Last night I saw several pictures that I would like to share with you as I believe in this Christmas season it is easy to be led astray down paths that are not beneficial both to ourselves and to others.
Firstly, I was visiting someone and in their tree was a snake which shocked me as we don't have snakes in New Zealand and then it went onto the ground and I told the owner of the house there was a snake there. I thought of Eve in the garden tempted by a snake. 1 Cor 10:13 "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."
Particularly at this time we all get tempted with many things and in those temptation sometimes its wise to simply 'say and walk away'. Recognise those areas in your life where you may be tempted and stay away or walk away from those things that cause temptation. For some that may be many hours spent on a computer, for others it may be drinking alcohol that you know that if you have one more drink you are no longer who you should be, for others it may be spending money, for another it may be arguing with in-laws or family members. There are so many areas that we all get tempted with in one way or another and like the scripture above, temptation is common to all and yet the Lord does provide ways for us to stand up under it should we choose to listen to the Holy Spirits prompting.
Its when we choose to ignore the Holy Spirits prompting who lives inside of us that we step into trouble and often not only cause damage to ourselves but damage to those around us.
Another one of the pictures last night, I was going into this community that had certain rules and one of them was that you were not allowed to go into public places without being fully dressed. You were not allowed to walk around in your pyjamas. I was informed of this rule and yet I forgot and went and wore my pyjamas. That was alright as I forgot, but when challenged by the authorities, I denied knowing the rules. At that moment I stepped into sin, I stepped into darkness, as I lied not only to the people, but to the Holy Spirit who had been the one who had told me not to wear my pyjamas. It suddenly went dark and in the darkness people got hurt, the person in authority got hurt as did I. When the light came back on again we could see the damage that was caused in the darkness. When we lie and ignore the rules set in a certain place, we then walk in darkness and when you walk in darkness you cannot see where you are going and in that place you get hurt and others get hurt as well.
1 John 1:5 "God is light in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."
1 Cor 10:23 "Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others."
For those who say grace covers it all and I am free in Christ to do what I want, I want to challenge it as I believe grace and love go together and love lays it's life down for the sake of those around them. Love considers others above themselves and is willing to forgo their own pleasures, their own desires as they consider the needs around them. Yes you can do all things, yes everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. And as we walk with freedom in Christ, we too walk with love because without love, we have nothing. So when you enter places where perhaps things are done differently and that may be a church, it may be a bank, it may be a workplace, it may be a campground where each of these places have certain rules in place to protect people, please be willing to lay your own way of doing things down for those around you. When in Rome, do as the Romans do type thinking even though you are free in Christ, you are still bound by love.
Please also know that when you make mistakes like I did in this dream above, there is also forgiveness, healing and restoration and that I don't need to be afraid as there is no condemnation in Christ. I simply need to apologise for the wrong and damage I have caused to others and to myself and I am forgiven by the Lord and walk in freedom and the light. That He heals us of all our iniquities, He forgives us all our sin and we are free in Christ in His mercies and grace and love.
Merry Christmas Everyone! May you be blessed in the knowledge of Jesus birth and because of His birth, death and resurrection, the freedom we now have in Christ, the healing, the forgiveness, the joy, the peace, the righteousness, the knowledge that we are no longer held as a slave to sin, but set free to live life to the full.