Call-In Classic Christianity Radio – Bob George P620 (03-26-21)
As a child of God, we are all learning how to deal with various problems, whether habits like smoking, struggling with controlling in-laws in your marriage, or just those natural annoyances with rude people, or even unbearable suffering for the cause of Christ, or the natural suffering as we live in a fallen world, with an aging body or failing health. Listen as Bob George provides practical application to the common problems of life, applying wisdom with truth from the scriptures.
There are things that we can stop doing, and we do not even need the Holy Spirit to stop. You can be a non-believer to stop smoking, for example, with enough will power and desire to do so. But nevertheless, each person struggles in different ways, and with the Holy Spirit living in you, how much more can you set aside the deeds of the flesh, and renew your mind with truth, and participate in the divine nature God has given you. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, where God dwells, so honor God with your body.
At times, we can be harder on ourselves more than God, putting expectations on ourselves that we cannot carry out in the energy of the flesh. Such was the case with the question Brian called about. He was bothered by the fact he could not love as he ought. The swearing and ungodly behavior in the surroundings he is in, such as at the workplace, just gets to him that he just does not want to be around these kinds of people. Sometimes he feels like he wants to punch them in the face. We never had it in us to love like God does. God is love and Corinthians describes the love of God. Galatians 5:22-23 tells us what the fruit of the Spirit is, and that it comes from the Spirit of God.
So what do we naturally do? We all have natural thoughts and we do not have to act on them. If we do not first just want to hate the person, we feel guilty and then maybe try to love in the energy of the flesh and find ourselves falling flat on our face. That is also why we are under grace and not the law. This is the normal and natural human experience. Not unusual for us at all. But we cannot generate this love. Jesus explained to us how we are to function in the Spirit in John 15, when he explains the parable of the vine and the branches.
Something that happens in marriage is a struggle with controlling in-laws. Daniel asked for advice in regards to a strain in their marriage due to his parents, and particularly his mother, who is trying to control their lives. Bob shared from Genesis how he is the head of his family now and they are to leave and to leave. He needs to decide to stand firm in truth and let the chips fall where they may. Tell the wife they are putting this behind them and moving forward with their life together. You cannot fix her if she has a heart that is wanting to control. You have to leave her in the hands of God. You and your wife are together. Tell your wife, “If you are mad at my mom, I understand that, but try loving her like Christ, but we are going on with our marriage regardless of my mom’s choices. It is our life and we are going to get on with our marriage.”
A common misconception among believers, particularly new believers, and especially in America, is to think that life is just going to be a rose garden when you come to Christ. That is not necessarily true in the practical realm of things, in the fallen world we live in. We might have to suffer or go through things that seem unbearable, even failing health or an aging body, for we all will die at some time. We just do not like the process. God also tells us ahead of time that those who desire to live godly will suffer persecution. There will always be people out there that will be opposed to the gospel.
Now, we do not go look for suffering, and some people will face more suffering than others. Just ask those who became believers in a mostly Muslim nation, or a Jew in a very strict Jewish heritage, as they are disowned by their family and some even at the threat of being murdered by their own father. God even told the apostle Paul, almost the first day he came to Christ, about how much he was going to suffer for the cause of Christ, as he was appointed by God as an apostle to the Gentiles. Not many of us have suffered like Jesus or the apostle Paul have. But in all things we do suffer, God is right there with us, and we can consider it pure joy, as recorded in scripture, because of what God will work in us, a perseverance of faith. We trust the Lord in that, and by making our requests be made known to God with thanksgiving, God has promised us a peace that surpasses understanding. We have this confidence that God will cause all things to happen for the good for those who love Him and are called according to His good purpose and He has promised to never leave us or forsake us.
Francisco: I have a very good friend of mine who was brought up in drugs, fornication and homosexuality. He gave up all that drinking and partying and cursing. He loves the Lord and goes to church and God blessed him with a beautiful family. But one thing he asked me, “God delivered me from all this, but I can never get rid of the cigarettes”. He says he cannot pray or read the bible because he thinks that his habit is hindering his relationship with God.
