The Devil of Deadly Extremes.

The Christ filled life is like a tight rope walk, or I guess you could imagine yourself walking across a very narrow bridge throughout your life. One one side you have quicksand and on the other side lava beneath. Fall off one side or the other, then your a goner.

Satan enjoys extremes quite a bit because both make a Christian ineffective. For one: Some people think that the devil is behind every bad thing that happens, and they look for Satanic activity under every rock and crevice. Others, don’t seem to take the devil’s attacks seriously enough and almost make light that he does exist and his goal is to destroy your soul and life, if you are in Christ, he cannot touch your eternal life but if you give into him, he can wreck the great plans God has for your life.

Another extreme that he thrives on is legalism vs license, legalism is the strict perfectionist drive to do the things God requires but in a morbid and unhealthy manner. Legalism has a distinct lack of grace and says, “I must do this to earn God’s love!” or “If I don’t do all these things just right God will not have anything good for me in life, after all I have to work for his blessings” The dangerous thing about this lie is it sounds so true, although God’s blessings come through obedience, he does not require perfection in this matter. We all wish we could obey better and are aware of our shortcomings in this matter but God does know we are weak and human.

Psalm 103:14 says, “for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.”

This means God knows our weaknesses and challenges and is patient with us. He does expect us to try to be more holy and obedient, but there is grace when we fall short.

In contrast, license says, “God is good and he will forgive me, so I’m going to go ahead and sin.” Jesus said to Satan in the wilderness, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.” and that is exactly what happens when a Christian chooses to sin and just presume on God’s grace. God indeed may say, “I forgive you buddy, but now you will have to deal with the nasty consequences to your blatant and arrogant sin.” He forgives but will discipline us and sometimes extremely severely, I know from experience, and trust me, its not a bright idea. I think of a child after his dad says, “Don’t touch that son.” and the child watching his dad, reaches forward while his dad is still looking, almost to try to test to see if anything happens. He then touches it completely, and his father has no choice to spank the lad. After all, if his father just let it slide the boy would think he could keep getting away with that particular thing. God is most certainly not an enabling father, but the Father who will discipline his children as they need it.

Hebrews 12:
5 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” 7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.
9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!
10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

This should answer the question: “If God completely forgives me when I confess and repent of my sins, why then do I still seem to be facing so much turmoil from that choice?” It’s not because God is angry with the person, not at all! However he does want us to learn from our mistakes so that we won’t repeat the same old destructive behaviors. The deal is, God won’t change his mind and bail us out just because we are sorry and repentant afterwards. Like any good father he will use it as a learning experience, not a punishing session, even though it may feel like that.

David learned the hard way, so did Abraham, as well as many other outstanding men and women of faith and character who stumbled in many ways and turned back to God, but they still had life long consequences to certain actions. Let’s consider those who lived before us as our examples. A wise child will learn from his older siblings who have learned the hard way, and we should learn from those who have also gone before us.

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