Posts Tagged ‘christian warrior’

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40 Days in a Desert

July 26, 2010

I oftentimes find myself going through a period of desolation in my daily walk.  Granted, most of the time I arrive at one of these points is due to my sin causing a great abyss between Jesus and me.  There are times, however, that the slightly standoff feeling arises,do you ever experience this? Let me explain.

A young couple after being married for a short time had reached a point in their relationship where the initial feelings of “in love” were no longer there.  For some reason, they could not seem to reinvent the beginning passion they once enjoyed.  After some time, they began to drift further apart, eventually seeking this “in love” euphoria from other aspects of life: parties, other romances, work, you name it.  The overriding reality was that the hunger was there for something fulfilling, it just lacked the effort.

Sometimes we all go through the same sort of problem in our relationship with Christ.   We may come off of a dynamic retreat or some other type of spiritual experience and realize after a few days of the real world, the euphoria has worn off.  It can be a vast expanse of loneliness and frustration, those times when you pray and do not “feel” as if Christ is listening.

The Israelites had the same type of problem as Moses was leading them through the desert.  While in the literal wilderness, they began to fall away from the very one who had delivered them from slavery.  It is not to go unmentioned this nation had witnessed the saving power of God first hand with the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, not to mention the pillar of fire that led them through the first part of the desert.  With all of this first hand, “see it with my own eyes” testimony to the reality of God, they still wondered.  Their wilderness was literal, but the manifestations of what brought them there is the same as the behaviors you and I do on a regular basis.  It can simply be broken down to laziness.

When you are going through a wilderness, there is one vital thing to remember, Christ promised to never leave or forsake us.  Perhaps this season of your life is intentional on the part of God to teach you something, prune something out of your life, or simply allow you to grow.  Imagine going through an actual desert, nothing but sand in sight for miles and miles.  Would you not have a renewed sense of joy and thankfulness when you finally reach a piece of land with water, trees, food…? Sometimes in our daily walk with Christ, we reach a point of complacency.

Another important aspect of the desert is the ability for the experience to prune us, take us deeper.  As a new Christian, I felt at times, as if Christ was right next to me as I prayed, I could “feel” His presence as I entered into worship of him.  Gradually over time, my schedule would get in the way of my daily time with God.  Instead of spending my day praying, or simply talking with Christ, I found myself giving a last ditch “hey there thank you” prayer as I drifted off to sleep.  Hardly what is Christ deserved.  Through my laziness and lack of intimacy, I began to lose that “feeling.”  Over time, this helped me grow.

During my desert times, I remember the Psalm that I love to hate.. (I say that reverently of course.)  This verse was given to me several times throughout my first major lull, so much so, I could never get away from it.  I would open to it randomly in my Bible, see it on bumper stickers, or even admire a painting only to realize in the lower right hand a reference to it.   There was one time when I had enough and literally yelled to God, “What does this stupid verse mean?” (My neighbors thought I was nuts.)

Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.”

I encourage you to read this verse if you are currently experiencing a desert in your walk.  Pray over it and be sure to read the follow up to this blog explaining how this applies to the wildernesses of our lives.

Part II

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

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Enemy Behind the Line: Coveting

March 11, 2010

Continuing our series on the “Enemy Behind the Line“, I wanted to spend some time on one enemy I see challenging every Christian, especially Christian Men; that of coveting.

The other day, I was driving to an appointment and found myself mesmerized by a car in the other lane.  I know this sounds pretty crazy, but I went so far as to pick the color I would want this vehicle in, how it would ride, what others would think… before too long, I realized I had spent about five minutes in a dream about this vehicle.  Ok, so that part was lusting for the car of my dreams, but coveting sure jumped on board quick.  How so?  The car of my dreams was being driven by a kid who could not have been more than 18 years old.  THIS WAS A $52,000 vehicle?  (Can you sense the rage?)

So what is coveting?  Coveting something is to feel immoderate desire for that which is another’s.  Of course we all know it is one of the Ten Commandments referenced in Exodus 20, but why is it so dangerous?  Why is it considered one of the enemies behind the line? (If you have followed any of the posts in the “cartoon section” of my blog, you would most likely bet I am about to use one of the cartoon or Pixar movies as a metaphor.  If you guessed this, you’re right!)

