I’m sorry, but this is going to be hard to swallow. Because it was hard to write. Writing this was me preaching to myself more than anything else. Wow. Preaching to yourself is so convicting…
Anyway. Here goes.
It’s natural for someone to say that something is troubling them. “Poverty in the world is troubling me.” “I’m really upset because my parents yelled at me.” “I found out that someone was gossiping about me, and it really hurt my feelings.”
Yeah, these are storybook examples. Don’t care.
But how often do we internally suffer with the grief of sin, which encompasses all of those problems? The whole weight of it. The fact that it even exists. What it’s doing to people.
I’ve been thinking about these things a lot lately, and I feel like sin is this darkness in the corner watching me. It is angry that it cannot touch me, but it wants to swallow up my words right now. I’m even having second-thoughts, like Is what I’m going to say really coming out of love? What if everyone thinks I’m just trying to make them feel guilty? What if I immediately commit some huge sin right after I write this? Anyway, thinking about sin gives me a really morbid feeling, which makes sense because sin is death.
One way to view our existence on this earth is that we’re all dying in one of two ways. We’re either dying to self and wasting our life on Christ as He did on us, or we are being killed by sin.
The Bible makes it clear that you can be called a child of God and still not live. When Paul talks about the Holy Spirit in Romans 8, he says that, with the Spirit, all who have salvation will be raised to life. Their bodies will be left behind, and their spirits will be in heaven with God. Obviously, this is after our mortal death. But right after that, he talks about the Spirit giving life to our mortal bodies. Now. The Spirit alive in us can give us the joy and abundance and peace promised in the Bible. We can be Jesus to others – heaven on earth. Just think about the power of the Holy Spirit being in you for a second.
But it’s clear that we don’t all live this way.
The Bible is also clear that anyone who has the Spirit IS a child of God. They ARE seen as righteous by God, and if God sees you as righteous you ARE righteous. It’s fact. And whenever you sin, you’re acting like something you’re not. We are no longer earthly creatures bound to sin. We are houses of holiness bound to become saints.
And what’s been weighing on me is the sin that makes itself comfortable in the same bodies that house the Spirit of God. Like a pack rat, sin builds its nest in a barely-noticeable corner of your soul, easy to ignore when you cast a blind eye to it. Yet each day the pack rat searches your soul for one more piece of you to stow away in its filthy corner. We feed our inner rats with ourselves when we deny who we are.
The irony is, the more of you sin engulfs, the less you can see it. As sin steals a bit of who you are by keeping you from righteousness, it’s like there was none of that goodness to begin with. It was only ever potential, and you failed to notice it.
This is a huge problem, friends.
We need to realize our battle and acknowledge our enemy. Sin no longer resides in us due to the sinful nature because we are temples of the Holy Spirit. For sin to make itself comfortable with us, it has to be invited in.
So leave the door shut.
Do anything you can to stop sinning. I mean it. Anything you can.
Do you not realize that it will kill you? It will ruin the life potential in your mortal body that the Holy Spirit promises you can have. Don’t you care about this?
Talk to your friends. Talk to people who are stronger than you. Don’t be fake with them. Community is one of the most powerful gifts we have, but it is so hard to use it effectively. Just sit down with your friends and talk about sin. The enemy is happy when evil flourishes because we simply don’t acknowledge it.
Realize the war you are in. Your enemy is real. HATE him. He is the only thing you are allowed to hate, because everything you hate in this world comes from his deceit. Think about him becoming happy whenever you sin, laughing in glee because you turned against God, and hate him even more for gloating over your failures. He loves to see you fall. He shows no mercy. Don’t show him any back.
Break your habits and don’t call them addictions. Even if it’s a sin you’ve repeated a thousand times, every time you do it it’s new and fresh in the mind of your Savior. Jesus did not suffer for one years-long addiction, he suffered for every time you chose death over life.
Pray against sin. It’s good to pray for things you want. Even the good things, like wanting to show mercy or to forgive. But pray against your enemy and against lies and against evil. God will open your eyes to what’s around you. He will give you righteous anger and passion that will motivate you hate what He hates – to follow Him more closely and love Him more dearly.
Love what is good and hate what is evil. The world is used to Christians who are blind and numb to sin and the fact that its greatest murder weapons tend to look like things we desire. Recognize evil for evil. It can look clean and shiny. But you have the recourse of God’s Word at hand to see the world as He sees it and know what is wrong. You can have His desires in your heart.
Someone I really admire told me recently that the problem is that the norm for followers of Christ is to live out of the flesh and not of the Spirit. The same passage in Romans 8 says that the life given by the Spirit to our mortal bodies is the sign that we are set apart. That we are alive in Christ is the only evidence to others that we will be alive with Christ. Think of how the world would change if the normal Christians were the ones who actively love what is good and hate what is evil.
Friends, don’t make your sin out to be less than it is. Reflect on God’s goodness and love, mercy and grace, and then out of thankfulness ask him to open your eyes to the sin that so easily entangles.
Then don’t do it.
Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with endurance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”