Category: Christian Lifestyle

Navigating Temptation as a Christian: Strategies for Staying Strong

No matter how long we have been followers of Christ, we are all subject to the temptation to sin. There are, however, practical things we can do to become stronger and more knowledgeable in our fight against temptation. Sin is misleading as it both promises and delivers things that it never intended to. With the truth of God’s word, we should work to defeat deception. Let us make sure to commit to memory a verse from the Bible that explicitly addresses any particular sin that we frequently succumb to temptation with. Let us also take comfort in the awareness that God Himself is the source of our joy and fulfillment.

“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” – Psalm 16:11

Photo source: Cameron Yartz

As Christians, there are numerous approaches to resisting temptation and overcoming it. Here are a few of the many approaches.

  • Avoid enticing circumstances

In Matthew 6:13, the Lord Jesus instructed His followers to pray to God for protection from temptation and deliverance from evil. If we ask God to help us resist temptation, we must also exercise caution to avoid being drawn into enticing circumstances. Friendships with persons that tempt us toward evil may need to be dissolved. While we might be guiding these unsaved friends to God, we should be careful that they do not lead us away from God’s kingdom and His righteousness. The Bible warns us in 1 Corinthians 15:33 that bad company corrupts good manners.

  • Refrain from being ungodly and strive to be godly

We shall always be vulnerable to temptation on this side of eternity since it is a characteristic of man. Temptation only succeeds when our hearts are not ready for it. Thus, we should put on the Lord Jesus Christ and not give in to the lusts of the body. Denying our ungodly desires is not enough; we also need to find our godly desires satisfied in the Lord. Let us delight ourselves in the Lord and He will provide our heart’s desires rather than seeking pleasure elsewhere.

  • Ponder on God’s Word

We are tempted and even under pressure to conform to the evil of the unsaved world around us. The psalmist said in Psalm 119: 11, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Also, let us not forget how the Lord Jesus resisted Satan’s temptations by quoting the Scripture He had concealed in His heart time and time again. We should make it a point to make God’s Word a priority since studying, reflecting on, and practicing it protects us from many perils.

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Dominion TV, Africa’s Christian Lifestyle Network for Inspired and Empowered Living.

The Power of Forgiveness in Marriage: How to Keep Love Strong

“There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.” – Bryant H. McGill (American author)

When there is offense or disagreement in a marriage, we too frequently label our partners as adversaries. Our spouses are never our adversaries. We may win the battles in our marriages and keep love strong if we identify who our true adversaries are. The forces of evil and our flesh are our true enemies. Amid conflict, these enemies frequently go unseen. Our flesh tries to appease itself, but it is unable to appease God.

The apostle Paul in the book of Romans warns us about our flesh. “Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.” – Romans 8:8 NIV 

All marriages are supposed to fail, according to the forces of darkness. We can fight against the forces of darkness if we are committed to God and our spouses. Satan’s hold on unforgiveness can be lessened more effectively when we identify our enemies.

Photo source: Marta Branco

It Benefits Us to Forgive

We frequently associate forgiveness with a fuzzy feeling. The truth is that forgiveness is the exact opposite. When we have to forgive someone we are really in love with, it can be rather traumatic seeing as we do not expect them to hurt us. One of the most difficult aspects of marriage is forgiving our partner, especially when they do not feel bad about their wrong. To maintain our mental stability and keep love strong, we must, however, forgive most of the time.

Being able to forgive does not mean that we become completely numb to pain. When we embrace numbness in marriage, our hearts become ice. Not forgetting the offense constitutes forgiveness. Not deciding to inflict the punishment for the offense is forgiveness. When we deliberately work to forgive our spouses when it is required, we will not only enjoy its benefits in our marriage but also provide a good example for others who have not yet tied the knot. However, marriage is an institution and should be treated with respect.

How True Forgiveness Works

We most likely have acquired an understanding of what true forgiveness is through numerous betrayals. When we choose to hold fast to our refusal to forgive, we refer to the world’s standards for marriage as a slap in the face to God. God refers to it as unforgiveness. The only biblical sin for which there is no forgiveness is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

True forgiveness comes in three forms. Allowing a person to be pardoned and waiving their punishment is forgiveness. Anger and resentment must be put to rest to forgive. Finally, being able to forgive is a choice.  God endowed every one of us with free will. Despite being straightforward, these definitions have the strength to undermine the grip of unforgiveness.

