Our Blog

Filter By:
Showing items filed under “Bryan Gotcher”

Spare Change - February 2022

main image

Why is it so difficult to get free from certain sins?  When I was younger, I would hear preachers and teachers talk about besetting sins. These are sins that ensnare a person, and they find it almost impossible to get victory over them.  I agree that certain sins, for certain people, can be very difficult to break free from.  Even if we do find victory, we can find ourselves right back in them at some point in our lives.  Why is that?  It is almost as if Satan knows exactly what triggers us.  It reminds me of the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis where every person was assigned a demon to tempt them and keep them from following Christ.  While scripture does not confirm this to be true it certainly does feel like we have a personal demon attached to us; however, the Bible does confirm that we are tempted by Satan (James 4:7).  What are we to do?  If he knows what triggers us and keeps hammering us, are we without hope? 

The answer is repentance!  Repentance is most simply explained as turning away from sin and turning toward Jesus.  A fuller definition might be the means by which we participate in gospel transformation by seeking forgiveness in Jesus, exercising faith to overcome sin and growing in gospel maturity.  There is a point in our Christian walk where we come to faith in Jesus and repent of sin.  We find forgiveness of sin and we are saved by the power of the gospel found in Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection; however, repentance isn’t just a one time experience.  Coming to Christ begins the lifelong experience of continual repentance.  Stuart Scott in the book Killing Sin Habits calls this mortification (killing sin) and vivification (living by the Spirit).  These two processes are what is meant by ongoing repentance.  A Christian, regardless of how long they have been a believer, should be constantly submitting to Jesus and living out the cycle of repentance and faith.  This is what matures us in our faith and gives us victory over sin.  

True repentance is only found in Jesus Christ.  I cannot overstate how important this is, we cannot do this in our own power.  In fact, trying to handle sin in our own power is what keeps us from truly finding victory.  This struggle is expressed by Stuart Scott as the Temptation Cycle. It looks like this: temptation, feeble struggle, rationalization, unholy surrender, sin is accomplished, momentary guilt, sorrow and shame, confession to God delayed, confession, Christ not put on, isolation (no outside help sought), time passes and the cycle repeats.  Have you seen this cycle played out in your own life?  I know I have.  Often, we fall to temptation in our lives and feel bad, but we don’t really do anything about it.  Repentance is not just feeling bad and asking forgiveness for sin.  

We need to feel sorrow and we need to come to the Lord and seek forgiveness, but we also need to seek change.  Remember, Jesus did not just forgive people and then tell them to keep living the same way.  He called them to leave their sin and follow Him.  That call is still active today.  Don’t shortchange yourself with cheap repentance. 
Jesus died for life transformation, not to just make you feel better.  Also, don't just excuse your sin.  Deal with your sin by bringing it before the Lord; desperately pray for deliverance from it.  Pray also for wisdom to know how to kill it and the courage to get help.  The biggest failure on the part of Christians is the refusal to get help.  We need accountability when it comes to sin.  We need someone that will help us to change our behavior so we will not end up falling into temptation repeatedly.  Satan wants nothing more than for you to keep your sin a secret.  Jesus wants us to expose that sin, so we experience true repentance and life transformation.  This is the only way we will truly find victory over besetting sins in our life.  As you pray about this subject in your life, meditate on this verse: Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”  Ephesians 5:11-13 

For more on this topic I would suggest reading Killing Sin Habits by Stuart Scott.  

Posted by Bryan Gotcher with

Spare Change - January 2022

main image

Toward the end of every year we look expectantly to the new year.  Usually it goes something like this, “This year has been crazy (terrible, frustrating, or whatever your preferred negative adjective is), next year will be amazing (my year, great, or whatever your preferred positive adjective is)”. For some reason we believe that the simple turning of the clock from 11:59 p.m. on December 31st to 12:00 a.m. January 1st will do something.  We put our hope in the changing of the year as if there is magic in the new year. 

I get it, especially after the past couple of years, we have been through the ringer. It is natural to loathe the past and look longingly into the future.  I was recently looking back at some Facebook memories from December of 2019.  I thought sarcastically, “If I only knew what would happen starting in March of 2020.”  We were all ready to leave behind 2020, however 2021 has not been much better. Does that mean that 2022 will finally be our year?  I seriously doubt it.

The reason for my doubt is that even before the mess of 2020 we had the same attitude.  For years, I remember people longing for a new year.  For something different, something to be better in a future time.  The problem is this hope is misplaced.  It is like knocking on wood  superstitiously or believing that full moons affect people's actions.  These are simple hopeless myths that do not mean anything, especially for the believer!  We should not be bound by superstitions, and we should not put our hope in the changing calendar.  

As Christians, we believe God is sovereign over all circumstances in our life and the lives of every living person.  We should not hope in a new year, instead we should hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.  First, we need to understand that God has ordained the circumstances of our life.  We understand from scripture that even the perceived bad circumstances are used by God in our lives.  We should look at Romans 8 and James 1 for help with this perspective.  If we had this attitude, then I believe, we would not need to bemoan the past year and we would be ready to face any challenge the new year would bring.  

Second, if we feel we do need change in our lives, as Christians, we need to appeal to our Lord.  The changing calendar can do nothing to affect our circumstances, but the Lord of heaven and earth can!  It amazes me that Christians do not turn to the Lord more often.  We should be appealing to the Lord when we need wisdom, direction, assistance, forgiveness, change, and a myriad of other needs.  The Lord is the one that can affect change in our lives, especially in the areas that seem out of our control.  

Reflect on these verses:

  • Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your
    requests be made known to God.  Philippians 4:6
  •  If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:7
  • Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.  Romans 8:26

The fact of the matter is that we should be placing our hope in our Lord and nothing else.  Start the new year making your faith stronger by believing that God is sovereign and by faith you can go to Him for help. My encouragement to you is do not look to 2022, you will only be disappointed as you have been so many times before.  Hope in the Lord and you will never be disappointed!  

Posted by Bryan Gotcher with

12345678910 ... 4647