What is Sin and how does Free Will play a part?

The ministry God has called me to takes me into places and with people that you might call lost with a capital “L”. You must be incredibly careful how you label those that have yet to discover there is much more to God than salvation. All sin in God’s eyes is equal however some sin has a more obvious effect on our physical bodies as well as our spirit. In studying for my ministry exam, I stumbled upon a well written explanation about sin. I wanted to share with you my understanding in the hope that it will help you have a deeper insight as well.

Sin is a desire to exalt oneself above God. Ouch! I’m going to repeat that statement…Sin is a desire to exalt oneself above God. Eve was deceived by the serpent (Satan) with simple words that got her thinking…”I want more, why not?” See Genesis 3:1-6 This is at the center of all sin. It may not look like pride or self-exaltation sometimes because as the sin grows it causes us to keep making poor decisions, mixed with reasoning and rationalizing. Our outward actions reveal our sin and then we “hide” Genesis 3:7-8, cover up. We soon find ourselves hiding through addiction and behavior that disguises the sin even from ourselves. This is why sin and evil are often compared to darkness, we hide in the dark…sin is the absence of light. It is a force that is active and has a harmful effects usually very gradual or subtle.

The Bible tells us that sin originated in an abuse of the freedom given to Adam and Eve who are God’s created beings that He equipped with a will. God did not create evil. Evil disregards the glory of God, His plan or will for us as written in the Word of God. The devil has cleverly sown discontent into our thoughts, he has turned our yearning or spiritual hunger for God into a thirst for self-gratification. This thirst cannot be satisfied in anything not centered in obedience to and faith in God. The result is a decision to step out of God’s protection and enter into moral failure. God permitted this freedom of choice for reasons known only by Him. We are unable to search out and understand God’s reason by human reason. God, in providing us with a mind and spirit truly free to make moral decisions, has allow the possibility of failure. Without that possibility there would not be genuine freedom or true personality.


Sin originated in the free choice of God’s creatures. Instead of believing and trusting God, responding to His love and provision, we have let wrong thinking fed by Satan exalt ourselves above God. I know you are thinking not me…anytime you make a decision and that little voice, your spirit, says not a great idea, yet you still follow your decision; you just made your decision and action over God’s will. So, your decision was better than God’s. That is where self-exaltation happens. The essence of sin is the substitution of the satisfying self for the original and highest purpose in life…seeking God and the relationship we were created to have with Him.

Apostle Paul says this will be a struggle for everyone.
Romans 7:14-25 outlines the struggle we have within ourselves against sin, Paul says “For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.” NASB


Thankfully, we have a Savior, Jesus Christ who sacrificed Himself so that we have through repentance…forgiveness of our sins. The fight is on, how can we break the stronghold of sin? First, there is no way we can minimize sin even the slightest sin. No sin is too small for us to overlook and fail to seek forgiveness. James 1:13-15 warning us about the origin of temptation and sin…”When you are tempted don’t ever say, “God is tempting me,” for God is incapable of being tempted by evil and he is never the source of temptation. Instead it is each person’s own desires and thoughts that drag them into evil and lure them away into darkness. Evil desires give birth to evil actions. And when sin is fully mature it can murder you!” TPT.


We must not let our minds dwell on some temptation or wrong desire, we must stop ourselves from reasoning. Recently, I was ministering to a group of women and one of them boldly spoke about being a homosexual, she went on to say “If all sin is equal and everyone sins then my sin is no worst and acceptable.” Justifying sin never works, if we make sin a habit or a way of life, it will bring spiritual and eternal death, a final separation from God. This lost woman has set her sin and self above God, His protection and love. The Bible says, “So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising Him always.” Philippians 4:8 TPT Sadly, she has let an evil thought and desire incubate into action. She cannot see that she is the glorious work of God, she is blinded from what is real, honorable, admirable, and so much more. I am praying that she will have a supernatural experience of God’s unfailing love for her and that she will come to the cross in repentance.


