I worked at Vanderbilt Medical Center for over forty years. The medical center had a number of specialty Clinics. One of the most popular centers was the Nutrition Clinic. At this clinic patients were taught how to manage their special diet. One day I was going past that clinic and saw a sign over the door that said “WHAT YOU EAT IS WHAT YOU ARE.” I got to thinking, what exactly does that mean? Then it came to me that the nutritionists were trying to get over the concept that if we eat unhealthy food that has high fat content, a lot of salt or sugar, and low fiber we will most likely be obese and very unhealthy. The nutritionists were trying to get their patients to eat healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. Meats that we eat should be low in fats like fish and chicken etc. This diet will lead to a healthy body.
This concept applies to our spiritual health (What You Think Is What You Are). Think about it, when we spend a great deal of time watching adult themed movies, read adult books, spend time on the internet watching adult websites, we are poisoning our spiritual lives. We will be sick and unhealthily spiritually. There is an old saying “Garbage in, Garbage Out.” In 1 John 2:15-17 we read, “Love not the world. If any man love the world, the love of the father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” When we watch and read this filth, we develop a lustful attitude. We read in James 1:14-15, “but every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed then when lust hath conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
It is easy to see when we consume all this garbage, our mind as well as out spiritual life will be very unhealthy and sick. Paul tells us in Philippians 4: 8 what to meditate on: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy meditate on these things.”
In order to live the life God would have us to live, we must not simply refuse to eat whatever is found in a garbage bin, but actively seek to eat of the finest delicacies available. These finest (spiritual) delicacies can be found by spending time in God’s Word. When we do this we will develop a healthy spiritual life. 2 Peter 1:4-8 defines the growth of a healthy Christian. “By which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
If we want healthy physical bodies, we will eat good healthy food, and if we want healthy spiritual lives, we will spend time in God’s word and think on principles found there.
Through the centuries this challenge has taken on a more complex meaning in disagreements with peoples and nations.
The Mason-Dixon Line is usually thought of as the dividing line between the North and the South in our country and symbolizes a great conflict that tore our nation apart.
The Maginot Line was a fortification built on the eastern border of France for protection from invading armies. During World War II the German army passed to the north of the line and attacked the French from the rear capturing the line.
During the Korean Conflict (War) the United Nations Security Council established the 38th Parallel as the line which North Korea was to retreat to and not enter South Korea beyond that line. North Korea ignored the resolution and invaded the South.
Spiritually speaking, we are called upon to draw lines every day.
Where do we draw the line when it comes to sin? For example, where do we draw the line when we are faced with decisions about drinking alcohol, taking habit forming drugs, or having sexual relations outside of marriage? Do we see just how close we can get to the line and then convince ourselves we will not cross over the line? Do we run with a crowd that is always pushing the line and testing us to see just how far we will go?
As Christians, we often sing the song “Have You Counted The Cost.” The first verse begins, “There is a line that is drawn by rejecting our Lord.” If we reject the Lord, we can live anyway we please and have little conflict. If we cross over the line and accept Christ, we are signaling the beginning of a battle. We will battle Satan everyday as he tries to devour us (I Peter 5:8), but our reward will be eternal victory in Jesus (I John 5:4).
Where have you drawn the line?
–by David Coleman
As we grow older, some words used to describe events or habits of mankind have changed or are very seldom used any more. I want to look at one of these words in this article. We just don’t hear the word “backsliding” used much, if at all, in our speech these days.
The word “backsliding” is used solely in the Old Testament. The Hebrew meaning for this word is “a turning back or away.” This word is used 9 times in Jeremiah 2-14 as the above meaning. The same Hebrew word translated backsliding is used 2 times in Hosea 11:7; 14:4. Again the same Hebrew word meaning “turning back” appears 4 more times in Jeremiah 3:14, 22; 31:22; 49:4. It is used one more time in Hosea 4:16 meaning, “to turn around.”
These references are directed to God’s chosen people Israel. Consider 1 Chronicles 16:13 and Psalm 29:11. God through Moses told Israel in Exodus 19:5, “ If you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenants, then you shall be a special treasure to me above all people.” Yet as time passed this special relationship as a treasure to God changed. Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge. Since they have rejected knowledge I will also reject them, that they shall be no priests to me: seeing they have forgotten the Law of God.” Thus the “backsliding,” the turning away or turning back from God.
