“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren” (James 1: 4-16).
There you are, watching from the sidelines. He walks by you ever so slowly. In front of him is the dangling carrot of temptation that keeps him unfocused on anything else. The lead shoes of guilt slow him down as he works hard to drag his feet while climbing up the hill, pulling regret behind him.
His hands are bound behind him with the chains of sin, getting tighter with each step, pulling his shoulders down further and further. The tears running down his face are not of joy but of the pain of worthlessness. The end of his path is a cliff. Beyond the cliff is the judgment and the lake of fire.
This man has never known a life any different than this. He thinks and believes this is what life is about, that this is normal. Life to him is full of temptations that he can’t overcome; guilt from giving into wickedness. Pain from feeling worthless for the life he is living.
He thinks God is a bad god that just likes to toy with him. He tells you God likes to make him suffer, likes to see him in misery. He asks you what kind of loving god would do this to a man. You tell him he is wrong and there is hope. He shakes his head at you, looks straight ahead again and keeps shuffling up the hill.
He has a stirring in his heart, but he doesn’t know what it is or what it means. He just thinks it is just more burden on him, nothing else, nothing more. His problem is that he is stuck in the world and lost in an endless cycle of self destruction. He is headed to death. He doesn’t know Jesus. He’s never heard of Christ. No one told him about Jesus before. He was each one of us and is us.
When reading this, did you see and feel it, because I did? I was writing about myself and what I’ve seen in others. I can totally relate to this unnamed man. His name is mine, your neighbors, your family members, and your name, too.
None of us were born and grew up “mightier than thou” as some would like to impart or portray to you in their “perfect” Christian lives. We were all and are like this man. “Not me!” and “Who is this guy telling me who I am?” I’m telling you the truth. If you don’t believe me, that’s fine, some folks have little fantasy islands that they live on.
If you are a Christian and have not ever been tempted by sin, show me the secret of how you do it. If you’re not burdened with guilt or worthlessness when you commit or still live in sin, show me how to not feel this way. When you fail, how do you not feel regret? I’d like to know because I’m a Christian and feel these things. Maybe I’m just not as perfect as some of you.
The difference between the man described above and who we are — is that he did not have Jesus as some of us do. Jesus is the missing ingredient in people’s lives that are burdened like the man described. Those of us who have Jesus are forgiven and don’t have to be tied down to the world like the unsaved. We are free. I am free.
John 3:17: “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”
Jesus doesn’t want us to suffer like that man. He wants us to be beautiful people in our soul, to be joyous and reflect His love to others. God didn’t create us to destroy us in the end. He created us to make a choice, an eternal choice of accepting and loving Him as our Creator or to love Satan and the world that he controls. Our choices have eternal consequences.
Let’s address this man from a Christian perspective now:
He can break the chains of sin through the power of Jesus and take off the shoes of guilt, now knowing guilt will not slow him down. His temptation may be dangling in front of him all the time, but he can choose to ignore it or grab it and throw it to the wayside when it’s there. The tears? They are no longer of pain, but of joy for Christ.
You know that hill he was climbing? It is no longer going to darkness, but up to light that is heaven bound. This is how Jesus changed the scenario for this man, once he accepted Christ in his heart. No more regret pulling him down, nor burden weighing down on his shoulders from sin.
Do you stumble sometimes? Don’t bother answering, I already know the answer to that question. (Hint: It should be, “Yes.”) What do you do when you stumble? Do you act like some do and pretend it never happened, put it away in your mind and try to hide it? Or do you pray for forgiveness?
You can’t go out every Saturday night and party it up and then on Sunday ask for forgiveness, and repeat this every week. That lifestyle defeats the purpose of avoiding sin. Instead you are using Christ in a deadly game against yourself, using and thinking His forgiveness can be toyed with and manipulated with.
Okay. Let’s say you haven’t partied for years, but there was one day of the weekend that you did. One of two things would most likely happen. You will either feel the Holy Spirit convict you for your devilish deed or you won’t feel bad about it at all. If you aren’t convicted by the Holy Spirit that what you did was contrary to Christ, if you didn’t feel that heavy guilt but instead brushed it aside, then you are not in a good place with Christ.
