The Voices in My Head: The Flesh (Part 2)

In the last post I gave a simple example of how to discern the voices in our head (God, Satan, or the Flesh). In this post I will elaborate more on the Flesh, which is probably where the greatest confusion remains in most Christian circles. First, the following is a simple way to define the voices:

God’s voice: The Bible as a whole, God’s Word, Truth, the Holy Spirit’s leading (always in line with God’s written Word).

Satan’s voice: Incomplete truths, deceptions, schemes, tricks, lies, temptations, partial Scripture quotes taken out of context to support a view that is opposed to God (see Matthew 4:1-11).

The Flesh: Learned behavior/habits, coping mechanisms, our own subjective thoughts (i.e. “I want to eat at Burger King today).

You would be hard-pressed to walk into any church today and hear a message teaching these concepts, which is dreadfully sad. Most Christians walk around with somewhat of a self-defeatist attitude. “I’m just a wretched sinner!” True, we are sinners saved by grace (Eph. 2:8-9), but once we have been saved we are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17, Gal. 6:15, Eph. 4:24, Col. 3:10) clothed with the righteousness of Christ (Who I Am in Christ). We are no longer wretched sinners, but rather, children of God who still sin.

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     Neil Anderson uses an excellent illustration of this concept (from the book The Bondage Breaker). When you get a splinter in your finger, do you say you are a wretched piece of wood because you now have a splinter in your finger? Do you now take on the identity of the splinter as your own? Obviously not! No, you are a human being with a piece of wood in your finger. Scripturally you will find this concept made clear in Romans 7:14-25. It doesn’t take much work to discover that Paul is referring to himself after he has been regenerated (I know much debate remains about this fact, but if you’re using proper techniques of Biblical interpretation you can arrive at no other conclusion than this). Many of us can identify with Paul’s struggle. We know better, yet we still sin! What’s wrong with us?

The Flesh

     In simple terms we are infected with the “sin splinter” otherwise known as “the flesh”. The nature we were born with (self-serving/pride) along with the habits we’ve developed over a lifetime all contribute to this voice known as the flesh. Paul recognized this and he hated it. He knew he had been regenerated as a new creation in Christ, yet at times he still struggled to put that old nature to death. We can only imagine what Paul’s specific struggle was with but Scripture isn’t clear on it. It wouldn’t surprise me if pride had something to do with it, though. Deep down we are all struggling against a self-serving attitude, from the way we dress to the food we eat. Our world revolves around us, our desires, wants, and needs. No matter how awesome we are as Christians, pride will always be an issue because it is in our flesh which continuously wars with the new life we received when we accepted Christ. Jesus is the antithesis of pride and self. This is why just doing “what Jesus would do” is not as easy as it sounds. It contradicts our flesh! On our own we can’t will ourselves into good works with proper motives; this can only be accomplished through Christ’s rule in our hearts.

Coping Mechanisms/Habits (Flesh)

     As an addict I learned how to cope with mental anguish by abusing drugs. This was a learned behavior, as well as a sinful behavior. Over time it became a pattern of life. Feel pain—take drugs—pain goes away (temporarily). Some of us deal with unhealthy learned habits every day when we fight the urge to over-indulge at the dinner table or eat chocolate for dinner instead of broccoli (maybe even chocolate covered broccoli?). I grew up drinking soda and cool-aid every day, and eating macaroni and cheese and bologna sandwiches. It was a learned way of eating (and an early introduction to weight problems). As an adult I have had to work hard to re-learn a healthier way to treat my temple (1 Cor. 6:19-20). But when that voice kicks in saying, “Boy, I’d sure love to sit down with a bag of Doritos and watch T.V. all day,” I can be certain this voice is my flesh and not Satan.

Defense Mechanisms (Flesh)

•denial (a conscious or unconscious refusal to face the truth)

•fantasy (escaping the real world)

•emotional insulation (withdrawing to avoid rejection)

•regression (reverting to less threatening times)

•displacement (taking out frustrations on others)

•projection (blaming others)

•rationalization (making excuses for poor behaviors)

[Strongholds] are fleshly thought patterns that were programmed into your mind when you learned to live your life independently of God. Your worldview was shaped by the environment you were raised in. But when you became a Christian, nobody pressed the “CLEAR” button. Your old fleshly habit patterns of thought weren’t erased.¹

I hope this clears up some of the confusion surrounding the flesh and what exactly it means. In the next post we’ll discuss Satan’s voice in specific detail.

