disciplines

Killed Or Be Killed

KillOrBe Killed

If you are a Christian, you are at war.

The battle is one with eternal consequences. You wage war not against mere humans but against powerful forces of evil in a realm that you cannot see. There is an unholy trinity – the world, your flesh, and the devil – which seeks to plunge your soul into ruin and destruction.

This unholy trinity speaks the ancient language of lies, taking orders from the “Father of Lies”. Their objective is to pierce your spirit with an array of arrows set ablaze by the fires of Hell.

And many of us are being slaughtered.

John Owen, a theologian from the 17th century, put it this way – “Be killing sin or sin will be killing you.” Owen was not the first person to express this idea. He is simply paraphrasing what the Apostle Paul said in Romans 8:13, “If you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”

There is NO alternative. Either you are being crushed and sacrificed over the demonic altar of sin, or you are brutally murdering the fleshly impulses which reside inside you.

When it comes to our faith, it is either kill or be killed. Choosing to do nothing is offering up your entire being to Satan who promises to steal, kill, and destroy EVERYTHING you are and have.

The Battle Begins in Your Mind
Paul is describing this war to a church in Corinth and he instructs them to take EVERY thought captive and make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). Either YOU will rule over your thoughts or your thoughts will rule over you.

“Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth.” – Colossians 3:2

Practically, this can only be done by immersing your mind in Scripture. Throughout Paul’s writings we can see that this process must be intentional. Hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute, we need to CAPTURE every thought and SET our mind on the things of God.

You Need to Starve Your Sinful Nature
So often we forget how deceitful our hearts are. We entertain thoughts of pride, lust, envy, jealousy, and greed. In essence, we are encouraging the beast which resides within us to feast upon the members of our body. Whether it is through looking at certain images or going to specific places, you CANNOT feed your flesh and expect to live victoriously over sin.

We MUST destroy our sinful nature by subduing it under discipline, ripping its demonic food from its mouth, and starving it by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is not optional if you are a Christian. You literally cannot afford to NOT do it.

Begin Today
Much can be said on this topic but knowledge only matters if there is application. I want to exhort you to take every thought captive and hold it accountable to the standard laid out in Philippians 4:8, “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.”

Ask yourself the following questions EVERY time a thought comes into you mind:

  • Is it true?
  • Is it worthy of honor?
  • Does it bring justice to those who are hurting?
  • Is it pure of all fleshly contamination?
  • Does it reflect the beauty of Christ?
  • Would I be able to commend this thought to my friends and church?

Memorize and meditate over Philippians 4:8. Let it soak into your entire being. This battle is far too costly to take lightly.


Friends, be killing sin or sin will be killing you.

The Ladder of Humility (Part Four)

Ladderofhumility4

If you have not read the first three posts in this series, be sure to read them below:
Ladder of Humility (Part One)
Ladder of Humility (Part Two)
Ladder of Humility (Part Three)


ladderofhumility

The fourth step of humility is Patience to Accept the Difficulty of Others.

Ultimately, this only arises out of a deep sense of love and compassion for people. My guess is that every follower of Jesus would claim to love people but how many of them actually practice the love Jesus speaks about?

This step of humility can only be formed as we meditate on God’s love for humanity.

We NEED to understand that we are only loved by God as a result of sheer grace. God did not save you because you are a good person, you are saved because Jesus is the perfect person. The Gospel is NOT clean yourself up and THEN approach God. The Gospel is that while we were yet sinners, rebelling against a Holy God and deserving eternal condemnation in Hell, Christ died for US! (Romans 5:8)

When I experience myself becoming impatient with the difficulty of others, I am spitting upon the face of the Son of God.

Our patience for others should be a reflection of God’s patience for us. Paul makes this point clear in Romans 15:7 – “Accept one another, just as the Messiah also accepted you, to the glory of God.”

According to this verse, we should be patient with the difficulties of others for the following reasons:

  • It is a command from Scripture.
  • Jesus accepted us and we definitely did NOT deserve it.
  • Ultimately, it brings glory to God.

Let’s paint a beautiful picture of God’s love for us by being patient with the difficulties of others. By so doing, we are being obedient to scripture, reflecting the love of God, and bringing glory to God.


Why do YOU think this fourth step is difficult for so many people? Leave a comment and let me know!

Ladder of Humility (Part Three)

Ladder of Humility - 3

If you have not read the first two parts in this series, you can find them below –
The Ladder of Humility (Part One)
The Ladder of Humility (Part Two)


ladderofhumility

Step 3: Willing to Subject Ourselves to Direction of Others

As we embark deeper into the journey of humility, the third step deals with our response to authority. In the beginning, when Adam and Eve decided to disregard the authority of God, our nature was seared with rebellion.

All those who are IN authority should be UNDER authority.

Specifically, as you ascend the ladder of humility, you should subject yourself to the following three authorities:

  1. Be subject to God.

“Submit yourselves to God.” – James 4:7

First and foremost, you must live a life of active submission to the Living God. All other submission is an overflow and application of submission to God. The vast majority of Christians today would CLAIM they are living obedient lives – they go to Church, read the Bible, and pray often.

Unfortunately, many of us have followed in the steps of Eve and been deceived by the Serpent.

