Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How Are You Doing With Sin?

How are you doing with this whole sin thing? It's not the easiest thing to avoid, considering how long we have bathed in it. Sin was as natural to us as breathing. It is not something we had to think about as we did it without a thought about what we were doing. Oh certainly there were certain sins that our parents had warned us about that we had to consciously make a decision to enter into, but most of the time they were little things, like hating someone. Even wanting what someone else had, being envious, prideful, boasting, a small lie, a lustful look, an unjust decision, all seem so little and did no real harm and yet are still held in the same category as murder according to God's law. Sin is sin and the only way that its authority becomes less is when Jesus becomes more.

First of all, Jesus died to break the hold that sin had over us. We have to accept that sacrifice, repent of our past, and declare Jesus as Lord of our lives. This means that we die with him on the cross and are raised to life with Jesus. We are dead and the only way we can live is through Jesus. Without him we are just dead. He is our life today and in the next life to come. Now, because the power and authority of sin has been broken and we are no longer slaves to it we are free to make a choice. We can choose to live according to the righteousness of Jesus, becoming a slave to it, or we can consciously decide to submit ourselves once again to sin. This is the reason the writer of Hebrews exhort us to:

... throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1)

I really get inspired by this passage. Throw it off, the writer tells us. Make that decision to cast it aside, not to get entangled in it any more. We can't do this by ourselves because we don't have the ability so it is a good thing we died and are now living through Jesus because he does have the power. He not only overcame sin, he empowers us through the Spirit in us to do the same. The Spirit is our source of life, the source of God's power that enables us to do all things through Jesus. It is this that the writer continues with:

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:2-3)

Fix your eyes on Jesus who has beaten sin and has empowered us, who have died and been risen with him, to do the same thing. We have the resurrection power pumping through us by the Spirit of God in us. "None of us and all of Jesus", has to be our every waking thought. Paul also encouraged Timothy in this:

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. (1 Timothy 6:11)

Notice the action and effort in all of this. We have to actively "flee" from sin. We know what causes us to fall. We know our own weakness. We know how to "flee" from sin, so now we need to put all our effort into that and the power of God will strengthen us to overcome. Flee from everything that is not of the character of Jesus Christ and instead actively pursue right living, the character of Jesus, faith, love, the ability to go the distance with Jesus and gentleness. It is great to love Jesus and to worship him but actively pursue to live your life for his glory. Throw off the stuff that robs him of his glory, that denies his power in us, that sucks the love out of our life and instead fill your life with the pursuit of all things Jesus.

That means you may have to decide to cut certain things out of your life, things you enjoy but things that rob you of God's power and your love for Jesus. An athlete may really enjoy candy but candy will not enable him to win the race. The desire to win that race will cause that athlete to cast aside his enjoyment of candy. Perhaps for us it is certain music or bands we need to flee from, or perhaps certain TV shows that promote sin instead of righteousness. It might even be some parts of social networking like Tumblr, which has no filter for righteousness and is filled with tons of things that can destroy a man's resolve to go all the way with Jesus. I don't know what it is for you but I do know that the enemy has made sure that it is close enough to attract you. Throw it off, flee from it and make your life focused on Jesus. Paul writes:

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12)

Fight! Fight the good fight of faith. It is all about faith, trusting God, trusting the promises of Jesus. He has promised that you have been set free from sin. Don't listen to your flesh, put it under the authority of your spirit. You may be weak in the flesh but you are not weak in the spirit; you are a mighty warrior. You are strong in the Lord, empowered by the Holy Spirit, a child of righteousness, wholly saved and given the task to glorify Jesus before the nations. Sin is never worth it but Jesus is. Fix your eyes on him and run the race that is marked out for you with all your passion and strength. Do nor grow weary because the Spirit will enable you when you are weak. It is in your weakness that you will find God's power shining through. Go for it!

No comments: