No Apologizing

Christian Apologetic, and Social Commentary in a world gone mad

Tag Archives: hate

Are Christians Sociopaths?


Are Christians, particularly Christians in America, sociopathic?

What started as an off the cuff remark I made during a recent sermon at my Church (Legacy Church, in Kansas City, MO) has begun to legitimately haunt me (you can hear the sermon here)…

Christian… Sociopath… These are two words that on the surface seem completely incompatible.  Acts 11:26 tells us that the term “Christian” was first used of disciples in the Antioch church.  This was initially used as an insult in that people were saying they were “little Christs”.  In other words, they were just like Jesus, who because of His great love for people, voluntarily died to pay for the sins of the world. On the other hand – the dictionary defines sociopath as “a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.” Another says that “Sociopaths are interested only in their personal needs and desires, without concern for the effects of their behavior on others.”

How can someone who is living a life that is reminiscent of a man whose critics admit was at least a good person and moral teacher exhibit behavior or attitudes that are patently selfish and apathetic to others? However, in spite of the apparent contradiction, I think if we are truly honest with ourselves, the answer is closer to “yes” than any of us who call ourselves a Christian would like to admit… And it tears me up inside… Let me allow this clip from Atheist Magician and Comedian Penn Jillette to begin to explain what I mean:

“How much do you have to hate someone to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?” There is the rub… Way too many “Christians” fall in a daily routine and are comfortable to coast through life without a broken heart for their friends and family who, if what we believe is really true, are destined for an eternity without God… Well… to be honest that is the essence of selfishly living life “without concern for the effects of their behavior [or lack thereof] on others”, isn’t it???

We certainly shouldn’t be comfortable with it… But sadly I think that may just be the problem… our comfort.  Because we are relatively comfortable, especially in comparison to most of the rest of the world, we just get into auto pilot and unintentionally slip into apathy.  It’s not a conscious thing, but it occurs anyway… and it’s tragic.

Penn said “There comes a point where I tackle you… and this is more important than that.” Because people’s eternities are so important, our “social conscience” should remind us that we have a “moral responsibility” to love those around us enough to take the risk of offending them or losing a friendship to in a sense “tackle” them by sharing the truth about Jesus

Let’s pray to God for forgiveness for our sociopathic tendencies and begin to live a life that actually reflects our name-sake, Jesus… and refuse to scoot through life uncaring and unaffected by the many people we know who do not yet have a relationship with Him.

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What do you mean I’m a murderer!?


We have hit the 6th commandment mark in our series on the 10 commandments (link here to sermon).  Here is a commandment that is laced with controversy and unintended consequences.  Murder is a harsh word, that (in some circles) is politically charged and could cause many to recoil. And it should.  Our political climate and cultural climate has begun to desensitize us to the “condition” of human life.  I am not sure that a week goes by were murder is not shown on tv, or played out in video games.  This commandment covers the topics of war, abortion, manslaughter, and outright murder.

So when we look at the 6th commandment murder must be defined.  My pastor defined murder as the following “Any act of violence against an innocent human being out of hatred, anger, malice, deceit or for personal gain by whatever method that results in death.”  This is a definition that all of us (including most laws) will agree with.

 I want to talk about the elephant in the room that everyone can see, and I want to talk about the 800lb Gorilla in the room that very few see.

 First to the 800lb gorilla…all of us, at some point, more than likely have committed murder.

 I wanted to start here because if you ask the average Christian, atheist, or agnostic if they have ever committed murder they would all answer no.  They would be about 50% correct.  The truth is that 99.9% of those same people have committed murder and have no idea that they have…

 Jesus is known for ramping things up…so to speak.  He does so with the 6th commandment.  The point here is pretty straightforward.  The Bible says that anyone who is

We are all guilty...

 angry with his brother is guilty of murder (Matthew 5:21-22, 1 John 3:15).  So the act of physical murder is one thing, but anger and hate is murder as well?  Does that even make sense?  ABSOLUTELY!  The point that Jesus is making is that the intent in your heart matters!  God can see through to your heart and knows what your heart is saying….even if your exterior is smiling at the person you hate.  Let this soak in for a second…Every person you have hated…you have murdered…in your heart.  That would make some of us psychopaths. 

