Why Trusting in Idols Bring God’s Judgement.

Making an idol of elected leaders in the church, the community, the country, etc., is a temptation we all struggle with. We think people in positions of power will solve our problems and help us be prosperous. We trust in our physicians and the drugs they prescribe to make us well instead of trusting God to heal us through the physicians and drugs. Do you trust Scientists and think they are all-knowing and know the truth? Why is trusting those with knowledge and power, idolatry? For one thing, God wants us to trust in Him. The Old Testament is full of examples of God’s judgment toward those who did not trust Him but instead turn to powerful people for help.

Here is one example, in 2Chronicles 14, King Asa, the King of Judah, tore down all the idols and places for idol worship in the land of Judah and called the people to worship God. Early in his reign, Judah was threatened by an army of one million men and 300 chariots from Ethiopia. He went out to meet the Ethiopians with nearly 600,000 men. So, King Asa prayed to God for help, and God caused the Ethiopians to flee. Later, in his 36th year, Judah again faces another conquering army, but this time King Asa did not trust God but trusted another King to help him. 2Chronicles 16:7-9 describes what happened.

7) At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, “Because you relied on the king of Syria, and did not rely on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped you.

8) Were not the Ethiopians and the Libyans a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on the LORD, he gave them into your hand. 

9) For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this (not trusting God), for from now on you will have wars.”

Is your heart blameless toward God, and do you turn to God for help first? King Asa became complacent and forgot God, so God allowed a disease to afflict his feet. But instead of seeking the Lord for help, he sought physicians, then he dies. Going to physicians and taking medication is not bad. But trusting the physicians or medications to heal you is idolatry because only God heals. The book of Judges records many accounts of God’s judgment on Israel for worshiping idols.

The New Testament leaders were also idolized. For example, Acts 14:11-15 states,

11) And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!”

12) Barnabas, they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.

13) And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds.

14) But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out,

15) “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.

We are often tempted to make an idol of our pastors or elders by worshiping them and expecting them to meet our needs. Some pastors fall into the trap of desiring to be idolized and worshiped. So, they take on the burden of providing for the congregations requests. And often when the pastor leaves, the people who idolized him or her find another pastor who will meet their needs instead of trusting God. If the pastor does not meet the needs of those who idolize them, then they often fall away from the faith.

Have you made an idol of a politician or a presidential candidate? Instead of trusting God, do you expect the president you voted for to improve your life? How do you feel when the politician you voted for does not get elected? Do you feel hopeless and depressed?  If so, you have idolized that person.


Conclusion:

Idolatry is all around us, and you unknowingly serve and trust in them. Unseen battles with idolatry can be activities, people, relationships, people’s opinions, riches, fleshly desires, and needs, to name a few. All idols must be removed from your life because they will keep you from entering the kingdom of heaven.

You seek idols when you doubt God will provide what you want or need. But when you submit to God and trust Him, you will experience good. God created us to worship Him only and find our refuge and help in Him, and He is jealous when we trust something else. He created us to look to Him to meet our needs. So, what distracts you from worshiping God or finding refuge in Him during times of trouble? Have the worldly things you trust in given you joy, peace, and life? Though you may have temporary happiness, peace, and feel good, it is still only temporary, then comes the emptiness and depression. Only God’s love and presence can satisfy and give you lasting joy and peace.

RELATED POSTS:

What Will Cause You to Lose Your Inheritance

UNSEEN IDOLS OF EARTHLY SINS AND NEEDS

Idolatry and Soul Ties

Fear God, Not People

POSTS Related to Trusting God

UNSEEN IDOLS OF EARTHLY SINS AND NEEDS

Are you unknowingly an idolater? This is the fifth post on unseen idolatry. The first post explains why practicing idolatry will cause you to not enter the kingdom of heaven and how to recognize your idolatry. The second post shows you how people become idols and how you please them out of fear of loss, but why you are to fear God. The third post explains how to break worldly soul ties that control you long after a relationship is over, and how you can find a friend who is devoted to God. In the fourth post, I exposed the problem with getting your identity and self-worth from people and money instead of God. In this post, I will show you the idols you set up to satisfy your earthy needs and sinful flesh.

Colossians 3:5 tells us to, “Put to death what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passions, evil desires, and covetousness (greed), which is idolatry.” The New American Standard Version says, “Therefore, consider the members of your earthly body as dead to….” Something dead no longer exists. So, if you put to death the earthly passions described in Colossians 3:5, then they will no longer exist for you to serve them. Remember, an idol is something you are devoted to and serve, expecting something good in return, but only get disappointment.

      Living by the Spirit of God helps you put to death your earthly passions.  To live by the Spirit is to yield your life to God and be led by Him. Romans 8:13 states, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” And Galatians 5:16 states, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” To walk in the Spirit means yielding to His control through prayer, and allow Him to exert His influence over you. It is the Spirit of God in you who helps you put to death your sinful passions. Read my post called How The Spirit Gives Life. To learn more about how to walk in the Spirit go to https://www.gotquestions.org/Spirit-walk.html

Idolatry of Fleshly Desire

So, how can fleshly desires be idols in your life? Your fleshly desires are self-focused sins that demand you please your sense. Sin is disobedience of God’s perfect will for you. Pray and ask God to show if you have idols of sensual pleasures in your life. For example, a person with sexual sins may have a pornography addiction that controls them. Someone who idolizes possessions may have a problem coveting other peoples’ belongings or has an addiction to wanting things. Hoarding falls under this addiction. A person who hasn’t died to impurity may watch R-rated movies or afternoon soap operas. People with evil desires may hold on to grudges and wish harm to the people who have done them wrong.

