Disintegration of Character

The syndrome of chronic moral debility

We live in a morally debilitated and degenerate world resulting in the disintegration of character. Decadence is on the increase. The line between morality and immorality has been blurred so much that most people can no longer distinguish one from the other. Society has engendered such a sharp inversion of values that it has absurdly considered this to be a culturally and modern advance.

The worst part is that this is entering into the church and contaminating it. People who accept chronic moral debility allow themselves to be conformed to the immoral circumstances that routinely confront them. They end up conforming to the ungodly values of the present age.

In many churches growth has been accompanied by worldliness due to disintegration of the character of Christ in their respective leaderships. To the detriment of the ethics of character, the ethics of personality, which ignore and violate the basic principles that rule the spiritual world, leave many believers at the mercy of satanic bonds. The problem is that ignorance does not exempt us from the consequences and punishment of breaking the law.

A lifestyle wrapped up in moral ignorance gives place to social chaos when we become indulgent with sin calling it “weakness”. It begins with tolerance of sin, continues with collusion, then comes insensibility and finally a damaged conscience, which compromises the foundation of life. Sin becomes a comfortably natural routine.

In this generation where society subject’s true laws and values to relativity, the collusion with moral weakness has placed the message and integrity of the church in checkmate. The avalanche of emotional problems that are debilitating modern society is nothing more than a symptomatic collateral effect of the moral disintegration of a passive “prosperity”.

Some people think that certain debilities are part of their personality. Many people, some of which are Christian workers, leaders and pastors, have embraced their moral weakness as an evangelical vice, and are trying to convince God that they were born morally weak, but that’s the way they are and there’s nothing they can do about it.

However, the truth is that this spiritual debility produces ungodliness and evil. This lack of moral strength gives place to the devil, profaning the work of God and bringing on scandals and destruction.

Defining defeat due to the disintegration of character

What is defeat? From the perspective of approval, we can quickly define defeat as “a cyclic life of reproof”. A vicious cycle is any evil dynamic or situation to which we feel obligated to return.

When someone faces a situation of testing and fails, he or she will be obligated to return to the same type of situation. Each time that we go through a test and we fail to pass it, we have to go through it again.

This obligatory return to the point of defeat defines the law of the test, from which no one escapes. Through repeated confrontations with this law, either a character of obedience or an alternative moral failure eventually emerges.

However, the draining dynamic of having to return routinely to the same situation, to which we subject ourselves repeatedly, begins to build a picture of defeat. In other words, whenever we take a test we fail! Therefore, we take the test again and we fail again! We repeat the test and suddenly we fail again! Each time the test defeats us more easily and we become convinced that we are a failure. It is just as Jesus declared:Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. (John 8:34)

We feel defeated and without hope. This has become a periodic cycle in the lives of many people, leading them to spiritual disintegration, apathy and apostasy.

In this way, the specific points of testing become oppressive internal giants, building up fortresses that we are convinced are impenetrable. We must learn from David to leap over these walls and overcome these enemies.

The Bible tells us how Goliath, the most famous Philistine hero, challenged any man of the armies of Israel to face him in personal combat. Each day he came at the same time and repeated his humiliating and psychologically crushing challenge to all:

And the Philistine drew near and presented himself forty days, morning and evening. (1 Samuel 17:16)

This represents a cold and calculated strategy, in which the enemy plants a mentality of defeat. Each warrior of Israel had to tolerate two challenges per day. They were defeated each morning and each afternoon every day! Goliath imposed a cyclic process of personal and collective reproof simultaneously.

Because of the terrible challenges of the giant, day after day, each warrior had to accept failure through their cowardice. That became a humiliating routine, destroying the self-esteem of each man of Saul’s army. This represents more than a defeat, it was a massacre!

And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were dreadfully afraid. (1 Samuel 17:24)

Each of Goliath’s public challenges imposed a deep sense of impotence that immobilized each soldier of Israel. Not only were they already accustomed to the situation of defeat, but also, they were totally intimidated, desperate and terrified. This lasted 40 days without interruption, until God sent David. We have here a true picture of spiritual defeat.

