Saturday, May 5, 2018

marriage

A few years ago my husband and I spoke at a marriage seminar about how marriage reflects the relationship God wants with his church, his people.  I have been thinking a lot about marriage lately as I see many young marriages beginning, and hear of others ending.  Marriage is a beautiful gift and at the same time, can be very difficult. It is the merging together of two individuals into one life.  My husband and I are looking forward to celebrating 24 years of marriage later this year. It has been a great 24 years filled with ups and down, but through it all, we have loved each other and kept our relationship a priority. We may have annoyed one another at times and not always agree. We have laughed and cried, prayed and rejoiced. I am thankful for the testimony of our marriage. I honor my husband the best I can. I have asked him to contribute and collaborate today on this topic:

Marriage is God's plan for a man and woman to reflect His reflect relationship with the church. He created man and woman in His image in the beginning.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Genesis 1:27 KJV

He then set about developing relationship between them. They were to come together through intimacy and be one flesh; no longer separate.

And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;  And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.  And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Genesis 2:21‭-‬24 KJV

God realized man would have been alone without the woman. He realized a need for companionship is part of human nature.  There was nothing else that could meet the criteria for that need except another human being that complimented and supported one another.

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Genesis 2:18 NIV

After sin entered the world, through the fall of Adam and Eve, relationships between man and woman have been negatively affected by sin.  We do not have that perfect life that was meant for us in the beginning. Marriage must now be protected and viewed from God's perspective for true success to occur in a marriage relationship.

In the New Testament, there are passages that discuss and advise on marriage.
Ephesians chapter 5 is a wonderful list of advice for a believer  on how to treat others and love them. It starts by telling believers to walk in love.

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
Ephesians 5:2 KJV

It continues with a great description of what it means  to be a believer. Paul, the writer of this passage, then includes some Godly advice for a marriage.

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:  For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.  Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
Ephesians 5:21‭-‬33 KJV

This passage is sometimes misunderstood. God gave man dominion over the animals, but did not give them dominion over his wife. This passage commands a husband to love his wife as Christ loves the church. This means  that a husband is to love his wife so much, he is willing to die for her. Christ died for the church. When we look at how Jesus Christ loved and treated those around him while on earth and through His death, we get a clear picture of how a husband is supposed to view and treat his wife.  The traditional marriage vows say to love, honor and cherish. A husband needs to take each of these words and put them into action as Christ would. There is nothing in those words about demanding, demeaning, or even controlling your wife.
If we are truly reflecting God's desire and plan for relationship, a husband's love for his wife will result in her wanting to reciprocate that love willingly.
There will be no need of demands or forced attention.

It says love your wife as your own body.  You are not going to purposely harm, destroy or degrade yourself, so that applies to your wife as well. She is part of you. She is your body that you should respect, cherish, and care for.  When, as a husband, you take time to care for your wife and her needs, she will feel important, protected and secure.  This is healthy for a relationship.

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
1 Peter 3:7 NIV

A wife that feels loved will love in return.  A wife desires to feel safe, needed and cherished. To cherish means to protect and care for lovingly, or hold dear (dictionary.com). A woman wants to feel cherished.  Christ cherished us as His church. He loves and cherishes He does not demand respect, force us to  worship, nor harm or degrade. Rather we respond in love and worship because He first loves us.  1 John 1:19. Respect is earned and inspired by how someone is treated, not given as a forced demand.

Cherish a wife as most valuable. Do not damage or hurt her. Do not overwhelm or attempt to control her. Rather hold her gently and remember her heart is precious and fragile. A husband should be the protector of his wife and above all her heart. He is to lead his home not by force, demand, or by harm, but through love and care like our Heavenly Father does for us.

For a wife to submit, means that she willingly and lovingly offers herself to her husband out of respect and reciprocal love. This is not forced nor out of demand. It is because she knows he loves her and feels safe with him.  A  woman has innate desires to feel safe and loved. A man has innate desires to be respected, to be needed and to protect.  When we take time to nurture and intentionally fill those desires, we are showing our spouse love and making them feel loved.

