People who are tuled by their desires think only of themselves.
~Romans 8:5, CEV
You cannot stop a bird from flying over your head but you can keep it from building a nest in your hair.
I am, by the grace of God, preaching through the SERMON ON THE MOUNT and Sunday I had to deal with the very difficult text concerning adultery. Jesus said, “If you look at another woman and want her, you are already unfaithful in your thoughts.”[CEV] The Jewish religious leaders dealth only with the external aspects of the law, what we call the LETTER. They were concerned with the fruit on the tree but Jesus makes it clear that the root, not the visible fruit, is the problem. Adultery begins in the heart and no court of law, not even the famous Sanhedrin can judge a man’s heart. They could pass judgment on those caught in the act but their understanding of the law had nothing to say about lust which is the root of the problem. You can tie oranges on to the limbs of an apple tree but it is still and apple tree. You can polish your morality on the outside with church attendance and good deeds but an adulterous heart is still and adulterous heart and it will be recognized as such in the court of heaven.
What we need in a transformed heart and mind. The law came by Moses and it shows us our sin but gives us no help to overcome it’s power: Grace and truth came with Jesus and that is what we need. We have to guard our thoughts but this is not easy. Whereas it is true that we cannot think two thoughts at once, the thoughts provoked by the flesh keep coming back to mind. We can’t keep that bird from flying over our head. Have you ever had a problem, anxiety or hurtful word said to you and you said to yourself, “I will not think about this anymore,” but invariable the anxiety or the hurt comes back. It amazes me how powerful negative words and deeds have on my mind. Ten people could walk out of church on Sunday and praise me for the message and one person could say something critical and it would be the critical remark that would haunt my mind. Alabama won 14 games last year but the one that has been on my mind is the last one, where they got whipped. When Joe David was a senior, they won every regular season game and I don’t remember a one of them but I remember Wallace State. Why do we do this? Is it our nature or am I the only who has this problem.
Pride and lust are not going to leave us alone: these two birds fly over me daily and not just a single pass. William Barclay has some interesting comments on this subject.
“It is the inevitale law of human nature, the more we vow not to think on a certain think, the more we think on this certain thing.” Barclay says there are two ways to battle improper thoughts. Jesus said if you right eye offends you gouge it out: He was not talking about multilation, that would not solve the problem: He is talking about cutting out bad habits or anything that encourages or stimulates the bad thoughts. It could be a TV program or a romantic novel; it could even be a relationship. The monks took Jesus words literally and some casterated themselves, other became hermits: they isolated themselves from society but these things don’t work. Morbid introspection and concentrating on our depravity is not the answer. Christiam ministry is a better solution. Get so occupied in thinking of others that you don’t have time to think about yourself. Make helping others your purpose statement.
Secondly, practice Romans 12:1-2, renew your mind daily with the word of God. I bathe daily in the word of God and I have no doubt, I could not survive morally without the word. I thank God for calling me to preach: this calling has probably saved my marriage and my life from total destruction. Ministry forces us to focus on others and I actually believe that this has saved me from ruin. It want stop the birds from flying but a daily bath in the word and involvement in Christian ministry will keep the birds from building a nest in your hair. Some of you don’t have a problem with lust but you harbor unforgiveness. The birds don’t care as long as they get to build their nest.
It is along blog and I hate to make it longer but RECREATION can be a big help in thinking positive and good thoughts: at least it can give us a break from the battle. Back in the old days when I played church team softball or basketfall, it got my mind off of everything except the moment and the ball game. Of course, we cannot make RECREATION our god. All play and no work makes Jack irresponsible and a bumb.
David got be connected to my new blue tooth equipment so I could use Android pad to do the blog, When I get back home, I will be able to use a bigger monitor; right now I am looking down at a font not bigger than a pellit. Plus the motel room has no light. June and I are in Pigeon Forge, TN while are grandkids complain that we left them behind. We plan to have a couple of days of R and R. We plan to go to Dollywood tomorrow, LORD willing. Since it is Sunday, I may post early.
Pray for Jake Moorehead. He leaves Tuesday for boot camp. Pray for Ginger, his sweet mom: she needs prayer more than Jake. Sister, you may need to pay her a visit because you know what it is like.