3-Fold Strategy for Rooting Sin Out of Our Lives

A number of years ago, on my way home from work, a guy cut me off in traffic and I became very angry. I honked and scowled at him to let him know what I thought of his driving. Then, instantly, the Holy Spirit convicted me of my sin.

I was crushed! How could I respond to others with such anger and venom? I felt soiled by my sin. I was deeply ashamed and desperate to have the Lord take this behavior from me. I needed his transforming power.

At home, I changed and went out for a hike. On that hike, I meditated word-for-word and thought-for-thought on 1 John 1:9, allowing its truths to wash over me.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins
and purify us from all unrighteousness.

My meditation on this passage was extremely helpful and it also prompted a thought in me I had never considered.

Up until now, I had always “hoped” and “prayed” that I would avoid such a godless reaction when a situation like this arose in traffic. But I saw that this approach was totally passive on my part. As a result, I was always dealing with this sin on the back side of it, after-the-fact, in a reactionary way having to “clean up” my mess.

I realized that all of us go through much of life hoping to avoid sin, but doing very little to aggressively root it out of our lives. Specifically with this sin, I decided I needed to go on the offensive and remove it from my life—but how?

Going to the Word and in conversation with the Lord, he led me to a three-fold offensive strategy:

  1. I daily practiced abiding in Christ asking him to change me.
  2. I shared my specific need for change with a confidant—a spiritual partner (and with my wife).
  3. I chose to replace anger and frustration, with Christ’s patience and love.

Over the next months, as I continued practicing this offensive strategy, I experienced the change the Christ wanted to bring about in me. He gives us victory!

However, I must confess that the second element of that strategy was the most difficult because I had to humble myself, admit defeat, and give my confidant permission to ask me each week how I was doing.

The second element of this offensive strategy is so crucial for victory:

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

What pattern of sin would you like God to root out of your life? Go on the offensive, using this strategy and see what God does!

©2015 Rob Fischer

How Jesus Modeled Spiritual Partnership

Spiritual partnerships are gender-specific partnerships focused on propelling each other into deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. The result of our ever-deepening relationship with Christ is our spiritual transformation. We are becoming more like Him in character.

Spiritual partnerships are also mutual and reciprocal. There is no condescension or top-down approach in spiritual partnerships. As spiritual partners (comrades in arms) we recognize that we are both very needy before the Lord. We are humble before each other, transparent with each other, and boldly challenge each other in God’s Word.

We generally view Jesus’ relationship with His disciples as a teacher-disciple or mentor-mentee relationship and the Gospels bear out that this view is accurate. But as with any of our relationships, we may take on a variety of roles. For instance, with my adult sons I am still their father, but I may also serve as a friend, a coach, a mentor, or I may go to them for advice.

I believe that in addition to serving as teacher and mentor to His disciples, Jesus also cultivated and modeled spiritual partnership that was mutual and reciprocal. In Mark 3:14 we read, “He appointed twelve that they might be with him.” At the Last Supper Jesus said, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” (Luke 22:15) We should not be surprised by the fact that Jesus, wholly God and wholly man, should seek out and enjoy the company of other like-minded men.

We find a powerful example of Jesus’ desire for spiritual fellowship with His disciples in Matthew 26:36-38: “Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’ He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’”

In this most distressing and troubling time, Jesus sought out His three most trusted disciples to be with Him and keep watch with Him. Why is it then, that when we find ourselves in distress, we crawl off into a corner by ourselves away from the presence and help of those closest to us? When we isolate, we are most vulnerable. Like a lion hunting gazelles, the evil one seeks to separate us from the “herd” in our weakened state and attack.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

Who is your spiritual partner, your comrade in arms?

 

©2013 Rob Fischer

 

Comrades in Arms

Comrades_in_Arms_Cover_for_Kindle

I’m excited to announce the publication of my new book, Comrades in Arms—The Power of Pursuing Christ in the Company of Other Men.

A comrades-in-arms or spiritual partnership is one of the most powerful, yet most neglected means for deepening our relationship with Jesus Christ. Proverbs 27:17 instructs us, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (NIV)

All through Scripture, we see the examples of spiritual partnerships between men like David and Jonathan, Jesus and His disciples, Paul and Barnabas, Paul and Silas, and Paul and Timothy. Especially from the pattern of Jesus and the apostles we recognize that God did not intend for us to follow Christ alone. We not only experience huge gains in pursuing Christ and His character with others of His followers, we also recognize that apart from such spiritual partnerships we cannot grow into all that Christ desires for us.

Perhaps some are skeptical of the claim that spiritual partnerships are necessary for growth in Christ. But don’t take my word for it! The Scriptures explain that an ever deepening relationship with Christ is God’s design and will for us as His followers. God’s Word also reveals that this growth in Christ resulting in a transformed life is a “team sport”, not achievable on our own and with great gains for all engaged.

Paul explains that by ourselves we are in danger of remaining like “infants” in our walk with Christ. “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Ephesians 4:15-16 NIV)

Maybe you’re thinking, “Great, here’s one more thing I’m supposed to do!” On the contrary, when we recognize the huge gains that God gives us in spiritual partnerships to grow more quickly and fully in Him, we gladly seek out such relationships. We do this both for our benefit and for that of others. “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9 NLT)

Over the past eleven years, spiritual partnerships have impacted my life in Christ significantly. When we combine God’s Word and prayer with spiritual partnerships, God’s Spirit leverages His Word and prayer in profound ways in our lives! “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom.” (Colossians 3:16 ESV) And, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16 NIV) Why wouldn’t we want to team up with another follower of Christ for this kind of impact?!

The book, Comrades in Arms, focuses specifically on spiritual partnerships for men. In the book you will discover:

  • Five reasons why spiritual partnerships are vital for our spiritual transformation!
  • The causes of our neglect of spiritual partnerships and how to beat them!
  • Five winning characteristics of spiritual partnerships!
  • How to boldly challenge each other from God’s Word!
  • Numerous practical examples for conducting spiritual partnerships!
  • Four simple steps to launch your own spiritual partnership!

Additionally, each chapter concludes with questions that promote thoughtful discussion to stimulate growth in a spiritual partnership or a small group setting.

Also, I’m excited to announce that I’ll be launching my book at the Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Conference here in Spokane on Saturday, April 20th. Then on Saturday, May 4th, I will be presenting a Comrades in Arms workshop at the same conference in Boise, ID. Please pray for these men’s conferences and for the men who will attend. May the Lord perform His life-changing work in their lives!

A Bold Request!

I believe that God will use this book in a powerful way in the lives of countless men and the families they represent and influence. But I’ve got to get the book into the hands of men. Would you please help me in the following ways:

  1. Purchase a copy of Comrades in Arms and read it yourself. You can either follow this link to purchase or go to Amazon.com.
  2. After reading the book, please go to Amazon.com and write a review of the book.
  3. Buy one or more copies as gifts to give to other men (Father’s Day is coming).
  4. Invite me to your church or men’s group to provide a free, interactive workshop on spiritual partnership.
  5. Host a book signing at your church or special event.
  6. Recommend Comrades in Arms as a study guide for men’s small groups at your church.
  7. Most importantly, please pray that God will impact men’s lives through the book as they launch their own comrades-in-arms relationships.

Thank you!

Your brother in Christ,

Rob Fischer

 

©2013 Rob Fischer