In HOPE

  In HOPE 6.6                                  back to home                        David Timms

Ministry Resource

If the theme of holiness strikes a chord, you will be enriched by reading Jerry Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness, first published in 1978 (nearly 30 years ago), and still going strong. This oldie but goldie has short chapters and profound content.    

 Hope Happenings

Hope International University recently completed an important survey. Over 500 respondents reflected on the needs and trends within the church of today. This information will help us as we continue to refine the curriculum here at the University to provide relevant and practical ministry training for Christian leaders. If you're interested in a brief summary of the data, just let me know (djtimms@hiu.edu) and I'll happily email it to you.

 

Hope International University
Fullerton, CA 92831

 

"The Christian should never complain of want of ability and power. If we sin it is because we choose to sin, not because we lack the ability to say no to temptation." (Jerry Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness, p.84)


Not About Victory

Sin binds us together. We may differ in personality, taste, background, experience, and skill, but sin makes us equals.

While some people struggle with anger, others wrestle with the demons of lust. Greed seduces some of us, while jealousy and envy afflicts others. Bitterness and unforgiveness rule in some lives, while lies dominate others. And the list continues. Sin is no respecter of persons or status. It aims to destroy us all.

Acts and attitudes become habits that grip us as tightly as talons. Our many addictions set out to steal, kill and destroy what God designed for us (Jn 10.10). And who among us has not cried out with the Apostle Paul, "Wretched person that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?" (Rom 7.24) Got some stuff you desperately want to be free from?

But still sin wins.

We listen to sermons and read books about the victorious Christian life. It sounds wonderful and we want it. We'd like to beat back the bad ways and claim success. But, as Jerry Bridges notes, one of the main hindrances to dealing with sin is that our attitude towards it is more self-centered than God-centered .

We are more concerned with our own victory over sin than the fact that our sin grieves the heart of God. We want to defeat it with sheer determination and glory in our achievement. However, sin is not about breaking the rules but ruining a relationship - our relationship with Him.

Our preoccupation with success hinders our pursuit of holiness. We are discouraged by our failure to defeat sin chiefly because we are success-oriented, not because we know it offends the Father. It might dramatically change our approach if we grasped the biblical truth that God wants us to walk in obedience - not victory . Obedience is oriented towards God; victory is oriented toward self.

The gospel declares that victory over sin belongs to Christ, not us. He has already conquered the power of sin and death (1 Cor 15.55-57). In another place, the Apostle Paul urged us to "consider ourselves dead to sin, and alive to God through Christ Jesus" (Rom 6.11). Victory was established at the Cross. Our response is to "not let sin reign in our mortal bodies" (Rom 6.12). We obediently "present the members of our bodies as instruments of righteousness to God" (Rom 6.13).

As long as we see our sin as "inevitable" and "unbeatable" we will be its victim. How much better to desire God above everything, quit dwelling on our failure, and make some obedient life-choices that will please Him rather than pain Him.

"Lord, we desire You; help us in our undesire!"

In HOPE -

David

Want to chat more on a topic? Hit "Reply" and share your thoughts.

If you have received this e-publication from family or friends and would like to subscribe to "In HOPE" simply email djtimms@hiu.edu and write "Subscribe to In HOPE" in the subject line. This is a free service, with no advertisments and no sharing of the e-list. Unsubscribe in the same way.

David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board of the institution. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.

For back issues of In HOPE, see http://www.hiu.edu/inhope/