Below are some symptoms that will be evident if you are NOT submitting yourself to God:

You talk yourself out of obedience.
If the Holy Spirit nudges you to take a specific action and you rationalize yourself out of doing so, you are living in rebellion to God. OBEY IMMEDIATELY!

You do not allow the Word of God to DWELL in you richly.
Reading the Bible does not cause transformation; allowing the Living Word to shape, mold, and transform your entire being does. Practically, this means filling your life with the study, meditation, and memorization of Scripture so that it overflows into the rest of your life.

You rebel against the other authorities in your life.
If you have trouble obeying authority, it is more than likely a spiritual issue. Ask God what you need to deal with in your submission to HIM so that you are able to obey the other authorities in your life.

  1. Be subject to Spiritual Leaders.

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account, so that they can do this with joy and not with grief.” – Hebrews 13:17

The second authority in your life you must submit to is spiritual leadership. This would be people such as pastors, elders, deacons, and the various other leaders in your local church. (On a side note, this presumes you are part of a local church – No, meeting for coffee with your Christian friends or watching a sermon at home is NOT a local church, I will explain why in a future post.)

First of all, we need to remember that there is a difference between Godly obedience and blind following. Those who shepherd the flock of God are NOT above accountability. Pastors are part of the community of believers – they may be in a place of leadership but they need the nurturing love and care of the Body as much as everyone else!

Below are some symptoms that will be evident if you are NOT submitting to your spiritual leaders:

You are constantly speaking negative about your leaders.
If your Sunday routine consists of critiquing the message and bashing the leadership of the church, YOU need to quit being arrogant and work towards humility in this area.

You are regularly gossiping about other members in your church.
One of Satan’s schemes is to get the church to expense all its energy on one another so that it is no longer effective in storming the gates of Hell.

Friends, we are not ignorant of Satan’s schemes.

  1. Be subject to Civil Leaders.

“Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are instituted by God.” – Romans 13:1

Unfortunately, it seems that many Christians are ignorant of Romans 13 – especially in the United States. We wield our freedom as a weapon to wage a war of rebellion against our government.

The ONLY time it is okay to blatantly disobey civil authority is when it is calling you to commit an action that is in direct contradiction to the Word of God. This happens far less often than the hyper-conservative Christians would like you to believe.

Below are some symptoms that will be evident if you are NOT submitting to the civil leaders in your life:

You never pray for those in authority.
When was the last time you asked God to grant salvation, peace, and rest to those in leadership (both nationally and locally) And Yes, President Obama fits into this group.

You demonize and/or deify political parties.
Friends, I can promise you that a new president will not bring lasting change to this country. If you put more hope in your political party than in the Church, you are living in grave ignorance of the Word of God.


A life of submission will speak volumes to the community around you and enable you to progress further up the Ladder of Humility.

Why do YOU think it is hard for people to submit to authority? Leave a comment and let me know!

The Discipline of Silence

The Discipline Of

“Do not be hasty to speak, and do not be impulsive to make a speech before God. God is in Heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.” – Ecclesiastes 5:2

Those words are incompatible with the evangelical culture of our day. We live in a world that is polluted with noise and speech; from the constant chatter of a television to the never-ending tones of a smart phone. This barrage of sound has even invaded our places of worship, effectively obstructing the voice of God’s Spirit.

Unfortunately, this contamination has even seeped dangerously into our personal relationship with God, especially in our prayer life.

Solomon offers profound advice to Christians today; specifically, I see two ways we should be applying this verse to our lives.

  1. SHUT UP!

Okay, Solomon may not have said these exact words, but the first sentence is informing us in no uncertain terms that we need to shut up – especially in the presence of God.

How often have we followed in the corrupt pattern of the Pharisees and believed God would be impressed with our many religious words?

When was the last time, at a corporate church service, can you remember the pastor or worship leader calling for a time of silence to hear God?

We are ADDICTED to speaking.

Richard Foster, in his book Celebration of Discipline, unpacks our disorder:

“One reason we can hardly bear to remain silent is that it makes us feel so helpless. We are so accustomed to relying upon words to manage and control others. If we are silent, who will take control? God will take control, but we will never let him take control until we trust Him. Silence is intimately related to trust.”

The reason we are fixated on our own speech is because we have trust and power issues. We have a strong desire to be in control and we refuse to relinquish it – even into God’s hands.

  1. Realize that you really aren’t that interesting or intelligent.

Imagine yourself sitting across the table from a world-renowned author and teacher in your field of study. You have been studying this field for one year; on the other hand, this teacher has been active and studying the field for 70 years.

How foolish would it be for you to take over the conversation and explain to this expert how much you know – interrupting him every single time he tries to get a word in edgewise?

That is EXACTLY what we do in our prayer lives.

We are so arrogant that we forget God is in Heaven and we are on earth – He sees the end from the beginning. He has all power, authority, and knowledge – completely transcendent and altogether different from the rest of creation.

Yet WE lead the conversation, don’t we?

God is far more willing to speak than we are to listen.

I believe God is calling us, through the words of Solomon, to shut up and listen. God desires to speak to YOU but YOU do not keep your mouth shut long enough to hear the still, quiet whisper of His Spirit. I exhort and encourage you to spend time actually LISTENING to God this week. Set apart time in your morning devotionals to truly be still and allow Him to teach you.


Friends, spiritual maturity is not measured by the quantity of your speaking but by the quality of your listening.