Have you ever looked back at certain big events or decisions in your life and pondered, "What if?" What if I had taken that job? What if I had never made that decision? What if I'd never met them? What if I'd never said that? Done that? What if they had waited just a few minutes? Ever contemplated how it all could be totally different right now?There is a whole line of comic books devoted to this very thing, that many of the younger people here are probably very familiar with today...
We all know that some of the "What if's" we could ponder would drastically change everything in our entire lives... For good or bad... (Remember this… We’ll come back to it in a second)
Well... As Christians, some of us are still (consciously or subconsciously) holding onto things in our lives that we absolutely KNOW we should not cling to now!!Things we again and again will not only desire...But indulge in, or at least lust after in our minds to such a degree...That it completely overshadows our passion for God...Maybe for some, causing you to even occasionally contemplate what it would be like if you just gave up this life and returned to your old ways...Sometimes we feel like, "It would be so much easier to live for God if I could still just have this ONE THING and keep my relationship with Him!" So do you have things in YOUR life that keep you looking back, flirting with, and sometimes completely longing for, over God? Many times I have watched people, even counseled with people, who are completely ruled by one particular thing in their life...Which they entertain, toy with, and long for CONSTANTLY...Until their obsession with that one thing takes all of the time, focus and desire they should have for God...Leaving them lost and dissatisfied between two worlds...Often more miserable than if they'd never chosen Christ to begin with!
What if? Well, rather than argue and wrestle with you about how to resist something with such a stronghold today...How about we just give in? How about for a time, we just play the game of, "What If..."? How about we do exactly what you are longing to do... Go where you are longing to go? Full steam, all the way? Let's just completely indulge for a moment! Take that one thing you really, really want... Can't seem to let go of... Can't seem to stop contemplating...And see it through to the end, go all the way...
As if you really did just finally choose it completely over Christ! That lust, desire for porn, adultery...That horribly attitude of, "I'm not going to put up with anyone anymore!" That lifestyle...Of sexual orientation...Or of partying and indulgence...That focus on money, fun and luxury over serving Christ...
Now you answer some very important questions very, very honestly...
Would the love you receive from anyone else because of this choice be anything comparable to the love and sacrifice God has for you?
Who and how many people would be terribly hurt/affected by your choices, in repercussions or in example?
Where would it take your life in 5 years? 10 years?
How would your heart change if you followed this path?
How would your thought process, view of life, and character change as you lived this life for years?
What would you accomplish that really mattered or helped anyone in the end?
Would you look back on this choice, this new life, with your last breath and say, "I am so grateful that I made that choice!"?
Would you be more fulfilled with your new lifestyle…Or in the end simply left sad, frustrated and longing...After living out what you were chasing? Are just a few years of second-rate, hurtful pleasure worth a literal unending pleasure and love beyond your imagination?
We so quickly forget how unfulfilling and troubled our life was before we came to Christ... Remembering only the pleasures of the past...
Former SLAVES talking!!
If I offered you money for anything you desired for the rest of your life, excellent health, and a perfect love beyond your wildest dreams...If you would just give up eating this one chocolate bar, right here, today...How unspeakably insane would you be to choose the candy bar?
THAT is an ABSOLUTE PERFECT comparison to exchanging the love and blessings you have from Christ...And all that He has died to give you...For your ONE desire here and now! You wouldn't even have these crazy, empty things to tempt you were it not for the God WHO PUT BREATH IN YOUR LUNGS… And had mercy on you in your sins... Do you get that?!This alone breaks God's heart... Listen...
Of all People in this world that would benefit from saying, "What IF?"...And changing everything to please themselves...
God has the most to gain! Suppose HE SAID, "What if?!" What if I hadn't given so much to try and save someone who will never love me back the same way? What if I just gave up on them and destroyed them, rather than let them hurt themselves and so many others in selfish sins? What if I just decided to give out justice and punishment and stopped trying to save them? What if I just started over?
But Jesus Christ's incredible love for us causes Him to NEVER consider, "WHAT IF!!!"Because our worth to Him...
Is greater than any, "WHAT IF" SCENARIO He could ever desire!!And you and I need to get one thing very clear and straight in our heads right now...When we play the, "what if" game...When we flirt with, and obsess over other things instead of loving HIM...We can blame it on anything that we would like...But there is ONE CAUSE and ONE CAUSE ONLY...And that is not the strength of the temptation...But that we have a loss of desire for God... Period! And it has a MAJOR EFFECT ON OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM...BECAUSE, AT THAT POINT, HE KNOWS WE ARE NOT PASSIONATE FOR HIM ANYMORE! LISTEN...
Imagine how we make Him feel...
"You really don't know if I'm enough after all that I've done, and sacrificed, and shown to you? You still have to agonize over whether I am important enough and satisfying enough?"
But even in His disappointment and even in His anger... He still asks us to open our hearts again in love...
This IS the Battlefield...Do you not realize these temptations are not just something that happens?
These things are the very purposeful and planned attacks of Satan, to win your affection from God!! Because Satan knows all to well, what WE seem to miss...The battle for our hearts to remain UNDIVIDED and on God alone...
Decides EVERYTHING else in our entire lives!!!Attitude, direction, goals, choices, morals…Living a life that is passionate for God and devoted to righteousness, cannot be done by accident!!!
If we are not seeking God and His righteousness consciously in life...We will by nature, bend towards unrighteousness and passion for other things...And what you need to really get into your head is this...True happiness and peace only come when we finally have such a devoted focus that we drop the double minded torture! Otherwise we are more miserable than if we had never even chosen Christ! Because it makes everything we have to give up seem like drudgery when we are divided...Every sacrifice seems unfair and tasking...It is like training for a sport or talent you aren't truly interested in...Every sacrifice of time is dreaded...Everything else in life is a temptation and excuse to skip out...Every hour spent practicing or studying seems wasted or empty...But if we are just completely crazy and passionate about that sport or career...We never think about what else we are missing...Because we are exactly where we want to be... And every sacrifice given is a joy, knowing the benefits!
What is making you look back? What is making you say, "What if..."? What is making you lack commitment?
Stealing your passion and focus from Him? He loves you more than His own life, literally...But that is exactly why He will not be second place... He will not be Someone which you have to struggle to decide whether He is worth it or not…He will let you have your first choice! GET THIS! You don't have a sin problem... Or an uncontrollable obsession...You are not a victim of your divided heart or natural tendencies...It is simply a choice of what you truly want most... Period.
Make up your mind one way or the other, and go for it undivided!!! God will respect you more either way! (Lukewarm)
Live every moment with Him as a real, personal, constant, desired Presence in your life everyday... And these temptations will fade away on their own!!
When a victim of crucifixion took up his cross in Jesus' day...He had one stop left on his journey...There was no turning back...No detours...No other interests...No distractions...His life was no longer his own! This example was very purposeful and clear!
Living for Him will cost you everything...Or nothing...There is no in between...He deserves no less! And everything else to which you can devote your life...Is totally useless and worthless in comparison!
So... Let's ponder a "What if" today...
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