Refreshed and Renewed
It is finally summer! Actually, summer doesn’t officially start until June 21. “School is out” could be what many of us are hearing from our children or grandchildren. Some parents dread when their children are out of school because it is hard to keep them out of trouble and not let them become bored. For some, it is time to take a well-deserved vacation with the family. We might take the family to a location where the kids can have fun and the adults can get some relaxation. Summer can be a time for refreshment and renewal. For children, no homework can be a time of refreshment and renewal before the next school year begins. For adults, time away from the workforce may refocus on the purpose of life. It also might be a time to be more prone to sin than any other time of the year--having so much fun sometimes results in sin without awareness.
We are starting a new sermon series on the seven deadly sins, which are: lust, greed, gluttony, sloth, wrath, pride, and envy. We are going to look at each of the seven deadly sins, what they mean in the Bible, and how we can refresh and be renewed when we sin. Understanding sin is important in the same way as understanding speed limits and braking when driving a car. What happens when we don’t follow the speed limits and rules? If we don’t know how to use our brakes when driving a car, serious or deadly accidents might occur. All the seven deadly sins are man's true nature to be greedy, to be hateful, and to have lust. Of course, you have to control them. But, if you're made to feel guilty for being human, then you're going to be trapped in a sin and repent cycle that you can't escape, from which you are going to be miserable. We must learn to control sin even though it feels so natural to us sometimes.
There are many things we take for granted when it comes to our actions and our thoughts which sometimes leads to sin. Our thoughts are always with us, yet we rarely stop to consider whether we are thinking correctly. Furthermore, how would we even know? What is the sign for evaluating them? I like what Charles F. Stanley says, “The only sure way to know if we are thinking correctly is to align our thoughts as closely as possible with absolute truth, and that is found in the Bible.”
If we’re making choices, based on lies or false reasoning, every part of our lives can be affected. Since the day we were born, our minds have been programmed by what we’ve experienced and been taught. Some of that is good. But, we may have developed thought patterns that are hampering our lives because they are not based on truth.
First Corinthians 2:14 says, “This doesn’t mean they lack intelligence, but they can’t understand the things of God since these are spiritually discerned. Romans 1; 18-22 reads: “All those who suppress the truth about God, which He has made evident within them and through His creation, become futile in their speculations and reasoning even though they claim to be wise.”
In addition, those without Christ have no power over sin. Although most people are not as bad as they could be, their sin nature taints their motivations, making all their good deeds like filthy rags in God’s eyes. To make matters worse, Satan is constantly tempting and deceiving them with worldly pleasures and pursuits, and they have no defense. What we do know is there is always hope in Christ.
“When we want to become believers, we renew our mind and become new creations in Christ.” (II Cor. 5:17) When we believe in Jesus, repent of sin, and receive Him as Lord and Savior, we are given a new nature that is bent toward God. We will never be the person we once were because we have the Holy Spirit living within us. Although we will always struggle with sin, now we have the power to obey God instead of yielding to our natural feelings.
“Being a new creation in Christ also applies to our minds” (1 Cor. 2:15-16). We are now able to understand the laws of God, however. He doesn’t suddenly change how we think. It’s a process, and we have a role in it. After salvation we may still be overloaded by wrong thought patterns, old habits, a worldly perspective, and bad attitudes, but God has provided what we need to be transformed—His Word. It’s when we continue in the Word, as Christ said, that we’ll know the truth and be set free from defective thinking as well as sinful behaviors.
If we don’t start renewing our minds, we might start conforming ourselves to this broken world. When we do take time to renew and refresh, it helps us become more Christ-like and share the good news with others. Sometimes we get so focused on not sinning that we become weary and it is easier just to give up. The problem is that we are working on the outside but have failed to address the inside problem which is our thinking. The only way to overcome destructive thought patterns and deceptions is to think biblically.
Romans 12:2 says “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Christ calls us to stop adopting the culture’s values, philosophies, and ideas because He’s working to conform us into His image, not that of the world, and it all begins in the mind (Romans 8:29).
Every time you read and study the Bible, God is reprogramming your mind with truth so you can be set free from old thought patterns and begin to think rightly. The result is a life filled with trust in the Lord and victory over sin.
Engagement with Scripture is a personal essential. It’s also a crucial function of the church. Not only must pastors faithfully teach God’s Word (2 Tim. 2:15), but believers should constantly remind each other of its life-giving contents: “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16). When you store up God’s Word in your heart and speak it into the lives of others, powerful transformation is possible. If you’ll continue in Scripture, you’ll discover that it not only sets you free but brings delight to your soul, wisdom to your mind, and blessings to those with whom you share it. By understanding sin, we gain a greater understanding of God's work of transforming this world through Jesus Christ.
Scripture for June 2019
6-2-2019 Survivor and Spiritual Gifts 1st Corinthians 12: 1-11
6-9-2019 The Seven Deadly Sins Lust 1 Thessalonians 4: 3-7
6-16-19 The Seven Deadly Sins: Greed Proverbs 28:25; Luke 12:15; Philippians 4:12; 2nd Corinthians 9:6
6-23-19 The Seven Deadly Sins: Gluttony Luke 12: 22-23, Proverbs 23: 19-21; John 6:35
6-30-19 The Seven Deadly Sins: Sloth Matthew 25: 24-25, Matthew 25: 44-45
In Christ’s Love,
Pastor Debbie Senters