Is it okay to pray to a loved one that has passed away? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Hi, this is Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. You can call us with your question at 833-THE-CORE. If you get our voicemail system, feel free to leave your message there.
1-833-843-2673. Of course, you can always email us at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to Bradley calling in from Arkansas. Bradley, what's your question for Adriel? Yes, sir.
I appreciate what you all do and the knowledge and the insight that you provide. I've been a believer my whole life, but I struggle with alcoholism. And I pray for deliverance, and I just wonder, like, is there something wrong with my self-will? Because I really don't want to be this way.
Hey, Bradley. I can hear in your voice just the weight of that struggle. And you asked, is there something wrong with my self-will? Well, we know that our wills even as those who are Christians have been affected by sin. Every part of us, really. I mean, sometimes we call this total depravity. It's not that we're as bad as we could be, and thank God for that, but it's that sin has really affected every part of me, my mind, my will, my body. And so, that means that each of us are desperately in need of the grace of God. And this struggle with alcoholism is something that makes you continue to be aware of that. So, in one sense, I want to say, yeah, there is something wrong with our wills.
Even as believers, we can desire and long for things that we know are not good for us. And that's a battle. That's the fight that you are in.
And certainly, I want to pray for you, Bradley, and pray for your deliverance, pray that the Lord would strengthen you in the fight and grant you victory. But I also, you know, just sort of reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul in Galatians 5, verse 16, I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh, for the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other to keep you from doing the things you want to do. That's what you feel. And so, this question of my will, this battle that I'm in, it feels like, man, I want to do these things that I know are hurting me, are destroying me. It's that battle between the flesh and the Spirit. And so, it's as we come to the Lord, submitting to Him and to His Spirit, humbling ourselves before Him, and crying out to God as you do, that God is helping us, and He is indeed helping you. And it's only by the Spirit of God that we're enabled to put to death those sinful deeds of the body, those passions, is what the Apostle Paul talks about in Romans chapters 6 through 8. So, a couple of encouragements for you, biblically speaking, I think, as a believer, meditate on Romans chapters 6 through 8. There specifically, Paul highlights the new identity that we have, that you have in Jesus Christ, and it's so easy when you struggle with something like addiction to feel like that's what characterizes you.
It's, man, this battle that I have. But I want you to know that if you believe in Jesus, you've been baptized, you believe in Jesus Christ, what you ought to identify yourself with or by is the fact that you have died and been brought back to life in Jesus Christ, and you present yourself, Bradley, to God as one who is alive from the dead, and you lean on the grace of God and on the Spirit of God to give you strength in the midst of this fight. And additionally, I'm sure you know this, but you lean on the people around you who love you. Your family, your brothers and sisters in Christ, there needs to be real accountability with this.
And so I just want to go back to you really quickly. You said you've been a Christian your whole life. Are you going to a church right now? Is this a struggle that the people in your church are aware of and they're encouraging you in? I actually attended a bigger church for a while, and I confessed, and now I actually teach at a very small church, and I feel like I'm letting a lot of people down because I'm not doing the right thing. I don't know where it says it, but it says do not crucify him again.
Don't put him back on the cross. I feel like I'm abusing the grace. Well, the text you're referring to is Hebrews chapter 6, and there, let me just say, Bradley, when the author of the Hebrews is talking about crucifying the Son of God afresh, the reference is the author of the Hebrews is calling the Christians there not to turn away from Jesus, not to commit the sin of apostasy in abandoning the Gospel. It sounds to me like you are clinging to the feet of Jesus, saying, Jesus, help me, help me with this sin, because you're my only hope.
That's the opposite of what the Hebrews were struggling with. And so I just want you to understand that, that you are crying out to the Lord for his grace and mercy, and when you cry out to Jesus for his grace and mercy, he doesn't reject you, right? Jesus said in John 6, those who come to me, I will in no wise cast out that when we go to him, he doesn't shut the door on us, but when we come to him, right, broken and contrite as you are, that he doesn't leave us or abandon us. And so I do think it's important, especially if you're in a smaller church and you're teaching, it doesn't have to be a big scandal, but I think maybe speaking to the leadership there, the elders of the church, the pastor, and just saying, I need to take a step back.
I need some help. I need to work on trying near to the Lord and humbling myself before the Lord and getting the help that I need. I think that that would be right and good for you to do, and know that God is for you as you draw near to him. When you humble yourself before the Lord, as you seek the face of Christ, man, God is for you. God is for you in the fight against temptation, in the fight against this addiction.
And so you're not alone. You have hopefully the people of God around you who want to support you and encourage you, but you have the Son of God who is your advocate and who prays for you. And so let me just encourage you with one more passage of scripture, brother, which I hope you take to your heart. It's in 1 John 2, verse 1. My little children, I'm writing these things to you so that you may not sin, but if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father Jesus Christ the righteous, and he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. Brother, it's not that Jesus is our advocate when we're perfect.
