The Internet's favorite Unkle.

Posts Tagged: backslide

Text

image

Anonymous asked: I screwed up pretty bad last night. You know that feeling when you’ve been doing “relatively” well (honestly I don’t know what that means anymore), and then BOOM, something happens and you find yourself right back where you started? I don’t know how to approach God because I’m part ashamed and part scared. I know that He loves every bit of me down to the last itty bitty bit of my DNA, but why is it so hard for me to love Him back? It’s pretty frustrating because I feel that there’s a certain standard that I have to live up to, you know?  What happens to the kind of Christian that screws up? 

image

Unka Glen answered: Finally a question I can answer from vast personal experience! You screwed up. You’re human, it happens to all of us. If you really want to put standards on your life, put a standard on how you respond to mistakes (as opposed to never making mistakes). You want to be a warrior princess? HERE is where that starts, by admitting your weaknesses… and living in God’s strength.

In Texas we have a saying, “ride ‘er till she bucks ya… then get right back on.” Like all of us, you will fall, but your fall doesn’t make you less of a Christian, it’s how you RESPOND to that fall that defines your Christianity.

It defines how you will share it with others as well. As Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:15, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” Sounds familiar, huh?

You know that God loves you, you know that His Word says that His mercies are new every day. You know that you are His child, and that He may be disappointed in your actions (heck you’re disappointed in your actions), but He is never ashamed to call you His daughter. 

So will you live like you know those things are true, even as the dream of being Little Miss Perfect Christian is slowly dying? Or will you be so consumed by your disappointment in yourself, that you’ll allow yourself to be convinced that God is disappointed in you too?

This self-conviction and this self-condemnation and this attempt to live by a “standard” in your lifestyle is, if you think of it, kind of like a separate religion, in that it’s not based on what God says, so much as it’s based on what you feel.

If you’re failing at living out your made-up religious beliefs, why not ditch them, and go with, ya know, the real thing? image

Text

image

Anonymous asked: I’ve been “living in sin” for a while - you know - but lately listening to worship music, and listening to sermons, and I’m almost ready to jump back in - but then I feel this intense wave of dread as I remember how horrible it was trying to live holy - and how miserable it made me, and how lonely I was. It just doesn’t make sense to me why I would put myself through so much. I know it’s for God, but it feels so terrible.

image

Unka Glen answered: Yeah, I love those churchy terms like “living in sin”. I’ve been living in sin since I was born, and of course I still do. As for “living holy”, that’s not a phrase I would self-apply to any part of my life.

I don’t think you should “jump back into” trying to sin less. You dread it for a reason: because the idea sucks. 

I’ll bet that there are people in your church who live a much more straight and squared away lifestyle than I do, and they’re putting some pressure on you to live that same “sinless” way. By contrast, if you hang around me you’d eventually hear more than one curse word (sometimes artfully woven into a poetic string of multiple curse words), and you’d eventually see me being the naughty little scoundrel I actually am.

However, just as the people in your church “live holy” in a way I don’t, I bring certain things to the table that they likely don’t. For example, I’d bet that I actually get more done for the Kingdom, by accident, than they get done on purpose. I’ll bet that I’ve got more determination to follow the Lord in the tip end of my little pinky toe, than they have in their whole body.

And I have ample evidence to support both of those assumptions.

So it’s worth asking yourself, what kind of Christian do you want to be? On the one hand, you can look right, talk right, and act right, or on the other hand you can DO RIGHT, regardless of how it sounds or looks. In the end, the second choice is where all the fun is.

For what it’s worth, it’s possible to sin less without ever doing anything right, but by contrast, if you set out to do right, you will end up sinning less.

image

"Jesus says he is like a doctor for the disease of sin. A doctor doesn’t just look at a sick person and tell them they shouldn’t be sick. They help. You know what’s coming from God when you mess up? Help is coming."

-

Unka Glen Fitzjerrell in his March BridgeBox sermon

Get songs, sermons, studies, devotionals, videos, and more to fuel your walk for only $8/month, which supports missions in Chicago. Sign up at missionusa.com/bridgebox.

Source: thebridgechicago

Text

image

followandreblog asked: Uncle! I know the Bible should be understood in the right context, but I’m confused about these two verses: “He who is not against you is for you.” and “He who is not with Me is against Me.” How do I make myself understand that these verses do not have contradicting meaning? I should get a study guide for the Bible, is there anything you can recommend?

Unka Glen answered: Here’s the first verse: “‘Master,’ said John, ‘we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.’ ‘Do not stop him,’ Jesus said, ‘for whoever is not against you is for you’ (Luke 9:49-50). This is describing someone who is trying to do the right thing, and is going about it in kinda the wrong way.

What Jesus says about this, is very important. Jesus is saying: if someone is heading in basically the right direction, and has a sincere if slightly messed up take on things, work within that to bring them around, rather than starting over from scratch. 

