Close to Sin, Far from God

Anonymous said:

I have been dealing with a particular sin for almost 6 years now, and although I have tried time and time again to quit, I still end up coming back to it, thought I’m not sure it could classify as an addiction. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve become desensitized to the guilt I used to feel. It’s took a toll on me mentally and got me in situations that have pretty much scarred me for life and as a result I feel farther from God than ever. I feel lost. I’d appreciate advice.

I said: 

Thank you for your sincere and honest confession. I will try to help you the best that I can.

There are four things that you need to know about yourself and two things about God. Let’s go ahead and start with you.


1. By nature, you are a sinful, mortal human being, but you are freed from that identity.

    Yes, you struggle with sin. You are easily tempted, easily deceived, and easily disobedient. But you know what? You are also rescued, restored, and forgiven. You have given up the fight because you have made your sin a part of your identity. Remember the identity Christ has given you, and walk in that newness of life. Paul demonstrated this clearly: 

So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.” - Romans 7:17


2. Because you are made in the image of God, you are made to fight. 

Don’t settle. Don’t give up the fight. God made you for more than just living a life of self-gratitude and pleasure. He created you for change. He created you to be a creator, sustainer, and care-giver in this world. And that is why you feel empty, because you have begotten your purpose for temporary pleasure. Rise and fight the good fight of faith. You will be miserable until you give up the glory of yourself in order to glorify God.

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” - Galatians 5:17


3. You have given way to apathy because you have allowed your body to rule over you.

Think about it this way: when you give in to your temptations, you allow those desires to become habits. When they become habits, they become addictions. When you are addicted you are no longer worshipping God, but you are now worshipping yourself or the objects of your addiction. In turn, you feel far from God because you have placed worthless idols in His place. Destroy your idols, overcome the desires of your body and pummel the darkness. I love the words of Jonah when he realized that he was caught up in God’s grace after he tried to abandon Him:

Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.” - Jonah 2:8


4. Once you stop fighting, you have let sin win the battle. 

You need to view your temptations as something separate from yourself. It is your enemy. If you give in to your temptations, you are held accountable because you are stronger than them. Sin hasn’t forced you to do anything. So get rid of it. Kill it, before it kills you. 

Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” - James 1:14

Those are four things you need to know about yourself. You are believing lies about yourself and your identity, and you must choose to turn back to God, just as Jonah did.


Here is what you need to know about God:

1. God has given you a way of escape. 

Here’s the deal. You’ve been struggling with sin. You feel lost. You feel far from God. You don’t even feel guilty when you are tangled in your addictions or sinful habits. But that’s not how your story ends. I have some good news and bad news for you. But first, a truth about God: 

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be temptedbeyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” - 1 Corinthians 10:13

So here’s the bad news. Your sin is all your fault. You have allowed it to drag you into the street and bind you on the ground. You hold full responsibility for your sins. Because sin is out to kill you and not to please you, there will be consequences for that in this lifetime of which you have experienced some, most, or all of it

But here’s the good news. God is still faithful to you! Every time you are tempted, the Holy Spirit is inwardly convicting you to wage war. Make war against the schemes of the devil. The truth is that you may not feel guilty after you sin, but before you sin, you know better. If you struggle with pornography, get out of your privacy. Throw your computer away. wage war. If it’s drugs, cut off those relationships with your druggies and involve yourself in a recovery group. Wage war. God has given you the way of escape, so take it! It’s not the end of the road for you. Whatever you are dealing with, God is still providing you with the weapons and strategies you need to escape your temptations. Listen to Him. 

2. God is still with you. 

Even though you have sinned, committed idolatry, disobeyed, and lived in contrary to His will, He is still with you! James says that if you draw near to God, He will draw near to you. If you are the prodigal, God is the loving Father waiting for you to come home. So return to Him.

"The problem with most of us is that we’re just like the prodigal. We’ve got to be down eating pig-slop before we realize that what we’ve done has totally ruined our lives." - Billy Humphrey

You are empty, you are lost, and you are broken. That’s alright. It’s okay to not be okay. It’s just not okay to stay that way. So rise up from the lifestyle you have led and return to the Lord of glory who loves you so deeply and has never left your side. God is still faithful, even when we are not.

Turn to the light and rejoice and be glad, for you are loved and you are forgiven. 


God Bless and Much Love,

Samuel Assaf

Lord or Gumball Machine?

Anonymous said: I am really struggling with something and I really need guidance right now. I just…how and why does prayer work? If God has a plan for us, why do we think that He’ll change the way things are because we prayed for it?


I said:


“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
 - Genesis 1:1

I want you to take a breath and think about that. The story of this universe does not start with us. It starts with God. Whatever God decrees comes to pass. He spoke the world into existence, and He will have the final word at the end of the ages. 