      Earthly passions are vises the devil uses to control you and causes you to sacrifice your dignity, peace, and self-control to satisfy your sensual pleasure. For example, you have an earthly desire to go to the bars. The vise of alcohol becomes your idol, and you will sacrifice everything to it. This vise causes you to lose self-control and get drunk and then you sacrifice your dignity and fall into all forms of temptations. Satan uses your vise for alcohol to bring destruction in every area of your life.

Do you see how fleshly sins are demanding and never satisfied? One drink never satisfies the idol of alcohol. One purchase never satisfies a person who gets pleasure from shopping. A person who needs affirmation to feel good about themselves is never satisfied with just one affirming word. If you see you have an idol in your life, humbly acknowledge it and ask God to help you overcome it by loosing the unhealthy beliefs and evil spirit attachments in Jesus’ name.

The key to overcoming unseen idols is to give your life to God’s control and flee the temptations to give in to your earthly passions to satisfy sensual pleasures.  1Corinthians 10:14 states, “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” When you see the word “therefore”, it refers to an earlier thought. The previous verse is 1Corinthians 10:13, which says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is human (common to man); but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able. But with the temptation, He will also make the way out, so that you may be able to bear (endure) it.” Idolatry tempts you to not believe in a faithful God who wants to help you? Next time you are tempted, look up and seek God’s help to show you the way out, then walk by His Spirit’s control.

Idolatry of Needs

The devil will persuade you to doubt God’s willingness and ability to provide what you need. Needs vary from person to person, but some basic emotional needs are to feel loved, accepted, respected, significant, secure, approved, happy, needed, and protected. Satan puts doubts (lies about God) in your mind that God will meet your needs. When the devil causes doubt, he tempts you to turn to self-gratifying idols of people and things to satisfy your needs. However, trusting God and obeying Him is the key to having victory over all the temptations of the demonic forces at work against us. Also, when you are abiding with God, you will have all your needs met and everlasting blessings, love, acceptance, joy, and peace.

Another temptation is to distrust God and act independently of Him. When you distrust or doubt, you believe lies or half-truths about God and His ability to give you what you need. Eve fell into this trap when she was tempted in the Garden of Eden. Doubts cause you to worry that God will not take care of you. As a result, you try to live independently of God, trusting instead in idols to meet your needs. The best way to eliminate idols is to memorize the promises and truths found in God’s Word and to trust Him to meet your needs. Then loose/put off the sin of rebellion.

Grace and peace,

Joyce

Where do You Get Self-worth and Significance?

What shapes your identity? Do people, things, or activities shape how you view yourself? Have you noticed how advertisements appeal to your sense of security, self-worth, and significance? The messages we hear are: “You have to have this to be popular.” Or, “You have to have or do this to be truly satisfied.” Or, “You have to do this to be healthy and fit.” Advertisements appeal to our fleshly desires, doesn’t it?

Idolatry of People’s Opinions

Where do you get your identity, security, significance, and self-worth? Does it come from people’s opinion, or money, your work, secular and church activities, sports, people, material possessions, riches, etc.?

      Review the following questions to realize if you have unseen idolatry of peoples’ opinions and perceptions of you.

  • Are you devastated, depressed, or despaired when the people you admire ignore you?
  • Do you become anxious when people disapprove of you?
  • Do you have an excessive concern about what others think about you, and you try to manipulate their thinking?
  • Do you have a preoccupation with acceptance, approval, popularity, self-image, or pleasing others?
  • Do you avoid being transparent, confront bad ideas, or ask for help because you fear what other people will think?
  • Do you get upset when no one recognizes you for a contribution you made?
  • Because of self-pride, do you want people to confirm your excessive opinion of yourself?
  • Do you cover up your failures or inadequacies so people think well of you?
  • Do you believe that you will be popular and accepted if you wear the latest fashions, are a good athlete, have a fancy car, have a lot of money and possessions, accomplish something great, etc.?

Proverbs 29:25 states, “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.” A snare is anything that entraps or entangles you when you are not aware. The fear of man snares you in the trap of pleasing the one you fear instead of serving and pleasing God. Trust the LORD to take care of your needs for worth, acceptance, and significance. As fellow heirs with Jesus Christ, you have tremendous value and significance; read Romans 8:17 and Galatians 4:7. Also, read my posts called Fear God, Not People.

Meditate on and journal the following Scripture: Jeremiah 17:5-8,

5) Thus, says the LORD: ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD. 6) He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.’

7) ‘Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. 8) He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.

According to this passage, you will receive good things when you trust God, but Satan does not want that, so he will tempt you to trust in idols.

Idolatry of Riches

Do you try to get your worth, security, significance, and value from how much money you have? If yes, money is your idol. The Bible says in Matthew 6:20-21 and 24 to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 24) No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Money is an idol when you devote your time to earning a lot to show your status over others. Trust in your income potential, bank accounts, and investments to meet your needs instead of trusting God is idolatry. A wise person prepares for retirement but also trusts God and not their investments because investments can be lost in a day, but God will never leave you. Hebrews 13:5 states, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”

Do you value money more than God? 1Timothy 6:9-10 explains what happens when you love money more than God. “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10) For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

If you realize you love money more than God, then take that thought captive and say a prayer of repentance and submission to Him. Serving money will bring many sorrows. The Apostle Paul also instructs us in Timothy 6:6-8 that being content will bring blessings. “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8) But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” Which do you want; sorrows or blessings? Are you content with what God gave you, or do you want more money?

