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1 John 5 v 18 - 21

For the sons and daughters of God, sinning is to be seen as allowing the enemy to disrupt our walk with God. In whatever way it is dressed up, anything that pulls our hearts and minds away from that focus is to be regarded as sinning. It can be a seemingly wholly good thing, but if we come to recognise that our love relationship with the living Lord Jesus is affected we must cut it out. In 'The Screwtape Letters', C S Lewis describes in comic form the various ways that the devil uses to lever us away from a maturing walk with Jesus. In one proposal from a senior devil to his underling, it is declared: ''Teach them to estimate the value of each prayer by their success in producing the desired feeling; and never let them suspect how much success or failure of that kind depends on whether they are well or ill, fresh or tired, at the moment.'' And: ''Prosperity knits a man to the world. He feels that he is finding his place in it, while really it is finding its place in him.'' A question for me and for you is, 'Is your relationship with Jesus deeper than it was ten, twenty, thirty years ago?' If you are blessed to be in a loving, giving married relationship of some years standing, you may say that your love for your spouse is greater and deeper than ever before: is that the same with your fellowship with Christ? The last sentence of John's first letter reminds us of the character of this elderly man, this Apostle whom Jesus loved: he is the shepherd of his flock, he sees them as his children and his deepest wish for them is that nothing takes the place of God in their hearts. The first of the Ten Commandments is: ''I am the Lord your God, you must have no other god beside me''. Are you guilty of breaking it? Are you self-defined by anything other than you are a child of God? Is your career, your parenting, your hobbies, your passions more central in your heart than your worship of Him. Do you bow down in your heart before anything other than the One who gave Himself for you?

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