Okay, it's week seven!! Let's jump right in! Here's a review..............
In what ways does the uniqueness of your testimony help you realize what it means to be a slave to sin?
I became a Christian when I was 20 years old. My grandparents were believers and southern Baptist in Alabama (where everyone typically claims "Christian" at least in title), but my parents didn't attend any church while I was growing up. So, I was familiar with church, but wasn't saved. Having come to Christ at a later age, I really remember what it's like to be unsaved and a slave to sin. It's bad. I would never want to go there again. EVER. Or, wish it on my worst enemy. When I compare my life then and now, my life now may not be "easy", but sin doesn't have me oppressed like it used to. Life was very bleak then. Now, I have joy and hope knowing that I belong to Jesus. He is going to take care of me forever. What a relief!
As a believer in Christ, how does it make you feel to recognize that you have been set free from sin?
Thankful, so thankful! I could be like anyone else out there, who still lives in bondage to sin, who has no hope in Jesus, who's struggling to find meaning in this world. I would easily be that, but for the grace of God in my life. And, it makes me feel so relieved. I can imagine similar to what John Newton must've felt when he was finally rescued from that former boss.
Compare your bondage to sin to the redemption you received at salvation. How can you describe the difference between these two states of existance?
Again, relieved is one way I would describe redemption. "Finally! Someone has come to my rescue!" Like if you were floating from a shipwreck of sin in the middle of the ocean about to die from hunger and exposure, blistered and burnt, and someone has just pulled up alongside of you and put a floatie around you and pulled you into their boat. Then, wrapped a blanket around you and gave you food, water, and gentleness and said, "It's okay. I'm saving you and I'm going to take care of you forever!"
What would your theme hymn be? Why does "Amazing Grace" resound with so many people?
Hmm. I don't know what my theme hymn would be, but 'Amazing Grace' just sums up so simply what God does for us. ONLY by His grace we are saved. ONLY by His grace we have hope in Jesus. ONLY by His grace we don't have to continue on in bondage, but His grace gives us freedom from it.
I think when you know and remember what floating out in that hopeless ocean feels like, you can really feel the relief of that grace life raft around you pulling you to safety.
We really deserve to die on our 'ship of sin' so to speak. We deserve to be left out in that ocean to die. We chose to get on that ship. We chose to sail out of port. And, where did that ship take us? It left us out in the middle of a hopeless ocean, wrecked, and about to die. And God could've left us out there. BUT HE DIDN'T! He watched us go out there, and then he went out there to rescue us and bring us back! He didn't leave us to die! Now the question is, we are all out there in that shipwrecked ocean. When he wraps that life raft around us to pull us to safety, we fight him. Why do so many choose to say, 'Oh no thanks, God. I think I'll just stay out here and continue floating." WHAT?
If submitting to God's will is pure joy, why do so many believers resist obeying God's will for their lives?
I don't know the answer to this one. Sin's grip is so tight that even unbelievers don't want to leave it to come to Him. Maybe it's a tendancy to be like Lot's wife and always look back than to look forward to what God has for you next. Maybe it's la lack of faith and trust. Maybe it's lack of discipleship and teaching, and believers just aren't taught so they will mature in Christ.
I have experienced this recently with noticing negativity among believers. God says don't do it. Just don't do it. Give thanks instead. Where does negativity offer any benefit for you or others? You were in the darkness and now you are in the light, so act like it! Read God's Word, know what is pleasing to Him and let that be what pours out of you.
How do you guard your moral purity in a world that has no moral standards?
Well, this is hard. It's hard guarding my children's moral purity not to mention my own. I think if you know God's standards, you just have to stick with them. Don't waiver. And it that means that you don't go to whatever place, watch whatever movie, listen to whatever music, or whatever that means in your life, you just don't do it. I know people don't ask me (or my children) to go and do certain things, because they know that I don't approve. They already know it. Now, why are they going ahead and doing those things anyway, I don't know. But, they know I don't stand for it. I think it's not an attitude of haughtiness either. You just know what God's Word says, and you stick to it, and people recongize that. It's hard in this world to take a higher moral ground, but you do it anyway. Like the other week, my daughter had left the post office with some stamps that we found out later she wasn't charged for. So the next day, we went back up to the post office and she explained and then paid for those stamps. Right before Christmas I came home with a DVD that I realized I hadn't been charged for (I had all the kids with me in the store that day, and well, you can imagine in the craziness....) and so the next day I went back and explained and payed for that DVD. Can you imagine the shock on the post office and store workers faces? Priceless. There's nothing special about us, but we just knew God's standard and we stuck to it. Period.
You can work and work all of your life and the only thing you will ever get from sin is death. Sin pays it's employees with death. That sounds like a harsh task master to me.
Once rescued from slavery, the Israelites returned to the bondage of disobedience. How does your knowledge of God's Word protect you from the bondage of disobedience?
If you know God's Word, then you know what God desires for you and from you. If you know God's Word you will know what His standard is, and if you know what that standard it, then He expects you to live by that standard. If you are holding to that standard then you won't be pulled to disobey and then be bound by continuing to disobey.
So, what do you think?