I love the movie Nemo for so many reasons.  It shows so many sides of the human character, all while making you laugh at how truly “sheep-like” we all tend to be.  One of the characters, or group of characters, I love to watch own the screen with just one word: “MINE!”

If you think about their behavior, you will remember how consumed they become with getting whatever it is they have their eyes fixed on.  When they are trying to get Nemo and Dory, some of them fly right into the sail of a ship, but never stop saying “Mine?”

Coveting is very much like this.  It is an elusive, addiction-forming drug that starts with only a drip into our spiritual blood stream.  Before long, it is all we can think about or every time we see this fixation, we are consumed with envy and conspire ways we can get “it.”  It could be something as simple as an outfit, or something as complex as a house in “that neighborhood.”  Before too long, our flesh begins to pine for it and our mind is obsessed with “it” and will not rest until we have “it.”

We are called to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  If you strip this verse down, it is simply the first commandment.  So why does coveting cause such strife not only in our minds, but our lives?  This intoxicating sin replaces God from the throne of our lives and replaces Him with an “it.”  In no short order, we begin to worship an idol.  Not the little wooden ones, but the ones of this world, made by us: money, position, house, spouse, fame, prestige, honor, attention, and the list could go on.

Unfortunately, most of us do not realize we are coveting when we do it.  We may simply wisk it to “wishful thinking.”  Despite our attempts to dress it up, we have to call it what it is and pray through it.  One verse I try to focus on in an attempt to keep this behavior in check is the verse from Luke 10:27, “love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.”

Think about the things in life you want most.  If Christ and His will are not at the top, you are most likely looking into the eyes of one of the enemies behind the line.

If you liked this post, you might want to check out the others in this series:

Unforgiveness

Regret

Self-Reliance

The Lie

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

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The Christian Sword – The Guard

December 22, 2009

The most effective piece of armor to be used against any enemy is the warrior’s sword.  Unfortunately, for most Christians, I would daresay this is the one piece of armor that is rarely used, and if used, used effectively.  Truly, the sword for the Christian Warrior is to be that of  “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”  But for most of us, we do not know what this means?

In the last posts, A Warrior’s Sword and A Warrior’s Sword-The Handle, we opened the discussion by opening Ephesians 6 and discussing the sword as part of the armor.  In spiritual warfare, the enemy is at our doorstep.  For those of us who are Christian Husbands or Christian Fathers, this war is a daily one.  Again, as we explore this passage, we have to remember that when Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians, especially the passage we are discussing, Ephesians 6:10-20, war was a bit more personal.  So we have discussed the sword and the handle, let’s move on to the guard.

Every sword had a portion of it right above the handle referred to as the guard.  There are a multitude of styles of the guard, but each of them served a major function for the warrior.  In personal, hand to hand combat, the warrior was incredibly exposed to injury from all angles and the guard of the sword was critical for protecting the warrior’s hands.  If your only weapon was the sword, an injury to your hand could be life threatening.

The same is true with God’s Word.  If we truly understand the meaning and importance of the handle, we will spend more time in the Word daily.  Just as the Word can prove to be an attack on evil, it is also our guard against the attacks of Satan.

We use what Christ teaches us through His Holy Word as a baseline for decision making.  For those who are lost or without Christ, the whole idea of right and wrong can be greatly affected by the world.  If you were to look over various generations, the views of what was “wrong” or “unthinkable” has changed with the passing of year.  On the contrary, those who spend time in the Word of God, this baseline of decision making has little “wiggle room.”  Decisions made cannot be simply reasoned away, but rather, have to balance with what we are told in Scripture.

Scripture is also our guard for when we are under spiritual attack.  I know personally, when worry and anxiety overcome me, I reflect upon Phil 4:4, “Be anxious for nothing.”  When I feel the need to speak my mind, I am reminded of the Scripture verses that speak to the danger of a loose tongue.  As a warrior, it is vital for me to keep my mind guarded against the schemes of Satan and the tricks of this world.

If I do not spend time training myself, I will be weak against what the world tells me is right.  The beauty of Scripture is the way it permeates through every aspect of our lives when we devote time to His Holy Word.  If we spend the appropriate amount of time learning how to use our weapon, the powerful nature of the Word is it will also serve as a guard against our enemy’s attacks.

