Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Common Christian Complex: No Discernment & Sinfulness

In the inaugural post for this series, I discussed the idea of holy discontentment and how not being satisfied with our personal spiritual walks is key to pursuing holiness. 

Assuming you didn't click the hyperlink above, here is the gist of what I said:

"This is the thesis: Christians should never be satisfied with their Christian walk. There is always more work to do. There are ways to be more effective, more efficient, and more pro-active. By keeping a healthy holy discontentment at the forefront of our minds, we can sustain a fire for God that keeps us disciplined and in line with God's Word."

An apathetic Christian who is comfortable in his apathy has no concern for discernment. This is really all too common. I say that sadly, not getting pleasure from pointing out an epidemic in the Church, but it is really just a matter of fact.

Perhaps the clearest area in the Church where discernment is not exercised is in the area of Scripture. Christians, speaking in general terms, don't give two licks about the Word of God. They don't read their Bibles very often (if at all) for various sub-reasons. 

But the main reason is this: many believers do not see Scripture as being sufficient.

David Platt speaks to this issue a bit in this video clip.

Scripture says this about itself:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 

I'm going this direction under the heading of "no discernment" because this is where discernment starts for the Christian. Wisdom comes from fearing God (Prov 9:10) and God's people are supposed to "hear and fear."

And all Israel shall hear and fear and never again do any such wickedness as this among you.  
Deuteronomy 13:11

And all the people shall hear and fear and not act presumptuously again.
Deut 17:13

And the rest shall hear and fear, and shall never again commit any such evil among you.  
Deut 19:20

Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear.
Deut 21:21 

Assemble the people, men, women, and little ones, and the sojourner within your towns, that they may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law, and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as you live in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess. 
Deut 31:12-13

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

How do we hear from God? We turn to what He has said in His word. 

And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 1:19-21

This has been very Scripture-heavy. But it's intentional. It wouldn't make much sense to speak about the Bible being the way we obtain discernment and not quote the Bible. 

In this Common Complex of sorts, the Christian has gotten so comfortable that he doesn't care about his own ignorance. "Ignorance" may not even be the right word; it implies that the lack of knowledge that exists is just a mere academic gap. The apathetic Christian willfully does not exercise discernment. It's more than just not knowing. It's not knowing something on purpose.

This is bad. 

When a person is happy to not educate himself on what God thinks and live his life according to his own rules, he carries on fruitlessly, giving in to sin. 

That's the next part of the cycle: sinfulness. It's inevitable, really. When there is no constant holy motivation to live righteously, people will live in sin. They may not call it sin. They may not acknowledge their sin. But it's sin. 

Living sinfully, in a state of defeat, is the worst place a person who calls himself a Christian can end up. Too often a person gets to this part of the Common Complex and rolls over, reckoning himself dead to God and alive to sin. I'm not saying that the person hates God, rather he thinks that God hates him. I'm also not saying that he necessarily enjoys the sin, but he thinks it's the only thing that he can now do.

A Christian does not have to stay in a state of sinfulness. In fact, God desires the exact opposite. He equips the believer to do the opposite and wills for His children to do the opposite.

There is only one ingredient that moves a person from sinful living into holy living: repentance.

And that's what I'll discuss in the next post.

God bless.

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