Impulse Control

Before I get into the meat of this blog, let me say that this is intended just for believing Christians. If you are a seeker or non-believer, just move on because you are not held to the same standards by Jesus as we are. In fact, Paul clearly notes in 1 Corinthians 5:9-12 that Christians are not to hold non-believers to our standards:

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister[a] but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? (Emphasis added)

Okay, now that little piece of business is done, let me get started!

I wrote a short post on Facebook the other night about my mixed feelings regarding President Trump’s announcement that transgender individuals will not be allowed to serve in the military. This reverses the Obama administration’s rule allowing such service. Here is what I wrote:

Having served in the Army, I have very mixed feelings about today’s transgender announcement. On the one hand, I served with in-the-closet homosexuals who were good soldiers, good people, and really did not disrupt military readiness or good military order. Their sex life was theirs alone and didn’t impact the team. However, transgenderism seems to me a bit different. A guy becoming a girl or vice versa could very much impact military moral and readiness. I struggle because I see transgenderism the same way the DSM-V sees it – as a mental health body-dysmorphic condition similar to anorexia and bulimia. While our society tends to embrace all mental health conditions in a very compassionate way, the question is do we embrace mental health conditions in the military? Not really – you actually get discharged if you have PTSD, MDD, Personality Disorder, Bi-Polar and others. It’s tough because you want to have compassion for those struggling with transgender issues, but is the military the place to embrace this issue? I don’t think so.

As you can imagine, this post started quite the conversation! I have friends on all sides of this issue, ranging from very conservative Christians to practicing homosexuals and transgender men and women. The debate has been fairly civil, for which I am thankful, but a couple of my conversations have concerned me – those with some of my Christian friends.

To put it bluntly, many Christians today have bought into the lie that both homosexuality and transgender dysmorphia are normal and to be accepted and even embraced. In other words, they have agreed with Satan to normalize sin.

One of my Christian friends made a good point that the military has always discriminated, first against blacks (and other ethnic minorities) and women, then against homosexuals, and now transgender. In fact, the military discriminates against a lot of things, including mental illness, physical disabilities, inability to adapt to military life, and more. But I digress!

I rebutted that there is a difference between racism, which is based on someone’s lineage and homosexuality and transgender, which are behavior issues. This is where I want to take a deeper dive.

First let me say that I don’t think anyone actually knows what causes someone to be anyone of the letters LGBTQ. But whether you are indeed born that way or come to it another way, what I’m about to say is the truth:

You don’t have to act on every impulse you have.

Christian brothers and sisters, this is the very foundation of our Christian life! How many times are we told in scripture not to act on our fallen and sinful emotions? I’m going to pound you with scripture here:

Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Ephesians 4:22-24

…that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

Philippians 3:8

More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,

Colossians 3:5

Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.

Luke 9:23

And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

John 12:24

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

Luke 9:23-24

And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.

Romans 6:11

Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 12:1-2

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

1 Peter 4:1-2

Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.

Galatians 5:24

Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Romans 8:12-13

So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh– for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Romans 6:11-14

Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. read more. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

John 3:30

He must increase, but I must decrease.

Titus 2:12

…instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,

1 Peter 4:2

…so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.

Luke 14:33

So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.

Matthew 10:38

And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.

Ephesians 4:22

…that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,

Galatians 6:14

But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Romans 6:8

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,

Romans 6:6-7

knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.

Ephesians 4:22-23

that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,

We are told again and again and again that God’s ways are higher than ours and that we are not to lean on our own understanding because a man’s way leads to death. It is absolutely clear.

So why are so many Christians at best becoming apologists for those who act out their sinful impulses and at worse deny God’s authority to define sin?

Personally, I think it has to do with the fact that Christians don’t want to recognize their own sin as sin so they don’t recognize any sin as sin.

But here’s the problem with that – when you normalize sin and it no longer is sin, you no longer need Jesus. And that my friends is where many Christians are falling off the cliff.