If you would like more on the Christian Sword, check out the  series of post covering the uses of Scripture in the daily life of every Christian Warrior.

The Handle

The Guard

The Blade

Join us as we continue to discuss how today’s Christian Men can step up and become the Christian Warrior their family, friends, work, and community need them to be.

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses. This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

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September Blog Carnival Post: Christian Men Christian Warrior

August 31, 2009

In an effort to provide some various viewpoints on common topics important to men, we will host a Blog Carnival the first week of every month.  For those who may not know what a “Blog Carnival” is, it is simply a collection of submitted blog posts on a particular topic or forum.

This month, we have a host of topics from personal finance to being a dad to… well, let’s just get started.

Redistribution of Wealth- Is it Biblical?

This post is from Steven Toschlog who works as an accountant in Richmond, Indiana.  Wealth redistribution is a hot political topic these days. Some argue President Obama’s economic policies are essentially moving money from one group of people to another by raising and lower taxes accordingly. The term “wealth redistribution”, equated to socialism by some, could be defined as taking money from the rich and giving it to the middle class or poor. Whether you agree with this definition of wealth redistribution or the use of the term itself, Jesus Himself supports it, but in reverse…. Read more by clicking here.

A Father’s Love

This is post, although relatively short, is a great read for fathers.  Perhaps one of my favorite portions of this post states: “The truly amazing thing is that God loves us even more than we can love our own children.  I often sit and think about how remarkable that really is.  His love for us is unending.  He gave his life on the cross so that we could be free to have a life in heaven with him.”  To continue reading this great article, click here.

Parenting Spiritual Champions

Another post related to Christian Dads is this one from Legacy Dad.  This blog post looks at some real world statistics on parents who have raised Spiritual Champions.-children who are now adults and consider themselves active, saved Christians who are still working on spiritual growth as young adults or parents themselves.  This is a must read for fathers wanting to get some tips for raising their own Christian Warriors.  To enjoy this great read, click here.

Fatherly Guilt

I know I struggle with fatherly guilt.  In this post from Different Frequencies Same Radio, the dynamics of how we, as fathers, spend time with our wives and kids is discussed.  I know any dad would be able to identify with the points in this great article.  Click here to read more.

Joseph-Father of Jesus

Talk about a tough fatherly role… imagine being Joseph, asked to be the fatherly role model for Christ.  No pressure there!  In this post from Bible SEO, there are great points about Joseph’s life and all of us could stand to walk in his footsteps.  This is a great format for male readers… click here to read more.

A Simple Word

I am constantly convicted on my choice and use of words.  In this post from Vida Nueva Christian Ministries, the post goes over some great key points to consider when using words.  I know this will be one I choose to refer back to often, I hope you will too.  Click here to read this great post.

How to Overcome Temptation

Yet another great post from Bible SEO.  The title says enough.  If you like a systematic style of reading and studying God’s word, this blog is a great resource.  Click here to read this particular blog post.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of christian men using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

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A Difficult Study for Men: Circumcision

August 29, 2009

scaredmanLet’s face it, if you are a part of a men’s Bible Study, the last subject you would expect to have would be one on circumcision.  Unfortunately, when covering a book in the Bible in sequential order, you have to discuss some topics you would normally just skip over.  If you cover any of the epistles, chances are, you will come across the great debate of the time, “circumcision vs. no circumcision.”

Just some information on circumcision for you to consider before we get started.

In Paul’s day, some Rabbis taught that Abraham sat at the entrance of Hell and made certain that none of his circumcised descendants went there. Some Rabbis also taught “God will judge the Gentiles with one measure and the Jews with another” and “All Israelites will have part in the world to come.”  I recently read that circumcision and baptism do about the same thing that a label on a can does. If the outer label doesn’t match with what is on the inside, something is wrong! If there are carrots inside the can, you can put a label says “Peas” but it doesn’t change what is inside the can. Being born again changes what is inside the can, and then you can put the appropriate label on the outside.

So where is the beginning of Circumcision?  Let’s start in Genesis 17:10-14.

