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

The Runner

The sun is booming; June heat in Kansas, along with the humidity, southern winds, and various other factors are sure to enact the sweat glands of even the fittest individual. Heavy-breathing is followed by heavy footsteps as your feet pound against the pavement. Looking around, the greenery is beginning to become not so green anymore, as grass is charred by the intensity of the summer sun, turning it into a yellowish-brown wasteland. As you attempt to breathe, the air is thick, as if swimming through an ocean. However, you are not swimming, but are running. Running fast. Overcome every obstacle through the blood of The Lamb!

Approaching an incline in the road, you do as every other person would and pick up the pace to maintain enough momentum to force your heavy body up the grade. A quarter of the way up the hill, you begin to think, “What am I doing? I could walk…maybe even stop and collapse.” However, the little engine that could comes to life in your mind as you begin to think “I think I can”, “I think I can”, you are now halfway up the monstrous hill. But wait…fatigue is setting in, muscles are cramping, your breaths are becoming shorter. How can one push themselves over the top? How could you possibly summit the hill and come coasting to a comfortable pace down the other side?

I was thinking about life today. Weird, right? I’m 22 years old and “thinking about life” as if I am some sort of old Yoda, ready to assess the current state of the world and breath life into it via truth that has only been gained by the grace of God through the Holy Spirit. God’s Word alludes to the Christian journey as a race that has been marked out for us and we are to run the race with all endurance and perseverance, keeping our minds on the good and noble things of this world as we continually return to the Father for strength, nourishment, counsel, and the ability to overcome any and every obstacle that is used to test our character. Think of the story of Job…a man who was found by God to be one of the most righteous in the land…Satan requests to wreak havoc upon his life, saying that in the end, Job will turn away from God due to his circumstances. We are amazed to see that Job’s character is certainly challenged (perhaps even to the breaking point as his friends come to comfort, challenge, and counsel him), yet he curses the day of his birth and himself rather than cursing God. In the end, he is faithful to God. Would I be that faithful? Would you?

One of the realities of this life is that we will all be put to the test. In fact, it is when we are becoming effective witnesses for the LORD (as was the cause with Job) that Satan will increasingly desire to bring destruction to our lives in such a way that would disable us from running the race and finishing strong. The thing about marathon runners is that there are many who would like to complete the journey…but few that are able to persevere long enough to cross the finish line. My friend, Carlos, recently set out to run a marathon and he did it! He ran across the finish-line and completed the race that was set before him! He said it was such an exciting feeling. You should have seen how the joyous expressions on his face as he attempted to recreate the story before us. How much more exciting would it be to complete the race of life and to have finished it well?!?! Having given every ounce of strength that we had to the LORD, pouring ourselves out like drink-offerings as Paul did; serving others, lifting them up, calling ourselves and others to repentance in the name of Jesus and encouraging them to run the race towards His throne alongside us, we can finish well!

Whether it is a job-search, financial security, education, relationships, health/sickness, etc. we all have our hills to climb. Perhaps you are currently coasting at a comfortable pace and life hasn’t thrown any at you in a while, well, I assure you that there they are to come. Let us prepare our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies for the hills that lie ahead; seeking the LORD daily in prayerful devotion of our entire lives to Him that we may never stray from the path and always have the strength to continue upward, even when the hill/obstacle seems nearly impossible. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Amen? Amen!!!!

Running for Him,
Justin

P.S. In other news, I am currently trying to jog on a fairly regular basis and I am definitely out-of-shape. Feel free to pray for and encourage my journey toward a more disciplined and healthy self so that I may be better equipped to serve the LORD and others with the remainder of my life!

1 Corinthians Discussion

Dear Friends,

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve slowly been making my way through 1 Corinthians. It’s been a challenging study, as many perspectives of mine are being challenged/questioned through Scripture. We know that “The Body” aka The Church is made up of many parts and some are gifted with wisdom and understanding, others knowledge, and so on (1 Corinthians 12 on spiritual gifts), which led me to the conclusion that sharing my uncertainty with others could possible bring about a positive dialogue which enriches all of our perspectives with the knowledge and person experiences of other readers and their personal relationships with Christ! That being said, I’m VERY EXCITED and strongly encourage you to participate in the discussion which I hope to create over these passages.

I didn’t come across too many confusing/troubling aspects of the first two chapters, but if you’ve got any questions over those, feel free to share! The first thing I’d like to discuss can be found within 1 Corinthians 4:3-5,

“I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in the darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.”

Verse 5 is intense. He will EXPOSE the motive’s of our hearts! Wow, turns out we’re not as sly as we may think on some occasions. God knows and WILL bring those things to the light. How silly of us to think we could hide from the God whom created us from the dust and placed us in our mother’s womb?!?! 

Here is where things get confusing for me…Chapter 5: 3-8 is Paul’s response to a recent sexually immoral act committed by one of the church’s members. Someone has slept with his father’s wife and Paul says,

“Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed  judgment  on the one who did this, just as if I were present. When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satanso that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.” 

So basically, Paul is now saying that we shouldn’t pass judgement in Chapter 4, but now in Chapter 5, he’s stating that he IS passing judgement as if he were there with them…THEN, Paul instructs his church in Corinth to hand the man over to Satan in order that he might be saved. If you can shed light on this, please share, because logically I cannot comprehend this instruction!

Moving right along…to Chapter 6, Paul discusses with them lawsuits among believers and how it’s ridiculous that they cannot settle such matters within the Church as it is a bad witness. “The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated,” he states in 1 Corinthians 6:7. But then comes the topic of marriage! Get excited all of my single friends! No one can argue that within today’s culture, a 20-something single man and woman are under an incredible amount of pressure. In order to be established as a ‘successful’ member of society, one must graduate, marry a ‘respectable'(who gets to define exactly what that is anyways?) counterpart, become employed, and make their elders proud in all aspects of life. But what if Scripture were to throw a wrench in all of these plans? What IF one was called to be single? What IF one was called to be single…for the rest of their life? Paul’s position is that “it is good for a man not to marry.” I really encourage you all to read Chapter 7 as it will certainly challenge many of you to seek the Lord in regards to marriage. OBVIOUSLY, I’m not saying marriage is a BAD thing. I’m straight. I hope to be married to a beautiful woman someday, BUT shall it be the Lord’s will, I should be able to be content with that…and according to Scripture…so should you.

Alright, I’m about to open up a can of worms, so prepare yourselves. Let’s discuss gender roles within the church. Particularly women’s. “Oh no he didn’t!” But oh yes I am…haha. Before continuing to read, pull out your Bible and read 1 Corinthians 11: 3-16.

Within this section of Scripture, we are taught that:

  • Christ is the head of every man and man is the head of woman.
  • Men should not pray or prophecy with their heads covered.
  • Women should cover their heads, otherwise they dishonor themselves as if their head were shaved.
  • Man is the image and glory of God. Woman is the glory of man.
  • Men and woman need each other.
  • It is disgraceful for men to have long hair.

Now, I don’t know about you…but I didn’t grow up in a church where women were expected to cover their heads and to be silent within the church? Women generally don’t wear anything to cover their heads (for some reason I have the image of bonnets from “Little House On The Prairie”). AND a majority of my brothers in Christ have gone through periods where they sported longer hair. BUT, isn’t this the NEW Testament? Aren’t these teachings ones that are valid and something we should wrestle with? So…I’m wrestling with them and am confused. What are your thoughts on gender roles within the church? Within some divisions of Christianity it is acceptable for a woman to pastor the church. Is there Scripture that supports this idea? (1 Corinthians 14:33-35 continues the conversation…)

The last area I’ll take the time to cover and invite discussion over is the concept of spiritual gifts. The primary section to focus on would be Chapter 12, which just so happened to be titled “Spiritual Gifts”. After reading through this chapter, it is discovered that the Spirit is manifest in many ways. There are gifts of wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, etc. My main question is…where are all of these spiritual gifts hiding?!?! I believe the power of God is real and present in current-day, ABSOLUTELY. And I’ve witnessed friends being healed before me through prayer. But when was the last time you saw someone speaking in tongues, or found one whom could interpret tongues in such a way that edified the Body of Christ? What are your thoughts on the spiritual gifts? Are they still alive and well today? And if they are…then why are they not present within the modern day churches of America for the most part.

Thanks for sticking with me through this journey! PLEASE comment with your perspective on some of the things I’ve mentioned and feel free to present any questions of your own. We can work together to bring about a greater clarity and more concrete understanding.

Blessings,

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.

All Talk. No Walk. Tick-Tock.

Verbally professing one’s faith is absolutely essential to the continuation of the Great Commission, as well as shining the light of Christ into a very dark and sinful world. Without people preaching the Word of God, sharing their testimonies, and studying Scripture with one another, no one would be fed the living bread they need to stay alive and Christianity would go extinct. So if you are bold and courageous enough to take heed to Romans 1:16 and are unashamed of your faith and you are fulfilling the commission Jesus gave all of us in Matthew 28:18-20 then THANK YOU! From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your service in this area.

Now, with this being said, there is a certain issue within Christian spheres that I would like to shine some light on. Before I continue, keep in mind that this is a plea and a press towards righteousness and is in no way a form of condemnation, nor am I saying that I have perfected this in my own life. That disclaimer being said, let’s proceed.

I’ve yet to meet a Christian who did not want to talk about what they believe in. We are a people of fellowship, always wanting to discuss theology, doctrine, and how we perceive Jesus Christ and Scriptural truth. However, I’ve been challenged recently by witnessing some of the projects the youth of Olathe East High School’s FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) have been working on. Lars Hanson (Lars Hanson Testimony), a teenager seeking to graduate from high school, is a leader within the group of young individuals and I am deeply moved by his service, testimony, and ability to teach from God’s Word. It’s young men like him that remind me why youth ministry is so awesome and moving. My love for youth ministry aside, these students have put into ACTION the things they’ve been learning. By serving the community around them, praying within the school’s four walls, leading teammates to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and much more.

Shouldn’t this spur us on? I’m a 21-year-old and I think my faith can often pale in comparison to the faith mentioned above and in my previous blog “Selfless” where I talk about the faith and servant’s heart of Jed who wants to be a missionary. I believe this should certainly fuel the fire for the older generation of believers to take steps of faith and to MOVE; to take action and to move mountains for the LORD.

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)

So will you join me in taking action? Men, we are called to lead, to stand up for what is right. Those who know the good they ought to do and don’t do it, sin (James 4:17). Therefore I challenge you and I challenge myself to man up and to meet the call of the Lord on our lives; to serve wholeheartedly, love unconditionally, and to live counter-cultural lives of humility, submitting to the authority of the Lord and living in reverent fear of our Heavenly Father. We must constantly remember who it is that we serve.

“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.” (Isaiah 40:25-26)

Time is running out brethren. Life is “but a breath” and before you know it, your friends, coworkers, classmates, family members, and many others will be dying before your eyes, having never seen the Gospel of Christ actively shown to them within your life and the lives of other “believers”. So, will you change this trend? Will you begin to profess your faith more boldly? Will you not only verbally share the message of freedom in Christ but also display it to others by the life you live out?

Tick-tock…..tick-tock….tick-tock……….this is an urgent matter. Time is running out! Praying for you brothers and sisters in the faith!