RSS Feed

Tag Archives: ungodly beliefs

Using Love Thy Neighbor to End Discrimination

The earthly brother of Jesus ends the first chapter of his letter to Christians scattered throughout the world following Nero’s persecution with a warning about succumbing to the ways of the world. As chapter two begins it’s clear that discrimination can corrupt and pollute human souls. Perhaps 2022 would be a great time to adopt love thy neighbor as a means to end discrimination. Yet, this begins by looking at yourself in the mirror to examine how you must change to love all people.

Are you not discriminating among your own and becoming critics and judges with wrong motives?Listen, my beloved brethren: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and in their position as believers and to inherit the kingdom which He has promised to those who love Him? – James 2:4-5

The first church I served as a youth direction in was in the country. This particular church community took Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:23-24 literally. Subsequently, on Communion Sunday a large portion was absent, off seeking to make right any broken or iffy relationship. One of my friends who was a pastor of a nearby church began to alter Communion Sunday so that nobody knew when to skip church. While this was an admirable act of faith for those who skipped church mend relationships, discrimination was still occurring due to pre-conceived notions and judgments.

But you [in contrast] have insulted (humiliated, dishonored, and shown your contempt for) the poor. Is it not the rich who domineer over you? Is it not they who drag you into the law courts? – James 2:6

There will always be some sort of discrimination due to the ungodly beliefs that human beings have been picked up over the course of their lives. Yet, the apostle Paul claims that charity is the greatest spiritual act that Christians can display, 1 Corinthians 13:13. When love is present in hearts due to the power of the Holy Spirit, loving your neighbor as yourself is achievable, Matthew 22:38-40. Rather than have politicians create a new law that has nothing to do with the actual title, use the love thy neighbor principle as a means to end discrimination.

by Jay Mankus

Before My Sufferings Begin

Famous writers use foreshadowing as a way to misdirect readers, confuse anyone who has prematurely judged a character or as a way to leave behind a series of clues. In Hansel and Gretel, the Grimm Brothers use a trail of bread crumbs. However, throughout the four Gospels, Jesus drops subtle hints. Unfortunately, the disciples developed an ungodly belief, thinking that Jesus would become the earthly King of the Jews. Subsequently, no one knew what Jesus meant by “before I suffer.”

And they went and found it [just] as He had said to them; and they made ready the Passover [supper]. 14 And when the hour came, [Jesus] reclined at table, and the apostles with Him. 15 And He said to them, I have earnestly and intensely desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; Luke 22:13-15.

Human nature has a tendency to compare your own life to someone else. Hollywood has a series of scenes where two characters compare their scars starting with subtle ones before escalating to the most severe. Yet, suffering is often in the eye of the beholder. If you’ve lived a sheltered life without many trials or tribulations, it’s hard to comprehend the life of an orphan. In the case of Jesus, he waited 33 years before laying down his life. Yet, his disciples didn’t understand what was about to happen.

And to keep me from being puffed up and too much elated by the exceeding greatness (preeminence) of these revelations, there was given me a thorn ([a]a splinter) in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to rack and buffet and harass me, to keep me from being excessively exalted.Three times I called upon the Lord and besought [Him] about this and begged that it might depart from me; 2 Corinthians 12:6-7.

At the conclusion of a letter to the Church at Corinth, the apostle Paul pours out his heart about his own suffering. Whether this suffering was physical, spiritual or a combination of the two, Paul reached a point in his life where he began to accept this condition. As religious leaders attempted to kill and stone Paul on numerous occasions, he began to see a silver lining. Whether you’re in the beginning, middle or end of suffering, this experience has been allowed to occur so that in your weakness, placing your entire trust in Jesus will make you stronger than ever before.

by Jay Mankus

When Believing Leads to Belonging

From the earliest days on earth, children tend to become like a sponge, soaking up everything they see and hear. When what adolescents come to believe deviates from the Bible, this is defined as an ungodly belief. In the film Rudy, following the death of his best friend, Rudy goes to a bus stop, about to leave for Notre Dame to follow his childhood dream. Afraid his son is about to make a big mistake, Rudy’s father tries to talk him out of going. Within the attached scene, Rudy is told about the limitations of the Ruettiger family lineage. Rudy is told he’s not big enough or smart enough and that he doesn’t belong at Notre Dame.

