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Daniel: Day 11

Hollow Pursuits

by

Today's Text: Daniel 5:1-31, 1 John 2:15-17, Genesis 3:6, Matthew 4:3-8

I learned to read with lightening speed the small print on the back of every type of packaged food. My daughter’s food allergies prevented her from eating soy, eggs, dairy and peanuts. Though the foods took on different shapes and flavors, those possibly life-threatening ingredients managed to make their way into what seemed like everything.

In today’s Daniel reading, we are introduced briefly to the pride-filled king, Belshazzar. His irreverent act of drinking from the gold and silver cups, sacred vessels—made by Solomon (1 Kings 7:48-51) and later taken from the Jerusalem Temple by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Chronicles 36:10)— smacks of sacrilegious arrogance.

We find woven in Scripture three similar themes or ingredients of sin. John warns against loving the world’s system and summarizes the sin in three parts: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life (1 John 2:15-17).

The same ingredients appear in the very first act of disobedience in Genesis, when Adam and Eve eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Take a look at Genesis 3:6: “The woman saw that the tree was good for food” (lust of the flesh), “and that it was pleasant to the eyes” (lust of the eyes), “and a tree…to make one wise” (pride of life).

Jesus, when tempted by Satan in the wilderness after fasting 40 days, faced the same three opportunities to sin. Look at Matthew 4:3-8: Satan said to Jesus, “Command that these stones be made bread” (lust of the flesh). He showed Jesus “all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory” (lust of the eyes). He also mocks Him, saying, “throw Yourself down. For it is written, He will give His angels charge concerning you” (pride of life).

Belshazzar, after the terrifying appearance of the hand, offers anyone who can decipher the writing on the wall similar ingredients of the world’s system: pleasures, possessions, and position (Daniel 5:7,16). But these things are ultimately hollow; when we put our trust in them, we are found wanting. The writing on the wall says as much (Daniel 5:26-27).

Sin looks different from person to person, but it is rooted in the same self-focused pride we see in Belshazzar. Like those pesky food ingredients my daughter must avoid, evidence of sin seems to be everywhere we turn. Our sinful hearts are bent toward pride and self-sufficiency, but God’s truth offers freedom.

Sisters, our perspective is renewed as we invest in reading and studying God’s Word. Note how Jesus responded when tempted in the wilderness: “It is written…” He continually looked to His Father and His Word for strength and sustenance. Our hearts become recalibrated to True North as we lift our eyes off of self and circumstances. When we trust God with our very life-breath, we can stand firm in the knowledge that He controls the whole course of our lives (Daniel 5:23b).

Father, help us. Lift our eyes off our circumstances and our hollow pursuits. Renew our minds through Your Word. Help us to see You clearly and know You more intimately. Help us walk in Your ways, filled with Your Spirit, with hearts surrendered and lives wholly Yours. Amen.

Vivian Mabuni is an author and speaker, and a sushi, white Christmas lights, coffee-with-friends-lover. She has been on staff with Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) for 26 years and serves with Epic Movement, the Asian-American ministry of Cru. Vivian is the author of Warrior In Pink: A Story of Cancer, Community and the God Who Comforts.

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  • I truly enjoy the parallels between the Scriptures outlined in this reading…even after all this time, I still am bewildered by the consistency of the Word of Life.

    That being said, the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life are rampant in the OT, NT, and this week.

    Humbling oneself is a process, beginning with being meek enough to understand that we cannot humble ourselves…we always need a Hand to guide us.

    I hope I can grasp that Hand ever so tightly when I get in my own way…when I become entranced by the ways of the flesh-driven world, and when I begin to wear Belshazzar’s cloak of pride.

  • Self-sufficiency synonymous w/ pride, in her words.
    Oi!
    Just shed tears over not being able to pay rent. This one is timely. Convicting. I don’t want to depend on anyone. Our world teaches this. Rough.

  • Does the author pick the texts to read? Thank you, to whoever does. It was a blessing to see how they fit together.

