Living the Deliberate Life

Posted: February 27, 2007 in Bible Study, Biblical Topics, Christianity, General Study, Religion, Spiritual Struggle, Virtues

“A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.” Proverbs 14:15

You’ve probably seen it before. Whether it was on Maury or Cheaters or some other show where people take joy in the misfortunes of others. The cheating spouse is confronted (or confronts) their spouse. Their infidelity exposed, an explanation is sought by the betrayed. The most common answer issues forth from faithless lips:

It just happened.

It is easy, from the other side of the screen, to recognize that nothing “just happens”- unless one is referring to a meteor falling from the sky. When it comes to human behavior there are very few instances where the “it just happened” excuse is valid.

But think for a second from the perspective of the cheater. Often, in their mind, it did “just happen.” They can’t recognize that their own choices got them there, since the chain of events involves a long string of incidents, none of which alone explain their predicament. They couldn’t see the danger up ahead since they didn’t live a deliberate life. They went through countless steps, steps that seemed harmless at the time, that led them to their illicit affair. After all isn’t it harmless to talk with a coworker, what about playfully flirting- since you have no intention to go further. Then it is only too easy to go out to dinner some night- since it will be a public place nothing can happen, right?

Countless seemingly harmless steps lead us into spiritually and physically dangerous situations everyday. When we realize what we are doing it is too late, and we are often too proud to acknowledge what we have done.

Think of Cain. Did he plan on killing Abel from the start? Or was his anger over God’s rejection an intermediary step between his unacceptable sacrifice and his brother’s murder? Think of the steps involved- in the beginning harmless yet growing more dangerous (but almost imperceptibly so).

At first Cain took great pride in his crops, this pride led him to rationalize their use as an offering to the lord (when Cain almost certainly knew what God expected of him). When God rejected Cain’s offering, Cain was “downcast” and “angry.” Cain went in this mental state to talk with his brother, possibly asking him to walk with him through the field. It is easy to imagine that as Cain and Abel discuss the subject Cain’s anger slowly growing and burning hotter until he loses his temper. Perhaps he regrets his actions, but when confronted directly by God he denies knowledge. Did you notice the path Cain took, how each step magnified his original error. Cain did not think his actions through- anger has that effect on us all.

God’s advice to Cain holds as true today as it did then:

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.

The adversary knows our weaknesses, he has been around since the creation of this world. He has lived in the presence of God, he knows scripture, and he can present himself as an angel of light (goodness). He stands ready to twist scripture to his own ends. He wants to present you with thoughts that sound well-intentioned, but in the end only lead to destruction. He seeks to drive a wedge between you and God, you and the church, you and salvation.

Satan doesn’t win you over most often by promising riches or fame. He doesn’t appear with a horned head and hoofed feet. His most potent weapon is not a pitchfork, but doubt and spite. He is the voice whispering in your ear that church people are back stabbers. He is the one who wants you to think those people in your church don’t appreciate all you do, and you would be better off without them. He doesn’t have to make you adore him and worship him to win, he only needs to keep you from Christ. When we live thoughtless lives we make that all the easier.

But if I were to focus on one aspect of the adversary’s attack on us within the faith, it is despair. Did you come to faith with a deep spiritual struggle? Maybe it was alcohol, drugs, pornography, whatever it might have been that kept you from God. Have you relapsed since? Don’t be ashamed, many have. However, the adversary knows a way to derail you. He tells you:

“Oh look what you’ve done. That is so bad, how could God forgive you?! You blew it, and this time you blew it for good. Might as well give up trying in the first place Phil. God doesn’t want you after this.”

The best thing to do is to avoid this in the first place by living a deliberate life, but that isn’t always possible, we all make mistakes. But coming out of your relapse to a life of sin determined to get back on track, seeking forgiveness and reconciliation, is the best path.

Don’t let yourself be deceived. Know God’s word, so that it might be a useful tool to correct and guide your steps. Know that God loves you and would never reject you if you come to him seeking forgiveness and reconciliation. When you do this you frustrate the adversary by defending against his spiritual attacks.

