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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
- C-Train

This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
 
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Friday, April 17, 2009
Walk By Faith.
So there you are, struggling against some tempatation, or struggling to overcome some habitual sin. You hate it, and you hate that you continue to give into it; you chastise yourself for the inherent hypocricy in your profession of salvation, because clearly, you do not see yourself as having been saved from this besetting sin. So you cry out for grace until that cry becomes a lifeless habit - you ask for grace, expecting none to come, but hoping, just maybe, God will zap you into obedience. You're waiting for God to either judge you or help you.

I have known this struggle, and let me tell you, it happens not because we are insincere, but because we are deceived about what God will and won't do for us. We really don't want to be free from some particular sin (or sins), but we are fully convicted that we ought not to indulge them. We transgress our conscience with every rebellious surrender to sin, and worse, we grow accustomed to doing so. Our prayer for deliverance is just lip service, and even though we know it, we continue to ply the same old impotent strategies to get out from under it.

Here is a practical bit of advice: when you suffer from periodic failure you are walking by sight and not by faith.

By that I mean that you may be waiting for God to change something before you do anything; indeed, you may well be harboring the notion that the only solution that is going to work is for God to mystically zap you so that you suddenly experience a painless victory.

Now, let me say right off the bat that God does provide the occasional painless victory. Recall Israel under Hezekiah, marching out from the seige of Jerusalem to find an abandoned camp full of spoil? I mean, that is pretty sweet when the battle is fought entirely by the Lord. Yet the overwhelming majority of battles fought, were fought with the Lord - not that God appeared in armor and led out the troops - but that the troops went out to fight the Lord's battle in the confidence that He was with them.

Your struggle, if it is against sin, is the Lord's battle. Jesus is the one who overcame (won a victory over) sin and death - there was a battle, and Jesus won that battle. We know this, but sometimes, because we deal with sin and temptation daily, we forget that the war against sin is only ours insofar as we are in Christ who overcame. When we say, "the battle belongs to the Lord" we don't merely mean that the Lord is going to win it - we mean by that that the battle is not our battle, it is the Lord's battle - we are partakers in His battle, if we are losing the battle it is because we are fighting it instead of the Lord fighting it in and through us.

But how can we go from us fighting the battle to the Lord fighting it in us? Here is were some become confused. They know that Christ is supposed to fight the battle, so they expect Christ to zap them so that they can have victory - but it doesn't happen, and they presume that there must be something wrong with them (or Jesus) because Jesus isn't providing them with the victory in the way that they expect it to come.

Here is where we need to understand what it means to walk by faith. Walking by faith does not mean that I trust that God will make my flesh suddenly desire to do only good and stop desiring to do evil; No, walking by faith means that even though I am walking through the valley of the shadow of death, I trust that God is with me. In other words, even though wicked desires continue to demand that I satisfy them, I must refuse to do so in nothing more than the certainty that God is with me as I refuse them. I trust in His strength to accomplish what I myself cannot do. I embark on the right course trusting God to make the path straight. Did you get that? I don't wait for a straight path to open up for me - I embark upon what I know to be the right path, and I do so trusting that God Himself will make the path that I am to walk straight, even though it is not straight when I step on it.

To take that out of the allegorical, I mean that in a moment of temptation or (and perhaps especially) in dealing with habitual failure in the sin department, I stop waiting for some mystical deliverance beforehand, and instead set my mind on the things of the spirit - that God is with me, that He is my strength, and that the battle belongs to the Lord, for this is His war - I am a soldier in His army, and my flesh is the field of the battle. The day God granted me grace to believe through faith, is the day that I set my foot upon this field which is my flesh - and where my foot has fallen, the land becomes mine.

Walking by faith is how we overcome sin. It isn't that we get zapped, the victory is almost mundane seeming by that standard. We trust and obey; yet not a vague trust in the amorphous goodness of God, but a specific trust that God is with us, that He will strengthen us, and make our paths straight, and that the battle is His and not our own. We -must- however, put our foot down on the path in faith, and not remain aloof in failure waiting for victory to overcome us. In other words - when you are about to enter into the same old pattern of sin, or if you find yourself five paces, or ten, or twenty - whenever it is that you come to yourself and realize you are in the mire - in that moment you must resolve to fight sin, and not to make peace with it; you must do so knowing that you will not get a mystical zap to make it all easy. You must actually resist the flesh even though you have failed in this a thousand times before - but you must do so resovled in the certainty that God is with you, and will make a path through it that you can follow. He isn't going to carry your sword and swing it for you - that is not what a general does - he is going to point to the place you are to go, and you have to trust Him that if He told you to go there, He will get you there too.

It isn't a let go and let God do it for you thing. It is a leper being told to go and present himself to the priest even before He has been healed. Faith, my friend, trust, that God is not absent in His own battle. Your struggle with sin is really a struggle of ignorance if you don't know these things, or with unbelief if you do.

Remember, it is by grace that you're convicted of sin. If you are praying for God's grace, and all you get is conviction, conviction, conviction - remember that it is the work of the Holy Spirit (His very ministry) to convict both of sin and of righteousness. God's grace is sufficient for you, the conviction of what not to do, and what you ought to do is sufficient, I say, to set your feet on the path when you are resolved to trust in the strength of the Lord to see you through it.

I believe that God doesn't want or intend for us to tarry in a pathetic limbo of habitual sins - but has provided the means for our deliverance. Just as the Jews missed their Messiah because they expected something else, we too can miss being delivered from sin's power if we are looking for the divine zap.
posted by Daniel @ 7:13 AM  
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