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Tag Archives: ungodly beliefs

Shutting the Door on Fear

Two first century authors use the imagery of a door to prove their point. The apostle Paul warns Christians against giving the Devil an open door to enter your life. This analogy suggests that you shouldn’t leave a crack or a gap. One of Jesus’ disciples focuses on the positive. This spiritual illustration uses God’s love as a source of superior power to snuff out fear by closing the door.

There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love [g]turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear [h]brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection], 1 John 4:18.

As I read the passage above recently, my mind turned to 2 Corinthians 10:5-6. Trying to confront the Devil alone is reckless. Yet, when you learn to take your thoughts captive by making them obedient to Christ, shutting the door on fear is possible. If fear feeds on weakened minds that become paralyzed by ungodly beliefs, you’re giving the Devil a foothold to use your fears against you.

When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down. 27 Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him], Ephesians 4:26-27.

One of Jesus’ disciples compares the Devil to a predator that feeds on isolated and wounded Christians. When a door is left ajar or cracked open, fear will enter your dreams while you’re sleeping. Anyone who doesn’t shut the door on fear will allow nightmares to continue to fester. These threats will only intensify as time goes by. This is why shutting the door on fear is essential for all Christians to practice.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 74: Don’t Believe It

One of the first Christian rock bands that I found that was as good as popular secular music is Legend. The release of Legend’s debut album Legend Seven coincided with my senior year of college. I can recall a couple of Friday afternoons when I rolled down my windows and blasted Don’t Believe It as I drove down Main Street to unwind. Don’t Believe It was inspired by a warning from the apostle Paul.

Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil. 12 For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere, Ephesians 6:11-12.

This song refers to ungodly beliefs, lies planted inside the thought life of human beings. One of the greatest weapons of the Devil is convincing individuals that other people are to blame. Yet, behind the scenes in the spiritual realm, the Devil is serving as the mastermind of all evil. Subsequently, the message of Don’t Believe It still applies today with a call to stop believing the liar and chief, the Devil.

by Jay Mankus

What Am I Supposed to Be?

As a member of Jesus’ inner circle along with Peter and James, John had V.I.P. access. One of the expressions John appears to have picked up from private conversations with Jesus is “conforming to the Father’s will in purpose, thought, and action.” After ending one letter with this phrase, John alludes to the waiting process before God’s will is made clear. As Christians lift up daily concerns to the Lord, one prayer request should focus on what you shall be.

Beloved, we are [even here and] now God’s children; it is not yet disclosed (made clear) what we shall be [hereafter], but we know that when He comes and is manifested, we shall [[b]as God’s children] resemble and be like Him, for we shall see Him [c]just as He [really] is, 1 John 3:2.

Shall is one of those termed used in self-fulfilling prophecies. If you tend to be negative, ungodly beliefs will fill your mind with thoughts of failure that often come to fruition. Yet, if you learn to take your thoughts captive by implementing Paul’s advice in 2 Corinthians 10:5, what you shall be improves. Philippians 4:8-9 is a great verse to meditate upon to shift your attention to the positive aspects in life. As your perspective changes, so does the prospect of a brighter future.

If you know (perceive and are sure) that He [Christ] is [absolutely] righteous [conforming to the Father’s will in purpose, thought, and action], you may also know (be sure) that everyone who does righteously [and is therefore in like manner conformed to the divine will] is born (begotten) of Him [[r]God], 1 John 2:29.

Belief in one’s abilities in a step in the right direction. However, John suggests your degree of certainty that Jesus is the Christ is crucial to conforming to God’s will. When doubt or uncertainty creeps into your mind, your conviction and purpose in life will waver. If confidence in the power of the Holy Spirit to improve your life is restored, you will become closer to the person that God wants you to be. In the end, what you shall be is determined by the choices and decisions that you make daily.

by Jay Mankus

All That is in the World

One of Jesus’ disciples makes an interesting observation about the world. John points out three temporary pleasures that the world offers: the lust of the flesh, the lust of your eyes, and the pride of life. These words appear to be a continuation of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 6:19-24. These earthly treasures speak to human beings through enticement and lust. This is all that is in the world.

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], 1 John 2:16.

The concept that sex sells appeals to the lust of the flesh. Whether this is in the form of advertising. commercials, or scenes from a movie, these images are designed to entice your cravings for sensual gratification. The second form of lust coincides with Jesus’ third temptation in Matthew 4:8-10. The Devil offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world in exchange for his worship. The lust of the eyes plants a seed in minds for seeking control and power on earth.

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 2:17.