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Comments
  1. ashjoshua says:

    GBU. Thank you for that post. It’s so important for us to understand that for everything that happens in our life we make the choices. We tend to blame others or God sometimes in our quest to deliver ourselves from trouble. Thanks again….
    Love and prayers
    Ash

  2. DulceDiana says:

    This is powerful! The Holy Spirit well warns us *before* things happen…we just choose to ignore and think “everything is okay, i got it under control” – well that is another problem, your control is not God’s control. When he has it under HIS authority *then* it has an impact in the spiritual realm.
    “Countless seemingly harmless steps lead us into spiritually and physically dangerous situations everyday.” – still trying to digest….
    thanks, bro!

  3. Thanks for the good comments. I really felt led to write this as I read my bible yesterday with Cheaters playing in the background I had forgotten to turn off the sound system). As I heard the young lady cry about how “it just happened,” the thought hit me. All the episodes of Maury, Cheaters, et al. kind of hit me in the head.

    Add to that the realization that many Christians labor under the deception that the adversary wouldn’t mislead us with good intentions or things that are seemingly good or kind. So many forget he is an angel of light.

  4. faithwalk says:

    Good post JK! The little foxes that spoil the vines; the little steps that bring one to a place where it actually happens, though the Spirit certainly warns and convicts ahead of time it we are listening. This world has such a strong pull and everything in it minimize the importance of faithfulness, honesty and integrity. TV shows romanticize adultery etc.

    Living a deliberate life; what a good way of putting it! May the Lord help us to be deliberate in our pursuit of Him!

    Every Blessing to you in Christ!

    Susan

  5. timbob says:

    Greetings. This post is one that I can relate to in a very painfully close manner. I move back here from Virginia thinking that I was spiritually ready for anything. I got around old acquaintances and guess what. Little by little, I began to backslike. I was backslidden for about 13 years or so until the Lord, in a way that I still cannot adequately describe, brought me to repentance. I found myself remembering the “old paths” and asked the Lord Jesus to forgive me and to straighten out the incredible mess that I had made of things. He’s still working things out and I praise him for it. This is a very timely post and a warning that we must “keep our hearts with all diligence.”

  6. mcalmond says:

    Interesting post, with an all too true of a warning for us all.

    There is a scripture that comes to mind: James 1:14-16 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. (NKJV)

    What is ever so vital for us all, is that we are quick to repent in and before the Lord Jesus. The danger isn’t simply in our blowing it, but in our unwillingness to honestly confess our sins, weaknesses, failures, faults, vulnerabilities, etc. in and before the Lord Jesus Christ.

    One more text: 1 John 2:1-2 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. (NKJV)

    Praise the Lord for our Advocate, the Lord Jesus Christ and his provisions that make available His forgiveness of our sins, weaknesses, faults, vulnerabilities, failures, etc..

    I really love the text you have listed here. May we all be deliberate and prudent in considering well our steps, in and with the Lord Jesus Christ!

    Blessings in the Lord Jesus Christ!

  7. lifeis2good says:

    eExcellent article and well thought out. It will help people to think.

  8. cumby says:

    Excellent post! I sit in churches and hear pastors mocking the devil, or brothers and sisters boasting in song that “I’ve got the devil under my feet.” In reality, looking around at the state many are in, the truth is quite the opposite.

    We are dealing with a wily, patient and dangerous enemy who has nothing left to lose. It would be wise for us to make our steps deliberate and purposeful and walk in humility. “To be wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove.”

  9. writeathome says:

    Great post! This is exactly why we need to acknowledge the Lord in everything we do so that He will help us to stay on the right path.(Pro. 3:5,6) I’m thankful too that when we mess up, we don’t have to let the devil beat us over the head, but we can repent as it says in I John 1:9.

  10. Hi JK,

    Well done! Funny how the most profound thoughts can come rolling out of man after such an inglorious motivation passes our ears.

    We know that whatever’s in your heart will, sooner or later, make it’s way out of your mouth.

    I’m glad you took the time to put finger to keyboard and remind me of the necessary humility required to keep my walk straight.

    Thanks,

    Hank

  11. krislinatin says:

    Good post, we should all live a deliberate life!

