Life and Prosperity, or Death and Adversity?

Posted: Dec 27, 2013

See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it.

Deuteronomy 30:15-18

We are often given a choice between two paths.

If we eat foods that are high in sugar or fat or the wrong carbs too often, we’ll gain weight and feel lousy. Doing this for a prolonged period triggers extended time and more money at the doctor’s office, and a life at risk of serious illness or a heart attack.

Eating high-nutrient foods on a consistent basis helps us feel better, and increases the chances of living a long, productive life.

If we spend consistent time with God through prayer and time in His word, we grow closer to Him and have less hunger for the things of this world.

Feeding often on the media, ideas, and pleasures of this world will cause us to drift from God.

Masturbation to pornography and other types of sexual sin lead to:
A hunger for “more and better.”
Increased chances of crossing boundaries we never imagined we would have before.
Self-absorption; addiction to the self.
Becoming a miserable, empty, critical person who refuses to take responsibility for his actions.
Pride on rampage.
Shattered marriages.
Broken families.
Wounded children.
Churches filled with lukewarm Christians

On the other side of the coin, men who take full responsibility for their actions, are willing to do whatever it takes to break free from lust, and follow through with consistent action, will discover the following blessings:
True life, love, and peace.
Restored relationships with their spouse, children, and others.
The ability and character to take up their God-given mantle as leader of their family.
The joy of knowing God and receiving His love.
The joy of seeing God use them to help others.
A church filled with men of strong character who can make a difference in our corrupt culture.

Churches that refuse to face the truth that large swaths of Christian men are viewing porn and deal with the issue will face:
An unending stream of broken marriages and families.
Youth who wander from the church (today’s statistics show that 70%+ of our youth are leaving the church at age 18).
A lukewarm congregation that’s too swamped with sin to make a difference in the culture.
Jesus’ warnings of having their “light put out” (see Revelations 2 and 3).

Churches that confront the porn epidemic and take effective action will experience:
Healed families and marriages.
Youth that are equipped to navigate their way through our pornified culture without falling prey to it.
Becoming a church body that God can use to change the world.

I should also mention that those who choose to follow God will experience spiritual attack and opposition from the enemy. But the alternative, a wasted life with a trail of wreckage, is far worse than having to take pot shots from the enemy.  Each time we see God win a battle through us and help another, our faith grows; the benefits far outweigh the cost.

If we want to lead miserable, lukewarm lives where we try to hold onto sin and the pleasures of this world, God will let us have it. If church leadership refuses to confront the sexual sin within because it’s afraid of saying “sex” on Sunday morning or offending people, God won’t stop them.

However, He will discipline His people, which, I can tell you from experience, is very painful. He can expose His people’s sin, with a bigger, bloodier mess than if we’d have just obeyed the first time; He can turn up the heat so much that surrender and obedience are the only way out.

Many American Christians have one foot in the world and the other in the church, if we want more than this and are willing to go the distance with God, we’ll discover blessing after blessing, even in the midst of turmoil.

There’s no room to sit on the fence. We’re either moving towards the Lord (even though, at times, we may veer a little off course) or, we’re hesitating… playing games… enmeshed in a life of compromise.

To those who’ve been in bondage in sexual sin for years, have cried out for answers but found none and have lost hope, I can tell you from experience that God is in the business of changing lives. I had many of those doubts myself, and discovered that when God is all we have left to lean on, He will come through, maybe not how or when we wanted Him to, but He will come. Wait on Him. There are moments when the Lord allows us to try everything and fail so that we put our last shred of hope on Him… and He comes through.  This is how we come to know Him, and faith grows.

I’m looking forward to seeing what the Lord does in 2014. Let’s be a church He uses to change the world, one person at a time.