Am I Good Enough?

parentGod has entrusted the discipleship of our children to us. What an awesome responsibility! When we consider the high calling and standards that is placed on Christian parents, it can be overwhelming. I know this from experience. There are times that I feel as though I have outright failed as a parent. I haven’t taught them enough. I haven’t been consistent enough. I’ve missed teaching opportunities ….and so on.  Am I good enough?

The truth is that we are the ones God has chosen to parent our children. You see, it doesn’t take long to recognize the source of discouragement and despair. It is the enemy that wants us to lose heart. So when I feel this way, I run to God’s Word and let the light of His truth shine bright.

Have you ever been discouraged? It takes a lot to bring up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Let me remind you that God is on your side!  No one has a more vested interest in your children than the Lord. Be encouraged! Turn to Him. Trust in His leading and be pointed to His Holy Word.

Do you want to learn more about discipleship? Join me over at The Homeschool Leadercast as I talk about:

  • Discipleship in the home

  • Why home discipleship is so important

  • What home discipleship should look like

  • If we don’t disciple our children, they are going to learn from others

  • The biblical mandate to disciple our children

  • The foundation for Home Discipleship

  • Marriage as the framework for home discipleship

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Guilt ….Good or Bad?

guiltI did not pack enough bags for this guilt trip! I am not to blame and will certainly not feel bad about this! I wish they would stop making me feel so guilty. Have you ever said these words or had these thoughts? It is likely that if you are over the age of 3 that you have. No one likes to feel guilty. It’s an ugly feeling that starts in the bottom of your stomach and lingers until resolved. Sometimes we bring it on ourselves. Sometimes it is others in our life that seems content to constantly push guilt and shame our way. It is in these moments in life when a single word or look, like a sharp knife, slices thorough our emotions only to leave a sinking feeling of culpability behind.

Seeing that guilt leaves such an ugly mark, one would think that it is a bad thing, bad indeed and something to be avoided at all cost.

But is it all terrible? Can guilt be beneficial? Is it good or is it bad? The answer is yes.

The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:13, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.”

What things do you think Paul had to forget?  Was it his accomplishments in the flesh before salvation?  Maybe so.  After all he was a Pharisee of all Pharisees.  But just maybe it was his past sins.  After all, I can only imagine the guilt of his past must have plagued him. Maybe those things that were behind him were the memories of the many Christians that suffered and died at his own hands.  We all know how easy it is to feel guilty about past sins.  God forgives and forgets.  We try to, but yet Satan never does. The enemy loves to bring our faults and failures back up to us. It is this type of guilt that is bad, guilt from our past that has already been forgiven.

 But some guilt is necessary. The law of God makes the unbeliever guilty. “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God,” Romans 3:19.

 Likewise, when a believer sins it is accompanied with guilt. “For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me. For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin,” Psalm 38:17-18.  This type of guilt is good. It is a necessary emotion given to us by God.  Picture it as a “check engine light” on the dashboard of your car.  It brings to your attention a problem under the hood.  It should be used to help us acknowledge our sins.  It should drive us to repentance.  But once we have done that we need to leave our guilt at the cross.

 Here is a sure way to tell if guilt is good or bad. Bad guilt – the kind that we need to let go of – will always push us away from God. It brings shame and makes us self focused. It hinders our spiritual walk and makes us ineffective for the Kingdom. However, be sure that good, godly, healthy guilt will drive us strait to the arms of God as His mercy and grace floods our hearts.

Image courtesy of graur codrin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When There is No Light

nolight

Darkness can be scary. I often feel like the small child who said, “I’m not afraid of the dark, just the things that are in the dark.”

Sometimes we walk in dark places. Sometimes we fear what those dark places will bring. We seek for an answer and sometimes it is not clear. It might even at times seem as if God is not there. The Psalmist described these dark times as weeping in the night. Paul equated it to a thorn in the flesh. James defines it as trying of our faith. Peter calls our affliction fiery trials. And Jesus referred to dark times as tribulations. Every child of God goes through them – trials, tests, and troubles.

So, what should we do when we walk in these dark places?

“Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light?”

I am learning that I should never doubt in the dark what God has shown me in the light.

  • He has shown me that while weeping may endure for a night, joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).
  • He has shown me that while I might be given a thorn in the flesh, His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 9:12).
  • He has shown me that while my faith has been tried, it brings patience to my life (James 1:3).
  • He has shown me that while fiery trials are hard, they are no strange thing (1 Peter 4:12).
  • He has shown me that while we will have tribulations in this world that we should be of good cheer. Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33).

“Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.” Isaiah 50:10

The answer is right there: We are to trust in the name of the Lord and lean upon Him. No matter what that dark place looks like, we know that God is there. He will never leave his children or forsake them. Maybe for you the path is clear and the light is bright. Praise Him during this time. But maybe the day grows dim and the shadows appear. Remember, dear child, do not doubt in the dark what God has already shown you in the light.

Faithfulness in a Faithless World

faithfulIn 1993 we stood before God and witnesses to pledge our love and faithfulness to one another. Over the last twenty years, we have endeavored to have a marriage built on these values and be a testimony of this devotion. It is a grand undertaking. And while the thought of love is common and easy to recognize, faithfulness can be multifaceted. Just what does it mean to be faithful? Are there levels of faithfulness? Why is it important? And how does faithfulness affect a marriage?

 The dictionary defines faithfulness as unwavering in belief, consistently loyal, or not adulterous. There is the horizontal side to faithfulness that is between a husband and wife. This is what most people think of when they think of being faithful in marriage. It encompasses the physical, emotional, and mental aspect of marriage. However, there is also the faithfulness that a Christian couple has to God. This is the vertical (or spiritual) side of faithfulness. Both components of faithfulness are essential in marriage.

 Because marriage is ordained by God the enemy seeks to destroy it, government demeans it, and society distorts it. Satan will use any means necessary to wreck marriage. This has been a goal from the beginning. We also see marriage degraded by government through legislation that seeks to redefine marriage or laws that allow no fault divorce. Then the culture is constantly pushing against God’s ideal for husbands and wives by actively perverting and twisting marriage via movies, television programs, magazines, and music. As influential as these factors are, you might ask what Christians can possibly due to push back. Perhaps the most profound way to effect change is to have a biblically based, God-honoring, faithful marriage.

 Faithfulness is downplayed by the world, but we know that it is God’s plan for a beautiful marriage. So let’s look at 5 thoughts that will uphold a biblical view of faithfulness in marriage.

A Proper Perspective

One day our family was traveling down the road and talking about marriage with our children. Our oldest son had a friend with him who replied, “I’m never going to get married. I want to be single my whole life.” Our youngest son (who was 6 years old at the time) commented, “You are single when you get married.” We assured him that a married man was not single to which he adamantly responded, “Yes you are, two becomes one!”

 “From the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh,” Mark 10:6-8. Having a proper perspective means that we understand that as husband and wife, we are no longer two but one.  That means when a husband loves his wife, he loves himself. When a wife is faithful to her husband, she is in essence being faithful to herself.  When one is built up, they are both built up. When one rejoices, they both rejoice. Understanding that “two becomes one” revolutionizes a marriage.

 Honesty is the Best Policy

The father of lies says that a little white lie will not hurt a marriage. Even the world whispers that it is okay to hide things from our spouse. But does the world have our best interest in mind? Is the great deceiver seeking to protect marriages? Secrets, lies, dishonesty, and unfaithfulness to one another will destroy a marriage. A husband and wife need to communicate, speak the truth in love, and be faithful to one another through their words and deeds. We have counseled with many couples who are on the verge of divorce because one spouse was betrayed by lies.  It takes years to rebuild trust in a relationship and sometimes it can never be rebuilt. “He that speaketh truth sheweth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit,” Proverbs 12:17.  Let our marriages be governed by honesty.
Being truthful to your spouse is a fruit of true love; it shows your love for them. “Let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth,” 1 John 3:18.

 Eyes for Only You

 Adultery is a devastating act of unfaithfulness both horizontally and vertically. When King David took the wife of Uriah, his betrayal was to a loyal and faithful servant that eventually led to murder. But ultimately his unfaithfulness was to God. “And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD,” 2 Samuel 12:13a.

 What led to this act of adultery? The Bible says that David saw, coveted, and took. It began with his eyes. Job, a man who was, “perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil,” (Job 1:1) understood this. He said, “I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid? (Job 31:1).

 Looking lustfully at the opposite sex (whether in person, on TV, in the movies, or online) is infidelity of the heart. Jesus said, “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart,” Matthew 5:28. But sadly, because we have become so desensitized by our immodest culture, we hardly recognize it. Subtle temptations abound all around us. For a couple to uphold faithfulness in marriage they must shield their eyes and guard their hearts. To do this not only shows faithfulness, but also great honor toward one another.

 What Impact Am I Making?

The world is speaking one thing.  What is our faithfulness (or unfaithfulness) speaking to those around us? Not every marriage has believing partners. Should a husband have an unbelieving wife, his faithfulness to her could be what brings her to Christ. The same applies for Christian wives with unbelieving husbands. “For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?,” 1 Corinthians 7:16.

Likewise, our testimony of faithfulness speaks volumes to our children. Theodore Hesburgh is credited for saying, “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” You cannot have love without faithfulness. In addition, a faithful marriage is a testimony to the world for God’s glory. Understanding the impact we can have on our spouse, children, those around us, and the lost greatly motivates believers to live in a faithful manner.

Keep God Preeminent

 A husband and wife can be faithful to each other, but still be unfaithful to God in their marriage. This is done by focusing more on things of the world than on things above. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth,” Colossians 3:1-2. God should never be an add-on in our marriage. He should be the very foundation upon which our marriage is built. It becomes very easy for God to lose His place of importance in day to day activities. Therefore, we must be intentional in keeping God preeminent in our marriage. Great is God’s faithfulness to us (Lamentations 3:23), so let us be faithful to Him in devotion and action, giving Him glory through our marriage.

 By having a proper perspective, speaking the truth in love, making a covenant with our eyes, understanding the impact we are making, and keeping God preeminent, faithfulness will be upheld in our marriage. This does not mean that it will be easy, for the enemy is against us; the world is against us; and even our own weak flesh battles against us. But in Christ we are victorious! He has already overcome the enemy (Revelation 20:10). Those that are born of God have overcome the world (1 John 5:4). And as children of God, our flesh has been defeated (Romans 6:6).

Faith During the Hard Times

faithTrials are a part of everyone’s life.  It is not a matter of if they will come, but when.  Jesus told us in John 16:33 that we would have tribulation.  Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:12 that all those that lived godly in Christ would suffer persecution. While this message warning contradicts today’s popular messages of health, wealth and prosperity, it is true. It is in trials and tribulations that we are molded and shaped into holiness.  It is in the refining of the fire that we become pure.

So, how do you deal with trials in your life? Do you complain about the circumstances or rejoice with thanksgiving? Do you advertise your trials or bear them quietly? Do you indulge in self pity seeking sympathy from others or submerge yourself in service to others? I have to answer, yes! I’ve done all of those. Do not misunderstand.  When we go through trials it is no small thing. But it is very easy to complain and become self focused.  While trials are not fun, it is important to remember the many reasons we have them.  Focusing upon the work that God is doing in our lives helps us through trials.

  • Trials humble us.
  • Trials wean us from our dependence of worldly things.
  • Trials make us heavenly minded.
  • Trials reveal what we really love.
  • Trials teach us to value God’s blessings.
  • Trials develop enduring strength for greater usefulness in the Kingdom.
  • Trials enable us to help others during their trials.
  • Trials test the strength of our faith.

It is through trials that our faith is strengthened. My husband always reminds me that the simplest definition of faith is “having confidence in the trustworthiness of God.”

How trustworthy is God? He will never fail me. He is always faithful. He has never left me or forsaken me. And He always does what is best.  Our Father is faithful! 

To learn more about God’s faithfulness, check out Living Out the Word: Faith, a verse-by-verse study through the book of James.

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed,” James 1:2-6.

Never use a big word when a DIMINUTIVE one will do.

big wordI came across this witty saying the other day and it caught my attention.  Obviously, the intent is to speak an absurdity in order to point out the absurd.

While the point was taken, this statement made me ponder.  How often do people unknowingly do this very thing?  In other words, the very act of what is being done is contrary to the very words that are being spoken.  An example of this would be a child telling another one, “You’re a stupid- name-caller and you shouldn’t call people names” or perhaps, someone screaming, “WE DON’T SCREAM IN THIS HOME!!!!”  A woman teaching men the passage in I Timothy 2:12 within the church or an unfaithful man counseling men on how to love their wives are examples.  All of these actions are counterproductive.

Never use a big word when a diminutive one will do.  This is what we do as Christians when our lifestyle contradicts our very name. Catch that? When I live in a way that contradicts the name I am called, in essence, I am doing the very same thing.  Christian – it mean’s Christ-like.  The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch (Acts  11:26).  It wasn’t that they were going around calling themselves Christian. The world looked at their lifestyle and said, ‘Those people act just like Christ.’  In light of all of this it made me think.  The word “Christian” is thrown around and misused to the point that no one understands its meaning.  What if the majority of Americans didn’t call themselves Christian?  What if people didn’t associate the word Christian with someone who just goes to church on Sunday or “claims” to know God?

What if you were only called a “Christian” if you only acted like Christ?  What if a person was only known as a Christian that only did the things Christ did?  Would I then be called a Christian?  He is my example and if my lifestyle does not reflect the same lifestyle that Christ lived then I should not be called a Christian.  Otherwise, there is a contradiction.   So I search my heart and ask God to reveal His truth to me.  Am I striving?  That is certainly my heart’s desire. I must never forget that people are watching. Am I reaching forth toward the goal?  Again, that is my desire. To be like Him is the goal and He alone is worthy. Is my light shining before men? Are others seeing my good works so that God gets glory (Matthew 5:16)? Am I living a consistent Christian life? Because otherwise why call myself Christian when the word hypocrite will do?

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”  Luke 6:46

Stingrays and Evangelism

stingrayLast month, while vacationing in Orange Beach, I saw more stingrays than I’ve ever seen. One evening, just before dark, my son had one swim right beside him. Aaron didn’t like being that close to one so he got out. The next evening when we went back to the beach, he had no desire to get back in the water.

“Come on Aaron, the chances of seeing another stingray is slim,” I told him as I waded out into the water.

It wasn’t five minutes later when another one came along and swam between us. This time I got out of the water before he could. I know for the most part that stingrays are not that dangerous, but I did not want to take a chance of accidently stepping on one half-buried in the sand. Many people have been hurt by doing just that. (And in some rare incidences, stingrays can cause an even worse fate such as in the case of Steve Irwin.)

There were not a lot of people out, but there was one little boy playing in the water next to us. His parents were on the beach watching him. I decided to tell them about the stingray so they could decide if they wanted him to stay in the water. It turned out that they didn’t.  That evening before going in, we counted nearly a dozen stingrays.

So what does that have to do with evangelism?  Glad you asked! Let me explain.

I knew there was a potential danger in the water. So, not only did my family get out, but when I looked around and saw another person around I gave a warning. It was just a few stingrays and not that big of a deal, but I still took the time to warn them. Of course, the parents could have chosen to ignore my warning, but they didn’t.  My warning was just a polite and caring thing to do. Wouldn’t you do the same?

A few days after we get home from our vacation I’m reading in 2 Corinthians about Paul’s explanation of why he labors for the Lord.

“Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men,” 2 Corinthians 5:9-11a.

Did you catch the reasons that Paul shares the gospel? There were three of them.

  • We want to be pleasing to the Father.
  • We will stand before God and answer for the things we have done.
  • We know about the coming judgment.