 The fact that this is a HIGH standard is intentional.  Raise your hand if you have hated anyone.  Okay know that all of our hands are up…including mine…would you have ever thought that the emotion of anger and hate was tantamount to murder?  This is undeniably a high standard and underscores the reason for our need for salvation.

Now to the elephant…abortion.  Abortion is, and has become a very politically charged issue.  Many argue that abortion is a moral issue.  What is the moral issue?  A woman has a right to choose what to do with her body.  However, I would argue that choice is not a moral issue.  Moreover, I would argue pro-choice is simply a position that could be applied to any issue where a choice is required…such as school vouchers (opportunity for parents to send their kids to a school of their choice), or the gun issue (my choice to have a weapon in the house).  The moral issue at play for the issue of abortion is this, is it right or wrong to murder?  Now, I can immediately envision the embolism that is taking place in the heads of pro-abortion individuals.  Hear me out.  Pro- Abortion and pro-life individuals both agree that murder is wrong.  No one on either side of that argument would defend murder as defined above.  The question then isn’t whether or not murder is wrong; because we all know that it is…the question then becomes when does life begin?  Is abortion in fact murder?  Check this out…In Roe v. Wade the US Supreme Court declined to comment on the issue of life.  Rather a neutral position was declared saying that it wasn’t necessary for them to know when life began.   Doesn’t that seem odd?  A court ruling that allows for the termination of a pregnancy ignoring the question of whether the fetus is in fact alive.  Now Planned Parenthood v. Casey does define when life begins (yes a court did this) however, the morality (which is where I am attacking here) was as vague if not more vague from this ruling. 

 Consider the following quote from the Casey case: “Some of us as individuals find abortion offensive to our most basic principles of morality, but that cannot control our decision. Our obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code…at the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”  Now that you have read this…re-read it while considering the following:  1.  The court mandated it’s own moral code, while stating that it could not. 2. Based on the above one could argue that a murderer defines his existence by murdering.  The above statement could be used to justify anything under the guise that it defines a person’s existence, and meaning.

 Now, in our small group we discussed this topic at length.  It was brought up that scientific studies show that the cells do not enter the womb until the 6th day  of pregnancy (yes this is relevant.)  Looking at abortion statistics from a 2006 CDC survey, 40% (487,000) of abortions take place AFTER the 9th week and 60% (755,000) less than 9 weeks.  We don’t know how many abortions take place from day 6 and before, but I am willing to wager not very many considering that most do not find out they are pregnant until the missed cycle (which could be anywhere from 3 weeks).  Consider the above statistics when reading the next paragraph.

 According to Psalm 139:13-16 God knit us together in the womb. He sees our unformed body.  He wrote out our history before we saw one day.  Psalm 139 offers instruction as to when life begins.  So there could be two sides to this argument… the Conservative, life begins at conception, or the liberal, life begins when God knits us together in the womb.  Both conclusion could be had from Psalm 139.  To rephrase…life begins at conception or at the time we enter the womb for knitting (day 6).

 To summarize…God has provided a timeline to when life starts.  The courts have been put into a position to try and define when life starts, but they relegate it to choice.  If life starts (even at the latest) 6 days after conception, then abortion at any point beyond that has to be considered murder, according the definition provided above. 

 While the argument about abortion is indeed heated, one must remove the cultural issue (choice) and focus on the moral issue at hand (murder).  When you focus on the true moral issue of murder, the only question that exists about abortion is, when does life begin.  If the argument for abortion looked specifically at that question…I have a feeling that the tone would be much different.

Unhappy with the Government?


I’m going to be out of pocket tomorrow, so I’m doing my G90X update a little early this week… Thought I’d take the Holiday as a good opportunity to remind us of a passage that isn’t always very comfortable. 1 Peter 2:13-17:

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. 16 Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. 17 Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.

