“Religion hates difference, it feels threatened by a questioning heart
and quickly attempts to suffocate freedom to think outside the box!”
Tales from the Couch is Dave Vaughan’s interpretation of his journey with God. Dave is honest. If you are open to questions, exploring life with God and open to the now, then you will love Dave’s stories. If your identity is wrapped up in having everything figured out, the tales may be frustrating. However, you may just get whacked by the Spirit and enjoy it anyway. Give it a read. It is a roller coaster ride that Dave has traveled so far. He shares his earliest memories of encounter, revelry, religious bondage, and the sweet life of encounter the new wine has to offer. It was a fun read that offered several nuggets of wisdom to ponder along the way. Dave does not get preachy. He just keeps it real. I like it!
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If you are a Christian, then the old you, your old self, has been crucified with Christ. That means he is gone, finished, obliterated, and obsolete (Rom. 6:3, 6, 11, 18, 22; Gal. 2:20). If you are a Christian, then you do not want to live a life of sin (1 John 3:8-9). This is true because God’s seed is planted in you. Those are truths about you documented in God’s word. However, we have an easier time believing in what the Bible records about Heaven, which we have not seen, than we do believing what it says about our old self and our relationship to sin. I believe that is due to the fact that we still manifest sin in our lives, so it is difficult for us to believe what God says about our true nature.
We must remember that Satan is a deceiver (Revelation 12:9). He is the father of lies (John 8:44). One huge deception he will work in your life is for you to believe you want to sin. He wants you to believe the real you, the new creation in Christ, desires the sin when you are tempted. What you must come to terms with is the new you does not desire to sin because you now know the Lord, and His seed rests in your heart (Hebrews 8:11; 1 John 3:9). When you experience a temptation, that does not mean you really want it. But, if Satan deceives you to believe the real you does, it will be far easier to give in to the trap. Just because you hear the thought “I know I should not do this, but it is too hard to resist” does not mean it is originating from YOU!
Satan is seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8-9). If he can deceive you into thinking you still desire to sin, he will devour you as much as he can. He wants you to believe you are still the same old you. He wants you to believe you will never be a “good Christian”. He wants you to feel as defeated as he possibly can even though Christ has won the victory! An eagle will never try to fly if it believes itself to be a penguin. Likewise, you will not enjoy the salvific benefits given you in Christ if you believe the lie that you are still the same old you. Satan will keep you grounded even though Christ set you free to soar!
The ideas for engaging in sin may not originate from you, but the choice is yours to believe and obey the lies. You are responsible for believing truth as well as lies. You cannot blame the Devil for choosing to distrust what God says is true about you. If Satan used scripture to try and deceive Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11), he will use whatever incorrect beliefs and conclusions about yourself to deceive you. Remember, the real you does not want to sin. Satan is deceiving you to believe you do. next week we will address how law excites the force of sin in your life. Many times it is the rules we set for ourselves that can become our own undoing. Jesus came to destroy the works of the Devil, and He succeeded (1 John 3:8)!
There is something about Jesus that Paul wanted drilled into Timothy’s mind: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).” The mission of Jesus regarding humanity is vital to our understanding and appreciating his work. Jesus said and did many things while living in the flesh that people have misinterpreted throughout history. One thing that we never want to misinterpret or under appreciate is that Jesus wants to save us!
Jesus condemned the motives of the actions of the Pharisees during his time on Earth (Matthew 5:19; 23). However, he did not denounce their deeds and thoughts with the purpose of condemning them to an eternity of separation from God. One evening, a Pharisee named Nicodemus visited with Jesus.
Jesus spent time explaining his purpose in ministry. Jesus said, “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him (John 3:17).” Jesus taught that the world was already condemned, but that God provided escape from this judgment through Jesus (John 3:18, 31-36). Jesus wanted the Pharisees to see him as their Savior, not enemy. However, the Pharisees would never see their need for Jesus as their Savior until they believed they were already condemned.
Jesus upset many people who thought they knew the right way to treat sinners. One time Jesus did this when he ate with Zacchaeus. He was known and despised as a sinner. However, Jesus not only initiated his meal with Zacchaeus, but he also wanted to eat at his house! Jesus made his intentions clear by saying, “the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost (Luke 19:10).” Jesus did not treat the lost as trash. Rather, Jesus treated the lost as a treasure to be restored to its proper glory.
It was important that Timothy remember Jesus’ purpose for coming to Earth as a man was to save sinners. It can be easy to fall into the trap of acting as moral police, as well as judge and juror of others’ actions. Jesus expressed several times that His desire was to save others, and it was abundantly evident by his actions and his teachings. In case there was any confusion, Jesus clarified it such as in his conversation with Nicodemus. Jesus does not want you to run away from him as Adam and Eve did when they hid from God in the Garden. God wants us back, and that is why Jesus came.