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A Believer’s Influence

March 24, 2017
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Ever considered that your presence and union (familial) carries with it a great influence? That believers have an ability to permeate things that are unholy? That the grace that’s given to you can also bless others?

Growing up in my late twenties, I encountered a few verses in Corinthians that really shook me. 1 Corinthians 7 is a chapter that talks much about marriage. A part of marriage involves both man and woman, husband and wife, as well as their children. In this passage Paul is laying out parameters for how the husband and wife are to relate to one another due to their spiritual state.

The spiritual presence of one believer is POWERFUL.

“For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.”

What’s amazing from these two verses is that Paul is saying if the unbeliever wants to stay married, regardless of the temperature and pattern of your marriage, you do not divorce. Why? Because the unbeliever has been ‘sanctified’ simply through a marital union with the believer. The unbeliever is blessed simply for being connected to the believer in the primary family. God has always been big on families, and Paul is showing us that God has not changed one bit.

Then Paul goes on to say that the children who would be unclean if the parents divorced are now in fact holy because of his or her familial connection to a believing parent. Does that not rattle your cage a bit?

The unbelieving spouse and child are now in a different spiritual category. Notice the terms: unbeliever to sanctified and unclean to holy. That’s all due to the believing spouse and parent.

It is hard for me to wrap my mind around it all but I cannot deny what the text is saying. It is clear that families with at least one believing parent are able to bless the entire family unit. The unbelieving spouse is considered sanctified though unsaved. The unbelieving child is considered holy though unsaved.

Indeed, the spiritual presence of one believer is powerful according to Paul’s inspired text.


Newmanity and Strongholds

June 2, 2016
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Ever ask yourself what is a stronghold? Ever been asked?

I find it best to start with definitions so that our time isn’t spent wondering just exactly what this big 5 dollar word means. A stronghold is best described as a person placing greater value, thoughts, or desires on some thing or someone more than God.

In reality, every person in this world has at least one stronghold. For the nonbeliever, it’s fully expected. Some want nothing to do with God, so what they crave and value will always come before the creator. Some want to have a comfortable affixed relationship with God in order that their conscience will feel better. Some just don’t want to pay the cost of following Jesus for the rest of their lives. Any way you look at it, they’ve got the type of strongholds they can’t get relief from.

Believers on the other hand are in a different boat as expected. Having been nonbelievers for any length of time, they come into Christianity with a specific set of strongholds. Depending on the type of home and local church environment, there comes another set of strongholds. And there’s this pesky thing called self-righteousness that every Christian struggles with.

In Galatians 5, Paul lays out a concrete framework for the believers to understand that Jesus died on the cross to set them free. Then in verse 16, he commands them to go live in the Spirit. But there’s a vital part missing in this link. Those Galatian believers were at one point bound in chains before being given freedom in a spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental sense. Talk about radical change. And now they’re supposed to go live controlled by the Spirit. But how?

What a person thinks controls them. Do you believe that? Go ahead of think back to the last few things that you really wanted more than life itself, and all the steps you took to get it. Those were strongholds you encountered that most likely led you to sin because you were controlled by the fleshly desires. And some of our desires can be good, but they become over-desires that take the place of God in our lives. In other words, we take good things and make them into God-like things that we believe deserve our ultimate allegiance until it’s acquired.

Paul isn’t done. “Live (controlled) by the Spirit and you won’t gratify the desires of the sinful flesh.” First question is, do you believe this sentence? Does this inspired verse hit home in your heart and mind? I sure hope so

Second question, do you read this sentence and automatically jump to this –¬†well I’m not perfect; I’m a work in progress? I sure hope not. Paul isn’t commanding perfection. He’s stating a simple truth. Live controlled by the Spirit and you won’t gratify your fleshly desires. On the flip side, gratify your fleshly desires and it’s proof you’re not being controlled by the Spirit.

Third question, does this sentence encourage you to fight through your strongholds? I sure hope so. If you can rightly place your fleshly desires where they go, you can conquer your stronghold so that you won’t sin.

Be encouraged believers and nonbelievers. Strongholds are defeated by the same power that raised Jesus from the grave. The Holy Spirit is key to your powerful living in the freedom that you’ve been given, believers. Trust him.