Of course, in America we have no king… but we do have a Congress and a President and a Supreme Court… Regardless of your political leanings there are probably several men or women in Washington that you are not a big fan of… In posting this passage, I’ve got another confession to make… I need to do a much better job of praying for the men and women in our government… I spend a whole lot of time complaining about them (not always out loud, but often in my heart), and only a fraction of that time praying for them… which I think, is probably the best way to honor and submit to them.

When we are dissatisfied with certain things that our government is doing or not doing how should we respond? Robert touched on this in a previous post after he was very upset over the passing of the Health Care bill. I think 1 Peter 2:15 sheds a lot of light on what we can and should do… It’s easy to complain (believe me I know from 1st hand experience), but I think that our first obligation is to stop and pray and silence useless/foolish talk…

What do I mean by that? Here’s a question… What can actually (legally) be done to change the government? Vote them out, right? Of course you can write your elected officials and let them know how you feel about certain issues and how you will vote based on those issues… If you are dissatisfied with what they are doing/not doing – go to it… but the opportunity to actually make a change (by voting) only comes around every couple of years, right?! And there’s no guarantees that someone more worthy will be running against them. Our complaints in the meantime are futile and do more to rile us up and make us discontent and take our focus off what’s more important (i.e. the Kingdom of God, lost souls and hurting people around us)…

If our complaints are largely futile could they then be considered “ignorant talk of foolish men” in light of verse 15 and Ephesians 4:29, which says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen”? Not convinced? Check it out in context (Ephesians 4:25-32).

Thanks to the sacrifice of countless men and women throughout America’s history we have the freedom of speech… We have the freedom to complain… But 1 Peter 2:16 reminds us, “Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.” Do our complaints build others up… do they mark us as servants of God? Am I saying folks on Fox or MSNBC are evil in being political pundants? Not really… However, as Christians we should think about how WE need to respond to our discontentment on a daily basis.

So what can be done DAILY to change the government? The Answer is Prayer.

God has the ability to change hearts and minds… I truly trust in His power and sovereignty… If He has that power and ability, then let us lean on Him to do so… Let’s pray for our government officials that God would give them supernatural wisdom and that they would make God-honoring choices… Let us “cast all our anxiety upon Him because He cares for [us]” (1 Peter 5:7) – It can make a difference in our nation, in our lives and our attitudes… I certainly want to do the will of God and definitely do not want to be considered by Him to be a fool who’s engaging in “ignorant talk.”

Maybe I should pray more…

Jesus, the community organizer


I was having a conversation with my mother in law the other night.  She had mentioned that she got into a conversation with someone and community organizing came up.  To be clear, this someone is, someone who does not believe in the Lord, and has a liberal social agenda.  The words “Jesus was a community organizer” were spoken.  Interesting?  I could sense in my mother in law’s voice that there was a sense of frustration.  What do you say to something like that?  If I were to hear something along those lines my natural response would be one of disgust.  This statement is either one of complete ignorance or just an intentional dig at Christians and the politics of today.  I could tell from my mother in laws reaction from telling me the story that she was obviously frustrated by the statement.  .

We heard a lot of theories supposing Jesus was a community organizer during the presidential election in 2008.  But what does it mean?  One blogger put it like this “Jesus worked for the ordinary folks, who were disregarded by their leaders. He lived their lives and went through their hardships, organizing their communities towards hope”.  Various Bible verses are thrown around.  They typically center on the beatitudes.  Those who have made these statements (written or otherwise) have not provided any biblical documentation that Jesus was a community organizer.  Rather, those who would paint the Christ as a simple community organizer will refer you to snippets of the gospel that are taken out of context and with little biblical understanding on their part.  The irony… the vast majority of those that would make such a statement do not believe in God, or the deity of Jesus.  In that context, their insistence that “Jesus was a (just) community organizer” is an intentional degradation of the deity of Christ, and an attempt to belittle you for believing that the Son of God was nothing more than a community organizer.