If you did feel convicted for your deed last Saturday night, then good for you. Your heart is in the right place because you were convicted by the Holy Spirit. What’s important is what you will do next Saturday and the next. The Holy Spirit will let you know very clearly that what you did was wrong. It doesn’t have to be partying, it can be anything. The important point to take away is that once you are convicted, you pray for forgiveness and strive to not to do it again!
I’m guilty of doing sinful things because I’m a sinful human, always fighting but slipping up sometimes. The difference from my old self and my new self is that I learn from my convictions from the Holy Spirit. I don’t ignore Him, but instead listen to Him.
I’m like a child; the Holy Spirit has to slap my hands to keep me from touching the stove until I learn that by touching the stove I will get slapped. Only as I get older (i.e. grow with Christ) do I realize I was not being punished by the Holy Spirit, but that He was protecting me from getting burned. This is how He works.
When temptation comes, and I know it will, I have learned to trust the Holy Spirit. Because if I don’t, I know the consequences of doing wrong. Sin leads to death, which I don’t want of course, so I rely on the Holy Spirit to guide me to the righteous path and to convict me to ask for forgiveness when I choose not to listen to him (slap-ouch).
Some may feel it is a burden to try to be so “good” all the time. I say there is a freedom in it. I am freed from the chains of sin. The burden of sin is taken away and I’m free to love my God, my Christ, with all my joy and all my heart.
Mathew 11: 28-30: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yokeis easy, and my burden is light.”
The burden of being a Christian is not hard, if you have Jesus. If you think it is hard to be a Christian…hmm…I don’t know, maybe you’re really not a Christian. Seriously. Being a Christian, that is—being saved, is a freedom from your self. You are free from the bondage of the world and of Satan’s grip he had on you.
Personally, I find that being a Christian is fun and no burden to me to be one; but this is me and my opinion. I was set free from my old self by the grace of Christ when I accepted Him into my heart.
I feel like this is begging the question: What is freedom? That depends on what you believe. If you don’t believe in Christ then freedom is to do whatever you want, how you want, regardless of how you feel. Feeling this way is the man described above in the beginning of this article.
The thing is this: So many don’t know the weight they carry. It’s like me, I’m a fat guy, but I don’t notice the extra weight I carry. But if my wife were to carry the extra 100 lbs I carry, she would surely feel it and it would pull her down. Same thing that unsaved people don’t realize; they are carrying the burden of guilt, sin, worthlessness, etc. on themselves and so it is normal to them.
Once Christ is found and is in one’s heart, that burden is taken away and WOW what a refreshing thing it is: Christ is freedom. Without that extra weight I would feel as if I suddenly disappeared, weight wise. How great, like flying or running or doing something joyous. This is what Christ does for us when we accept Him and lay our burdens on Him. We are suddenly released from the burdens of the world holding us down. We are free.
Romans 6:18-23: “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Without Christ you are spiritually dead. The wages of sin is death, a separation from Christ forever after your physical body dies and your spirit is released. With Christ, you die and your released spirit from this world goes on to heaven to be with Christ. What would you rather have? Separation from Christ in hell or joined with Him in heaven?
When you commit yourself to Christ you choose to serve righteousness to holiness. Anything less is not up to par. You can’t serve two masters, you must choose one. I hope you have chosen righteousness and not iniquity. We live an unholy world with Satan in the driver’s seat. Yet, even in the midst of this we can choose to get into the car with Christ and let Him be the driver for our souls. He will lead us to righteousness and will make us holy.
I don’t mean to sound harsh, well maybe a little, but if you choose to serve the world and be part of the world’s evilness, then you are damned. It is unfortunate for someone who thinks he or she is a Christian but they really live in the world. They think they can have it both ways, but they can’t. I see a lot of people doing this. They are slaves to the world but try to be Christian at the same time. Such a shame, this is. I hope those of you who are you reading this are not one of those people.
The solution to this problem is pretty easy: Choose freedom in Christ. Choose Christ over the world. Put Christ first. Christ is the way, the, truth, and the life. I don’t ever recall the Bible saying the world is the way, the truth, the life. If you believe this or are walking on both sides of the street, you are in trouble.
The journey is long. The fight is hard. There will be challenges along the way. Be steadfast in your love and following of Christ and you will be heaven bound. Don’t give up my brothers and sisters. Life can be tiring in the world but there is freedom in Christ.