Three Kinds of People?

From a Christian lens (through reviewing Scripture), I see in life that there are broadly three kinds of people:

  1. The unbeliever;
  2. The one who says they believe but their life doesn’t show it (e.g., living a life of continual sin, submitted to false doctrine, etc.); and
  3. The true believer.

Take a guess which two groups God’s heart is poured out toward more…..

….

Groups 1 and 3.

Surprised? Hard to believe I’m telling the truth? Keep reading…

Jesus’ Pattern

Let’s first briefly consider the pattern of Jesus’ life. Jesus spent a great amount of time with His disciples (believers), sitting and eating with “sinners” and the “unrighteous” (e.g., Mark 2:15-17), and rebuking and condemning the ones that professed belief but whose lives did not show it (religious leaders of the day; e.g., Matthew 23).

Group 1 – The Unbeliever

God’s love is poured out toward the unbeliever because even though they are living a life absent of Him and may even hate Him, He wants so badly for them to accept the free gift of salvation. It is God’s will that none should perish and that all should come to repentance (see 2 Peter 3:9 and 1 Timothy 2:4). The Bible says that the heavens rejoice when one person comes to repentance more than 99 righteous people who do not need to repent (Luke 15:7). God does not approve of the unbeliever’s lifestyle or actions, but He loves them dearly and wants to save them from the path they are heading down (see Proverbs 14:12). If this is you, please answer the door, He’s been knocking for so long. I apologize if you have been ridiculed and judged by “Christians” when that shouldn’t be their approach. I’m here to tell you that God loves you. Despite what others may say, He really does. Don’t let people that represent Him poorly turn you away from Him. He wants a better life for you and to give you a gift that you will never regret: eternity with Him.

Group 3 – The “True” Believer

God loves the believer because they are the apple of his eye, the bride of Christ, and will share in the eternal riches to come. He can’t wait to fellowship with them for eternity in the new heaven and new earth but also desires to personally know them every day while they are still living on earth. To the new believer that is growing in sanctification and wrestling with sin, be encouraged and endure! It is a process. Truly fight and God will be there to help you. Process these Scriptures: 1 John 2:1-2, Hebrews 4:15-16, Hebrews 12:3-4, 1 Corinthians 10:13. The desires will fall away as He continually replaces them with new desires for Him. If you are a believer and don’t know God personally, begin to develop a connection with the Holy Spirit. He will empower you to live right and be all you were created to be in Christ. Remember, the Bible says the one that puts their hand to the plow and looks back is not worthy of the kingdom (Luke 9:62), that we should bear fruit that demonstrates our repentance (Luke 3:8 and Acts 26:20), that faith without works is dead (see James 2), etc etc etc. Grow in grace daily, do not be unfruitful or turn back around to live the life you’ve died to! Let’s keep pressing through as we longingly desire to finally be with Him in heaven. (Please review the following warning Scriptures about turning away and deliberate, continual sin: 1 John 3: 4-10; Hebrews 6:4-6; Hebrews 10:26-27; 2 Peter 2:20-22).

Group 2 – The “False” Believer

Now for group number two. Surprisingly, more people than one would think actually fall in this category (especially in America). This may sound harsh (I believe God says it harsher though) but God’s arms are not open towards them (at least while they remain in their blinded state). He does open His arms to this group if they repent of their ways and humble themselves and turn toward Him with a true heart and pure worship. But at present, you may be surprised with how He thinks of this group. Now before anyone gets upset with me or if this is pricking your heart, read the Scriptures below and direct your anger toward God because this is what HIS Word says that YOU say you believe in.

“This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me….” (Matthew 15:8)

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:21-23)

“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16)

“That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.” (Romans 11:20-22)

….that’s what the Bible says, not Dante…

Nevertheless, there yet remains hope for this group! The Bible says if you hear his voice TODAY do not harden your heart (Hebrews 3 and 4)! He is speaking to you through these words and Scriptures! Repent and turn from your hardness of heart! As much as some Christians may not have you to believe, God still desires holiness, right living, death to sin and flesh, and whole-hearted devotion to Him! Cry out to Him and ask for forgiveness! Love Him with all your heart and never go down that path again!

As Paul instructed Timothy, I am praying for ALL people in line with God’s desire for all to be saved as I believe we broadly fall into these three groups.

