God calls us to be holy in Him because He is holy and He is perfecting us in Him. “We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure,” (1 John 3:3).
How can we be a city on a hill and the light to the world (Matthew 5:14) when we constantly indulge our flesh acting just like the world we’re called serve. One of the greatest hang-ups non-Christians have with the Church is that we’re hypocrites we focus our minds on Christ in worship on Sunday only to use that very same mind to please ourselves as we lie in bed at night.
Mental fantasies will also defile our marriage. When I consider that Lord willing, I’ll be married one day I shutter at the thought of taking this sin into my marriage bed. What happens when I’m not ‘feeling it’ one day with my husband will I just allow my mind to substitute him for my favorite actor. I want my marriage to be above reproach, a ministry that is a sweet aroma to the Lord. As much as we get on men for cheating women are just as guilty of infidelity and it often starts on a mental and emotional level.
We have to be honest about mental fantasizing and call it what it is a sin against God. I constantly have to repent and take captive any sinful thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5) to keep my mind pure and focused on God.
We must remember that in Him we have the victory, Christ has all power over Heaven and Earth, at His name every knee will bow and tongue confess that He is Lord and Savior (Romans 14:11). We can take heart because He has overcome the world (John 16:33) and greater is He that is within us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).
Sexual sin is powerful especially because it is so enticing to our easily ensnared flesh. But we must take heart that if we repent and turn from our sin that God will restore us and that He will take our hearts of stone and turn them into hearts of flesh that only desire to please Him and do His will (Ezekiel 36:25-27).
I recently attended the Poets In Autumn Christian spoken word tour which was absolutely anointed, convicting and awesome. One of the poets Ezekiel Azonwu spoke on masturbation and it completely convicted me.
When you’re trying to live a pure lifestyle they are often things you’ll avoid: late night visits with your boo, slow jams they play on radio shows like ‘The Quiet Storm,’ sex scenes in movies or if you’re really disciplined movies with sex altogether.
But an even more dangerous playing field that we can slip into so easily it’s almost scary is the area of mental fantasies. It’s a sin that I’ve struggled with all of my adult life. I knew getting physically involved was off limits and so I reasoned well I’m not having actual sex with the guy, I’m just imagining what it would be like in my mind so that’s totally ok. I get to avoid STDs, pregnancy scares and all the ‘real’ consequences of actually having sex while enjoying the ‘fun’ parts should we be in the rain like The Notebook how romantic, or maybe on the beach like that music video scene.
Mental fantasies seemed like a harmless way to have my cake and eat it too. Until my small group leader told me “you realize sex mentally is still the same as sex physically in God’s eyes, sin is sin.” I was shocked; I had always assumed my mind was off limits, like our all-knowing, all-powerful, all-seeing God who spoke the very universe into existence (Genesis 1:2) couldn’t see it. That He knew I was ‘doing my best’ to fight the urge and would let this one slide because it ‘wasn’t the real thing.’
To all those who thought like I did please know that mental fantasies work like porn in your mind except you are creating the images instead of actors and actresses.
Our bodies are God’s temple His Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:3) resides in us and we grieve Him when we defile ourselves with fantasies of Lance Gross and Laz Alonso salivating as we take in sex scenes on Scandal.
Instead Paul made the conscious decision to throw off the dead weight of his past and “press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me,” (Philippians 3:12). Christ died on the cross to save us from eternal damnation taking on our filthy rags of sin and clothing us in His righteousness.
I attended a Passion 4 Christ Movement (P4CM) event (the poets are so transparent and anointed!!), and one of the artists stated that in order for us to live in true freedom from our pasts we must truly believe that God is who He says He is.
One of the key ingredients for overcoming regret is to believe that God has the ultimate power to restore. That He is the same God that spoke to dry bones lying in dust and turned them into living bodies of flesh (Ezekiel 37:4-6). That He is the same God who promises to take us a sinful, idolatrous people and restore us to Himself, making a covenant with Israel as His bride (Hosea 2:14-20). He loves us so much that He won’t allow us to stay trapped in regret over our past. But we have to first believe that He is who He says He is, that His promises are true and that He is faithful to complete them.
I’ve experienced a lot of regret in my life and have to constantly resist the urge to replay my many mistakes over and over in my mind. But I’m a witness that God will restore you, that He will use every broken moment to draw you into a deeper dependence on and reverence for Him. If we submit yourself to God’s plan believing in His sovereignty even when the situation is at it’s bleakest and we can’t possibly see how He will turn things around. That He is faithful to complete the good work He began in us (Philippians 1:6) setbacks, regrets and all because, “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
No Longer Slaves – Bethel Music
Have you ever done something that you deeply regretted? A harsh word spoken in anger that you can’t take back that hurt someone you love to the core. A horrible mistake at work that harmed your reputation, a bad relationship that you stayed in for too long, a dream deferred. We all have regrets in our lives, things that we wish we could do differently.