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.  Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
Proverbs 31:10‭-‬11 NIV

A husband and wife should be trustworthy and of good character. They should trust one another and support one another. A wife can inspire her husband, give him confidence and cause him to feel worthy and loved. He will trust her, and find that they can share their deepest thoughts and concerns. She will find that he will confide and trust her as well. There should be a mutual trust and respect physically and emotionally. Women are emotionally driven. Men are physically driven. Both of these areas need to be honored and shared between a husband and wife.

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in Godʼs sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands,
1 Peter 3:1‭-‬5 NIV

Respect your husband and honor him with words and actions. Our words should build him up and fill his heart. Our actions should make his heart feel safe, inspire trust and let him know his love is valued and wanted. He wants to be respected and loved. Honor in marriage is becoming rare. Men are the spiritual head and wives, we need to honor them as such. Pray for them to be led of God and to be Godly men. Be that 'good thing' that lets them know God has blessed them.

Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord .
Proverbs 18:22 KJV

There is a purpose in marriage. A home and marriage is to be Godly and holy. It is to reflect and demonstrate God's love for us. God desires relationship from His church. He wants and ordained marriage to be an example of the relationship He plans and desires with us. We, as Christians,  need to take marriage very seriously as part of our testimony. The way we treat our spouse should reflect God in us. God desires His people to love Him in return of His love.  If others see a poor relationship in a marriage where one or both spouses mistreat the other, does that reflect Christ? How we treat one another, speak to one another, and even speak about one another, is effectively revealing the type of love, or lack of love we carry in our hearts.

We need to have the love of Christ pour out of our actions and words, especially for our spouse. That intimate relationship should be the most protected and cherished of all for it represents Christ's love for us to the world around us.
If I speak harshly to my spouse, attempt to demand and control my spouse, degrade or punish, or talk bad about them to others , I am definitely not representing Christ. Our marriage is meant to stand as a testimony of God's  desire for relationship with His church.

Husbands love your wives as yourselves and wives honor your husbands. That is the simple description of a good, functional, Godly marriage. Remember marriage is meant to be good and good for us. It is meant to help us reflect the complete image of God. Marriage is a gift from God and part of His original design. Love one another as Christ loves us. John 15:12.



Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Cling to Him

There are times when life gets rough and hard. We may not always understand what and why things happen. We may feel discouraged or even angry. We may feel alone or confused.  When we find ourselves in these moments,  we need to run to Jesus. 
God knows our hearts and our situations. He knows the reasons and the outcomes.  We do not.  We, as humans, may even feel like blaming Him for the troubles.  What we need to understand is that God is working on our behalf to bring about good for us.  Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that we have hope in the future because He has a plan, an expected future. We have to trust Him.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord , “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

I think about cling wrap.  You know, the stuff we use to wrap up food. I get frustrated by that stuff sometimes. I try my best to pull it out carefully from the box and keep it straight, but it manages to roll up, wrap around and get all stuck together. It clings together and onto other surfaces so that it holds tight and secure.  God reminded me the other day, "Cling to me, Cling to my promises." Just like that cling wrap, we need to cling to God and His word.  He promises to never leave us or forsake us.Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV

They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord .
Psalm 112:7 NIV

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
Proverbs 3:5 NIV

 He loves us and cares for us. He can take our burdens and provide for us in greater ways than we can imagine when we just really trust Him to be God.  We try so hard to do so much ourselves, when we have a heavenly Father waiting to do what we can't . We do not even realize we have access to all the riches of heaven. We need to lay it all at His feet and just rest in His promises.  Trust Him and cling to Him. Hold on to Him and His promises. Never let go! No matter what! Things may look impossible, but God is the One who makes all things possible.  We can trust it to be so.  It doesn't matter what anyone else says, if God promised it, it will be true.  Cling to Him. He will always be there and He is working for our good. Hold on tight. His word and promises are true.