That's when Jesus is on my side, when I don't sin anymore, or when I have just totally conquered this struggle. No, John says it very clearly here, if anyone does sin, in this battle, Bradley, you have an advocate, and his name is Jesus Christ the righteous, and he is the propitiation for your sins. That means he paid the penalty for your sin, so that clinging to him and trusting in him, you might have new life, and as you trust in Christ, Bradley, your sins are indeed forgiven, and you have been brought from death to life and present yourself, your whole body to God as belonging to him, not to be enslaved by alcoholism or any other sin, but as a servant of righteousness, and I know that that's what you long for, that's what you want, and truly, through Christ and by faith, that's your identity. It's living into that identity, and so I want to take a moment right now to pray for you and to invite all of our listeners as well to pray for you. Let's lift Bradley up and ask that the Lord would strengthen him and break the chains of this addiction and grant him grace and healing and true restoration. Father, we lift Bradley up to you. We come before you, Lord, with our brother and say, have mercy, Lord. Fill him with your Holy Spirit, I pray.
Deliver him from the addiction, Lord, from alcoholism, and help him, Lord, to find that peace and rest that he longs for in you. We thank you, Lord God, for your mercy. We thank you for your goodness. We thank you for the forgiveness of sins. We thank you that there is no struggle, no addiction, no sin, Lord God, that is greater than the power of the cross of Jesus Christ. We just plead for our brother, Lord, that you would be with him, that you would bless him, that you would grant him grace and forgiveness and strength, Lord God, by the power of your Holy Spirit to resist temptation and to cling to you. Be with him, we pray. In Jesus' name, amen. Amen.
Bradley, thanks so much for your call, for your honesty, for your courage, and we will continue to pray for you here at CORE Christianity. You know, Adriel, I was just thinking about it. I know we have, I'm sure we have many other listeners right now who have struggled or are struggling with some type of addiction. And the fact is, and you pointed this out, you said, you know, have you shared this?
And it sounded like maybe he had not. Addiction does thrive in the darkness. It thrives in secrecy. And Satan knows that. And I think he capitalizes on that. And so really, if we are struggling with some sort of temptation or addiction, the very first thing we should do is to confess it to those in our lives who, you know, we trust, who are safe people. And certainly if we're in some sort of a ministry position to go to those, you know, people in leadership that we, you know, answer to and confess that sin.
Yeah, absolutely, Bill. And I'm glad that you said that, just the importance of getting accountability and bringing things into the light, especially when you're all alone with your sin. That's where it's real dangerous. And that's where you feel like you have to hide and run and pretend.
And it becomes this vicious cycle. And so I just want to speak to you, the person, I mean, that maybe that's where you're at right now. There's hope for you.
And the blood of Jesus, the grace of God is sufficient for you. And one of the fears that so many people have is, well, if I was honest about this, I went to my pastor with this or to, you know, a trusted brother or sister in the Lord who's mature and who could encourage me. If I did, boy, they would just think the worst of me.
There's no way I could share this. They're just gonna, what if it gets out? You know, all of those things. But just knowing that at the end of the day, we have the gospel. We have the grace of God in Jesus Christ, Jesus who welcomes repentant sinners to himself and says, come to me, come to me.
There's hope. And so, yeah, don't let another day go by with that secret sin, clinging to it in the darkness and being destroyed by it. Instead, pick up the phone or write that email or whatever it is that you need to do to sit down with someone and say, hey, I just need to confess. I need accountability.
I need some help. I need some prayer. And I think even in that moment, you'll feel the burden lift, right?
Once it's in the light, there's this weight that can be lifted. And so just some encouragement there, Bill, and I'm glad that you brought that up. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We'd love to answer your questions about the Bible or the Christian life. You can email us anytime at questions at corechristianity.com. And Adriel, we got an email from a listener. This really ties in with what's happening in our culture right now in an interesting way.
Her name is Felicia, and she says this. My question is, how do we handle mandatory trainings on historical trauma or trauma induced issues? I'm a Christian Native American, and I believe greatly in forgiveness and moving beyond and forward. The mandatory trainings I'm going to are hard for me to get through. I consider my job a ministry of encouragement and servanthood, but I don't like where this is going.
That's one kind of mandatory training that I've not heard of. I've heard of others related to sexuality and inclusiveness and whatnot. I know that that's been a huge issue for many believers, just thinking about how do I approach this?
I definitely have some disagreements with regard to where our culture has gone as it thinks about things like gender and sexuality. At least as far as that question is concerned, I think you can go to a training like that, but that doesn't mean that you have to embrace or abide by what's being taught. Now, maybe that's what they're saying. You have to do that, and I think at some point we have to say as Christians, okay, now I'm compromising what I believe, and I'm not going to do that. This is one of those things that requires wisdom, and you have to say, okay, am I being told to do something that goes against what I believe as a Christian, against my faith? When that's the case, well, I'm going to obey God rather than man, and that might have serious repercussions. That might mean that I lose my job.
