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| Author: Dele Oke

Five reasons for failure

Many Christians have a sense of a God given call on their lives. They perceive within themselves a heavenly mission. Many even start out on the road to the Promised Land. They have a deep desire to achieve all the things God has promised them. But they never seem to arrive.

Like Israel leaving Egypt they seem to take forever crossing the desert. One battle after another. The Promised Land never seems to arrive.

God's word mentions five reasons for failures like this. They are the five things that kept the generation that left Egypt in the wilderness for forty years. They are the same five things that all Christians should watch out against today. They are the five deadly sins that satan has used so effectively in hindering the promises of God for many Christians from coming to pass.

Many ministers have fallen at the feet of these five sins. Several others have been made impotent.

God in His mercy has not left us in the dark. He has revealed very clearly in His word what we should all watch out against.

These are not the only sins that hinder us from attaining or even sustaining our God given promises but they are the most common. They are the reason many marriages break up and several ministries fold up or take the wrong course. They are also the reason the Holy Spirit lead Paul to write first Corinthians chapter ten so as to warn us against them.

Let's read some godly counsel together

1 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptised into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.

6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry." 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did -- and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9 We should not test the Lord, as some of them did -- and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did -- and were killed by the destroying angel

11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfilment of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! 1 Corinthians 10:1-12 (NIV)

Before we mention the five sins let's consider the spiritual state of the Israelites and how this relates to us today. Christian's in our mist

Israel had passed through the sea, they had been baptised into Moses and into the sea (verses 1-3).

The Israelites passing through the sea on leaving Egypt is a mirror of our salvation. They passed from death to life. When you accepted Jesus as your Lord and saviour you passed from death to life. From the power of darkness to the kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13).

Moreover, the Israelites all eat the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink. That drink was Christ. They were a picture of not just a born again Christian but of ones filled with the Holy Spirit and fed with the Word. Remember what Jesus said to the Samaritan woman beside the well in John chapter four.

Let's be in no doubt who the Israelites represented. They were a physical picture and example of the born again spirit filled believer (verses 6 & 11). These are the ones the Holy Spirit is warning against the five deadly sins. Yes, we are the ones who are at risk of losing our God given promises, ministries, homes and numerous other blessings if we do not heed the warning of the Holy Spirit through the scriptures.

Those of you that fear God and would desire to see His will fulfilled in your lives. Those of you that cherish to see the promised land of God this side of heaven. Pay special heed to the following.

The following five reasons are the main cause of aborted blessings and unfulfilled promises from God. Mark these words. The main reasons why homes, ministries and callings never attain (or sometimes do not even begin) God's will are because of

1. Lust (verse 6)
The Israelites set their heart on evil things. They never adjusted their values on leaving Egypt. They were always looking back. Read Exodus 16: 1-3. Even though they had left Egypt physically their hearts and mind were still there. Pay heed to the warning in Colossians 3: 1-3.

The greatest challenge the churches faces today is from Christians living "in the world like the world" instead of being "in the world but not of the world".

Our standards are to be set by God not the world. We should not seek to be popular or attain to worldly fame but godly achievement. The places we live and the churches we attend should be to fulfil God's will not satisfy our lust and desire.

Love gives lust takes.

How many of us are driven by what we can get from man, society and the world rather than what we can give God. Love and lust can equally drive a ministry. The former would please God the latter would hurt him.

How many times has lust broken marriages, destroyed ministries and aborted callings. Are you lusting after the world or loving after the Word.

2. Idolatry (verse 7)
Pagan revelry is something none of us should have problems in identifying. It's more than lusting after the world, it's actively doing the things they do with them.

From lying to cheating, from focusing more on the things of the world than the things of God. Let's make it plain. If you are so busy in serving the world that you have no time for fellowship with God you are actively living in idolatry.

Those things that take you away from God are your idols.

3. Sexual immorality (verse 8)
Need I say more? Many Christians live together in sin. They are not married yet they continue to have a sexual relationship together. There is no excuse for such behaviour. Fornication is where two (or more) people who are not married engage in a sexual relationship with one another. This is sin. Adultery is where married people engage in sexual relationships with other people.

There is only one place for sexual immorality and that is repentance. Stop it now. You were not saved to sin but saved to live in Christ. Sexual immorality kills. It kills in all kinds of ways physically, emotionally and spiritually. It is a sin and sin kills.

4. Tempt the Lord (verse 9)
Israel tempted God and were killed by serpents (read Numbers 21: 1- 9). They kept pestering God for things that were forbidden. They used every opportunity they could get as an excuse to return to Egypt.

Tempting God is to knowingly go against His will. We do it to our own peril. Marrying an unbeliever, lying to secure a better job, fiddling with your tax returns or victimising or manipulating the people that God has put under your care as a Minister of the gospel or Pastor is tempting God.

5. Murmuring and complaining (verse 10)
This was the favourite pass time of the Israelites. They complained about God and His minister Moses. They were an ungrateful people. They never enjoyed what God blessed them with because they were too busy complaining about what they did not have. Read James Chapter 3

Do you always find something bad to say about your fellow brethren? Are you a backbiter? Do you always criticise the things other people do? Do you ever thank God for the things He has blessed you with?

Meditate on the above questions and judge yourself accordingly. The Israelites failed to judge themselves and hence they perished.

If we learn to judge ourselves, repent and turn around in our attitude we will still have a chance to avoid the five deadly sins. You can then look forward to God's promises in your life being fulfilled.