Here is what you need to know about prayer:

This same God is not the gumball machine that we make him out to be.

The truth is that society has come to understand prayer in the wrong way. When we discuss prayer, it usually communicates a desire for materialistic or circumstantial gain. That is not prayer. God is not obligated to give us what we want, when we want it, and how we want it. God is able to say no.

Having said that, God’s plan is a lot bigger than us. God does not exist for us, but rather we exist for God. That means that our plans are not His plans.By His grace, He has included us in His plan for redemption and restoration. Yes, God has a plan for you, but that does not mean that your life is going to be perfect. In fact, because of God’s plan, your life is going to be harder. Just read through the book of John and see what Jesus promised about following Him.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

Jesus promised trouble, but He also promised peace. There can be contentment in the midst of chaos. How? Because at the end of it all, we will be united with Christ, and there will be no more tears and no more pain. Prayer, then, is not about getting what you can in this life. Prayer is about communicating and having community with the Lord who did not spare His own life. Prayer is about refocusing on what really matters: eternity.

I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God- it changes me.” – C.S. Lewis

Prayer is the expression of your love, pain, sorrow, passion, burdens, joy, accomplishments, sin, concerns, anxieties, and your everything to the God of the universe. It is not to get what you want. No matter how hard you pray, the trouble and pain of this fallen world will still be there. But you will change. You will have peace knowing that the God who gives you ultimate love is sustaining you. No matter what happens in this life, in the end, He will have victory and you will as well if you confess Jesus Christ as Lord and abide with Him on the road of obedience.

Whatever you are struggling with, know that Christ is Lord over all, and He has the power to change every situation under His will. He sees the big picture, and He knows what you are going through. Pray for every desire you have, but learn to trust Jesus. Whatever suffering we encounter in this life, we know that we are living for a God who weeps with those who weep and rejoices with those who rejoice. He is the God that suffers, and the God that suffers with us. Find your peace with Him.

Life is more than just right now! There is eternity. See past the mountain before you.

God Bless and Much Love,

Samuel Assaf

"We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties."

— Oswald Chambers

There are those who search for the truth; others hide from it.

Am I Saved?

Anonymous asked: What are some passages of scripture to help someone with a doubtful heart? I’m really struggling with fact of am I saved or is God even real. I don’t even know where to look in the Bible please help.

I said:

Thanks so much for your question! I really hope and pray that I can help you discover who you are and help you find answers to the challenges you are facing.

First of all, let me say this: Struggling with the belief of salvation is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s a very good checkpoint where we can reflect on ourselves and our character and see where we need Christ’s help to renew the broken parts of our lives.

Having said that, let me define salvation for you. Salvation is believing that Jesus Christ, being God, came and died for your sin, resurrecting after his death so that you could walk in newness of life with Him. All you must do to receive his salvation is believe that He is God and He died for you. If you truly believe that, you will follow Him.

Now, what can happen sometimes is that we start to find other things in life that we deem as valuable, and then we soon forget about God. Jesus Christ becomes a concept or fact, rather than a vibrant, living relationship.

Now, I will show you some Scripture:

“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge,and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness,and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.

The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.

10 So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away.11 Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” – 2 Peter 1:3-11 (NLT)

In this particular passage, Peter is addressing people who truly believe in Jesus (v.1). So this applies to anyone who truly thinks they are Christian. Here is what I want you to focus on: Peter mentions seven things one should add to their faith for growth and maturity (v. 5-7). Doing or not doing these things does not make you saved or condemned, but if you truly believe in Jesus, these 7 things will stop you from becoming fruitless and forgetting that you are saved. So read this over and over and think about how you can improve in all of those areas, and then pray to God to give you strength. If you lack moral excellence, ask God to give you strength to rid yourself of sin and find ways to fight those battles. If you lack knowledge, commit to reading your Bible, join a Bible study, or get someone to hold you accountable or perhaps find a study partner. If you lack Godliness, commit yourself to prayer and fasting and spend time with God so that you can be refreshed and refocused on who He is.

Now that we have talked about that, I want to show you what it looks like to be saved:

“I am thetrue vine, and my Father isthe vinedresser.Every branch in me that does not bear fruithe takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes,that it may bear more fruit.Alreadyyou are cleanbecause of the word that I have spoken to you.Abidein me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.I am the vine;you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is thatbears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.If anyone does not abide in mehe is thrown away like a branch and withers;and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.Ifyou abide in me, and my words abide in you,ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.By this my Father is glorified, that youbear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.As the Father has loved me,so have I loved you. Abide in my love.10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just asI have keptmy Father’s commandments and abide in his love.11 These things I have spoken to you,that my joy may be in you, and thatyour joy may be full.” – John 15:1-11

So I want to make something very clear now. If you are saved, you will not be perfect. We all need to be pruned. We have times in our walk when we get distracted by things of this world, and then we begin to wither and die. Every Christian has been there.

Having made that clear, I want you to ask yourself “Do I really love Jesus? Do I want to obey what He commands because I love Him?” You see, Jesus told His disciples in this passage that they would obey His commands if they love Him. If they do not love Him, they won’t obey His commands. This doesn’t mean you will be perfect. Jesus knew they were not perfect, after all, Peter denied Him three times and everyone abandoned Him at the time of His arrest (Mark 14).

Now, in verse 8 Jesus told them to prove they are His disciples by bearing much fruit. This does not mean that they needed to prove to God that they are His disciples (v. 5 says they can’t). What it does mean is that we can see for ourselves if we are truly His disciples. If you want to know if you are a Christian or not, study this passage and ask yourself these questions afterwards:

1. Do I love Jesus?
2. What is my deepest desire?
3. Is my deepest desire to follow and serve Jesus, or serve myself and my desires?
4. Have I been trying to fix myself for Jesus or have I been asking Jesus to help me grow closer to Him?

After you answer those questions, I am sure that you will be certain on whether or not you are saved. After all, who can love Jesus and not be saved? If you love Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you will follow Him.

Bear in mind this one thing: Jesus did not say what He did in John 15 in order to criticize, terrify, or discourage His disciples. He said in verse 11: “These things I have spoken to you,that my joy may be in you, and thatyour joy may be full.” Jesus does not want you to be struggling and heart shattered. He wants you to be full of joy. That is why He told His disciples to abide in Him and love Him and bear fruit in order to show that they are truly children of God. Once you know who you are in Christ, you will have joy. But once you forget and do not apply the 7 pillars that Peter talked about, you will become “shortsighted and blind, forgetting that you have been cleansed from your past sins.” (2 Peter 1:9)

I hope all of this has helped! I want to suggest to you a few resources. I want you to get 2 books: Crazy Love by Francis Chan and Who Do You Think You Are? by Mark Driscoll. Crazy Love is about what truly loving and believing in Christ is all about, and Who Do You Think You Are is a study on Ephesians about your identity and who Christ has made you to be. Please get both of those books! Figuring out where you stand with Christ is worth the 20-30 dollars that you would spend on something else.

Mark Driscoll did a sermon series based on his book that you can find here. You can watch one or two a week until you get through the whole thing. I think it would be very beneficial for you!

Also, I just finished watching a sermon by Francis Chan on being “Lukewarm.” I’m not sure if you’re familiar with that term, but it basically means that you haven’t truly made a decision to follow Christ and you’re just sitting on the fence about it. The sermon was very challenging and I think it would be very beneficial for you to work through it. You can find the video here.


I hope that my words will help you work through all of this. Please take advantage of the resources I have offered. Invest your time into discovering where you stand with God! Nothing else is more important. Cancel social events with friends. Quit your job if you need to! This is far more important than anything in this world. Simply try your very hardest to work and wrestle through this fatal question: “Am I really saved?”

If you have any more questions or anything you want to explain or comment on, please let me know! I am always here to help or simply listen. You are in my prayers.

God bless and much love,

Samuel Assaf

When Porn Attacks.

Anonymous said: Hey Samuel. Ive been a christian for a couple years now. I live my life in God’s name every chance i get. Ive preached at church, I’m a leader figure in my youth group. I love God, and I want nothing more than to show others of my faith. I do that a lot, i talk of my faith to others so much, and I’m in love with my faith so much. I feel like such a failure though. I’ve been battling a pornography addiction for almost 3 years, and idk what i have to do to cut it out. how i can i battle temptation


I said:

My friend, I am proud to hear that you are sharing the Gospel. Keep up the good fight of faith!

First of all, you cannot be superhuman and never sin. You know Paul? That really awesome dude that always preached and went to prison for it and got beaten and tortured and persecuted? Yeah, he was full of sin. Look at this:

14 So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. 15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[d] I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power[e] within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.- Romans 7:14-25 (NLT)


So, my friend, you beat yourself up because you hate sin just like God does! You’re battling your sinful ways because you are a sinner, and you will always be until you die.

However, there is something that must be brought to light. Addiction tends to elevate things in our lives above God, which is idolatry. You’re worshipping your flesh instead of God when you continually give in to your temptations. Allow me to prove this to you:

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.- 1 Corinthians 10:13

This tells us two things. One, sin is your choice. This addiction of yours can be broken if you tried. And second of all, God has given you the means of escape! Yes, it won’t be easy, but you can overcome it!

