A Problem with Evangelicalism

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God?

I will not receive any brownie points for this blog post, but it’s something that needs exposure.

Consider for a moment that the New Testament does not begin with chapter 1 of the book of Matthew. Instead, it begins in chapter 27, at the crucifixion. So perhaps we might say the New Testament begins just before the book Acts.

As such, it is safe to assert that no one Jesus was preaching to was saved in what we today would consider a Biblical or Classical sense of the word.

A Good, Bible Teaching Church

What Evangelicals call a good message, preaching the word, or the gospel, is more akin to a historical message from the 1700s, known as Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. I have friends – professing born-again Christians – who believe that if they’re not being condemned from the pulpit and don’t feel shame and discomfort, then the sermon is of little value.

This is the value we, as Evangelicals, have placed upon the non-churched: they are people of no value, worms not worthy of the light of God. These sinners deserve the justice of hell, an eternal condemnation of pain and misery.

So we scare and condemn them into heaven, just like Jonathan Edwards did. The very thing God our Father has comforted us against – fear – we recast as the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

Jesus said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Isra’el “(Matt. 15:24). With that in mind, who was the audience of His first sermon, the one we commonly call the Beatitudes? Were these people who were saved in the classical sense? Or were these people the lost sheep of the house of Isra’el?

I would suggest that they were lost sheep of the house of Isra’el.

A Better Way

If you have not read Matthew chapter 5 in a while, you need to re-read it. Here are a few links to help you do that:

Matthew Chapter 5

Did you notice verses 13 and 14?

You are the salt of the earth

Matthew 5:13

You are the light of the world

Matthew 5:14

Jesus wasn’t speaking to born-again Christians. He was speaking to the lost sheep of Isra’el.

How can that be? How can sinners, in the hands of an angry God, be the salt of the earth and light of the world? It’s simple:

Jesus wasn’t speaking to their sin; he was speaking to their design.

In other words, the God of the Universe thinks the best way to help people see their need for Him is not to condemn them of their sins but to tell them who they are.

And that’s a problem with Evangelicalism. We’d rather use a weapon of evil than a blessing of righteousness to reach those who need Him the most.

Adonai Elohim has given me the ability to speak as a man well taught, so that I, with my words, know how to sustain the weary.

Each morning he awakens my ear to hear like those who are taught.

Isaiah 50:4

Faith – A Definition and its Application

Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that he is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)

The World\’s Definition of Faith
According to the world, faith is an ethereal, empty, mustered up belief of wishing in the impossible or improvable. It has been defined as belief in something that does not rest in logical truth. Many times the definition involves a belief in a given religion, dogma or denomination associated with various sects of Christian or non-Christian systems of belief.
A Proper Definition of Faith
Faith is a confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing. Some of the synonyms for faith are confidence, trust, reliance, conviction, belief, and assurance. Faith means to believe in, be devoted to and to trust in somebody or something.
There are three necessary axioms of faith:
The Axioms of Faith
    1. The Faith Object – The thing in which a given belief system is built around. 
    2. The Belief System – A set of axioms related to and about the faith object. 
    3. The Works – Actions that are performed as a result of both the Faith Object and the Belief System surrounding the Faith Object. 

      An Example of Faith

      Any good astronomer believes, and will tell you, that earths\’ moon may be found at a specific set of coordinates at a given time.  Why? The moon has been found to be a very reliable object, to the point that the astronomer has, through observation, constructed a system of beliefs that has culminated in a number of varied algorithms and/or procedures designed to locate the moon at any given time or place. 
      Without the reliability of the moon, and without a strong system of beliefs based upon the behavior of the moon, the NASA moon landings would have never been possible. Because in order to land on the moon, you must first believe that the moon exists, and secondly, you must know where the moon will be at any given time.
      Without the establishment of these two fundamental requirements (the establishment of an object, and trust and belief regarding said object), it is impossible to interact with anything. Therefore we understand that every one lives their life, at one point or another, based in some form of faith – a trust and belief in something or someone.
      Whether or not our faith objects and belief systems are proper does not negate the fact that we live our daily lives based upon our trust and belief in regards to numerous people, places and things.  Many people would say that they live their lives based upon facts, but this argument is incorrect.  Consider the fact that there are possibly hundreds or thousands of incarcerated prisoners who are actually innocent of the crimes they were charged. Obviously, the fact is that they are in jail. But they\’re not in jail because of the facts surrounding the crime they never committed – they\’re in jail because of what a jury believed and trusted regarding those facts. In actually, the jury believed a lie, and convicted an innocent person.  In the end, they demonstrated works based in their faith by convicting the person.  And in providing a conviction, they moved from trust and belief into and demonstrable experience: which is the end result of all faith: experience.
      Biblical Faith
      Biblical faith is not that different from ordinary or natural faith. The biblical faith object is God. First and foremost the primary Christian faith object is Jehovah God, not the Bible – although we trust and believe the Bible, thus exhibiting faith towards the written word of God.
      However, what the Bible provides is truth in regards to our faith object (God). Even though one must believe the Bible and one must trust the Bible, and hence demonstrate faith towards the Bible, the Bible is not our primary faith object – God is our primary faith object.
      Jesus, speaking to the scribes and pharisees had this to say of our tendency to put our faith in the Bible, instead of God:

      You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; (yet) it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.\” (John 5:38-40)

      Clearly, Jesus Himself made a distinction between placing trust in the Word of God for salvation, rather than trust in Himself. He states the truth: it is in the scriptures we find the truthful testimony regarding Jesus Christ. He also states the contrary indication: they searched the scriptures because they believed that in them solely and exclusively, they had eternal life. Clearly they were wrong, as Jesus said that while the scriptures testified of Him, the Christ, they were unwilling to come to the One, the Christ of salvation, Jesus Himself – the author of salvation.
      If it is impossible to make a distinction between the faith in the word of God and faith in God, then Jesus would have congratulated the Scribes and Pharisees for their diligent study of His word and thereby receiving salvation. Clearly, this is not what Jesus said.
      Even so, we cannot separate God\’s word from God Himself – for it teaches us the truth about Him, and it keeps us from sin – \”Thy word I have hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee\” (Psalm 119:11).  The point I\’m trying make is that we must make sure that our ultimate faith object is God. To assume that you can believe in God but not believe His word is preposterous. But to make God\’s word an higher authority than God himself is an error. Remember: the point of God\’s word is to lead us into a relationship with God. It is God\’s tool to bring us to Himself.
      Faith Depends upon it\’s Object
      The author of Hebrews said

      Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6, NASB)

      and Habakkuk said

      Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith. (Habakkuk 2:4, KJV)

      Neil Anderson said that “the issue of faith is not that we believe … it\’s what we believe or who we believe in that determines whether or not faith will be rewarded.” The question remains then, faith in what? Again, we find the author of Hebrews addressing our faith object:

      Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:7-8)

      It wasn\’t just any “words” that were spoken to them, rather the author was referring to God\’s words – those words which God Himself uttered through His judges, prophets and servants. Therefore, the object here is God – “those … who spoke the word of God to you … “. They could trust the words they heard because of the author of those words. They did not trust the words because they were written in a book that many before them had revered, but they trusted Him who spake them because they knew that God was trustworthy.

      On the contrary, the person who\’s primary faith object is the Bible views God with suspicion and distrust. He or she uses the Bible to remind God of what He said he would do, for without this reminder God is (to them) untrustworthy to act on their behalf with benevolence, faithfulness or love.
      But the person that trusts God, who\’s faith object is God, will also remind God of His word and His promises, but in the knowledge that God will act upon His promises. This person also does this from a point of humility and trust in God. Nehemiah is an example of a person who\’s faith object was God, and yet in his relationship to God, reminded the Lord of His promises: 

      … they said to me, \”The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire.\” When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. I said, \”I beseech You, O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and loving kindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against You; I and my father\’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses. Remember the word which You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, \’if you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples; but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.\’ (Nehemia 1:3-9)

      Faith is Dependent upon your Knowledge of your Faith Object

      If you are like most people, you believe the moon circles the earth. You believe that on most nights, and some days, you can see the moon in the sky. But unless you are among a very few people with the right skills and/or equipment, you cannot tell me the exact coordinates of the moon over the earth at any given point in time. Why is that? Because your knowledge of the moon is limited. You may have enough faith in the laws of physics to believe that the moon will remain in the sky for as long as you live, baring some unforeseen external force. And you may have enough faith in the moon and these laws to believe that you can find the moon in almost any night sky. But that is as far as your knowledge takes you.
      Our faith in God is no different. We will go with God only as far as our faith allows us to go, and our faith reflects the quality of our knowledge and belief in God. Consider again Hebrews 13:7-9: 

      Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.

      The author suggests that we should “consider the result of their conduct”, that we should “imitate their faith”, that we should not be “carried away by varied and strange teachings” and that it is good to be “strengthened by grace”. Our conduct, good or bad, reflects both our quality of faith and the quality of our belief system.