Blessings,

Dante

 

Me leading Bible Study at Old Dominion University.

 

The TRUE Problem

This may sting a little like rubbing alcohol being applied to a flesh wound. However, I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t provide the treatment to provide full healing. Make sure to read the whole thing:

I don’t think I have any personal remembrance of this nation being more divided than it is right now. Much of the tension is emotions, but I’m seeing something a lot deeper: hate. Two sides pointing out and condemning both Donald and Hillary’s character flaws and expressing disapproval of not only both individuals, but anyone who supports them. I’ve seen the American flag burned, I’ve heard expletive filled chants as people march the streets, etc. A lot of chaos. I certainly understand how people feel on both sides, but in all of the back and forth, I haven’t seen anyone point out the actual problem. This might hurt, but we need to turn the finger around and realize that we are the problem. 

Bear with me for a little before you flood this post with comments of disapproval. As much as the world is believing this less and less, there actually is a God (one God) in heaven who is loving and just. It is scientifically impossible for something (especially an “intelligent” something) to arise from nothing. This God has a standard to which He wants His creation to live by. Our problem is that we are quick to call out others apparent flaws but sweep ours under the rug because they are socially acceptable. Moral standard doesn’t come from society, it comes from God. For instance, as much as blatant lying is wrong in God’s eyes as Supreme Judge, so is pre-marital sex. In God’s Supreme Court, both the liar and the sexually immoral would be condemned. Not only do you and I not meet God’s moral standard, the entire world is in a state of brokenness. Anyone would agree to that just by watching the news for five minutes with all the earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc. as examples. 

Despite this, God, in His infinite wisdom, understood that there was no hope for humanity as we couldn’t save ourselves from our own brokenness and as a just judge (not being able to go against His own character) we all stood condemned. This is the very purpose of Jesus of Nazareth (it is no longer debated among any serious scholars whether he existed or not). He stood in our place and took on the worst punishment ever conceived in the mind of humans on behalf of you and I. Not only this, but He rose from the dead and now sits at the right hand of the Father in Heaven (read secular and Christian sources discussing the empty tomb, conversion of a Christian persecutor after encountering the risen Christ, many of His disciples willing dying for their belief in Him after initially cowering in fear after His death which would mean they died for a lie if they didn’t actually see Him risen, etc.). We each have the opportunity to have our disobedience looked over as God’s justice was satisfied since Jesus stood in our place! However, we have to put our faith in Jesus and believe that He did this for us, turn from the lives that we have lived, and begin to live a new life following the one that gave His for ours!

This is our only hope! This is the good news in the midst of so much hatred, division, and turmoil. This is the answer to the brokenness in our own lives and the brokenness in the entire world. The above may be hard for some to believe, but this is a firm belief that I would literally die for. My hope and faith are set in the promises God declares for a better tomorrow, namely eternity spent in His perfectly restored kingdom which mirrors our current place of residence minus the tears, pain, suffering, and hate. 

Until then, Jesus left us two simple commands. Love God, love people. I love Him as I share the good news He wants me to share and I live a life that shows fruit of sincere change. And I love people as I pray for you all endlessly and emulate the behaviors toward others that Jesus modeled as he walked on earth. One question remains: Will you join me?

Movie Reflection: In the Heart of the Sea – Relation to Morality and I-O Psychology

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Introduction

During December 2015, I watched In the Heart of The Sea with my wife and her side of the family. The movie stars Chris Hemsworth and is about the sinking of the whaling ship Essex, which inspired the novel Moby Dick. As a theology and I-O psychology (if you don’t know what I-O psychology is, read up on it here) nerd, I process essentially everything through these two lenses. So, of course, when I watched this movie there were some very interesting things that I saw with my I-O psychology and theology eyes. Below is a brief, “stream of consciousness” reflection of this movie that I wrote in my phone after watching the movie in 2015 that I want to share. Please note that this is a reflection and not a review, also that there may be some spoilers!

Morality

One of the first things I noticed was that the lead character, Chase, was a man of his word (integrity). Through the struggles of being abandoned at sea, he understood that man was a mere speck, dust in the grand scheme of things (see Psalm 8:3-5 and 103:14). From the beginning of the movie it was clear that Chase despised lying.

