After seeing my story on YouTube, a man wrote to me in anguish of soul. “I am as the seed upon the rock... I have failed Him so many times and don't have the strength to turn from a re-occurring sin. Like a dog to its vomit, I am sick...Read More
Jesus and His Spirit are the "new wine" and in this particular parable, Judaism (old religion and law) are the "old wineskins". Jesus is saying first that you can't pour His Spirit into stale legalistic religion. But it also implies that we can't...Read More
In the very early days of my ministry, I primarily helped hurting people I met at Starbucks, by sharing my story. Over several months I had brief interactions with a single Christian woman who was very successful in business. She looked...Read More
One time, while I was still in the early stages of studying, compiling, and memorizing the teachings of Christ, at the library, I saw a teenager being very mean and nasty to his younger brother. Because of my childhood, I can spot bullying...Read More
A few years ago, a documentary came out called “Friends of God” featuring Ted Haggard, one of the most powerful evangelical Christian leaders in the country at the time. Ted was adored and seemed like the most joyful and happy pastor you could know....Read More
I was judgmental towards divorced Christians until I became one. It takes two people to make a marriage, but only one to end it. My worst nightmare had come upon me. I had always felt I could survive anything, as a Christian, except divorce...Read More
Am I remembering to do whatever is necessary to prevent myself from looking at others lustfully?
27 "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
INSIGHT: I met with a married Christian man, over lunch one time, who did not even attempt to hide the fact that he was checking out nearly every woman that walked by, in an inappropriate way. The habit was so engrained that he was not even conscious of it anymore.
As I write this, I am a healthy single man, and I understand the desires of the flesh, and the God given desire for sex. I know what it feels like to see an attractive person, and to have a seemingly built in automatic desire to look. However, I am also a godly man who fears the Lord, and who understands the destiny of those who live according to the sin nature (Rom 8:13). Instead, I choose to possess the life and peace that comes to those who live according to the Spirit, which pleases God.
Living in purity will initially cause you suffering, especially if you have been feeding the lust monster for years and he is big and strong. This is why Paul calls us to be living sacrifices. It’s called sacrifice for a reason, and it will feel like death for a while. However, it is my personal testimony that the grace of Christ can absolutely help you, so that you are able to manage this appetite and maintain self-control. Many will say, “But Michael, I have tried to stop this a thousand times—I just can’t.” What you would be saying is that I must be special to God and that He has given me some extra ability to live holy that He has not given you (favoritism). It is also saying His grace is not able, which makes God out to be a liar. I know you don’t believe these things, so it must be that I’m doing something differently than you. So, what am I doing?
As I began writing this page, I am sitting in a Starbucks looking out the window of the front of the store. A rather attractive woman, wearing yoga pants and a skimpy top, just sat down directly in front of me, just over the top of my laptop. Five minutes after she sat down, another attractive lady, who approached me inappropriately in the past, came in. Do you think this is just a coincidence? How do I handle these situations? Some may think I am fanatic or living in a fantasy world, but those are people who will not enjoy the peace of mind and soul that I now enjoy, in Christ.
I have been single and celibate for over three years, and yet I very much desire a godly wife. I have a promise from God for her, but I have had to wait a very long time. Obviously my desire makes this my area of weakness and vulnerability. Here’s how I stay in victory in this area. 1. I admit my weakness to the Father (humility which brings grace) 2. I pray whenever I leave the house for God to deliver me from evil. 3. I pray immediately when a temptation comes (warfare). 4. I fear the Lord and am afraid of grieving the Holy Spirit 5. I think about how the consequences of shame and guilt feel after yielding to a temptation, rather than the temporary pleasure it might provide. 6. I look away and starve those desires knowing that my eyes will never say, “Ok, we’re satisfied…you can stop looking now.”
The flesh says, “Just because you’re on a diet doesn’t mean you can’t look at the menu”, but Jesus says looking at the menu can end us up in hell. There is no comfy way around this. Can you see Paul or Billy Graham or Amy Carmichael staring lustfully at the opposite sex? Neither should we.
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
INSIGHT: It’s humbling to realize that I went through several beliefs about the beatitudes, before God finally gave me better understanding. At first, I thought they were simply something to aim for, but completely unattainable. Then there was the time I concluded that Jesus dying on the cross surely cancelled out our need to try to live up to this unreachable standard. Finally, there was the time when I realized, “Wow, I am actually living these and I have a deep desire to continue to do so.” I was partly correct in my first assumption; these are absolutely unattainable without the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. However, when you fully surrender to the Spirit of Christ, these become the natural outflow of abiding in Him. I want to caution against you misinterpreting what I’m about to say, such that you think I’m saying it’s not important to learn and intentionally apply the teachings in the Bible. Nevertheless, here has been my wonderful experience. There have been many times that I read a precept or command and realize that I am already obeying it without having ever consciously or intentionally tried to. That is life in the Spirit. You begin to think like He thinks and desire what He desires and act like He acts. It’s incredible because He enables you (grace) to be able to live like He requires you to live. Praise God!