  12. Claire says:

    hi – saw your comment on Write At Home, so had to check it out…

    soooo true! amazing how so many though live by that whole thought pattern eh (it just happened)

    ps good on ya re the weight stuff!

  13. Levi says:

    Wow, great post and a great site. Keep up the good work!

  14. Cltgrace says:

    Great post…I’m so glad God is not offended in my offenses. He chose me, loved me & died for me in advance in spite of every failure. He is never caught off guard by my shortcomings, but is reaching with His embrace to help me stand again.

    Thanks for your comments on Grace Full Days~ Always nice to have visitors that leave comments. :o)

  15. carol says:

    very thought provoking…thankyou

  16. emilywriting says:

    Hello 🙂 Thanks for visiting my blog. Your inquiry as to “Stranger than Fiction” set me off on a long examination of why I liked it. If you’re interested, it’s here: http://emilywriting.wordpress.com

  17. 1ofHis says:

    So true. There are many steps to sins. This is why God said to forgive others (and yourself), “if you even look at someone in lust, you’ve already committed adultery”, don’t let the sun go down on your anger, etc. There is nothing we can hide inside of ourselves without it coming out in some way in the future. It all comes back to being dead to sin and alive unto God.

  18. Oscar says:

    well what if you fail. And you ask for forgiveness and you fail again and again and again. I know im sinning and I hate it. I go couple of days without doing the same sin and there I fall again. When you feel most ashamed because even after you do knw HE forgave you yet you keep sinning. What then?

  19. PB and J says:

    totaltransformation

    thanks for the post. i think you make some great pts as to areas that the devil tries to attack. however, i would be wary of saying that he more often uses those methods than wealth or fame or power. personally, i have seen so many christians (usually these methods are employed effectively against christians not unbelievers) fall away or even just get a little diverted from the path by money and power.

    personally, i have recently been reading church history a lot. and i am fascinated that many of the revivals and reformations within the church have come from those who put aside wealth and power. people like francis of assisi or martin luther. anyway, thanks for the encouragement.

    peter

  20. Oscar your wrote:

    “well what if you fail. And you ask for forgiveness and you fail again and again and again. I know im sinning and I hate it. I go couple of days without doing the same sin and there I fall again. When you feel most ashamed because even after you do knw HE forgave you yet you keep sinning. What then?”

    Brother, I’ve been in the exact same place. The best answer I can give you is that sin has its hooks deep in us, it is our first nature. Even believers who are saved struggle with sin. There was a period in my life no too long ago- when I would pray for strength to overcome a certain sin. However, I would constantly fail God, and end up on my knees seeking forgiveness. Then after 8 months of fighting one day things just changed- I didn’t have the same urge, I didn’t think about it anymore. Don’t get me wrong, sometime the thought crosses my mind, but it doesn’t have the same appeal it once did.

    The Lord promises to forgive us whenever we ask in earnest for his mercy. So as many times as you fall down, look to heaven and seek forgiveness and strength. In His time God will provide strength and you will be forgiven immediately.

  21. Lynn says:

    I love the “deliberate life” phrase! I try to remember to be thankful and count my blessings each day. Counting my blessings makes me humble and appreciative of the gifts that I have received in my life. I always recall the verse in Matthew: “Straight is the path, narrow is the gate, and few there be who find it.” That verse helps me to remember the True Path and the consequences involved in wandering astray.

    Lynn

  22. elman says:

    Signs and Wonders
    Well, all your comments were based on what you think, but can we profit from what you think is right and wrong, your idealism. Or can we profit more from what the bible say on what is right and what is wrong? Of course, critical thinking is needed but, the conclusion should not be based on what you think, but what the bible say. Let the bible explain itself not ourselves. If the bible say something more so about the great signs and wonders, even the gift of healing, then ask the bible for its explanation too!

    Isaiah 34:16. Look in the book of the LORD and read: No one of these shall be lacking, For the mouth of the LORD has ordered it, and his spirit shall gather them there

    This is robert’s statement: The gifts, on the other hand, are pushed aside and neglected and as a result people in the mainline church are scared or “weirded out” by the gifts and basically live content in ignorance of this topic that the Bible seems to regard as important. So I fight for them, and all the more vigorously, because it is badly needed at this time.