So here’s how you overcome this type of addiction. It comes from your desire to fulfill your physical and/or emotional needs. Perhaps you just lust all the time and you like looking at naked women. Or perhaps you are really stressed out about something and it makes you relax. Perhaps this is your way of being loved. Whatever it is, it is not okay. But first of all, don’t stay on your computer so long. Don’t just sit there on Facebook and keep pressing the refresh button! Get out of there man! Boredom always makes a man lust. Secondly, set yourself with real boundaries! Don’t try not to watch porn, try not to lust! If you don’t lust, you won’t watch porn! Look at what James says:

Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.James 1:14-15 (NLT)

Do you want to be free from this sin? Do you WANT to be free from this sin? Then you have to cut it off from where it starts! You must fight the root of it: lust. It will take a while, and it won’t be easy. But if you never give up and always persevere, you will overcome!

Now, allow me to speak in terms of every addiction. You have to put God first, because you’re not putting Him first. You keep choosing to serve your flesh instead of God! So just start to be more Christ-centered. When the temptation to lust comes, don’t just try resisting it on your own. Don’t you get it? You can’t do this! You can’t! That is why you need Jesus! Jesus will get you through my friend! The secret is Jesus! Check this out:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil… Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.- Ephesians 6:10-11,13 (ESV)

You have to be strong in God. You have to stay focused on Him. Please, do yourself a favor and read and study the whole chapter of Ephesians 6. That chapter will tell you what you need to do.

Listen: The key to defeating sin is not battling the sin; it is focusing on Jesus! Let Christ defeat your sin! Understand this: only Christ has the power to defeat your sinful nature. Do you understand? You have to start praying, worshipping, and reading your Bible more. Make more of a conscious effort to serve Him every day. That’s how you defeat sin! Because the closer you get to Christ, the further you get from sin.

It won’t be easy, and it could take a while, but if you really try, you will never even watch it again! You can do this, the Bible says you can! Have faith in your God, for He will give you strength! Keep fighting the good fight of faith. I’m proud of you.

Let me know if I can help you more!

God bless and much love

Samuel Assaf

Steps to Overcoming Sin.

Anonymous asked: I’m a Christian who struggles with his sexuality everyday—it’s really tough. With the mix messages culture & society tell me (us) everyday, I’m thankful for the word & for all people who believe in the accurate gospel. Some days I find myself really plotting an experimentation with the same-sex, I’m afraid of myself sometimes. I have deep remorse and am profoundly apologetic for the way my mind is. Although, I’m haunted… I’m trying to allow God to transform me. Any insight or words on this?



I said:

Thank you so much for opening up to me. You seem to be really going through a hard time with this. 


I noticed two key things from what you said: You are fighting your sin nature, and you are trying to allow God to transform you.

Your sin nature

This is what Apostle Paul had to say about struggling with the sin nature in the Scripture:

I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.Romans 7:21-25 (NLT)

 

My friend, you cannot be free from sin. You are it’s slave. You cannot do it. That is why you need Jesus! He is strong enough to pull you through whatever you are going through. He is strong enough to get you through this! Look at this Scripture:

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)


Hope is not lost!
God has made your escape! The choice is yours: Will you continue in your sinful, selfish ways as you crawl your way to death? Or will you rely on Jesus to help you fight your way through every single battle to eternal life? The choice is yours.

Hallelujah my friend! You have a choice! Rejoice in the mighty power of God, and trust in Him for your repentance. Remember those Scripture verses my friend. The answer is Christ, and He has prepared a way for you to escape your temptation!


God transforming you

 

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 (NLT)


The first verse pleads you to offer your BODY as a living and holy sacrifice. This means that with whatever you do, let it holy and pleasing to God. Whatever choice you make is a choice to either worship God or curse Him.

The second verse explains it further by saying to refuse to listen to the culture, but instead allow God to transform your thinking. Instead of thinking about your sin, think about Jesus. When you are tempted you should pray, read your Bible, or just escape out of that situation. For super effectiveness, you should probably do all three. Make sense?

Put yourself under good teaching, become accountable with a strong Christian friend (with everything, not just sin.), pray unceasingly, and study the Word of God. Allow Him to change the way you think.


My friend, thank God for the grace that you have found in Jesus. Never stop looking to Him. Our relationship with God is not about abstaining from sin, it is about getting close to Him. The minute you take your eyes off of Him, you will sin. But if you always keep your focus on Jesus, you will never fail.


The closer you get to Christ, the further you’ll get from sin.


I hope I was of help. Please do not hesitate to reply, or to ask any other questions you may have.

God bless and much love!

Samuel Assaf

"It is an honor to be wounded in the service of the Lord."

— Rick Joyner

"We don’t need accountability groups, we need fellow warriors."

— John Elderedge

One foot in Hell? The rest will follow soon.


"Rescue is the constant pattern of God’s activity."

— Francis Frangipane

Never give up. Never surrender.