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Exceptionism

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Philippians 3:12-14 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (NKJV)

The greatest sins and temptations of the Laodicean Church (rich in need of nothing) is comfort, convenience, security and exceptionism.

Comfort, Convenience, Security

  • I was hoping to outgrow lust, greed, and covetousness. but they’re still there and stronger than ever. What they did was switch categories.

We struggle with a lust for comfort and convenience, greed for recognition, and a covetousness for security.

And the temptation to step back, relax, hunker down and do less is easier because we begin to be entrapped by the sin of “exceptionism”. 

Exceptions

In our Christian life we often seek exceptions from God’s standards.

My Past

I had a rough childhood. I was abused. My parents didn’t teach me. We didn’t go to church when I was young. I didn’t come from a good family. I was picked on. Any excuse that starts with “In the past _________________”

  • Our past can become one of the biggest wells from which we draw our buckets of excuses and exceptions.  

Philippians 3:12-14 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (NKJV)

God knows that we cannot do anything about what has happened in the past.

  • How many of your problems would disappear if you simply decided to let the past be the past, learning the appropriate lessons, but pressing on to the future?

Be careful you are not using your past is somehow exempts you from what God wants you to do today.

My Hurt

I have physical pain. I have emotional pain. I have relationship pain. I have family pain. I am hurting from betrayal. I am aching from heartbreak. My health is suffering.

  • Because of all these things, God exempts me from service, devotion and holiness.

2 Corinthians 11:24-28 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness- besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. (NKJV)

Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (NKJV)

Do you have personal pain today? Be sure to honestly evaluate whether you’re using it to excuse yourself from doing what God would have you do.

My Circumstances

I’m too busy. I have too much responsibility. I have too much pressure. My boss is a jerk. I’m in financial trouble. I have people persecuting me. And today (2020) we have a new one: its because of the virus.

  • How easy it is to exempt ourselves because of our circumstances

On the surface it appears to be a perfectly legitimate explanation and yes, at times it may actually be a legitimate reason.

If you’re neglecting the things of God today and claiming that you have no choice, you need to really think that one over.

My Family

My family doesn’t believe that. My family makes fun of me. My family will disown me. It’s just how our family operates. It’s a family tradition.

  • I don’t have much to say about this particular excuse except for this: is it God or your family that will save you?

Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. (NKJV)

My Spouse

My husband is not a Christian. My wife is not submissive. My husband is a selfish jerk. My wife is a discontent nag. My spouse doesn’t care about spiritual things.

  • Far from exempting us from being the very best Christian we can be, the very fact that our spouse is any of these things is more of a reason to raise your level of Godliness.

1 Corinthians 7:16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife? (NKJV)

If you are living with a spouse that makes your Christian walk more difficult then take heart that your Christian sacrifice of holiness may be what God is using to draw your spouse to Him.

  • Don’t allow your spouse to become your excuse for not fully serving God with your whole heart.

Church

The church is full of hypocrites. The Christians I do business with are not honest. My church is full of arguing and gossiping. The preacher doesn’t teach us anything. We don’t have any good teachers at our church. There aren’t any programs to teach me how to be a good Christian. I don’t get anything out of the worship service.

Far from being an excuse to waiver, bail out or quit, the weak and worldly state generally found in today’s churches is all the more reason for each of us to live an exemplary and blameless life so that others may follow our example.

1 Corinthians 11:1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (NKJV)

– – – – – – – – – – – –

If there is any area of your spiritual life that is consistently weak or erratic, then there is a good chance in the back of your mind you are exempting yourself from correcting that area.

  • Look honestly at your habits and shortcomings and see if you have given yourself one of these built-in excuses (or some other clever one you’ve dreamed up) to neglect change in that area.

As Judgment Day approaches, try to rid your life that excuses and exceptions that keep you from sanctifying every area of your life to God’s greatest glory.