One of his quotes from the movie was, “A liars word is worthless even on paper.”

After returning home from being shipwrecked, the people wanted the survivors to lie about their account in front of the inquirers. Chase refused to lie and said he would stick to the truth. This influenced the captain of the ship (who had an influential blood line) to change from a lie to the truth. Clearly, Chase’s light shined and impacted others (see Matthew 5:14-16).

2

I-O Psychology

Having (at the time of watching this movie in 2015) just completed a leadership and motivation seminar and sharing these topics with my wife, my eyes were open to the leadership aspects throughout the movie. For context, the people on the ship had a goal of returning home with numerous barrels of whale oil. There was a team and different positions of leadership. One guy was captain because of his influential bloodline (how people sometimes ascend to top positions in organizations – power of association) and Chase was essentially second in command (first mate) although he was qualified to be the captain (and slighted of this position). Most others on the boat were like lower-level employees who were all working in a team.

In terms of motivation and leadership theory, I drew a comparison between top leadership and second in command. Chase (like a middle manager) was able to provide more effective leadership by way of transformational and authentic leader behaviors whereas the captain did not. Specially, Chase inspirationally motivated the team based on the goal, utilized idealized influence as a man people looked up to and wanted to follow, intellectual stimulation by challenging his team and wanting to constantly train with them, and individualized consideration by getting down and talking to others and helping out those in need (e.g., young man who was telling the story to the book writer – his sea sickness example). The captain, on the other hand, did not present many characteristics of effective leadership. He did, however, initiate structure, but he lacked in the relational (consideration) component that the literature identifies as extremely important. Nevertheless, it was cool to see the group members grow with the captain in times of struggle because he had to build relationships with them. He even demonstrated aspects of self-sacrificing leadership as he was going to kill himself so others could eat after drawing lots.


The Lord led my wife and I to the below Scriptures on the night that we watched this movie:

24 O Lord, how manifold are your works!
    In wisdom have you made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.
25 Here is the sea, great and wide,
    which teems with creatures innumerable,
    living things both small and great.
26 There go the ships,
    and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it.

(Psalm 104:24-26)

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Examining Rehoboam’s Folly Through the Lens of Leadership Theory

This blog post is another installment in the I-O psychology section where I integrate I-O/OB concepts with biblical topics. (If you are unfamiliar with I-O psychology, please read this orientation to the field and how I will apply it to my blog.) For this blog post, I will be discussing Rehoboam’s folly through the lens of leadership theory. I will first explain who Rehoboam is and the nature of his folly and then look at his situation through the lens of leadership theory. In discussing his situation through the lens of leadership theory, I will make the assertion that implementing servant leader behaviors would have helped avoid the ultimate consequence of a divided kingdom. (Please check back for a future blog post where I explain servant leadership theory and how Jesus of Nazareth is the quintessential example of a servant leader.)

Who is Rehoboam and What Was His Error?

Rehoboam was an Israelite king in the Old Testament. He was the first to reign after his father King Solomon and was the grandson of King David. At the beginning of Rehoboam’s reign, Israel approach him with a request:

“Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke on us, and we will serve you.” (1 Kings 12:4)

Apparently, the burden of Solomon’s performance expectations of the workers of Israel was too much to bear, and they were requesting a lighter load in exchange for their willing service. Rehoboam then requested that they return in a few days to receive their answer. During that time, he sought the counsel of two parties of people: 1) the older men that counseled his father and 2) younger men that grew up with him. Below is the advice he received from both the older men and the younger men:

And they [the older men] said to him, “If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them, and speak good words to them when you answer them, then they will be your servants forever.” (1 Kings 12:7)

And the young men who had grown up with him said to him, “Thus shall you speak to this people who said to you, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you lighten it for us,’ thus shall you say to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s thighs. And now, whereas my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.’” (1 Kings 12:10,11)

The crux of Rehoboam’s folly is that he rejected the counsel of the older men that had experience in that they worked alongside his father and took the counsel of the young men who had no idea how to approach the situation at hand. Rehoboam’s response led to the rebellion of Israel and the division of the Northern and Southern kingdoms.

Looking at Rehoboam’s Folly using Leadership Theory

Now let’s look at this situation and Rehoboam’s ill-advised choice through the lens of leadership theory. Leadership is a broad concept that includes someone’s ability to motivate individuals, teams, and organizations to different courses of action. In our discussion here, the course of action being influenced is the maintenance of the kingdom. King Solomon had a set style of leadership in place, and the lower-level workers saw his death and Rehoboam’s reign as an opportunity to provide feedback on the current system and request a new approach to how they were being led. Specifically, they made mention that their “yoke was heavy” and requested that it be “lightened.” It was also mentioned that they were “disciplined with whips” presumably when they were not meeting performance expectations. These descriptors paint a picture (albeit a vague one) of they type of leadership that was in place prior to the reign of Rehoboam. Using leadership theory, it seems as though Solomon’s leadership in this area was task-oriented (i.e., focused on what needs to be done to meet goals) and had a very low relationship/people orientation (i.e., concern for the well-being and satisfaction of workers). These two behaviors were identified in the Ohio State studies and are also known as initiating structure and consideration. Research evidence points to task-focused leader behaviors being more important for subordinate performance and people-focused behaviors being more important for follower job attitudes such as satisfaction and commitment. Additionally, from the Full Range of Leadership Model, Solomon employed a contingent reward approach which involves goal setting and providing consequences for behaviors (in this case negative consequences – disciplining with whips). Contingent reward shares positive relationships with motivation, performance, and leader effectiveness among other outcomes. In Solomon’s approach to leadership, it seems as though work was getting done, however, the workers wanted their well-being to be taken into more consideration.

King Rehoboam was then faced with an opportunity to implement a new form of leadership to the kingdom under his reign. On the one hand, the young group of men that gave advice to Rehoboam wanted him to apply the leadership approach his father used, but take it to the extreme. The workers requested for their load to be lightened from what Solomon placed on them, but the young men’s advice to Rehoboam was to “add to their yoke.” Moreover, whereas Solomon disciplined the people with whips, the advice given to Rehoboam by the young men was to discipline them with “scorpions,” clearly indicating an increased form of punishment for not meeting performance expectations. This suggested approach to leadership includes aspects from Solomon’s approach to leadership (i.e., high task-orientation, low people-orientation). However, it is distinguished by taking Solomon’s contingent reward approach to a different level, seemingly changing the focus to the less effective leadership style of active management-by-exception (i.e., negative focus on errors with punishment and discipline – seen as abusive). The worker’s situation was already grueling. Shifting to increased punishment in a way that is abusive creates and all around toxic situation where employee morale, satisfaction, and motivation would likely reach extreme lows. In this case, it led to a rebellion and the workers not carrying out their job responsibilities at all!

On the other hand, the older men counseled Rehoboam to take an approach that would have led to both work being completed and enhanced employee well-being. They instructed him to “be a servant to the people” and to “speak good words to them” and they will “serve you forever.” The older men were counseling Rehoboam to apply a whole new approach to leadership. Their new suggested approach included aspects of transformational leadership (which is by far the most studied leadership theory and is widely believed to be the most effective) and also servant leadership. Transformational leadership is comprised of four behaviors: idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration. From the limited description of what the older men were suggesting that Rehoboam should do, it seems as though they wanted him to at least apply two of these behaviors, idealized influence and inspirational motivation. Idealized influence goes beyond self-interests and is concerned with the well-being of employees and others in the organization. Inspirational motivation encourages and inspires followers to achieve more than they thought they could (these are just parts of the conceptual understanding of these behaviors). A case can be made for individualized consideration but I think that would be even more of a stretch than I am currently extending the limited descriptions from the older men. In Rehoboam serving the needs of the people and speaking good words over the people that aligns (at least partially) with transformational leadership.

However, servant leadership seems to be more fitting to what the older men were counseling Rehoboam to implement. Servant leadership is a leadership style that places going beyond one’s self interest and a genuine concern for serving followers as its central position. This is unique to servant leadership and distinguishes it from other leadership theories. Whereas other leadership styles have the ultimate focus of fulfilling organizational goals, servant leadership’s focus is fulfilling the needs of the followers, which would then lead to them completing organizational goals. There are numerous servant leader behaviors discussed in the literature such as putting followers first, empowerment, behaving ethically, providing direction, interpersonal acceptance, etc. Servant leadership is expected to produce increased employee satisfaction, commitment, and performance – this is where the most empirical support is available for this leadership theory. As the older men told Rehoboam, if he was to be a servant to the people and speak positively to them they would have served him forever. Clearly, their advice was in the direction of Rehoboam becoming a servant leader!