Wealth is not a sin, and many people in the Bible were very wealthy, yet they loved God, such as Job, Abraham, Daniel, King David, and King Solomon. The worldly desire to be rich tempts you to do evil and fall into ruin and destruction. Living comfortably is not a sin, but remember to tithe and give to those who are less fortunate since what you have was given to you by God. Deuteronomy 8:17-18 states, “Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ 18a) You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the power to get wealth.

You will feel empty and disillusioned when you depend on people or things to give you security, self-worth, and significance. The following questions will reveal if you are trusting God to meet these needs.

  • Is your primary motive to love and glorify God, or are you seeking riches, a comfortable life, personal approval, or acceptance from people?
  • Does God fill the void in your soul, or do you go to food, activities, people, etc.?
  • Do you thankfully pray in every circumstance, expecting God to meet all your needs?

RELATED POSTS:

Are You a Sheep or a Goat?

What Will Cause You to Lose Your Inheritance

Idolatry and Soul ties

Breaking Childhood Rejection and Insignificance Strongholds.

Are You a Sheep or a Goat?

Our current political environment is separating out the goats and the sheep? Read Matthew 25:31-46 for an example of who God says are the sheep and the goats. Hatred and intolerance abounds within the church, schools, universities, and communities. Why is this? The devil is working hard to sow division, dissension, destruction, and deception in our hearts. Where you see these things, you see the devil at work. Read more in Part 1: How to Achieve Genuine Goodness? and Part 2: How to Overcome Evil with Good.

People who identify as a “Christian,” do not always display the character of Jesus Christ. The character of Jesus and God is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. How does your thinking, actions, and words line-up with these characteristics? Ephesians 4:22-24 states, “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” No one is perfect, so we should daily renew our minds to line up with the character of God. Your mind determines what you think, perceive, feel, and believe, which then influences your decisions and behaviors. My book on my website will help you find the hurt and offenses in your life that block your ability to be like Jesus. 1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories.

So how can you know who the true Christian’s are?

Though, no one knows the heart of another person except God, the Bible says in John 13:35By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Also, 1John 3:10 states,By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.” It does not matter what church you go to or what political party you are affiliated with, if you do not love you do not know God, nor can you give grace to a person you disagree with. 1John 4:8 states, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”  I claimed to be a Christian for years but could not love because of the offenses in my heart. It is my life’s goal to purify my heart and be like Christ.

Here is the test. If you believe you love like a true Christian, rate your reaction to the following terms: Trump, Liberal, unborn baby, Antifa, Trump supporter, Nancy Pelosi. Do you feel hate, love, disgust, or anger? Someone said, President Trump (hard to say) claims to be a Christian, I cannot judge, and it is irrelevant, we all will stand before God and give an account for how well we love. 2 Corinthians 5:10 states, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”

What is the role of a Christian in Politics?

As I said already, no one is perfect, and you will not be in perfect agreement with everyone, which is why God gave us grace, so we can give it to others. Politicians are far from perfect because they all stretch the truth or evade parts of the truth to create their own narrative to get us to believe what they want us to believe. On the other hand, a true Christian is an ambassador of the Kingdom of heaven. 2 Corinthians 5:20 states, “Then we are ambassadors on behalf of Christ, as God exhorting through us, we beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” And, Ephesians 2:19 explains, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,” The first allegiance of a true Christian is to God and to obey Him. Second, we are to love each other and do what is right in God’s sight. Third, we are to care for those in the church, the orphans, widows, and those in need. Last, true Christians support the politician that seeks to advance the love of God and country we are ambassadors in.

The most important thing true Christians can do is pray. 1 Timothy 2:1-4 states, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people (even enemies), for kings (presidents) and all who are in high positions (government officials), that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3)  This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Let us pray for the salvation of those who are not leading peaceful and quiet lives, and who are not godly and dignified in every way.

Grace and Peace to you,

Joyce

RELATED POSTS

How To Pray From The Answer

Walking With Christ In Social Relationships, Part 1 – The Bible And Slavery: Reformation From Inside-Out — pastorterryjdavis

What Controls Your Thoughts?

Thoughts That Create Peace Within and Without

Can You Be Too Heavenly Minded?

How To Pray From The Answer

Is there a proven formula to get answers to prayers? I did some research to find out what God’s Word says about prayer and wrote a series of posts which you can read here. In this post you will learn how to claim God’s promises by faith and how God answers these prayers.

Do you struggle with knowing how to pray or what to pray? Prayer is by faith (from our spirit through the Holy Spirit) for what we do not see and to draw close to God, who is the Almighty Spirit. The neatest revelation I discovered is that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, even when we don’t know what to pray. Romans 8:26-27 states, “Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” How cool is this revelation?

Praying scriptural prayers keeps me focused and increases my faith because I know scripture is the will of God. Likewise, God’s promises are also His will, and He said in 1 John 5:14-15, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him (God), that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” The key is to pray by faith the promises of God from the Word of God. Every time you read your Bible, turn the scripture into a prayer for your life and for other people.

Recently, I have been praying the scriptural prayers in the book called A Watchman’s Guide to Praying God’s Promises by Dick Eastman. You can download a free electronic copy at www.EHC.org. In the introduction on pages 12-14, Dick shares a story about Armin R. Gesswein, Founder of Revival Prayer Fellowship, Inc. Armin met an elderly man who seemed to enter the presence of God every time he prayed. When Armin asked the man to share what his secret was in praying. The man said, “Young man, learn to plead the promises of God!”