I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me. 21 [Therefore, I do not treat God’s gracious gift as something of minor importance and defeat its very purpose]; I do not set aside and invalidate and frustrate and nullify the grace (unmerited favor) of God. For if justification (righteousness, acquittal from guilt) comes through [observing the ritual of] the Law, then Christ (the Messiah) died groundlessly and to no purpose and in vain. [His death was then wholly superfluous,] Galatians 2:20-21.

The Church at Galatia had their own ungodly beliefs to overcome. However, this time adult Christians who could not let go of their Jewish upbringing would not let go of following the Torah. Subsequently, a religious sect known as the Judaizers were forcing Gentiles to become circumcised. As their doctrine developed over time, Judaizers were equating the act of circumcision with a necessary step to be saved. According to the apostle Paul, Barnabas and Peter were led astray by this teaching as they began to separate from non-Jewish Christians. This is not the type of belief consistent with Jesus’ teaching.

But now that the faith has come, we are no longer under a trainer (the guardian of our childhood). 26 For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith. 27 For as many [of you] as were baptized into Christ [into a spiritual union and communion with Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah] have put on (clothed yourselves with) Christ. 28 There is [now no distinction] neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is not male [b]and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus, Galatians 3:25-28.

One of the inspirations for writing Galtians is to address and correct this spiritual lie. The two passages above highlight the importance of faith. First, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Paul uses similar language in Colossians 3:1-9 where Christians are called to leave their old self and practices. Until human beings purge and put to death the addictions and bad habits of their past, belief in God is hard to maintain. However, as Christians begin to live by faith by putting on spiritual attributes of Jesus, a sense of belonging and purpose enters your life. When you join a church body, believing leads to belonging.

by Jay Mankus

Just Make Up Your Mind

Analysis paralysis occurs when an individual overthinks all of the possible alternatives. This mind numbing process often prevents you from making an important decision. I tend to narrow my choices down to two or three things before deciding. When you’re buying a car or purchasing a home, the price or location will influence your finally decision. However, at some point you have to make up your mind and commit to a decision.

[These weak women will listen to anybody who will teach them]; they are forever inquiring and getting information, but are never able to arrive at a recognition and knowledge of the Truth. Now just as [a]Jannes and Jambres were hostile to and resisted Moses, so these men also are hostile to and oppose the Truth. They have depraved and distorted minds, and are reprobate and counterfeit and to be rejected as far as the faith is concerned, 2 Timothy 3:7-8.

Apparently, paralysis from over analysis isn’t new. In a first century letter, the apostle Paul addresses a group of women who were consumed by inquiring about and gathering information. All of this content clouded their minds as they were unable to make a decision about God’s Word. This refusal is compared to the actions of Jannes and Jambres who became hostile toward and resisted the teaching of Moses.

But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated. 15 But the spiritual man tries all things [he [g]examines, investigates, inquires into, questions, and discerns all things], yet is himself to be put on trial and judged by no one [he can read the meaning of everything, but no one can properly discern or appraise or get an insight into him], 1 Corinthians 2:14-15.

During a visit to Greece, Paul was frustrated by the philosophers who were full of knowledge, but lacked common sense. In the passage above, Paul reveals how the nonspiritual struggle to accept God’s existence. In the book Restoring the Foundations, this concept is referred to as ungodly beliefs. These beliefs are picked up via friends, parents and others throughout life. Until individuals gain access to the Holy Spirit by entering into a relationship with God, Romans 5:3-5, human beings will continue to struggle to make up their minds.

by Jay Mankus

Mind Games

As a teenage boy, I wasn’t charismatic or eloquent. I struggled to maintain a B average and entered high school at 5 feet tall and 100 pounds. While competing in sports was my first love, attractive females began to get my attention. Unfortunately, I was so small and quiet, that I was invisible when other guys were around. Subsequently, dating was something that I longed for, but was unable find someone that liked me more than a friend.

For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.

What made matters worse was a severe speech impediment. When I opened my mouth, I never knew if I was going to embarrass myself in class or actually spit something out. I could visualize what I wanted to say, but my mind would play tricks on me. The longer this condition persisted, I began to develop an ungodly belief that I would never be able to share what was in my heart and on my mind.

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you], Romans 12:1-2.