      Imitating the faith of another person and not being carried away by strange teaching both have the inverse effect of strengthening your belief system, and therefore growing your faith.
      Being \”strengthened by grace\” means that we die to our selfishness, our pride and our desires and allow God to make us into that which we cannot become of our own accord.
      In Victory Over the Darkness (pp.110, 111), Neil Anderson says:

      The only limit to your faith is your knowledge and understanding of God, which grows every time you read your Bible, memorize a Scripture verse, participate in a Bible study or meditate on His Word … I doubt there is a Christian alive who has lived up to his or her faith potential based on what he or she already knows to be true.

      The Apostle James said that we must

      Consider it all joy, my brethren, when {we} encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of {our} faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that {we} may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-3, NASB)

      When God tests our faith, He is working on our behalf by showing us the quality of our belief in Him and the deepness or shallowness of our trust in Him.

      Faith is an Action Word
      Why do you look up in to the night sky to see the stars and the moon? Because you know and believe they are there. Your belief produces and results in an action. Why does (or did) the Captain of a ship use the sextant to guide his way across the ocean? Because he believes and knows that the stars are trustworthy in their positions in the sky, and he believes in the result of a properly implemented sextant. In the same way, faith without action is not faith – it is dead and empty, it is powerless, wishful thinking:

      What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, \”Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,\” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, \”You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

      Therefore, everything you do is a product of what you have chosen to believe. If you believe that jumping into a body of water is likely to result in your death, then you have a fear of water – and your not a swimmer. If you believe that climbing to top of a tower could result in your death, then you stay on the ground – you have a fear of heights. If an escalator is nothing but a machine with the power to rip you into shreds, then you take the stairs – you have a fear of escalators. And the list could go on and on.

      Do you share your Faith with those around you? If not, do you actually have any faith to share?
      The Gift of Faith
      Everyone has been given a measure of faith:

      For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith (Romans 12:3)

      But the spiritual Gift of faith, as defined in 1 Corinthians 12:7,9

      But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. … to another faith by the same Spirit …

      is different from the common, “measure of faith” given by God to all, as a part of their nature of being made in the \”image of God.\”

      This spiritual gift of faith differs in that while many of us struggle to have faith, to grow our faith and to exercise our faith, those with this gift simply know that God will act in circumstances that seem impossible. This gift of faith enables one to trust and believe God in extraordinary circumstances, or for extraordinary works on the behalf of yourself and/or others.
      The spiritual gift of faith Defined
      The motivation behind this gift, as is the motivation behind all of the spiritual gifts of God, is based in and flows from love . This gift enables the recipient to understand and see what God wants to do and is willing to do in a given situation or circumstance. By virtue of this knowledge, this gift provides the peace of God for the given need or situation; it provides a supernatural ability to trust God to accomplish a given task.  These types of people are … 
      • Are visionaries who dream big dreams, pray big prayers, and attempt big things for God. 
      • Are optimistic, hopeful, persevering, change-oriented, and future-focused 
      • Are convincing about the truth of Scripture because they themselves are so convinced of the truth and power of God and his Word. 
      A Contemporary Example
      George Mueller was an excellent example of this gift. Early in his ministry he resolved to never ask anyone for money, but present his needs directly to the Lord. Mueller learned that English prisons held 6,000 children, simply because they had no other place to live. By 1845 he had 130 orphans housed in four rented buildings, and although he had only £5, wanted to build another building capable of holding 300. Using only prayer, he had the funds in just over 6 months, and when the building was finished and the children moved in, he had £776 left over; and he had not asked for one penny! Before he died in 1898 he built four other orphanages the same way, for a total cost of $575,000, while his own personal assets amounted to only $300. Mueller said:

      \”Seven million five hundred thousand dollars have been sent to me in answer to prayer. We have needed as much as two hundred thousand dollars in one year, and it has all come when needed. No man can ever say I asked him for a penny. We have no committees, no collectors, no voting, and no endowments. All has come in answer to believing prayer.\” If I should say that during the fifty-five years and nine months that I have been a Christian that I have had 30,000 prayers answered in the same hour or day that the requests were made, I would state nothing more or less than an honest truth in the sight of God.” ( A Personal Interview with George Mueller, Charles R. Parsons, 1897)

      Are you a faith filled person?  Consider the following questions:

      • Do you view obstacles as opportunities, do you trust God for the impossible?
      • Are you likely to boast about the power of God and what you have seen him do?
      • Are motivated by new ministries because you see them as an opportunity for God to do great things?
      • Do you find yourself feeling opposed to anyone who expresses that something cannot be done or accomplished?
      • Do you find other believers coming to you for hope when they face a seemingly overwhelming trial or task?
      • Do you have an effective prayer ministry, with many wonderful answers to prayers that were impossible from the human point of view?
      All of these things have at their root a spiritual unction which is motivated from belief and trust the the ultimate faith object, God Himself.

