The Solution to The Problem

Struggling with Sin

“O wretched man I am! Who will deliver me out of this body of death?  Thanks be then to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!” – Paul, Romans 7:24-25  The Berean Bible www.Berean.Bible

I see where I made my mistake that day in the Physics 101 class I took at Louisiana Tech University.

The Professor was as excited to be teaching this load of non-physics majors as we were to be taking this required class.   He (the Prof) was droning on and on about Kepler and some problem Kepler had with figuring out where an invisible spot was that lay between two planets orbiting each other.  The invisible spot was supposed to be a place where the force of gravity between the two bodies is equal. It is called the “Kepler Problem.”  Oh, …not the spot, per se, but the whole mental exercise.

The Professor drew two circles on the board (We still had slate chalkboards back then). He said they were planets orbiting each other. He told us the mass of each planet, the distance between them in English miles, and how fast they orbited each other.

Herr Professor went through the class and asked each student where that “invisible spot” is.

The fun thing about being a high functioning Asperberger is that we process information very differently than the “normals” do. It isn’t a boast; it is a simple reality.  We see solutions as vividly as you see your hands.  The downside is, we have a very difficult time translating what we see in terms that are relatable to the normals.  We don’t get that we have to work the problem because that is as valuable as knowing the answer.

The trap of my own arrogance

The professor called on me next. He had just eviscerated a very lovely young woman for not even understanding the question being asked.  She was an English Major.  I was mad at him for humiliating this very pretty girl in front of everyone.

I went to the board and immediately drew a spot on the board and wrote a number down, representing the actual distance and position between the two planets, and wrote another number down describing the forces being applied on that spot by each planets’ gravity.

As I was walking back to my desk, the professor told me to come back to the board and complete the question he had asked. I went back up to the board.

Her Professor said that my answer is wrong. I told him it is not. He said that unless I can show my work, my answer is wrong. I challenged him that unless he can prove my answer is not the right one, he has no business teaching Physics.

He asked me to leave his class.

I got the ‘F’ I so richly deserved.

What has this got to do with Jesus, Sin and Salvation and Gods gift of Grace and Mercy?

Simple. Just like I needed the discipline of going through the steps to prove my assertion was right in that Physics class, I need to go through the discipline of facing the things the world throws at me.

See…I thought my peers would thank me for embarrassing the Professor. It turns out that I simply put more distance between my peers and me. I showed them that not only am I arrogant, but I cannot understand what others have to go through just to get through their day. I bypassed an essential element of growth and understanding.

Paul wrote Timothy this lesson: “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. ” Ephesians 4:15-16 New International Version (NIV)

The Process of Temptation

We will grow.

Just like the cotton plant.

It only grows really strong roots and a full cotton bowl AFTER it has been placed outside the greenhouse, and into the field.  There, the plant faces lightning, hail, high winds, heat, and storms that can drown it.  That is the only way to build a healthy and strong bowl of cotton.  If it doesn’t face these things, the fruit it bears is weak and useless.

If I belong to the Living God through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, then I must grow to be like Him.

In the place of our sin and sin nature, Jesus gave us the gift of His place before God. We are now God’s beloved, we are now Heirs to the Throne of Heaven. We are complete and perfect in God’s eyes.

The whole process of temptation is not because God is powerless to stop it, but to reveal in us where our sin nature must give way to the nature of our risen Lord, who was tempted in all ways, like we are, but without sin.

Growing is a process. It cannot be bypassed if you are a Human living on this planet, in this universe, in this time.

I was unwilling in that Physics class to succumb to the discipline of doing the hard work simply because I could accurately give the answer every time. This kind of knowledge is useless if you cannot share it or explain it.  Something about having to solve the problem is part of learning.  You get to see where your weaknesses are and where the discipline of doing has increased your understanding.

It isn’t when things are going well that Christ is revealed in us.  It is when we are facing the taskmaster of sin and slavery that we discover where our strength comes from.  It is how we deal with strong temptation that we learn where we apprehend God’s grace.  It is in this crucible, suspended over the cauldron that threatens to dissolve us that we discover that, “One like the Son of God” stands in this furnace with us. We would not survive this life without His presence. We would have no hope of the next life without His presence in this one.

That’s the point, isn’t it?


We will not be exactly like Jesus until we see Him face to face. But we will grow to be like Him.  He faced terrible temptation and torture on our behalf.  His lesson here is, we must go through these things to be purified.  We face these things so we can understand why His Grace is sufficient.  These lessons in temptation are meant to refine us and make us more like Him and less like ourselves so we can share Him with others who also struggle as we struggle.

What is revealed in the act of solving the problem tends to be more valuable than if you simply assume you get it.

Let’s not be reticent to do the hard work.  Let’s learn these lessons temptation brings us.

Let’s not be like the man who puts his hand in the jar, but refuses to lift it to his mouth.  Do you see the food, but refuse to eat?

Let’s strive to understand why it is true that, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Take the time it takes to face these things that tempt you. Face the things that sweetly desire to destroy you. Don’t run from the wearying effort of submission to His will. It IS hard. It is challenging. It is draining. It can crush your soul if you are not careful or if you try to do this on your own understanding.

Here is the lesson. You don’t have anything in you but sin. He offers you His Holiness in exchange for your sinful nature. That was the deal He made with God by going to the cross and dying of all your sin.

Just because you see the answer doesn’t mean you understand the answer.

Let’s be about it

David G. Perkins


The Jewels in Your Crown: Forgiveness Part 1

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. EPH 4:32 KJV

kind – χρηστός – chrestos – good, be ye good…., gracious, be ye gracious…., easy, take it easy on each other.
tenderhearted – εὔσπλαγχνος – eusplagchnos, – pitiful, tender-hearted.  Have pity. The Greek workd picture here is a picture of it coming from your guts.  The Greeks felt that strong emotion, passion and genuine emotion came from your guts.  Have pity flowing out of you.  Have tenderheartedness flow from you. 
forgiving – χαρίζομαι – charizomai – to grant as a favor, that is, gratuitously (freely, undeservedly), in kindness (see def above), pardon or rescue: – deliver, (frankly) forgive, (freely) give, grant.
Keep on becoming kind to each other. Have pity, and favor, and grace, however undeservedly, forgive even as God forgave you for the sake of Christ.
A few years ago, a brother in the Lord told me he forgave me.   He had been very angry with me.   Somehow I was not convinced that he meant it, but I accepted the effort, as I love this person, and want to grow in the Lord with him.   Later on, I went to his property to help him with an electrical problem.   I did the work, shook his hand, and left.  That evening, someone else told me that the whole time I was there, he was bad mouthing me to anyone who would listen, and that he had been bad mouthing me all over town.   As I suspected, I knew that that brother was still angry with me.

Forgiveness isn’t easy.

I am not talking about whether I forgive him, because I honestly do.   I honestly love this person.  I am telling you something that I would normally not consider any of your business in order to illustrate a point.

Forgiveness is not easy.

The root of unforgiveness is anger.
The root of anger is fear.

Anger is a chain that binds you to sin.  Sometimes we get angry with others over things we know we ourselves are tempted to do.  Sometimes we get angry for a genuine wrong committed.  Sometimes we get angry because we are afraid.  We know in our heads that perfect love casts out all fear.  But how do we get that into our heart?  How do we let go of Anger?

It is a process.
Some people do not even know they harbor unforgiveness.  They remain slaves to the unforgiveness.  Unforgiveness will stop you from growing spiritually.  Eventually, the poison of unforgiveness will consume you untill you become heard hearted and bitter.  It will rot your bones.
So a decent definition of Anger that leads to unforgiveness is that Anger is a strong feeling of INTENSE displeasure or indignation or hostility as a result of a real or imagined threat (fear), or insult (pride), or frustration (impatience), or injustice toward yourself or someone who is very important to you.
Forgiveness is the willful giving up of that rage, displeasure, indignation, hostility, threat, insult and frustration.  You give up the “right to get even”.
Unforgiveness is a deliberate refusal to forgive.  It is the belief that you have the right to hold a grudge because: Someone has got to pay!,  He has hurt me. , She lied to me. , She said I was this or that.,  She didn’t say “HI” to me yesterday.,  He is two faced.,  He lies about his faith by saying one thing and doing another.
However, saying you forgive, and experiencing it are two different things.
Forgiveness says, “I give up my right to pay you back.”
Look at the book of Mark 11:25 –
And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in Heaven may forgive you your tresspasses.  But if you do not fogive, neither will your Father which is in Heaven forgive your tresspasses.  Mark 11:25
Until we can forgive, we have to lay down our progress, our gifts to god, our growth in the Spirit of God, our effectiveness to demonstrate grace, love and mercy.
What are the obstacles to Forgiveness?  There may be many, but they can be reduced, by thoughtful analysis to 4 things:
1.  YOUR WILL – It ias to be your WILL and Desire to forgive.  Unwillingness and not wanting to forgive are deliberate acts.  You have to do this on purpose.
2.  PRIDE – The arrogance of pride gives you the self righteous attitude that says, He or She should come to me to ASK for forgiveness.  I shouldn’t have to go to them.  Or if you are the one who needs forgiveness, you say to yourself, “Sure it bothers me that this happened, but I don’t think I did any harm, and besides, I was right when I did it.”
3.  REHEARSING – This one is something every humand being does.  This takes real discipline to overcome, and can be overcome by a lot of prayer, and realization of just how much GOd has forgiven you.   The more you go over it in your mind, the farther from grace you get.  You rehearse in your mind and heart the wrongs or offenses done against you.  This will only strengthen the chains that bind you, and will eventually become a poison that turns into a well spring of bitterness.  The Joy of the Lord evades you.  happiness becomes a memory.  Anger becomes your reputation.  You get stuck right where you are in your spiritual growth.  Eventually, you become content with stunted growth, or your heart becomes so hard that you no longer desire a working relationship with God.
4.  FEAR – Wether you are the one who needs to forgive, or needs forgiveness, FEAR can stop you dead, too.  Maybe you are afraid you will be taken advantage of by the person that you need to do business with.  Maybe you have a fear of being rejected.  Perhaps you are afraid of rejection.  These fears are real, and it is possible that these things will happen.   But you have to have the courage to face this fear and do the right thing.  THere is nothing you can do to control the reactions of others.  You can only obey God, and leave the rest to him.  This is letting go of fear.
Dealing with these 4 things above will give you FREEDOM from the enslavement of Anger and Fear.  It will free you from the spirit and heartlessness of Unforgiveness.  The flow of living water will return to you, and you will know the joy of your salvation again.
Sometimes forgiveness is stalled by the following things:
Friendly but bad advice.  Your brothers and sisters in the lord love you, and they mean well, but they are just as human and fallible as you are.  They will tell you, “Well, if I were you, I’d…”, or “He needs to suffer…”  “Why don’t you just leave him, he is not good for you…”, or “Buddy, we need to go have a talk with him ‘in love’ and straighten him out”
Have you been told this?  Have you said it to others.  Friends mean well.  You should always be glad of the number of friends you have.  But you MUST ask yourself, “Is this FRIENDLY advice GODLY advice?”  Do nothing that will contradict the nature of God, or reflect poorly on your walk with God.  Taking matters in your hands, with the heart felt endorsement of your friends, is till wrong.
Maybe he or she did several little things, or one big and several little ones, or some combination like that.  Do you list them (rehearse) and say, “Well, I can forgive that, but not this, and I can forgive those, but not these!”?  Partial forgiveness is just like partial obedience.  Partial forgiveness IS unforgiveness.  Partial obedience is DISOBEDIENCE.  Don’t take half measures when God showed His love for you by going all the way to the cross for your sins.
MAKE EXCUSES. This little fox is a sly one.
This is what some people do to avoide genuine forgiveness.  They might say things like, “THey probably didn’t mean that.”, or. “It was probably a mistake.”.  If you use excuses to justify someone elses wrong, not only are you deluding yourself, and setting yourself up for more of the same, but you short circuit your ability to discern between right and wrong, and you stop the other person’s chance of learning from his mistakes.  Forgiveness is just as much an act of love, as it is an act of grace.  When you love the unlovely, it pours coals on his heart, and will ultimately lead him to repentance. This is the same behavior you hear about when you read the testimony of the battered woman.  She made excuses for the batterer.  Forgiveness is not for sissies.
Unforgiveness puts you in danger of the judgement of God.  “But if you do not forgive  neither will your Father which is in Heaven forgive your trespasses ”  Mark 11:25  
You risk your growth in the Lord.  You risk having God stop dealing with you until you have done business with those who you need to forgive, or who you need to seek forgiveness from.
Forgiveness sets you free.  It cleanses your soul.  It teaches you about Godly love in a way that no other action will.  You will become like Jesus Christ the more you obey.
I will finish this up in part 2, at least this part of the facet on the gem that is Forgiveness.  There is more, and it is not all fire and brimstone.  Hang in there.  It gets better.
OH!  And yes it is a process.  How long does it take until you can come clean and forgive?  I don’t know.  Sometimes it takes a long time.  It took me a very long time to forgive someone I used to know.  The hurt was deep, and God had to do a work in me.  With that brother who said he forgave me, but didn’t, I am good with that, and I forgive his dishonesty, and his gossip.  I am free of the harm he has done.  I love this person and would take a bullet for him without hesitation.
I have to keep in mind this verse: Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee: For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others. Ecc 7:21-22See you next time for Part 2 of this facet on Forgiveness.
I love you
David Perkins


Powered by Blogilo