10 This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your posterity after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised.11 And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be a token or sign of the covenant (the promise or pledge) between Me and you.12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male throughout your generations, whether born in [your] house or bought with [your] money from any foreigner not of your offspring.13 He that is born in your house and he that is bought with your money must be circumcised; and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.14 And the male who is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.

This particular passage marks a change and the fathering of the Jewish nation.  God sets apart his people with this covenant through Abraham.

Notice that it is a token or a sign of the covenant, much like a wedding ring or fraternity tattoo.  It marks we are.  The covenant is in the flesh, an everlasting covenant.  God made it known that now part of our bodies is outside of this covenant.   It is no irony that the covenant was made with this particular part of the male body symbolizing a new birth or the birth of a new nation.  Most covenants have something you have to give, it may hurt, this definitely meets the bill on this.

In the English and Romance languages the derivation of the word ‘male’ and ‘masculine’ is derived from the Latin ‘mas’, a root meaning heavy or the strong one, whereas the Hebrew word for male is zachar, which has the same root letters as ‘to remember’.  We are to “remember” our covenant with Christ.

As men, especially today, I think there are a lot of things we need to “remember.”   We will continue this discussion by picking up Paul’s take on the whole subject.  Romans 2:25-29 deals a lot with circumcision.   We will discuss this in the next post : Circumcision Part II.  Hope you will join us for that discussion.

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

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Enemy Behind the Lines- Self-Righteousness Part II

July 18, 2009

In our series on the Enemy Behind the Lines, we have explored a number of enemies to our personal walk with Christ.  These enemies behind the line refer to those sometimes silent, stealthy that can undermine the efforts made in our daily walk with Christ.  We are continuing our discussion on Christian Self-Righteousness.

Let’s pick up with Romans 2: 4:

“Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?”

Paul brings out three attributes of God’s riches: kindness and forbearance and patience.  These are key to understanding Paul’s point.

God’s Kindness or Goodness is often referred to as loving kindness, and in other translations, the word used here is Goodness.

Goodness may be considered God’s kindness to us in regard to our past sin. He has been good to us because He has not judged us yet though we deserve it.  James 1:17, “Every good and perfect thing comes from you…”  Goodness is a natural manifestation of God, the perfect one

The Greek word used here is the word used for Easy or loosely translated as “fit for use or able to use again.”  It is through the Goodness/Kindness of Christ that we are able to move past our forgiven sin and be “used again” by Christ in his mission.  When we see or experience God’s goodness, we should understand:

  • God has been better to them than they deserve
  • God has shown them kindness when they have ignored Him
  • God has shown them kindness when they have mocked Him
  • God is not a cruel master and they may safely surrender to Him
  • God is perfectly willing to forgive them
  • God should be served out of simple gratitude

God’s Forbearance may be considered God’s kindness to us in regard to our present sin. This very day – indeed, this very hour – we have fallen short of His glory, yet He holds back His judgment against us.  Once we move past the past sin, many Christians struggle with the fact that they are still sinning daily.  Forbearance means “a holding back” & denotes “forbearance,” a delay of punishment.  Forbearance is  not of His forgiveness, but His withholding due punishment.

God’s Patience or Longsuffering may be considered God’s kindness to us in regard to our future sin. He knows that we will sin tomorrow and the next day, yet He holds back His judgment against us.  “Longsuffering is that quality of self-restraint in the face of provocation which does not hastily retaliate or promptly punish; it is the opposite of anger, and is associated with mercy, and is used of God.”  Mercifully, God knows that we are going to sin tomorrow, yet through his patience with us, he continues to hold back the wrath of justice, or the penalty for our sin.  Many Christians, including me, cannot comprehend this quality of Christ.  It was Christ’s “longsuffering” on the cross that we were saved.

So how does this relate to our discussion on Christian Self-Righteousness?  Many of us revel in the goodness, forbearance, and patience granted to us by accepting Christ as our Savior, however, we often forget that same essence of God’s riches also applies to those are lost.  Christian Self-Righteousness will often blind us to the other side of Christ’ riches-His justified wrath.

In the next post, we will discuss the natural outcome of being exposed to the riches of Christ-a call to repentance.