This episode reveals what happens in many people’s lives. When they are in the church, with all of the members, they appear to be ready for anything. They pray, worship, preach and zealously testify. However, personally, alone before their internal giants of anger, impatience with their spouse, pornography, debts … they can’t control themselves, they feel discredited and defeated.

Defining trauma due to the disintegration of character

In the dynamic of this cyclic life of reproof resides the true point where our weaknesses are concentrated. It is impossible to speak of defeat without speaking of trauma. Areas of defeat are also areas of trauma. Each new reproof represents a newly inflicted wound. From this perspective, we can define trauma as “the result of wounds and reproof concentrated at the same point”.

An example of this would-be children roller-skating without kneepads. Years ago, protective equipment was not readily available or at least sought after by children of that generation. The joy and thrill of racing down a hill on roller skates, during a time, supersedes the fear of falling head over heels and smashing up knees and elbows. Only after several falls and multiple wounds on top of wounds does the fear of falling overcome these children’s fun.

This is a good way to describe a trauma: it is when you sustain a wound on top of a wound! The mere thought of someone touching the place that was hurt, causes pain! The terrible fear of being hurt again installs itself, as in automatic defense mechanism.

Psychologically, this point begins to suffer a constant weakening, becoming ever more acceptable to collapse where the structure itself can be broken, like a bone that can be broken, producing permanent damage, or a healing process that takes much longer.

Some people after four or five attempts to enter a college or university, who repetitively fail to pass the entrance exam, permanently give up their professional dreams. Similar types of things happen all around us wherever our abilities are tested. All of this describes most people’s moral and emotional life. The truth is that we can rightly claim that almost everyone has struggled or is struggling with areas of trauma and defeat.

Disintegration of character and the process of deepening a wound

Reiterating, each cycle of reproof imposes a new blow on the wound. The level of pain begins to intensify and deepen each time we are subjected to the same type of test. Wounds are sustained on top of wounds. This picture of defeat works according to a type of “spiral effect” deepening the pain and the roots of the state of reproof.

Morally speaking, we can define the deepness of the trauma as feelings of “shame”. The intensity of the shame and spiritual embarrassment can be determined by the distance between the first and the last reproof.

There is a type of shame that is healthy and promotes decency, however there is another type of shame that is an enslaving feeling that comes as a result of this chronic process of moral debilitation, abuses suffered, losses marked with the feeling of injustice, inferiority and bitterness. As much as we try to flee, that same thing always pursues us and repeats.

Invariably, wherever this type of spiritual shame exists, much fear, guilt and pain also exist. The moral shame that torments our memory establishes the depth that this cycle of chronic reproof has dug into our soul.

Paul insists that it is necessary for us to be before God not only as a worker, but “as a worker who does not need to be ashamed.” It is fundamentally important to deal with this shame of the soul. We must present this same position and disposition of conscience with that which Jesus faced and confronted all of Satan’s ability to accuse:

I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. (John 14:30)

Much thanks to Mr. Rick Spinos.

Character Formation

For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)We all desire to have a character approved by God. We all want to please God and for that reason, we merely wait to discover the rules before beginning to practice them.

The Christian life is not a mere fulfillment of rules and precepts, because we are no longer under the law. We can sum up the Christian life with the phrase “Christ in you”, or in other words, the Christian life consists of the complete dependence on the Holy Spirit that lives within us. He changes our will and He enables us to do His will. He is all in everything. Jesus is our goodness, our meekness, our justice; he is really everything that we need. Everything that we need is already within us in the person of the Holy Spirit. It would be very easy for us to begin to exert ourselves to fulfill a set of qualities; however, this is not our purpose. Our desire is that you have the revelation of the full supply of God for your life, because to the extent that you understand this, your character qualities will develop naturally. The full supply of God for us is Christ Jesus, who lives within us. He is our life. He is our all in all.