Bob: He is not functioning under grace. He is functioning under law. I can say without question that a person who is functioning under the law, he might say he loves God, but I do not believe it. It is not that we love God but that God loved us first. If we do not understand the unconditional love of God, then how can we love Him back? Now if you say that you cannot pray because God has turned His back on him, then that is not unconditional love, is it? That is conditional love. How can you know unconditional love, that God loves you, if you put conditions on it? Therefore, how are you going to love Him back? So what he has is a stupid habit. To say you cannot quit is utter nonsense. Anybody can quit.
Bob: Before I got saved, I smoked like a furnace, and I did not have the Holy Spirit in me. I just made up my mind I had enough and I quit. If you are a Christian and are still smoking that stuff, then you need to put it down. Smoking is not a testimony of Christ. So what you are saying is you love cigarettes more than a testimony for Christ. In a church setting, you hide those things. But you cannot hide it. You can smell it. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit of God. Would you go into a church building and smoke a cigarette? No, goodness no. Yet, you are not thinking of not lighting up in the real church, but would not dare to light up in a man-made building we make. Those kinds of things have no place in a Christian experience. If you are a Christian, put that stuff aside and ask God to give you enough discipline to do what is necessary to quit a habit that is offensive not only to lost people but saved people as well. That is, if you want to have a true opportunity and witness into the lives of others. Does that mean you cannot pray? Of course not. Does it mean you cannot go to church or study the bible? No. It just means you are stuck in a habit you are having difficulty getting out of. You can get out of it if you just follow a few simple steps and it may be difficult for the first two or three days, but after that you can get through it. The key is, do you want to?
Brian from San Diego, CA
Brian: I realize I have an unloving attitude towards other people. It concerns him. I have been thinking of this verse that I continually fall short on.
32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.
Brian: When I look at some people, I just want to foam at the mouth. I pray about it. At times, I pray that God removes this from me. At other times, I just do not want anything to do with these people. That concerns me. I also struggle with my thought life. Waiting for a bus at a bus stop, waiting for a light, and rap music blasting with profanity. The first thing that goes through my mind I cannot say it over the air. So I pray, “Lord, help me to accept the way accept other people are”.
Bob: Brian, you are a human being and so am I. If you could have heard what I am thinking when I hear this awful music from the pit of hell, from three cars back. So if you knew what I was thinking, you would not be listening to me on the air. So you are not unusual in what you are thinking. There are some people you are attracted to and some people you are not.
1 Corinthians 13:4-5
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Bob: When you are looking at God’s love from Corinthians, God’s love is patient and kind. I may not like that person but I am to be kind to him. I may not want to be around him but I do not want to keep records of his wrongs. All those kinds of things has to be something that God has to produce in you and through you.
Bob: The flesh never wants to be kind to someone that gets under our skin. The flesh wants to get his own way. I cannot do that any more than a branch can produce fruit. It would be like saying, “You branch go out and love all the people in the world.“ The branch comes back and says, “I cannot do this.” God says, “I never intended you to do it. Your role as a branch is to abide in the vine and let the vine produce in you that you cannot do in and of yourself and you will bear the fruit of the vine but you cannot produce the fruit of the vine.” You and I cannot do it in the energy of the flesh.
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
Bob: First comes the natural and then the spiritual. When my car is vibrating because of some pinhead with radio blasting, I do not know how they lose their hearing, but I praise Jesus if something does not come out of my mouth back at him. God says, “You do not need to be irritated. In a moment he will have driven away.” You are not unusual. You want to be loving but you cannot produce that love. You have to allow Jesus produce that through you.
Brian: Thank you very much, Bob. Thank you.
Bob: Does that help, Brian?
Brian: Yes, it does.
Bob: Alright, my friend. Bye. Bye now.
