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Posts Tagged ‘belief’

BITTERNESS


KJV and NKJV Scripture

– Looking diligently, lest any fall of the grace of God. Lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled. – Hebrews 12:15

– Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you – with all malice. – Ephesians 4:31

Bitterness towards life, or the Lord, arises out of false perceptions it brings that things aren’t quite working out how a person hoped they would at some prior point.  Notions of rewarding jobs, joyous marriages, riches, etc. – never materialized – and fault always lies with others (including God).  So, the bitter soul stews and simmers on, with unhealthy views of life.

However, instead of doing anything about it, often born out of a “why bother” mind, because nothing has really worked out before, the bitter person usually sits around a lot wallowing in self-pity.  Pointing critical, accusatory, and fault-finding fingers outward and skyward, but seldom back at themselves.  This type of blame game started back in the Garden of Eden.

All the while, bitterness slowly spreads like a spiritual toxin inside a soul.  However, it is hard to spot just by looking at a person, because a sweet smile on Sunday at church can hide a spirit soured by resentment the rest of the week.  Words spoken smoother than butter can mask bitterness in the heart (Psalm 55:21).  Still, God sees it all (1 Samuel 16:7, Hebrews 4:13).

Our Father cannot show anybody a more excellent and better way, if they should ever be in the galls of bitterness (1 Corinthians 12:31, Acts 8:23).  Why? Well, with God, it keeps people bound in the bonds of iniquity and sin (Acts 8:23).  Bitterness is any feeling He has dealt (or is dealing) unfairly or unjustly, and this isn’t possible (Ezekiel 33:20, Deuteronomy 32:4).

Everything past in our life is required by God, and it will be this way as long as we live (Ecclesiastes 3:15). However, how will He ever create a new path in the wilderness if we keep looking back over our shoulder in remembrance of the bad things from days gone by making us bitter now (Isaiah 43:18-19)?  Repeatedly rehashing them leaves little room for future hopes.

God will never cause us grief or afflict us willingly – there always a reason (Lamentations 3:32-33).  It’s just that we are not to know the times or seasons He has put in His own power (Acts 1:7).  Faith and belief says we trust in Him, and He knows what He’s doing – even if we don’t understand (Proverbs 3:5-6).  We either grow better from trials and troubles, or bitter.

Bitterness is also feelings of resentment with God – and there can be a wide variety of reasons why.  One could be some private displeasure about blessings He certainly seems to bestowing on others from above – when we think we are the ones showing Him much more love than they are – and that we should be the recipients.  It creates a sense of indignation inside us.

When these feelings of resentment get released out into the open, expressed in words or actions, it is how Christianity can start feeling like it is nothing more than a tense, stressful contest.  It becomes ungodly. There’s lack of contentment.  Believers start unwisely comparing and measuring aspects of their walk with God against those of others (2 Corinthians 10:12).

In turn, this creates an uneasy air of contention, and generates confusion God never authors (1 Corinthians 14:33).  It is a precursor to every evil work within the churches (James 3:14-16).  It births sinful pride and the evil rejoicing of boastings (James 4:16).  This is how believers become apostates by serving Satan more than God (Romans 1:25,30, 2 Timothy 3:1-2).

We are all prime candidates for bitterness, if we ever become weary of life, or in our walk with the Lord (Job 10:1).  Relationships, jobs, finances, Christianity, etc. – are not creating the better lives we hoped they would at their outset.  We can get to a point where we think “What’s the point?”  This is vanity – useless, a waste of time, and not producing desired results.

We have to be careful and prayerful our belief does not end up being in vain (1 Corinthians 15:2).  Bitter roots cannot possibly produce the spiritual fruits God commands us to continually bring forth – meet for repentance (Galatians 5:22-23, Matthew 3:8, Acts 17:30).  Instead, they bring forth toxic, spoiled, and worldly fruits like resentment, anger, and envy.

Whatever the reasons for bitterness, they are all displeasing to God.  Bitterness prevents Christians from following peace and holiness with all men below heaven, and keeps them out because of it (Hebrews 12:14-15).  It breeds contention, birthed only from foolish pride (Proverbs 13:10), with others and Him. Contention creates conflict and friction – not peace.

Bitter Christians don’t think right thoughts (Philippians 4:8-9).  It means they cannot have victorious walks with Jesus in such vexed states of mind.  The final 13 paragraphs from the Charming Health website (with some personal additions and Scripture support) give an extensive and excellent description of bitterness, as well as the inner and outer damage it causes:

Bitterness is emotional suicide.  It’s like drinking poison, and then hoping the other person gets ill. People embroiled in bitterness have an incredible memory for the tiniest little details, and they wallow in puddles of self-pity and resentment.  They record every offense in their heart and head – more than ready to show others how much they have been hurt.

