Follow God, not Your Emotions

1 John 3:11-16 ESV

“For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.”

Don’t Be Like Cain

We should not be like Cain. And who was Cain? He was the firstborn son of Adam and Eve who were the first humans God created. Their second born son was Abel. Abel was a keeper of the sheep and Cain was a worker of the ground. In the course of time they each brought an offering to the Lord. The Lord accepted Abel’s offering, but he rejected Cain’s, so Cain was very angry with God.

“The Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.’

“Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him” (Genesis 4:6-8 ESV).

So we are not to be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. And we should not get angry with God because he didn’t do things our way, for when we get angry with God because he didn’t come through for us exactly the way we thought he would, then that leads to bitterness of spirt, which can then lead to all sorts of sinful behaviors.

Examining our Hearts

So, what can we learn from all of this? We need to be people of God who listen to God and not to our own emotions. We need our lives to be ruled by God and not by our own flesh. Many professing Christians in America are still living by their flesh, doing life their own way, following their own course, letting their emotions drive them, and they are continuing in deliberate and habitual sin and responding to the circumstances of their lives in the flesh.

Jesus Christ is not Lord of their lives because they have not given up control of their own lives and surrendered their lives to him to do his will. But they have held on to their old lives of living in sin and for self while claiming Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and while claiming heaven as their eternal destiny. But according to the Scriptures, that doesn’t work. For if we claim to be in fellowship with Jesus Christ while we still walk in sin, then we are liars (1 John 1:5-10; see also 1 John 2:3-6; 1 John 3:4-10).

If we do well, we will be accepted, but if we do not do well, sin is crouching at our door. It’s desire is to have us, but we must rule over it. In other words, if we are walking according to the Spirit, we will not gratify the sinful cravings of the flesh. If we are walking in obedience to our Lord’s commands, then we are not going to be living in habitual sin. But if we have not surrendered our hearts to Jesus, we have no chance for ruling over sin.

We can’t be acceptable to Jesus Christ if we are still walking in sin. No matter what “sacrifices” we may think we are offering him, and that we think he should accept from us, if we don’t humble ourselves and bow the knee to God and surrender our lives to him, we are going to continue to go our own way, doing our own thing, and making sin our practice. And righteousness will not be our practice. And we will not have eternal life with God.

We should love one another. And God is love, and love comes from God, and since God is pure, truthful, faithful, righteous, holy, and upright, so should be this love that we are to have for one another, if we are true followers of Jesus Christ. And love does no willful harm to a neighbor, but love does good to others, but good as God defines it. So we are not going to deliberately sin against one another but we will do for each other what is for their/our good.

The World Hates Us

We should not be surprised if the world hates us because their deeds are evil and ours are righteous, if truly ours are righteous, in practice. For Jesus said that if we follow him in truth that we will be hated and persecuted as he was. But who were his greatest persecutors? They were the Jews (his own people of his own faith), his brothers, and they were the rulers and teachers of the Scriptures in the temple of God.

So we should not be surprised if fellow professers of faith in Jesus Christ, and some of our family members, and pastors, elders, and deacons of congregations of what is called “church” should hate, reject, persecute, cast out, discard and otherwise want nothing to do with us. For if you are truly following the Lord Jesus with your lives, and if your lives are dedicated to following the Lord wherever he leads you, you will be opposed.

But we should not let this dishearten or discourage us, for Jesus said this would take place. So we are to entrust our lives into God’s capable hands, and we are to keep sharing the truth of the gospel and exposing the lies, for many people are being deceived by charlatans and wolves in sheep’s clothing who are telling them that they can believe (not defined) in Jesus, be forgiven all their sins, and be on their way to heaven, but that it doesn’t have to change who they are. So they are continuing in habitual sin.

So please know this. The Scriptures do not teach our salvation as a one-time profession of faith that guarantees us heaven in the end regardless of how we live. We must die with Christ to sin and walk in obedience to his commands. We must live holy and godly and upright lives and cease to walk in deliberate and habitual sin, or we do not have the hope of eternal life with God. And these are not my words. You can read about it in these Scriptures:

[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]

Jesus said: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).

Seek the Lord

An Original Work / July 20, 2012
Based off Isaiah 55

“Come to Me all you who thirst; come to waters.
Listen to Me, and eat what’s good today,
And your soul will delight in richest of fare.
Give ear to Me, and you will live.
I have made an eternal covenant with you.
Wash in the blood of the Lamb.”

Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him.
Let the wicked forsake his way, in truth.
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will receive mercy.
Freely, God pardons him.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord, our God.

“My word that goes out of My mouth is truthful.
It will not return to Me unfulfilled.
My word will accomplish all that I desire,
And achieve the goal I intend.
You will go in joy and be led forth in peace.
The mountains will burst into song… before you,
And all of the trees clap their hands.”

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