    Robert, remember, Jesus has warned already of the false prophets that shall rise after Him. Also, even during and before He said about the warning, there are false prophets already, but what is so great about this false prophets that will rise after Jesus or in the future? The false prophets will use these doctrine of gifts even healing and miracle, and signs and wonders too, to fool people on believing on them, to depart from the truth, even the elect.

    What is the sign of a false prophet? Let us hear what Jesus said: Matthew 24 :4-5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

    You might have noticed that most of the denominations that calls themselves christians or born-again, not to exaggerate but some even call themselves, born-again-christians! They use the name of Jesus Christ as their groups’ name. You can give an example if you want to of those groups nowadays!

    Second, Jesus foretold too that: Matthew 24:24-25 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before.

    This becomes the primary doctrine of the false prophets to attract people. Robert, these charismatic gifts were then used to draw people away from the kingdom of God!

    But, do not worry, if we where forewarned by Jesus, of course, He gave instructions too so that we will be able to distinguish a false prophet from that of sent by God and Jesus Christ?

    John 7:17-18 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.

    Revelation 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

    Therefore, it is the doctrine of those speakers that we should be critical about if what they say is true or their invention. Is it in the bible? Is it logical and biblical?

    Paul also gave a warning and said: Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

    Unfortunately, some people, some individual, even if they read the verses I mentioned, this is what they do:

    2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

    I did not say that miracles and wonders will not occur in the church anymore but it is not the primary doctrine that we should use to attract people in believing the word: 2 Timothy 2:15 diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

    Those who do not handle the word of truth accurately are false prophets. They keep on tagging themselves as an apostle and offers miracles because they have established their own church. These anti christs have not reached the understanding about the composition of the church and to where a person should be affiliated with to become a Christian. It is the Church of God as mentioned by Paul where we should be affiliated. The church has been existing even before. It is the church where Paul belongs to, the body where Jesus Christ is the head. You can find there already the apostles, prophets, miracles etc:

    1 Cor 12:28-30
    And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.
    Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?
    Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues[a]? Do all interpret?

    All I am saying is that, since we have access to the bible, let as be critical and be biblical minded of what people say because through the doctrine that they shall preach, they shall be known if they are correctly dividing the word of truth or not.

    Paul said: Hebrew 5:11-14 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

    Hebrews 6:1-2 Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death,[d] and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.

    Going back to what Jesus warned the apostle, even to us who wants to follow his commandments, about the false prophets that will show great signs and wonders, what did Apostle Paul said about it? Paul said, If God allow, we will do so. Have not you noticed that Paul has written so much about the doctrines and what Christians should do in the house of God which is the Church of God? And this is what I am inviting you to learn about.

    As I am too a student of the True Word of God, may I refer you to our website where there are clips about our doctrine, found in the bible, as discussed by our Presiding Minister, Brother Eliseo Soriano. If you have slower connection, you can visit http://www.angdatingdaan.org. To God be the glory!

  23. […] might be a series of small mistakes. Maybe you flunked out of college, not because you weren’t smart enough, but because you […]

  24. […] [An excellent list of ten rules to live by that will keep us men out of most of the stupid and ridiculous situation we often find ourselves in. I also recommend my series (a new section is in the works) on living the deliberate life.] […]

  25. […] 169 from June through December. But the holidays hit and I returned to my poor eating habits. I ignored my own advice and spiraled a bit down into a funk, ate more unhealthy food, and exercised much less discipline […]

  26. very good post! 🙂

    The better we come to know Him ( within us) the more often we can consciously form our will to His the more we will be able to overcome the distractions we tend to ‘fall’ for in this world and the more close we become to finding the life to come in the next.

    Awareness aceptance and effort all combine as useful elements in our mind/heart.

    <B

  27. Do you think my comments about Cain are correct? Many seem to see him as a deliberate cold blooded killer, I disagree.

  28. I am reading this article second time today, you have to be more careful with content leakers. If I will fount it again I will send you a link

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