That might mean that my coworkers look at me differently, and I don't want to minimize any of that. But let me just say to you, if that's what's going on, what does Jesus say? Blessed are you. Blessed are you when for the cause of righteousness, for righteousness' sake, people speak evil of you. And I think part of that is, as Christians, when we are committed to following Jesus and His word, and the people around us say, hey, you're not getting in line with what everybody else is embracing, you're out of line, and they mistreat us for that, suffering that mistreatment, Jesus says, you're blessed. Truly. In my eyes, you're blessed. It's the false prophets, right, in the Old Testament, who everybody spoke well of. Everybody likes them. Why?
Because they just sort of go with the flow and aren't faithful to the Lord. But with regard to this particular kind of treatment, Bill, I don't know if you've heard about these trainings, specifically the historical trauma and trauma-induced issues. Are you familiar with those? I think what she's referring to is perhaps she's in some sort of a setting as a Native American where they are revisiting what has happened to Native Americans in the past, which of course is tragic. But I think what she's saying is they're focusing on that. She wants to move beyond that because she, as a believer, she believes in forgiveness and moving forward. I definitely can appreciate that. Without minimizing the horrors of history and things that have happened, I think it's noble of you to want to say, hey, I want to forgive. I think that's a part of who we are as Christians, and indeed it is. The reaction to not just say an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth type of a thing, not to just look for immediately retribution and vengeance, but to say, man, Lord, you have been so gracious and merciful to me.
I want to be forgiving to those who have done wrong. I think that's a good thing. I think that's a sign of the grace of God at work in your heart. If it's something that really just you participating in these things, it just breaks your heart and it's hard for you to sit through it. I think it's totally fair to be able to say, especially as a Christian Native American, I'm having a hard time with if I'd like to maybe not sit in.
I think that that's fair. I just want to encourage you in the desire to be a person who is marked by and characterized by forgiveness. Now, that also doesn't mean that the call to forgive doesn't mean that we just are okay with injustice. Sometimes injustice can be done, and people will say, well, you just need to forgive. You're a Christian. That kind of a thing is really an abusive approach, frankly. You can have both. You can say, look, we don't want to minimize the atrocities that have happened historically.
Forgiveness doesn't make them okay, and it certainly doesn't, but we can also say we ought to, as the people of God, be characterized by hearts that want to forgive and want to see healing and restoration rather than getting that pound of flesh or whatever. So, Feliz, may God bless you and keep you, and as you're in the workplace wrestling through these things, may he give you opportunities to share that love and that forgiveness that Jesus has given to you to share that with the people around you. I appreciate your email. Really good counsel. Thank you for that, Adriel.
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Love to have you get involved with that wonderful group of people. Well, we do receive voicemails here at the CORE, and here's one that came in from Ray. My question for today is, is speaking to a loved one who has passed things, for instance, Dad, if you're out there, help me with this or watch over me. I know you're supposed to pray to God and everything like that, but is talking to your loved ones who have passed okay? Is that against the Bible? Is it considered conjuring? Is it considered trying to draw out familiar spirits? I'm just wondering if something like that is okay, or if that is blasphemous against the Bible.
Thank you. A part of me just imagines you lose someone very close to you, and it's hard not to have those thoughts. As you think about them, as you remember them, that longing to have a conversation still is there, and that is okay. I don't think there's anything wrong with that.
I think that that's totally normal and natural. The Bible does prohibit talking, speaking to the dead, and some of this was what the pagans were doing, what the idolaters were doing around Israel at the time, trying to conjure up spirits and so forth. I see this with Saul right before his tragic end, seeking to call down the spirit of the prophet. And so the Bible does speak against speaking to the dead, talking to the dead. If someone had just lost someone very close to them, they were thinking those thoughts, I wouldn't say, oh, you're committing pagan idolatry, that's what you're doing. No, I think that those are normal things to feel. What do you do with that if you say, I'm going to make an appointment with the tarot card reader down the street and try to get in contact with my lost loved one?
Well, now there's a real issue, and you're sinning. If you have that longing, that sorrow, but you pray to the Lord and hope in the Lord, you think about the way in which Paul told the Thessalonians that we mourn. We don't mourn as those who have no hope. We do mourn when we lose a loved one. But our hope as believers is that those who die in Christ are immediately brought into the presence of the Lord. They're perfected in holiness, that they are in a better place now, alive more fully, actually, as those who are in Christ than they ever were while they were on earth.
So we have that great hope, and we have even that joy and anticipation as Christians. I would just say, man, rest in that. We don't have to be weird about, can I still communicate? Do they hear me?
Can they see me? I know that's a question that we get from time to time on the broadcast, and I just like to say, look, our loved ones in Christ are around the throne of God in heaven, focused on worshiping the Lord together with the angels in inexpressible bliss. Are they aware of what's happening here on earth?
I mean, there's some indication, I think, in some places, like in the book of Revelation, where we could say maybe, but I think we don't want to speculate. We want to entrust them to the Lord and entrust ourselves also to the Lord and continue to seek Him and to follow Him and to pray to Him. And so, Ray, I don't know if you've recently lost someone, but may the Lord be with you and comfort you and encourage you with the hope that we have in Jesus and in His resurrection from the dead. Thanks for listening, and God bless. When you contact us, please let us know how you've been encouraged by this program, and be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's Word together.
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