Sunday, November 6, 2011

You Are Not Powerless Against The Sin That so Easily Entangles You

Our struggle between sin and devotion is the constant war within. Sin has an impossible-to-break grip on us and can end up as an addiction even after Jesus sets us free from it. It is a constant draw to us, a thing of enticement. Before Jesus sin did not have to try very hard because it already had us but after Jesus set us free it became a seductress, always trying to lore us away from him. Yet the devotion we have for Jesus is real, compelled by his love for us. We want to live to please him. We want to obey his command to love. It is our sincere desire to serve him all the days of our life. It is now a choice for us because Jesus broke sin's grip on us. We are free to choose.

King David asked this question:

LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent? 
   Who may live on your holy mountain? (Psalm 15:1)

Remember that our God is holy and cannot have anything to do with sin. He told us to be holy because he is holy. David answered his own question. Have a look at this:

The one whose walk is blameless, 
   who does what is righteous, 
   who speaks the truth from their heart; 
whose tongue utters no slander, 
   who does no wrong to a neighbor, 
   and casts no slur on others; 
who despises a vile person 
   but honors those who fear the LORD; 
who keeps an oath even when it hurts, 
   and does not change their mind; 
who lends money to the poor without interest; 
   who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. (Psalm 15:2-5)

Use it as a check list. How do you do against it? Are you moving in or out of God's holy mountain? Of course we are moving in by the grace and mercy of God, our imperfections covered by the blood of Jesus. This is a hard list that most of us would be hard pressed to say we meet but that should be no excuse for not working toward it.

We know we are a bunch of misfits in the flesh, that discipline is hard for us, and doing the right thing all the time seems impossible. If we were capable of doing it on our own we wouldn't have needed Jesus. But don't use it as an excuse for not applying it to your life. Jesus came to cover us by his blood but he also set an example for us of how to live once we received the Holy Spirit. We should read that list and say "Yes Lord, that's what I want to be" and hear him declare over us "You are my holy people". He declared it so now we have to walk in it.

That war that is battling in you should be decreasing as you live for Jesus, not increasing. If you find the desire for sin increasing it is because you are not growing in your relationship with Jesus. Time should bring you closer to Jesus not further apart as you seek to get closer to him every day. You can't ignore this relationship and then expect it to grow. You can't stay spiritually weak and then blame God when you fail in the face of temptation. Jesus is more than capable of saving you and preserving you from sin until the day of his return, but we have to give him the power to do that. This is part of the "growing up" process as we learn to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.

Just because we fall a lot in the beginning does not mean we give up or accept it as typical. It may be typical of an infant but not of adults and we are all progressing toward spiritual adulthood. That's why God's grace and mercy are so important in our "growing up". Just because we fall does not mean our Father loves us any less, it only means we have more to learn. We get up when we turn to God in repentance, accept his forgiveness, learn and move on. We do wrong when we accept our sin as normal and decide to live with it. There is only one result with sin - death. We have been given this Word as a reminder and encouragement:

For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:22-25)

We are not powerless against sin. Jesus Christ has delivered us from this enslavement and has set us free to make our own choices. The best way we can insure that we make the right choices is to completely devote ourselves to Jesus with no half measures. We must learn to love him with all of our heart, mind, soul and to dedicate our bodies to him. We need a renewed devotion to Jesus, the Word and obedience to the Spirit like the Church had in years gone by. We need to walk in the holiness of our God once more, a people set aside for his purpose, a nation of priests. We need to learn to love as he loves us.

LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent? 
   Who may live on your holy mountain?

Through the blood of Jesus Christ we all can and that should be the great desire of our heart.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pastor Paul - thank you for this wonderful post and the reminder that avoiding sin requires practice.

I appreciate the idea that when I want to sin, it indicates I have moved away from God. When I do not want to sin, then I am closer to him. This is true in my experiences.