For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.
Psalm 33:4 NIV


Thursday, April 19, 2018

Balm of Gilead

Last Sunday as I was praying and worshipping,  I heard God say, "The balm of Gilead has been applied." Now I don't really know what that is so when I got some time, I started researching what the Balm of Gilead is and what it means. It is mentioned in the Bible three times.  It is resin taken from a flowering tree in the Middle East, specifically from the area of Gilead.  Gilead was the place that made and sold the balm. It was believed to have healing properties and was very fragrant.  The balm was like a salve that would be used for healing injuries.

The men that purchased Joseph from his brothers  were from Gilead and were on their way to sell balm in Egypt.  (Genesis 37:25)  and Jeremiah mentioned it twice actually in more of a spiritual sense saying that even the Balm of Gilead could not help the things going on. (Jeremiah 22:8, Jeremiah 46:11) Historically, it may have also been one of the items prepared and used to embalm Jesus' body. 

Gilead is a name with meaning. Gilead means 'a heap of testimony ' or 'a hill of testimony.' Gilead had mountain and was a place even King David went to for safety.
Balm of Gilead has a figurative meaning for something that heals or a cure.

I believe God was telling me that His healing has been applied and He is taking care of the situation. His healing will also bring about a testimony. When we allow God to heal and move in our situations, when we trust Him; we end up with a testimony.  We will be standing on the mountain top and will be able to proclaim victory through Jesus.  When God applies His healing ointment, there is relief and time situation will begin to be good rather than painful. It will have a sweet fragrance rather than hurt. God will bring about the good for us.  We will be able to declare the works of the Lord and tell others what He has done. It will become our testimony.  God is so good.


I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord ; I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone.
Psalm 71:16 NIV


Sunday, April 8, 2018

the image of God

Today, I was suddenly reminded of an old song I remember from childhood. The choir at church would sing it and I remember it would always sound beautiful. The high soprano voice would lead with the harmonies filling in rich tones.  The message of that old song suddenly sprung up and echoed deep in my mond and soul.  It was part of a medley of older hymns and songs I believe and I can only recall the chorus:

Oh! To be like Thee, oh! to be like Thee,
Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

We should always desire to be like Jesus. He was the ultimate example of love. He is the one who paid the price for our redemption. We should reflect His image to those around us. 

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
Ephesians 5:1‭-‬2 NKJV


Our actions should reveal the One who saved us and is changing us.  It is not enough to just declare our faith, it must permeate us, change us, and be revealed throughout our daily lives. Others should be able to see Christ in us.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:2 NKJV

We are to be transformed with renewed minds. Our very desires and thoughts should be changed. New thoughts and desires will change our actions and our conversation. We will be different in how we speak and act. We will be new.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he  is  a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
II Corinthians 5:17 NKJV

My husband and I were discussing how some say they are Christians but the words they use, the conversations they have, and the deeds of their lives have no reflection of Christ. They are not showing a difference from those who are not Christians. We discussed how we, as Christians,  need to allow God to change us and transform our lives so that our witness is of Him and His power to change lives.  It doesn't happen overnight all the time, but when we call on Means to cleanse us and make us into His image, we will talk differently, walk differently, and live differently. We will use words that reflect Christ, do things that reflect Christ  and live a life of victory in Jesus Christ.  It will be part of our testimony of what Jesus does for each of us.  I don't want my testimony to be destroyed by words or actions that are not reflecting Christ.  I want His image to be deep in my heart changing my very desires, thoughts and revealing Himself through my words and deeds. I know God was reminding me that is His greatest desire for me as well. He wants to have free access to my heart and life to bring about the best He can for me, in me and through me.  I do not want to get in the way of His good will and His plans.  He has the best in store for my life. Whatever is deep in my heart is what will be coming forth from me and out of my mouth. It will be shown in my words and deeds.

