Denial of Sin
Denying yourself of sin is one thing found in the Bible that cannot be glamorized. Denial of sin is a painful, brutal and confrontational process that is grueling before it is ever glorious.
If you haven't tapped into the grueling aspect of Christianity...you will never partake of the glorious aspect of Christianity.
If you are under the impression that Christianity is all glitz, glamour and completely lacks ANY and ALL uncomfortable opposition whatsoever; while you "Live Your Best Life Now"...you may as well come to the confrontational realization that you're involved in a counterfeit.
If you want to taste the glory...you're going to have to first taste the cross.
If you want to partake of the resurrection...you will first need to experience the death that precedes the resurrection.
A lot of people forsake Christ when the pain of Christianity comes in-between the glory of Church-ianity.
Church-ianity wants glory first... and sacrifice and pain NEVER.
True Christianity requires pain and sacrifice first... and glory FOREVER.
Don't buy into the counterfeit of "it's gonna cost me nothing" Church-inaity.
Don't buy into the glitz and glam and lying deceit of TV-preacher styled Celebrity-Christianity. It's a sparkling, glamorous and attractive counterfeit that sows to the flesh while squelching the spirit. This is why people within it have more of an appearance of being discipled unto the Kardashians than they do of Christ. This type of Christianity costs NOTHING as it sows to the flesh producing eternal corruption and loss.
True Christianity costs MUCH as it sows to the spirit producing eternal gain.
Counterfeit Christianity is based on gain but produces loss.
True Christianity is based on loss but produces gain.
We must measure our devotion to Christ in terms and figures of loss...not gain.
How much you are willing to lose for Christ will determine how much you will gain in Christ.
It cost Him everything...and it'll cost us no less to follow Him.
"Never assume that if it cost Him His very life, that it won't also cost you yours". -Rich Mullins-
The very foundation of Christianity is based on COST. And if Christianity's foundation (from the standpoint of Christ) was based on the notion of "how little will this cost me"...you wouldn't be reading these words right now. Why? Because if Christ acted like the tyrannical, God-anarchist, pacified-babies we have in our churches today; He'd of never went to the cross.
He went to His cross...now: just like Him, so must we go to ours.
Just because denial of sin doesn't "feel" glamorous or gives you goose bumps...doesn't mean it's not God-ordained. If EVERY last martyr who willingly gave up their LITERAL lives for Christ, were waiting on the goose-bump process to kick in BEFORE they'd be willingly sacrificed...we'd have NO martyrs for Jesus Christ.
Whether you are a cohort of True Christianity or Counterfeit Christianity, either way, sooner or later, you're going to endure pain and loss. True Christianity causes one to endure glorious pain and loss unto eternal reward and glory. Counterfeit Christianity causes one to reject the command to bear his cross unto eternal pain and loss. Either bear your cross now...or it will bear you on Judgment Day. What you retreat from NOW will reject you THEN.
Sometimes following Christ hurts...REALLY BAD. But to the mature disciple, it's a glorious pain in the midst of a calming peace that passes all understanding.
Getting saved is one thing: it's easy and absolutely free...but following Him and becoming His Disciple is quite another thing. Getting saved is based entirely on HIS pain...but following Him is entirely based on OUR pain. Through the pain He has already endured He will supply us strength to endure ours.
Sometimes pain and death in the Christian life is the only way to know we're alive, truly saved and abiding in Him. THIS is the Biblical way to live "Your Best Life Now".
And that's the plain, unglamorized truth.
"Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple". Luke 14:27
""Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me". Luke 9:23
Dealing with our sins is based on the intimate reality and consciousness we have while in fellowship with the Lord. And the consciousness we have while in fellowship with the Lord in turn, is based on the depth, degree and intimacy of this fellowship. If the degree and reality of our fellowship is deep, our conscience and consciousness of sin will be sensitive, spiritually-responsive as well as sharp and strong. If, on the other hand, the degree of our fellowship with Christ is shallow, superficial, loose, blown to and fro and weak; our conscience & consciousness of sin will be dull and weak.
It is similar to the air in the room, which at first glance seems quite clean and free from dust. The fact is that the light is not strong enough, so that our vision is not able to pierce the atmosphere and detect the dust. When the sunlight enters the room, under such strong illumination, we may observe many dust particles in the air. In like manner, we can be guilty of many unrighteous and unlawful deeds, among which, some may be the coarser and more serious sins, which are easily recognized; (adultery, fornication, drunkenness, murder, stealing etc) But there are many seemingly finer or less serious sins (humanly speaking) which are not as easily discernible (impure motives, impatience, selfishness, jealousy, gluttony etc) . Not until our fellowship with Christ deepens will we be enabled to recognize these and deal with them. As light becomes stronger as we grow in the depth and intensity of our walk with Christ, more sins will be illuminated. Once we are made aware of them, we
should deal with them under the power of His blood and repentance. Every Child of God is at a different level and depth with Christ. Some Christians smoke, others say it's a sin. Some drink wine with a meal, others don't. Some watch TV...some don't, some eat food slain for Allah...some don't...and so on. Some things are a matter of the conscience according to what the Holy Spirit has revealed to you through conviction. Others, the more blatant of sins, are more obvious in nature and require immediate forsaking.
Hence, we should never measure others by the yardstick of our own consciences, nor should we accept the conscience of others as a yardstick by which to measure ourselves. Everyone should learn to deal with sins according to his own conscience under the intimate x-ray and scrutiny of His own current maturity and state before the Lord.
We must grow daily unto the maturity and stature of Christ. We must allow progressive sanctification to peel away all of the sins, layer by layer, that you're being convicted of. We must be found in the word and prayer daily for this purpose. We must see to it that we're in a consistent process of pursuing the infiltration of our spiritual atmosphere by the illumination of the Spirit. When this becomes your habitual daily experience, the spiritual dust particles that used to be unseen, will become more and more evident as more and more light is given.