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The Power of Forgiveness: How to Let Go and Move Forward

Being able to truly express to the offender, as well as to ourselves, that we have forgiven them for the wrong they committed against us, can be a wonderful experience in and of itself. Jesus teaches us in the Bible to forgive others. “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”- Matt. 6:14 NIV 

Photo source: Magda Ehlers

While it may be easy to hold onto a grudge, letting the hurt go can significantly improve our lives. On the other hand, forgiving is not always simple, particularly when the person who injured us has not apologized. The good news is that even if it does not come easily, forgiveness can be learned and practiced just like any other ability. 

People experience less pain, rage, tension, and sadness when they learn to forgive. Additionally, when we are able to forgive, we develop greater capacities for compassion, hope, and optimism. Forgiveness also boosts vitality and general well-being. The ability to forgive frees us to move on in life. Below are some importance of forgiving others.

  • Forgiving frees us from victimhood

The links that hold us in a bad way to another person are broken by forgiveness. We seldom forget while also forgiving. We could choose to forget about something someone did to us after forgiving them. After all, that is our decision. The question is whether we will ever be able to trust the person who wronged us or the situation again.

  • We forgive ourselves when we forgive others

It is not simply about what someone has done to us that causes us to harbor resentment. It concerns what we have permitted to happen to us. We occasionally have little control over what occurs to us in a relationship because we are merely doing what we are doing. Unless they tell us, we often do not realize when someone is resentful of us or upset with us. They frequently do not until things reach a breaking point. However, the finest thing we can do to relieve ourselves from the shame and pain caused by others’ wrongdoing is to forgive them.

  • Moving forward on our spiritual path is made possible by forgiveness

Compassion is fostered by forgiveness. As a result of the human experience, we can relate to others when we have the same compassion for ourselves and for others. We may start to put the past behind us once we are both emotionally and psychologically free. Forgiveness is an act of kindness and goodness as it leads to our spiritual growth and is also a path to peace.

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The Importance of Community in the Christian Faith

Although individualism has nothing particularly wrong with it, it has both positive and negative effects on our connection with God, just like all other viewpoints. Christians understand the value of having a personal relationship with God, and that relationship grows through independent study, prayer, and worship. However, our individualism can make us miss the importance of community in the Christian faith, leaving us feeling isolated and unconnected from one another.

Photo source: Matt Botsford

Every day, we experience the effects of this absence of community. Surprisingly, the technology we anticipated would have united us has left us even more estranged: we send WhatsApp messages to friends instead of meeting them in person. We are less connected yet more reachable. We consequently live in a world where there are many acquaintances but few close relationships.

This individualistic mentality has a significant impact on how Christians view the community in our faith. Churches frequently define communal worship as traditional systems of one-on-one sessions, where a more spiritually advanced individual meets frequently with others to aid in our guidance and development. The Christian faith places a lot of importance on the community; a few of these are listed below.

  • Helps character development

The community can influence character development by encouraging group revival. God can motivate a group of individuals to seek out transformed lives. The community encourages people to seek God, which transforms the neighborhood as a whole. The community can also be useful in mending fences and mending bridges. Jesus urged His followers in Matthew to involve one or two more people—or even the entire church—to reconcile with a brother or sister who had wronged them.

Photo source: William White

“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” – Matthew 13:15-17

To promote Christlike behavior, God can also utilize those who are well-known in a community.

  • Brings the Bible to life and makes it real

Nobody challenges the need of reading God’s Word for developing oneself. The objective of preaching the Bible in communities before the revolution was to help people grow spiritually. However, perhaps the world is moving too far the other way. Today, we are primarily concerned with the study and meditation that each person does during their devotional time. While personal devotional time in the Bible is significant, we Christians should also engage in community Bible study as it helps bring the Bible to life.

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The Importance of Worship and Praise in the Christian Faith

“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” – Luke 6:45 NIV

Individually affecting the hearts of believers, praise and worship are personal. They are chances to communicate with God directly from the depths of our hearts. When we sing, testify, declare, and worship God, we also speak about the power He possesses and who we are as His children. It demonstrates a link between us and Him once more. Worship can take many different forms, including prayer, testimony sharing, and studying the word.

