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3 Irresistible Reasons to Get Away with Anything

Let’s be honest. I really like to do what I want, when I want, the way I want. I don’t like to be told no. And I certainly don’t like someone to call my choices sinful. So I’ve developed these three irresistible reasons to help me get away with anything. Just read the headings and you’ll get the idea. But don’t stop there.

Read the explanation to discover why there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Irresistible Reason #1 | Don’t Judge Me

You can’t judge me. The Bible says so. “Judge not, that you be not judged.” (Matthew 7:1).

But that’s not all it says, and there’s a reason for it. You can’t live a healthy, happy life without good judgment. The principle being taught isn’t, “don’t judge”. It’s way better than that.

There’s a difference between being judgemental and practicing good judgment. 

For example, when I tell my son not to touch a hot stove because he’ll get burned, I’m teaching him to practice good judgment. When I tell him how stupid and moronic he is for even thinking about touching a hot stove, or when I tell him how much better I am than him because I would never touch a hot stove, that’s being judgmental. One is helpful, constructive, protective and teaches wisdom. The other is condemning, destructive and causes the kind of resentment that leads people to ignore legitimate warning signs.

We all need help learning good judgment. Sometimes others see the danger ahead before we do. No one needs the arrogance of self-righteousness thrown in their face.

Irresistible Reason #2 | Don’t Throw the First Stone

My sin isn’t any worse than yours. The Bible says so. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” (John 8:7).

This is a pretty effective trump card. Someone takes a stand to identify something sinful. Someone else is quick to remind them, “But you sin too. Your sin is no worse than mine.” And then follows the silence.

Like the crowd that condemned the woman caught in adultery, when confronted by the truth of their own sin the crowd is silenced and one-by-one slips off into history. It’s true. We all sin. And your sin is no better than mine. But the principle being taught is so much better than that.

There’s a difference between being condemned for your sin and confronted because of your sin.

This crowd wasn’t confronting sin. They were condemning the woman. Like the difference between being judgmental and practicing good judgment, Jesus confronts their sin. But the crowd didn’t stick around long enough to hear the rest of the story. Instead, they left. They left alone, reminded of their failure, without hope of redemption.

We all sin. It’s true. But there is hope beyond condemnation. It’s a hope we’ll never know until someone confronts our sin.

Irresistible Reason #3 | Jesus Loves Everybody

Jesus loves me and accepts me as I am. You should too. The Bible says so. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 19:19).

Jesus does love you. He taught, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” He went further than that. He said, “Love your enemy.” But what does love do? If we finish the story of the woman caught in adultery we see what love does. After the crowd is silenced and slips off alone Jesus turns to the woman to ask a question, “Who condemns you?” She answers, “No one.” He responds, “Neither do I.”

Love wins.

Jesus, the only one truly worthy of being judgmental and casting condemnation, makes a loving choice. He chooses not to condemn. He gives her the very thing she needs. It’s the same thing the crowd needs. It’s the same thing you and I need.

Jesus forgives.

But it’s so much better than that.

Forgiveness isn’t the end of the thing. It’s the beginning. After forgiving, Jesus lovingly confronts the woman, without being judgmental he encourages her to practice good judgment. He says, “Go and sin no more.” (John 8:11).

The grace Jesus gives to forgive also empowers me to overcome sin.

All of this can be said a bit more plainly.

  • God loves people.
  • Sin hurts people.
  • Jesus died for my sin and rose from the dead.
  • Jesus forgives my sin.
  • The grace Jesus gives to forgive also empowers me to overcome sin.
  • It is my intention, out of gratitude for the sacrifice made for me and the knowledge that sin hurts me, to confess and overcome sin in my life.
  • The love of God compels me to share these truths with others. What truth?
  • God loves people. Sin hurts people. Jesus died for your sin and rose from the dead. Now you can be forgiven and overcome sin.

Next time you need a reason to do something sinful, remember these three, and remember the deeper truth behind them all.