It does no good to speak of character and conduct if we do not yet appropriate the full supply that God has for us: the deliverance from the old man from the power of sin, our justification and our regeneration in Christ, our complete dependence on the Spirit and the walk in the Spirit. We need to appropriate these great spiritual realities but not only that, we need to learn to perceive the direction of God in our spirit, to learn to separate the soul from the spirit, and learn the practice of daily renouncing the ego in the principle of the cross. We must understand all of these experiences in the spirit.

When we over emphasize recommended qualities, we run the risk of establishing a stack of rules that are not in the Bible, such as five steps to overcome wrath, 10 steps to overcome lasciviousness etc. These things do not work and divert us from the center of the Christian life, which is Christ (Colossians 3:4).

Many people think that they can be holy if they can just overcome certain types of sins. Others think that by being humble and gentle they are victorious. Others imagine that by praying and reading the Bible more, being careful to fast and pray that they will attain a holy character. Others have the idea that simply by killing the ego they will be victorious. All of these formulas have the appearance of godliness and sincerity but they are vain and useless. We cannot live the Christian life using 1001 formulas for the most varied problems. In practice, none of this works. What God desires is that we understand that Christ is our life, the perfect supply of God for all of our needs.

With this understanding in mind, we will now study some fundamental principles that will increase our understanding that Christ is in fact our life.

  1. The formation of character through God’s dealings with us

The multiform grace of God enables us with gifts to do certain things that would otherwise be impossible (2 Peter 1:1). God, through Jesus Christ, provides us with His own nature. God has granted us certain divine promises (2 Peter 1:4) and the power of God is our guarantee that He will operate the necessary changes within us (2 Peter 1:3).

Only through an attitude of diligence will we be able to perfect our character. We must make the decision to assume the likeness of Christ, to have within us the maturity of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:10, 11).

The Christian life is a process. We attain it gradually, each step corresponds to a new level reached and a new victory attained in a specific area. We must constantly grow.

God’s responsibility is to provide His own divine nature to every Christian through the repentance of sin and faith in Christ Jesus. Man’s responsibility is to apply all of God’s supply to fulfill this reality in his life.

God has given every believer everything necessary for a holy life as a birthright along with power and authority. The Christian has everything he needs to develop a mature character according to that of Jesus Christ.

  1. Describing the process

We have all been born in iniquity and formed in sin. All of us by birth have a fallen nature that may or may not accompany us for the rest of our lives (Romans 5:12). The fallen nature of man is not in harmony with anything of God.

God has placed before the Christian the goal of perfection (Genesis 17:1; Matthew 5:48; Luke 6:40; 1 Peter 1:15). Spiritual maturity is the biblical goal for all those who are in Christ Jesus.

Sometimes man’s carnality does not permit him to develop his character, as the Scriptures require. God definitively treats human nature by the power of the cross, but the ego is the principal reason why man needs the discipline of God. Each Christian needs the discipline of God to motivate him to continue in the direction of spiritual perfection (Hebrews 6:1, 3).

  1. The purpose of discipline

The Christian needs the discipline of God in his life in order to reveal hidden areas that must be transformed (1 John 1:5-7). God desires to reveal these hidden areas of sin in us, but in a way that helps us to grow. The Scriptures affirm that God reveals such secrets (Matthew 10:26, 27; 1 Corinthians 3:13).

God reveals our hidden sins so that He will not have to destroy us and our ministries. God reveals the dark areas that are present within us so that we renounce them. In order for this to happen, the Christian needs the grace of God because the human tendency is to cover up our own faults and weaknesses. Man always attempts to defend himself and to hide the motives of his heart (Genesis 3:8).

God has given His Holy Spirit to the Christian. It is the Holy Spirit who reveals the spiritual needs of man, probing the heart of the Christian and pointing to sins that must be abandoned (Psalm 139:23; Proverbs 21:2).

The word “reveal” means to remove the lid and the word “conceal” means to hide, to block the vision of, or to cover up the subject. God tries to remove the covering over man, while man tries everything to retain it.

There are several men in the Scriptures that illustrate the danger of hidden sins. The Scriptures drastically contrast the beginning of their lives with the end of them. They began well but ended up tragically.

Every Christian can start out well. Nevertheless, if they have hidden sins, which they have not confessed and continue practicing without repentance, they will destroy their lives and their ministry.