Bitter people defend and carry grudges constantly. They feel they have been hurt too deeply and too often, and think this exempts them from their need to forgive (Matthew 6:14-15).  Their hearts can overflow with so much resentment, they no longer have any capacity to love.  Bitterness takes their soul captive, consuming positive emotions, and robs them of joy.

Bitterness is frozen anger in latent form.  When it is manifested, it becomes a vicious malignancy making one extremely vulnerable to very unwise choices and decisions, developing destructive thought patterns infiltrating body and soul.  It saps the mind’s vitality. If allowed to fester unaddressed, bitterness can pave a path to seeking out vengeance and acts of violence.

Failure to confess and correct bitterness causes it to spread like a cancer no longer in remission.  Unlike a physical kind confined to just one body, bitterness is a spiritual kind infecting and sickening others.  It’s often expressed as anger, jealousy, dissatisfaction, or hate. It keeps focus below, on getting back or even, but not getting and staying on the narrow path to heaven.

It is true many life events can be unpleasant, causing grief and pain.  However, responding in any prolonged bitterness fuels more bitterness far down the road.  A reservoir of resentment is drawn upon over and over. It can be passed down to children and hold people in its vice-like grips.  It can even generate fiery, deadly feuds between families, like the Hatfields and McCoys.

Some of these events can be quite sudden, such as the literal loss of a loved one, or a source of income. Some are subtler, happening more slowly over time such as the loss of reputation, social status within a group, or control.  Regardless, they all sow and grow bitter roots and fruits.  Resentment and bitterness are unacceptable to God as they’re self-defeating and sin.

Existing bitterness in a Christian means they are not abiding side by side with God, so He can burn up the unrighteous roots producing such resentment (John 15:1-6).  These roots cannot bring forth anything but rotten fruits defiling a soul.  Some of them are guilt, arrogance, frustration, surmising, melancholy, sloth, and envy, creating instability in mind and spirit.

Extended bitterness produces physical ailments like insomnia, ulcers, anxiety, fear, depression, and heart attacks.  Mental consequences are hyper-critical views and attitudes about life.  Nobody can do things right (including God) except the bitter person.  Those who associate with such souls may sympathize for a time, but can end up avoiding them, lest they get drawn in.

Still, we are responsible for what we say, think, and feel.  God’s plan is to make us better so we can enter into heaven – not bitter so we cannot.  What makes people so bitter are worldly attitudes they develop growing up, and then carry in life towards situations and others.  As Christians, we’re being transformed by His truth, so old ways aren’t conformed to again.

Continuing in bitterness is not rooted and grounded in God’s love within through the power of the Holy Ghost (Ephesians 3:16-17).  It is building faith upon a faulty foundation (Luke 6:47-49, 1 Corinthians 3:11).  It is not repenting (Luke 13:3,5).  Perishing awaits, unless one is purified by obeying the truth through the Spirit, unto unfeigned and fervent love of all (1 Peter 1:22).

God cannot possibly work His good will and pleasure in bitter hearts (Philippians 2:13).  Those battling with Him and others in futile resistance to His ways, and in refusal to His voice (Hebrews 12:25).  It’s enough to wrestle against the rulers of darkness in this world (Ephesians 6:12), without having to get into bitter, resentful wars with heaven and the brethren as well.

If we are being humbly obedient to God (Philippians 2:8) we are submitting to His power inside us.  We are not to resist it (Romans 13:2), as it’s the only power we will ever get to put off all forms of malice (second lead verse).  External means or methods, including guidance from other Christians, cannot cure bitterness.  All they do is give place to the devil.

Characterized by hostility (not hospitality) bitterness brings forth unforgiving, sputtering, and backsliding spirits full of negative attitudes almost always plotting and scheming, along with grouchy and complaining mouths.  Love can certainly dispel it all, but it spells disaster if left uncorrected.  Satan’s job is to devour, destroy, and kill souls – exactly what bitterness does.

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.  For he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  For let not that man think he shall receive anything of the Lord.  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways – James 1:6-8

– Don’t be double minded or you’ll be falling where you used to stand strong.  Don’t be double-minded or you’ll be talking to yourself, and yet you just can’t get along. – Double Minded, written by Nick Laird-Clowes, sung by The Dream Academy, copyright 1987

In general, physical storms all around this planet are formed by conditions of atmospheric instability.  Two opposite types of air masses collide and then begin spinning around each other.  When they evolve into turbulent tornadoes and hurricanes, the resulting whirlwinds can cause widespread destruction, and it can take years for some to rebuild and recover from.

Storms in the human soul start in a similar fashion. They are formed by conditions of spiritual instability. Two opposite types of life collide when the world and Word meet inside a double mind and begin turbulently spinning around each other.  The ensuing whirlwinds can destroy relationships, including one with Christ. Some can rebuild and recover; but some never do.

