Weekly Wisdoms for the week of September 14, 2020
Sin's power is rooted in its promise of satisfaction. You're compelled to a one night stand because it promises quick joy without the hard work of a committed relationship. You're drawn to gossip about your ex-spouse because it promises the instant gratification of revenge. You're tempted to be greedy and not give to the poor because it affords you the comfort of buying more for yourself.
We sin not out of duty but out of hope for happiness. (We wouldn't sin if we didn't think we stood to gain something by sinning.) In other words, sin's power is in its promise of happiness.
Sin, which leads to death (Romans 6:16), will continue to enslave us as long as we believe that sin provides greater joy than righteousness, which leads to life.
The breakthrough over sin comes when we realize who God promises to make us if we trust in him.
In contrast to sin, God promises us much greater joy and satisfaction in him than in sin. When we receive Christ and are born again, our eyes are opened and our desires transformed. God makes immense promises to those who are born again. Specifically, in Christ we are made righteous (Romans 5:19), dead to sin (Romans 6:11), given eternal life (Romans 6:23 and John 3:15), not condemned (Romans 8:1), sanctified (1 Corinthians 1:2), made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22), made a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:19), clothed with Christ (Galatians 3:27), immeasurably blessed (Ephesians 1:3), forgiven (Ephesians 1:7), and made the very righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). What an awesome set of promises given by God! All that God promises to be for us in Jesus stands against what sin promises to be for us without him.
Far too often, many Christians view evangelism as a game involving "me," the Christian, vs. "you," the non-Christian. However, reaching unbelievers effectively usually requires working with them in order to develop a relationship based on trust, and any relationship requires listening to the other person in order to find out where they are spiritually and emotionally. When you authentically listen to others, they will genuinely listen to you.
In Romans 12:10, Paul writes, Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. To honor other people means respecting them, which includes listening to them. In fact, simply by listening attentively to someone you show that you care about that person: you place value on them.
Remember, people listen to people who listen.
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