Perhaps you have heard: You steal from God if you don’t give the tithe, or you are under a curse if you don’t give, or God will punish you if you don’t give the tithe, or God will not heal you if you do not give. These two things are usually not said directly, but it can often be perceived in this way and maybe someone thinks this way too? In fact, I’ve heard someone say it like this: If you are stingy (“and do not give to us”) then you will go to hell, for those who are stingy will not inherit the kingdom of God.
I get very upset when I hear statements and teachings that are manipulative and that give you guilt, condemnation or fear like this! None of these things are compatible with God’s character, and some can easily take scriptures out of context and misuse them.
In this teaching today I hope I can give you some clarity and also free you from condemnation and guilt especially in connection with the tithe and money.
Some think of our desires and lust as something evil. Especially when we read this verse:
James 1:14-15 14 But each one is tempted by his lusts, being drawn away and seduced by them . 15 Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin. And sin, when it is fully formed, brings forth death.
Can I tell you one thing: Your lusts and desires are created by God and they are good. In fact, they are absolutely essential to our existence. Before you get upset about what I’m saying now, let me ask you this: Do you have appetite? Are your desire for food sinful? I hope not so, because you would soon have starved to death.
Top two of our strongest desires we have are to have sex (the desire for food is number one). Is the desire and lust after having six sin? Some strongly religious may say so. Some decades ago, there were also many who looked at sex as almost a sin in, and sex was just a necessary evil to carry on the human race (it should at least not be enjoyed). Today, most people realize that sex in itself is not a sin, because there would not be many of us then, but if you feed this lust with the wrong thoughts, it will start to conceive something and if you dwell on it a lot, it can lead to death, for example of your marriage and/or relationship that you have.
So remember this: Your lusts and desires in themselves are not sin, but you need to have wisdom and know the truth so that sin does not control them. God has also given you self-control, it is part of your new and true nature. The only power sin has over you today is lies it wants to tell you, for the truth is that the power of sin was broken once and for all by Jesus’s death and resurrection 2,000 years ago!
It is a spiritual evil force and power called sin, and it is our enemy. When other hurt me, I know that they do not see the truth about who they are, and when somebody sins against me, I also know that they are not what they do, but it is a spirit that is behind, and it’s called sin, and it has tricked them to choose to do the wrong thing.
If you or others were our enemy, we would have fought a fight against ourselves or others, but yourself or others are not your enemy (Ephesians 6: 12-13), it is the spiritual power, called sin. It is our true enemy, and the good news, as we can also read in the Ephesians, is that we can stand after having overcome everything or as one translation says: win victory in all things. I hope you begin to see the Good News now?
Your enemy is not yourself, but the lies you believe about yourself.
We as Christians say that we have the answered for the problem of sin, which is Jesus, but in the practical life, it often does not look like it. Many Christians struggle with sin as much as the non-Christians, some even more, although they may manage to maintain a better facade. in addition they struggle more with condemnation, guilt and self-condemnation. You may find that some non-Christians can often exercise better self-discipline than many Christians. What is this so? Is there an answer?
When I bring up a subject like this, about sin, I can get many reactions. Some people think that I will not listen to this because I feel tired of being condemned and feeling guilty. Often this subject can be said like this: You are a big sinner, stop sinning, shame on you, try to win victory over your sin! Or they try to give you a ten-step program to overcome sin and live a victorious Christian life.
Someone else may think like this, when they hear this subject: Not another person who wants to say that sin is not so bad and not dangerous or that it’s noting really called sin.
I do not want to tell you any of this in this teaching. I do not want to condemn you and I do not want to say that sin is not dangerous or non existent. My focus is on identity and who you are, that will help you to not to fall to any of these traps.
This is a part of a series, so follow this series in on this website.