There are many reasons why worship and praise are important in the Christian faith. Among which are a few.

Photo source: Yanin Diaz

  • A Meaningful Way to Enter God’s Will

According to the Bible, we should be cheerful, pray, and give thanks to God since it is His will. Praise and worship are means to rejoice, pray, and give thanks to God for everything that He has done, is doing, and will do. Worship songs’ lyrics express truth. The lyrics of the songs we sing along to speak to our souls. The importance of worshipping and praising when carrying out God’s purpose is frequently underrated. Furthermore, when we praise and worship, the majority of us have a clearer knowledge of God’s will in other spheres of our lives.

  • A Meaningful Way to Request God’s Presence

Both individual and group praise and worship are significant. God is interested in hearing our thoughts, comments, concerns, and prayers. He desires for us to come into His presence. According to the Bible, God reigns in the glorification of His people. We invite God into our lives when we exalt Him and sing of His wondrous deeds from the beginning of time through the cross and beyond. It recognizes His greatness and directs our attention to Him, no matter what season we are in.

  • Praise and Worship Liberate Us

We can be redeemed from sin and the enemy’s snares through our worship and praise.  Paul and Silas were praising and worshipping God when they were in jail. While they were singing and worshiping God, there was an earthquake that caused the doors to open, and the prison chains to fall off. They were set free by the worship and praise they offered, and it was also capable of doing the same for the other prisoners. – Acts 16:16-36

  • Refocuses Our Attention on God

It is simple to lose focus on Christ with everything going on in the world at the moment. When we concentrate on the world, we amplify our difficulties; however, when we praise God, we return our attention to Him and away from the world and our issues.

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Finding Purpose and Meaning in Life as a Christian

“Knowing your purpose gives meaning to your life.” – Rick Warren

In a perfect world, when we are born, we are given a guide to discovering our purpose. In truth, while some individuals spend their entire lives searching for meaning and purpose, others have discovered the key to discovering purpose in their lives as Christians. Realizing our purpose requires effort and commitment.

Photo source: Elina Fairytale

Some of us are fortunate enough to be born into families who can provide us with all the resources and opportunities. Our parents encourage us to try new things, and when we discover a talent for something, they seek out the best coaches to help us advance. However, many of us did not have access to those chances. Growing up was about surviving, not about following our dreams.

The fact that everyone’s purpose is unique presents another difficulty in discovering ours. What purpose and meaning, therefore, can we as Christians, coming from various backgrounds, find in our lives?

How to live a Christian life with meaning and purpose

The purpose of life, according to Jesus, is to love and be loved while serving other people. The ultimate purpose of Christianity is service. The Bible exhorts us to live by principles that are based on Christ alone, such as love, hope, and faith, and we must reciprocate God’s love by helping one other through our struggles.

Serving others and having love for them at its core are the foundations of a fulfilling life. We can love others if we accept the love that has been offered to us. Jesus was the ideal example of genuine service by His teaching, His behavior toward children and the poor, and of course, by giving His life as a ransom. Living as Jesus did is consequently our actual purpose in life.

Man’s quest for meaning and purpose will never end, however as we imitate Jesus and work to improve the lives of others, our relationship with God will grow. For everyone’s sake as well as our own, we must discover who we are and what we are here to do. Serving others helps us build stronger ties with one another and as a community. For it is in this that our existence finds its purpose and meaning.

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The Role of Prayer in Times of Crisis

When a crisis strikes, prayer is essential as it helps us reset our hearts and minds on our creator at all times, despite how chaotic the world may seem. Each person has a natural desire for a deep relationship with God as we were made in His likeness. As followers of Christ, we are now able to approach God with our heartfelt requests owing to the death that Jesus bore in our place. Prayer moves God’s heart, and it is assured that prayer is effective, and we are also instructed to pray frequently.

In times of difficulty, life might change instantly, but God never does. This crisis does not surprise God, and He knows what the future holds. His heart is moved by prayer. The difficulty of capturing every thought is overpowering as it strays free along with constantly shifting reports and exploding social media feeds. In light of this, it is crucial to pray during a crisis. Three roles of prayer in times are listed below.