The Lies We Tell Ourselves


1 John 2

I have a topic that’s heavy on my heart and related to 1 John 2, but I’m not ready to address it directly. It’s not enough to speak the truth. You should speak it well. The way you deliver the truth is as important as the truth being delivered. So here are a few related thoughts.

I don’t like to be told I’m wrong. I try hard to make good choices and do the right thing. There are times I stumble into sin. Other times I pursue sin with a passion. It’s comforting to know that either way I’m forgiven. And then I read 1 John 2:4-6, “If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.”

I think God just called me a liar.

Sometimes I sin out of ignorance, not because I’m stupid, but because sometimes I simply don’t know any better. Sometimes I sin because of hasty judgements and snap decisions. I wrongly react to the bad choices of others.

But let’s be honest.

Most of the time I sin because I like it. I do what I want to do and convince myself I did it because I had to. That’s where 1 John 2 comes into play. It’s a wake up call, really, to be honest with yourself. Stop trying to call your sin something other than what it is. You may want it with all your heart. You may believe it’s the best choice for you to make.  You may think that living this way defines you and that to live any other way would be a denial of who you are, your rights, your happiness and your joy. You may think people who tell you otherwise are mean, small-minded or crazy. You may believe the words of the Bible to be antiquated, irrelevant and insignificant. But no matter how many people you can find to agree with you if God says it’s sin, it’s sin. At least have the guts to admit that you’ve chosen something that displeases God, and you’re okay with that. Stop trying to put words in His mouth. Stop trying to make yourself feel better by claiming he’s okay with it.

Be honest.

Today, you have a choice to make. You can be honest, confess your sin and by his power become something more than you ever imagined. Or keep deceiving yourself.  You can call yourself a child of God and deliberately ignore the instructions of your Father. You can convince yourself you’re okay because so many people will stand with you. God gives you that choice. Choose one way and find life today and life everlasting. Choose another – God calls you a liar.

It’s not cruel. It’s accurate. It’s not about assigning blame or passing judgement. It’s about God trying to break through the greatest deception of all – the lies we tell ourselves.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for speaking the truth and for speaking it well. Convict me of the sin in my life. I want to make right choices. I want to live in a way that pleases you. Don’t let me deceive myself into believing my sin is okay. Instead, help me confess it. Give me the strength and courage to overcome it. Transform my appetite for sin into a hunger and thirst for righteousness. Help me communicate your truth to others in ways that are clear, creative, concise and compelling. Above all let me represent you well, honor you and love and serve others as I do.

I love you, in Jesus name –
Chad

Free

freeHere’s how this works.

Each day I’ll read and S.O.A.P. one chapter of Romans. S.O.A.P. is a simple way to focus on what God is speaking to you through what you read. It stands for ScriptureObservationApplication, & Prayer.

Every time I read a chapter God always focuses my heart and mind around a specific part of that chapter. Sometimes it’s just a verse. Sometimes it’s more than that. That verse or group of verses becomes the focus of my devo.

There’s one other practice that helps me know, understand and follow scripture – memorization. Consider memorizing the verse or verses you S.O.A.P.


Romans 7

SCRIPTURE

Romans 7:14-23, “So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.” (NLT)

OBSERVATION

Whether you believe the Bible or not this is a passage on which we all agree. There are times we all do things we know we shouldn’t. We know what’s right, but we choose what’s wrong. We know it’s bad for us, but we choose to do it anyway. Paul puts this in the context of the Hebrew Law. You may not. But you still know it’s true. Maybe your standard is what’s legal in our nation. Maybe you live by some kind of personal moral code. Perhaps for you it’s simply your built in sense of obligation, I ought to do this, not that. Whatever the case, we’ve all been there. We know within us what’s right and willfully choose to do the other thing.

Paul offers a reason for this. Sin lives in us. Not ‘sin’ the verb. ‘Sin’ the noun. Like ‘cancer’ the noun causes all kinds of problems in our physical body ‘sin’ the noun causes all kinds of problems in our relationship with God, one another and within our soul.