If you liked this post, you might want to check out the others in this series:

Guilt

Fear Part I

Fear Part II

Unwillingness to Change

Unforgiveness

Regret

Self-Reliance

The Lie

Have new posts delivered right to your email, click below.
Subscribe to Christian Men-Christian Warriors by Email
Share/Save/Bookmark

Subscribe

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

Christ-like Leadership, Christian coaching, Christian Leader, Christian Leadership, Christian perspectives, church leadership, Christian men, Christian warrior, Christian Home Leadership, Christian father, Christian husband, Christian dad, Christian family leadership, Christian children, Enemy Behind the Lines

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Enemy Behind the Lines- Self-Righteousness

July 16, 2009

In our series on the Enemy Behind the Lines, we have explored a number of enemies to our personal walk with Christ.  These enemies behind the line refer to those sometimes silent, stealthy that can undermine the efforts made in our daily walk with Christ.

Take a moment to read Romans 1: 28-32.  In this passage, chance are, you find yourself nodding in agreement.  It is pretty easy find some sense of comfort or a sense of the next Enemy Behind the Linesself-righteousness.

“Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, fighting, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip.  They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They are forever inventing new ways of sinning and are disobedient to their parents.”  Romans 1: 29-30

You and I both know these “type of people.”  You know the ones.  Those who are perpetually lost and seem to be devoid of God’s hand in their life.  As it states in Romans 1, God, at some point, will leave those to their own desires after denying the Truth for so long.

I found myself nodding in agreement with Paul as he spoke of these people.  I kept nodding until I began Chapter 2!

Someone has once coined the definition of a jury as: “twelve people chosen to decide who has the best lawyer.” The Jews were generally a proud sort of people, that looked with a great deal of scorn and contempt upon the poor Gentiles, as not worthy to be set with the dogs of their flock; while in the mean time they were themselves just as bad.  Paul shifted from talking about the Gentiles to talking about the Jews who had the law and still disobeyed.  The Jews, like those of us who are Christian, know that God will judge according to the Truth, not just interpretation.  We must be careful not to point out the wrongs in everyone else’s life or be so eager to condemn those who are not Christian.  (There is a difference in holding a fellow Christian accountable and condemning someone who is already lost and we will discuss that in one of the next posts.)

Many of the Jews seemed to have felt and acted in a similar manner to many of us who are Christians today.

Romans 2: 3  “Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?”

These two verses fit the saying, “Mercy for me and justice for everyone else.”   Paul takes some time to compare the two presumptions that Christians could make about the judgment of God

i.      First: We will escape the judgment of God

ii.      Second: God is kind to those who love him so we will merely get by

In Enemy Behind the Lines- Self-Righteousness Part II, we will continue with the remaining part of Romans 2 and delve further into this concept of Self-Righteousness in the Christian mindset.  Paul brings out three attributes of God’s riches: kindness, forbearance and patience.  All three are to complete a specific mission on Christ’ behalf.  Be sure to join us in this series on enemies behind the line.

If you liked this post, you might want to check out the others in this series:

Guilt

Fear Part I

Fear Part II

Unwillingness to Change

Unforgiveness

Regret

Self-Reliance

The Lie

Have new posts delivered right to your email, click below.
Subscribe to Christian Men-Christian Warriors by Email
Share/Save/Bookmark

Subscribe

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

Christ-like Leadership, Christian coaching, Christian Leader, Christian Leadership, Christian perspectives, church leadership, Christian men, Christian warrior, Christian Home Leadership, Christian father, Christian husband, Christian dad, Christian family leadership, Christian children, Enemy Behind the Lines

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Enemy Behind the Lines- Guilt

July 4, 2009

it-is-finished-closebible.gif

Last words.  These are most likely two of the most chilling words for most of us.  In that one moment, we have the choice of a lifetime to make.  What would you say?  Who would you say it to?  What would you leave behind for those whom you love?

I would like for us to explore one last word in particular: Telos.

So what does Telos mean? “It is finished.” It is a translation of the Greek word tetelestai, the perfect indicative passive tense of the word telos.  The most interesting fact is that telos means to end; to bring to completion; to bring to a conclusion; to complete; to accomplish; to fulfill or to finish.

