Myth: You Can Have Your Own Life in This World
Jordan Yoshimine exposes one of the myths that many Christians believe, that you can have be a genuine Christian and still have your own life in this world.
Jordan Yoshimine is Assistant Director of Counseling at the Residential Program here at Pure Life Ministries, and part of the senior leadership team. We're teaching in this episode the truth that the root cause behind a man who is addicted to pornography, or engaged in some other form of sexual sin, is that he has an enormous self-life; he is the center of his own little universe. We asked Jordan to speak about a particular lie that is prevalent in the church today, because it is everywhere in our culture.
The myth that we’re talking about today is, “I can have my own life in this world and be a Christian as well.” I really believe that it's a complete lie from the devil, and it's dragging people, good people, good professing Christians to hell, because they don't know any better. They're just going along with the flow of what's happening in the church today; they're going to church and really experiencing God in a way that God did not intend them to worship.
Something is terribly wrong in the church today, when over half of all married men in the Evangelical church are in some kind of sexual sin, and nearly 80 percent of young men view porn regularly. The church is no longer the spotless bride of Christ; she's an adulteress. We are no better than Israel, playing the harlot by pursuing our idols. Jordan shows us that the problem is clearly taught in Scripture.
The church as God intended was supposed to influence and change the world, and what we're finding today is that the world is coming into the church and influencing the church. And as I said before, that's just not Scriptural. In Matthew 10:39 it says, “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” And throughout Scripture this message is forefront, that you're going to have to lose your life in this world. In Luke 9:23 it says we need to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow the Lord. But it says, “die daily!” We need that daily death to self, and what's being promoted in the Church today is the message that “Hey, you can be a Christian, but have everything that you want in this life as well!”
We live in a me-centered culture. It has infected our core beliefs, and what we regard as sin. In the area of sexuality, now anything and everything goes.
You can see it in laws that are being passed, in the cultural shift, in sexuality, it's all about self, and it is all about pleasing self. It is all about, “hey, what's good for you is alright as long as it doesn't impact me; You can do what you want, be whatever you want to be, dress how you want to dress, be whatever sex that you want to be…” This is a sad mindset, but tragically, it's permeating the Church.
And what is the result of this extreme self-centeredness? What happens when you can't tell a Christian by his lifestyle from his unsaved neighbor? Jesus prayed that His disciples would not come out of the world, but they would be protected from its influence. Both James and John warned that being a friend of the world makes us an enemy of God. What happens when the idolatry of this world takes over our lives? Jesus told us. Matthew 16:26 says “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world yet forfeits his soul, or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” And, a lot of times we think that verse applies to unbelievers only, but I think it's talking to believers, it's saying, “what is it going to profit you if you marry yourself to the world and you lose your soul?”
Yeah, that is a good question, because a lot of people go to church, they sit in a pew, they tithe, they’re in a bible study or a small group during the week, and yet, they are married to the world. They've given themselves over to things that might not seem like sin—extravagant vacations, or obsessing over sports, or their kids—it doesn’t seem like sin but if you take a long hard look you can see the idolatry in their lives. Exodus 20:3 says very clearly, “thou shall not have any gods before me.” Again, look at the reality of their lives. They call themselves Christians but they'll still skip Sunday service to watch the World Series or the Superbowl or golf or whatever. Or maybe they say, “I'm going to skip church because my son has a soccer game today”, or “my kids have a game on Wednesday night so we're not going to go to church.” God specifically commands that we don't put anything before Him. When we take all those little choices cumulatively over a lifetime…man, I don't want to be standing in front of God on judgment day and hear “Depart from Me. I never knew you.” God isn’t going to say that to complete heathens. He’s going to say that to people who did a lot of things in His name. And the consequence of allowing the world into the church and telling people that they can have both is that many are going to stand in front of Jesus once day and He's going to say, “Depart from Me. I never knew you.” And people are going to be grieved, because they weren't taught that—how few people were saying “you need to look at how you're living your life in this world. Not just the big sins but everything else in life.”