In the second book of Samuel, David, lamenting the death of Saul and Jonathan, called out three times: “How the mighty have fallen” (2 Samuel 1:19). In this lamentation, David described the “mighty” in the beginning of their ministerial life as beautiful, mighty (verse 19); beloved, pleasant, swifter than eagles and stronger than lions (verse 23); they clothed the daughters of Israel in scarlet and ornaments of gold (verse 24).

Every leader needs to remember that the purpose of the discipline of God is to reveal their heart so that they themselves will not fall. The Bible is full of examples of men who began well, but finished in tragedy, for the very reason that they did not understand the purposes of the testing of God in their lives.

A series on Character by Rick Spinos.

The Empty Tomb.

The Empty Tomb

We have before us today the open sepulcher, the bewildered alarm it caused, and the faith it both elicited and excited. John’s Gospel comes to a conclusion in chapter 20 with a proclamation of Jesus’ victory over death and then is followed in chapter 21 by an epilogue.

Each Gospel writer stresses certain aspects of the discovery of the empty tomb. John began his resurrection story with a testimony of how he came to personal faith in the Resurrection by considering the evidence found in the open tomb. The empty tomb bore witness to a physical or bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Contrary to cult heresy our Lord was raised in the same body He was crucified in. He is risen.

“For in Him we live and move and have our being…”

“Jesus I know; Paul I know but who are you?”

You need to know WHO you are in Christ so that you know WHAT to do, WHEN to do it, WHERE to go, and HOW to do it! 

Who you are in Christ

Because you are in Christ, EVERY ONE of these statements is true of you.idendity-in-christ-sermon-series

  • I am loved. 1 John 3:3
  • I am accepted. Ephesians 1:6
  • I am a child of God. John 1:12
  • I am Jesus’ friend. John 15:14
  • I am a joint heir with Jesus, sharing His inheritance with Him. Romans 8:17
  • I am united with God and one spirit with Him. 1 Corinthians 6:17
  • I am a temple of God. His Spirit and his life lives in me. 1 Corinthians 6:19
  • I am a member of Christ’s body. 1 Corinthians 12:27
  • I am a Saint. Ephesians 1:1
  • I am redeemed and forgiven. Colossians 1:14
  • I am complete in Jesus Christ. Colossians 2:10
  • I am free from condemnation. Romans 8:1
  • I am a new creation because I am in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved. Colossians 3:12
  • I am established, anointed, and sealed by God. 2 Corinthians 1:21
  • I do not have a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
  • I am God’s co-worker. 2 Corinthians 6:1
  • I am seated in heavenly places with Christ. Eph 2:6
  • I have direct access to God Ephesians. 2:18
  • I am chosen to bear fruit John. 15:16
  • I am one of God’s living stones, being built up in Christ as a spiritual house. 1 Peter 2:5
  • I have been given exceedingly great and precious promises by God by which I share His nature. 2 Peter 1:4
  • I can always know the presence of God because He never leaves me Hebrews. 13:5
  • God works in me to help me do the things He wants me to do Philippians 2:13
  • I can ask God for wisdom and He will give me what I need. James 1:5

who-you-are-christ

Too many are like sheep having no Shepherd

But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Matthew 9:36 NKJV.He had compassion

Truest compassion is only found in nature of God, because only God knows the full depth of an individual’s pain, need, or suffering.

Jesus presents to us the essence of His feelings for human weaknesses (Heb. 4:15), fully sensing the ravaged condition of human brokenness. As disciples we are called to learn Jesus’ heart of compassion, a depth of sensitivity that can be worked in us through the person of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit reconditioning our hearts to be able to sense the pain of human bondage and to weep with those who weep (Heb. 13:3; Rom. 12:15).

We see in our Lord the feelings of His heart in His tears over the city of Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44) and His tears at the tomb of Lazarus (John 11:35) these reveal more than either a sense of rejection by the people of one city or a grief over the death of a personal friend.

Jesus’ tears came as a result of His recognition of the hardness of all hearts that were blinded by their sin and for the tragedy of all mankind’s vulnerability to death.