“Double minded” comes to us from the Greek word “dipsuchos” meaning a person with two minds or two souls.  It appears just twice in Scripture, both in the book of James (James 1:8, James 4:8).  However, all Christians must fully comprehend what it means at all times, as it is disobedience with fiery consequences forever if left uncorrected (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

If you say you are a Christian, but you often find faith and belief wavering, drifting, spiking, or plummeting – based on how life is going, or not – then you are not walking the right way with God.  You are not being steadfast, straight, confident, and patient on heaven’s narrow path that few find (Matthew 7:14, Hebrews 3:14, Hebrews 10:36).  Double minds prevent this.  .

Spiritual instability is a hallmark of doubting hearts, divided souls, and double minds.  It is a lack of faith, and it is impossible to please God without it (Hebrews 11:6).  Even drawing back from faith a little bit upsets our Father’s soul, as it signals an evil heart of unbelief that cannot save, and puts one on perdition’s perilous and unrighteous road (Hebrews 3:12-19, 10:38-39).

We are not to cast away our confidence, for it has a great recompense of reward (i.e. heaven).  We have need of patience, that after having done God’s will, we might receive this promise (Hebrews 10:36-37). Confidence comes from the Latin “con fidentia.”  It means firmly trusting.  When people start losing it, they can get washed away in a tidal wave of doubt.

They might start questioning aspects of their life in the world, or in the Word.  They may begin opposing or disputing some of God’s truths, even if it’s silently inside the soul (Philippians 2:14).  Objections may be raised and dangerous aspersions could be cast upon Him.  In time, one can get to where they don’t know what or who to believe; a perfect double mind recipe.

Jesus said, “Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them (Mark 11:24).”  However, double-minded believers pray in doubt (1 Timothy 2:8).  Still uncertain and confused as to what being a Christian is all about, their loyalty stays divided between world and Word, usually based upon which one is working out the best.

God won’t tolerate such split service and devotion (1 Corinthians 10:21).  Deviating from the Word in any way, is in err from God’s ways, and our Father warns us many times not to (e.g. James 1:16).  A double mind can be masked with a lot of righteous words in front of the masses for years, but it’s always manifest and naked before the Almighty (Hebrews 4:12-13).

A double-mind exists when God is not in all one’s thoughts – and He knows every one (Ezekiel 11:5). God is fully aware if any person is wavering, slipping, or backsliding in spirit, despite what they declare with their lips (Mark 7:6).  If one is ever like this, it gives place to Satan (Ephesians 4:27), always ready, able, and willing to lead a soul away in err (2 Peter 3:17).

So are mortal men and women disguised as believers following Christ, but who are false teachers lying in wait to deceive us with their cunning craftiness and sleight (Ephesians 4:14).  Hiding immoral, misguided, and ungodly agendas in dissembled hearts.  Grievous wolves trying to draw disciples away after them, and not sparing the flock in the process (Acts 20:29-30).

Satan and false prophets operate slowly and subtly. Because double-minded souls don’t have complete allegiance to God, they fall prey to these pernicious ways (2 Peter 2:1-2).  Then, as the certainty of God’s promises (2 Corinthians 1:20) are questioned more and more because they’re not coming true, their ears get turned to unsound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

Hearing swelling words of vanity sounding good at first, but they fizzle out quickly when the double minded soul realizes they were exactly that – vain. Meaning wasted time because they didn’t produce promised results if one bought a Christian product, read a devotional, followed a prayer plan, etc.  Still, they keep looking for something new to tell or hear.

A very accurate description of a double-minded and divided soul comes from the Scriptural sound website Got Questions as follows (with a couple of personal additions): “They are unsteady and wavering in both character and feelings.  They are quite restless and confused in thoughts, actions, and behavior.  They are always in some sort of conflict with themselves.

Those torn by this type of inner dissension can never lean with any confidence on God and His gracious promises.  They slowly become convinced they are never going to be granted.  Correspondingly, the term unstable is analogous to a drunk unable to walk a straight line, swaying one way – then another.  With no defined direction, they never progress spiritually.

God cannot grant His blessings on the double-minded. Those who mind earthly matters one day (Philippians 3:19), then mind Christ the next.  As Jesus said “No man can serve two masters, for he will hate the one and love the other – or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and Mammon (Matthew 6:24).” (end Got Questions)

Mammon is wealth considered as an evil influence, or a false object of worship and devotion.  Pursuing it debases God.  It is a destabilizing factor causing faith to fluctuate.  Serving Mammon at any time shows Him where affections are really focused.  It tells God one believes there is still a better country down here, than what awaits up above (Hebrews 11:13-17).

We either love God with our whole heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37) or we do not.  There is no middle ground.  As Edwin Chapin once said, “neutral men are the devil’s allies.”  Our Father always knows if He is the only master of anyone’s life.  If not, it puts one on a very dangerous and disastrous path.  It is the broad one leading to destruction (Matthew 7:13).

It is a direction that has to be corrected before it’s too late.  We are to present a singleness of heart towards all people no matter what the situation might be, with one totally undivided soul unto Christ and fearing God always (Ephesians 6:5, Colossians 3:22).  The way to do this is doing what He tells us to do.  This does not mean obedience is easy, but it keeps us out of the pit.

God’s commandments are not grievous (1 John 5:3). They are meant to grow us in grace (2 Peter 3:18).  A single heart cannot keep gravitating back to the world (Philippians 1:23).  Some ways to help stay stable are to meditate on the Word day and night (Joshua 1:8), keeping affections set on things above (Colossians 3:2), and thinking right thoughts (Philippians 4:8-9).

Lastly and most importantly, a double mind is a tell-tale sign of being a false convert or nominal believer. This is a person who’s convinced they are a Christian, but became one by external means.  An example is creating their own criteria based on self-perceptions of goodness (Proverbs 20:6, Mark 10:18), and using a willingness to love and lend as some of the qualifiers.

Instead of the only way by being born again of the Spirit within (John 3:5).  This is when God convicts one with His sorrow about their sin, when there isn’t any doubt in His mind they are ready to repent unto salvation (2 Corinthians 7:8-10).  This is one becomes rooted and grounded in His love (Ephesians 3:16-17) and receives an anchor for the soul (Hebrews 6:19).

Because false converts and nominal believers have not received the gift of the Holy Ghost from God, they cannot say Jesus is Lord of their life (1 Corinthians 12:3).  They have not been returned to the Shepherd of their soul (1 Peter 2:25).  They do not have Christ inside their heart to pull them back into the fold if they begin wavering and straying from the flock.

As Watchman Nee once wrote,, “People with mixed motives, those of a double mind, shall not be able to receive the baptism in the Spirit.”  Their heart is not right with God, and He knows it.  Just like it was with Simon, the sorcerer who said he believed, who’d been baptized in physical water, but who thought the Holy Ghost could be bought with money (Acts 8:13-21).

In closing, regardless of what creates a double mind and keeps it in an unsettled and wavering state of spiritual instability, there is always hope.  It is what faith and salvation are all about (Romans 8:24-25, Hebrews 11:1).  However, only God can balance and steady spiritual ships (like worship) – and keep them moving straight ahead on salvation’s narrow road.

Our Father does not do this automatically as it would negate His free will.  It takes a lot on our part, such as mutually abiding side by side with God every day, and humbly obeying Him unto death just like Jesus (John 15:1-6, Philippians 2:8).  It takes repenting of worldly ways so one does not keep repeating them. Again, this all can’t be done unless one is born again.

Even still, God says “Draw near to Me, and I will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners – and purify your hearts, you double minded (James 4:8).” Only He can draw any lost and alienated spirit to the Cross (John 6:44).  When this occurs, He begins the inner renewal and regeneration of the soul, cleansing sins and purifying hearts continually unto salvation.

To paraphrase Matthew Henry, “Wavering faiths and spirits have bad influences on communications.  When they rise and fall, filled with secondary causes, there’ll be unsteadiness in all behavior.  If having one God to trust, love, and be governed by doesn’t keep a person steady at all times, a double mind exists in a divided soul heading down a very perilous path to damnation.

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– Let us hold fast the profession of our hope without wavering; for He is faithful as promised. – Hebrews 10:23

– That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine.  By the trickery of man, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. – Ephesians 4:14

The phrase “hold fast” means to remain tightly and firmly secured to something or someone.  With God, it means the ability to stay steadfast and stable in spirit throughout every day, regardless of the situation or circumstance.  It means not letting go of heavenly instructions, for they are our life (Proverbs 4:13).

If you are a true Christian, then you have been born again of the Spirit (John 3:5).  When this happened, you were returned to the Shepherd of your soul (1 Peter 2:25).  An anchor of hope was placed in you with Christ (Hebrews 6:19).  Tightly securing you to Jesus, so you don’t keep wavering in faith and belief.

When physical ships encounter stormy seas, anything not securely fastened to the deck gets tossed around. Essential items to the voyage get badly damaged or destroyed.  Some of these vessels can veer off course in wild weather without seasoned captains and crews, proper ballast, and functional navigational systems.

The same goes for spiritual ships (e.g. discipleship, fellowship, worship, etc.).  However, our spirits are irreplaceable.  If they are not securely tied to Christ inside us at all times, they get tossed around in the storms life can often bring without warning.  Satan is always waiting with open arms during such occasions.

This is why we must keep in memory everything we hear from God.  So we don’t get deceived by the devil or mortal men (Revelation 12:9, Mark 13:5) and led away in err (2 Peter 3:17, James 1:16).  If they steer us to unsalvageable faith shipwrecks, our belief ends up in vain (1 Timothy 1:191 Corinthians 15:2).