The Old Testament was written to reveal the history of God’s chosen people and for mankind to learn from these recorded events (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:11) and for us to make application to our lives as Christians. Let us notice Hebrews 3:12, which speaks to us in this dispensation. “Take heed brethren lest haply there shall be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the Living God.” 2 Peter 1:10 warns us not to stumble and jeopardize our entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We must consider the example in God’s Word of, not changing the heart or turning back or away from the revealed truth. Consider the example of Simon the Sorcerer in Acts 8:21-23. In 2 Timothy 4:10, Demas loved this present world and had forsaken Paul and the work. These two are among the list in the New Testament that have turned away and went back to serving the world and not in a committed relationship with Christ as the Scripture teaches.
How can we prevent this from happening to us? Notice 2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Study to show thyself approved unto God.” 1 Corinthians 4:6 says, “Not to think beyond the things which are written.” Matthew 26:41 says, “Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation.” May we in our relationship with Jesus Christ consider these things and learn not to turn back from God?
Recorded in Genesis 2:15, God took the man that he had formed from the dust of the ground and put him in the Garden of Eden. He told the man to tend it and keep it. In verse 16 God told the man, “Of every tree in the garden you may freely eat but of one tree, the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat. For in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” In the latter part of chapter 2 God made from the rib of man a woman, a helpmeet and a companion, and brought her unto the man.
Continuing in chapter 3 we see the first recorded appearance of Satan in the form of a serpent speaking to the woman. Satan asked the woman, “Hath God said you shall not eat of every tree in the garden?” The woman responded, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat of it nor shall you touch it lest you die.’” Satan knew what God had said. This was just one of his subtle approaches.
Satan, in verse 4 of the same chapter, said to the woman, “You shall not surely die.” He contradicted God’s instructions to the man. John 8:44 states that Satan is a liar and the father of lies.
Lets look at Job 1:6. “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord and Satan also came among them.” Satan is always present; he comes to make and present his cunning and crafty alternatives.
In answer to the Lord’s question, “From where do you come?” Satan answered, “From going to and fro on the earth and walking back and forth on it.” Some think Satan is in a far away place of spiritual existence waiting the sentence of eternal Hell. While he is under that condemnation, Satan has been given the freedom to roam about the earth as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1Peter 5:8).
In so many instances mankind at times has come to realize Satan will use every means at his disposal to tempt and war against God’s people and His divine word. Many have had to fight Satan as he worked through a wife, husband, friend, or relative to accomplish his purpose.
Jesus was not immune to the crafty temptations of Satan while he was on earth. Satan exempts no one from his goal to capture and conquer. May we notice Matthew 4? Satan tempted Jesus after he had fasted for 40 days and nights in the wilderness. Now, in my thinking, that period of time would have caused Jesus to become hungry. How does Satan approach Jesus? In Matthew 4:3 Satan says, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” Notice the “IF” you are the Son of God. This comment from Satan struck at the very faith of Christ.
God has left you alone, forsaken you in this wilderness. Notice Satan didn’t say, “Pray to your Father that these stones become bread.” He said, “You do it, your Father has forsaken you; you can’t depend on God.” All these approaches were to tempt Jesus and accomplish Satan’s purposes.
What was Jesus’ response? He said “It is written.” Jesus used what was written in the Law. Isn’t this an excellent example of a sure way to fight the temptations of Satan? Know the Scriptures and use them when Satan comes with his disguised and deceiving strategy to tempt us. We must keep it in our mind that Satan will offer certain and pleasurable things in return for service to him. Many will forfeit their faith and commitment to Christ for the pleasures that Satan offers.
Matthew 16:26 asks, “What shall man give in exchange for his soul?” How long are we here to enjoy the pleasures in this life that Satan offers in return for serving him. Compare this earthly existence to eternity separated from God and His promises in the place of torment and blackness revealed in the Bible as Hell with the Devil and his angles. Think on these things.