TWFW: A Powerful Life

August 25, 2009

WFW

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, …lovers of pleasure rather then lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.” 2 Timothy 3: 1-5

“Whoever abides in Him does not sin… he who practices righteousness is righteous…Whoever has been born of God does not sin…and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.” 1 John 3:6-9

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world– even our faith.” 1 John 5:4

The kids and I are reading, amongst other things, Experiencing the Presence of God. It’s a compilation of incredible sermons and writings of the late great evangelist of the early 19th century, Charles Grandison Finney. The section we have been studying is “Victory Over Sin” and what does it mean to “overcome the world.” It’s a marvelous book, real meat for the Christian. Of course, for us it covers everything we already learn in our church services, but it’s a fabulous and in-depth daily reminder of what Christianity IS and who we are meant to BE.

What does it really mean, having a form of godliness but denying its power? It’s power to do what, exactly? To get healed? Power to speak in tongues or preach the gospel or walk on water??

It’s the power to overcome the world– to live a sinless life completely devoted to and consumed by Jesus.

I’ll quote directly from Finney, from chapter six, because he says it in such a succinct and compelling way:

What good is a religion that does not overcome the world? What is the benefit of being born into such a religion if it leaves the world still ruling in our hearts? What help is a new birth that, after all, fails to bring us into a likeness to God, fails to bring us into harmony with His family and His kingdom…? How can any man suppose that such a religion prepares his heart for heaven when it leaves him earthy-minded, fleshly, and selfish?

He who does not habitually overcome the world is not born of God. In saying this, I do not mean that a true Christian may not sometimes be overcome by sin. But I do mean that overcoming the world is the general rule, and falling into sin is only the exception.

…Let this searching question penetrate your heart: What are the things that set your soul on fire, that stir up your most fervent emotions? Are these the things of earth or the things of heaven? The things of time or the things of eternity?

This action of the soul in receiving and embracing Christ is not sluggish; it is not done in a state of sleepy passivity. …Dear reader, it cannot be too strongly impressed on every mind that the decisive characteristic of true religion is energy, not apathy. It’s vital essence is life, not death.

Doesn’t that just BURN in your heart?!?! It does mine!! It’s so amazing, really! God is never static– He is always moving, always urging us to be filled with energy and continue on with Him! And this will have an effect on our moral behavior. Instead of making excuses for and justifying sinful behavior in our lifestyles, we will denounce them and turn from them, which blesses others as well as ourselves. Of course, everyone goes at his/her own pace, but there MUST be progression, there MUST be His strength and energy in it.

So back to my initial Scriptures– What does it really mean, having a form of godliness but denying its power? Christianity is not a mere theory, a theology of Do’s and Don’t’s for “religious living.” It’s a lifestyle– living a life that is consumed by God and His goodness, where, like Adam, the breath of God is in you and makes you a living soul (Genesis 2:7). And where the power for living a sinless life, for being devoted to God and for fulfilling His commandments (Exodus 20) is not only possible, but is liberating and wonderful and makes you want to let everyone know how amazing it is!

And conversely, it will also reveal to us who are really God’s and who are not– the evidence will be their fruits, their moral behavior, their lifestyle.

3 Responses to “TWFW: A Powerful Life”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Excellent!

    My husband who is not a Christian says that he does not need to go to Sunday School just to have them tell him to do good. This is a great post for me to share with him!

  2. akaGaGa Says:

    “It’s a lifestyle– living a life that is consumed by God and His goodness.”

    This reminds me of my first “awakening” to the fact that not all “Christians” are consumed by God. The first church I attended after I was saved was charismatic/pentecostal nondenominational. The services were full of enthusiasm, tears, and shouts of joy.

    After an especially touching morning, we all gathered in the social room for coffee and munchies. Still full of gratitude for what God had done for me, I looked forward to talking about it: how He had taken me from the pits of hell, forgiven me, and placed me in His kingdom. The only conversations I could find, though, were about … football … and cars … and recipes … and hairstyles.

    I remember thinking, “Why am I the only one who’s excited about the service? How can they turn it on and off so fast – and why would they want to?” A rude awakening, indeed.

    Good post, Rebecca. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Renee Says:

    Wow!

    It makes me think… If we want to have a heart that is on fire for God, it won’t just happen by itself. Fires must be constantly fed and stirred to keep them burning hot. If you leave your fire for a little while, it may burn out; You must constantly tend to the fire. In fact, once my dad fed our woodstove so much, it nearly burned our house down! That’s the kind of fire we need! God would rather that we be hot or cold instead of lukewarm. It’s amazing how many Christians are lukewarm and don’t even know it. That’s why we should constantly examine ourselves against God’s Word to see if we are in the faith.

    Thanks for this encouraging post!