Regret, when absorbed properly, can push us closer to God and deepen our sense of conviction and dependence on Him. We don’t want to repeat those mistakes and we realize, with painful clarity, how much we can mess up our lives when we don’t keep Him at the center. However, regret defined by Webster’s as “a feeling of sorrow or remorse for a fault, act, loss or disappointment’ can also turn into condemnation when it festers in our spirits.
Regret can keep us in a mindset where we are constantly looking back to our past weighed down by what could have been and what you should have done. I’ve found myself literally trapped in my mind watching the same scene over and over again wishing that I could make the outcome different. Satan likes to use regret as a tool to make us feel ashamed and to heighten our sense of unworthiness before God so that instead of turning to Him we run from Him, the only One who can change the situation.
For this reason Paul said, “there is now no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 NIV). Paul knew a thing or two about what regret could be like and he could have easily allowed his past to hinder him from being all that God had called him to be.
As God’s creation we are anything but mediocre! God formed us by hand and breathed His very essence into us, we are His masterpiece (Genesis 2:7). David says “ for you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, (Psalm 139: 13-14).” God is the Alpha and Omega, the almighty God, it is literally impossible for Him to do something that is not at a level of utmost excellence. He created us for His glory and He has an awesome and unique plan for each of our lives. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations (Jeremiah 1:5).” God knew everything about us before we ever set foot on this earth. He knew our potential in Him, each of our fears and deepest desires. Christ came to this earth and died for our sins that we may have life more abundantly in Him (John 10:10).
The key to being set free from a false sense of mediocrity and combating Satan’s lies is to embrace our identity in Christ and the truth of God’s Word.
- Pursue an intimate relationship with God. God desires that we know and grow in Him.
- “You have been chosen to know me, believe in me, and understand that I alone am God… I made you and I will care for you”(Isaiah 43:10 and Isaiah 46:4).
- Discover God’s unique purpose for each of our lives. God has a distinctive calling on our lives and has given us the gifts and ability to fulfill His will. He will be with us every step of the way as we join that ministry, start a nonprofit, write a book whatever He is calling us to do.
- “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren,” (Romans 8:28-29).
- Recognize the ultimate price Christ paid for our redemption and freedom. Christ died for us taking on our sins so that we might be clothed in His righteousness.
- “He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed,” (Isaiah 53:5).
- We don’t want to squander His sacrifice but should strive to live our lives for His glory so that we might hear well done my good and faithful servant.
As we begin to understand our identity in Christ and draw closer to God our desire to live passionately for Him will increase and we will have a holy discontentment for a mediocre life.
Have you ever met someone who was comfortable doing just enough to get by. Like in school there was always that one student that had the potential to get all A’s but would settle for C’s. Imagine if you saw Michael Jordan playing a basketball game at the height of his career and he had a chance to take the winning shot but he chose to let the other team win. You’d be like Michael you have all this talent yet you’re just content to sit on the sidelines and watch your team get defeated.
That is how mediocre Christians are, we have all this amazing potential from God that He has poured into us and yet we are content with doing just enough to get by. I’ll go to church every Sunday but don’t ask me to roll up my sleeves and get involved in ministry. I’m happy to put a fish bumper sticker on my car but don’t ask me to go out and be a fisher of men.
It is painful and embarrassing to admit this but I have often been seduced by comfort as a mediocre Christian. It’s easy for me to do just enough to keep up my good Christian girl front while not actually getting in the trenches and giving of myself to the kingdom. I had a television show for every day of the week and I drifted from work to the gym to the couch and church before I did it all over again. I was afraid of the cost emotionally, spiritually, time-wise of getting involved in ministry. I feared that I didn’t have anything to give, that I wasn’t particularly talented in any area so I settled for a life of mediocrity.
A life of mediocrity is often marked by:
• A lack of passion for life and the building of the kingdom
• A sense of complacency and comfort with the status quo
• Stagnancy in your spiritual relationship with God
One of the most dangerous and false beliefs we can have as Christians is that we are mediocre. Mediocre by definition is “of only ordinary or moderate quality, barely adequate.” Satan whispers his lies that we are inadequate, that we don’t have the talent or ability of (insert Christian superstar here) so better to stay on the sidelines. The thief comes to steal kill and destroy and nothing would make Satan happier than to see us live a life far below God’s potential. The hardest part is that Satan’s lies often align with our own fleshly sense of unworthiness making it even harder to step out in faith.
Amazing worship song by Jesus Culture!