Any time we let go of Jesus, we start to list in spirit and begin tilting in belief.  If this continues, we can swerve away from truth (1 Timothy 1:6).  If we look away from Christ for a second, we can start getting frightened by all that is happening in life, and begin sinking in our littleness of faith (Matthew 14:28-31).

Wavering walks with God aren’t the way to steadfastly travel down heaven’s narrow path few will find.  To enter in at the straight gate, and be made partakers of Christ at the end (Matthew 7:14, Hebrews 3:14). This, after enduring everything God commands us to along the way (Hebrews 12:20, Matthew 24:13).

Christians with any selfish and/or worldly focuses to their walk, generally find a solid faith and balanced belief only when self is being served (Matthew 16:24), or lusts are regularly being satisfied (Proverbs 27:20). Otherwise, spiritual wavering enters.  Then, drifting between world and Word starts (1 Corinthians 10:21).

Salvation is a hope and promise no man has seen.  If Christians think they have been saved already (as so many seem to believe), why would they still have to hope for it (Romans 8:24-25)?  Salvation is the end result of our faith – not the beginning of it, or at any other point somewhere along the path (1 Peter 1:9).

Faith is something we contend for, just like the kind delivered to the saints of yore (Jude 1:3).  If we claim hope in Jesus, we hold fast to this profession without wavering (lead verse).  Girding up our loins, being sober, and hoping to the end for God’s saving grace to be brought at Christ’s revelation (1 Peter 1:13).

Faith is a race and a fight that not everybody wins (1 Corinthians 9:24, 1 Timothy 6:12).  Only Christ waits at the finish line and we must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus at all times to win our crown of glory there (1 Corinthians 9:25).  Growing up in grace and running patiently all the way (2 Peter 3:18, Hebrews 12:1-2).

Holding fast to Christ inside us prevents a falling away from repentance, from which it is impossible for God to renew us to (Hebrews 6:4-6).  It makes us able to retain the faithful Word we have been taught.  In turn, it helps us present sound doctrine to exhort and convince the gainsayers (2 Timothy 1:13, Titus 1:9).

This is so we can prove all things and hold fast to all that’s good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).  It is so we don’t backslide by holding firm to the deceit of our heart (Jeremiah 8:5).  One cannot expect victory running every way but straight in any race   Moving steadily ahead in one direction wins, but fast and foolish loses.

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine.  By the sleight of man, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. – Ephesians 4:14

– Do not be carried about with many and strange doctrines.  For it is good that the heart be established with grace. – Hebrews 13:9

Did you ever stand along the shore and watch a boat on the water sail by?  Was it tilting and listing?  Was it zigzagging or wavering to the left and right?  If the water was a little bit wild or choppy, did it look like the vessel was getting tossed all over the place, and could no longer move straight ahead in the storm?

I would hope not, for it would not be long before something bad happened.  The boat could sink, or veer drastically off course, and dangerously towards ragged rocks along the shore.  If the ship had been built properly, it should keep moving straight ahead no matter what weather or wave conditions existed.

The purpose of building any boat is not just so it can float, but is able to sail from a port of departure to a destination point.  This applies to physical ships and spiritual ones (e.g. fellowship, worship, discipleship). However, all of these boats require a pilot, ballast, a steering mechanism, and a navigational system.

Otherwise, they’ll be adrift, with no way of getting to where they are supposed to.  They will just meander along in whatever direction gentler waves move, or get tossed all over the water when any storms strike. Physical vessels can shipwreck, and so can spiritual ones sailing to salvation’s shore (1 Timothy 1:19).

To prevent such a disaster, one must first be born again (John 3:5).  This is when we are returned to the Shepherd of our souls (1 Peter 2:25).  We are given an anchor of hope in Christ (Hebrews 6:19).  From there, faith and belief must maintain an unwavering, eternal focus (Matthew 6:19-20, Colossians 3:2).

Faith and belief in God and Jesus with any selfish or worldly focus will waver; and sometimes wildly.  This type of attention to truth indicates spiritual infancy, immaturity, ignorance, or any mixture of them.  Faith and belief slowly drift, or fluctuate rapidly depending on whether life is going how you want it to or not.

Spirits soar when it is, and Christians tend to say or think, “I am so blessed” when problems do not exist. Spirits dip when it is not – and Christians tend to say or think, “Why is God messing with me?  I don’t get this” – when problems persist.  This is how confusion God never authors is birthed (1 Corinthians 14:33).

This isn’t the way to walk confidently, patiently, and steadfastly on heaven’s narrow path.  It’s not how to be made partakers of Christ at the end after enduring all God commands to be saved (Hebrews 10:35-36, Hebrews 3:14, Matthew 7:14, Mark 13:13, Hebrews 12:20).  Spiritual shakiness isn’t the way to do this.