28 After this Jesus, knowing that all things are now finished, that the scripture might be accomplished, saith, I thirst.29 There was set there a vessel full of vinegar: so they put a sponge full of the vinegar upon hyssop, and brought it to his mouth.30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up his spirit. John 19: 28-30

In our series on the Enemy Behind the Lines, we have explored a number of enemies to our personal walk with Christ.  These enemies behind the line refer to those sometimes silent, stealthy that can undermine the efforts made in our daily walk with Christ.  One such enemy is that of guilt.  It would be fair to say every human being suffers from some aspect of guilt.

Guilt is the emotion of remorse that we use to judge and berate ourselves when we perceive ourselves of doing something wrong.  It takes various forms and can affect everything from our sleep, appetite, work, and relationships.  Guilt is personally something I have struggled with in my faith walk for as long as I can remember.

There is a difference in conviction from Christ and guilt.  Godly grief or conviction generally draws us closer to Christ.  Most of the time, when I feel convicted over a particular event or behavior, the Holy Spirit is convicting me on the need for confession and repentance.  Guilt or regret usually has me wanting to hide myself from Christ, embarrassed and unwilling at times to go before the throne.

Guilt is a great weapon for Satan to use and it remains “hidden” due to its wide acceptance by the world as an acceptable feeling for those sins we have committed in our lives.  In its basic sense, guilt is merely a misappropriation of the origin of grace.

Telos describes the true nature of Christ’s sacrifice. The grace every true Christian enjoys flows from the sacrifice of Christ and not by any actions of our own.  Guilt can be the result of not fully understanding grace and the redemption provided under the blood of the new covenant.

Personally, I have struggled with guilt that has functioned much like an anchor to my daily faith walk.  Rather than approaching the throne of God, I have often allowed guilt to keep me from looking into the eyes of my savior.  I had a misguided understanding of the difference between guilt and conviction, so being unable to distinguish between the two, I would often pray for forgiveness that had already been given, just not received.  In recent months, I have been able to fully understand one key verse:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

The most interesting fact is that telos means to end; to bring to completion; to bring to a conclusion; to complete; to accomplish; to fulfill or to finish.  Other translations include definitions referring to a debt being paid. What was brought to completion on the cross?  What debt was paid?

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)

Conviction brings to your conscience those sins you need to confess to Christ and repent of.  Guilt reminds you of sins Christ has already forgiven.  Conviction allows you to reach for the wounded hand of Christ and his redemptive love, whereas guilt prevents you from looking into the eyes of the one who saved you.

If you find yourself fighting a battle with guilt, just know you are not alone.  Most Christians, if they were to be honest, struggle with guilt.  It is one of the enemies we rarely realize we are fighting.  It is one serving more like a double-agent than an all out enemy.  Yet all in all, it is one of the deadliest.  Join us as we continue to discuss possible meanings of Christ’s last words on the cross.  What does Telos mean for you?

If you liked this post, you might want to check out the others in this series:

Unforgiveness

Regret

Self-Reliance

The Lie

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

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Happy Feet- What Has YOU Choked Up?

June 15, 2009

Happy Feet is just a great movie all the way around.  Having so many dimensions in this movie that could apply to Christian life, I thought it best to start out with one character who was just that… a character!

Robin Williams in just about any role is going to guarantee some over the top acting and incredible one-liners.

The charismatic character Lovelace provides us a great avenue for discipleship with our children.  If you have seen the movie, you will remember that Lovelace is the area’s latest guru or “Wisdom Attraction.”  He claims to have been taken by aliens and bestowed the gift of wisdom from them in the form of a necklace-or as you can see from the picture, more like a coke can ring.

As the main character searches for his own understanding of the world, we learn more about this Lovelace as he serves as guide to the land where the aliens took him and bestowed this knowledge.  As it turns out, Lovelace reveals the truth about his necklace and claims to wisdom.  Rather than the gift being bestowed upon him, it was something that he swam into and developed a story around.  In reality, the one thing that had given him so much fame was now choking the life out of him.

So what lessons could we talk to our children about?

1.  Everyone has something in their life that they develop a “story” to explain. In Matthew 23:28, Jesus tells the Pharisees of the day, “28In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”  It seems our little friend Lovelace would fall into this category, although he didn’t appear to be all that wicked.  Like many of us, Lovelace developed a grandiose story of how we developed a weakness.  In our day, many people seek out “wisdom” from individuals who have such apparent flaws rather than seeking wisdom that comes from Christ.  Encourage your children to remember that it is through our weakness that we are made strong.  Christ can do amazing things with those things in our lives we see as being failures or obstructions.