I know in many of my other blog articles and many times when I am speaking before a group I use my life scriptures. A life scripture is one that you hold dear to your heart and meditate on when your mind moves into wrong thinking. These scriptures break evil strongholds, they will lead you in freedom and moral character pleasing to God and healthy for you. God has given His Word in order for us to have authority over sin and live in peace until Jesus returns.

Here are mine…
2 Corinthians 10:5 “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” NASB


Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” NASB

Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” NASB


Romans 12:1-2 “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].” AMP


Hebrews 4:12 “For we have the living Word of God, which is supernatural and powerful, and it pierces more sharply than a two-edged sword(a weapon for good). It will even penetrate to the very core of our being where our spirit and flesh (sinful desire) meet! It reveals and surgically removes any wrong thoughts and secret motives of our hearts.” Personalized and paraphrased

A special thank you to the authors of “Bible Doctrine, A Pentecostal Perspective”, William W. Menzies and Stanley M. Horton. Their research and insight bring a profound understanding of God’s Word and His desired relationship with each of His children.

My prayer that these words help you to go deeper and run harder in your pursuit of God and live the life He has designed for you.
Blessing,
Laurie

What is Sin and how does Free Will play a part?

The ministry God has called me to takes me into places and with people that you might call lost with a capital “L”. You must be incredibly careful how you label those that have yet to discover there is much more to God than salvation. All sin in God’s eyes is equal however some sin has a more obvious effect on our physical bodies as well as our spirit. In studying for my ministry exam, I stumbled upon a well written explanation about sin. I wanted to share with you my understanding in the hope that it will help you have a deeper insight as well.

Sin is a desire to exalt oneself above God. Ouch! I’m going to repeat that statement…Sin is a desire to exalt oneself above God. Eve was deceived by the serpent (Satan) with simple words that got her thinking…”I want more, why not?” See Genesis 3:1-6 This is at the center of all sin. It may not look like pride or self-exaltation sometimes because as the sin grows it causes us to keep making poor decisions, mixed with reasoning and rationalizing. Our outward actions reveal our sin and then we “hide” Genesis 3:7-8, cover up. We soon find ourselves hiding through addiction and behavior that disguises the sin even from ourselves. This is why sin and evil are often compared to darkness, we hide in the dark…sin is the absence of light. It is a force that is active and has a harmful effects usually very gradual or subtle.

The Bible tells us that sin originated in an abuse of the freedom given to Adam and Eve who are God’s created beings that He equipped with a will. God did not create evil. Evil disregards the glory of God, His plan or will for us as written in the Word of God. The devil has cleverly sown discontent into our thoughts, he has turned our yearning or spiritual hunger for God into a thirst for self-gratification. This thirst cannot be satisfied in anything not centered in obedience to and faith in God. The result is a decision to step out of God’s protection and enter into moral failure. God permitted this freedom of choice for reasons known only by Him. We are unable to search out and understand God’s reason by human reason. God, in providing us with a mind and spirit truly free to make moral decisions, has allow the possibility of failure. Without that possibility there would not be genuine freedom or true personality.


Sin originated in the free choice of God’s creatures. Instead of believing and trusting God, responding to His love and provision, we have let wrong thinking fed by Satan exalt ourselves above God. I know you are thinking not me…anytime you make a decision and that little voice, your spirit, says not a great idea, yet you still follow your decision; you just made your decision and action over God’s will. So, your decision was better than God’s. That is where self-exaltation happens. The essence of sin is the substitution of the satisfying self for the original and highest purpose in life…seeking God and the relationship we were created to have with Him.

Apostle Paul says this will be a struggle for everyone.
Romans 7:14-25 outlines the struggle we have within ourselves against sin, Paul says “For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.” NASB


Thankfully, we have a Savior, Jesus Christ who sacrificed Himself so that we have through repentance…forgiveness of our sins. The fight is on, how can we break the stronghold of sin? First, there is no way we can minimize sin even the slightest sin. No sin is too small for us to overlook and fail to seek forgiveness. James 1:13-15 warning us about the origin of temptation and sin…”When you are tempted don’t ever say, “God is tempting me,” for God is incapable of being tempted by evil and he is never the source of temptation. Instead it is each person’s own desires and thoughts that drag them into evil and lure them away into darkness. Evil desires give birth to evil actions. And when sin is fully mature it can murder you!” TPT.