     Are you able to recognize fleshly patterns in your own life? What is your greatest “flesh” struggle?

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¹ The Bondage Breaker ©1990/1993/2000 by Neil T. Anderson Published by Harvest House Publishers (pp. 60-61)

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Related Posts:

The Voices in My Head: God, Satan, or My Flesh (Part 1)

Satan, God, the Flesh, and Spiritual Warfare

Spiritual Warfare 101: Is it Real?

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The Voices in My Head: God, Satan, or My Flesh—(Part 1)

Every single day thousands of thoughts flood our minds. Many of those thoughts lead to actions. For example, every morning I think, “A cup of coffee would really help me wake up.” I choose to act on that thought by stumbling to my coffee maker in a sleep-induced haze and brewing a cup. So how can we really know whose voice we are hearing at any given time? Let me give you a real-world scenario, one that plays out in my own thought life nearly every week.

It’s 6:30 Sunday morning; my alarm clock rings out with a favorite song I specifically chose to help wake me up (Like a Lion-Kristian Stanfill). Once again I stayed up too late the night before, and have less sleep than my body probably needed. I think, “I really don’t feel like going to church today. Maybe I should just stay home; I’m so tired.”

A)     God’s voice:

In His omniscience, God knows that my presence at home is required. Through the Holy Spirit, He causes me to consider staying home so I won’t miss out on a “divine appointment”.

B)      Satan’s voice:

Having observed my actions/countenance in the past, Satan knows how my attitude and behaviors are changed after I attend a worship service. Through observation, Satan also notices the physical reaction my body is having as a result of a poor choice I made to stay up late the night before. Taking advantage of my weakness, he places a thought in my head, tempting me to stay away from God’s house and His will, which will probably pave the way for more temptations that, based on past behaviors, Satan has a good idea I will fall victim to.

C)      My Flesh:

I stayed up too late, I’m tired, and because I would rather be comfortable I contemplate on how nice it would feel to sleep in. It has nothing to do with God or Satan; it is just me being my sinful, prideful self. I don’t want to be challenged, I don’t feel like changing my behavior, I just want to SLEEP!

So, which is it; A, B, or C? Let me help you out a little by eliminating A. The Holy Spirit will never, I repeat—never, “lead” us to do something contrary to God’s written word, no matter how spiritual it sounds. Remember, Satan is an angel of light, so he often uses such a ruse to encourage us to think we are spiritual while we are, in fact, sinning. Scripture clearly instructs us to fellowship with other believers, and not to forsake that act as some might be inclined to do (Hebrews 10:25). (Occasionally we are sick, and in some instances, some are stricken with chronic illnesses that keep them from attending church regularly; that is not what I’m talking about here.)

Well, that leaves us with B or C. This is when we need to consider the surrounding circumstances. If I told you that I had been struggling with depression, feelings of regret, or was having difficulty with someone else at church, you may be more apt to lean towards B as your answer. But if I told you that everything was fine, I had no outstanding debts of bitterness, money was raining down from heaven and all my financial problems had been solved, you would likely consider C as your answer. In reality, it could be either. In my case, knowing my life and circumstances, I am about 99.9% certain it is a tempting thought strategically placed by my Enemy.

If I didn’t show up to church one Sunday, most people wouldn’t consider that abnormal because those close to me know that my husband is not a Christ-follower and that he wants to spend time with me on his days off (the weekend); church could be a conflict for us. However, I know that for the most part, my husband couldn’t care less if I go to church or not, as long as I am spending time with him and being flexible with my church-activities schedule (not spending every waking moment at church throughout the week), he really isn’t bothered by it.

But do you see how Satan can use all that he knows (through observation—he is not omniscient) to “scheme” against me (and you)? Suppose I decide to hit the snooze button and sleep instead of going to church (which I have done). My husband wakes up and sees I haven’t gone to church like I said I was going to and asks me about it. Feeling defensive I might whip out a lame excuse, “I wasn’t feeling well,” which is a lie because even though I was tired, I wasn’t legitimately sick or unable to get up. Now my credibility as a Christ-follower is diminished in my husband’s eyes. He notices my lack of commitment and how easily I am swayed from God (after all, he goes to work every day whether he’s tired or not, so God must not be that important). Do you see, friends, how subtle this is? A simple little thought, “I’m tired, maybe I should stay home” could negatively affect my husband’s view of Christianity, and even his salvation!