2.  Eventually, lies will come to choke you. I was told early in life that when you lie, you must tell five more to cover it up.  Looking back through my years, I can definitely see where this saying is true.  Proverbs 12:19 says it best,

19 Truthful lips endure forever,
but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.”

You most likely can think of people in your life or in the public eye whose lies eventually caught up with them.  As I think of a couple who have recently been debunked by their own lies, I realize that they too had begun to be choked by the lies they were living.  Use Lovelace to help explain this life lesson about lying and the repercussions this sin sows into our lives.

3.  The Truth changes lives. One of the more poignant developments in this movie is the race to save Lovelace from the death grip of his “necklace.”  In one of the scenes, the coke ring is snapped and a revived Lovelace takes the stage yet again.  He becomes free of his captor as well as free from his lie.  Isn’t the same true in our own lives when we embrace the truth that is Christ and confess the lies that are choking our lives?  Our children must understand that although we will be offered fame and attention by lying about various aspects of our lives, eventually, like Lovelace, we will no longer receive life from those ways.  It is only through the honest confession of those sins/lies in our lives and the embracing of Christ’ truth that we can be free.

As a dad, I love using everything I can to help teach solid Christian values to my children.  One of the things I have quickly learned as a father is the world uses television to “proselytize”  to our children right under our noses.  The movie Happy Feet presents fathers a great opportunity to teach about several Christian values in a way that will hopefully speak to your child on their level.

If you would like more in this series, please be sure to check out the other articles in Using Movies to Witness.

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About the Writer:

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Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

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Hello-I Am a Slave

June 11, 2009

In my day to day job, I live for the introduction.  There is much in an introduction.  Think about it for a minute.  In someone’s introduction, you could easily determine the following (even if it were over the phone):

  • Age – help you make inferences about how they are interpreting what you are saying.
  • Nationality – easily determined by accent or dialect
  • Job Title – may help you understand what motivates this person like ego, thrill of the kill, or the numbers
  • Last Name – again, a little about the heritage and perhaps, depending on the town, you could tell some about their “rank” in society

As you can see, there is a lot you can discover about a person in their introduction.

Recently, I have had the opportunity to prepare for teaching the book of Romans.  It has been a while since I have actually taken some time to study the book, and I believe now is the providential time for me to do so.

In preparing for the first lesson, I could not move past the first verse for a while.  Read Romans 1:1 -

1 Paul, a slave of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God…

slave

Now in thinking about how I introduce myself, I usually mention that I am a husband, a father, and where I work and attend church.  Paul truly taught me how flawed my introduction was in Romans 1:1.   Let’s look at this a bit deeper.

1.  Paul introduces himself as a slave to Christ.  In his day, slaves were not even human, more like property, owned by someone else.  Their will and very existence depended upon their master.  In this short phrase, Paul is identifying himself as one who is not in control.  He names his master later in the passage as being Jesus.  Think for a second.  If you were to add this to your introduction, would it be true?  Could people honestly look at how you live your life and see that Christ was the “master” of your life and that your will was not your own?

2.  Slaves were bought by someone else.  Again, in this phrase, Paul is ultimately setting up his case for Christ.  By identifying himself as a slave of Christ, he is also implying that Christ paid for him.  In2 Corinthians 5:21 is states:

21 Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

Wow, how humbling is it to know that the sinless son of God took on our sin as ransom for us?  He purchased us out of the slavery of the world to become slaves for Him.  Paul knew that better than most and it should not surprise us that he first identified himself as being “owned” or paid for by Christ.

3.  In saying all of this, Paul was identifying himself in Christ.  In Romans 6, Paul delves deeper into his identity in Christ.  Do you identify yourself in Christ?  I know there are times I do not and then again, the times I do, I am quite sure I should not.  Paul’s identity was not even his own.  He identified his master.

So the next time you go to introduce yourself, I hope you think of Romans 1:1 and give yourself a little “self-check”.  Those are always good to have, especially at the beginning of a new relationship.  Helps set the bar for how others may interpret you, and who knows, it may even introduce them to your master.

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

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