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Luke 6:45 NKJV

 I just want to be like Him, I want Him  to fill me with His Spirit so that there is no room for my agenda, for my ways and my ideas. I only want His way to be done in me. My prayer is for God to stamp His image deep on my heart.  Make me like You, Lord.




Thursday, March 29, 2018

you are what you eat

You are what you eat.
We have all heard that term and how true it is.  Our physical bodies process and respond to what we eat. When we eat healthy foods, our bodies respond by working properly, burning the fuel provided efficiently, giving us energy to accomplish all the things we need to do. Healthy food produces strong, healthy bodies. When we partake of junk foods and leave off the healthy foods, our bodies respond by becoming unhealthy, weak,  tired, overweight and eventually become ill. Diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and even cancers can be attributed to unhealthy diets. There are many ways our body can react and we pay a price for unhealthy eating habits. 

The same can be said about the spiritual diets we feed on.  When our spirit is fed healthy 'food', our spirit is healthy and when it is fed unhealthy 'food', it will be unhealthy.
What do I mean by that?  Lets take a look at what our spirit needs to be healthy. 
Our spirit needs to be healthy by connecting to our Savior on a personal level daily. There should be a daily dose of scripture reading, prayer and interaction with the Holy Spirit. Prayer and scripture as well as adding in fasting and other activities such as fellowship with others of like-minded faith, brings about a spiritual health that allows life to flow forth from our very spiritual being. Our connection to God, becomes stronger and His Spirit can flow and operate efficiently. 
When we are partaking in things that are unhealthy for our spirit, our spirit becomes weak, broken, and disconnected to the Holy Spirit. We become weak and our physical nature becomes the driving force for our direction. We become prideful, willful, uncaring, selfish and seek to give our flesh nature whatever it desires without consideration of the consequences of sin, nor the will of God. We become disconnected and no longer can the Spirit of God flow through us and direct our walk to bring about the good He desires for us. 

What is something that is spiritually unhealthy of which we partake? There are a lot of things that can become spiritually unhealthy for us, when we become too involved and forsake the good things that feed our spirit. But I do believe there are some things that have negative impacts on our spirit. When we put something before God, it has become an idol and our God. That negatively impacts our relationship with God and is unhealthy.  Some things, I believe, are providing a spiritual diet that is unhealthy is participating in any activity that brings about sin and feeds the flesh desires more than the spirit.  

Galatians 5:13-25 gives a great detailed list of what we can do to feed the spiritual man in a healthy way and also a list of unhealthy activities:

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh ; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.  So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.  The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Galatians 5:13‭-‬26 NIV
Acts of the flesh are listed and are things that will fill us with sin and disconnect us from Christ. Some of these very activities are found in our homes, coming through entertainment media, and filling our thoughts and minds to the point that we see no wrong in it. When we are allowing our minds to be filled with these acts, it is not long before we do not recognize it as sin and allow ourselves to begin to partake. It can lead us to a place where we have had our spiritual senses dulled, we are weak and unable to resist temptations. The actions we take, the thoughts we think, the words we say, and the way we live reveals the conditions of our spirit. I pray that the body of Christ, each and every member take time often to examine the conditions and the actions we have and compare ourselves to the word of God. What we do and say, reveals the condition of the spirit. 
If sin is manifesting itself in your thoughts and deeds, maybe it is the food you have been eating.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23 NIV

We need to remember to examine ourselves and make sure we are partaking of the things that will feed our relationship with God rather than hinder it. 

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?
2 Corinthians 13:5 NIV

If we fail the test, we need to turn away from whatever is causing the unhealthy spiritual diet and turn to the things of God. 

Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “ ‘Come out of her, my people,’ so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues;
Revelation 18:4 NIV

We need to put the things of God into our hearts and lives so that our spirit is able to commune with the Spirit of God easily and effectively. 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8 NIV

Consider the Word of God and recognize that what you put into your heart and mind will have an effect on your spiritual being. What your feed it through your participation, whether actively or be hearing and watching matters greatly.  Feed upon the things that bring life to you soul and allow God to effectively use you, speak to you and minister to you and through you. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

trust

"Do you trust me?"  Many times I have felt like God has asked me that question  As I face good times, bad times, uncertainty; God reminds me to trust.  Trust Him.   

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
Proverbs 3:5 NIV

As we walk through our lives, there are many uncertainties and circumstances that we face. We may not understand what we face or why. The best option I have is to trust God. He has plans we may not know and He can carry us through every thing in this life.

I have heard God speak, "Do you trust me?" as I waited for test results and as I waited to hear the final verdict of my parents' car accident. I heard God ask, "Do you trust me?" when we made a decision to move and when we face financial hardships. I hear God ask, "Do you trust me?" each time I have to watch my son go through another procedure. Each time, my only response can be YES.

Trust can be hard. Trust can also be easy. When we want to fix it all and want answers, trust can be hard. But trust is easy when you just give it all to God. The answer may not always be what I hope or what I expect, but it is always the right answer and it is always in the will of God when we trust Him.

 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

We can present every situation to God in prayer and His peace that passes understanding fills the place where worry once lived. We can grow in faith and gain even more trust as we say 'yes' each time God asks us to trust him one more time. One more time, He will provide, protect, intervene, and be there through the trial. He does not fail and He does not leave us. He is right there waiting for us to say "Yes, I trust you, no matter the outcome. Let us put faith into action and respond with trust. God's ways are higher than ours , better than ours, and are always for our good.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

graves of craving

This week has been a sad week in this world. Tragedy struck and now everyone is looking to place blame. Who is at fault? Each group blames a other and the blame game becomes hate-filled and divisive.  No one actually seems to get to the real heart of the matter.  Evil exists in this world. Why does evil  exist and occur? Because sin entered this world and has corrupted the heart of man. The church of God, His body, needs to understand sin is at the heart of the matters occurring in the world, and the Body of Christ is supposed to have the answer. Rather than despair, we need to rise up and offer Jesus. But does the church realize we have the answer?  Are we walking in righteousness or have we given ourselves over to something else?

In Exodus chapter 11, there is is the account of how some of the Hebrew group began to complain about the provision of manna from heaven.  They became disatisfied with this miraculous  food that fell each morning and began to crave meat.

The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! Therefore the place was named Kibroth Hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had craved other food.
Numbers 11:4‭, ‬34 NIV

 Moses talked to God, and God gave in to the whining and sent quail to literally fall into the camp for them.  Those that began to eat the quail then become sick and died.  This verse is at the end of the chapter.

Therefore the place was named Kibroth Hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had craved other food.
Numbers 11:34 NIV

I looked up the meaning of the name Kibroth Hattaavah. It means graves of craving.  This means that these people brought about their own destruction by means of their own craving. What they had from God was no longer what they wanted. They began to crave for things that God did not intend . They began to crave for things that went against God's will. Here they had actual heavenly food provided each morning and it was no longer good enough. They remembered all the meat they had back in Egypt and wanted it, lusted for it, craved it.  Basically, they began to give in to fleshly desires and sinful nature rather than walking in the will of God. They caused great problems for Israel and brought destruction because of their sinful cravings.

