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Wednesday: Radical Commitment — 8 Comments

  1. As committed Christians, we sometimes think a lot about sin. We are encouraged to confess our sins to one another and to search our lives for sinful tendencies. While some of this is true and indeed useful, it is important to focus not so much on that which is sinful in our lives but that which is good.

    I want to be a good bird photographer, but I don't really spend a lot of time looking at my bad photographs and analysing why they are bad. Rather, I look at the work of those bird photographers who are masters if the art. I see why their photographs are appealing and I try to apply their techniques to my own work.

    There are two things that I have found useful in my spiritual development:

    1) Jesus provides a perfect example to follow. it is not just what he said that is important, but what he did.

    2) Fill my mind and time with working with others. When you are thinking of others you have little time to dwell on self (and by implication, sin).

    Jesus tells the story of someone who was healed of an evil spirit, but who did nothing to replace the evil spirit it wasn't too long before the evil spirit returned with some of his mates and that person was worse off than before.

    Sin and temptation require radical treatment and the best radical treatment is to fill the void that sin leaves with something that is good.

    Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Phil 4:8 KJV

    Sin leaves a vacuum and it sucks. Fill the void with that which is good and can be shared with others.

    • I think this might have been a slip up. You said we are to confess our sins to one another. I "think" you probably meant to say faults. If I'm wrong... please explain

      • Interesting, Alfred. I confess I did not think about it (my fault :-)) So I did some checking. Thanks to the online Bibles, I have available about 60 English translations of the Bible. 41 translate James 5:16 as "faults"; 11 as "sins"; and the others, variously such as "trespasses".

        But you do raise an interesting question about the nuances of meaning in the English language. In computer science, we make a distinction between a fault and an error for technical reasons. Do we need to make a distinction between faults and sins in the spiritual sense?

        We could of course make the distinction that a fault is our propensity to sin, while a sin is something we have actually committed. However, even if we make that distinction, I am not sure which applies in this case.

        It is interesting that we have a similar problem in Galations 6:1-3:

        Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
        Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
        For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

        Once again the translations are divided on "fault/sin". But, the operative idea comes in verse 2. "bear ye one another's burdens". Fault or sin, we need to show compassion and understanding.

  2. Study asks:
    Are we really called literally to maim ourselves?

    Answer: No it's hyperbole !

    Examples of hyperbole in modern speech would include statements like :
    “This bag of groceries weighs a ton,”
    “I’ve been waiting forever,”
    and “Everyone knows that.”

    The apostle Paul uses hyperbolic language in
    Galatians 4:15

    Hyperbole, like other figures of speech, is not meant to be taken literally.
    The point is don't entertain anything with your senses that leads to sin.

    Sin has a process as follows:
    James 1:13-18
    14 But each person is tempted when he is #drawn away# and enticed by his own evil desire.
    15 Then after #desire has conceived# it gives #birth to sin#
    And when sin is #fully grown# it gives #birth to death#

    Shalom in his direction 🙏
    Keep on trucking (meme)

  3. How can we make a radical commitment? Daily spend time in meditation on His Word and in communication with Him.
    Praise the LORD, He gives us the power and the will, so that we may participate in His Divine nature.

    2Peter 1:3-4
    His divine power has given us everything we need for (Zoe)life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4Through these He has given us His precious and magnificent promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, now that you have escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
    Philippians 2:13NLT
    For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

  4. Today's lesson rightfully points out that while sometimes God may instantly remove a sinful tendency from someone's life, more typically God "often... calls us to make a radical commitment to give up something, or start doing something..."

    Why doesn't God often or always simply take our sinful tendencies away? This is where that the highest form of life (ie, abundant life: John 10:10) can only truly exist when beings operate within authentic freedom, doing the right thing because that is what they want to do, is important. Doing the right thing because it is the right thing - that is, because it benefits others and in so doing 'glorifys' God - is an activity of our character (ie, who you authentically are). Consequently, salvation is about character formation rather than merely sinlessness as character is what was broken within humanity back in Eden and therefore what needs to be restored so we can return to our original intended design and therefore abundant life and living.

    In light of the above, perhaps you can appreciate why the choices we make each moment of each day both reflect and shape our character. The similar call to 'put to death' (eg, Galatians 5:24) those actual or potential choices that reinforce self-seeking by instead embracing those that foster other-benefiting is what is vitally necessary. Jesus call to follow Him, to become like Him, involves denying self-seeking impulses and a willingness to embrace the discomfort or pain involved in doing so (ie, take up our cross, Matthew 16:24).

    At the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve embraced self-seeking (Genesis 3:6) over other-benefiting and 'fell'. At the cross, Jesus refused to do so and triumphed (Philippians 2:8; Romans 5:19; Colossians 2:13-15). We too need to chose which of these two choices we will habitually make and in so doing shape our character.

  5. Melting in the heat, that's what we get in the crucible! Heating make molecules/atoms to move, vibrate. And sometimes, due to the state we get ouselves stuck with, our composition must go through some purification process, thus impurities are expelled. The more liquid our personalities become, the easier defects may be disaggregated. And when the cooling comes, may what is durable to resist, now to a refined state, for the glory of the Holy Goldsmith.

  6. Jesus said in Matthew 6:12,13,14 that we could seek His Father to give us "power" against sin and evil. This is what it means to gouge out our eyes etc. It is like dying to self to seek God by faith to give us power over our selfish desires etc. And EGW says that Jesus meant for our wills to be given over to God as the gouging out of our eyes or cutting off our hands etc.


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