  •  Fear is resisted by prayer

Crisis brings on fear. When we are navigating through days that have been utterly upheaved, there are very real anxieties to take into account. Our way of life and perhaps our lives are suddenly in jeopardy. While anxiety and fear are unavoidable during a crisis, we must resist allowing them to rule our actions. However, prayer is a powerful weapon in the struggle against stress and dread. By reflecting on truths, we are reminded of God’s sovereignty and are restored in our faith in the One who upholds us.

Photo source: Chris Liverani

  • Prayer serves us our true reward

Although groups of people might pray together, each believer’s relationship with their heavenly Father must be a personal one. Jesus counseled His followers—as well as us—not to fast and pray to gain praise and admiration from others.

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:6 NIV

  • Prayer helps us focus when we most need it

For God’s people, prayer is a crucial spiritual discipline. Its goal is to hone our focus and bring us closer to God. We put an end to distraction and opt to concentrate on God. An essential tool in our spiritual journey is prayer and the intentional setting aside of time in our lives to give that time to God. No crisis should prevent us from obediently serving the Kingdom of God, albeit it might not look like what we are accustomed to. God is dependable in leading the way. We can more clearly hear God’s instructions when we take the time to pray during times of crisis.

Nevertheless, whether or not we are experiencing a crisis, we are advised to pray at all times.

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5 Ways to Practice Self-Care as a Christian

“Take the time today to love yourself. You deserve it.” – Avina Celeste (Writer)

In our culture right now, the phrase “self-care” is without a doubt a hot topic. True, Biblical rest constitutes self-care for a Christian. To re-energize our spirits, there are ways we can go further than many other things in our self-care practices.

We are constrained by the limitations of our human bodies, therefore, if we want to thrive, flourish, and serve others well, we must cultivate the habit of taking care of ourselves in the ways the Bible advises, or God wants. Physical, and psychological well-being are all included in Christian and spiritual self-care. God gave us everything, thus we need to decide to be good stewards of what we have been given. The following five methods of self-care are only a few of the many options.

Photo source: Jon Tyson

  • Visit social media less frequently

One of the 5 ways of practicing Christian self-care among the lot is by disconnecting ourselves from social media is a fantastic approach to engaging in a deeper type of self-care. Constantly being involved in others’ lives can be quite draining and hurt how we feel about ourselves. Before we start comparing every element of our lives to someone we hardly know, we might not even be aware of how it is affecting us. We do not need to check in with hundreds of other people to see what they are doing if we want to take some time to check in with ourselves and practice self-care.

  • Focus on getting good sleep

Our overall health depends heavily on getting quality, rejuvenating sleep. By eliminating any distractions, such as our phones, we may accomplish it. This makes it easier for us to have a good sleep without feeling guilty about work that we have not done, and to spend the first few moments of our waking in prayer and thanksgiving to God. Additionally, having good sleep is a form of self-care and helps nourish our bodies.

  • Seek Godly guidance

Speaking openly about our emotions and letting them out instead of attempting to keep them hidden is another effective kind of self-care. To do this, it would be wise to seek Godly guidance from a therapist, pastor, or mentor. It is a good idea to look for someone who is walking with the Lord whether we need advice on something or just want to process things with someone. This expert can direct us to the Bible, intercede for us, and give us advice based on our shared ideals.

  • Practice self-love

Since we as individuals can only offer what we have, we cannot truly love our neighbors as ourselves if we do not first love ourselves. It is our responsibility to constantly remember that we are the lovely and cherished children of God.

  • If necessary, withdraw

For us, this is true since it is okay to need some alone time. We occasionally need to withdraw amidst the responsibilities of life—the children to nurture, the reports to finish, the cheques to earn, the numerous engagements to keep, the dinners to prepare, and the people with whom to commiserate or celebrate. This may be a weekend alone away. This enables us to reset and recharge so that we can start afresh.

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” – Luke 5:16 NIV

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Leave The Baggage In 2022

“Let go of your baggage and become God’s luggage.” – Elder Marcus J. Butler

Grudges, to start with, are identity-related pieces of baggage. This identity has some kind of strength and rightness, despite how much we dislike it. We have a characteristic that characterizes our rage, giving it substance and meaning. We have a clear definition and a valid complaint. We must be willing to let go of our identity as the victims of unfair treatment, as well as any support or potential empathy and understanding that comes with that identity if we are to be able to let go of our feelings of resentment. The sense of being the victim must be willingly let go of as we enter a new self.

