That is what happens in the subtle process of the world influencing our lives. It's not necessarily dramatic, nor does it usually happen overnight. It is gradual, causing erosion in our lives as we begin to lower our standards.
Right after I became a Christian, other believers warned me, "Greg, watch out. There is a Devil who will tempt you."
We cry out to God. He answers our prayers. Then we say, "It's okay, God! Everything seemed to work out." But do we ever stop and think that God might have worked through certain circumstances to come to our rescue?
We all know what it's like to be tempted. But where does temptation come from? It does not come from God. James 1:13-14 says, "Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed." We play a key role in our own temptation.
I think that many people, after they have decided to follow Christ, are surprised to find that the Christian life can be so difficult, so intense sometimes. It isn't a life of ease, but one of conflict, warfare, and opposition.
When God tells us to do something we like, we say, "Yes, Lord!" But when He tells us to stop doing something, we say, "God, I think you're cutting out on me. There's too much static. I'm not hearing you clearly."
Have you ever said to the Lord, "Here is the way I think You ought to work. But not my will, but Yours, be done"? Some might say, "I'm not saying that to God! If I say that, He will make me do something I don't want to."
As Christians, we should want to stay as close to our Heavenly Father as possible. The Devil is a powerful adversary, and we are no match for him in our own strength.
According to the Bible, the purpose of life is not enjoyment and personal fulfillment. The Bible teaches that we are put on this earth to bring glory to God. We need to mark that well in our minds and hearts.
When Jesus found a fatal flaw in the church at Ephesus — that they were leaving their first love — He also gave His prescription for renewal and revival. They are the three Rs of returning to our first love: remember, repent, and repeat.
When I was a young Christian attending Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, I would listen to Pastor Chuck Smith and some of the other pastors and think, That is what I want to do.
When you give the Devil a small opening in your life, watch out. You may think, I'll just compromise a little bit here.
The Bible doesn't condemn the person who makes plans for the future. Rather, it criticizes the person who makes those plans with no thought whatsoever for the will of God. That is a dangerous thing to do. God won't share His glory with another.
The Bible tells the story of Simon Peter, who was out walking on the water with Jesus. When the impossibility of the situation began to dawn on him, however, his faith faltered. He cried out, "Lord, save me!"
To walk with God means that I must get into harmony with Him. I must go the direction that God wants me to go.
In first-century track competitions, each runner would be assigned to a lane on the track. Each was expected to stay in his assigned lane. In the same way, as you and I run the race of life, our competition is not with other believers.
Sometimes people treat churches like restaurants — with a consumer mentality. But the church is not a restaurant. The church is a family, and you need to be a part of the family.
Does your temple need cleansing? Are there some things in your life that shouldn't be there right now?
In the gospel of Mark, we find an interesting story in which Jesus invited the disciples, some of whom were seasoned fishermen, to join Him on a little boat trip across the Sea of Galilee. But on the way over, they encountered a sudden, violent storm. Now the question would arise, did Jesus know that a storm was coming?
If you have truly found a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, you will change.
In our pride, we want to think we have something to do with our salvation. But if we will come to God on His terms and do what He says, then we will be forgiven of our sins and have the assurance of eternal life.