  • Sometimes it’s hard for me to name my sins especially when it’s so overwhelming and I see it everywhere in me and my life but here you’ve really called it out: ” our hearts are bent toward pride and self-sufficiency…” My life and heart is consumed with this right now. “…but God’s truth offers freedom.” It’s hard to believe it but maybe looking can help.
    Thanks for being open and honest about our sin SRT. The gospel wouldn’t be so raw and rich without it. (Just preaching to myself here- don’t mind me!)

  • Katherynn

    Looking at the Daniel 5 text, it's kind of incredible to see this man, Daniel, who is actually in captivity at the time walking in all of these (seemingly) coveted things.
    Daniel's surrender to God put him in a place of privilege – fine things to eat – knowledge (not just education, but knowledge of God and of things in the spirit) – influence
    He endured testing, responding with obedience, and receives the reward. And that beautiful example of Jesus enduring the testing and receiving all things from the Father instead of by His own hand.
    Ahhh! I need help with this in my life <3

  • Sarah_Olsen

    I just keep going back over this in my head and I am in love with God's word. His message, spoken to me through SRT today, is so relevant in everything I do. I've often times struggled with identifying sin, or better yet, admitting sin. Sometimes I find that I justify it, or down play it, or compare it to others. From now on if I ever find myself trying to escape a sin, I think I will scan it for one of the three ingredients. They may not all be present, but one of them surely will peak its ugly head out. And when it does, I will repent and avoid from then on. Thanks again for this great message today!

  • Sarah_Olsen

    Wow!!! I have been doing a study of the letters of John, and just recently covered 1 John 2:15-17. I guess even though I understood that there were three areas sin affected I never really grasped the concept that they are life-threatening ingredients until today's devotional. I am pretty much speechless as I realize that these three ingredients were present in the garden and even in Jesus' temptation. God's Word truly is living as each day it comes alive and my understanding changes and grows.
    I struggle so much with control. I am prideful and need to just let go. I need to be quick to spot these ingredients in my life so that I can divert from feeding my sinful nature. Praise the Lord for being there for us and for being so gracious. I absolutely love our God! Thank you sisters again, for such a great fellowship.

  • Danielle A.

    Wow, I thoroughly loved the text read today. How NT was interwoven with OT. Love when God’s word is a symphony for the grace of Jesus! Today was full of meat for my mind and heart to chew on. Excellent devotion and reminders there as well.

  • [email protected]

    This post reminds me that there really is nothing new under the sun. Our sin struggle is the same sin struggle that has man (and woman!) has fought for ages. We may wrap it in different packaging, but the root is all the same. The Bible is so very relevant, isn't it?

    And thankfully, the same relevant God is doing a work here – fighting for the hearts of His people and faithfully leading those who seek Him.

    Thank you for this great reminder!

  • "…honor the God who holds in His hand your life…"
    Yesterday, I had a terrifying experience. I unknowingly made the mistake of taking ibuprofen before exercising. (I later learned this is a horrible thing to do.) Before I knew it, I was lightheaded, nauseous, and had tingling feelings all through my arms and my legs. And no matter how or what I tried to alleviate these symptoms, they were not going away by my efforts. In fact, they seemed to only be getting worse. This had me panicking – What if I passed out? What if I needed to get my stomach pumped? I felt like I was dying. So I prayed and I prayed.
    Earlier, in yesterday's study I had written, "Lord, teach me surrender." And as I sat praying and feeling completely helpless, I knew that I had to surrender to my body. I had to allow myself to feel, breathe, and go *through* these horrible symptoms in order to feel better. They would take their time to pass if I was calm and patient, trusting the process. I oddly realized how similar this was to my life. I have been trying to desperately control my circumstances through my irrational fears, senseless anxieties, and prideful quick fixes. I know that these attempts to control all get me no where, but left feeling overwhelmed. It is only (!) through surrender – by letting go of trying to control outcomes – that I can open my heart up to Him, to faith in action, to obedience.
    And then reading today that God holds our life and our ways in His hands… (first, amen! I was a slave to my what-now-seems-silly helplessness yesterday) But I also noted that this is preceded by GLORIFY Him (HCSB), HONOR Him (NIV). Give Him glory first. Before your life and your ways, honor Him. Because He holds your life. And not out of human fear, but out of holy, reverent fear. He holds my life in His hands. He is not surprised by my poor choices or my faulty attempts to get this life-thing right. His faithfulness is not dependent on me. Thank you, Lord. Praising Him for answered prayers. He is present. He is working… in all things, no matter their shape or size.

  • In this reading, I felt convicted by way I saw myself in Belshazzar.

    He gets freaked out by the hand writing on the wall, but instead of turning to God, or God's servant, Daniel, for help, his first instinct is to turn to his worldly advisers. It's not until he exhausts the other possibilities that the queen comes and reminds him of Daniel and the power of God. It's so easy to want to find the help we need on the Earth when really the help we need is found my looking to God. Similarly, I sometimes fall into the trap of only looking to God when I'm really scared or overwhelmed (either by the good or the heavy in life). But a lot of life is in that middle ground and that's when it's easy to get distracted and not focus on God like I should. Making more of an effort every day to put God at the forefront.

    It's helpful to think of the things that distract me as pride of the eyes, flesh, and life. I think that makes it easier to look out for them before they become too damaging.

    I posted some journal questions I'm still working through for Daniel 3 at walkingawesome.blogspot.com if you want to dig deeper with me. Daniel 4 and 5 prompts will go up soon. I'm so enjoying the richness of this written dialog with all of you! Thanks to each of you for taking the time to interact on this comment board!

  • Wow! This devotion today was powerful–my personal favorite things to learn about Scripture are themes or stories that weave together between Old and New Testaments. Praise God, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His attitudes about sin do not waver or change.

  • KLeighWilson

    My practical application: I want praise. I want to be noticed. I believe most of my heart's sinful desires can be subsumed under the "pride of life" category. I recongized my continual bent toward this last night when I really wanted to be noticed by my husband. I almost told him how and why I NEEDED this confirmation right now in my life. I'm still getting used to being a stay-at-home-mom, and I rationalize my feelings often, attributing them to this new role.

    Don't get me wrong- It would not have been innappropriate for me to communicate this to him, but something stopped me and told me that my desires could not be met by my husband. The Lord satisfies my heart and tells me who I am. If I look for an outside source, even a well-intentioned source like my husband, I will continually be in wanting, my insatiable hunger starting anew each morning.

    It was not but a few minutes later of my "waiting on the Lord" that my husband spoke words of true thankfulness and adoration for me taking care of the house and our child and continued this morning to truly notice me and speak kindness to me. My stopping and noticing Jesus is my true source of satisfaction -and not my husband's acknowledgement of hard day's work- gave room for God to do His work in me.

    God's jealousy is one of my favorite attributes of his character. He cannot be second. He desires our worship and praise, and He longs to wholly satisfy.

    I also loved having the three themes of sin laid out clearly in this passage. Thankful for the reminder to look to Him today!

    • Helen

      This is something I've been struggling with a lot lately. I'm glad to know I'm not alone and I appreciate your honest sharing. I mean, God also gave us human companionship because we need it, human love because it helps us grow toward him. So I also don't think it's entirely bad to desire that kind of recognition or attention from a spouse. Maybe I'm wrong. I dunno… Anybody out there have any wisdom to lay on this?! =)

      • KLeighWilson

        I think it's so personal and varies from person to person. I think only you know when your "relational love tank" is running low and when you really need to rest in the Lord's love. Sometimes maybe it's a little bit of both. I really believe the Lord honors our pausing to reflect on where our motivations lie and allowing him to search our hearts first. It sounds like you're being very thoughtful about it!

        • HelenWalksinAwe

          I think my motivation is just a fullness of life and a helpmate in pursuing God, but sometimes it's hard to even know if I'm fully in tune with my own heart. I question things when it feels so uncomfortable where things are at the moment. Thanks for replying!

      • Pam B

        It’s human nature to want recognition from others, be it a spouse, friends, family, etc. I think the problem comes when we crave their recognition the satisfaction it brings more than the satisfaction we get from God. People are important, but God still has to come first. Like you said, God created us for relationships, and our relationships with others are an important part of our life. But God still has to be number one. It’s a hard lesson that I continue to struggle with as well.

        • HelenWalksinAwe

          Yes! if you have any tips on helping keep God number one, please do share them! =) I know I struggle in the parts of my day that aren't devoted to prayer and scripture study. I mentally/spiritually slip up when things get busy.

      • Kim

        Hi Helen – I in no way qualify this as "wisdom" but some thoughts!! ;) I'm also struggling with this especially in the context of my husband and I going through a period of rebuilding in our marriage. What I've been learning from God is that only He can heal and complete our character. When we make another person an idol and look to them to fill in the holes we feel, we get frustrated b/c ultimately they can't and it puts pressure on the other person. God made us to love and be loved, for relationship so it's not wrong to want that. We just need to make sure that we seek that intimacy from God first. When we're filled with His love, we are better able to love others. As KLeigh pointed out, He's a jealous God b/c He wants us to be in relationship with Him!! I'll be praying for you! Thanks for your thoughts today KLeigh!!

        • HelenWalksinAwe

          You're definitely right about it putting pressure on the other person, whether we mean to or not. More and more I'm appreciating that, however difficult my marriage has been, it has truly brought me to my knees. Sometimes in tears, but more and more often in true prayer. It's crazy to think that what ultimately might cost me a marriage (still holding on to hope, though) has brought me closer to God. It feels weird to be, at least partly, grateful for all the pain. I mean, what better prize could there be than feeling closer to God as a result?! It's all bigger than my brain can conceive. Thankfully, I'm starting to let go of my need to figure everything out all the time. Sorta. Kinda. Trying. hah!

          • Kim

            I SOOOO relate to everything you've said here! The surrender, thankfulness for the pain that brings us closer to God no matter what the cost and the "sorta. kinda. trying"!!! That's multiple times a day for me!!!!! The good news is that even when I try to grab back the reins of control and then realize I need to surrender everything, AGAIN, God is forgiving and faithful. Nothing is happening that He doesn't know about and He will continue His good work in us. He is good. I believe He wants your marriage to succeed and thrive but there is another person with free will involved. BUT our God is bigger than everything and no matter what He is with you and loves you more than any other as well as your husband and is seeking him. I'll continue to pray for you, your husband and your marriage. xo

    • Beverly

      Stop. Re-focus on my true source of satisfaction. Yes! Also, I love your thoughts on appreciating the jealousy of God's character. I had never thought of it in that way. Thanks!

  • Leenda324

    Our hearts become recalibrated to the True North … Love that!

  • caroline

    So thankful that when we put our hope and trust in HIM and not in our circumstances we will NEVER be dissapointed! http://www.in-due-time.com

  • Stephanie

    Hi Vivian, I’m a fellow food-allergy mom and really loved your analogy of always having to watch for those life-threatening ingredients! Thank you for the new perspective. Now every time I read a food package label, I will be reminded to check my heart and motivations for the lusts of my flesh, eyes and pride. May I fill my own life with life-giving ingredients and steer clear from the life-taking ones.

  • scootermae

    Thanks for the 'recalibrate your heart true North'. Great word picture of allergy foods hidden everywhere, just as sin is!

  • Thanks Vivian!

  • MNmomma (heather)

    ***PRAYER REQUEST UPDATE****

    The need for prayers for Jasmine and her unborn baby continue, however we are REJOICING this morning. I got word yesterday afternoon that the doctors were shocked at her ultrasound yesterday…..she went from a complete placenta previa to partial!!!! (something the doctors had told her would not happen given the severity of her situation and her multiple hemorrhages). They are running more tests and such, but there is a strong possibility that she may be able to go to her mom's house (on complete bed rest) instead of stay the duration in the hospital. Keep those prayers coming ladies!!!! Thank you soooo much!!! <3

  • Thank You, Lord, for the freedom Your truth offers.

  • Daniel had a phenomenal reputation in Babylon. Every time something difficult came up, his name came to mind, no matter who was king. And when Belshazzar told him how he wanted to reward him for this interpretation, Daniel said . . . keep your gifts. But I'll tell you what it says anyway. I love this humility. He did not desire these things, but he did the job God put him there to do. The earthly king gave him the rewards anyway, but I sense there was no joy in such things. Oh! that I could do the job God's put me here to do and not desire the worldly kickbacks. We serve at the pleasure of our King. There is no better reward than to serve the Most High God, in whose hands the world is held.

  • Its a battle, we may be saved but we still have sinful hearts. Paul talked about this battle, even He who knew no sin had to battle, and He showed us how, we are sinners, saved by grace, and being saved continually. fore warned is fore armed. thank you Lord for loving us, help us fight the good fight today amen.

  • I love Daniel's response to Belshazzar's offerings… “Daniel answered the king, “Keep your gifts or give them to someone else, but I will tell you what the writing means.” ‭‭Daniel‬ ‭5:17‬ ‭NLT‬‬. I can imagine him kind of rolling his eyes and thinking 'yeah, ok, whatever'. :) By this time, the scripture says many years have passed, there is a new king, and Daniel apparently isn't in his high position anymore. So I imagine him as a much older man talking to this young king. The contrast between spiritual maturity and immaturity is stark.

    I want to get to that level of maturity…completely unimpressed with the the offerings of this world, and solely focused on God's will. Lord, help me to get to that point. To every day be focused more on You and less on the world.

    • MNmomma (heather)

      Oh wow! Yes!!! What great insight…..and I am joining you in prayer for maturity….

    • Amy J

      I, too, appreciated his response. :)

    • Helen

      Yes! I was just reading about spiritual immaturity vs. maturity in 1 Corinthians 3!!! It's helpful and encouraging to remember Daniel is now older and even wiser than he was in the beginning.

  • Megan LeVan

    “Our sinful hearts are bent toward pride and self-sufficiency, but God’s truth offers freedom.” What irony! When we let go of self-sufficiency, we find freedom.

  • I realize my True North is God’s Word and my relationship with Him. We cannot find our way of escape from sin unless we submit to Him and use His Word as our guide. Thankful today to see a truth with new perspective.

  • Thanks for the wonderful devotion. So good!

  • Love your wording here … "Our hearts become recalibrated to True North as we lift our eyes off of self and circumstances. When we trust God with our very life-breath, we can stand firm in the knowledge that He controls the whole course of our lives". Which is leading me a little off course with my thinking today. Ha! ;)

    My 5-year-old son recently told me that he doesn't like "The Nature". Stunned, but at the same time not surprised, I encouraged him that it would grow on him. By "The Nature", he means hikes. We live about two miles from a beautiful park (Of which this city is riddled) with wonderful trails and creeks and views. Our family will often head that way for a quick jaunt on a trail or for a little "creeking" and clay hunting. It is a simple way to be one with the world God made, an easy fix for forgetting our troubles and drawing closer to word from God. We know most of the trails there very well, fortunately they aren't terribly long and there are tree markers along the way, so it's not likely that we'd get lost or not see someone at some point. I never worry about losing our way, but he continually does. Nearly the entire time we walk, he will ask, "Are we lost?". The number of times he, alone, has been there is great and yet each time, he fears we're misguided. I realize that the towering trees and steep steps must be overwhelming to his sweet mind and that he must feel so out of control because he can't "see" where he is going and everything is so big. He will enjoy himself, but he will only venture a few feet at a time from me and he won't touch anything he doesn't recognize. He is incredibly hesitant to try a new trail or cross downed trees for another perspective. So nervous, is he, that while shopping for new sneakers, he asked for ones with the compass in the toe, "just in case". Mind you, he doesn't know how to read a compass yet. :) I continually assure him that we will make our way out and that I know exactly where we are, my words will fall upon his ears, but until we break through the line of trees to open greens, his little heart is ongoingly troubled.

    Aren't we much like that? Because we can't see where we are going or aren't certain what our future looks like we walk through this life nervous about our steps and encounters. We fear the treading of water and muddy inclines because we would prefer a surer footing and a gaze at an open life and picture. Our pride and fear cause us to stay on the course we are most familiar with, most comfortable with. When we fall into these comfortable areas it is so easy to be dependent on ourselves, which fills us with pride because we "know" what we are looking at, we know the way, we know what to expect … but sometimes we were meant to veer a different direction, to take another approach, to walk in uncomfortable places, and stay in the midst of towering things longer. Our God is not in a box and walking His way sometimes requires that we close our eyes to path in front us and let Him lead entirely. God is not only our moral compass but our literal one. If we stay close to Him as we walk, we can trust that He will not lead us down a wrong path. He knows what lies ahead and He will ensure that we make it to the wide-open greens of our lives. So just as my son has to trust me as I walk him into "The Nature", I seek to trust God blindly with my footing, trust that He will see me through to the other side and that He won't leave me in the midst of overwhelming situations. And that, as I follow Him, I may even get to see some amazing things on the way. ~ B

    • Candacejo

      Our God is not in a box!! Amen! Love the comparison to your sweet little boy, bless his heart! May we trust God with our footing as you said, He won't leave is in the midst of overwhelming situations. Wow. ♥

    • Kelly_Smith

      What a perfect metaphor for our own faith journey! Thank you for sharing!

    • Kristine

      Yes! I don’t like trying new things, just in case I’m not good at them, because who likes feeling like a failure? But I’ve been forced down a new, uncomfortable path at work and rather than freaking out (okay, there’s a little bit of freaking out!) I’m trying to see it as God’s way of stretching and growing me. True North! I trust Him with my steps!

      • ~ B ~

        Isn't there always a little bit of freaking out?! I can so relate….calm and comfortable on the outside, but inside, sometimes my head and heart are screaming forces. Keep your eyes on that "True North" Kristine, God's got your back in this new and uncomfortable path. Prayerful that you feel strength as you move in this and that you begin to feel a good confidence rise from it! ~ B

    • Megan LeVan

      I love that analogy – thanks!

    • Sarah_Joy

      I have littles that can be fearful too. It's such a picture of the Father's heart as He desires our best and wants to lead us. Thank you for the sweet story.

      • Sarah_Joy

        I think I meant our care for our fearful littles is a picture of God's heart. Kids waking up derailed my thought. :)

        • ~ B ~

          Ah, Kids have a habit of derailing things don't they! I understood what you were saying, but can totally relate to life with littles! ~ B :)

    • MNmomma (heather)

      B~ this is one of the most accurate descriptions of our walk with Christ I have ever heard…..thank you soooo much for sharing. It truly hit home in a crystal clear way just how much I tend to ask "are we lost?" – and tug and question…..

      blessings to you this Thursday!!!

      • ~ B ~

        Isn't that the truth. I think we all tend to forget God's timing and often find ourselves asking if we're lost or if we made a wrong turn. And sometimes we do, but God knows the way back and even if we aren't misguided God knows our hearts long for a clearer picture and He is good enough to find ways to share it, like the little markers on our path. Love to you friend! ~ B

    • Tricia

      Love that ~ B ~ ! Thank you!

    • Lyle

      I love that your sweet little guy wants a compass for his shoes! Makes me think of how God’s Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path! True North is easier to find the more we immerse ourselves in His Word. Love your thoughts today, B!

      • ~ B ~

        YES! True North is easier to find the more we immerse ourselves in His Word. Yes, Lyle…..THIS! Awesome! Thank you! ~ B

    • Beverly

      B, I read your words and wonder if this could be true of my own uncomfortable place. I love how Heather commented, "Are we lost?" I can't help but feel that my place is icky and God couldn't possibly want me here so I often ask, "Am I lost?" But maybe the fact that I seek Him more than anything else means that I'm not as lost as I think.
      Praying the Truths in your words, and that He will be my compass. Grateful for your thoughts, B.