Overcoming this sin isn’t as simple as turning over a new leaf. When we do that we just find old dirt. It’s more involved than making right choices. Again like cancer, diet and exercise won’t make the cancer go away. Simply ‘choosing’ a healthy lifestyle won’t fix the broken cells. It takes something radical to remove cancer from the body. And it takes something radical for sin to be removed from our life.

Paul gives us this answer too. Romans 7:24-25, “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.”

Jesus Christ is the antidote. He removes the sin in our life and replaces with his righteousness. Once sin is removed we have the power to make choices that aren’t sin-induced. The good things we want to do can become the good things we actually do and the bad things we want to avoid we actually successfully avoid.

It’s not about my will power, but about the power of Christ in me.

APPLICATION

The sin in my life has been dealt with by Jesus Christ. I am forgiven. I don’t have to live by the worlds rules anymore. Today, I will choose right. I will overcome temptation. I will do the right thing. I will avoid the wrong thing. I will look for opportunities to encourage others. I will forgive those who have wronged me. I will ask forgiveness from those I have wronged. I can do all these things, not because of my own will power, but because of the work of Christ in me. I’m free, so I can. Like a cancer survivor I can live my life to the fullest. Jesus has removed my sin and given me life.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for removing sin from my life and replacing it with your righteousness. Thank you that you have made me just as if I had never sinned. Today, remove me from temptation. Give me the wisdom to recognize the right path, the discernment to recognize the wrong path and the judgement and courage to choose wisely.

I love you, in Jesus name –
Chad


There’s so much more in this chapter…what did God speak to you?

Life Without Rules

rulesI apologize – I wrote this yesterday, but it didn’t get posted!

Here’s how this works.

Each day I’ll read and S.O.A.P. one chapter of Romans. S.O.A.P. is a simple way to focus on what God is speaking to you through what you read. It stands for ScriptureObservationApplication, & Prayer.

Every time I read a chapter God always focuses my heart and mind around a specific part of that chapter. Sometimes it’s just a verse. Sometimes it’s more than that. That verse or group of verses becomes the focus of my devo.

There’s one other practice that helps me know, understand and follow scripture – memorization. Consider memorizing the verse or verses you S.O.A.P.


Romans 6

SCRIPTURE

Romans 6:12-14, “Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.” (NLT)

Romans 6:16, “Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.” (NLT)

OBSERVATION

Try as we might we live in a world that has rules. We may walk around with our head in the clouds, but gravity’s grip keeps us down to earth. Parents give us curfews. The government requires taxes. We fight and struggle. We plot and connive to get away with as much as possible. We push the limits of the law and try to use every rule to our greatest advantage. Sometimes we find loopholes. Sometimes we ignore the written rule and hope no one will notice. I know the speed limit is 65, but they won’t pull me over if I cruise around 70. We walk the line.

These verses remind me of Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

You would think my choice is to either live by the rules or spend my life trying to find a way around them. But God offers a third option. A better option. There is a way to live without rules. It can be summed up in two words, “Follow me.”

Go where He goes. Do what He does. Say what He said. Instead of your every choice being used as an instrument of sin, an instrument that causes pain, grief, sorrow and guilt your life can be something different. You can choose to obey God which leads to life. In other words, you don’t have to live by the worlds rules anymore.

APPLICATION

As a Believer in Jesus Christ I’ve been set free from the Law of Sin and Death. I now live under the Law of Liberty which says, “I’m free…so I can.” I’m free, so I can experience real love and give real love. I’m free to find joy. I’m free know peace. I’m free from the anxiety of needing resolution to every minor challenge right now, that’s patience – and the list goes on.

Today, I will try to recognize that I don’t have to live by the world’s rules anymore. It’s not that I’m above the rules. It’s that when I follow God the rules aren’t an issue.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father,

There’s no way I could ever live up to the rules. I’ve broken most of them either accidentally or on purpose. Those I haven’t willfully broken through my choices I’ve dreamed of breaking in my heart. I’m guilty. Thank you for the forgiveness you’ve given me through your son. Thank you for restoring our relationship and making things right. Thank you that I don’t have to live by the world’s rules anymore. Give me the wisdom and insight to follow you. Help me to know your will, follow your way and live my life as an instrument of grace.

