By Sam Elam
Have you noticed the ‘system’ of the ‘world’? Have you evaluated the ways of our American culture? You know that system that is contrary to the supernatural ways of God? For example the ‘world’ says, “just do it,” “to succeed you have to get to the top,” “your success is defined by what you achieve,” and other self-gratifying and self-glorifying mantras of the day. On the contrary, the Bible, God’s heart, says things like, “the first will be last,” “to succeed you must serve,” “prefer others above yourself”.
How do we cling to the perspective and values of God when the world views them as unpopular or outdated?
As Christians, we are inundated with media that dilutes our thinking and influences us to view casually such things as sex outside of marriage, divorce, pornography, dishonesty and TV shows that glorify sex and have no redeeming value. Christians are often participating in the “things of the world” with no more discretion than the unbeliever.
A few months ago, Kristin Bonham wrote a blog about, “Why I am not reading 51 shades of Grey.” Maybe you had already read the book. Maybe you disagreed with the blog. Or maybe you wondered how Christians could possibly be so confused on how we should stand on these issues.
I too, have looked at the sin in my life and justified it. I have embraced it. I have not wanted to call it sin. When I got to the place of recognizing it as sin, I couldn’t even repent because I wasn’t willing to change. True repentance has to include a changing of attitude or behavior.
Then I fasted. I took that first step to ‘step’ out of the world’s system. I choose to deny myself the food that makes me feel so good; the food that comforts me and gives me energy. I choose to say, even though it feels good, I won’t do it. The world’s system is all about satisfying ourselves; the coffee, the cake, the desserts, the soda, just one more of this and one more of that. I choose to say no, totally aware, that without God’s help, I could not be successful in this fast or in my Christian walk.
When you choose to fast, you are saying ‘no’ to the world’s system and “YES” to God! We have to starve our ‘flesh’, our desires, and our wants so that the Spirit of God in us can increase! When that happens, then we can see the truth that we maybe hadn’t seen before and that truth can penetrate our soul! The truth of God leads us to true repentance and fills us with the power to change.
I chose to fast which led me to greater understanding of His truth and love, which led me to repentance, which led me to change! Broken again, I cried out to God. More aware everyday of how the world’s system can deceive me if I let it. Through regular fasting, I find that I stay sharp to His truth. I stay focused on His love. I stay, very aware, that I cannot do life without God and that by God’s grace, I am more than a conqueror!
In repentance, we find God. In God we find the power to change. In that transformation, we break off chains that so easily capture our heart and mind. Yes, in God we can truly celebrate life, love, and have fun; free of the slavery of the world’s system; free of the addiction to self gratification. I challenge you to stay strong in your fast! Step out of the world’s system and watch God transform your life, your priorities, your understanding, and enrich your life in every way!
There is no other successful way!
Mark 7:6 says, “People honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.”
May we invite God to do the work in our hearts so that we honor God with our lives and not just our words.
After 20 years in Insurance, I left my manicured life to serve God in Nicaragua with my husband of 23 years and 14 year old daughter, Tiffany! (Sam and Greg were members of Grace Family Church while living in Tampa and you can read their story at http://helpinghandsnicaragua.org.)