All unbalanced walks with God are dangerous (e.g. Proverbs 5:6, lead verse, 2 Peter 3:17, Hebrews 10:23).  Spiritual instability means one has a double mind (James 1:6-8).  Restless or confused thoughts, actions, or behavior exist and persist as one drifts between Word and world (1 Corinthians 10:21).

Christians can’t waver “from “doubt” to “certainty”, then back to “doubt” about anything.  If one part of the mind is sure about something in relation to a walk with God, and the other part isn’t – it gives place to the devil (Ephesians 4:27).  Satan is always waiting to lead unsteady believers away in err (2 Peter 3:17).

God will not tolerate divided attention or focus with Satan at any time.  Christians can’t serve two masters (Luke 16:13).  Loving God and loving worldly things are such polar opposites of each other, it’s impossible to follow both and be steady in spirit (1 John 2:15-16).  Trying to creates a deadly conflict of interest.

Christians attempting any split service between their Saviour and Satan will find firm faith and balanced belief, only when life in the world and Word suits them to a tee.  This is selfishness – a concentration on personal advantage, pleasure, or welfare.  Unless others contribute to this end, they are disregarded.

This is not having Christ’s mind (Philippians 2:3-5). Contrary to a dangerous belief created by truncating Romans 8:1, there is condemnation to Christians who walk after the flesh, because the Spirit cannot lead them at the same time.  The flesh is weak, but when people seek to satisfy its lusts, the Spirit is left out.

Selfish is an anagram of “is flesh.”  A selfish Christian cannot be an unprofitable servant of God (Luke 17:7-10), because they are spending time attempting to get profit they think is deserved from Him.  When this happens, they set a course for worldly wealth and gain again, and swerve from truth (1 Timothy 1:6).

Jesus said “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Luke 12:34).”  If hearts stay set on fleeting things of the world that can’t be taken out (1 Timothy 6:7), it is not the truth, but sin.  This is how wavering walks start, it is why prayers go unanswered (James 4:3), and it’s where problems with God begin.

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come. – 2 Timothy 3:1

– The first steps to apostasy are forgetting the true and adoring the false. – from Charles Spurgeon

Apostasy is the willful abandonment or renunciation of a belief.  It comes from the Greek “apostasia.”  It means a defection, departure, revolt, or rebellion.  A person cannot become an apostate without holding some sort of belief to begin with.  God warns about the approaching Christian apostasy of man’s last days in many New Testament verses.  Believers will depart from their faith and rebel once again.

No Christian is ever immune from apostasy; and becoming an apostate does not require any open declaration.  The first step on abandonment’s avenue starts in a heart no longer abiding side-by-side with Him (John 15:1-6).  Despite feigned belief within, apostasy can be masked with public proclamations of love and praise for Him – often to gain or maintain worldly admiration or advantage (Jude 1:16)

Internal apostasy in one Christian may not be noticed by others for years.  The believer may be maintaining such a convincing show of external Christianity – it is never suspected.  Although they might be abounding in several open works, the real work of believing God left their heart long ago (John 6:28-29, Romans 4:5). Such a departure can fool the masses for a long time; but never Him (Hebrews 4:12-13).

A warning signal of apostasy approaching or being present is when ears are dull of hearing about God and His Word (Hebrews 5:11).  A hardened heart is not far behind.  Or, one has already been formed – maybe by God (Exodus 7:13).  In such a state, it’s hard to prick them again with talk about truth (Acts 2:37).  Passive belief permeates the being.  Apathy is soon to follow – with apostasy hot on its heels.

Apostasy has many causes – but the results are always the same.  Evil hearts of unbelief are born. Unbelief is no longer drawing back from one’s faith (Hebrews 10:38), but a departure from the living God (Hebrews 3:12-19).  It might begin by getting too complacent and comfortable with one’s Christianity.   A convenient faith is formed – one fitting in nicely with worldly plans, pursuits, and activities.

Going to church on Sunday and/or attending a weekly Bible study; but following and loving the world for the remainder of the week (1 John 2:15) – is having a convenient faith.  It isn’t consistent with steadfast belief.  Apostasy could be knocking on the door if one approaches belief in God like this.  If the extent of one’s life with Him remains restricted to weekly sermons and Bible studies, it may have been let in.

God does not recommend our committed love of Him. It is commanded before loving anything or anyone else (Matthew 22:36-38).  We can’t sit down to drink and dine with God and Satan at the same time (1 Corinthians 10:21).  This makes us all about the Word one second – all about the world the next.  When the world gets favored, the Word has been temporarily abandoned.  If so, guess what seeds are taking root?