Armin writes, “As the old chorus declares, prayer is the key to heaven, but faith unlocks the door. There must be faith! Where does that faith come from? It comes from hearing…the Word of God.” Romans 10:17 states, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Armin said the elderly man would plead God’s word and promises like a lawyer does his case. He encourages the readers to make the Bible our prayer book.

Dick writes, “Promises predict the answers. They are the molds into which we pour our prayers. They foretell what to expect.  They shape our praying. They motivate, direct, and determine our supplications.” He says, “In a real sense, we pray from the answer…with the answer in mind…this is the way of faith.”

I have written several posts about how I have prayed the promises of God and seen incredible answers. Many times, the answer did not come right away, sometimes several years later. Keep praying God’s promise. Read Jehoshaphat’s Prayer in 2Chronicles 20 to learn how God heard Jehoshophat’s prayer because he claimed God’s promises. Claim God’s promises in Psalms 23 and 91 often. I encourage you to visit my scriptural prayer page to begin your journey of praying God’s promises.

One word of caution. God has given us a free will. We cannot pray for God to change the will of another person. But keep praying God’s promises over them until they choose to submit to God. Claim the promise that God can do immeasurably more than all you could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). And claim His promise that His word will not return empty but will accomplish His desires and purposes (Isaiah 55:11).

Second word of caution. Make sure you have repented of your sin of doubt and any other areas where you are disobeying God’s instructions. James 4:8 states, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” And, 1 John 1:9 states, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” If you do not confess your sins and receive forgiveness, God will not listen to you. Read Psalms 66:18 and Isaiah 59:1-2.

The prayer promise, I am claiming for our world is that God opens the heavens and rains down His righteousness on the earth, and salvation and righteousness will spout up and bear much fruit on the earth (Isaiah 45:8).

I claim the promise by faith for the lost souls of this world that God’s light shines in their hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6).

As far as who will be the leader of our country, the Bible says in Psalm 75:7, “But God is the judge; He puts down one and sets up another.”

Related Posts:

15 Promises We Can Trust God to Keep

Trust God to Keep His Promises

HOPE: How it Motivates and Inspires BUT God’s Sovereignty…

Pt. 2: Why You Can and Cannot Trust God? 

The scriptures in this post are from the English Standard Version. If you find my posts and website helpful, please send a link to your friends and family. Hopeforcompletehealing.com. The information is copyright protected and may not be reproduced without permission from Joyce Hanscom.  You can contact me by emailing hopeforcompletehealing@gmail.com.  P.S., seeing lasting change your life depends on having a right relationship with God the Father through believing His Son Jesus Christ and obeying His command to love (1 John 3).

RECOGNIZE WORLDLY THINKING AND BE FREE

Our world has many distractions that keep our focus away from the true source of life, peace, and love. We want to fill-up on all the world has to offer, and wonder why we feel empty, anxious, and lonely.

Rick Renner expressed the following belief. Before we received the life of Jesus Christ, we are dominated, manipulated, and mastered by the culture in which we live.1 For example, the news outlets shape our opinions; advertisers influence our desire for things we don’t need; movies and TV shows numb our moral conscience; and social media shapes our attitudes. You will think worldly thoughts when you immerse yourself in worldly activities and around worldly people. 1John 5:19 tells us “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one,” so be wise in how you spend your time and what you put into your mind. The Apostle Paul explains worldliness in his letter to the Ephesian believers. Meditate on each line of the following passage. Ephesians 2:1-3 state,

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked,

following the course of this world,

following the prince of the power of the air,

the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience

among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh,

carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and

were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

Did you know an evil spirit works in those who disobey God? Someone told me the “prince of the power of the air” is the devil controlling what comes into our homes via the airwaves, referring to the Internet, TV, and radio. Satan uses any worldly device to wage war in your mind to allure you away from devotion to God. He first blinds your mind so you are not aware of his attractive temptations. In 2Corinthians 4:4, the Apostle Paul states, “In their case, the god of this world has blinded the minds….” The god of this world is the devil as described in Revelations 12:9, which states, “And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” A person deceived and blinded by the devil will say they are fulfilled and satisfied with worldly activities. However, many people realize the despair and futility of this lifestyle and turn to Jesus Christ, which happened to me.

The following questions are tough, but an honest answer is necessary for you to have victory over the unseen battles with temptations to love worldliness more than God.

??- Do you dress in the latest fashions, act like the world, talk like the world, and be controlled by worldly activities, such as drinking, tattooing, gambling, video gaming, sexual immorality, etc.?

??-Do you put into your mind evil images of death and lust in the form of pornography, ungodly TV shows, magazines, books, and movies?

??-Do you often skip church to go to a sporting or recreational events?

??-Do your favorite activities distract you from reading and meditating on God’s Word, praying, or spending time with fellow believers?

You might be thinking two things right now: first, none of these questions mean I’m worldly; second, I can still do these things and still love God. Now imagine if you lost all your possessions, beauty, prestige, and successes, would you still love God and be thankful? Or what if your favorite team or activity disappeared, would you feel depressed and lost? Because of this pandemic, I miss doing many activities I use to do, which has caused me to evaluate my priorities. Is this pandemic causing you to become depressed or re-evaluate your priorities?

