Lovers of Self and Not of God

Isaiah 1:1-3 ESV

“The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;
for the Lord has spoken:
‘Children have I reared and brought up,
but they have rebelled against me.
The ox knows its owner,
and the donkey its master’s crib,
but Israel does not know,
my people do not understand.’”

God’s people at that time were by physical birth, for they were descended from Abraham and Sarah. Today God’s people are his by spiritual birth via God-given faith in Jesus Christ, via dying with Christ to sin and being raised with him to walk in newness of life in him. But the children of Israel then, because they were God’s people only by physical birth, did not all believe in God, because many of them rebelled against God and would not obey him. And to God, disobedience was the same as unbelief, as it still is today.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 8:51; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:10; Matt 7:21-23; 1 Jn 2:3-6,15-17; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Rom 12:1-2; Tit 2:11-14; Heb 5:9; 1 Pet 1:1-2; Jas 1:21-25; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Php 2:12-13; Jn 10:27-30; Acts 5:32]

So, if we wanted to do an “apples to apples” comparison, of sorts, under the New Covenant this could be a group of people who profess faith in Jesus Christ who call themselves or their gatherings “the church,” but they aren’t all followers of Jesus Christ. Some are, but many are not. Perhaps they grew up attending gatherings of the church and professing Christ as Savior or Christianity as their religion, but not all of them are of genuine faith in Christ. Not all are living in obedience to the Lord Jesus. Many are not.

Isaiah 1:4 ESV

“Ah, sinful nation,
a people laden with iniquity,
offspring of evildoers,
children who deal corruptly!
They have forsaken the Lord,
they have despised the Holy One of Israel,
they are utterly estranged.”

The picture the Lord is giving me today is that of those who are professers of faith in Jesus Christ but who are the self-indulgent, who are lovers of intoxication to sin, and specifically those who are “in love” with themselves and with intoxication to self-pleasure, almost like being married to themselves and not to God nor to their spouses. For they are self-consumed with sensual pleasures and with gratifying their own warped sexual appetites. They are those who are addicted to sin, especially sexual sin.

But many of them try to hide behind a mask. They profess faith in Jesus Christ, and they try to appear as though they are followers of Jesus, but they are really followers of their own fleshly appetites. They will even fake repentance and try to convince others that they are really stopping their sinful practices while they are still continuing in them. They are still living in addiction to what is vile, immoral, corrupt, and dishonest while they will pretend they are doing well spiritually and morally.

Even though God has spoken to them about their hypocrisy and their false professions of faith in Christ, and he has shown them who they really are in character, and he has counseled them to uncover the mask and to be honest and to repent and to have a change of heart, many of them continue on in their hypocrisy and in self-indulgence and they refuse to have a change of heart and mind. They refuse to submit themselves to Christ and to forsake their lives of sin and to walk in obedience to the Lord.

And so they continue in their sinful addiction because that is what they want to do more than anything else, in reality. And a lot of this has to do with pride and with a strong desire to please oneself over pleasing God or spouse or anyone else. They prefer themselves (self) to a relationship with God/Christ Jesus and to their marriage relationships to their spouses and over loving others as they ought to love them. For their minds are warped and distorted because they have given themselves over to self-pleasure.

And what I am describing here is an addict, one who is addicted (enslaved) to sin, but usually to very specific sins such as drug addiction or alcohol addiction or sexual addiction, etc. But let me say this here. The Bible calls addiction to sin slavery to sin, and Jesus died on that cross to deliver us from our slavery to sin, but we have to want to be set free. He will not force his will upon us. It is not an illness, and it is something that people can be free from if they want to – if they will surrender their lives to Jesus Christ.

But not everyone wants to be delivered from their addiction to sin, even if they claim that they do, and even if they seek out outside help to help them to be free. Sometimes they just use other people but they have no real intentions to change. And that becomes obvious the longer they hold on to the sin and the longer that they receive godly counsel in how to be free and yet ignore it when their flesh wants to be stimulated. So they will end up playing mind games and talking foolishly, and the heart never changes.

Those who are living like this while professing faith in Jesus Christ are going the opposite direction of Christ and his salvation. Although they may make a pretense of following Jesus with their lives, they do not share in his goals and values and morals and in the direction he has for our lives. Their ambition, determination, and motivation are separate from God because they are separate from his holiness and his righteousness. For their motivation is toward pleasing self and not toward pleasing God or spouse.

Isaiah 1:5-6 ESV

“Why will you still be struck down?
Why will you continue to rebel?
The whole head is sick,
and the whole heart faint.
From the sole of the foot even to the head,
there is no soundness in it,
but bruises and sores
and raw wounds;
they are not pressed out or bound up
or softened with oil.”

So the Lord and the people in their lives who truly love them and care enough about them to tell them the truth are asking them why they continue to rebel, and why they continue to hurt themselves and others. And yes, their minds are sick (perverted, depraved), but not an incurable sick. For Jesus paid the price for us to be free from our addiction to sin. And yet their hearts are full of bitterness, envy, hate, resentment and unforgiveness, as well as they are full of pride and of self and of the lusts of the flesh.

So, if this is where you are, which is where many people are these days, then the same questions are for you. Why do you continue in sin and in living for self and for self-pleasure? Why do you continue to do wrong and to hurt yourself and others when you know right from wrong? Why do you continue to rebel against God and your spouses and against righteousness and holiness? Why will you not surrender your lives to Jesus Christ and let him cleanse your heart of all that wickedness you are holding on to?

Please know here that a mere profession of faith in Jesus Christ is not going to get you into God’s heaven. He does not accept lip service only. For Jesus said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven but only the one DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven. And he said that if we want to come after him we must deny self and take up our cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For if we don’t, we will not inherit eternal life with God. So, please take this to heart, and please repent in truth and follow Jesus in obedience.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

Words by Adelaide A. Pollard, 1907
Music by George C. Stebbins, 1907

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

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