Daniel from Phoenix, AZ
Daniel: Something has been bothering me for the past three years. I have been married for three years. Other than having a happy marriage and a happy life, it has gone to being very unstable. Any move that we take, I find myself trying to make any move possible to find happiness. It has been really hard. I come from a home that has been my parents. My parents raised us in church. The thing is that my wife was not Christian when I met her. We became friends. When we got serious, then things started occurring to me if she was a believer or not. We got married and within a week after we got married, she gave her life to the Lord. My mom tends to be controlling. The mom finds out her place taken by another woman. That has always been there. My wife has felt as if my parents did not want her for me. I have a ministry as well. My parents look at ministry, and say, “He needs somebody that is an assistant to the ministry”. She has that feeling that is there why they do not want her for me and so forth. We went through the stage where we had to live with them for a couple of months. It just got worse. Now at some point, they do not talk to each other. I try to make peace between both. My wife knows that I am on her side. But if it is carnal and not biblical, I try to explain to her what is not biblical. That is not the way God wants us to be. But has gotten to the point she is okay with just not talking. One or the other will not make the effort to talk. It gets to the point where she does not want my children to even see my parents. I am fine with my parents and so forth, but I also have to side with my wife and show my wife that I am not against her. My question is how do you get it to where I do not want my parents to hate me or I do not want to disrespect them or dishonor them. Proverbs tell us to honor them but at the same time, I am the priest of my own home. I am my own head. You know that you need to be parents because the word of God says this. I am the father of my home now. That no longer applies to me but I do honor you and respect you, but there is a limit. I am tied in the middle. I do not know which way to turn. If I go one one way that will cave in on me.
Bob: Let me see if I can shed some light on that Daniel. First of all mom and dad are not your parents any more. They were parents when parenting you. They are no longer parenting you and they ought to stand out of your business. The problem is not with your wife but the problem is with your mom. You are the one who has to stand up. That is why he tells a man to leave your father and your mother. It does not say that to a woman. But it says that to the son.
24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Bob: I think one reason it says that is because a man has the tendency to hang onto the skirt tails of the mother. Mother has a tendency to want to continue mothering a child who is now married. That is why He says to a man that if you are going to be a man of your home, then you are going to have to leave your mom and dad and cleave to your wife and the two of you become one. Because you are not the head of this new entity called a brand new household. So do not think the problem is with your wife. The problem is with your mom, trying to hang on. You are in a predicament there of not wanting to offend any one of them, but you are going to have to take a stance to have to offend one, and if you do, it will have to be mom. If your mom becomes angry over that type of thing, that is her problem for she is controlling and is trying to control things and she has interfered in your life. It may be just having to sit down and say, “Mom. This is my family. I do not want you trying to control our family”.
Daniel: It gets to the point where sometimes I sat down with her and talked with her about certain issues. We were moving from one house to another house and we stayed there for a little bit. My mom, for the first couple of years, they hit it off really good, but then my mom felt she had the right to say certain things. There were certain issues I would have to tell my mom. This is my wife. If you do not accept my wife, you are not accepting me. My wife and I are one. Sometimes it gets extreme. I am trying to make peace with everybody.
Bob: It is not going to do us any good rehashing this. We do not have time to do that. The issue is that if you are married, which you are, and the two of you have become one, if your mom makes those kinds of decisions, “I do not want to see you anymore”, then you have to leave that into her hands and accept that and the two of you go on with your life and quit worrying about it. If mom comes to the point, or comes to her senses, and says, “I have been acting like a fool”, which she has. If she comes to her senses and says, “It is your life, not mine. I am going to support you in your marriage. You are my son and she is my daughter-in-law”. If she comes to that point, then praise God. If she does not, go on with your life and let this fall where it may. You cannot change things and fix things, Daniel. You cannot fix a heart that is wanting to control. You cannot fix a heart like that. You have to leave that to God.
Daniel: I appreciate that.
Bob: Move in that direction but I would let your wife know this. “We are together and if you are mad at my mom, I understand that, but try to be loving and try to be forgiving as Christ says to forgive even as He has forgiven you, but in God’s timing. But we are not going to pay any attention to what mom and dad are saying right now and we are going to go on with our marriage”.