Stay alert! I will be getting more in depth on these “voices” in the posts to come. Remember that our circumstances play a huge role in determining what voice we may be hearing.

“Lest Satan should get an advantage over us: for we are not ignorant of his devices [noema-schemes].” 2 Corinthians 2:11

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Related posts:

Demonic Schemes

Every Story Has a Villian, Even Yours

Spiritual Warfare 101: Is it Real?

Satan, God, the Flesh, and Spiritual Warfare

Before Your Feet Hit the Floor: An Essential Daily Prayer

Spiritual Warfare 101: Is it Real?

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Spiritual warfare is real, whether you believe it or not. If you think I’ve gone off the deep end with my theology, consider the following evidences (I’m going to assume if you’re a regular reader of this website that you believe the Bible to be the true, infallible word of God):

•The Lord of Hosts

You can scarce read the Old Testament without running into the phrase “Lord of Hosts” (using the King James Version, anyways). The name “Lord of Hosts” in the following Scriptures all have the same Hebrew meaning, and there were dozens more I didn’t include for reasons of time and space.

“As for our redeemer, the Lord of Hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 47:4

“Again the word of the Lord of Hosts came to me.” Zechariah 8:1

“The Lord of Hosts is with us.” Psalm 46:7

“Therefore thus saith the Lord of Hosts…” Jeremiah 23:15

“Hear ye and testify in the house of Jacob, saith the Lord God, the God of Hosts.” Amos 3:13

The word “hosts” (tseb-aw-aw’) is derived from the root word meaning assemble, fight, perform, or war. The term “Lord of Hosts” can be translated “The Lord of Armies” or “The Lord of War”. He is an active God of the ARMIES! Why do you suppose the term “Lord of Armies” would be included in the Bible, at least a hundred times in just the Old Testament, if it didn’t mean exactly what it says, that God leads an army? What exactly is an army used for? Battle!

The battle is so real, the people and prophets of God referred to their Leader as the divine captain of the largest host of armies ever amassed (Isaiah used the term “Lord of Hosts” more than thirty times in his book). Our Lord is not passive, He is active and fighting a very real, very serious spiritual war. So why aren’t we?

•The Apostles (After the Cross)

Paul (and the other apostles) had a godly view of spiritual warfare. Paul often spoke of principalities, powers, forces, spirits, Satan, the enemy, the battle, and other “spiritual warfare” terms. He spoke of it as if it were a fact, a reality, a real issue the Church needed to be aware of. (I’m purposely not mentioning the work of Jesus here [casting out demons…etc.] which will be discussed in later posts.)

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

“His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 3:10

“Resist the devil.” James 4:7

“Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

“And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” Revelation 12:9

•Noema

It doesn’t get more straight-forward than this, friends. Noema (no-ay-mah) is the Greek word for “mind”. Consider these uses of this specific form of the word noema:

“If there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes (noema).” 2 Corinthians 2:10-11

“In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds (noema) of them which believe not.” 2 Corinthians 4:4

“Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought (noema) to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

Did you notice anything interesting? The same Greek word, noema, is used in three different passages of the same context—how Satan directly influences the minds and thoughts of people, believers and non-believers alike. Another definition of noema is perception. In other words, it is a satanic perception of circumstances that influence us toward unforgiveness (2 Cor. 2:11), and a satanic perception of circumstances which blinds the minds of unbelievers against the true knowledge of Christ (2 Cor. 4:4), and also a satanic perception of events that infiltrate the minds of believers which can lead them into sinful behaviors (2 Cor. 10:5).

Satan is real, his influence is real, and the battle we face every day is real. God is fighting, his angelic armies are fighting, but are we as the bride of Christ fulfilling our role in this area (see Eph. 3:10)? Why aren’t we talking about this in our churches, teaching this in Sunday Schools, and hearing this from our pulpits? Perhaps the greatest deception of all is the belief that no “battle” exists, and if it does, I certainly don’t need to get involved. After all, didn’t Jesus defeat the enemy at the cross?

Well, if that is what you have believed I pray your eyes will be opened now to see the dangerous “perception” of that thinking. If you’re not fighting, Satan is gaining ground in your life. As I pointed out in the above section “After the Cross”, all of those Scriptures were written for believers after the death and resurrection of Christ. Obviously, we still have a battle to fight.