      Overcoming Habitual Sin: How to be free from Bondage

      There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in misery and chains, because they had rebelled against the words of God and spurned the counsel of the Most High. Therefore He humbled their heart with labor; they stumbled and there was none to help. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble; He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death and broke their bands apart. (Psalm 107:10-14)

      What is an Habitual Sin, What is Bondage to Sin?

      • A specific, nameable thing that presents itself more as a habit, rather than an occasional failure.
      • Scripturally, a habitual sin is called bondage. We may also call it an addiction, but from the scriptural perspective, it is a bondage to sin. This is not just a bad habit, though someone in denial regarding their bondage may label it as such.

      Within this context

      • It is something that you are aware of, but may feel helpless to be rid of.  Being drawn away by our own lusts is not necessarily bondage to sin.  But a person who is a slave to sin, or is bound to sin will be sometimes feel as if they\’re being pushed into sin.  And that is key difference: we all occasionally chose to sin, but bondage to sin actually feels as if you\’re being pushed into an action.
      • You make many attempts to rid yourself of the behavior, but you always end up doing it again.  In example, a pornographer will destroy his collection and then rebuild it.  An alcoholic will pour out the whiskey and wine only and eventually purchase more.  The smoker will throw away the cigarettes only to buy more in a few days.

      The key here is \”repetitive.\”  Just a s a slave is driven to work or perform for the master, a person in bondage to sin is driven into sin.  References verses are Ephesians 6:12, Luke 11:24, Mark 9:20-23

      • Repetitive participation in extra-marital or premarital sex.
      • Repetitive participation in pornography and impurity
      • Repetitive participation in the consumption of alcohol or drugs; aka, alcoholism and addictions.
      • Persistent attitude of pride, or other ungodly attitudes.
      • Persistent avoidance of God ordained responsibilities (slothfulness)
      • Persistent participation in anything that is (or the end result) is sin.

      What are the root causes of Bondage?

      An improper belief system

      • Bondage to sin is always, somewhere or somehow, based in a lie that is incorrectly accepted as a truth. As seen in the introduction verse, bondage is always related to rebelling against Gods word. In essence, this means that instead of believing and acting upon truth (Gods word), you believe and act upon a lie.
      • Hebrews 2:1-3 – For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?
      • John 8:32 – \”and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.\”

      Bondage to sin is never a result of believing truth, it is always a result of believing and acting upon a lie.

      • John 17:17 – \”Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.\”
      • We are released from bondage to sin when we reject the lie(s) is it based upon, and delivered into freedom when we choose to believe the truth of Gods word, and act upon those truths.  For example,  consider the repetitive sins I enumerated:  all of them revolve around generating our own peace, our own comfort.  The lie is that they can provide peace and comfort.  The truth is that only Jesus provide  true and lasting peace, John 14:26-27 – \”But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.\”

      It is failure to put on the armor of God

      • Ephesians 6:11 – Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

      It has roots in demonic involvement

      • 1 Peter 5:8 – Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
      • Ephesians 6:12 – For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

      It is a failure to actualize our freedom from sin

      • As Christians, we are made free from the power of sin through the work of Jesus Christ. Consider, however, that unless you believe in the work Christ (that it has the power to set you free) and actively choose to apply it to your life, then you will never receive the benefit of His work.
      • Romans 5:17-19 – For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man\’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.
      It is in our nature to occasionally sin, but as a child of God, it is not in our nature to remain in sin.

      The Steps to Freedom can be found in Psalm 119:57-64

      Acknowledge that God has not reined in your life and make God your core focus.
      Psalm 119:57 – The LORD is my portion; I have promised to keep Your words.