      • ~ B ~

        You are not lost Beverly. God knows exactly where you are and if you keep practicing letting Him lead, He will bring you to your wide open pastures of green and share all that He has for you. Isaiah 43:19 friend!

        "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."

        The same God that ensures the animals in the wild have food and drink will ensure that you have all you need as well! ~ B

        • Beverly

          Your words filled me with much hope, B. I'm so grateful for your thoughts and the good, life-giving Truth you shared. Thank you, friend :)

    • Amber

      Amen B Thank you for sharing!! Reminds me of Hillsongs Captain….
      Through waters uncharted my soul will embark. I’ll follow Your voice straight into the dark. And if from the course You intend I depart, Speak to the sails of my wandering heart.
      Lost in the shallows amidst fear and fog.
      Your truth is the compass that points me back north.
      Jesus
      My Captain
      My soul’s trusted Lord
      All my allegiance is rightfully Yours

      • ~ B ~

        I wasn't familiar with that song Amber. Thank you for sharing it. LOVE the imagery! Love the song! ~ B

        "Like the wind, You'll guide, Clear the skies before me, And I'll glide this open sea"

    • SarahMarieT

      Thank you SO much ~B~! This really ministered to my heart — in a new town and waiting to start a new job, I think I've been constantly asking my good Father lately if we're lost!

      • ~ B ~

        Ah, moving, it's a tough road. I know it well. Prayerful SarahMarie, over your heart here and that God provides a great new community for you. One that will come around you and love on you and your family in a way that is profound. That you begin to feel peace as you wait on life in this new place and that you find joy in this "in between" season. Enjoy the walk! ~ B

    • kb

      B, I just want a little book of all your thought-provoking comments / stories! You have such a gift with words.

      • ~ B ~

        kb – your words are always so kind to me. I am so thankful that God provides words for me that bring a little light to others. Hope all is well in your world sister! ~ B

    • Sarah_Olsen

      Amen! So well said!

  • carlybenson

    That is really helpful to see how the themes of sin/ temptation that are mentioned in 1 John are the same with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and with Jesus. I never realised that before- and I think understanding more about how we are likely to be tempted can help us guard against it.
    It's so important to keep our eyes on Jesus- it reminds me of learning to drive and being told "Keep your eyes on the road as far ahead as possible in the direction you want to go." That's what stops us drifting off course. Praying that we will keep our eyes on Jesus today.

    • Kelly_Smith

      The three-fold sin was new for me, too. Thank you for shedding light on it, Vivian!

    • MNmomma (heather)

      great analogy with the driving……

    • Ashley

      I felt the same way about the themes/ingredients of sin and examples in Scripture to be really helpful! I love learning through tools like this, and I feel like I can definitely apply this in my daily life. When I pray, reflect, or ask for guidance I can ask myself: is this lust of the flesh? lust of the eyes? pride of life? Or am I truly trying to glorify God?

  • “Our sinful hearts are bent towards pride and self sufficiency but God’s truth offers freedom” praise the Lord for the freedom we find in him! I know I get very wrapped up in being self sufficient and find pride in doing things on my own but so many times when I fail I find myself so thankful we have a God who offers freedom from that!!!

  • Alexis C.

    “Note how Jesus responded when tempted in the wilderness: “It is written…” He continually looked to His Father and His Word for strength and sustenance. ” —–“It is written…” These will be my new key words to remind me to continually look to My Father for guidance, strength and sustenance. To keep my focus not on this world and its idols and temptations but, on the promises given to me by my Savior.

  • I really appreciate the way you pointed out that the same "ingredients" that John warned against were present when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden.
    I don't think it's helpful to call our redeemed hearts sinful. Repentance is turning our hearts toward God. Yes we do sin. But "sinner" isn't our identity anymore. We can acknowledge our faults and yet acknowledge that they don't define us anymore. We are new creations.

    • hesaved83

      Hannah,

      Amen! Sinner implies the practice of sinning; wheareas, a sinful nature is about choosing our actions.

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