After entering into a personal relationship with Jesus as a sophomore in high school, I was introduced to the promises of the Bible. When I learned about my own internal struggles in Galatians 5:16-18, the miracles of Jesus gave me hope. My prayers began to focus on healing my stuttering so that this mind game would end. Twenty years after my condition was first diagnosed, the power of the Holy Spirit finally broke through. While the Devil still tries to remind me of my past, the Bible has steadied my faith as this spiritual mind game continues today.

by Jay Mankus

Tuck in Your Shirt

I spent a decade of my life teaching the Bible at a large Christian Academy. On chapel days boys were required to wear a dress shirt and tie while girls had to wear a dress or skirt. Just before this worship service, teachers were expected to do a quick check for any dress code violations. Homeroom teachers were encouraged to remind boys to tuck in their shirt prior to walking over to the sanctuary or else face the risk of receiving a demerit.

We have renounced disgraceful ways (secret thoughts, feelings, desires and underhandedness, the methods and arts that men hide through shame); we refuse to deal craftily (to practice trickery and cunning) or to adulterate or handle dishonestly the Word of God, but we state the truth openly (clearly and candidly). And so we commend ourselves in the sight and presence of God to every man’s conscience, 2 Corinthians 4:2.

The apostle Paul introduced the concept of the belt of truth in the first century. In a letter to the Church at Ephesus, Paul urges readers to fastened the belt of truth, Ephesians 6:14. As a Roman Soldier prepared for battle, securing this belt was crucial for maximizing their mobility so they do they won’t get caught on anything. Yet, when you tell a teenage boy tuck in your shirt, most don’t know why it’s necessary or simply don’t care.

You are of your father, the devil, and it is your will to practice the lusts and gratify the desires [which are characteristic] of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a falsehood, he speaks what is natural to him, for he is a liar [himself] and the father of lies and of all that is false, John 8:44.

Paul equates this belt with truth. When individuals allow exaggerations, half-truths, lies and ungodly beliefs to enter their mind, gray areas begin to develop and expand. The Bible is designed to bring clarity and light to confusing or difficult concepts to grasp. However, when Christians go days, weeks and months without opening this book, rules like tuck in your shirt are quickly dismissed. If anyone becomes disconnected from God’s Word, John 15:1-5, you will be susceptible to the father of lies who can deceive you from what is true. May God’s Word open your eyes to help to see the big picture for tucking in your shirt.

by Jay Mankus

I Saw I Thought I Felt

The spirit of lust was conceived with a second glance at a ripe piece of fruit in the Garden of Eden, Genesis 3:6. One of Jesus’ disciples refers to this internal desire as the lust of the flesh. Eve’s lustful glimpse started an unhealthy trend that now pushes the envelope further and further with each passing generation. According to Jesus, you can break one of the ten commandments, committing adultery when a look leads to a sexual longing, Matthew 5:27-29.

Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things]—these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself]. 17 And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever, 1 John 2:15-17.

When Eve began staring at forbidden fruit hanging from the Tree of Knowledge, thoughts began to race through her mind. Instead of obeying the only rule laid out by God, Genesis 2:15-17, a cunning serpent planted ungodly beliefs into her brain. The apostle Paul explains this internal battle in the passage above and in Galatians 5:16-18. When thoughts switch your focus from God toward selfish desires, it’s only a matter of time before sin is conceived, James 1:13-15.

For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit. Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever]. [That is] because the mind of the flesh [with its carnal thoughts and purposes] is hostile to God, for it does not submit itself to God’s Law; indeed it cannot, Romans 8:5-7.

After you see and think, lives will begin to chase after feelings. Immediately following the first act of sin, Adam and Eve were overwhelmed by a feeling of guilt, Genesis 3:7-11. If you keep breaking God’s laws or can’t escape falling prey to temptation, people gradually change for the worse. Spiritual leaders in the Old Testament began to do what was first in their own eyes, Judges 21:25. This course of action is a byproduct of seeing, thinking, and feeling. The next time you sense yourself sliding in the wrong direction, look for the way out, 1 Corinthians 10:13.

by Jay Mankus

Not In Your Own Strength

According to Levi, the disciples left the Last Supper singing a hymn as Jesus led these men to the Mount of Olives, Matthew 26:30. In the hours that followed, Jesus unveiled a powerful message to those who were listening. “The Spirit is willing, but the body is weak, Matthew 26:41. The context of this comment helps explain why the disciples couldn’t stay awake to pray for an hour late at night. Each of these disciples were relying on their own strength.

[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight, Philippians 2:13.

While writing a letter to members of the Church at Philippi, the apostle Paul appears to point to this spiritual principle. As a former Jewish zealot, Paul understood his own human limitations, Romans 3:10-12. Old Testament prophets spoke of man’s sinful tendencies, a nature that no one is immune. Rather than develop ungodly beliefs, Paul is clear that it is God who is the source of your desire and energy.