Conclusion

The people requested a lighter load and some consideration and said they would serve King Rehoboam. The older men counseled him and told him to serve them, speak positively, and they would serve him forever. The younger men said to increase their load and discipline them more severely. Although there are leader characteristics that precede the application of servant leader behaviors (e.g., desire to serve, intelligence related to emotions, moral conation, etc.) and it was already spoken by God that the kingdom would be divided (therefore it was going to come to pass), the application of servant leadership would have lead to an all around better situation than either the one before (i.e., Solomon’s reign) it or the one that resulted in accepting the bad advice of the younger men (i.e., the division of the kingdom). These are just my thoughts as I read this chapter (1 Kings 12) and integrated what I have learned during my graduate studies in I-O psychology. I hope you enjoyed it!

 


References

Barling, J., Christie, A., & Hoption, C. (2011). Leadership. APA handbook of industrial and organizational psychology, Vol 1: Building and developing the organization (pp. 183-240). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association.

Liden, R. C., Panaccio, A., Meuser, J. D., Hu, J., & Wayne, S. (2014). Servant Leadership: Antecedents, Processes, and Outcomes. The Oxford Handbook of Leadership and Organizations, 357.

Van Dierendonck, D. (2011). Servant leadership: A review and synthesis.Journal of Management, 37, 1228-1261.

What is I-O Psychology?

So what is I-O psychology and what does it have to do with me and this blog?

Whenever I mention to someone that I am studying Industrial/Organizational (I-O) Psychology I am without fail met with either a blank stare or a look of awe as if I’m some super intelligent individual. I usually follow-up by saying that it’s either “workplace psychology” or “business psychology” both of which are oversimplifications of the field. However, simplifying it in such a way is usually necessary as  I-O psychology is not a commonly known field, which makes some sense given that it’s relatively small  (less than a few thousand I-O’s) compared to other fields. Despite the size of the field, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently ranked I-O psychology as the #1 fastest growing occupation between now and 2022, which has assuredly sparked increased attention and knowledge of the field. The purpose of this blog post is to briefly orient the reader to I-O psychology, describe how I became interested in the field, and explain how I will integrate I-O psychology in the larger context of my blog.

Taken directly from our professional website SIOP.org, I-O psychology is “the scientific study of working and the application of that science to workplace issues facing individuals, teams, and organizations. The scientific method is applied to investigate issues of critical relevance to individuals, businesses, and society.” In other words, I-O’s apply science to improve the performance, efficiency, and productivity of organizations. While this description seems central to the work setting, the application of I-O actually extends beyond that to include topics related to family, culture, legislation, etc. A simple breakdown of I-O psychology would include field (“I” vs. “O”) and type of job (academic or practitioner).  The “I” side is referred to as personnel (or industrial) psychology and includes topics such as recruitment, selection, training, performance appraisal, and termination. The “O” side is referred to as organizational psychology and includes topics related to the emotional and motivational aspects of work (e.g., well-being, diversity, teams, etc.). I-O’s with academic jobs work for colleges and universities with a focus on research, teaching, and service; whereas I-O’s with practitioner jobs apply I-O principles to address problems of organizations and commonly work as external or internal consultants. (This is a very brief and simplistic introduction to this field. If you would like to learn more, please visit SIOP.org.)

So, how did I become interested in I-O psychology? I actually became interested  in issues related to this field in my teenage years. Growing up in a single-parent household, I witnessed the direct impact that work-related stressors (e.g., work overload) that my mother experienced had on family life, as it was clear that these two domains were in conflict for her. Moreover, I had a less than stellar experience working one summer in a warehouse. During this summer experience, I witnessed the influence of ineffective leadership on the morale and performance of lower-level employees. In both of these experiences, I found myself asking if there was a way that work could be more fulfilling and motivating and less like a necessary evil. In the case of my mom and others experiencing work-family conflict, is there a way that this could be reduced and both domains could be compatible? In the case of poor leadership negatively affecting employees, are there more effective leadership styles that could lead to improved morale and performance among employees? Enter I-O psychology! The short answer to both of those questions is YES. As I continue to develop in this field, I increasingly understand the importance of our work as I-O psychologists. Essentially each and every person will or does work in some way shape or form. What’s more, we spend over half our waking days at work! Since so many people are working and spending so much time at work, I find it personally fulfilling to be involved in the study and application of concepts that have a wide-reaching effect on real people’s everyday lives.