We must not let our minds dwell on some temptation or wrong desire, we must stop ourselves from reasoning. Recently, I was ministering to a group of women and one of them boldly spoke about being a homosexual, she went on to say “If all sin is equal and everyone sins then my sin is no worst and acceptable.” Justifying sin never works, if we make sin a habit or a way of life, it will bring spiritual and eternal death, a final separation from God. This lost woman has set her sin and self above God, His protection and love. The Bible says, “So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising Him always.” Philippians 4:8 TPT Sadly, she has let an evil thought and desire incubate into action. She cannot see that she is the glorious work of God, she is blinded from what is real, honorable, admirable, and so much more. I am praying that she will have a supernatural experience of God’s unfailing love for her and that she will come to the cross in repentance.


I know in many of my other blog articles and many times when I am speaking before a group I use my life scriptures. A life scripture is one that you hold dear to your heart and meditate on when your mind moves into wrong thinking. These scriptures break evil strongholds, they will lead you in freedom and moral character pleasing to God and healthy for you. God has given His Word in order for us to have with authority over sin and live in peace until Jesus returns.

Here are mine…
2 Corinthians 10:5 “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” NASB


Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” NASB

Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” NASB


Romans 12:1-2 “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].” AMP


Hebrews 4:12 “For we have the living Word of God, which is supernatural and powerful, and it pierces more sharply than a two-edged sword(a weapon for good). It will even penetrate to the very core of our being where our spirit and flesh (sinful desire) meet! It reveals and surgically removes any wrong thoughts and secret motives of our hearts.” Personalized and paraphrased

A special thank you to the authors of “Bible Doctrine, A Pentecostal Perspective”, William W. Menzies and Stanley M. Horton. Their research and insight bring a profound understanding of God’s Word and His desired relationship with each of His children.

My prayer that these words help you to go deeper and run harder in your pursuit of God and live the life He has designed for you.
Blessing,
Laurie

Not Today Satan!

Have you ever caught yourself going over a situation again and again? Be it positive or negative you just cannot let it go…It even is affecting your decisions, possibly a relationship. Your emotions are tied to these thoughts and often result in an action you later regret. Satan has many tools in his arsenal and here are a couple of them.
Reasoning – repeated discussion, wondering, daydreaming without Godly wisdom.
Rationalizing – justifying your behavior or another’s behavior or thoughts in order to avoid truth; this is the devil’s substitute for confession and repentance.
Manipulation – to control or influence a situation or person unfairly or unscrupulously, using a mixture of truth and lies to achieve a self-driven result.
The Bible is truly clear that we must be careful how we spend time in thought…do not dwell, in the end nothing positive comes from lingering thoughts.
James 1:5-8 says “But if any of you lacks wisdom(Godly clarity and understanding using it wisely), let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach(disapproval, criticism), and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting(unable to fully accept God’s truth), for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded (lukewarm with one foot in and one foot out) man, unstable (mentally and spiritually unbalanced) in all his ways.” Personalized NASB
Have you noticed that every time you replay a situation it becomes foggier not clearer? The devil is a master of twisting truth, corrupting our memory, justifying the wrong motives, persuading us to make a worldly, flesh driven decision instead of a Godly decision. That worldly decision may feel good for a moment or even longer, but it soon leads us farther away from God and more into the world. God has given us examples in His Word how Satan used reason, rationalizing and manipulation in order to cause two women to make decisions contrary to God’s Plan, the good news is God already knew and He had an eternal plan that could not be corrupted by the devil.