But simply being in this process isn't good enough alone; we must become an active participant by becoming obedient to what the process reveals. We must act upon the very purpose behind the process. We mustn't reject what it is the Spirit is communicating by becoming disobedient. We must be obedient and keep our conscience in a state of spiritual tenderness. The more you disobey the Lord, the closer you get to searing your conscience (1 Timothy 4:2). A seared conscience is a conscience that has lost it's consciousness. It's a conscience that has lost it's sensitivity and keen awareness before the Lord. It's a conscience that has lost it's ability to feel and slips into a state of dormancy. A seared conscience is like burning your hand repeatedly on the same spot, over and over again. Over time the skin will grow back...but the nerves beneath the skin are destroyed and are unable to respond to any felling. That area you could say, has lost it's state of sensitivity and awareness. It
has lost its consciousness. And so it goes with our spiritual awareness and consciousness before the Lord. We must guard ourselves from the repeated disobedience that will eventually destroy our soulical nerve endings; deeming us incapable of having any spiritual feeling before the Lord. This is a serious condition and must NOT be taken likely.
This is the reason the modern church feels absolutely no conviction over its state of worldliness, idolatry and blatantly condoned sin. Due to it's consistent rebellion, it has slipped into a state of non-feeling before the Lord. And consequently, it has been given over to a depraved, seared over-reprobate mind that it may become one with the delusional lies it has accepted and continues to pass off as Truth. Romans 1:27-32, 2 Thessalonians 2:11, 1 Timothy 4:2)
The more you obey the Lord, the more you begin to think, feel and act like the Lord. An obedient Child of God can indeed testify that "We are partakers of the Divine Nature" (2 Peter 1:4). The more you disobey the Lord, the more your conscience becomes dead to spiritual things. The more you disobey and reject the truth that the Lord reveals, the more you begin to think, feel and act like the world you are supposed to be dead to. This state of affairs robs you of all peace and is meant to drive you to repentance. He will never give a Child of God peace in the midst of a sin He has revealed and hereby expects you to forsake.
Obeying the Lord allows the Word of Christ to dwell in you richly. Disobeying the Lord prevents His Word from dwelling in you at all. Why? Because it hasn't the tender soil of the conscience to sow itself into. Consistent disobedience to indwelling truth makes the conscience an impenetrable wall of resistance against the things of God. And this makes you vulnerable to all kinds of deception and seduction. When you are left with a God-deprived conscience...you are a sitting duck for Satan to sow his innumerable false doctrines into. These are serious matters. The best weapon to guard ourselves against deception, seduction and false doctrine is obedience to the Lord. May we all guard ourselves in this way.
The closer you get to the Lord, the more He will illumine your spiritual atmosphere and the more opportunities you will have to obey Him. The more intimate you become with Christ, the more rights and wrongs He will reveal to you. This is the proper growth in the Christian life. May we grow unto the full knowledge and stature of Christ, unto maturity, through unbending and unwavering obedience.
Remember: Depth, degree, light and intimacy will be added, layer by layer to our conscience the more we obey the Lord. And likewise; Depth, degree, light and intimacy, layer by layer, will be stripped, singed and burnt from our conscience the more we disobey the Lord.
Upon our initial salvation some sins instantly fall to the wayside (and rightly so). But others are revealed progressively, by the Lord, little by little, at a later time. As we spiritually grow and mature this is the natural process the Lord utilizes as we become more and more conformed to His likeness. If the Lord freed us of everything, all at once...never to struggle with it again...I'm afraid Satan would utilize this and would influence us to no longer rely on God for anything. He would use this as a tactic to make us feel we are God, just like he tried with Adam and Eve in Genesis 3.
While total and absolute freedom from sin is our future reality, after we receive our glorified bodies...so long as we are in this natural flesh, we will need to rely on His light and strength to overcome sin on a daily basis. Even the Apostle Paul was given a thorn in the flesh, something he wasn't able to overcome, so as to "keep him from exalting himself" and becoming puffed up with self-reliance.
" Because of the extraordinary character of the revelations, so that I would not become arrogant, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to trouble me--so that I would not become arrogant". 2 Corinthians 12:7
How troubling and tormenting it is to deal with the thorn of sin! And every genuine Child of God naturally (or supernaturally) wishes to be completely freed from it's dominant and overbearing nature. But through all of these things we endure...by the Lord's strength alone...we conquer according to the sufficiency of His Grace and power to free us from sin...until that which is perfect comes and we are transformed unto a state just like Jesus. We may not live in sinless perfection this side of the Kingdom...but nevertheless, this MUST be our hearts desire and overwhelming intent. Absolute sinlessness may not be possible...but this should nevertheless be the very thing we are striving for. THIS is the type of Church He is coming back for!
Let he who has wisdom, discernment, spiritual maturity and not a speck of self-righteousness, realize and comprehend, that I am certainly not advocating a life of sin (in case any of you were thinking of commenting or messaging me to imply that I am). Admitting and hereby acknowledging the fact that you are engaged in a war with sin, isn't the equivalent of advocating a life of sin. In fact, he who claims he has no sin, is a liar, and the Truth is not in him (1 John 1:8). I believe those in which this article was written for, will understand and be illuminated from God of its specific intent and eternal purpose.
If you remain in a constant state of progressive sanctification and intimacy with Christ, you will never lack the light that illuminates the dust within our spiritual atmosphere. Let us remain obedient to the purpose of why the light has come and what the light has revealed.
May we also remember not to use our illuminated atmospheres as a means to condemn another's.