In actuality, holding grudges and the identities that go along with them are attempts to obtain the consolation and sympathy we did not previously receive, as well as empathy for what occurred to us. We declare that, as those who were victimized, we merit extra consideration and special treatment. Our anger is a scream for attention and special treatment in light of what we may have been through.

Photo source: Anna Bondarenko

Apart from the fact that they are unpleasant to carry about, grudges are problematic since they do not help either party learn from past mistakes or strengthen relationships. They do not alleviate our suffering or fix our wounds. In the end, we find ourselves proud owners of grudges but still lacking the comforting feeling that we eventually yearn for and have yearned for ever since the initial injury. We materialize our resentment and hold it out at arm’s length as evidence of our pain, a badge of honor, and a way to serve as a constant reminder to ourselves and others of our pain. Unfortunately, in their attempt to elicit empathy, grudges wind up robbing us of the same empathy we need to let go of.

To overcome a grudge, we must first forgive the other person and learn to love ourselves. What eventually cures the pain and causes the grudge to melt is to bring our loving presence to the pain that crystallized into the grudge, the anguish that was caused by this person. We can move into the pain of a grudge with the assistance of a trusted person or offer a loving presence to our wound, but from a safe place inside, if it feels too overwhelming to do so. Instead of plunging back into the initial trauma, the goal is to attend to it with the compassion we did not receive and bring it right into the eye of the storm. Our hearts hold both the pain and the remedy for the pain itself.

We need to turn our attention away from the people who mistreat us, away from the tale of the pain, and toward the felt experience of what we experienced to let go of the baggage of grudges. We discover the calming kindness and compassion that the grudges crave when we redirect our attention.

Photo source: Erik Mclean

Furthermore, no matter how strongly we believe it, we must accept responsibility for our pain and realize that it is important. This cannot be done by holding grudges. As our presence makes amends for the wrong, we can let go of the identity of the person who was mistreated as it longer becomes useful to us. This identity frequently disappears on its own without our knowledge or the need for resentment. The fact that we are in our hearts’ company, just where we need to be, becomes obvious. As we journey through the new year, let us however leave the baggage in 2022.

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Why Jesus Is Called ‘The Son of Man’

Generally, the concept of “Son of God” and “Son of Man” imply Jesus’ deity and humanity respectively. As the Son of Man, He is a human being, as well as the Son of God, in that He has always existed as the eternally begotten One who comes forth from the Father. Having the entirety of the divine nature within him, He is the second Person of the Trinity.

He was human fathered and born to a virgin. He was carried by the Holy Spirit in the virgin Mary. He is therefore entirely human. The idea is that Jesus has two natures—divine and human—in one person. The name “Son of Man” does not just associate Him with humanity, which is the more profound and significant historical insight. This is proven in the Book of Daniel 7:13-14.

“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.  He was given authority, glory, and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom will never be destroyed.” – Daniel 7:13-14 NIV 

Photo source: Alem Sanchez

When the term “Son of Man” is examined throughout the gospel, it becomes clear that Jesus was more frequently referred to as the Son of Man than as the Son of God. For instance, Mark 10:45 reads, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

On the other hand, Jesus frequently referred to Himself as the Son of Man because, on the surface, that phrase describes a human being in a normal manner. Although He was a man’s offspring, He was also revealed in several scriptures to be both divine and human.

Jesus constantly revealed who He was to those who could see, but He never did so overtly that everyone would flock to anoint him a king. He had to follow a very specific path in revealing Himself; He did not just openly claim to be a king and a messiah and expected people to recognize Him.

In certain contexts, His claims were explicit, while in others, they were implicit. Only when the time was appropriate, particularly when He was on life trial, did He respond to the high priest’s inquiry about whether He, Jesus, was the Messiah, the Son of God, in Matthew 26:64, “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

It is therefore advised that men emulate the humility of Jesus, who accepted the fact that He is not only the Son of God but also the Son of Man.

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