The Bible does not say doing or having enjoyable things is wrong? But when you love and value them more than God, this is loving the world. 1John 2:15-17 explains, “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, because all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17) And the world is passing away, and the lust of it, but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

Why does God tell us not to love the world or the things in the world? Do you think God knew mankind would worship and serve what they can see and touch and what appeals to their pride and pleasures of their sinful nature? One of His Ten commandments found in Exodus 20 was not to worship or serve anything created by man because God is jealous. God created us and wants us to love and serve Him only.

Examples of the lust of the flesh in 1John 2:16 could be our appetites, cravings, and desires for alcohol, drugs, sugar products, over-eating, sexual immorality, gambling, and greediness. The lust of the eyes includes those things we specifically see and covet, which may spark our lustful desires and appetites. Examples are pornography or wanting what someone else has, such as possessions, achievements, and advantages. The boastful pride of life refers to anything that promotes or elevates a sense of independence from God.

Independent thinking causes us to believe we can do our own thing, live a self-serving life, and have it our way. For instance, the pride of life is anything giving you the right to boast and may include gaining possessions to show a certain status; gambling to hopefully win big; success to show you are someone, or wealth to be admired. All of these are passing away, then you will spend eternity with God or in hell. So, if you don’t want to be devoted to God while on the earth, then why should He want to let you in His heaven?

The Bible warns against being enslaved or taken captive by elementary principles or spirits of the world, Galatians 4:3 states, “In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world.” Colossians 2:8 states, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” And, Colossians 2:20 states, “If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations.” These Scripture passages tell us, we can be enslaved to the elementary principles of the world, but in Christ, we have died to these elemental allurements. Now, these worldly spirits do not control us anymore. Being aware of your thoughts will prevent you from being taken captive by the evil spirits of the world. Memorizing the truths in God’s Word will help you distinguish between elementary principles of the world and godly principles.

Reflections and Application:

How were you dominated, manipulated, and mastered by the culture of this world?

Further Study/Footnotes:

1. Renner, Rick, (2007), Dressed to kill. Published by Teach the Nations, Tulsa, OK

RELATED POSTS:

How To Overcome Legalism And Judgmentalism

What Controls Your Thoughts?

ALL THOUGHTS ARE WITHIN OUR CONTROL

Bondage to Unseen Controls

Can You Be Too Heavenly Minded?


All verses are from the English Standard Bible. If you find my posts and website helpful, then please share the links with your friends and family, hopeforcompletehealing.com. The information is copyright protected and no part of the posts or my book may be reproduced without proper citation to Joyce Hanscom. 

Contact me at hopeforcompletehealing@gmail.com, and ask for a PDF of Eight Prayers from the Bible. The prayers are for the Spirit of wisdom, renewal, spiritual strength, knowledge of His will, virtues of God, non-believers, 23rd Psalm, and victory. Please leave your name so I know you are a real person making the request.

P.S.: Experiencing a lasting change in your life depends on having a right relationship with God the Father through believing in His Son Jesus Christ and obeying His command to love (1 John 3).

Part 1: How to Achieve Genuine Goodness?

Why do people riot, cause trouble, and even kill people? What is good about destroying businesses and stealing their merchandise? So, what has happened to goodness? This post and the next will explore what goodness is and how to achieve it.  I have to admit, I only had a vague idea of what it meant to be good. I was challenged by what I found in my research. I hope you will be challenged too.

What does goodness mean? Which definition do you think describes goodness?

  • Obey instructions.
  • Be moral or virtuous by choosing the right actions and thinking and having a “good” character.
  • Be kind; generous; unselfish.
  • Have excellent quality, like good workmanship.

What does the Bible say about goodness?

Obey God’s instructions:

Deuteronomy 12:28Be careful to obey all these words … that it may go well with you and with your children after you forever when you do what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God.  Also, read Jeremiah 42:6.

Turn away from evil: good is the opposite of evil:

To do evil is to cause harm or trouble. God, instead, wants us to pursue peace with all men (see Romans 12:18 and Hebrews 12:14).  He also expects us to love one another, so when we do not love but are unkind, impatient, or destructive, we do evil (see 1Corinthians 13). 

1Peter 3:11let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.

Romans 12:21Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.

1Thesalonians 5:15See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. And, Proverbs 17:13If anyone returns evil for good, evil will not depart from his house.

Proverbs 11:27Whoever diligently seeks good seeks favor, but evil comes to him who searches for it. And, Proverbs 12:2A good man obtains favor from the LORD, but a man of evil devices he condemns.

Isaiah 1:17learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.

Be humble and generous and ready to share with those in need:

1Timothy 6:17As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18) They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19) thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

Titus 3:14And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.

Hebrews 13:16Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Rely on God’s goodness, not your own.

Most of us are born, grow-up, and die as selfish, self-centered sinners; wanting our needs met instead of loving and caring for other people. So, how can we achieve the standard of God’s goodness? Only through the power of the Holy Spirit as you humbly renew your mind with the truth of God’s Word. If you are uncertain that you have the power of the Holy Spirit in your life, then pray and ask God to forgive your sins and ask the Holy Spirit of Jesus to come into your heart. Jesus was empowered by the Holy Spirit to do good.  Act 10:38 states, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.”

How should good deeds benefit others?

The good deeds we do are from faith in Jesus and are like the good fruit on a tree or vine (see Matthew 7:15-20). In John 15:5, Jesus states, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

Ephesians 2:10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

James 2:15-18If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17) So also, faith, if it does not have (good) works, is dead being by itself. 18)  But someone will say, you have faith, and I have (good) works. Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith out of my works.