Even if we are completely devoted to God with our heart, mind, and soul – much of what goes on in the world today can make us question many things about God and His heavenly court system.  Apostasy can begin brewing if we don’t know where to find answers in His Word.  We may stew over why evil seems to be on the increase, and why God doesn’t appear to be doing much about it (Exodus 34:7, Nahum 1:3).

With spoiling and rioting abounding all around the globe now – it’s easy for some to see God’s laws as being slack, and wrong judgements proceeding from heaven (Habakkuk 1:3-4).  It is an understandable mindset when the righteous and merciful are taken too soon, while evil ones seem to keep getting away with too much wickedness (Isaiah 57:1, Ecclesiastes 8:11-13, Ezra 9:13, Hebrews 2:2-3).

This can lead even the most devout Christians to doubt the eventual return of Jesus.  Causing some to ask, “Where is this promise of Christ coming back (2 Peter 3:3-4)?  Such uncertainty is the mark of an evil and apostate heart – one saying “My Lord delays His coming (Matthew 24:48).”  Implying God’s prophecies are lies or far off – it permits one to easily justify continuance of sinful living (Ezekiel 12:22-28).

Although inner apostasy is hard to detect by humans – outward apostasy is not.  It is apparent in the lives of Christians just by observing their actions, and listening to their words.  Apostasy appears to be speaking louder and clearer across a wide swath of the Christian landscape lately.  It doesn’t take inner spiritual discernment to decide it is happening, or external guessing or supposing.  It’s plainly exposed.

It comes across in Sunday sermons when preachers strut all over a stage puffed up in pride (1 Corinthians 4:6,19).  It comes across when TV pastors spend portions of a broadcast pitching their latest book and trying to get viewers to buy it (2 Peter 2:3).  It comes across when believers publicly boast about all their amazing works for God (Galatians 6:4) … or call constant attention to their faith (Romans 14:22).

Mostly through Timothy, Jude, and the book of Hebrews, God gives us a preview of all the signs pointing to apostasy’s existence – and proof its roots are being produced.  One of them is pride.  Pride will likely keep anyone lifted up in it – in a destructive state of denial about apostasy.  They will keep falling for Satan’s lies and into his condemnation – and resisted by God (1 Timothy 3:6, James 4:6).

Along with arrogant pride (1 Samuel 2:3), here are some other signs:  Men will be lovers of themselves, covetous, boasters, and blasphemers.  They’ll be disobedient to parents, unholy, and unthankful (2 Timothy 3:2).  They will be truce-breakers and false accusers without natural affection.  Incontinent (lacking restraint and self-control), fierce and despisers of those who are good (2 Timothy 3:3).

They will be traitors.  They will be heady and high-minded – loving pleasure more than God (2 Timothy 3:4, 2 Corinthians 10:5, 1 Timothy 5:6, James 5:5). Having a form of godliness – but denying the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5).  Ever learning, and never able to come unto the knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 3:7).  Still minding earthly things with their belly as god (Philippians 3:19, Colossians 3:2).

Others will no longer contend for the faith, but will turn God’s grace into a license for lasciviousness (offensively and overt sexual desire) – and denying Him by doing so (Jude 1:3-4).  There will be those despising dominion or speaking evil of dignities (Jude 1:8).  God will be mocked as people walk after their own ungodly lusts (Jude 1:18).  Sensual – having separated from the Spirit in doing so (Jude 1:19).

At a time older and mature Christians should be teachers and speakers of sound doctrine – they will have need of being taught the principles of God’s oracles once again.  Unskilled with Scripture – and still requiring spiritual milk they should have been weaned from long ago (Titus 2:1, Hebrews 5:12-13, 1 Peter 2:2).  Never having their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Hebrews 5:14).

All in all, apostasy will cause countless Christians to depart from their inner faith in Jesus – despite any external claims to the contrary.  Giving heed to the doctrine of devils and to seducing spirits (1 Timothy 4:1).  It’s all part of the falling away to occur on earth prior to the revelation of perdition’s son.  The one who will show he is God to all who did not receive the love of truth (2 Thessalonians 2:2-3,10).

Once faith and belief in life are established in another person – then lost – it is impossible to regain such in any unwavering fashion again.  There’ll always be a level of doubt or distrust.  The same goes with God. We can only fall away so far from our belief in Him before apostasy sets in.  If it does, all that is left to believe in, and be in bondage once again to – is the world (Hebrews 6:4-6, 2 Peter 2:20-22, 1 John 2:15).

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– “And why do you call me Lord, Lord – and don’t do the things which I say?” – Luke 6:46

– Blessed are they that hear the word of God – and keep it. – Luke 11:28

Every time we call ourselves a Christian, we are invoking the name of God.  Being Christian is not a label or lip service – it is humble and obedient life service until death (Philippians 2:8).  Therefore, it is not a title we should use flippantly or toss around loosely.  It is a steadfast state of heart and mind; rooted and grounded in God’s love with Jesus as our soul’s anchor (Ephesians 3:16-17, Hebrews 6:19).