Bob: That will do wonders for her.
Daniel: Thank you so much.
Bob: You are sure welcome, Daniel. Keep us posted on how you are doing.
John from Creswell, OR
John: First of all, let me say that I have been listening to you guys for about a year. I tried as best as I could to check out your teaching on the radio. I have not been able to prove you wrong by the scriptures.
Bob: Well, that is good. We have had a lot of people try.
John: I am somewhat of a skeptical person when it comes to other people’s teaching and I try to go by the scriptures. But I have a question. In Romans 8:17, where it says we are the children of God and a joint heir with Christ.
17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
John: I have been hearing some strange teaching on that. I came up with the writings that Peter wrote and my understanding that the inheritance is to be our glorified body. My question was more on the part that says if so be that you suffer with Christ. I was wondering if that meant sufferings of the tribulations in this bible. What exactly was meant?
Bob: Again, there are some people that read that and go out and try to find things to make themselves suffer for Christ, which is nonsense. What it is talking about there, is that you and I can share in these sufferings, in order that we may live in glory with Him. But the issue is all of us, one time or another, are going to go through different types of suffering in our life, even if it is a suffering in death. But we do not go out and look for suffering. I have no fear at all of death, but being maimed I am not real fond of.
Bob: But the issue is that I do not think anybody is in their right mind, thinking like that, and I do not think Christ was out there looking for suffering. It was a by-product of what man did to him. All of us are subject to that type of thing. Our lives are not over yet. Let us say an entire turn took place where we lived in a country where Christians actually have to suffer for Christ. We do not turn into that over here in this country. We could. If we do, we would be prepared for it. But we do not go looking for it.
Bob: But in some areas, a Jewish person, who comes to Christ, many times, they are disowned by their family. There is terrific mental suffering that takes place by people who have come to Christ. People who grew up as atheists. Madeleine Murray O’Hare’s son, when he came to Christ, he suffered because he was disowned by his family and all the people he knew, which were all atheists. Obviously, that has been replaced by the beauty of the fellowship of Christians. But there is often, many times, suffering connected with that. Are we going to go through it? Possibly. More likely than not, but we are not going to go out looking for it. If it happens, it happens, and we will be prepared to go through that suffering the same way that Christ has. What did Christ do when he went through his suffering? Trust the Lord. What do we do if we go through like suffering? Trust the Lord.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Bob: But there are people teaching all kinds of hair-brained ideas in regard to suffering. And you might have run into some of that. I am not sure.
John: Yes. I ran into a little bit of that. People that think the only way they are serving God is to cause themselves to suffer in some type or form. But, to me, that would be a type of work.
Bob: You do not go out and look for anything. The whole deal is you do not go out and look for suffering. You are not going to say, “I am suffering for Jesus. I went out and found it”. I think that probably explains it, John. Any other questions you have on that?
John: No. I just wanted to get your take on that, and clarify it a bit for me, and see if I was getting on the right track there. It seems like the Lord has been leading. My wife and I tried to do a little bible study every morning. We prayed for the Lord’s guidance in that.
Bob: Right. Well, John, I have had disappointments. I had times in life where I suffered inside but I look at those and say, compared to what Jesus had to go through and compared to what Paul had to go through, I have not even known what suffering is.
2 Corinthians 11:23-25
23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea,
Bob: Whatever I have gone through, hopefully I have gone through by faith. If I have to go through more, hopefully I will also go through by faith. But I am not going to go out looking for it. If it happens, it happens.
John: I was looking at Paul’s writings when he speaks about the things he wants to do, he does not do and the things he does not want to do, he does anyway.
14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.
John: I kind of figured that was the type of suffering they were talking about, the battle we have within ourselves, to try to do better.
Bob: That is part of it. It was terrific persecution Paul went through in order to proclaim the gospel that I have never had to enter into. God bless you, friend.
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