Monday, March 25, 2019

DAY 13 - New Commitment: Control Your Lust (Please click here for English podcast)


1.   Put on your “brakes” and stop for a moment of silence
2.   Wait for God. Breathe deep for God's peace. Exhale your worries.

Praise and Thanksgiving

1.   Think through your day, all the times that made you smile
2.   Thank God for all those moments, and for all those people
3.   Open your heart to praise the Lord

        I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
                                in the night also my heart instructs me.
          I have set the Lord always before me;
      because he is at my right hand, 
           I shall not be shaken.     Psalm 16:7-8
Confession and repentance

1.  Pray for the Holy Spirit to work in you:

     “Dear Holy Spirit, shine your light into the places of darkness in my life. Show me my sins, everything that blocks me from encountering God. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

2.  Through the Holy Spirit, examine yourself for a short silence and then pray:

     "Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross for our sins and being victorious over death and sin. I confess my sin to you(pause, to tell Jesus what the Holy Spirit has shown you). Forgive my sins by your blood and help me follow you. Holy Spirit, fill me that I may be able to receive your gift to love God and His people. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen."

The Word

  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."                 Matthew 5:27-32

Let's have a time to be still and give the Holy Spirit space to speak through the passage of scripture we have just read. Offer this time up to Jesus as you listen to him, while listening to "Gabriel's Oboe"

My Listening
          The topic that Jesus is dealing with is divorce, but Jesus talks about how to control our lust, which is the starting point that leads to divorce.      We have quite a number of significance passages in the Bible teaching us not to divorce(Malachi 2.14-16, Mark 10.2-12, Luke 16.18, Matthew 19:3-9 and 1 Corinthians 7.10-16). Yes, the rate of divorce is higher and higher nowadays. Why? Jesus says it's because of two reasons. First, we can't control our lust; second, we have no integrity and do not keep our marriage oath. We'll talk about the second reason tomorrow.Bishop N.T. Wright says :     Divorce normally happens when lust and lies have been allowed to grow up like weeds and choke the fragile and beautiful plant of marriage...     Sexual desire, though itself good and God-given, is like the fire of Gehenna(, which needs firmly keeping in place.  Saying 'no' to desire when it strikes inappropriately - in other words, outside the context of marriage - is part of the most basic Christian discipline.N.T. Wright. Matthew for Everyone, Part 1. Louisville,KY:Westminster         John Knox Press, 2004, p.47-49.     Do you believe if we can control our lusts then there would be less divorce? Are you able to control your lusts?     
     What I received from Jesus today is a self-examination of our present lifestyle. Jesus reminds me of two situations.     The first one comes from the past six years of research for my Doctoral thesis: Micro Discipleship. I did a wide spectrum research on daily devotions. The result is that there is less than 10% of Christians who have daily devotions. The shocking phenomenon is that most people, including pastors, do not think that's a problem. Most of them told me it is a fact, not a big deal!     The second one is that when I ask pastors and Christians about the percentage of Christians watching pornography and the answer is almost the same as the first one but reverse. Some pastors told me they read the results of some research indicating that 60 -80 percent of Christians are watching pornography, and it is a fact and not a big deal.      So, brothers and sisters, Jesus is asking you now. If you are those 60 - 80% of Christians watching pornography you have to stop today. Repent and be willing to listen to Jesus' command to control your lust. Let me tell you, you do not have the power to control your lusts. You need to ask Jesus to help you. Actually this Break.Build blog is to help all people to break their addiction including pornography. Why not have a "short win" to stop for 40 days. Then you have a better chance to pull that sin out permanently with the help of Jesus.      You may have other addiction that you need to stop. Today is a good time for you to stop 40 days in order to break that and to build a lifestyle of Christlikeness. Are you willing to enter into this new journey to be with Jesus and to be more like Him?Dear Lord Jesus,Help us to control our lusts so that we can be more like you. In Jesus name we pray. Amen. 

Reflect on these questions:
1. Do you know any relative or friend who is divorced? Do you know the reason why they are divorced?

2. Do you agree with Jesus' teaching that as we control our lust, we can help more people from getting divorced? Why do you agree or disagree?

3. What do you think is the best and most effective way to control your lust? What are practical steps you can take?

Family Corner:
Today's devotional may be challenging for family discussion because it requires great vulnerability and is generally considered taboo in the family. If you are chatting with your spouse, pray for courage to share your own reflections first, rather than trying to dig out your spouse's sin. 
1. In your family, do you create spaces for each other to be vulnerable and share about your sinful struggles? Or, do you simply condemn sin? Or, do you ignore the discussion altogether? 

Praise and Thanksgiving
Let's give thanks for God with us. Let us praise Him:
10,000 Reasons

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