We all fall short of the glory of God, which means we all need Jesus for our salvation!! When we minimize sin for whatever reason, we minimize what Jesus did on that Cross, which means we minimize our need for Jesus. Brothers and sisters, you CANNOT go there.

God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Not one jot or tittle (stroke or mark) will change until all is fulfilled. Anyone who adds or subtracts from the book is in DEEP kempshi! Does any of this scripture sound familiar?

Our job as Christians is not to make scripture fit our culture. Understand that God’s word – and Jesus is God so it’s HIS word – was written at a time of some of the worst depravity in the world occurred. And all of this was considered culturally acceptable, including sacrificing children in a fire to the god Moloch, torturing and crucifying people, feeding people to lions in the arena for entertainment, homosexuality, transgender, orgies, war, killing and raping children and women, slavery, exile, and more. Jesus’ words were absolute moral truth to be obeyed (If you love me, you’ll obey what I command) and not to be reinterpreted in the mind of sinful, fallen, and finite man doing biblical gymnastics to get the answer that suits the culture or an individual’s “itching ears.”

As I said, this is the crux of our faith! Like the homosexual and the person struggling with transgender identity, we also struggle with our own impulse issue, including:

  • Lust

o   Pornography

o   Objectification of Women/Men

o   Sexual Desires Outside Marriage

o   Money

o   Title/Position

o   Power

o   Control

o   Material Comfort

  • Pride

o   Anger

o   Jealousy

o   Hate

o   Revenge

o   Grudges

o   Unforgiveness

o   Lack of Compassion/Empathy

o   Disgust with People of Lower Social Position Than You

o   Taking Offense

  • Flesh

o   Instant Gratification

o   Self-Centered Thinking

o   Our Desires Before Other’s Needs

o   Unwillingness for Self-Sacrifice

And here’s something you need to think long and hard about: Your lack of impulse control is just as much of a sin as the homosexual’s and transgender’s lack of impulse control. God sees sin as sin, not sin on a sliding scale like we often like to think. We’re all in the same boat, which is why Jesus tells us not to judge and to forgive as we’ve been forgiven. We are no better than anyone else. In fact, I would say for me personally, I feel like the apostle Paul – Of all the sinners, I am the worst because I know God, I know better, and yet I cannot get that blasted thorn out of my side!

And that is why I need Jesus; I cannot boast of ANYTHING in my own strength! I need Jesus for EVERYTHING in my life! Which I why I can never call sin anything other than what it is – sin! If I call it something else, I am denying my Lord and Savior and the price He paid to save me.

I love my friends who struggle with LGBTQ issues. But I love them because I love God and He loved them first! I love them because God loves me even in my sin. I love them because God put them in my life to love. But I’m also truthful. I believe they are embracing something God has forbidden and denying God’s authority over such things.

And honestly, it is their choice. If they are not in the faith, they can choose to do whatever they want. I can’t support it but I’m not going to engage them on it either.

However, if you are in the faith and you embrace such things instead of fight sin, as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ I will not stand on the sidelines and watch you jump off the cliff. You see, I love you, too! And I love you too much to watch you deny God and find yourself in front of Jesus and having Him say to you, “I never knew you.”

Brothers and sisters, this is SERIOUS stuff! Eternity is at stake! If you love Jesus, do as He commands! He warned us about all of this in His word! Don’t be like those He says will be duped in the end times. Don’t think what happens in the culture is more valuable than what happens in the pages of Genesis through Revelation. Don’t give up your faith to be accepted. Better to go to heaven alone than to hell with all your friends.

We are called to live a life of grace and truth. I fully encourage you to love your neighbor, even those with whom you disagree. But I also fully encourage you to tell the truth in love as Jesus commands.

We don’t get to just act on our impulses and emotions. This is why the Christian walk is so very hard – we must deny ourselves every minute of every day and it is an impossible task without Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Hold on to His truths – it may not be popular and it may lose you friends, but it will keep you abiding in Jesus, which is the most important thing in your Christian life.

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