Paul has the same attitude when he talks to the Greeks in Acts 17:16-34. Paul says that they are real spiritual and everything, and they have all these statues to all these gods, and even one “to an unknown god”, so Paul says that he is a representative of this God they don’t know about yet.

In essence, he’s taking them as they are, messed up in some ways, yes, but OPEN to what he has to say, and he’s working with that. In our ministry we often say, if someone is pointed in the right direction, and heading in the right direction, get out of the way. Help, yes. Cheer them on, certainly. But don’t nitpick it. If it’s moving in the right direction, all the details will come together in due time. 

We have a little boy in our children’s ministry who is just a wild little man. He runs around and goes crazy and makes noise and pushes things over and stirs all the other kids up. Well, one day he got in his mind that he wanted to put away the toys in the toy bins, and then stow the bins in the closet.

Well, he’s pushing one of these bins, inch by inch, into a closet, and the darn thing is bigger than he is (he’s not yet 4 years old), and one of the volunteers is trying to stop him because he’s putting it in the wrong closet. I immediately stopped that, saying “he wants to do something right for God’s sake, let him put those bins wherever he wants to, let him do his thing. Don’t spoil this moment.” 

Sure enough he put that bin away and stuck his little chest out all proud of himself, and I said “wow! make a muscle!” and he flexed his little arm and showed everybody. Did he actually help? Not so much. Does that matter? No it doesn’t. He’s trying, and he has the right heart, so we’re celebrating that today. We’ll work on the details later.

Now, this other verse is very different, in it Jesus says: “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters” (Matthew 12:30). Here Jesus is talking about the opposite situation. Whereas above we’re talking about someone trying to do the right thing the wrong way, here Jesus is talking about trying to do the wrong thing the right way. Or trying to do the wrong thing and make it LOOK right. 

Jesus is saying that He has His people that are “with” Him, and they’re kind of a mess, and they still sin and backslide and make mistakes, and the bins aren’t where they should be, and it may not look like much. But then there are people who are working against all that. 

Jesus is saying that a pathetic, lame, fouled up, mostly clueless, messy attempt to serve Him and be a Christian is fine for today. It’s fine because the bottom line is: we are “with” Him. Our hearts are towards Him. We love Him, even though we mess up, even though our lives don’t always reflect it, we do love Him. 

But now let’s imagine a church full of very well-behaved people that decided to stop giving money to the poor (because they need to learn to be behaved, like us) and decided instead to make a fancier church. If they’d prayed about it for a second, they would be humbled of their attitude and turned around, but instead, they decide to take funds meant to serve the Kingdom, and they spend it on themselves. 

Jesus is saying, in a case like that, these people are working against Him. He’s saying they they are scattering resources, instead of gathering them together, and doing a pre-determined good with them. 

This is different from the same church trying to do the right thing and failing at it. Let’s say the same church decides to feed the poor, but they don’t do a good job of finding the food, and preparing it, and delivering it. That’s a different thing altogether. If your heart is set on doing the right thing, God knows that eventually you’ll get it all figured out. 

As for a study guide, the NIV Study Bible is great, and if you’re looking for a more personal study, our BridgeBox service includes awesome Bible study materials, and you can click on the image below for more details on that.

image

Text

thatbethaboo asked: People defend young “Christian” men who are partying it up and hooking up. They say things like: “He knows God, and his spiritual foundation is there, he just doesn’t know what he wants, so let him sow his wild oats. It’s just a phase. If he doesn’t go through it now, he’ll wonder what he missed out on.” It breaks my heart that this destructive lifestyle is being excused and justified. Is it really inevitable? How should a sister in Christ respond to this behavior? Stay away or hang in there?

Unka Glen answered: Well… we could throw a net over someone who is looking to go out and sin, and then keep them in the basement until they decide to live for Jesus. But otherwise, I’m not sure what the alternative is. 

We could use fear, and tell him that if he uses drugs tonight there is a real risk that he could get arrested, that his entire academic future could be effected, and that he could end up being the Prom Queen of Cellblock 27. It’s a dire warning, and a much greater possibility than he thinks, but I can tell you, from working with inmates for the past quarter century, people who have set out to break the law, have already decided that that they’ll be able to walk between the raindrops without getting wet. 

We could use guilt, and tell him that he’s breaking God’s heart, or something like that. But all that emotional manipulation gets old, and eventually people tire of it. That’s probably why this guy is going out to sow his wild oats, he’s trying to get away from all that negative emotionality. 

We could use shame and tell him how ashamed we are of him, and how shameful his acts are. But I think that might have the effect of pushing him out there even harder, and making him feel like he couldn’t come back after he was done messing up. 

None of these manipulators will work. When talking to someone in the midst of a backslide, the key is to say something that they will come back to, when they come to their senses. If it were me, I think the conversation might go something like this:

Me: So you’re going out partying huh?

Dude: I’m just hanging with some new friends, ya know.

Me: Yeah, and I know you feel like you’ve been missing out on stuff, and you feel the need to go out and sow some wild oats, but in the end, remember that God is your foundation.