First, I would like to offer this… The premise of this statement is incorrect.  Jesus is not simply a community organizer; he is the Son of God.  He delivered us from our sins by bearing our punishment.  Thus He is a savior not a community organizer.

So, let’s compare the job description of a community organizer to the historical events Jesus’ ministry.   So that we can make a valid comparison, first, let’s take a look at a typical community organizer’s job description, and compare it to the events of the Gospel.  Of course, job descriptions will vary from location to location – This particular list of responsibilities came from HERE.

Primary Responsibilities:

–          Function well as part of a team.

Jesus did not function as part of the team… He was the leader of the team.  In a modern context the ability to function well within a team means harmony, unity, not upsetting the apple cart, or any number of things that would upset the team dynamic.  Jesus set the dynamic.    This qualification would have fit more with the disciples…NOT with Jesus.

–          Identify and partner with local groups.

Jesus did identify with local groups.  This is evident in the way he was able to modify his teaching’s.  A great example of how He would identify with local groups would be to examine His parables.  His parables were often delivered in a context that the group He happened to be talking to (case and point speaking to a Pharisee when delivering the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)).  This would achieve maximum efficiency.  The only partners Jesus had was God, and anyone who believed.  Unfortunately, most of the local groups in His time did not.

–          Develop and maintain communication with a broad coalition of grassroots groups.

There were a few grass root groups during the time of Christ.  One of the more notable ones would be the Zealots.  The Zealots were a group dedicated to the revolutionary, armed type of rebellion against the Romans.  Many of the Zealots thought Jesus was going to be that leader.  While Jesus was able to communicate with them, he never even really tried to build coalitions.  Jesus presented a simply message that required no coalition.  It was truth, and you either accepted it or didn’t.  Scratch that, Jesus did create a coalition for one thing… His crucifixion (Mark 14:53; 15:1, John 11:48-50).

–          Coordinate meetings and forums.

Jesus did have meetings and forums for instruction.  Most of the time they were opportunities that presented themselves and Jesus never let an opportunity to teach pass Him by.  Some examples of this would include the Sermon on the Mount, and Preaching to the Samaritan woman.

–          Facilitate participation in a collective decision making process.

Jesus did not participate in a facilitating decision making process.  Decisions that He made were not collective with the disciples.  Jesus operated under one authority only, God.  He did not solicit opinion from others as to what he should do or how he should do it.  Jesus was led by the Spirit of God (Matthew 28:18-19).

What is the conclusion one can draw from all of this?  While there are some aspects of the Christ’s time on earth that do mirror community organizing (meeting/forums) Jesus was not interested in anything other than the Kingdom of God and seeing people be a part of it, through salvation.  Two points can be made here:  1. Jesus was a polarizing figure. More importantly, He knew it.  Look at Matthew 10:21-22.  Here He talks about the division in families because of Him.  He talks on numerous occasions (John 15:18-25, Matthew 5:10-12) about how those that believe in Him will be hated in the world!  This is not harmony, this is not worldly hope… This is sacrifice.   2.  If Jesus was a community organizer He was one of the worst community organizers in the history of man.  Look at this from one simple point; Jesus organized the community of Jerusalem so well, that they BEGGED Pilate to crucify him.  Does that sound like success!?  Not hardly. 

The really odd thing about all of this is… Before He died, His followers believed He was a community organizer – The leader who was going to deliver them from the Roman Empire… the leader of the rebellion.  The disciples believed this all the way to the point where He appeared to them after His crucifixion.  Jesus was none of those things… (at least not yet)

I would like to return to the quote I found from a blogger, “Jesus worked for the ordinary folks, who were disregarded by their leaders. He lived their lives and went through their hardships, organizing their communities towards hope”.  If we rewrite this quote based on truth it would look something like this:

Jesus died for all, in spite of their sin or their feelings towards Him (good or bad).  He was disregarded by their leaders.  By coming to earth He is able to understand everything that you have been through (Hebrews 2:5-18).  While He preached a message of salvation and hope, He also preached a message of suffering.

So, if you hear someone say that Jesus was a community organizer, go ahead and tell them… “Okay, but He was terrible at it then because the community He was trying to organize killed Him.”  Aren’t we all glad that Jesus was a terrible community organizer?

LOST Series Finale


Sunday night was bitter sweet for me. LOST is over… Yeah, I can admit that I’ve been a huge fan of the show. My wife and I didn’t start off watching it, but got caught up in about season 3 by renting the first two seasons on DVD just before season 3 launched. This series has been one of my favorite shows of all time and the finale didn’t disappoint.

Of course, there are plenty of things to criticize about the show’s world view… but seriously, who forms their belief system over something they know to be fiction? There are, however, at least a few parallels to biblical Christianity (this is often true of great literature)… So, to put LOST to bed, so to speak, please allow me to point out just a couple of these.

First of all… the concept of the show started out simple enough, but then it got REAL complicated – REAL quick… Not everything made sense – no one could ever quite understand all the rules governing the island and those living on it – good people went bad, people with dubious pasts redeemed themselves. To the very end everybody had their own opinions as to why such and such was happening (from the tiniest detail to the over-arching purpose/meaning)… In fact, the most helpful episodes were the reruns that included the writers’ and/or directors’ commentary – but even these sometimes brought more confusion and questions than they provided answers.

Isn’t that just like real life, though? Life starts out real simple, but gets REAL complicated – REAL quick. Not everything that happens to us makes sense – Why do bad things happen to us or people we know? Why does the economy stink? Why do folks get laid off? What is the Purpose of Life? Why is the government so jacked up? The questions roll on and on… And the stronger the questions and challenges the less we know how to deal with them on our own!

Sorting it all out can be crippling! So people turn to various religions and try all sorts of theories (remember the hatch… Hugo’s unlucky numbers… Daniel’s crazy insights and ideas – including the nuke… Desmond’s idea last night). But even when they find the right place (we believe this to be the Bible) to search for reliable answers to life and morality (I mean, just how are we supposed to fight the “Smoke Monsters” in our lives – whoever he is) the waters can still be muddy because people often have a hard time understanding it or it leads to more questions!

SPOILER ALERT: Two of my favorite places in this last episode is where Jack initiated Hurley by passing him the bottle as Jacob had done for him – “Now, you’re like me”. Kate said “I know you don’t understand, Jack… But if you come with me, you will.” She touched his life profoundly and then led him to his father, who could (and did) provide the answers.

Both of these scenes demonstrate the kind of evangelism we need to have in the Church today… a passionate compassion for other people that leads them to be their best by seriously engaging in a relationship with God. In both scenes a life-altering decision was made and it was initiated by one of the characters simply asking them to make a decision. The decisions were tough but because of the love and care and friendship that had been invested between them the decision was really not all that hard… But still, one had to ask and the other had to accept. Demonstrating their decision wasn’t complicated – instead, it was so easy Hurley asked “Is that it?” It is the same for sharing and accepting God’s free gift of salvation. Through Jesus there is redemption for everyone even someone as evil as Benjamin Linus (I was glad to see them bring that character around for good through admitting his failures and apologizing). But for that to occur they must be presented the Good News that forgiveness and a new life are available though Jesus… this means that we are going to have to do a much better job of just lovingly asking our friends and family to make a decision (just like Kate and Jack did) – I’d venture to say that we will often get similar responses as the ones depicted on the show… acceptance (even if there is some reluctance at first).

That is what Robert and I are trying to do with this venue… it’s our driving force… our passion… our purpose: To connect with you and share life with you – to show you the way to the God and place (God’s Word – the Bible) where we’ve found our answers – And, we want to do this with No Shame, No Fear and No Apologizing – though we ourselves have been LOST, even though we fail… We sincerely hope you will come along with us and see where this ride takes us – It’s wilder and more awesome than anything Jack, Sawyer, Kate, John or Hurley could ever have imagined!

Why Apologize?!?! No Apologizing on… Apologizing!


