This is an excerpt from a book (Disciplines Of A Beautiful Woman by Anne Ortlund) which I read many years ago, and yet it is now that this particular message seems most relelvant to me. Now, i’d like to share this with you all, and I pray it touches you as much as it touched me. Yes, the book was written for women, but the lessons are really for everyone.
“You must commit yourself to moral purity. No matter where you’re starting – from this moment on, you must. First Thessalonians 3:13 says this begins when you “strengthen your heart,” so do it right now. Say “yes” to 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8, which begins, “It is God’s will that you should be holy.”
You don’t need to pray to see if it’s God’s will for you to have sex with that wonderful Christian you love and are soon to marry; for your church to hire that homosexual who’s such a glorious musician; for you to wed that respected, long-time Christian who’s divorced wife is still alive…for you to embrace fornication, homosexuality, or adultery in any form – all defined in 1 Thessalonians 4:3 by the Greek word porneia, from which comes our word pornography.
“Abstain,” says God. He doesn’t say “Be careful” or “Pray about it” – He says “ABSTAIN! RUN FROM IT! DON’T TOUCH IT! HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!”
Stay pure and blameless. If you don’t God will suffer most of all, (When we sin, God loses!) But you will also as a result be left with anxieties, conflicts, guilt, disease or worse.
A tell-tale sign of moral weakness and susceptibility to temptation is excessive interest in the physical – food, clothes, fitness – and a weak interest in the spiritual – prayer, the Word, fellowship, ministry. Judge yourself before the Lord.
Now let me picture for you strongly, as vividly as I can that God wants you to stay away from sin. Read carefully, a lesson from history.
Practically, from the first, Amalek was an enemy of God. He was the grandson of Esau by a concubine (Gen. 36:12), and his tribesmen were the first to try to hinder Israel from escaping the Egyptians (Exod, 17:8-16). For that reason, on the spot God promised Moses that He’d eventually destroy the Amalekites (Exod. 17:14 – 16 ; Deut. 25:17- 19)
During the following centuries, the Amalekites fought God’s people at every opportunity – plundering them, killing them, hassling them, oppressing them – until finally God told King Saul, in effect, “Enough! The sins of the Amalekites have reached full measure, and it’s time to wipe them and all their possessions off the face of the earth.” ( 1 Sam. 15:1 – 3)
Unfortunately, Saul didn’t happen to share God’s views. So he wiped off the face of the earth the part of the Amalekites that didn’t look good to him – and spared the rest for his personal use, hoping God wouldn’t notice.
But here came God’s prophet, Samuel. Sounding as hearty and business-like-as-usual as he could, Saul chirped, “The Lord bless you! I have carried the Lord’s instructions.” (1 SAM. 15:13)
“What then” interrogated the prophet sarcastically, “is the bleating of sheep in my ears? What is the lowing of cattle that I hear? (v. 14) . Saul hadn’t fooled him a bit.
And because King Saul didn’t hate what God hated and didn’t destroy what God wanted destroyed, God took away his crown and reign.
God hasn’t changed today. You must hate what He hates and destroy what He wants destroyed. He knows the damage these enemies do to His children, the hurt and anguish they cause to His precious ones, and when He says “kill them” – do it!
Colossians 3:5-8b is this kind of command. God says,
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and grees, which is idolatry…Rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.”
Friend, if you don’t think they’re as awful as God thinks they are – and if you let some of them hang around instead of killing them – understand right now that, as He did to Saul, God will remove you from your stature, He’ll cut you down from your influence. He’ll give you disgrace.
Look carefully at these things listed in Colossians 3, and ask yourself if you hate each one as God hates them. Do you let any of them hang around? Do you let them coexist in your life as if they were acceptable? Are you tolerating God’s enemies?
Nehemiah didn’t. When he came back from a trip and found Tobiah put up as a guest in God’s house – Tobiah, who’d been God’s enemy from the start – do you know that Nehemiah did? He literally threw out all Tobiah’s stuff with his own hands and had the room cleaned up and restored. (Neh. 13:6-9)
Listen, the world is full of Christians who pass around little “spiritual” books and go to Bible classes and say “praise the Lord” a lot – at the same time showing no desire to put to death the characteristics of their earthly nature.
To people like these, the love of Jesus crucified is pure sentimentality. And whether they know it or not, they are utterly without power in their lives.
True Christianity costs. It costs plenty. You kick out all the enemies. You put to death everything that God tells you to put to death. Lust must go, Greed likewise, Filthy language isn’t funny – kill it! And if any of these comes to and raises his head, bash him again!
To love God and to please Him is worth everything, everything. Your sexual immorality must go, your anger must go, your malice must go, your slander must go. All of them must go – forever! Be ruthless. Whatever the sins are that right now make you feel guilty and uneasy – hate them! Murder them! Get them once and for all out of your life!
And don’t you dare read these words just to have read one more Christian book – just for a little evangelical tickling and entertainment. Let these words jar you to instant obedience.
What lurking thing are you hosting, coddling, hanging on to, putting up with? You know how your Lord Christ feels about it.
You know what sin you have to put to death.
Do it with all your strength.