Now it’s your turn. What role do you actively take in spiritual warfare? Do you believe it is important? Why or why not? Is it an easy battle for you? On a scale of 1-10 (1 being the lowest, 10 being the highest) how would you rate your daily participation and awareness of spiritual warfare?

As the scales begin to fall from your eyes and you take a more active role in fighting Satan’s schemes (noema), you will face more spiritual (and physical) opposition, I can guarantee it. Write the above verses down, keep them with you and memorize them, because you will need the truth to fight. Without the truth, you are defenseless and will be rendered an ineffective, unarmed soldier.

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In my next post I’ll be discussing the voices in our head (the Holy Spirit, Satan, and our Flesh) and how you can recognize what voices are coming from where (remember, Satan quotes Scripture too!). If you need to catch up on what all this spiritual warfare talk is about, check out my last post. If you haven’t already, please take a moment to subscribe to this blog (it’s free and your information is not shared) in the space provided on the upper right hand area of this web page so you can receive future posts. I look forward to getting to know you and hearing what your battles in the spiritual realm have been like. Comments are encouraged (however, insults, personal attacks and foul language will not be allowed on this website).

First time here? Learn more about me here.

Book Review: Question Everything by Tyler Ellis

question everythingQuestion Everything by Tyler Ellis is a book like no other (watch the book trailer HERE).  Initially I was struck by the detailed format, and as a writer myself, overwhelmed with the amount of work and research that must have gone in to creating such a well thought out masterpiece.

When I first opened Question Everything, my thoughts went something like, “This is it?” But as I read through the questions I gradually realized how brilliant this was. What will you find on the pages of this book? Questions! A LOT of questions! Specifically there is an obersation-type question for each verse in the New Testament.

At first you might be wondering what place such a book has on your shelf, and admittedly I wondered that myself, but as I dug in to the text I started to understand the author’s intent more and more. The point is to ask questions about what you’re reading, and uncover the answers yourself. This is precisely why the author does not include his own answers. Those answers are for you to discover. Rather than read a book that tells you what a verse means, you can go to the source (the Bible) and do the work yourself. Instead of trusting everything you hear/read from other writers and theologians, you can dig in yourself.

Second Timothy 2:15 encourages us to study to show ourselves approved unto God, workers that are not ashamed and who rightly divide God’s word. What better way to do that then to walk through the words of the New Testament, one by one, and really ask questions about each verse?

I’m a Bible student and am used to the study of Scriptures, asking questions, and uncovering the answers, but this book is different then anything I have ever seen in college or church. While I have spent a great deal of time studying passages, or even individual words within a verse, I have never gone through every verse in the New Testament, one by one, and asked myself a relevant question about it. It is a great resource for the well-trained Bible student or the new Christian. It is even a great book for someone searching for the truth. Really, anyone could benefit from it. What a great idea, I wish I had thought of it! (But I do not envy the work that had to have gone into it.)

I look forward to getting a print copy so I can work through it with my daughter, whom I home-school. I know this will be a great addition to her Bible studies!

(I received Question Everything by Tyler Ellis for review purposes only and was not required to give a positive review. The opinions expressed here are strictly my own.)

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Tyler Ellis is the author of“Question Everything: A fresh way to read the best-selling book of all time.  He serves on staff with Newark Church of Christ as a Campus Minister at the University of Delaware. He’s also an advocate in the cause of ending Bible poverty.  Hear more from Tyler on his blog, Facebook and Twitter.

Tarrying with “Terah”

Tarrying with “Terah”

God commanded Abram to pack his bags and take a hike—ok, not exactly in those words (see Genesis 12). Actually, God commanded Abram to leave everything familiar, the land he had probably known most of his life (Ur of Chaldees), and move to a place “that I will show thee”. I mean, God was not being terribly specific here.

But we all know good ole Abram, he was such a righteous man, surely he saddled up and moved on at the first command, right? Well, uh, not exactly. Just a few verses back in Genesis 11 we find that Abram had his own ideas. Instead of dropping everything to follow God into this “unknown” land, he did travel in the direction of Canaan (the unspecified land) but decided to tarry a while in Haran. Not only that, but he took his father, Terah, with him. This was also in direct disobedience to God’s command, which was, “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house.”

