Episode 57 of the Say That podcast is out!
The “Friend-zone”, smart ways to serve in risky places, and what “guarding your heart” actually means.
Also: Why does Matt hate love? And Glen contemplates a career change.
What does it mean to be in the world but not of the world?
Great question. A lot of Christian buzzwords get thrown around in a way that makes people feel like outsiders if they aren’t in on the lingo. “In not of” is maybe in the minority of Christian jargon in that it is actually a very good point very well condensed.
Christians are called to engage with the world: their communities, the people around them. Jesus sums up the law as “Love God and love your neighbor” (Mark 12:30-31). In order to love your neighbor, you have to know them and be involved in their life. In another place, Jesus says that whoever feeds the hungry, or clothes the naked, or visits prisoners is showing love to HIm (Matthew 25:34-40).
It is important for Christians and churches to be involved in their communities in order to love and serve people. That could be running a food pantry. That could be teaching ESL classes at your church if there is a large immigrant population in your community. It could be reaching out to teen moms. There are needs in your community, and you have to be actively in the world to meet them.
So that is the “in”, now for the “not of”. In John 15:19 Jesus plainly says “As it is, you do not belong to the world”. Not being of the world means not doing things the way the world does. The way we measure success, the way we go about making plans, the way we deal with people, none are based in worldly wisdom. They instead based on wisdom we get from God.
Being in the world is necessary to loving people, and by that serving God’s purpose. Not being of the world means that the way we achieve those goals is fueled by the Spirit.
-Matt from The Bridge
The Topic is: Habitual Sin.
Is there something that is holding back your spiritual life that you just can’t seem to get past? That is what this month’s Bridge Box is all about.
Get songs, sermons, bible studies, a devotional and more targeted at this specific issue. For only $8, which goes to support missionaries on the street in Chicago.
Sign up at missionusa.com/bridgebox.
There is nothing wrong with dating, and nothing wrong with wanting to be dating if you’re not dating. There need to boundaries in dating, but it seems like some Christians have set that boundary on the other side of actually dating.
Unka Glen Fitzjerrell on episode 56 of the Say That podcast
Hope is a gift of God through the Holy Spirit. Don’t let your insecurities sneak in and tell you that good things are for people who haven’t made the mistakes you have. Don’t let the devil make you ashamed of your hope.
Matt King in his sermon from February’s Bridge Box
Get songs, sermons, studies, devotionals and more for only $8/month, which goes to support missionaries in Chicago. Sign up at missionusa.com/bridgebox.
I’ve been fighting a battle for years against watching porn online and at one point I had been able to keep myself from falling into temptation for a few months in one long span. But recently I’ve gone back into sinning this way and I’m at a loss. It feels like I’m reacting to this like it’s a small matter; it feels like there’s not enough guilt and shame after the act to really propel me to do better for God in the future. Sure I can list out exactly why porn is a Sin, how it really hurts me, and how it keeps me from God (it’s all very logical to me) but that doesn’t seem to be helping. The cycle of resisting the porn (weakly), eventually sinning, and returning to God now seems mundane.
I’m frightened to have this aspect of my life become routine. I want to stop sinning like this but honestly I don’t know how. What do I do?
This is actually a good sign. There is a common misconception that you have to make sin as big and scary as possible in order to summon up the big emotional push to fight it. That strategy doesn’t work. It is actually counterproductive. For one thing, that sense of the getting amped up and then bottoming out becomes part of the cycle of behavior.
Also, you don’t beat a habitual problem with a one shot solution. I know many people who have overcome their struggle with pornography (and other habitual sins). I don’t know anyone who did that by having one big emotional showdown. Getting sick and tired of being sick and tired is a normal step to actually moving on.
The theological problem is that the strategy is built on fear. The idea is I will get so freaked out by this thing, that my adrenaline will kick up to new heights that will help me. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that God does not give us a spirit of timidity, “but of power, love and self-discipline”. Fear is not conducive to any of those things. 1 John 4:18 tells us that God’s love and fear cannot coexist. To use fear as your motivator means to downplay the fact that God loves you regardless of your sin. Less grace and more fear never leads to change.
Look at the story of David and Goliath in Samuel 17. Goliath had been taunting the Israelite army for 40 days, challenging anyone to take him on. No one did in fact they all cowered in fear. David was just a boy visiting his brothers at the front line, and he was appalled that the Israelites were frightened of this guy. In verse 27 he incredulously asks “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” In other words: who is this chump? You know the rest of the story. David trusts God to go before him and he kills Goliath.
Sin works the same way. When you build it up in your mind to this unbeatable monster, it hamstrings your progress by adding fear into the equation. Fear clouds your ability to see God working with you.
A big part of our ministry strategy here in Chicago is “defanging” sin. In order to take hold of grace and follow through on good strategy, you can’t be lead by fear. Sin is toothless in the face of grace. It has been defeated and is just scampering around trying to convince people it is big and tough. In 1 Corinthians 15:55, Paul quotes the book of Hosea:
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
I love that passage. The taunting of death itself, which is a consequence of sin. If death gets treated like a punk, then porn certainly isn’t a big bad monster. Our sins are bigger than us, but grace is so much greater than them. The courage and hope that comes from that is what helps us move forward.
-Matt from The Bridge
Sometimes, when you’re trying to break out of something, like a depression, you need a series of first steps. The victory of making the choice to get out of bed, shower, and put on pants may seem small, but it can be a huge first step towards taking care of yourself.
Lee Younger on episode 56 of the Say That podcast.