by Brenda Black
I like things neat, organized and clean. Now don’t get me wrong, if you come to my house you will find small piles of “to do’s” and even dust! I will get to those things after I get done with the current projects I have going on, so for now, the piles and dust will have to wait. Our spiritual lives are like that. We long for perfection and cleanliness and a straight path so we make the best out of what we have, as imperfect as it may be. We pick and choose to deal with the “easy projects” first and the harder, more difficult ones later. I’m not talking about tangible things; I’m talking about the stuff that really matters – sin.
None of us are immune to sin so for some of us, that’s comforting – at least we’re not the only ones struggling. Others are so blinded by their sin; they think they are just fine and without sin – at least not the “big, nasty” ones. Still, others sink in shame because they are genuinely remorseful and feel guilt because they have given into sin. The only one who never, ever sinned out of all humankind is Jesus – there is no one else! No one else in all of the billions and billions of people created since time began. Only one man NEVER caved and succumbed to sin. God himself.
God’s definition of sin is to know the right thing to do and then not do it. (James 4:17) We put people on what I call ‘God pedestals’. We expect others, certainly not ourselves, to be sin free and when they sin, we are disappointed, in shock, in disbelief! I in no way am making light of sin. Sin is dangerous. Sin does hurt. Sin does a world of damage that sometimes is beyond human repair. I’m just pointing out that to expect another not to sin is just not very smart. Every one of us sin because we are so prone to give in to what we want more than what God wants. Jesus said the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak (Matt. 26:41) in the Garden of Gethsemane when he asked his disciples to stay awake and pray for one hour. One hour! Was that too much to ask? Was it an unreasonable request? No! I believe they, or at least one, probably tried to stay awake but they just couldn’t. There’s something about man’s power and ability vs. Gods power and ability.
We think we can do more than we really can. Let me put it bluntly, WE CAN DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING APART FROM JESUS. (John 15:5) I can’t forgive someone, I can’t heal myself emotionally for wrongs done to me, and I can’t even stop sinning without Jesus. God showed me once that I had been trying to forgive someone. I remember thinking effort is good, it’s the right thing to want to forgive someone because God tells us to, but to actually forgive someone is impossible unless Jesus imparts that part of Himself in me to do it. Even though I wanted to forgive the person who had hurt me, God had to do the work in me. It wasn’t something I could do in my human flesh. It was a spiritual work.
I am concerned about the spiritual and moral decay of our society today. Just when you think things couldn’t possibly get worse, they do. I’m not trying to be negative, just honest. We can choose to ignore sin or we can choose to “deal with it later” but either option only prolongs sin and its effect it has in us and on those around us. The Bible is very outspoken on this subject.
“So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world (Colossians 3:5).” And then God tells us what will happen if we continue on in our sin “For if you live according to the flesh you will die” (Romans 8:13a) and then He tells us what to do about it, “but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” (Romans 8:13b)
How do we put to death the “deeds of the body” (which simply put means living in sin, doing what you know is wrong)? For starters, go to God and tell him what you’ve done (I John 1:9) and pray and ask for forgiveness and ask for His help, strength, and power to help you stop. After that, be alert and guarded because sin will try to creep its way back into your life. Turning away from a life of sin means a lifestyle change. If you are truly serious and want to turn away from living a sin-filled life, you will have to make serious changes. Remember, God is with you and He will help you. I’m not going to lie, it may be a painful process. Keep in mind that Jesus himself went through a painful process to purchase our redemption and He would probably tell you it was so worth it!
Life is not always easy. Sin is messy. Ignoring sin will not terminate sin, it will only become worse over time and harder to deal with. You can continue to ignore the reality of sin and its effects on your life and those around you – or you can choose to deal with it, with God’s help.