Tag Archive: 1 John 1


Inside or Out?

Boy Reading the holy bible“It’s all inside” is a popular slogan from one American retailer.  Although it might sound good and maybe even help sell a few sweaters, in reality nothing could be further from the truth.  Is everything we need for life really inside?  Yes, our bodies have a variety of organs, most of which are inside, all working together to sustain our physical life.  So technically, we could say that without the stuff inside we couldn’t be physically alive. Yet there is much more necessary than what’s on the inside.

The body can only live several weeks without food and several days without water.  We cannot survive for more than several minutes without oxygen before brain damage will most likely occur.  Our ears are designed to capture external sounds and eyes to draw in light radiating from without, not from within. It’s as if the designer of the human body is carefully and repeatedly reminding us that even though our bodies are self-contained, they are far from self-sustained. We clearly need things from outside of ourselves, and although no one would disagree with this, the same cannot be said for the spiritual side of life.  Sadly, too many have been blinded by the misguided belief that all the answers we need for spiritual life are found within.

Growing up, I can recall numerous times being told that I must simply look within for my answers.  Over the years, so many movies, songs, video games, and teachings have delivered the same erroneous message, “If you want to know reality, begin by looking inside.”  I can’t remember ever stopping to ask one simple question – “How do you know?”  How is it that people know for sure they can accurately search within to discover the mysteries of eternity?  When asked this question, most might answer one of two ways.  The first is based on emotion, “It just feels right.” The second is based on a majority, “Many people I trust believe the same way.” There are numerous problems with both of these reasons. Just because if feels good, doesn’t mean it’s true, and just because many people believe something doesn’t mean it’s reality.

According to the true Word of God, men are not the answer.  There is nothing inside of us that will supply anything illuminating. Just as we cannot emanate physical light from inside, so it is that we are unable to find true spiritual light from within.

Carefully consider a few verses:

  • “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”  Jeremiah 17:9
  • “There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.” Mark 7:15
  • “There is none good but one, that is, God…” Matthew 19:17
  • “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” John 3:19
  • “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…” Romans 3:23

So if we cannot find the light from within, then where does one go to receive the true light?  

The answer is not found in where to go, but to whom.  To all who have ears to hear, this is what the Word of God says concerning the Lord Jesus Christ: 

  • “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. That was the true Light, which lights every man that comes into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.” John 1:1-5, 9,10
  • “This then is the message which we have heard of Him [Jesus], and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5
  • “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, “I am the light of the world: he that follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12

BUYER BEWARE-

Not all claiming to be light are actually true light.  Jesus said of Satan that his ministers appear as servants of light, yet they lead people into further darkness.  There is light that is actually spiritual darkness.  Consider the following verses:

  • “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness…” 2 Corinthians 11:14-15
  • “But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” Matthew 6::23
  • “You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” John 8:44

Within is only darkness.  We cannot look within for answers on eternity anymore than I can look within to be physically fed or to breathe air.  Jesus Christ, the true light from Heaven, entered this dark world to bring the truth.  His light reveals our own sinful, rebellious nature and the true light of God’s judgment and justice.  Praise God, He also brought the light of His love and forgiveness found in the full and free sacrifice for all mankind found in Jesus Christ alone.  (1 Corinthians 15:1-5)

May we humble ourselves and approach God’s true light, realizing that our complete and utter dependence is upon Him, not ourselves!

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ImageToo often worldly ideas get circulated by popular preachers from the pulpits of many of today’s churches.  Sadly, once these ideas are shared enough times, they soon become accepted teachings and few people stop to check them out from God’s Word. One such teaching today is a popular psychological philosophy many call “Idols of the Heart”.

Over the last several years “Idols of the Heart” has grown to become a mainstream psychological idea within many Christian communities and is claimed by its adherents to be biblical in approach and doctrine.  Unfortunately it is at best humanistic, centering itself on the flesh, not the Spirit. In general, the philosophy teaches that the sinful human heart desires to worship self, constructing idols from early on in life. Once becoming a Christian, the teaching goes, we must explore our hearts to examine, expose, and eradicate any and all idols.

Four general problems with this psychology:

  • First, in order to locate them, we are told that we must sit down with “professionals” to talk about all the things that have gone on in our lives in hopes of exposing these idols. This “talking” often times falls under gossip and tends to be self-focused and problem-centered, not Christ-centered.
  • Secondly, even if idols are discovered, the question will always remain, when do we know if all our idols have been exposed?  We could spend a lifetime examining our old hearts and still not be sure we’ve gotten rid of them all.
  • Next, if there are idols in our hearts, they would have been constructed by the old, unregenerate man.  So in order to find them, we are forced to peruse the old man, not the new man, born again by the Spirit of God.  Instead of digging through the old flesh, Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, penned, “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ…[putting] on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him.” Colossians 2:11; 3:10. (Emphasis mine.)
  • Finally, perhaps the most deceptive part is while attempting to grow in the Spirit, one is actually only able to prop up the fleshly, old man and all if its self-focused desires.  In this process we very well may believe we are overcoming sin by the power of the Spirit, when in actuality we are simply bringing attention and satisfaction to the old man.  In doing so, this often leads to confusion and even deception for the one practicing such methods.

Below are several exerpts from a recent article written by Martin and Deidre Bobgan which serve as a further biblical response.

THE IDOLATROUS HEART

“The self focus of introspection that comes with counseling that stresses insight into one’s idolatrous heart can actually strengthen the flesh as it becomes self-centered rather than Christ-centered.  An emphasis on the idolatrous heart also poses a danger of too much self-centered introspection, which can lead to despair on the one hand and prideful self-righteousness on the other.

One may become stuck in trying to fix the flesh, which must be put off.  Therefore the idolatrous heart should not be the primary emphasis in the spiritual ministry of soul care.  Any attention given to the idolatrous heart is only useful as a means of teaching the doctrine of human depravity and identifying when one is living according to the old nature. But one can come to the same conclusion by reading the Word and then paying attention to one’s thoughts and behavior in relation to what God has said.  When the Bible calls for self-examination, the purpose is to discover whether one is in the faith and walking according to the new life in Christ (1 Cor. 11:28; 2 Cor. 13:5).  Spiritual growth comes by focusing on Christ, His very Person, His life, and all He has accomplished for the believer and continues to accomplish at the right hand of the Father.

While many in the Biblical Counseling Movement may indeed intend to “present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Col. 1:28), because of their problem-centeredness, they grievously fall into another form of idolatry: sinful conversations as a means to a better marriage, a better life, and a more satisfied self.

Why Christians who have been born again by the Holy Spirit, given new life in Christ, and have the very Word of God at their finger tips subject themselves to such sin-centered activities escapes reason.  However, one possible reason is that they are walking according to the flesh and attempting to have their lives fixed by someone else instead of through following the Lord Jesus Himself.

One does not need to seek the specific motivation for every sin, but recognize that whenever one sins one is walking according to the flesh with its deceitful heart.  This involves recognition of sin (not analysis), repentance (1 John 1:9) , and walking again according to the indwelling Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16), which involves trusting and obeying Christ.  Throughout the ages the Holy Spirit used the Word of God directly and through sound preaching and teaching to convict the sinner and the sinning saint, to show the way of life, and to enable the believer to live by that new life. The Christian life is one of grace and hope because all is given by God, including the [power] to trust and obey.”

See: http://psychoheresy-aware.org/powlison_cure_3.html for the full article.

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