Dealing With the Root

February 18, 2015 — 11 Comments

I don’t know about everyone else, but I know my struggles. They are clear as day and I know where I need to make adjustments even though sometimes I may pretend to be blind to them. My question that I want you to answer to yourself truthfully is this: Do I have a reoccurring sin or struggle in my life that aims to weigh me down every time I try to go forward? Maybe you don’t have one and that’s fine, I don’t believe you but that is okay. The first step to growth is realizing change needs to be made.

So the bible says in Hebrews 12:1 to lay aside every weight and the sin that easily trips us up. A weight is something in our lives that may not be sinful, but they are very well distracting. Playing video games, hours of netflix/social media/or liking material things may not be sins whatsoever, but they become idols when they consume all of our time, affection and attention. Many times I’ve cut off my “weights”, but I realized that in a matter of hours, days or weeks I will definitely be back in the same sin or bondage. Why? Why is it that we can be sincere when we cry out to God and still go back to the same sin/distraction that we know cannot satisfy our souls?

When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation. (Matthew 12:43-45)

Jesus lets us know clearly that the spiritual battle we are in is much more serious than some people believe. If God frees you from bondage, that is such a remarkable thing. I praise God for deliverance, but that is just the beginning. You have to understand that God did his part and now it is time for you to do yours. The bible says that this man’s spirit was swept and garnished, but still empty. Too many of us have the masks on that make us look so spiritual from the outside. God cleansed us and it’s even obvious in our demeanor, but what happens when there is no substance within us? You will simply fall back into the same sin later and sometimes things even worse.

For example, if you ask God to deliver you from masturbation or pornography. God can very well forgive you, cleanse you and give you a new beginning. But do you think He can force you to have godly desires? He can push you in the right direction but you have to move your feet. You would have to decide to open your bible and pray rather than engaging in things that could lead to those struggles. Right? If God freed you from that relationship that was just pure lust, fornication and adultery. Yes, He will forgive, but do you think He can force you to delete their number or the pictures? Can He force us to unfollow them and stop stalking their page? You see God knows you will have memories and be tempted to go back to where He delivered you from, but God doesn’t want to cut off your temptation, He wants to strip you of your desire to go back to them.


Three Ways to Overcome Your Ungodly Desires

  1. Stop acting like you do not know it’s wrong.
    1. God will not send you anything to distract you from Him.
    2. If you have to hide, cover it, or keep it secretive, it needs to go! David never wanted Bathsheba’s husband to be around until he didn’t want to take responsibility for the child that he shouldn’t have brought into the world. David was warned by his men before he sent for her, he knew she was married. Never ignore your warning.
    3. Many times we know within ourselves something feels wrong, but we try to avoid the voice of God. That isn’t just your conscious bothering you, that’s God telling you to stop playing with fire! We cannot twist scripture to justify our lifestyles, we must use scriptures to transform the way we live.
  2. Replace it!
    1. I’ve cut off many things, connections and environments to get closer to God. Sometimes I’ve returned right back to it, which is ridiculous. We have to replace these ungodly desires with ones that please God.
    2. Letting go of a lustful relationship is great, but what are you going to do after? So many of us “cut someone off”, but we never use our new free time to spend time with God. So now all of your free time is spent going through old pictures, reminiscing, and thinking about them. Eventually your body will go after what your heart and mind is focused on.
    3. Let’s say you struggle with music that you know is filth (I am not going to tell you what to listen to). So you cut off anything that you feel distracts you. However, you never replaced it with Christian music or something that uplifts your soul, eventually you’ll go back to what keeps your heart focused on everything except God. Or you like books like 50 Shades of Grey, you know its trash but you will go right back to it if you don’t feed your spirit with the bible, Christian books, or things that can benefit your mind and spirit.
  3. Consistency
    1. It is easy to walk on the straight and narrow road, but the challenge is in our consistency. We have to let our commitment keep us when the emotions are gone. I can say “I love You, Jesus” at church, but the challenge comes outside of the building and the temptations arise.
    2. Don’t think consistency means you won’t fail, but it means you are wise enough to get back up and get your eyes on the prize.
      1. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8-9)
      2. The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand. (Psalms 37:23-24)
    3. The devil knows your weaknesses, he studies us and knows more about us than some of us know about ourselves. He knows what you like and He will wait a day or years to catch us to let our guards down. He will allow you to read this and be encouraged or convicted, and still tempt you before the day is over if you aren’t careful. So it is not enough to be committed today and relax tomorrow. Part-time Christians will never overcome fighting against full-time demons. Keep your guard up.
      1. You may think it’s okay to go back to sinful environments now that you are delivered, but you have to be realistic with yourself. Don’t say you are going to the club to be a witness for Jesus, and you know within yourself that a half naked person can pull your mind right back into sin and tempt you.
      2. Don’t say “God delivered me from being an alcoholic/drug addict, I can handle a drink or two/one puff won’t kill me”. Playing with fire will cause you to get burned. 

