For July 22, 2020
The Bible depicts a time just before our Lord’s return as a lust-driven world of addictions, where iniquity abounds, and where people have little regard for their fellow human beings. Instead, using people while cherishing things are commonplace, as we pursue the pride of life, the lust of the eyes, and the lust of the flesh with all fervor.1. Of these dangers, Jesus Christ admonishes our persistent vigilance,
Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man. Luke 21:34-36 (NLT)
The pride of life is a self-centered obsession with power or influence, without regard for the safety or the well-being of others. This is in stark contrast to God’s design for power and influence—to maintain civic order, render justice, and to provide for those in need.
The pride of life can be as subtle as prejudice or as overt as war as we succumb to sin and selfishness with the credo, “God helps those who help themselves.” Recently, we have witnessed this phenomenon as people continue to satisfy their selfish cravings through monopolizing goods and services, creating civil disturbances, bullying and intimidation, random or targeted violence and/or property destruction, and through physical and/ or verbal assaults.
The lust of the eyes is coveting things of value for personal gratification. Being parsimonious with our money (as opposed to expressing generosity) is one example of this. God desires us to use money as a form of worship through tithes and offerings. In this way, we can express our appreciation to God for His providence while providing for His servants who minister to us.
Yet, He also wants us to use our money to show benevolence toward those who are less fortunate through charitable giving, (and create wealth for ourselves as well). Lust of the eyes changes God’s purpose into self-centered extravagance as we splurge on ourselves lavishly while being heartless toward others who need our generosity and compassion.
The lust of the flesh is the overindulgence of our sensual desires. Gluttony, substance abuse, and sexual incorrigibility are all forms of this obsession. The Bible teaches that inappropriate sexual conduct devastates God’s plan for healthy, interpersonal relationships. It also yields shattered hopes, destroyed relationships, and feelings of intense guilt, shame, and emptiness.
Nevertheless, because of His vicarious death and glorious resurrection, Jesus Christ supplies us with both the desire and the power to love Him, serve others, while meeting our needs and desires appropriately.
Jesus transforms us from the inside out by releasing us from the bondage of sin, and giving us the ability to walk in His Spirit and resist the lust of the eyes, flesh, and the pride of life. Not in our human strength, but only through Jesus Christ, can we have blessed hope and true, lasting victory,
This is what the LORD says: “Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the LORD. They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land. But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.” Jeremiah 17:5-8 (NLT)
As frail humans, there will be times when we yield to temptation. Yet, Christ supplies us with the power we need to resist the urge to blame others and make excuses.
Thus, He turns us from our destructive compulsive, addictive behavior to a consistent, noble, Christ-like conduct. Daily, we ask for His forgiveness, reconcile with the offended, and allow His Spirit to strengthen our faith walk.
Over time, we will experience His blessed hope and total victory as we grow into morally astute practitioners of the Christian faith. With our growing moral consciousness, we produce the living fruit that validates our Christian witness.2
Our godliness is a byproduct of our reverence toward God and His penetrating Spirit inside of us, helping us live out a pure religion that is undefiled before God, and to keep us unspotted from the world. Our victory is Jesus Christ—working in us. Bought with a price, we now use our bodies to glorify God, while we patiently and diligently await His glorious return,3
Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of Heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of Heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all His glory. Colossians 3:1-4 (NLT)
Most of all, we love and fear God. Thus, we want to do what we can to please Him since it is the right thing to do. Won’t you share in His blessed hope and victory today?
What a Wonderful Savior!