Lastly, what does I-O psychology have to do with this blog and how will I integrate it? If you have perused through even a few of my blog posts I’m sure you caught wind of the fact that I talk a lot about God, Christianity, and related topics. How then can something as seemingly disparate as I-O psychology “fit” within the context of this blog? I personally believe that God and the characteristics of God can be seen in literally all facets of our life. Recall that I mentioned that mostly everyone comes in contact with work and we spend a lot of our time working. “Work” (and topics related to work) is a facet of life that I believe God and his characteristics can be seen in, considering that, in my belief, work was His idea in the first place. So what you will see in the I-O psychology section of this blog is how God intersects with many of the topics I am currently studying and coming across in I-O psychology. With my research focusing on work-family, career development, leadership, and motivation, you will see a wide array of topics discussed.

Interested in I-O yet?

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Me presenting research at the 30th Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology in Philadelphia, PA

 

 

I am Going to Die…

I have some very sobering news to share…

I am going to die…

I’m not sure when and I’m hoping not any time soon. Nevertheless, the fact of the matter is one day I am going to die and then that’s it (at least in terms of this temporary realm). The reason I share this is because we oftentimes live every day as if the next is promised and as if we aren’t wasting away with each passing moment. A wise man once said (paraphrasing) if you live with the end in mind you’ll get the accurate approach to life. As a young black male, I have one of the shortest (relatively speaking) life expectancies. According to statistics, I probably have about 50 years left of life. THATS NOT A LONG TIME! When considering the fact that within that 50 years ANYTHING could happen that could cause me to lose my life, that gets a little more troubling to think about. With such little time left and the possibility of that being cut short at any time what’s the only sensible thing for an individual like me (or anyone else) to do? Start investing NOW in what is to come AFTER.

Eternal life is promised to the followers of Christ who accept the free gift of salvation by faith in Jesus and repent of their sins and live a renewed life. Coupled with the espousal of my faith, God expects an enactment where there is clear evidence of fruit bearing. At the end of it all, I am promised a place in paradise with my Father which no one can take away from me. THATS the ultimate security blanket. That’s what’s afforded to everyone through faith in Jesus, and faith in Jesus alone (according to Christian orthodoxy and not off-shoot “Christian” sect false doctrine and theology). This is why I live with ZERO INSECURITY in this present world. Just as the Apostle Paul said, if I live I can help others grow in God or if I die I go on to be with the Lord, so whether I live or die there is gain. I don’t intend for this to be long so I’ll wrap it up here. In closing, I want you to begin to think about the end. Will the only thing you’ll be able to say is “I lived a good life now it’s time to pass with zero hope of anything after” or will you be able to say “I followed Jesus with all my heart and now that I am passing I have full assurance and hope that my life to come will be the best ever!” Let that sit and marinate.

“When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:54-57)

Is God Against Sex?

It’s commonly believed that God and Christianity are anti-sex. It’s actually quite the opposite under the correct confines. Within the marriage covenant, sex is not only permitted but it is celebrated and encouraged! From the foundations of the earth, God ordained the marriage covenant between man and woman to protect us from the negative effects of sexual immorality and giving ourselves to multiple people. It is a beautiful and holy thing that has been tainted by our modern way of thinking, which has been largely fueled by society. God is a good Father that is not trying to withhold our “pleasure” and “fun” from us; He is protecting us from abusing pleasure and fun. Would you feed your child candy or ice cream every night for dinner because they really wanted it? No. Why? Because you know the negative effects and what’s good for them even if they don’t see it yet. Sex is God’s creation. It’s one way that husbands and wives grow in intimacy. Why would He be against what He created to be enjoyed under His boundaries?

“Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well. Should your springs be scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be for yourself alone, and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.” (Proverbs 5:15-19)

“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” (Hebrews 13:4)