Let’s look at Genesis 3:1-6
Verses 1-3 “Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’? “The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’”
We as believers must be aware that Satan can disguise himself and that he knows God’s Word and he will weave his purpose into God’s truth to confuse and corrupt us. The devil starts a conversation with a question to start Eve’s mind reasoning.
Verse 4 “The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Satan again engages Eve knowing well how much God’s loves her and Adam tempting her by saying “You surely will not die!” Here comes reasoning, rationalizing and manipulation in one statement, “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Satan knew Eve as well as he knows all of God’s children. We do not have all the answers, yet our mind desires those answers. God warns us that we are incapable of that knowledge, our minds can’t fathom. Romans 11:33 says “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” I believe that knowledge we so desperately seek will be given when we are reunited with our Forever Father in Heaven.
Verses 5-6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
The Bible does not say how long it was before Eve tasted of the fruit however my gut tells me she spent some time reasoning the why not and what ifs. Rationalizing how good it would be…how her relationship with God would change because she could see and understand everything He does. Now the manipulation kicks in Eve wants Adam to taste as well, they may have even reasoned together, notice that it says “her husband with her”, so he was at the tree watching her taste and then he tasted for himself.
We all know the outcome from this event, Satan cleverly used reasoning, rationalizing and manipulation to bring sin into the world.


Now let us look at Abram and Sarai, but first a little background on the two of them. Abram and Sarai were in their 80’s at the time God shared his promise of descendants with Abram. He and Sarai had been married for many years and I believe that they were faithful to one another and Abram did not desire to take another wife or take his wife’s maid servant as was a custom in order to provide an heir.
In Genesis 15:5-6 God gives Abram a promise. “And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.”
Time passes, Abram and Sarai are still without children let’s look how Sarai takes matters into her own hands through reasoning, rationalizing and manipulation…Genesis 16:1-6 ”Now Sarai, Abram’s wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. After Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Abram’s wife Sarai took Hagar the Egyptian, her maid, and gave her to her husband Abram as his wife. He went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight. And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done me be upon you. I gave my maid into your arms, but when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her sight. May the Lord judge between you and me.” But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your maid is in your power; do to her what is good in your sight.” So Sarai treated her harshly, and she fled from her presence.”
Reasoning – Sarai thought I am to old and God has made this promise. Surely God means for Abram to take my servant?
Rationalizing – After all it is a custom to provide their husband as many heirs as possible, some men even take more wives. At least I do not have to share Abram he has not chosen to have other wives. Hagar is my servant this won’t be so bad. Remember, up until now Abram and Sarah as far as we know had been faithful to one another…so in that moment the devil had deceived Sarai by putting thoughts of reasoning and rationalizing in her mind. Verse 3 tells us it was ten years before Sarai sent Hagar into Abrams bed. How difficult those years must have been as she reasoned and rationalized her plan?
Manipulation – Verse 2 says “Abram listen to the voice of Sarai.” This is an important statement because we see here that Abram had not spent time reasoning and rationalizing how these heirs, his descendants as many as stars would come. Sarai manipulated Abram into taking Hagar to bring about an heir.
There is a price to be paid when we step out of the will of God…to reason or rationalize our way to get what God has promised or what we believe God wants for us, sadly to get what we want. In verses 4-6 we have a glimpse of the price Sarai paid. The relationship with her maid servant was damaged, Abram’s response also hints upon the tension between all three of them.


The devil frequently steals the will of God from us due to reasoning. He injects wrong thinking and emotions into your mind so that you cannot focus on what the Holy Spirit is speaking to your spirit. God tells us to be on guard continually watching and discerning our thoughts, “make every thought obedient to Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:5, James 1:22 says “be doers of the Word not just a hearer.”


Dear Sisters in Jesus Christ, there is only one way to keep our mind full of Godly wisdom, Romans 12:1-2 says “Therefore (make it so) I urge you, sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy (devoted) sacrifice , acceptable (pleasing) to God, which is your spiritual service of worship (praise and glory for all God is doing). And do not be conformed (copy what others do) in this world (your flesh, emotions), but be transformed (be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think) by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is(with our mouth and lived out in action), that which is good and pleasing to God in every way.” personalized NASB


If our relationship with Jesus is a growing and an intimate one, our goal must be to let our spirit (which is stronger, supernatural) be in control of our mind. This can only be achieved if our spirit is in tune with the Holy Spirit and listening to the voice of God daily. Victory and freedom come when we recognize the devil’s tools and fight back using everything we have in Jesus Christ.


Proverbs 3:5 tells us “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.”
Blessing, Laurie