Love sees beyond the immediate and the personal and compassionately relates to the lost, the hurting, the needy, and the distressed. It moves more and more into the dimension of discipleship flowing through a person to care for and serve others.

Have you heard from the Holy Spirit today in your heart felt desire to pray for a neighbor, a family member or perhaps asking the Holy Spirit for someone somewhere who may never hear the good news of the Gospel because they have no family, friends or neighbors who would take the time to pray for their salvation leading to true compassion for one who has no hope otherwise?

A Door of Hope

The prophet Hosea in the book named after him describes the characteristic social conditions of his day: corrupt leaders, unstable family life, widespread immorality, class hatred, and poverty. Though people continued a form of worship, idolatry was more and more the accepted norm. The Shepard’s (leaders) were failing to guide the people into ways of righteousness.

In the midst of Israel’s trouble God’s love is manifested in a word spoken to Israel. He will transform the Valley of Achor (Trouble) into the “door of Hope.”

“Therefore, behold I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness (not a place of punishment but a place of privacy) and speak comfort (her heart) to her.

I will give her vineyards from there, and the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.”  Hosea 2:14, 15. NKJV. hosea2

Hope, tiqvah, Strong’s # 8615: hope; expectation; something yearned for anticipated eagerly; something for which one waits. Its original meaning was “to stretch like a rope.” In Joshua 2:18,21, it is translated “Line” or “cord”; Rahab was instructed to tie a scarlet tiqvah (cord or rope) in her window as her hope of rescue.

Yahweh Himself is the hope of the godly (Ps. 71:5). Here God’s blessing on His land will transform the Valley of Achor (“trouble”) into the “Door of Hope.” Achor means “Trouble”, and was the scene of Achan’s sin (Josh. 7:26). God redeems situations, bringing present hope in the place of previous trouble.   

The spirit must be reborn and the soul converted

New Birth vs. Conversion

By RSpanos

The spirit must be reborn and the soul converted

Most Christians believe that the new birth and conversion mean the same thing. Confusion regarding the difference in these terms can generate mistaken theological paradigms.

The Bible says it is necessary to be born again (John 3:3). It is logical that new birth includes the initial aspect of conversion. What is new birth? It is the new birth of the human spirit. The Holy Spirit re-creates the spirit and begins to live in it. It is a regeneration of the spiritual life. We call it salvation. The spirit is born again instantaneously. All you have to do is believe in Jesus and make a decision to follow him. This faith comes supernaturally from repentance through the message of the gospel. It is easy to be born again. buterfly

But there is another word: conversion. Conversion has a completely different meaning. Conversion is the continual process of regeneration of the soul. This takes time and it has its costs.

Therefore, being born again is an instantaneous regeneration of the spirit, and conversion is a continual process of deliverance and regeneration of the soul. Salvation is free, but to become a disciple costs everything.

You can be saved and not be converted. Why is this? The answer is because conversion takes place in the soul and salvation takes place in the spirit. You can be saved, have the Holy Spirit within you, live in God’s presence, be a new creature in Christ and still not be converted in your soul; your thinking, feelings and will.

What is your soul? You are a triune being: a body, soul and spirit (1 Thess. 5:23). Your spirit is you; the real you that God created. Your soul is basically your mind, your will and your emotions. Your body is your house. Jesus can save your spirit in an instant, but your soul requires much more time to be converted.what-is-conversion_472_314_80

Nothing is more dangerous than one who has been saved but not converted. You know that you are born again but you still think with your old mind, your old habits still dominate you, and many of your old opinions, sins, desires and ways of life continue to be struggles for you.

All negative convictions still remain. Evil thoughts still frequent your mind. Corruption, bitterness, and hate continue to remain in you. You still fight with some uncontrollable desires. But you are saved. You may not know how long the Holy Spirit will contend with your fleshly attitudes, but you must know that you have been born again and thus you are God’s child and your spirit is eternally saved.

Now it is up to you to cooperate with God so that your soul (mind, will and emotion) may be converted and this involves the lifelong process that we call “sanctification”

 

Previous Older Entries