Category Archives: Holiness

Are You in an SWB Relationship?

relationshipYou’ve heard of the term “FWB,” right? As it relates to spirituality, “SWB” is “Saved with Benefits,” meaning you’re saved but there is no commitment to obedience whatsoever. On a personal note, I thought I had a great relationship with God but there were still some areas in my life that were not quite right.

I’ve had an SWB relationship with God — loving the benefits of being a Christian without much sacrifice or suffering. When I say “suffering,” I don’t mean external circumstances or the past over which you had no control. I’m talking about it as in suffering for righteousness because nine times out of ten, obedience does not feel comfortable and it sure feels like suffering when you are denying yourself from what your flesh really wants.

“For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.” Acts 9:16

Think not only of Jesus’s sufferings but also of Paul, Abraham, David, Job and other heroes of the faith!  These men are great examples who took their faith to the next level.  Each one is known for his unique love for God but when you closely examine their lives, you will also see how greatly they suffered in order to stay close to God.

“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” Luke 9:24

Intimacy with God requires giving up worldly pleasures for the sake of a healthy relationship with Him based on love and obedience.  No one can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24).  If you are not serving God, you are serving something else.

We may not always be aware that we have an SWB relationship, but one way I realized this was through a conversation with a friend.  After listening to my complaints and rationalizations, she pointed out that many times we Christians like the benefits of Christ without suffering for righteousness.  To be honest, this conversation opened my eyes to see the countless times when I rationalized my sins in my own head and with other people!

“Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.”  Proverbs 26:12

“Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.”  Proverbs 3:7

If we are well-meaning Christians, I don’t think we are intentionally in SWB relationships with God, but sometimes we need a little help from friends (especially strong Christians) who will open our eyes to the true condition of our hearts.

#relationships #God #compromise #SWB #musingz4life #righteousness #holiness #obedience #love

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Black & White Thinking or Radical Stance?

Isaiah 7 9It’s one thing to say you’re a Christian; it’s another thing to actually walk the walk, especially when another Christian catches you in the wrong and calls you out of your comfort zone.  What if another Christian is calling you to repentance in an area where you don’t think you’re wrong?

Some sins are obvious: sexual immorality, jealousy, gossip, slander, hatred, impurity, murder and the like (Galatians 5:19-21).

These areas are black and white.  As long as you’re not killing anyone or breaking the law, you’re good, right?  What about some gray areas?  Is it ok to have sex before marriage?  Is it ok to smoke if you’re a Christian?  How about a cuss word every now and then, especially when you’re angry?  To a devout Christian, this may be a no-brainer: of course you’re not supposed to do the above-mentioned things, but the mainstream religious culture of our day has so watered down the Bible that it’s as though morality is merely a societally subjective issue.  Is this topic debatable?

“So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.  They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.  Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.” ~ Ephesians 4:17-19

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what is known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.” ~  Romans 1:18-19

“But now that you know God – or rather are known by God – how is it that you are returning back to those weak and miserable principles?  Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?”  ~ Galatians 4:9

“For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.  Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.”  Romans 10:2-3

There are quite a few gray areas that could turn into controversial debates, but when you really take a stand for what’s right, according to the Bible, then you will be persecuted (Matthew 5:10; 1 Peter 3:14).  When we don’t know God’s word, it’s easy to be swayed and influenced by someone else’s convictions, taking their word for face value.  It’s great to be zealous for God, but is your zeal based on your own depth and breadth of biblical knowledge or are you riding on someone else’s convictions and teachings?  As Romans 10:2-3 suggests, when we don’t know God’s word, we can come up with our own system of morality, making it a subjective issue of what’s right and wrong as opposed to what the Bible actually says.

The Bible is watered down when….

  • We ignore the truth and suppress it with our wicked actions
  • We make up our own rules of what’s right and wrong without basing our morality on the Bible
  • Our dulled sensitivity to sin has darkened our minds so that we compromise our conscience more and more. Our thinking actually becomes useless
  • We conform to the world’s principles of morality

If you are taking a radical stand for righteousness based on your knowledge of the Bible (Galatians 5:19-21; James 4:17; 2 Timothy 3:1-5), people may label your thinking as “black and white,” hurl insults at you or think you’re just plain weird.

To that end, I leave you with this quote:

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”  Matthew 10:28

#persecution #righteousness #holiness #bibleknowledge #KnowYourBible #morality #subjectivemorality #biblicalmorality #opinion #radicalstance #radical #musingz4life

Meant for Greater Things

“Righteousness guards the man of integrity but wickedness overthrows the sinner.” Proverbs 13:6

Definition of overthrow:  “Remove forcibly from power”

Synonyms: depose, topple, oust, displace, dethrone

The definition and synonyms imply that there was a position of authority and power from which one is ousted when sin reigns in one’s life.

Jesus spoke of this authority that He gave to us (his disciples and future generations of believers):

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.Luke 10:19

We may treat sin lightly, saying to ourselves, “Oh that was just a white lie — completely harmless!” or “Who’s gonna know?” However, when we practice sins such as those  mentioned in Galatians 5:19-21, fully knowing what we’re doing yet dismissing the gravity of sin in God’s eyes (Isaiah 59:1-2), not only are we endangering ourselves eternally but we also forfeit the power we could have on earth.

Jesus promises that you could do great things — even greater things than He did:

“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these…” John 14:12 (emphasis added)

In Christ, you have the authority to overcome evil and to help turn others to God. Why forfeit that power and jeopardize everything you have here on earth and your eternal future?

#holiness #reign #Christ #power #authority #musingz4life #righteousness #integrity