the question. If we want to envelope the entirety of Christ’s character and reflect His love to those around us; then we must live solely for Jesus Christ. In Matthew 9:37-38, Jesus says, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask for the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.

Your response to all of this may be. “Alright man, I get the point…We’re supposed to tell others about Jesus, but I’ll get to it when I can. You want me to show other His love? Well I’ll put a few more bucks in the offering plate next week.”

If that is your response, then you are TOTALLY missing my point…let’s get REAL for a minute…

Jesus Christ suffered severe persecution. He was subject to verbal abuse, being spit upon, having a crown of thorns driven through his head, was beaten by Roman soldiers, forced to carry the rugged cross up to Calvary and THEN had nails DRIVEN through his hands and feet and was HUNG on the cross. Hanging there, not a single complaint was uttered from His mouth as He called out to the Father saying, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.”  He would die slowly of suffocation. At the end of which, he proclaimed, “It is finished!” This is who you and I claim as our Savior. This is who we serve. What gives us any authority to claim that our importance should be placed over a King that came not to be served but to serve us; mere sinners?

With this in mind how can our lives possibly be boring? John Piper writes in Don’t Waste Your Life, “The opposite of wasting your life is living life by a single God-exalting, soul-satisfying passion. The well-lived life must be God-exalting and soul-satisfying because that is why God created us (Isaiah 43:7; Psalm 90:14).”

As followers of Jesus Christ and citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, we are no longer of this world. So why spend so much of our time accumulating treasures for ourselves, stressing about finances, focusing on expanding our wardrobe, and burnings hours of our day attempting to satisfy our selfish desires? You can be SO MUCH MORE! On Judgment Day, do you want The King of Kings to say, “Well you did alright champ, but I spit the lukewarm from my mouth!” Or, would you prefer to hear the passionate and emotional words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant…” as the Father opens up His arms for you, His child, to run towards His throne and worship Him at His feet! To what greater purpose could we possibly give our lives?

The bottom line: If our lives are nothing more than a mundane routine, then I find it extremely hard to believe that you are giving your life away to others and to the Father in Heaven. A life that is focused on The Kingdom is a live that is absolutely overflowing with adventure, passion, emotion, battles to fight, and numerous reasons to be living.

Disclaimer: These are simply my thoughts of reflection on the Scriptures and various books I’ve been reading lately. As a man of sinful nature, my opinions and statements of “truth” should certainly be tested against the Scriptures and your own personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It is simply my hope that this would get the wheels in your brain turning….and possibly produce fruit in the conversations you have and the actions you take later.

Warrior

“The only possible attitude toward out of control desire is a declaration of all out war…I hear so many Christians murmuring about their imperfections and their failures and their addictions and their shortcomings…and I see so little war! Murmur…murmur…murmur…why am I this way? MAKE WAR!” (John Piper)

This quote is the intro to Tedashii’s music video “Make War” which can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuYbkGAY_wU I highly suggest watching it prior to reading the rest of this note as you will be able to see what has been heavily influencing my heart recently.

Friends, brothers, sisters, and foes alike…I, Justin Meyer, am tired of hiding. I am so sick and tired of not being strong enough to claim victory over all sins. Whether they be physical, mental, spiritual, etc. You would not believe the number of times over the course of this semester that I have looked myself in the mirror and told myself that I wasn’t worth it. I’d look into the eyes of a 21-year-old man, overweight, unsuccessful, immature, and so…so undeserving. The truth is that I don’t deserve anything. I’m an American fortunate enough to have grown up in the upper middle class of society, putting me in a position to have some of the most elite opportunities in the world like a college education. But that doesn’t mean that I deserve anything.

I’ll tell you the truth…when I stood there looking in that mirror. I wanted to break it. I wanted to drive my fist into the glass and watch as the pieces shattered to the ground. However, realizing that this would lead to a trip to the emergency room and a bill from Housing and Dining, I opted out :)….but I did end up back in my room in tears. THANKFULLY and by the grace of God I have been blessed with INCREDIBLE friends who in this moment came to my rescue in prayer and words of encouragement, affirmation, and prophecy that STILL baffles my mind. I’m having difficulty believing everything that was said. But that’s an entire other story on its own…

As you can tell, I’m a broken man. I am NOTHING. I have NOTHING. I deserve NOTHING. What an incredible depressing story, right?…..WRONG! This is where things get crazy!

No matter how pitiful I look in the mirror. No matter what a terrible son I may be. No matter how pathetic of a sibling I’ve been, or the fact that I am incredibly selfish and not always there for my friends. God STILL LOVES ME!

1 John 4:7-12, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

This verse illustrates the INCREDIBLE love that the Lord has for me, you, and the rest of the world and it brings tears of joy to my eyes when I read this passage!

Excuse me for lack of flow…I’m writing this late at night while the Holy Spirit is heavy on my heart. But back to my original point of being tired of not claiming victory over sin and looking in the mirror at a broken man. Here’s the good news and I hope that if you have read this far, it will encourage you like crazy!

After attending Navigators tonight I spent a good deal of time meditating on the words in Romans, chapter 6, I HIGHLY SUGGEST READING THIS. As I read these words of scripture, although I’ve read it before, it was as if I was seeing the words for the first time! They seemed to come alive on the page and reach out crying for me to linger on their every meaning!

Brothers and Sisters, we are DEAD to sin! It NO LONGER has dominion over you! The blood of the Lamb has washed you clean, as you are presented as holy and blameless before the Throne of God! While we are dead to sin, we are made ALIVE in Christ! You no longer have to live a life in paralyzing fear as so many in our generation continue to do. So family, let’s RISE UP against sin! Let’s claim our victory over Satan and bring the LORD’s Kingdom to this incredibly broken world…

Family, The King has set you FREE! It is my earnest and continual prayer that you would not go crawling back to your previous master, sin. May you claim your inherent sonship and become a co-heir with Christ! The catch is that this is not going to be easy. I know from personal experience that every stride I’ve taken towards the throne of the Lord has been met by incredible opposition from the Devil. We MUST band together and become brothers and sisters at arms. We MUST become a city on our knees, crying out for the Lord’s power and Sovereignty.

I’m done being scared. I’m done being a boy. I’m ready to man up. I’m ready to put on the full armor of God and go sprinting full force into the agonizing battle that our world is in with sin! I’m ready to be a Warrior! I’m ready to shine brightly for the Lord in the darkest places in the nation and in the world.

I have two questions to ask you:

1) Will you join me and be my brother/sister in this epic battle against Satan, giving your ENTIRE LIFE to the Lord in order to claim your victory in Him?

2) Will you pray for me?…Because I need it desperately. This semester and my life in general has been hard enough as it is. But I just straight up declared war on the Devil. Things are about to get crazy…PLEASE pray for me and those who are brave enough to join this fight!