Let’s talk about the last one. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” I found it very easy to warn a family about a potential danger in the gulf shore waters. I didn’t hesitate. I didn’t worry that they might be offended. And I probably wouldn’t have taken it personal if they had ignored me. I simply warned them. And it only involved a few swimming creatures. But even the thought of potential harm coming to someone was enough to motivate me.

Why then do I find it so hard to warn people about the coming judgment of the Lord? Why does fear threaten me every time I want to share the gospel? We are not talking about potential harm coming to someone, but eternal death.

“It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment,” Hebrews 9:27.

Every man, woman, and child will face death one day. All will stand before God. If they die in their sins, they will go to hell, a very real place. In fact, Jesus talked about hell more than He talked about heaven. And while most people live for the moment, the truth is that our lives are just a vapor.

The other day Ray Comfort, from the Way of the Master, posted on his Facebook page a sobering and truthful statement.

“I am both a coward and a hypocrite if I believe that the world is going to Hell, but fail to verbally warn them.”

Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.”

If I knew a young boy was playing in dangerous waters, would I warn him?

Only if I knew….and only if I cared……

If I knew a blind man was about to walk off a steep cliff, would I warn him?

Only if I knew….and only if I cared……

If I knew someone was about to drink mislabeled poison, would I warn him?

Only if I knew….and only if I cared……

If I knew a child was playing on a busy highway, would I warm him?

Only if I knew….and only if I cared……

If I knew that the world was dying in their sins and going to hell, would I warn them? If I knew that all would stand before the Lord who comes to judge the earth and the entire world with righteousness, would I warn them? If I knew the bad news, would I share the good news? Would I be motivated to share the truth…

Only if I knew….only if I cared…..only if I had a filial fear of the Lord…..only if I was not a coward or a hypocrite…..only if I truly loved others…..

Lord, my prayer is that I will always love others enough to warn them. Let me be one who cares enough about people to persuade them to come to You. Let me be moved with compassion toward lost souls enough to share the gospel. Help me to remember that love is not passive, nor is it in word alone, but in deed and in truth! For Your glory!

When the Sun Comes Out

sun When we were in South Mississippi we lived in a home that was surrounded by acres and acres of National Forrest. During the summer months, after the children went to bed my husband and I would love to take evening swims. In the darkness of the night we would look into the heavens at the thousands of stars shining so bright. The contrast of the stars against the blanket of darkness was striking. This is how I picture the Christian’s life. We let our light shine before men in an extremely dark world.

It is certainly dark times. Today’s headlines, like all others, include stories of war, scandals, terrorism, and murder. One story that depicts the nature of our world in such a clear fashion is this one. A Chinese baby boy is rescued alive after being flushed away. I am a mother. The thought of a mom giving birth to a child and then being able to take that child and flush it down the toilet as human waste or garbage is inconceivable. I can’t even comprehend the cruel heart that could do such a thing, other than the fact that we are told in Jeremiah that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jer 17:9) and that one of the characteristic of the ungodly is being “without natural affection” (Rom 1:31, 2 Tim 3:3).

So these gloriously dark times are grand opportunities to shine.

Look at how Daniel describes the wise. “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever,” Daniel 12:3.

That right! You are a star!

At least those with heavenly wisdom, who point others to God, shine as stars in the darkness!

But what happens to the stars when the sun comes out?

They fade away.

John the Baptist understood this concept. He said, “He must increase, but I must decrease,” John 3:30.

Our purpose as light in the darkness has never been to point others to ourselves. We don’t shine for our glory. We point others to God, for His glory. Jesus told his disciples, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven,” Matthew 5:16.

We shine in this dark world so that others are pointed to our heavenly Father. But one glorious day, the Son whose “countenance was as the sun,” (Rev 1:16) will return and all darkness will be driven away for all eternity.

Until that day, dear Christian friend, keep shinning!

It’s all about me!

all about meHave you ever met that person? You know, the one who thinks the whole world revolves around them. Everything is about them. If you hurting, they are in more pain. If you have a praise, they have a bigger praise. If you have a story to tell, they have a better story. It’s all about them!

Today, I’m going to be that person. I’m not going to worry about you, or think about others. It is all about me…that is when it comes to sin, confession, and repentance.