I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency], Philippians 4:13.

Two chapters later, the apostle Paul repeats himself with slightly different terminology. Instead of focusing on external actions that are visible, Paul concentrates on the internal. If human bodies are willing, it is Jesus living side of human hearts that empowers Christians to change for the better. Therefore, the next time you hear “it is Christ who gives you strength,” it is not you, but the Lord who is the human energizer.

by Jay Mankus

When Ungodly Beliefs Hinder Your Ability to Love

I was introduced to the concept of ungodly beliefs while reading the book Restoring the Foundations. Authors Betsy and Chester Kylstra claim ungodly beliefs can gain access to individuals through painful experiences. These lies that people come to believe arrive unexpectedly through hurtful and traumatic events. As minds begin to seek answers to why this or that occurred in your life, a strong emotional pull opens a door into your soul. Fueled by doubt and uncertainty, thoughts such as “God doesn’t care about me, I’m not good enough, or I’ll never amount to anything” hinders one’s ability to love.

You were running the race nobly. Who has interfered in (hindered and stopped you from) your heeding and following the Truth? This [evil] persuasion is not from Him Who called you [Who invited you to freedom in Christ]. A little leaven (a slight inclination to error, or a few false teachers) leavens the whole lump [it perverts the whole conception of faith or misleads the whole church], Galatians 5:7-9.

In the passage above, one of the churches the apostle Paul helped start began to struggle with their own ungodly beliefs. Influenced by a religious sect who added circumcision as a requirement to be saved, a spiritual elitism entered the Galatian church. This mentality became so prevalent that Barnabas and Peter began to withdraw from Gentiles Christians, believing that a close association with Gentiles would make them unclean. This unwillingness to let go of Jewish customs, regulations, and traditions inhibited their ability to love their love as themselves.

But, brethren, if I still preach circumcision [as some accuse me of doing, as necessary to salvation], why am I still suffering persecution? In that case the cross has ceased to be a stumbling block and is made meaningless (done away). 12 I wish those who unsettle and confuse you would [go all the way and] cut themselves off! 13 For you, brethren, were [indeed] called to freedom; only [do not let your] freedom be an incentive to your flesh and an opportunity or excuse [for selfishness], but through love you should serve one another, Galatians 5:11-13.

This is the context as Paul introduces acts of the flesh and the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:16-24. Depending upon what you allow yourself to believe will dictate the actions that you will take. You can either listen to God’s voice by keeping in step with the Holy Spirit or indulge your earthly desires. Ungodly beliefs are theories you pick up over time from parents, peers, and other spheres of influences. When these beliefs contradict the Bible, payback and revenge will replace love. If this blog finds you in a bad mood, struggling to be nice, explore Restoring the Foundations so that healing will enable you to love your neighbor as yourself.

by Jay Mankus

The Devil or Bad Decisions?

Behind the scenes, ungodly beliefs and self fulfilled prophecies lurk within human minds. Whispers of “you’re not good enough, you’ll never amount to anything or everybody else is doing it,” play like a commercial in your thought life. Depending upon how you deal with these distractions, you might blame the Devil for your current ordeal. However, whenever individuals lose confidence, circumstances are prime for bad decisions to be conceived. When common sense is ignored, consequences of poor choices come to the forefront.

And the Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry? And why do you look sad and depressed and dejected? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you, but you must master it, Genesis 4:6-7.

Take the first child born on earth. Cain followed in his father’s footsteps as a farmer. However, as the curse in Genesis 3:17 commenced, the earth’s soil turned from fertile ground into an arid desert. Subsequently, as his younger brother Abel prospered as a shepherd, envy and jealousy began to consume Cain’s soul. This dire situation caused God to intervene, warning Cain of the sin crouching at the door of his heart. Unfortunately, the Lord was too late as Cain already made up him mind. It was only a matter of time before Cain’s thoughts were acted upon.

Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted from God; for God is incapable of being tempted by [what is] evil and He Himself tempts no one. 14 But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions). 15 Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death, James 1:13-15.

The earthly brother of Jesus makes sure God is not one to blame for temptation. Rather, those who give into temptation slowly ponder their options before finally taking steps toward the dark side. Whether it’s a second glance, a season of idleness or lustful passions that you can’t hold back any further, when sin is conceived it fills your minds until you finally give into a variety of fantasies. In the end, the only way to escape temptation, 1 Corinthians 10:13, is by purging all reminders of your past sins so that you find the way out that God provides.

by Jay Mankus

%d bloggers like this: