“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
After catching a large part of the closing ceremonies for the Olympics with my family last night, the above verse really resonated with me this morning. As a believer I have a really hard time with the glorification our world gives to what is wrong in the sight of the Lord. The verses from 1 Corinthians are pretty clear that what was displayed last night was not to be brought glory and in no way. I am comforted in this line of thought as I think of the ceremony which God has planned for all of His believers when the New Heaven descends and we all enter His grand city and start His appointed eternal celebration of light and glory.
In my heart, as I watched the different acts come into the arena, I kept yearning for something deeper and more fulfilling. Everything I found myself watching seemed empty or dark. This was definitely not a display I watched and yearned to see more of. But then again I do remember a time in my life, before I was a believer, when I was caught up in these displays to extravagant humanness. The change in my point of view really is a reflection of the change that Jesus has done to my heart from then until now.
I think these two sets of verses sum up pretty nicely the transformation that have taken place in my heart over these years:
“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” Ephesians 2:1-3
“For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:3-7
The transformation from living a life that yearns for the darkness this world and all it has to offer, to a life that yearns only for the pure works of the Lord is not a work we can accomplish on our own. The work of the Holy Spirit in a life through the saving gift of grace which Jesus offers to all who call out to Him for help in making this transformation, is the only way a person can be changed.
Maybe you have a sinful habit or you live a lifestyle that God defines as sinful. Either way, did you know that God does not differentiate either the need for you to be healed from your sin or the simplicity by which He can supply grace to remove that sin from your life? Sin is a choice no matter how much a person wants to justify the sin by pointing to the world and saying that the sin is acceptable because others around them accept it or by pointing to all the human efforts they have applied to rid themselves of a particular sin which didn't work and therefore must be a personality trait or natural bent. In doing these types of things you have not exhausted all of your options in conquering your sin. You have not called upon the only One who can transform your life into a life that no longer is held in captivity by that sin.
You MUST be willing to allow Jesus to work that sin out of your life and trust in the ways He sees fit to do it. His ways never fail and they never leave us disappointed. Instead His ways leave us with hearts which are transformed and which can differentiate the dark deeds of man in comparison to the pure and righteous ways of God. It is only through the transformation He does in our lives that we are able to look at things like the closing ceremonies last night and know for certain that this is not the ultimate celebration that we had been looking forward to – there is something greater and purer we still hunger and thirst for.
May you be encouraged today if you find yourself battling sin and the darkness that surrounds it. Call out to Jesus to supply His gift of grace in your life. Hand over your heart to Him, allowing Him to do all that needs to be done to rid your life of the sin you so desire to be freed from. He will work as long as you ask for His help and then are willing to go through the methods He needs (and shows you you must submit to) to transform you with.