      • Portion – Allotment, inheritance
        • Make God your portion in life, not things, not relationships, not pleasure.
      • Promise – a vow.
      • Keep your words – this means to guard the “matter of His word”, or to guard the “essence of His word”
      • All of us at one time or another have promised to keep Gods word: we’ve determined not to sin; or determined to say and do the right thing; we’ve all said in our heart, “I will do the right thing in this or that circumstance”. What you are effectively saying is that ‘you promise to keep Gods’ word’.
      • When you come to the realization that you have sinned, you are in effect saying, “I have promised to keep your words, but in this one thing I have failed.” In this verse, the Psalmist is acknowledging that he has sinned. This is further demonstrated in the next verse.
      Ask forgiveness and confess for your sins
      Psalm 119:58 – I sought Your favor with all my heart; Be gracious to me according to Your word.

      • I sought your favor – He is seeking the blessings of God, and by implication, he has asked for forgiveness of his sins; as seen by next phrase:
      • Be gracious to me according to your word – It is the mercy of God that forgives us, and the Grace of God that changes us and saves us. But the word ‘gracious’ implies, within current context, the totality of God’s mercies and grace. God has promised to be gracious to those that seek his face –
      • 2 Chronicles 7:14 … My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
      Repent of your sins
      Psalm 119:59 – I considered my ways And turned my feet to Your testimonies.

      • Note that after he has confessed his sins and sought the graciousness of God, he then again considered his ways. After careful consideration of his “ways”, he ‘turned his feet to Gods’ testimonies.
      • Your testimonies – The words and actions of God.

      Know and Keep God’s commandments
      Psalms 119:60 I hastened and did not delay To keep Your commandments.

      • There’s not much to say about that; don’t be slothful; seek God with immediacy and with diligence.

      Be Steadfast in your dedication to God and learn to Praise and Worship God
      Psalm 119:61 – The cords of the wicked have encircled me, But I have not forgotten Your law.

      • Cords of the wicked – the bindings of evil, the thing(s) that keep and put you into bondage to sin. 
      • I have not forgotten your law – even in the face of turmoil and evil, he continued to seek Gods’ testimonies.
      Give thanks to God

      Psalm 119:62 – At midnight I shall rise to give thanks to You Because of Your righteous ordinances.

      • At midnight I shall rise – He did not fail to make time to give thanks to God; he went out of his way and caused himself discomfort in order to give God thanksgiving, honor and glory.
      • because of your righteous ordinances – he gave thanks because of the things which brought him freedom 

      Seek out and surround yourself with Godly friendship
      Psalm 119:63 – I am a companion of all those who fear You, And of those who keep Your precepts.

      • I am a companion – Godly friends and counsel are required in our lives and they help keep us on a straight path. This does not mean that we cannot spend time with our unbelieving friends and serve them through the power of the Holy Spirit. But it does mean we need core companionship that consist of Godly people.
      • 1 Corinthians 15:33 – Do not be deceived: \”Bad company corrupts good morals.

      Acknowledge His provision, His Loving-kindness
      Psalm 119:64 (a) The earth is full of Your loving-kindness, O LORD;

      • You must believe, proclaim and acknowledge the loving-kindness of God. Those who cannot see God’s loving-kindness are deceiving themselves of the most precious truth there is to know about God: how He chooses and desires to relate to us.
      • Believe that God is full of Loving kindness, and that He wants the best for you.  

      Learn the word of God and believe His word
      Psalm 119:64 (b) Teach me Your statutes.

      • Statutes – the Law of God, His precepts
      • Desire to know God.  Knowing His word teaches you who God is.
      • Base the foundation your life in the truth of God, not in your desires, not in your fears, not in your self protection. You must believe Gods\’ word and use it as the foundation from which to find freedom from sin.
      Trust and Believe – ask for and seek Gods wisdom
      • Hebrews 11:6 – without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
      • James 1:5-7 – But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.  For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord … 

      Discipline your mind in against your sinful actions and discipline it to rest in God.

      • In all cases of recurring sin, the mind (the seat of your flesh patterns, your natural inclinations) has won the battle against the Spirit:
        • Galatians 5:16 – But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
        • Proverbs 23:7 – For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
      Control your thoughts, train your mind in a new way (this is resisting the devil)

      • 2 Corinthians 10:5 – We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ
      • Speculation – ideas and fantasy
      • lofty thing – The pride of life that exalts itself against God.
      • Captive to the obedience of Christ – Surrender your mind to Christ, surrender your thought life to Christ, bring your mind into submission to Christ.
      • While you are in the process of disciplining your mind and rejecting sin, your spirit is in the process of gaining strength. However, you must remember that discipline can take you only so far: it is the Spirit that must be the victor over sin in order for you to gain true freedom.
      The Most Important Step: Submit, Resist and Draw

      Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  (James 4:7-8)

      [ Also see my other post, Overcoming Bondage to Sin ]