I can’t really blame Abram, though. I wouldn’t want to leave my family behind to go on some mystical journey to unknown lands. I probably would have stalled a bit. But the story gets better, folks; Abram’s father’s name was Terah. You know what Terah means? It means “delay”. Maybe Terah was two weeks past his due date when his mother finally gave birth to him? We can’t know for sure why she chose such a name for Terah, but later in the life of Abram it makes too much sense to ignore. Abram was delayed by his elderly father; the same man who was himself named delay.

Eventually Abram got his act together and finished his journey, but only after his father died. “And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran, and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan.” Evidently Abram was in Haran quite some time since he obviously had a lot to gather before he left. Nevertheless, he finally did obey.

I can’t help but wonder how many times I have tarried in Haran, with my Terah in tow. How many excuses have I come up with to delay what God has clearly spoken? And once I did finally listen, how many blessings were waiting for me in the land of Canaan? In the end I have found the only thing tarrying with Terah has ever accomplished was to delay God’s greater blessing and purpose in my life.

How about you? Have you been tarrying with Terah? Have you gotten distracted by the sights and sounds of Haran when a greater blessing has awaited you in Canaan? Is it time for you to leave your Ur and head to a land “that [God] will show thee”?

A United Heart

Lou Ann stopped by my blog a few days ago and in turn, I visited her blog. I love her heart, her mission, and her writing! So, I am sharing it with you. Please read her short devotional on what it means to have a “United Heart”–obviously a subject near and dear to me. Enjoy!

Teach me thy way, O LORD;
I will walk in thy truth:
unite my heart to fear thy name.
(Psalm 86:11)
Most of this verse is simple in language and easy to understand. I stumbled a little at the word unite. What does it mean here? I looked up the Hebrew equivalent, and it means “unify; join.” Okay, but what is a unified heart or a joined heart? Commentators have several ideas about this word in the context of this verse. It can mean a “completely dedicated” heart or a heart with “undivided loyalty.” I thought of “single-heartedness,” something like single-minded.
In any case, the psalmist profoundly states his desires. This verse is his prayer:
            Teach me Your way.
            I resolve to walk in Your Truth.
            I want a heart that is wholly dedicated to respecting and following You.
Are the psalmist’s desires our desires?
            Do we really want to be taught what God wants us to do?
            Have we ever resolved (promised ourselves) to walk in the Truth (the Bible)?
            Do we have an “undivided” heart to respect and follow God?
In my counseling experience, I have found many women who want to do right. “Oh yes, I want to.” But, they don’t really want to be taught—not by God and not by anyone else either. They have never made a conscious decision to follow and know Truth. They don’t have time for God’s Word, don’t pray, and then they wonder why they’re having such a hard time grasping Truth. They have divided hearts. Part of them wants to do what everyone else does—follow “fun.” And, part of them really wants to follow God, but they’re not fully dedicated (united hearted) to it. Unfortunately, these ladies will always flounder spiritually.
I’ve also counseled women and girls who would say a hearty Amen to the psalmist’s three desires in this short verse. They are growing and changing. And they’re some of the happiest people I know.
May we all have undivided hearts!
Lou Ann Keiser is a missionary pastor’s wife with almost thirty years of ministry experience. She loves Bible study and people. Lou Ann is the mother of two married children and a grandmother. She lives in a quaint little town in Europe.
Please visit her blog: In the Way
**If you or anyone you know enjoys writing, www.servantsisters.org is currently looking for new writers to contribute devotions or photos with inspirational thoughts. You can check out the writer’s guidelines: Write For Us**

Refusing to Back Down: What it Really Means to Speak the Truth “In Love”

Refusing to Back Down: What it Really Means to Speak the Truth “In Love”

On the heels of yet another heated political debate the tweets, status updates, and blogs are running full steam. I would certainly be no exception to this. On the other hand, though, there are many Christians who feel it is offensive to openly talk about their political views or their beliefs on touchy subjects such as homosexuality and abortion. This proverbial “duct tape” silences many well-meaning believers, especially in the world of writing, where platforms and likeability are ranked high on the author’s list of things to succeed in.

No doubt, this is a controversial topic. To speak or not to speak: that is essentially the question. For me the answer came in the form of another question. Do I care so much about getting “likes”, “follows”, and “subscribers” to build my platform that I keep quiet about such topics? What is more important, speaking the truth or being liked?