Jesus told a parable in Luke 18 about two men. One was a Pharisee and the other a publican. Both went to the temple to pray. When it came to sin, the Pharisee was concerned with others. He contumeliously stood and prayed, “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.” But the publican was only thinking of self. He wasn’t concerned with the Pharisee. I want to be like him. His prayer was, “God be merciful TO ME a sinner,” speaking of himself as if he were the only sinner in the world.

David had this same attitude in Psalm 51.

…wash me

…cleanse me

…my sin

…my transgressions

…purge me

…create in me

…cast me not

…restore unto me

…uphold me

He is a little self-focused, wouldn’t you say? But, isn’t that exactly how we should be when there is sin in our lives. And unfortunately, that is every single day for me.

Oh, but let’s not end here. For King David didn’t. After he confessed his sin before God and a right spirit was restored within him, he then continued ….

“…Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee,” Psalm 51:13.

When we are right before God, our hearts desire is to teach others. Why? Because we are filled with such love from God’s mercy and forgiveness that we greatly desire for others to experience the same.

Probably the most misquoted verse in all of scripture is Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” But if people would just continue to read the Bible they would see that it never commands us to not judge others, only to not judge hypocritically.

“Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye,” Matthew 7:5.

When we “first” cast out the beam from our eye “then” we can see clearly to cast out the mote from our brother’s eye. For in truth, if we love our brother and our heart is right, we will want to do just that.

So maybe, it isn’t all about me

It just starts with me!

The Wrong Question

questionDid you know that I love to ask questions? Not only do I learn from asking, but I teach thorough the use of questions as well. This is known as the Socratic Method of teaching. It is a great tool for guiding people on a journey of discovery as well as moves them toward greater understanding. But what happens when we ask the wrong question? Logically, we would have to say that we get the wrong answer.

Should a woman have the right to choose an abortion? That is the wrong question.

The correct question is: Should society allow the murder of innocent babies?

Should Christians be allowed to pray in government ran schools? Again, that is the wrong question. The question we should be asking is: Should we allow an ungodly government to train and educate our Christian children? When we begin to ask the right question, all of a sudden we begin to get the right answers.

Have you ever heard anyone say, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” That is another wrong question. In Luke 18 a rich young ruler came to Jesus saying, “Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus responsed with, “Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God,” (Luke 18:19). There is none good but God. So, when we ask, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” we are asking the wrong question. The correct question should be, “Why do bad things happen to bad people,” or “Why do good things happen at all?”

Several years ago in South Mississippi, we attended a revival where our friend Brandon Wilson was preaching. He addressed the same thought of asking the wrong questions. The point he made was that many times Christians ask, “Is this a sin?”

We will question…

Is it a sin to drink?
Is it a sin to watch this movie?
Is it a sin to say this?
Is it a sin to date this person?
Is it a sin to (fill in the blank)?

Again, we are asking the wrong question. Instead of asking if something is a sin, what every Christian should be asking is, “Is this holy?” You can ineffectively debate whether drinking is a sin, but when you ask the correct question of “Is drinking holy?” you get a clearer answer.

What about asking if this movie we are about to watch is holy?
Is what I’m about to say holy?
Is this relationship holy?
Is what I am doing holy?
And so on…

With the correct question, all of a sudden the perspective changes. It is easy to justify certain behavior when we approach it from a, “Is this really a sin?” attitude. However, if we approach our lifestyle, our conduct, our words, and our inner motives from the thought of, “Is this holy and pleasing to God?” it becomes impossible to justify those questionable activities.

I needed this reminder, because sometimes I do ask the wrong question. But as a child of God, I am called to examine my life.

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves,”2 Corinthians 13:5.

As a child of God I should ask the Lord to search my heart.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting,” Psalm 139:23-24.

As a child of God I should ask if I am living in obedience.

“As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy,” 1 Peter 1:14-16.

Lord, is my faith real? Lord, is there any wicked thing in me? Lord, am I living a holy life?  These are the correct questions! If we will just ask them, the answers will drive us to our knees and point us to God Almighty.