Ruling Desires

109 posts

What Is Love?

“Love is giving willingly of whatever I have to meet someone’s need.” I can almost hear someone reacting, “Wait a minute! That might be a partial definition of love. But what about the deep feelings, the driving emotional mood that is also supposed to accompany love. This definition leaves that part out.” There is an unspoken expectation that is associated with love. This human assumption is that when you love there are huge emotional benefits that make love something good for you. When you say you love someone, your natural self is expecting good things to happen to you because of your “love”. Imagine Christmases, anniversaries, Valentine’s Days where you were the only one doing the sacrificial giving . You […]

Asking Too Much From Your Children

Living for your children will ruin your life and theirs. If your hopes and dreams are bound to your children, you will be disappointed, perhaps even bitter. If you expect your children to provide the comfort and support that can only come from God you will be deeply hurt. You will set yourself up to be disappointed and crushed when your family fails you. No spouse, no child can provide comfort that can only be found in God. God will have no other gods before him. Your first loyalty must be to God and God alone. Children who have become the sole objects of their parents’ dreams and aspirations cannot bear that awful weight. This unbalanced child focus is actually […]

People Pleasing—A Fatal Attraction!

Luke recounts a story in Acts about how the early Christians were caring for each other’s needs. He specifically mentions a Cypriot Levite named Joseph who sold a field and brought the money from the sale to the apostles. Joseph was such a blessing that the apostles called him Barnabas, which means son of encouragement. This was a good thing. There was a married couple who apparently observed Barnabas’ good deed and the appreciation he received for it. So they sold some property that they owned. But something happened to these two when they collected the money from the sale. While we can’t be exactly sure of their thoughts, Luke does tell us about the plan that they conceived, a […]

Do You Enjoy Being Duped?

The answer is, of course you don’t! Yet, if you are like most people, you find yourself frequently saying something like, “I know better than that, why do I keep doing it?” So why do you keep repeating the things that trouble you — it is the deceptiveness of sin. You were born with a spiritual heart that is defective, it does not operate as intended. If there is a problem with your physical heart, it tends to immediately demand whatever attention is necessary in order to solve the problem. However, the same level of concern and expense is seldom directed towards a malfunctioning spiritual heart. In Jeremiah, the Holy Spirit speaks directly about your defective heart: “The human heart […]

Excuses Or Repentance

Excuses keep us from trusting God, erode human relationships and weaken character. The default mode for the excuse maker is to shift blame away from himself instead of looking to God in repentance. Repentance brings hope. Excuses result in frustration and blame-shifting. This how the Holy Spirit describes the difference: “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” Proverbs 28:13 Concealing sins—making excuses—destroys trust in God. But repentance yields mercy and the blessing of God. Listen to yourself. Listen to your children. If you hear responses like these, look for patterns of excuse making: “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be angry.” “I guess I’m just tired.” “He was mean to me.” […]

I Want It Now!

Immediate gratification is the gateway to enslavement. This desire for the immediate is based on two lies. The first is that having what I want will be satisfying and the second is nothing bad will happen if I get what I want. This is the way sin works. If your children believe the lie that getting instant relief from their discomfort or discontent is ultimate, they have been entrapped by sin’s deceitfulness. This pattern, if not stopped, will result in a life dominated by the desire for immediate gratification. Pornography, substance abuse, abusive behavior, all have their roots in the quest for immediate gratification. The fruit of the Spirit is best grown in the soil of self-denial. When you hear […]

Dangerous rules

Following rules will not make you a better person. Rules will not build your character. Rules will not produce spiritual maturity. What rules may do is keep you safe and keep you from breaking laws. The question to ask is this: Is there more to life than being safe and legal? Relying primarily on a set of rules to govern your family can be toxic. Paul warns you about being taken captive by human traditions and spiritual forces of this world. Here is his exact warning found in Colossians 2:8. “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on […]

Whining Children, Broken Lives

Your six-year-old has become so obsessed with wanting his brother’s radio controlled car that he has made himself sick whining and complaining about it. There is a reason the Holy Spirit warns against grumbling and complaining. This familiar scenario does not seem as shocking as the story of a teenager obsessed with pornography. However, the attitudes that fuel the teenager’s lust and obsession are the same ones that control your six-year old. This point must not be missed. You must connect the dots of self-pity in your young children with the self-pity of teenagers caught up in sins like pornography and substance abuse. Don’t dismiss self-pity as a passing stage. Whining in young children is the early warning sign of […]

Love is God’s idea

Love is a personal thing or so we are told. Problems come when love is too personal. When love is all about me, bad things happen. Love must be defined by God, specifically by the work of his son, Jesus. The Holy Spirit tells us that we know what love is by how Jesus loved (1 John 3:16). By looking at Christ we see that love is other-centered, not me-centered. This takes some radical rethinking. Love is not about what makes you feel good or happy. Love is dying to your wants, your desires. Only by loving Jesus first can anyone experience this sort of love. The Holy Spirit provides specific examples of what other-centered, true love looks like in […]

Love: What’s in it for God?

The unspoken question most asked about love is, “What’s in it for me?” We are born with this compelling motive regarding love. We are born self-centered and self-consumed. So, if we love something or someone there must be a benefit to be gained. Young children love what makes them happy. Unfortunately, this is a pattern that we never outgrow apart from the saving work of Christ. We were made to love, just as we were made to worship. But, because of sin, we love ourselves and we worship what is pleasing to our corrupt nature. Without being changed by God, both love and worship become distorted and lead to destruction rather than salvation. In God’s mercy he sent Jesus Christ […]