Before we think that people need to stop tempting us to sin, remember that we are only tempted when its things of our own sinful nature (James 1:14). You can’t tempt me to steal because I won’t budge, I never struggle with that. There are other things I have to battle with daily. In order to live a life of victory, it’s time to stop entertaining ourselves that keep us walking in defeat. 

It is not that hard to live for God, but it’s only easy when we choose to realize that the things He freed us from were not that great. Sin has temporary pleasure, but never a lasting peace after. Joy and real pleasure is only found when we get in the presence of God; we need to get into His presence if we want to see the proof that nothing this world has to offer is able to compare (Psalms 16:11). People think Christians are slaves to rules, but they are really slaves to feelings, sin and are empty. What we have in Christ is better than what we gave up to follow Him. It’s time to let God deal with the root of our “sin problem”, our deceitful and desperately wicked hearts.

Grace and peace,

Tovares Grey

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Idolizing Marriage

February 15, 2015 — 8 Comments
I hope the title alone didn’t scare away many readers because they feel as though I’ll condemn their marriage obsession. Marriage is good, God himself decided that it wasn’t good for man to be alone, but what happens when God’s people desire marriage as the ultimate goal of life? Let’s dig into identifying whether or not if we have an obsession with marriage, is that desire good or bad and let’s see what God’s word has to say about it.
What does it mean to “Idolize marriage”?
To idolize something is horrible, and not just because it is a sin, but when you idolize something you place that thing/person before God. Having an idol can make a “good” thing a “God” thing. We never really know it because it’s not like we literally bow down to these idols (I hope not), but we give them more of our heart, time and care than everything else. When entertainment, a relationship, sports, etc gets more time than God, there goes your idol. Of course things like our families, work and school will all require extra time and care, but we must never allow ourselves to put all of our time and trust in them rather than in God.
But I digress, what does it mean to idolize marriage?
  1. When you idolize marriage, you want to be married more than you want God. 
    1. Now many of us will say, “of course I want God more”, but the truth is shown in our thoughts. Many of us say we desire God more, but we spend more time talking to everyone except Him. Now of course faith without works is dead and you will have to at some point get up from prayer and actually hold a conversation with someone, but how can God lead you if you are spending no time with Him?
    2. Some of us spend too much time listening to how we feel rather than listening to God. Listening to feelings and memories will block God’s voice in our lives. Our hearts will deceive us (Jeremiah 17:9) and lead us to the wrong people, but we will never go astray when we study God’s word and make prayer a habit rather than a morning/bedtime routine.
  2. When you idolize marriage, you live your life as though happiness begins at “I do”.
    1. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: (Colossians 2:10)
    2. In case you forgot or never read it in the bible, a man or woman cannot complete you, only God can. Many times we seek in people what can only be found in God. Someone else is supposed to come along and add to your life, not complete you. Marriage is not a destination for us believers, it is just another part of a beautiful journey that we should already be enjoying because God is with us.
    3. When God said that it wasn’t good for man to be alone, Adam was not sitting down bored when God decided to make a woman. Adam was already working and ruling the way that God wanted him to and then God saw the need to give him help. If you are sitting down doing nothing and claiming to be waiting on God, don’t expect Him to reward laziness. God wants you active in church, your community and doing more than seeking marriage with your life.