So, we repent of our sins and become new creatures in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Daily renewing and transforming our inner man into conformance with the Word – so the world’s ways are washed away by the regeneration of the Holy Ghost inside of us (2 Corinthians 4:16, Romans 12:2, Titus 3:5).  It is so Christ-like character becomes continual – and not conditional – as we learn Jesus (Ephesians 4:20-32).

Therefore, if we’re not consistently practicing what we preach (1 Corinthians 9:14), if we are not traveling down the narrow trail of His truth we teach (Matthew 7:14), or if our walk doesn’t constantly match up with our talk, then our hearts are still far from God and heaven (Mark 7:6).  We are merely deciding if we want to “be Christian” or not – choosing to play the part according to emotions or worldly conditions.  

Such a mentality means our faith is flawed.  It is full of holes – hollow and not holy.  Being Christian when we want to, or only when we feel like it – is building our belief upon convenience – and not the rock of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11).  It is a shallow, shaky foundation set on shifting sands (Luke 6:47-49).  It’s a feigned show; maybe a charade to gain or maintain man’s admiration or advantage (Jude 1:16).

It is a “do as I say – not as I do” attitude to being a Christian.  We may believe we are walking as children of light – but we’re not if we are only shining it when we want to (Ephesians 5:8).  It means the light inside us – is still darkness (Luke 11:35).  We are still blind children of God trying to guide the lost unbelievers – whose minds are still being blinded by the god of this world (Romans 2:19-23, 2 Corinthians 4:4).

God’s love should be like a prism, instantly hitting our heart and shining out to the world in many different directions, without delay or diffusion.  This spiritual light was lit inside our heart when we were born again of the Holy Ghost (Romans 5:5).  Regardless of where we are, or who we are with – everything we do and say should instantly reflect the presence of having learned Jesus Christ in our life (Ephesians 4:20-32).

“Being Christian” involves a multitude of things.  It means we are to esteem others better than ourselves, showing God we are using the mind of Jesus we have been given (Philippians 2:3-5, 1 Corinthians 2:16).  It means we love our enemies, bless people who curse us, do good to those who hate us, and pray for those who may despitefully use or persecute us (Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:27, Romans 12:14),

Otherwise, why in heaven’s name are we saying we are Christians – and what on earth are we calling ourselves such for?  All “being Christian” then means is we’ve been moved away to a gospel of our own creation – one perverting God’s Word for personal purposes or pursuits (Galatians 1:6-7).  It means our belief is in vain (1 Corinthians 15:2), we’re using God’s name likewise, and Jesus died the same way.

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– You cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of the devils … you cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. – 1 Corinthians 10:21.

– Heaven cannot brook two suns – nor earth two masters. – Alexander the Great

Just as Jesus said, if we are not with him – we are against him (Matthew 12:30).  Part-time belief is part-time deceit.  Part-time faith in God is fake and feigned.  Christians just cannot straddle the fence between the Word and the world.  We can certainly try, but that usually makes for a very bumpy ride as believers.  Back and forth we go, day in and day out. One master one morning – another master the next.

It makes it difficult to walk side by side with God, and abide in total agreement with His ways (Amos 3:3, John 15:4-7) – if we should keep getting sidetracked by worldly ones (James 4:4).  Wavering between the Word and world is sure to keep us on an uneven keel spiritually.  There is no ballast for our belief.  This makes it easy to get tossed to and fro, and for faith to shipwreck (Ephesians 4:14, 1 Timothy 1:19).

Choosing who to follow is not a once-and done act.  It is a daily decision we make (Joshua 24:15).  Simon Peter was ready to go to prison – and to death with Jesus (Luke 22:33).  Jesus already knew Simon Peter would deny him three times that very same day (Luke 22:34).  Therefore, we have to deny self each sunrise (Luke 9:23).  If we should deny our Saviour – we’re saying good-bye to God and welcoming Satan.

Without donning the whole armor of God each day, we will be easy targets for the devil’s fiery darts of deception – often disguised as very bright, but blinding lights  (Ephesians 6:13-16, 2 Corinthians 4:4).  Just like he did with Jesus, Satan says “Serve me and worship me.  If you do, power, glory, and the whole world can be yours (Luke 4:5-7).”  We can do that, and still lose our souls in the end (Mark 8:36).

We cannot eat from God’s table of truth and faith – and feast at Satan’s seductive spread of falsehoods at the same time (lead verse, John 8:44).  He wants us devour whatever he sets before us to eat – so he can end up devouring us all like a lion (1 Peter 5:8-9). Therefore, we cannot serve two masters.  If we do, we will love one and hate the other, depending on what our desires are on any given day (Luke 16:13).

 

 

 

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