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Are You Willfully Living Outside of God’s Will?

A stubborn and determined intention to do as one wants, regardless of the consequences is consistent with someone who possesses a willful personality. Similar to a narcissist, willful acts are deliberate, with an excessive interest on themselves. Like any bad habit, the further you deviate and go off on your own, the more difficult it becomes to yield control to someone else. This might explain why some Christians are still willfully living outside of God’s will.

And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon (deceitful riches, money, possessions), so that when it fails, they [those you have favored] may receive and welcome you into the everlasting habitations (dwellings). 10 He who is faithful in a very little [thing] is faithful also in much, and he who is dishonest and unjust in a very little [thing] is dishonest and unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the [case of] unrighteous mammon (deceitful riches, money, possessions), who will entrust to you the true riches? – Luke 16:9-11

The college years tend to be the most difficult period for Christians to hold on to faith, especially when you attend a secular college or university. As for me, I was like a teeter totter, going up and down and back and forth. After abandoning God my first semester to explore the party scene, I made Jesus the Lord of my life at a retreat during winter session. At least I thought I did until each summer was spent drifting and slipping away, going clubbing on the Flats in downtown Cleveland every weekend.

For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [because it pleased Him and was His kind intent]—Ephesians 1:5

This sinful cycle finally came to an end my senior year of college, after breaking my ankle while playing sand volleyball. Stuck in bed my finally two weeks of that summer, I reached my spiritual point of no return. Sick of my lukewarm faith, the Clash song Should I Stay of Should I Go describes the thoughts rushing through my head. After days of contemplation and prayer, I ended 4 years of willfully living outside of God’s will. Reminded of a song from a Lay Witness Mission that I attended in college, the following words confirmed my decision, “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.”

by Jay Mankus

Deep Darkness

The title deep darkness suggests a place exists that is so dark, pitch black, that no one can see.  Typically, an evening sky provides moon light or stars in the country to help the human eye to adjust to the night.  On the other hand, Solomon who coins this term may be referring to a spiritual condition.

But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble, Proverbs 4:19.

A narcissist is defined as an individual who is excessive in their self-absorption.  This character trait tends to be egocentric, extremely independent and wrapped up with one’s self.  Perhaps the passage above inspired C.S. Lewis to create a state known as diabolical pride.  Those who reach this phase in life are blinded from reality, unable to recognize that which is causing them to stumble.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it, Proverbs 4:23.

According to Solomon, the key to escaping deep darkness involves placing a shield of faith around your heart.  The apostle Paul takes a different approach, calling for the breastplate of righteousness in Ephesians 6.  In view of the powers of darkness that are a clear and present danger, the human heart is the last line of defense.  Once poisoned, souls begin to embrace evil.  Thus, the only way to overcome deep darkness is through the light of Christ.  Take measures today to safe guard yourself with the Sword of the Spirit to ward off future attacks and temptations that seek to lure you back into deep darkness.

by Jay Mankus


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