I live in a state where people have been arrested for holding Bible studies in their homes. Refusing to allow and even prosecuting such acts of religious expression is becoming more common in today’s world. Am I to look the other way when things like, say, who will become the next president would directly affect issues of religious freedom? I’m not convinced that speaking the truth “in love” or having my words “seasoned with salt” means to keep silent. But let’s look at the Bible– because I am human and maybe I am wrong. If so, I want to allow God to correct me and keep me on His path to truth.

First of all we have Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount. The things Jesus said were highly offensive, especially to the Pharisees who were the most “spiritual” people of that time. They knew how to follow all of the rules and live about as perfect as a sinful person could possibly live. But Jesus wasn’t impressed because He saw their hearts. He called them out on their hypocrisy and warned the crowds of listeners not to be like them. I really can’t think of anything more offensive then calling someone out in front of other people, pointing out their faults, and warning the audience not to be like them! But—Jesus was, well, Jesus! As God living and breathing in a human body, He had the right and lived the life to back up His words of truth. I don’t have that luxury. I’m not perfect, I am not God. I cannot see someone’s heart, so publicly calling someone out is probably not a form of expression God has called me to partake in. (And under this light, I am aware of some instances where I have sinned in this area.)

But then we come to Paul. Now, the Colossian Church had become infiltrated with false teachers, and Paul, led by the Spirit of God, stepped in and spoke up about a controversial topic: false teaching. In this same letter to the church he says, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. (Colossians 4:6)” Several verses in the Bible have been taken out of context to support erroneous practices, and this is probably no exception. It has been used over and over again as an admonition to keep quiet about important issues. In the context of the passage, however, that is absolutely not what Paul is saying. In fact, in the previous three chapters Paul warns the church about following the philosophies of man and the patterns of the world (2:8) while at the same time pointing the congregation to the Solution to their problems (2:9-3:1). Now that is what it means to speak the truth with love and grace.

The difference between condescending pious gibberish and sincere warning in the nature of love and concern come out of a sincere heart focused on the One who has given abundant life as well as freedom from the bondage of evil entanglements.

So what does all of this mean? As Christians we have a responsibility to speak the truth, to always be ready with an answer for the hope that dwells within us. When I stand up and say why I believe one candidate it a better choice for America, I am doing so out of love for my country and the people in it. I do not want to see our religious rights taken away. I want to be able, for instance, to hold a Bible study in my home without fear of retaliation. If one candidate can provide that, then I am going to talk about it. In the same regard, if one candidate is clearly supportive of the dangerous deception that a “woman’s right to choose” or a woman’s right to kill her baby is more important than the life growing inside that woman, as a Christian I have a moral responsibility to speak up for the unborn who cannot speak for themselves. I haven’t always done this, and I live every day with the regret of my silence and what became of a situation where I refused to speak. Never again will I make that mistake.

I think an important distinction in all of this is the delivery used to convey our messages. Are we saying things like, “If you vote for so and so you’re an evil demon of darkness” or are we saying, “I believe so and so is a better candidate because…” One of these expresses a view with respect and dignity while the other bashes on those who would hold a different opinion. I can’t find any example where Paul put down the character of another believer because of the choices they were making, no matter how poor those choices might have been. Instead, I see a great man of God who desperately wanted people to understand the truth, and understand where the truth comes from—Jesus. Paul always, always, always pointed people to Christ. I know I have failed in this area many times (and I confess it to God), but that is my ultimate goal in all I say and do.

I will not apologize for my views because they stem from personal convictions. On the other hand, I want to keep me speech grace-full, making sure to avoid name-calling and character bashing of those who would disagree with me. In the end, for me, I feel it is more important to be real with people rather than sensor my beliefs in the name of “likeability”. Do I want to be a successful author with a large platform to reach others with the message of Hope? Of course I do! But I will not compromise the truth in the form of silence. This is a critical time for our country, and we cannot afford to exchange silence for popularity. Yes, I want to have integrity in all I say and do, especially in a public outlet. But I also want people to know I am a real person, with real struggles, real opinions, and real convictions. Maybe I’ll lose a few “fans” along the way, but ultimately I will be the only one held accountable for my choices. In that regard, God’s opinion of my words and actions are all that really matters.

How about you? Have you experienced backlash in your efforts to speak the truth in love? How has God used your experiences in approaching touchy subjects to teach you how to speak in a grace-full way? Have you every failed in this area of “seasoned” speech? Do you feel it’s more important to convey a certain public “persona” then it is to convey your personal convictions? I look forward to your responses and hope to learn from what God has taught you through your experiences.