1John 3:17-18But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18) Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

Galatians 6:10So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith

Luke 6:33And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.

Hebrews 10:24And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.

Matthew 5:16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

You can love your enemies and do good to those who hate you through the power of the Holy Spirit in you. And, God is kind to the ungrateful and the evil, and so can we through His goodness. 

Luke 6:35But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.

Luke 6:27— “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,

We receive God’s goodness when we fear Him and take refuge when trouble comes:

Psalm 31:19Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!

King Solomon said at the end of his life in Ecclesiastes 3:12I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live.

Conclusion

I asked at the beginning of this post, what definition described goodness. The answer is all the above. When I began this post, I did not know much about goodness.  I learned it is good to obey God and do what is right, to share, and help others in need. One word of caution, your perception of good works can be a source of legalism and judgmentalism. To learn more, read my post called How To Overcome Legalism And Judgmentalism.  Doing good also raises another controversy.  Some people believe that being a good person and doing good works gets you to heaven.  The Bible says we are saved by grace and believing in the Son of God.  I write in my post called What Is Required?, we also need to do the will of our Father in heaven, which is to obey God’s instructions to do good works because of our faith. Those who riot and destroy are following their evil nature.  We all need the power of the Holy Spirit through believing in Jesus Christ to be genuinely good.

Do you obey God’s instructions in the Bible?

Do you sacrificially help others in need and share what you have with them?

Do you avoid evil and do good to others, even if they hate you?

All verses are from the English Standard Bible. If you find my posts and website helpful, then please share the links with your friends and family, hopeforcompletehealing.com. The information is copyright protected and no part of the posts or my book may be reproduced without proper citation to Joyce Hanscom. Contact me at hopeforcompletehealing@gmail.com, and ask for a PDF of Eight Prayers from the Bible. The prayers are for the Spirit of wisdom, renewal, spiritual strength, knowledge of His will, virtues of God, non-believers, 23rd Psalm, and victory. Please leave your name so I know you are a real person making the request.

How To Overcome Legalism And Judgmentalism

Have you experienced legalism? Why are some church people legalistic and judgmental? Legalism began as a guideline created by church leadership to help the people in their congregations avoid worldliness. But the guidelines became a source of judgmentalism and conflict instead because of differing opinions of what is worldly. Those who thought they were sanctified and held to the do’s and don’ts looked down on those who did not hold the same convictions. The judgmental attitude offended a lot of people who then did not want anything to do with the church. Love must eclipse convictions.

Romans 14:1-6 explains how to handle differing convictions. Though the conflict is about food, it can apply to anything not specifically defined as sin.

1) As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions (also, see 2Timothy 2:14 and 23).

2) One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables.

3) Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.

4) Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 

5) One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

6) The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.

How do judgmental people make you feel? Are you guilty of being judgmental? The key thought in these verses is that what is honoring to God for one person may not be honoring to God for another person. We are not to judge other people’s actions based on our convictions. What if a believer causes another believer to stumble and fall away from their devotion to God? God does not want us to cause anyone to stumble, so we should be respectful of the convictions of others. Romans 14:13 and 21 state, “Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 21) It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.” So, if watching PG-13 movies causes your brother to stumble, then out of love, don’t watch them. This can be applied to all worldly activities that do not glorify evil or draw you away from godliness.

Everything we do should be done in love1 and Romans 14:19 states, “So then let us pursue what makes for peace and the things for building up one another.” Romans 13:8-10 also states, “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9) For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10) Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.” For example, the first four commandments explain how to love God and the next six commandments explain how to love people.

Exodus 20:3-17 – the 10 Commandments:

1. “You shall have no other gods before me. 

2. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5) You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6) but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

3. “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

4. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9) Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10) but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, 11) For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

5. “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.

6. “You shall not murder.

7. “You shall not commit adultery.

8. “You shall not steal.

9. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

10. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

Legalism began in the ancient world to help people know how to conduct themselves, so they don’t break the Ten Commandments. This is not a bad thing, except, it is a matter of interpretation. For example. Commandment four is to “remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” What you may believe this means may be different than what I believe. Who is right? What we do know is God took the seventh day to rest after six days of working, and He requires us to rest from all work too. Rest means to refresh oneself by sleeping, laying down, or relaxing. No guidelines were given, just rest for one day each week. Relaxing looks different for each person because relaxation is a matter of perspective. Some people find it soothing to cut grass. To them mowing the grass is not work but restful and rejuvenating. A long time ago, stores were not open on Sunday, and you learned you were not to shop on Sunday. So, does the Bible say it is a sin to shop on Sunday? Where did that belief come from and is it still the right belief? Romans 14:23 states, “But whoever has doubts is condemned if he _(fill in the blank)_, because the ___ is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”

Reflections and Application:

What is your experience with legalism? What rules were you taught to follow?

Do you have painful memories by someone who was legalistic and judged you? If yes, then read my short book to heal that memory so you can be free from that oppression. 1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

What do you think is honoring to God?

What does legalism cause people to do and what does the Bible say we should do?

Further Study/Footnotes:

1. Do things in love: 1Corinthians 16:14.

2. God’s rest: Hebrews 4:1-11.

This blog is from “Unseen Battles For Your Mind” by Joyce Holzman Hanscom (soon to be published).


All verses are from the English Standard Bible. If you find my posts and website helpful, then please share the links with your friends and family, hopeforcompletehealing.com. The information is copyright protected and no part of the posts or my book may be reproduced without proper citation to Joyce Hanscom. 