Just to give a quick background here, Jordan is no stranger to this subject. He grew up in Anaheim, California, the home of Disneyland. He was grew up in the church as a pastor's son, but everything about his life was driven by the world. He was obsessed with pleasure, obsessed with entertainment, movies, sports, food, everything to feed the flesh. When his sexual sin started, it completely dominated his life for years. He left the church and was gone for a long time. When he came back to the church, he continued in sexual sin, did not cut himself off from worldly influences. Jordan, how did that life work out for you?
Not very well. It didn't work out. For about a decade I was living the double life, going to church, being a Sunday school teacher, being a youth director, leading church camps, etc., but I was also fully engrossed in myself! Not just sexual sin, but drinking, partying, buying clothes, spending all kinds of money, I just did whatever I wanted to do. Eventually I got to the point where I said, “Ok, either I can keep living the life or just go headlong into my sin,” and I just chose my sin. I wanted my sin more than I wanted God. And yet, throughout the next three decades, I would still profess to be a Christian, and even sent a Bible to one of my drinking buddies! What! So ridiculous! I mean, what kind of testimony did I have? I had none.
I came back to church in 2005, and then went on staff in 2007, and was on staff for three years before my sin got exposed again…. Yeah, I was able to cultivate a double life again, and I felt like “if I just repented and kept repenting, that God would honor that.” But yet, I wasn't denying my flesh.
And what is the inevitable result of being utterly worldly in our hearts, while maintaining the fake Christian veneer?
I mean, the answer's simple. It’s a life and death question. Life with Jesus or life without Him. I don't like to be the hell and brimstone type of guy, but there's a reality to that. “God will not be mocked,” Galatians 6 says. “He who sews to the flesh will reap corruption of the flesh.” So, if we continue sowing to the our flesh, then where are we going to stand on Judgment Day? Were we really ever Christians, if we can continually do things are so displeasing to the Lord or not glorifying Him, and actually pointing people away from the Lord?
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A real Christian life is possible. There is real life in relationship to Jesus Christ, and it is abundant life. Jordan, finish our time together by giving a testimony to what your life is like now. No longer married to this world, what it is like to be wed by faith to Jesus Christ.
Revelations 21 says that when we see Him face to face, He'll wipe away every tear. There will be no pain, no sorrow, no more striving. Man, that's something to look forward to. If you come to Jesus, “all who are weak and heavy laden and I will give you rest, there is rest for our souls. His yoke is easy, His burden is light.” If we will only submit ourselves and humble ourselves, and allow Him to guide us and direct us, there is rest. And it says in John, “the fullness of His joy.” He wants to complete our joy. He wants to make it full. I always thought joy was an emotion; joy is not an emotion like happiness. Joy is something much deeper, and much more profound than any emotion can ever describe. Joy in the Lord! And making that joy complete is a knowledge and an assurance and a confidence in who the Lord is, what he's done for you, what the Cross means, all of that! And I have that choice now, whereas before, I was tossed to and fro like a wave, because I was just guided by my emotions. The Lord wants to give us life and life abundantly.
If you're thinking, “Ok, I can either choose Jesus or try this whole ‘Jesus and the world too’ I will tell you what it’s going to be like. It’s going to be life abundantly if you follow God, but if you choose to marry yourself to the world or try to have both, then you're going to allow Satan to kill, steal and destroy.
When you come into his rest, when you finally surrender, when you finally admit your weakness, and your inability to do anything on your own—2 Corinthians 12:9-10 becomes a reality. “His grace is sufficient. His strength is perfected in our weakness. When I am weak, I am strong.” When we understand that we just cannot do it, that we do need to deny ourselves, that we do need to be bondservants as Peter and James and Paul said, completely surrendered to the Lord; no dreams, ambitions, anything of our own, and completely allow the Holy Spirit to indwell us and guide and direct us, there is just so much that God wants to give us, and give to His Church. He is longing for His Church to surrender and separate themselves from the world so He can give them the fullness of who He is, and give them peace and rest and joy and boldness and creativity—and all of these things, all these different facets of Jesus and the Lord, that He wants to give the Church, if only we will start denying ourselves. If we will say, “No longer I, Christ who lives within me.”
This excerpt is from our podcast episode, "The Root of Sexual Addiction Probably Isn’t what You Think it is." Episode 371.