Internal and External Realities – Growing Vs. Going
Today’s blog post is a nine minute podcast: About how the church has withdrawn into a place of moral “be-good” teaching instead of a Spirit-empowered, danger-filled, risk-taking missional people with a heart for the lost and hurting.
Not a new problem here: That we can be a super-spiritual transformed church at the expense of God’s Dirty Discipling Mission. There’s an obvious disconnect between Internal Prayer-Praise-Scripture and External Going-Making-Giving.
Is it any wonder that we are more discouraged, lukewarm, and stagnant than ever before?
is it really possible to do ALL things to the glory of god? say for example, masturbation. i know that sounds weird, but when i masurbate i do not think of anyone else or watch porn. i actually thank god that he created us with the ability to enjoy such pleasure. do you think i am still sinning?
All right, you know that scene in the movies where the undercover cop puts the siren on his car? I’m doing that to you, buddy.
You’re assuming that 1 Corinthians 10:31 allows any action to be for the glory of God. No. Read the context. Verses 23-24 in particular: 23 “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive. 24 Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.
In fact, forget the context. Read the whole Bible.
Apostle Paul and all of Scripture tell us to do all we can for the glory of God, from ordinary household chores to menial tasks to big life decisions to acts of charity. Obviously sin does not fall in this category. You and I don’t define the rules of what glorifies God; only God defines what glorifies God. Unless you’re calling yourself God, but that’s a whole other conversation.
Of course you were created to enjoy pleasure. But the maximum pleasure and greatest joy is defined by God’s Wisdom, and anything outside that playground is a wasteland of misery. So sex is good, but these cohabiting “couples” who have sex outside of marriage have no idea how good the married sex really is. Because married sex actually IS for the glory of God. Read here for more about that.
God is after your greatest joy, you know. A stable, anchored, ocean-deep joy that beats volatile, destructive, lake-shallow happiness. That does require discipline, but the power to do what God requires comes from God.
I get it: you’re looking for a loophole to “enjoy” masturbation. You’re asking for permission to continue your sin because discipline is difficult. So let’s bring this to its logical conclusion.
I’m going to punch your mom in the throat, for the glory of God. I’m not angry at her and I don’t watch violent movies. Am I still sinning?
I’m going to throw a bomb in your house and defecate on its remains, for the glory of God. I’m not a terrorist and I don’t distribute bombs. Am I still sinning?
I’m going to tell your future kids they can touch themselves, as long as they don’t think of anyone else or watch porn while doing it. Let them think of tractors and office supplies and possibly unicorns, but nothing else. For the glory of God. Are they still sinning? Am I sinning?
If I’m being harsh here, it’s because I love you enough to blow you up out of your weird thinking. God wrote a book. Do what He says. Don’t over-complicate it with silly logic. Don’t twist the Bible out of its natural meaning. If you really, truly, genuinely think you can do ALL things — including your sin — for the glory of God, then you don’t have a lust problem. You have a heart problem. God’s love is calling you out of this right now. Snap out of it and get on God’s glory. It’s better.
For the ongoing series on quitting porn, click here.
Why aren't we, as Christians, problem free? Why do we have to go through stuff. Does any person in the bible stick out to you as having a lot of problems?
It would be awesome if part of the Gospel was, “You’ll never have any problems ever again. Taxes, low gas tank, snobby neighbors, a cat who won’t listen, flatulence — Super Magic Jesus will wave his wand and expecto patronum that junk.” Who wouldn’t believe the Gospel then?
But Jesus himself says this world will have trouble. He was talking to his people. And false preachers today make Jesus no better than a voodoo shaman who dispenses candy on command and pukes rainbows every morning for your pleasure. Prosperity Theology makes that horrible promise when Jesus never did.
Exhibit A) John 16:33 — “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Exhibit B) Parable of the Sower, Luke 8.
Exhibit C) Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders, Matthew 7.
Exhibit D) The Signs of The End of The Age, Matthew 24.
Exhibit E) Pretty much the whole book of Revelation.
I could keep going, but the main point is: Jesus makes sure to tell you that life will not be problem-free when you follow him, and in fact will probably get worse. But now we’re assuming by “worse” we mean our human idea of that word. Because you’re assuming worse means less than constant happiness, a better resume, a higher profile, no sickness, a long life, friends and family and a public who adores you, and some nice stuff. You didn’t say that, but come on, what else could you mean by better?
Jesus intermingled his teaching with sharp needles like, Carry your cross. Deny your flesh. Leave it all behind. Die to yourself. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? Because if you think you got problems on this earth now, without Jesus you don’t even know the half of it.
What I’m saying here is twofold: Jesus does not guarantee a “problem-free” life on earth because that gives the illusion that Jesus is trying to set up your home here. He gives you a stable, permanent, eternal joy in a woefully broken, sinful world. But Jesus is also securing your eternal life, the passage of your soul, into eternity with Him. We occasionally get glimpses of this glory here, like when Jesus fed the 5000 or healed the blind or healed you last week. The word “miracle” is merely describing the True Kingdom of God that’s full of abundance and life with no sickness or tragedy.
This is why Jesus says we are not citizens of this earth. Jesus knew that our acquired wealth would keep us from looking to Him; it’s why it’s impossible for the rich (or rich-minded) to enter Heaven because they’re addicted to safety on earth at the expense of security with Christ.
I love the story by Francis Chan when a man dying of cancer asked him and the elders for prayer, and Francis asked the man, “Why do you want to be healed?” (Forgotten God, 83). Our motivation for healing or a solved problem must be God’s Glory, and even when that earthly problem is “miracled” by God, we can’t take the credit or abuse it for a squandered life.
The major issue of Jesus healing Lazarus and Jairus’s daughter from the dead, as well as healing other sicknesses, is that these people would still have to die and stand in judgment before God. The same with Job, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ruth, Moses, Noah, Daniel, the Apostles, and pretty much every biblical figure who had tons of crazy circumstances. We have problems, sure, but in light of God’s holy uncompromising all-encompassing dreadful wrath, that’s the one problem we desperately need to answer for.
Please don’t hear me saying that praying to God to change your circumstances is somehow wrong. It’s not. But on this sinful earth we will certainly have lifelong problems, and Jesus is both the answer now and for our forever.