Contact me at hopeforcompletehealing@gmail.com, and ask for a PDF of Eight Prayers from the Bible. The prayers are for the Spirit of wisdom, renewal, spiritual strength, knowledge of His will, virtues of God, non-believers, 23rd Psalm, and victory. Please leave your name so I know you are a real person making the request.

P.S.: Experiencing a lasting change in your life depends on having a right relationship with God the Father through believing in His Son Jesus Christ and obeying His command to love (1 John 3).

What Is Required to Stand Before God?

What matters at the end of your life? What will God say to you when you stand before Him? What if God says, ‘I never knew you; depart from me.’ (Matt. 7:23)? The subject of this post is heavy, but necessary to ponder because we all will stand before Him someday, maybe today. Will He say, “Well done good and faithful servant.” (Matt 25:21,23)?

Jesus said in His first sermon in Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” What is the will of God? The will of God is to obey His instructions in the Bible and do what we know He has called us to do. God has called each of us to invest what He has given us into other people and not hide it.

Disclaimer: Our salvation and eternal destiny with God are not because of what we do or by our works but is by the grace of God. Ephesians 2:8-10 states, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Once we have received salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit seals us, and then we must work out our salvation by renewing our minds and doing His will.  See the blog posts called Forgiven and Saved? Now Renew Your Mind (Part One) and Three Steps to Renew Your Mind (Part Two).

What does God require of us?

Moses, the first leader of Israel, writes the requirements from God in Deuteronomy 10:12-13:

1. To fear God

2. To walk in all His ways

3. To love Him

4. To serve Him with all our heart and with all our soul

5. To keep the commandments of the Lord and His statues for OUR GOOD.

Micah 6:8 states, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

At the end of King Solomon’s life, he said in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14) For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. King Solomon did not always fear God or keep God’s commandments because he married foreign wives who led him to worship their foreign gods. In the end, King Solomon realized his error.

What does it mean to fear God? 

The Bible says in 2Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”

The fear of God is to have deep respect, love, and awe that we demonstrate by doing good and obeying His instructions (Deuteronomy 6:2; 10:12; and 1 Samuel 12:14). The following verses describe how we are to fear God and the benefits:

Psalms 22:23 states ”You who fear the Lord, praise Him! …glorify Him, and stand in awe of Him, …”

1 Samuel 12:24 states, “Only fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things He has done for you.”

Proverbs 3:7-8 states, “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. 8) It will be healing to your flesh (body) and refreshment to your bones.”

Proverbs 28:14 states, “Blessed is the one who fears the LORD always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity (the pit).”

Psalms 115:11 also states; “You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD! He is their help and their shield.”

Psalms 34:9 states, “Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints, for those who fear Him have no lack!

Fearing God is easy when you keep your mind focused on seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.  See the blog post called How do you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness? for more details.

How can I be assured God will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

The Apostle Peter’s instructions in the next passage give us hope. Peter tells us to be diligent, which means to apply ourselves to accomplish something. Meditate on the words of 2Peter 1:3-11:

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness,

through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence,

by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises,

so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature,

having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire (lusts).

5) For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, virtue (moral excellence; right action and thinking; goodness of character), knowledge, self-control, steadfastness (perseverance), godliness, brotherly affection (kindness), and love. (my paraphrase)

8) For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9) For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

10) Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities, you will never fall.

11) For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

A promise is an assurance we depend on. Verse 10 promises we will never fall if we practice faith, moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, kindness, and love. Verse 11 promises we will enter the eternal kingdom of Jesus Christ. Verse 8 promises if we have these qualities we will not be ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of Christ Jesus. How fantastic is this!

Conclusion:

Our life on earth is but a blink or breath compared to eternity (Ps. 144:4). So, being mindful of the day of judgment and what God will say to us, should be considered. In this post you learned that you are eternally secure when you do the will of God, fear Him, and diligently seek to add to your faith; moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.

RELATED POSTS:

Self-control and Maturity

How Patience is a Sign of Maturity

Are you in control of your life?

Hope for Lasting Peace, Love, and Victory

Relationship and World Changing Kindness

Love From a Pure Heart


All verses are from the English Standard Bible. If you find my posts and website helpful, then please share the links with your friends and family, hopeforcompletehealing.com. The information is copyright protected and no part of the posts or my book may be reproduced without proper citation to Joyce Hanscom. 

Contact me at hopeforcompletehealing@gmail.com, and ask for a PDF of Eight Prayers from the Bible. The prayer topics are: the Spirit of wisdom, renewal, spiritual strength, knowledge of His will, virtues of God, non-believers, 23rd Psalm, and victory. Please leave your name, so I know you are a real person making the request.

P.S.: Experiencing a lasting change in your life depends on having a right relationship with God the Father through believing in His Son Jesus Christ and obeying His command to love (1 John 3).

How do you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness?

In Matthew 6:33 Jesus tells us “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  I wonder if I am seeking first the kingdom of God and what does that look like?   I found a variety of interpretations during my research that were interesting but not enlightening.  I would like to know what your thoughts are.

Context of This Verse

I began by looking at the context of this verse.  The context, history, and who the audience is helps us understand the meaning.  After Jesus is water baptized by John the Baptist, the Spirit of God leads Him into the wilderness to fast 40 days.  While in the wilderness, the devil tempted Him to sin, which He did not sin (see Hebrews 4:14-16).  After the 40 days, He begins His ministry.