So what’s your point? God wants us to get married!

Yes, God does want you to get married, but does he want you to worship the idea of marriage or does He want you to live for Him because only He can satisfy?

Why is desiring marriage a good thing?

  1. It is not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18).
  2. Two are better than one (Ecclesiastes 4:9).
  3. It is normal to have sexual urges and Paul says it’s better to marry than to burn with lust (1 Corinthians 7:9).
  4. This world is corrupt and there are many broken homes, God’s plan is for man to be fruitful and we need more believers to show what a home should look like.
  5. Everyone does not have the gift of singleness, and God knows that most of us at some point will desire someone. Marriage is the healthy way in pursuing a relationship, not recreational dating.  

How is desiring marriage a possible bad thing?

  1. We seek love and acceptance from people, and if they reject us we feel as though God has forgotten us.
  2. It is easy to desire marriage just because someone else is married or we want to “feel appreciated”, and God does not answer prayers that have selfish motives (James 4:1-3).
  3. Many women, maybe some men, pursue that fancy wedding and perfect honeymoon and eventually settle on the first person they can take to the altar, but they knew nothing about the person they have to spend an entire life with.
  4. If sex is your motive behind getting married, that isn’t a strong enough foundation for it to last. “Good sex” cannot sustain a relationship, and God cannot bless a union that he isn’t a part of.
  5. Many have yet to become intimate with God nor discovered themselves, so now their worth is based in a person that can change rather than an unchanging God who’s love is unconditional for us.

In my opinion, this is just my opinion, if you have the desire to be with someone, God doesn’t want you single forever. The only thing we must realize is that, this healthy desire can lead to a fatal end if we don’t allow God to lead us rather than emotions. Stop aiming to be like that dream couple you see on social media – you do not know their life outside of pictures. Chasing that Tumblr/Pinterest wedding will land you in a nightmare home if Christ isn’t your compass. I don’t think the church needs to be focused more on who we will marry over who we are already engaged to, Jesus Christ. One day, we will get to see our blessed savior in the sky and He will not say to us, “hey, that’s so awesome that you got married! Your life was perfect”, no, because he satisfies more than anyone or thing can on this earth. When we pass, our spouse will not come with us. So yes, enjoy your life while God loans you breath, but never allow your pursuit of marriage to be more important than your pursuit of God. If we chase a person, we can lose sight of God. But if we pursue God, He will lead us to the right person at the right time.

Grace and peace,

Tovares Grey

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Society Lies

January 17, 2015 — 8 Comments

Society Lies

Too often we tend to listen to society rather than God’s Word when it comes to how we should live. God’s Word doesn’t promote sin, however we tend to fall into sin to be like the crowd. Purity or holiness are subjects that everyone can talk about, but not everyone will aim to follow. Society wants us to believe that we have to disobey God’s Word to find contentment, and that’s exactly how Eve was deceived. It’s time to replace the lies we have engraved into our minds and start believing and living the way God says to. Here are 10 ways to stay pure:

1. Study God’s Word!
Let’s be real, sometimes you don’t feel like reading your bible. Maybe the translation is difficult or you may feel like there’s no connection. But that’s just lies the devil uses to make you stop. We find God when we pursue Him despite how we feel. If you go closer to God, he will go closer to you (James 4:8). If you want to please God, you must read His Word to know what He expects from you. Stay in God’s Word and you’ll stay out of sin.