Dude: Sure.

Me: Oh, and here’s another thing, give yourself permission to declare that this is stupid as soon as you notice that it is.

Dude: What to you mean? You don’t know what it’s like!

Me: True enough, but now I’m going to make a series of wild guesses… At some point in your near future you’re going to discover that your “wild time” will involve staring at a red plastic cup filled with cheap booze while listening to music too loud to actually have a conversation with anyone around you. You’ll realize the most “exciting” thing in the whole night might involve behavior you would have thought funny when you were about 12 years old, and that all of this will be so boring, so pointless, and so sad, that someone will regularly yell “PARTY… WOO”, so you can all still feel like maybe it is a party, and not a sad collection of social misfits who couldn’t figure out anything actually fun to do, so you’re just drinking instead. And as a finale, you’ll feel like barfing on your shoes all night.

Dude: Er…

Me: In that moment, it’s not about “I told you so”, It’s just you making a smart decision for you, and recognizing that you weren’t missing anything, and that the friendships you have at church are likely to be the best friendships you’ll ever have. Not to mention that when you’re having that fellowship, you have more fun by accident than any partier has on purpose. Those people at that party are seeking after what you already have.

…The objective is to plant a seed that will bear fruit at the right time in the future.

Text

From a Twitter follower @heyenvy, and her blog post. I couldn’t have said it better myself (even though I did say some of it myself… well just read it, you’ll see what I mean).

It’s Been Won Over Long Ago!

“God did the work to save you, and when He did, He made your sin (past, present & future) powerless to separate you from God.  If you can’t wrap your mind around that, you’re stuck on square one of Christianity.” — Uncle Glen

I want to honor the man who mentioned the above quote first. I was introduced to Uncle Glen’s blog when I saw it on my dashboard, thanks to my Victory group leader’s reblogs of his posts on Tumblr. Uncle Glen, reading his answers to the questions his followers ask him and the quotes from his preaching, has been a blessing to me (to his blog followers, as well, I’m sure). Thank you, Uncle Glen!!!

I have a lot of questions that needs answers, revelations. I have a lot of issues that God and I need to and will work on together. I am a work in process. And today, I just know that God decided to really clear one of them. I was randomly browsing Unka Glen’s blog, and encountered the quote above (below, haha). Again, it says:

God did the work to save you, and when He did, He made your sin (past, present & future) powerless to separate you from God.  If you can’t wrap your mind around that, you’re stuck on square one of Christianity.

 If you can’t wrap your mind around that, you’re stuck on square one of Christianity.

An arrow flew straight through my heart. And no, it’s not Katniss Everdeen’s.

Was there a time in your life when you knew something you were about to do wouldn’t really honor God but for some reason, you still did it? Guilt spread in your system like a wildfire, yes. And it was a LOT stronger because you knew it wouldn’t honor Him but you still chose to give in. Then you started to feel so ashamed of yourself. You felt that you disappointed God again, and the tally of all the wrongs went on. Then self condemnation slowly entered the scene.

I know that feeling so well.

When you condemn yourself, it’s like opening your windows for the enemy. That’s where it comes in saying, “You sin beyond your quota, kiddo. You think God still loves you? He is so disappointed in you!!!”

I’ve read verses, I’ve heard people. God loves me.  I’ve been redeemed. While I knew that the answer was (is and will always be), “Yes, He will always love me! And He just can’t help it!” Still, for some reason I still got shaken. I’ve encountered this a lot of times before, the biggest one just before my Level Up Youth Camp: I was so ashamed of myself. While I still talked to God (asked for his forgiveness, but was still feeling so guilty) I made sure I wouldn’t ask for stuff. Or keep the asking for favor so minimal. “I don’t deserve His favor, I shall not ask,” I said in my head. But in one of the sessions in the camp He said to me, “Stop judging yourself.” (My thought that time: Is this youth camp made especially, specifically for me? Haha!) That line blew me away big time, it drove me to tears. And in all honesty, that night, I thought I was okay already in that department. But I guess today’s revelation proved that the case hadn’t really closed completely… which made me realize just how hard-headed I am. And how great my God is for still blessing me, loving me, willing to be with me through it all.

The enemy will whisper lies in our heads. And such lies will really shake us, most especially when we don’t know just how much how great He is and how much He loves us. In 1 Samuel 16:7, it says, ”…the LORD looks at the heart.” Yes, He can see what’s in our hearts. But Romans 8:38-39 says that “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  The Scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16). It is written, nothing can ever separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ. Oh, and here’s a killer line from one of my favorite songs by Chris Tomlin entitled Indescribable: “You see the depths of my heart and you love me the same.” See, in just that single line, how He loves us? Our God is so amazing, ‘no?  Discover more about Him. Read your Bible and ask Him to reveal Himself more to you.

“Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.” (Psalm 136:26)

"A thankful Christian never backslid."

- Unka Glen (unkaglen.tumblr.com)