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
1 John 2:15‭-‬17 NIV

We have accounts like this in the Word of God to help us and show us examples of how to live and not live.  These people were God's people, just like the church is today. They stepped out of the will of God and were given over to flesh, the sinful nature. This lead to graves of craving.  When we disobey God, step out of His will, or open up to allowing our sinful nature to lead us, we are taking a path of destruction for our souls right into a grave of craving.  Our sinful flesh craves and desires to satisfy its lust. Lust for what feels good, what looks good, and what makes itself feel good. We are full of pride, selfishness, and wanton craving. We seek out what we want at no regard for the consequence. We begin to justify sin to make ourselves feel good about what we choose. We go against what God intends for us. We set up our own self as an idol that needs to be pleased at all cost.  We may still say with our words that we love God and He is Lord, but our heart has began to love self and self satisfaction above the ways of God. This is a path that leads to destruction. We are no longer effective, nor can we offer anything to those who need to understand God has a way better than what the world has.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
Psalm 1:6 NIV

God has a way that is righteous, one way.  All other ways are against God and fall in the category of wicked.  When you choose a way that is not God, you are choosing destruction. Self gratification leads to hurt, depravity, searching for things to satisfy that really don't give what you need. Drugs, alcohol abuse, use of sex, depression, seeking of money, fame, etc, are all ways of attempting to fulfill a deep desire that is only filled by God. We give place to all these things, thinking we are looking for happiness, when really, all it takes is turning to God.  The things offering to satisfy, really take us to  a path that lead to  a grave of craving. Only Jesus can truly satisfy a soul that needs love and hope. Those in this world that give place to evil and commit evil acts are headed to a grave of craving. We cannot offer them any hope, if we also are given over to our cravings rather than God. If we aren't living effective lives, our words are just noise. Our lips may honor God, but our hearts do not. We are, then, part of the problem.

He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:  “ ‘These people honor me with their lips,  but their hearts are far from me. 
Mark 7:6‭-‬8 NIV

God is a jealous God and He expects obedience. He is not pleased with disobedience. He wants all of us, including our heart. We should love him so much, that our heart desires Him and Him alone. Our desire, or craving should be His ways, His words, Him. Psalms 37:4 says Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Our delight should be God and our heart His.

His church should be obedient to His word, not given over to selfish desire. His church is His body. If his body is rejecting His ways, or choosing self craving over God's  will , we become dysfunctional and destructive.  We are no longer representative of Jesus Christ.  I believe as the body of Jesus Christ, we are to place all trust, all desire, all faith in Him. We are to follow Him, obey Him, and walk where He takes us. We will find favor and great blessings when we are in that place of obedience.   His commandments are what matters.

Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is  what  matters.
I Corinthians 7:19 NKJV

What matters most to God is us. We are his love and purpose. When we are choosing Him, we find favor and blessing. We become right in God's pirpose. He can use us to shine a light into the world. We can speak His truth and be effective in ministry. We can have effectual fervent prayers, hear from God and truly know the hand of God is over us.

Surely, Lord , you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.
Psalm 5:12 NIV

When we are walk in obedience to God's will and purpose, we become right with God. We become examples of what God's transformative power does in a life full of love.  We are no longer a noisy cymbal (1 Corinthians 13:1), but a loving arm of God Almighty that beckons a sinner with the love of God. A love that can change lives and give us hope and peace in this world full of destruction. Rather than a grave of craving,  eternal life with God's love, hope and peace is found.  This world needs to see there is hope, there is peace, and it is only found in Jesus. His body, His church is being called to arise from its slumber, arise from complacency, arise from fear and selfish craving. The church needs to arise and declare the goodness of God. Arise and declare that salvation belongs to the Lord. Arise in righteousness with healing in its wings!

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in [union with] Him [reflecting His character in the things you do and say--living lives that lead others away from sin],
COLOSSIANS 2:6 AMP

We, as His body, need to humble ourselves, ask God to examine our hearts and see if there is any thing wicked in me.  Ask him to remove those selfish cravings and ask Him to lead us into right living,  into obedience to His commands, and become that light that leads others to Him. We are to  be a light that draws all men to God. A light that offers hope.  Let us turn to God rather than crave things of this world.  God has a Way that will change society, stop evil events, and bring joy rather than sadness. Lets fulfill His purpose and offer Jesus to this world that needs Him. Lets offer hope when sin brings destruction. Lets offer Jesus.

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
Psalm 143:10 NIV