Matthew 4:23 and 24, describe His audience, “And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel (good news) of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.  24) So, his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them.  Seeing the big crowds following Him, he went up on a mountainside and preached His first sermon.  The picture with this post is of the mountains around the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus was ministering.

The Apostle Matthew records Jesus’s first sermon in Chapters 5-7. Luke also records His first sermon.  I wonder if this is the message He received from His Father while He was in the wilderness. Jesus begins His sermon with how they can be blessed (made happy).  He explains how they are the salt and light of the earth as they do good works (Matt. 5:16), and He taught how He came to fulfill the Law (see Romans 8:3-4). Other topics He preached in chapter five were anger, lust, divorce, oaths, retaliation, and loving your enemies.  Chapter six continues with giving to the needy, how to pray, fasting, investing in heaven, not being anxious.  Chapter seven continues with judging others, asking to receive, the golden rule, the fruit of false prophets, who will enter heaven, and obeying His words.

Matthew 6:25-34 is Jesus’s explanation why we should not be anxious but instead seek the kingdom of God first.  In Matthew 6:25 Jesus identifies the problem, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”  Then, Jesus explains the solution in verses 32-34, “For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” 33) But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  34) “Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” The Apostle Paul told the Philippian church in Philippians 4:6-7: “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication (requests) with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Based on these verses, it is safe to say that being anxious is a natural reaction of our flesh when we don’t trust God.  Not trusting God is a sin because being anxious is not faith in God’s ability to help us.

Interpretation Based on Context

The key belief is our heavenly Father knows what we need, and He will give us what we need (see Philippians 4:19).  So, instead of being anxious about how to get our needs met, we are to seek Him and His righteousness.  Seek means to look for or inquire.  And the Greek translation for the kingdom is rule or reign.  So, if we seek (look for) the reign of God in our lives and seek to do what He says is right, then He promises to give us what we need.  James 4:7 says to “submit to God”  that is, be under God’s authority and yield by surrendering to the action, control, and power of God.  Romans10:3 states, “For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.

Romans 14:17 explains, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”  Only as you renew your mind and submit to God, will you experience righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.  Your sinful flesh prevents you from entering the kingdom of God (see Galatians 5:19-21 and 1Corinthians 6:9-10).  So, you need to put off your sinful thoughts and put on His character of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc. through the Holy Spirit.  Read my post on Three Steps to Renew Your Mind (Part Two).

During several tough times in my life, I submitted to God and His righteousness, and I can testify, that God does provide what we need.  One difficult time was enduring a nasty divorce and custody battle for two toddlers, and I had no job or a place to live.  God provided miraculously when I humbled myself and sought His help through prayer, praise, and pondering the scriptures. I do have to confess that I was going to walk away from my faith in God.  I was so angry at Him for not answering my prayers to heal my abusive marriage because I did not believe in divorce, that I told God I was going to not follow Him anymore.  He has only spoken to me a handful of times and this was one of those times.  He said, “What is the alternative?”  I thought about it, and I knew the devil would destroy me, and I probably would have committed suicide because I was so depressed.   Read my amazing testimony in Trust God to Keep His Promises.

To not be anxious, you must first submit all your concerns to God as you seek Him through prayer, praise, and pondering His promises.  Because I grew up in a dysfunctional home and married an abusive first-husband, I developed an anxiety disorder.  I share how God set me free in the blog post called  Why, What, and How to Submit to God and be FREE.

Know for Certain You Will Enter The Kingdom Of God

John 3:3-8 Jesus answered him, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

5) Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 

6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 

7) Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 

8) The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So, it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 

The Bible uses the term “born again” two other places.  1Peter1:3-5 states, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven (the kingdom of God) for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”  By believing that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead by the Spirit of God (see Romans 8:11), then His Spirit dwells in us, and we are born again by His Spirit.

      1Peter 1:22-25 states, “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for ‘All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.’ And this word is the good news (gospel) that was preached to you.”  God’s Word is living and abiding, which means when you internalize His truths, it creates life in your soul and will abide with you and help you to purify your soul as you obey its truth.

Painful memories and our sinful desires corrupt our hearts.  My short book on my website called, “Hope for Complete Healing,” was written to help you put off wrong thinking and sinful desires and put on right thinking and righteousness, so you can love with a pure heart.  Begin reading: 1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

Part of seeking the kingdom of God is to seek for God to keep His promises.  In Ephesians 1:3, we learn that we are “blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.”  Heavenly places are where God’s kingdom is.  And, when we are saved through grace by faith in Jesus Christ, Ephesians 2:6 states that God, “raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”  So, to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness is for our advantage and a matter of priority and position.

There is hope when we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, that God will provide what we need because He promised.

RELATED POSTS

Can You Be Too Heavenly Minded?

WHY HEAL YOUR HEART AND PURIFY YOUR SOUL?

Five Steps to Heal Your Heart and Purify Your Soul

Psalm 91 Posts

All Scripture is from the ESV. If you find my posts and website helpful, then please share the links with your friends and family, hopeforcompletehealing.com. The information is copyright protected and no part of the posts or my book may be reproduced without proper citation to Joyce Hanscom.

Contact me at hopeforcompletehealing@gmail.com, and ask for a PDF of Eight Prayers from the Bible. The prayers are for the Spirit of wisdom, renewal, spiritual strength, knowledge of His will, virtues of God, non-believers, 23rd Psalm, and victory. Please leave your name so I know you are a real person making the request.

P.S.: Experiencing a lasting change in your life depends on having a right relationship with God the Father through believing in His Son Jesus Christ and obeying His command to love (1 John 3).