The final temporary pleasure that the world offers is the pride of life. This ungodly belief makes some people think that you can control your own destiny. This desire is what has caused some in Hollywood to believe that they are God. Unfortunately, the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, 2 Corinthians 4:4. You may try to fill the void in your heart with all that is in the world, but only Jesus satisfies, John 10:10.

by Jay Mankus

The Delusion

Delusions occur when a false belief is accepted, or a judgment is made about an external reality. Author Chester Kylstra refers to this as ungodly beliefs in his book Restoring the Foundations. One of the best illustrations of a delusion happens in the film Rudy. Waiting for a bus to take him to Notre Dame, Rudy’s father tries to stop Rudy from chasing his childhood dream. According to Rudy’s father, he’s not smart and talented enough. This delusion prevented Rudy’s father from ever achieving his full potential in life.

If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we are sinners], we delude and lead ourselves astray, and the Truth [which the Gospel presents] is not in us [does not dwell in our hearts], 1 John 1:8.

Ungodly beliefs are not the only delusion that human beings endure. As sin enters your life in the form of enticement or lust, when the seed of sin is planted in your minds it’s only a matter of time before you will give into temptation, James 1:13-15. Unfortunately, to make yourself feel better, you might compare yourself with other people to conceal your own spiritual condition, Romans 2:1. This delusion comes in the form of justification and rationalization like the apostle Paul’s own struggle in Romans 7:15.

And by unlimited seduction to evil and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing (going to perdition) because they did not welcome the Truth but refused to love it that they might be saved. 11 Therefore God sends upon them a misleading influence, a working of error and a strong delusion to make them believe what is false, 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11.

The apostle Paul alludes to full blown sin in the passage above, James 1:15. Like an addict struggling to unhook their lives from an unhealthy substance, seduction is another delusion that you must confront. Anyone who has failed to break a bad habit understands the helpless feeling of compromise, asking God for forgiveness before indulging sinful passions. One of the lies of the Devil is that you’ll never change. Yet, if you follow Paul’s advice in 1 Corinthians 10:13, God does provide a way out of temptation as long as you are willing to break free from sinful delusions.

by Jay Mankus

Blots and Blemishes

In this age of wokeness, every word you say is policed by social media. Various sites have now hired truth detectors to determine right from wrong, fact from fiction, and the truth from lies. While talking about sinful behaviors, one of Jesus’ disciples refers to blots and blemishes. Like a bad grease stain on a brand-new shirt, this careless error in judgment can ruin an article of clothing. Yet, the Bible is more concerned about what’s going on deep inside of you before it’s too late to change.

Being destined to receive [punishment as] the reward of [their] unrighteousness [suffering wrong as the hire for their wrongdoing]. They count it a delight to revel in the daytime [living luxuriously and delicately]. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their [a]deceptions and carousing together [even] as they feast with you, 2 Peter 2:14.

The context of the passage above is to prepare Christians for Jesus’ second coming detailed in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3. Several first century writers use fear to address personal blots and blemishes. The apostle Paul and Peter both use similar methods to warn Christians of falling back into the sinful ways of their past prior to entering into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If you can develop the mindset that Jesus is coming back today, you’ll be less likely give into temptation that lie in wait for you daily.

But the [Holy] Spirit distinctly and expressly declares that in latter times some will turn away from the faith, giving attention to deluding and seducing spirits and doctrines that demons teach, Through the hypocrisy and pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared (cauterized), 1 Timothy 4:1-2.

One of the biggest issues of overcoming the blots and blemishes of your past is learning to forgive yourself. Meanwhile, ungodly beliefs that you have picked up over the course of your life will make you feel less worthy of God’s mercy. When you add these factors to prodigals who have lost the ability to think rationally, common sense is asleep until you hit rock bottom. When Jesus’ earthly brother refused to believe his own sibling was the Messiah, he believes it’s never too late for confession so that God’s sanctifying grace will take care of your future blots and blemishes, James 5:16.

by Jay Mankus

When the Love of Money Goes Too Far

As a former seminary student and Bible teacher, I cringe every time ill-informed politicians take the Bible out of context. Rather than correct these errors, journalists and television commentator’s often gloss over these ungodly beliefs to avoid confrontation or criticism. Perhaps this explains why some people believe that you can’t be a Christian and wealthy at the same time. However, the root of all evil is when the love of money goes too far.

For the love of money is a root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have been led astray and have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves through with many [e]acute [mental] pangs, 1 Timothy 6:10.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus refers to money in Matthew 6:19-24 and Matthew 6:32-34. The first passage alludes to treasures that your heart can’t stop thinking about. When trust in God is replaced by money, souls become consumed by anxiety and worry. As long as individuals supplement money in exchange for faith in God, panic attacks will wear down troubled and weary souls. This unhealthy craving for money continues today as a sign that the love of money has gone too far.

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], 1 John 2:15-16.

One of Jesus’ disciples combines acts of the sinful nature with a love for earthly treasures. The answer to reversing sensual gratifications, greedy longings and the pride of self-reliance is found in Galatians 5:16-25. This internal wrestling match goes on daily between the flesh and God’s Spirit. Yet, according to Jesus the only way to break away is through turning your attention towards seeking first God’s righteousness. Until your spiritual priorities change, you’re at risk at letting the love of money go too far.

by Jay Mankus

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

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