Have you ever heard that it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission? That may be true in some circumstances, but that doesn’t mean that asking for forgiveness is an easy thing to do. It can be very hard to apologize sometimes – especially when you don’t think you’re the one who’s most in the wrong!

 Surprisingly, the Bible doesn’t seem to say a whole lot about apologizing, at least not on the surface! You won’t be very successful in trying to do a word search for apologize in the Bible, but that doesn’t mean that the concept is missing in God’s word… Let’s look at a couple of places where the Bible addresses this from a different angle.

 Jesus spoke about asking for forgiveness in the Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 5:21-26 Jesus talks about what we are to do when someone is angry with us… He says to “reconcile” with them right away. Notice in the passage that Jesus didn’t say who was at fault… He just started off saying that it was bad to be angry at someone and call them a fool… Then He said that if you remember that someone may be angry at you, go make it right! In context this tells us that we need to do what it takes to make things right with this person (including asking for forgiveness) not for our sake, but really for their sake!

 I can imagine some of you scratching your heads on that. Let me explain. Jesus said that it was dangerous for Christians to hold on to anger at someone.  He then told us to go reconcile with people who are angry at us. So, what He’s saying is to love others enough to do what you need to do in order to help remove that bad blood between you.

 One way to diffuse a situation is to admit your portion of the wrong and ask for forgiveness… Not just say “I’m sorry if I offended you”, but instead say, “I was wrong when I _______________. Will you please forgive me?” 

I know that it seems like splitting hairs, but saying “I’m sorry” usually doesn’t move the heart of the one we’ve offended, but taking responsibility by saying “I was wrong” often does.

I am convinced that this is at least partially what James 5:16 is telling us to do when it says, “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” Taking responsibility for where we were wrong in a situation (even when the other person may have been MORE in the wrong) brings healing to a relationship… This is for the betterment of everyone involved.

What else is difficult about apologizing? It requires a HUGE amount of humility. What do we naturally want to do when someone is angry with us? Defend ourselves, of course. Especially if and when we think the other person is more in the wrong than we are… Really though, in the greater scheme of things, that doesn’t matter – The fact of the matter is that it always takes two or more people to make an argument and almost always the fault for the argument is at least partially shared. You may not have the greatest majority of the blame, but was there anything you did that contributed to the argument? Probably… So ask for forgiveness for your part without pointing out the obvious (the other person’s part) – take responsibility for taking the first step toward healing in the relationship. I think this is what God was getting at when He inspired Peter to write:

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (1 Peter 3:8-12, ESV)

God’s saying that if we want to have a good life here on earth we need to do our best to live in harmony with others. We are to bless others – one way to do that is to diffuse their anger. But that’s not our natural reaction… Normally, when someone is upset with us we want to defend ourselves and fight back. But I Peter is saying that is absolutely the wrong course of action! Defending ourselves and our pride is counterproductive to what ought to be our primary concern: the greater good of all involved (including ourselves) – and that only comes through restoration! Consider the following related verses:

Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. (2 Corinthians 13:11, ESV)

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21, ESV)

Scripture may not speak specifically and directly about apologizing or how to apologize, but it does have a great deal to say about humility and forgiveness. Perhaps this is because forgiving is even harder!  Regardless, I think that the passages above speak to all of this.

Because there is so much to say about forgiveness, we will deal with it more extensively in another post – too much to cover here without short changing apologies. What does need to be said about forgiveness here is: “when someone asks for forgiveness, give it – period.”

What else needs to be said about forgiveness is that as difficult as it is to give, it is super hard for true forgiveness to happen without something initiating the process – 99.99999% of the time that something is a sincere apology.

So, let me challenge you today… give asking for forgiveness a shot, it may save a relationship or two.

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What about this Satan Character?


God created everything.  This would include Satan.  Looking at the timeline presented in the Bible we know that Satan and his bunch of rebels were kicked out of Heaven before the creation of Adam and Eve.  Satan was the best and brightest of the angels.  But he had a flaw.  He wanted to be like God – Really, he wanted to BE God.  This naturally caused a rift between God and Satan, and of course God wins.  With Satan, 1/3 of the angels departed from heaven (we know them now as demons).  If we know that Satan fought against God because he wanted to be like God, we can draw some conclusions.

1.  Satan is not God thus,

2. Satan is not Omnipotent (All Powerful) and,

3. Omniscient (All Knowing) and,

4. Satan is not Omnipresent (Everywhere at once). 

These four simple points cover a lot of area.  Because Satan is not God, he cannot know everything that is or will be, and he cannot be with us all of the time and He can (and will be) defeated!

All of these points are critical to gain understanding of our common opponent.  Satan is an aggressive opponent, and knows how to attack people.  This statement implies a level of omniscience.  However, we have already established that he is not omniscient. So how does he know?  I believe Satan is an excellent observer of human behavior.  Let’s be honest – he has had thousands of years of observations to draw from. 

Observation is a highly effective strategy that is often used in business, sports and war.  People are taught to watch for cues that indicate what people are thinking, how they might respond, when to press, and when to lay back and let it ride.  Anyone’s personal experience is limited to maybe 20 to 30 years of active observation.  Satan, though, has all the years going back to Adam and Eve to draw from.  This gives me reason to believe that while Satan is not omniscient he certainly can provide a very educated guess as to how you will respond to temptation. 

While we are all created uniquely, we all are prone to various kinds of temptations which are not unique.   Our mistakes are not the first of their kind in human history.  This is Satan’s tactical advantage over us.  He knows that while we are unique in our creation, our response to temptation is not.  After thousands of years of observation of personality types, and responses, he knows how to trip a trigger and crawl into your life.  There is hope, though… See 1 Corinthians 10:13 While Satan has millennia of experience tripping people up, God, though the Holy Spirit, has been equally practiced at helping God’s people deal with sin… More on this later.

Everyone has their pressure points.  Do you believe that it is a coincidence that the same issues appear over and over in your own life? I never thought about it until recently.  Then it finally dawned on me:  Satan is real, Satan is clever and Satan is a very astute observer. 

The attacks can be sudden, and from out of nowhere.  There can be long pauses between attacks (demonstrating Satan’s lack of omnipresence).  Rest assured, if you are making an impact for God, if you are beginning to grow in your faith, or beginning in your path towards the truth, you will attract his attention and his ire.  This is where understanding your opponent’s tactics will really help you. 

Satan deals in half truths.  He wants to present you an option that appears to be in the nature of the Bible and God’s word.  This is the trick of Satan. 2 Corinthians 11:14 says that Satan masquerades as an angel of light. Here is an example.  If you are beginning to grow in your faith, then it is fair to say that you are trying to rid yourself of some bad habits.  Stress is a fantastic way to push people back to a default habit or personality trait.  Apply a little stress, and the normal person will revert.   Let me use examples out of my own life. Things like success are a difficult temptation for me because, while I have my moments, I am not a humble guy.  Another example for me is fear of betrayal.  Satan knows my weaknesses, and knows what I need to see in order to feed my arrogance and paranoia.  But this is not limited just to me!   Satan’s desire is for you to revert.  God’s desire is for you to succeed by becoming more like His Son – See Ephesians 5:1-2

Look at these startling statistics.  The Bible mentions Satan over 180 times, Jesus mentions him 100+ times.  Despite that, 60% of believers believe that Satan isn’t a real living being, but rather a symbol of evil.  The greatest achievement of Satan is to have convinced the world that he doesn’t exist.  Not only has he convinced the world but also believers. 

If you are a believer let me boil it down a little more strongly…You are willing to have faith that Christ was born of a virgin, Christ is the son of God, Christ lived without sin, Christ died on the cross for your sin’s, Christ was resurrected, and God created angels, …Do you really think it is so farfetched to believe that Satan is real?! 

Next time, we will look at specific strategies for defeating this very real and active enemy, but as a preview you may want to take a look at the following passages: James 4:4-7; Ephesians 6:10-18 & Romans 6:6-13.

Are you a good person?


Do you think you are a good person?  If you are like me, you think that you are.  Who wants to think that they are a bad person? 

Well, there is one way to find out if you really are a good person.  Just answer these questions below honestly.  If the questions have a sound a familiarity, it should.  The questions are based off of the Ten Commandments.  Are you ready?

  1.  Have you ever told a lie?
  2. Have you ever used Jesus or God as a curse word?
  3. Have you ever looked at someone of the opposite sex with lust?
  4. Have you ever stolen anything?
  5. Have you ever hated anyone?

If you were honest you probably answered yes to all of these.  I am in the same boat with you. 

Have you ever told a lie?  What do you call someone who lies?  A liar.  It doesn’t matter how insignificant the lie is, or the volume of lies you tell.  A lie is a lie.  The Bible says that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8).

Have you ever used God’s name as a curse word?  If you have then you are a blasphemer.  Blasphemy is so offensive to God that when declaring the Ten Commandments God said that he would not acquit anyone who does it (Exodus 20:7). 

Have you ever looked at someone else with lust?  Why lust?  Jesus said that anyone who looks at a woman to want her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  According to God, if you have done this, you are an adulterer (Matthew 5:27-28). 

Have you ever stolen anything?  What do you call someone who steals? A thief.    Stealing a pack of gum is no different than stealing a DVD, video game, or car. There is no distinction between frequency or what was stolen.

Have you ever hated anyone?  This is an interesting question because we all have emotions and I know that I have expressed and acted on hateful emotions towards others.  Jesus said that anyone who hates his brother or sister is a murderer in their heart.

If you answered yes to these that would make you a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterous murderer.  Sound a little harsh?  IT IS as harsh as it sounds.  Here we have only covered 5 of the Ten Commandments, and we all (myself  included) have violated all 5!  Does this concern you?  It should.  Do you still believe that you are a good person?

 “But, Robert I did do these things, I am not that way anymore?”  Basically you are saying that you think the statue of limitations has run out and that God has forgotten that you did these things.  I can assure you he hasn’t.

If you woke up and were standing in front of God, and he were judging you based on His law would you be innocent or guilty?  I would be guilty. 

If you are reading this saying “Robert, I don’t believe God”.  Well just because you don’t believe in the judge doesn’t mean that he isn’t going to pass down a verdict to you.  If you are standing in a court room, and the judge finds you guilty of committing a crime, and you say “I’m sorry judge I don’t believe you exist”.  Do you think the judge will let you walk away? 

If you are standing in front of a judge, and say “yes your honor, I did steal all of that money, but I give to charities”.  Do you think the judge will let you walk away?

If the Judge lets you walk, how good of a Judge would he/she be? 

God is a righteous Judge.  He must punish violations of His law.  This is true whether you believe in Him, or don’t believe in Him, whether you stole only a pack of gum, or actually murdered someone!   If you violate His law he must find you guilty, and you should punished accordingly.  What is the punishment?  Kevin touched on that in his last post (Romans 6:23). 

Now imagine that you are standing in front of a judge who is about to sentence you to prison for a crime you actually committed.  All of a sudden someone walks in, stands before the judge and insists that he will pay the penalty for you so that you would not have to be punished.  That would be amazing wouldn’t it!  This is exactly what Jesus did for you on the cross.  He stepped in and accepted the penalty for your sins.  He did this out of love for you, and so that you could have eternal life and not perish in the lake of fire.  “Robert, what’s the catch?”  The “catch”, you must believe and confess that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, and was raised from the dead.  That is the catch.  If you believe this in your heart you will be changed forever. Now, this belief isn’t just mentally understanding this is true – it is trusting in it as your only hope for heaven… It’s placing your faith and trust in this truth just like you place your faith and trust in the pilot and the plane when you fly across the country. It’s a no holds barred type of belief.

Have you placed your faith and trust in Jesus’ payment for your sin? If not, He is waiting for you to do so (Revelation 3:20) – He WANTS you to do so! If you have trusted in Jesus, please live for him and tell others about what He has done for you! Too many of us are loving “good people” straight into Hell because of our silence.

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