I love you, in Jesus name –
Chad


There’s so much more in this chapter…what did God speak to you?

Grace – I’m Free, So I Can

GraceGrace says, “I’m free, so I can.” This isn’t a license TO sin, but a license FROM sin. I’m free FROM sin, now I can practice righteousness. I’m free from sin, now I can do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God. Grace is not the casting off of restraint it is the catalyst that allows me to cast off the tyranny of my sinful nature and receive with meekness the implanted word which is able to save my soul. Before grace I had no choice but various shades of wrong. Because of grace I can choose wisely, do rightly and be eternally pleasing to God.

“Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?” Romans 6:1-2 (NLT)

“But if you look carefully into the perfect law of liberty that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” James 1:25 (NLT)

A Prayer for My Family

My daughter was born with respiratory problems. She spent the first 4 days of her life in the EOPC at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa, OK. There was an IV in her foot, breathing mask on her face and they kept her in a well lit pod you had to reach into in order touch her. It was scary. Thankfully, she recovered relatively quickly.

She came home with an IV in her head. We had to administer antibiotics daily. There I was, a first-time father, with a beautiful baby girl, completely powerless to take away the hurt, fix the problem and make her healthy. At one point, as I held her and she received another round of medicine, I realized, no matter how much I may want to, I will never be able to protect this girl from all the hurts this world can inflict on her.

It was an overwhelming thought.

When I’m overwhelmed I pray. While I’ll never be able to protect my daughter from a broken heart, or save her from the bad choices of stupid people, I know the One who can. So I turned my thoughts toward God and began to poor out my heart to Him. It’s a simple prayer I continue to pray for my family and myself to this day. It goes like this:

“Father, protect my family from sin, temptation & harm.”

Short, sweet, to the point – but there’s a depth of meaning just beneath the surface of every word.

Protect my family from SIN.

I’ll be honest. I’m a knucklehead. I’m going to make mistakes. Sometimes I’ll just step it in it. Others, I’ll deliberately run headlong the wrong direction simply because I want to. Either way, my sin has consequences. God forgives my sin. Even through His forgiveness sin often comes with consequences. I may deserve these consequences, but God, please rescue my wife and my kids from the consequences of my bad choices. Do what you want with me, but don’t make them pay the price for my bad choices.

Protect my family from TEMPTATION.

Let’s face it. We sin because we like it. If it were ugly, nasty or gross it wouldn’t be tempting. But it’s not those things. Sin is always attractive. It usually looks like a good idea at the time. We choose it. We stumble, not because we’re stupid, but we have an appetite for sin. In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus prayed, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” What if we asked God to change our appetite for sin? What if we asked Him to give us a hunger and thirst for righteousness? What if sin became repulsive and righteousness became our driving thirst?

Protect my family from HARM.

Our world is a dangerous place. We’re going to face problems caused by other people, circumstances or simply because life happens. God can protect us from harm. Matthew 28:18, Jesus says, “…all authority has been given to me on heaven and earth.” Jesus has all authority over all things. He can use his power on your behalf. He can do this to fix things. He can do this to protect. He can do this to save. Sometimes, when we face the potential for harm Jesus will use His power on our behalf.

Matthew 28:20 says, “…and lo, I am with you always…” Sometimes Jesus doesn’t fix the problem. Sometimes He allows the hurt to happen. When He doesn’t use His power on your behalf He promises to walk through the situation with you. We may not understand, we may not agree, we may not like it, but sometimes the hurt is necessary. The Bible says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” When Jesus doesn’t use His authority on your behalf to protect or to fix He will walk through the situation with you and produce in you a story that will ultimately benefit you and others. It becomes the epic tales we tell of battles won, insurmountable odds overcome and the glory of our God at work in us, through us and sometimes even in spite of us.

How will you pray for yourself and your family today? Perhaps this simple prayer is a good place to start.

“God, protect my family from sin, temptation & harm. In Jesus name I pray. AMEN.”