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psalms 119:11)

2. Stay away from sinful crowds!
It’s not up for debate, you will act like who you hang around. “Jesus hung out with sinners!”, no he didn’t. Jesus called sinners (his disciples), to follow him, which means they left their old lives to follow Him. The people Jesus came into contact with didn’t just talk to him as a friend, but they also drew near to him because he was the light that they needed in order to change. Jesus spoke with people to bring the Gospel to them, not to be like them. While I will never say you can’t have unsaved friends or know people of different religions, you should be the ones influencing them not them influencing you.

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14)

3. Be accountable
No man is an island. Of course God is not saying to befriend everyone to the point where you have the wrong people as friends, but he is telling us that we need one another. You can’t say you love God without loving the people you can see. We are called to pray for one another, study together, and build one another up spiritually. If you don’t have any godly friends around you, you are an easy target to the devil. God protects us, but He also places people around us to help in the time of need.

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16)

4. Be a doer
There are way too many people that go to church on Sunday’s and ignore Him the rest of the week. I know what it means to be hypocritical, I struggle with things I speak about, but I know for a fact that God wants us to follow Him daily. God wants to be our Lord, not just our savior. God is looking for obedience, not our opinions. Don’t fool yourself into thinking church attendance or Christian posts guarantees your spot into Heaven. God is looking for people that will follow Him.

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (James 1:22)

5. Set boundaries
Christian couples aren’t the only ones that need to set boundaries, we all must do so. You have to let people know that there are certain things you can’t do because God said you shouldn’t. Society is careful to offend everyone except God. So they’ll disrespect Jesus, but say they don’t want to offend the Muslims, Jews, homosexuals, etc. We have to understand that JESUS is God, and He is also not going to tolerate foolishness. Of course He is loving, but He still has to judge us. Holiness wouldn’t be a command if it weren’t possible to attain.

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:23)

6. Prayer
Prayer will keep you away from sin, but sin will keep you away from praying. We have to understand that prayer is communication with God. The same way we build relationships with everyone else through communication, is the same way we draw closer to God with prayer. There’s so much anxiety and unanswered questions in some of our lives, I wonder how much peace we’ve forfeited with our blatant disregard for prayer.

Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

7. Filter your entertainment!
Yes, it does have an impact on your life. Our music, movies and tv shows, and our company will influence our thoughts. Our thoughts lead to our actions, actions turn into habits and we become our habits. You can stop a stronghold at the source if you simply say no to garbage. You can overcome addictions by replacing them. Whenever you get the urge to do something bad, go do something else that is positive or spiritually uplifting.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

8. Know who/what to ignore!
Everything and everyone doesn’t deserve your time, attention or a response. Some people don’t want help, they want to argue and you have to let the Holy Spirit within you to keep your tongue rather than cause you to fight. Never allow someone off track to distract you from pursuing Jesus.

He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. (Proverbs 13:20)

9. Don’t follow accounts that entice your lust.
If Jesus said those who look at someone with lust in their heart has already committed sin, why follow accounts that post naked and seductive pictures? If you want to keep your mind pure, stop following everyone. Society wants you to think its okay to have your eyes drift and flirt around, but God wants your eyes on Him and only for your spouse. In some cases, you can tell a lot about a person just by who they follow and what they like on social media.

Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. (Proverbs 3:7)

10. Get back up again!
Some may be saying that “it’s too late for me”. You’ve fallen several times and maybe you’re even comfortable living in sin, but God is saying that it’s time to get back up again. Grace isn’t a license to sin, God’s grace is what helps you overcome those besetting sins. Once you repent, God can forgive you, but you must learn to forgive yourself and stop thinking you’re not good enough because you’re comparing yourself to other people. Look to Jesus, keep running the race.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand. (Psalms 37:23-24)

Despite what society says, God’s standard is and will always be purity and righteousness. Follow Him, despite what others may say or think.

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. (Isaiah 40:8)

– Tovares Grey

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