I got to thinking about yesterday’s post, regarding the gifts we deny ourselves in favor of sin. We have already been given all the tools we need to live abundantly. Do you ever wonder what that means, to live abundantly? If I really think about all this, I’m quite sure I’m not looking at this through my spiritual eyes nearly as much as I am the eyes of my flesh.
Let’s put in this way. The thing that separates us from God is sin, right? At the moment we have saving faith, all that sin is forgiven, past, present, and future sin. Sin is still sin, but now it is forgiven. It’s still the same garbage, except now God overlooks it in terms of our entrance to heaven; however, he does not simply ignore it. No, his will rid us of all sin before we step into heaven. That’s where his staff and rod come in. Discipleship is the process of becoming (living) like Jesus. It is process that we shed ourselves of sin and learn to live in righteousness. Over and over throughout the bible, we are encouraged to discard the old life in favor of the new.
That’s a lot of big words. Let’s look at it another way that people like me can understand.
Proverbs 26:11 Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.
Sure, I am not the man I once was. I have walked away from my life of sin. Some big stuff I have never returned to. However, there is some that I do go back to regularly. When I compare the actual taste of sin to the fruit of the Spirit, doesn’t it remind you of this Proverb? And, if sin doesn’t, perhaps we have a completely wrong perspective. Maybe we are looking at things the way the guy who planned to build bigger barns did. How did Jesus view this guy’s “ambitions”?
Luke 12:20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
Isn’t any sin the laying up of treasure on this earth? I doubt if this parable is limited simply to the amassing of material possessions. Furthermore, think of the value that God himself places on us in comparison to all that the world has to offer.
Mark 8:36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?
To put it in perspective, Jesus gave up his life to pay for my sin. My life is worth far more than the whole world. How much more? I don’t know; but the way Jesus tossed this phrase, I think the comparison must be ridiculous to even consider. Think about that.
Let’s consider another example. Paul wrote to the Philippians regarding righteousness through faith in Christ versus faith in works. I think we all can agree that faith in works is sin. Let’s try looking at the passage as sin in general to see if this doesn’t fit what we are discussing here. I added to it in parenthesis:
Philippians 3:7-8 But whatever gain (from enjoyment of sin) I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything (any sin) as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things (of sin) and count them (my sin) as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ,
Rubbish. Some translations use the word “dung” instead. All that sin is rotten garbage when compared to Jesus.
Can we now see ourselves like the dog who returns to his own vomit? Only a fool keeps returning to his sin, time and again. Yes, it’s true that sin will be part of our life until death, but why not stop eating out of the same piles of vomit, over and over. We don’t need to. Instead, let’s start looking at immense richness of our gain in Jesus.
Here’s putting my money where my mouth is. I swear far too much. Actually, there really is no reason for me to swear at all. I need to move past that pile of vomit. This is my very next sacrifice.
Father, thank you for your bible lessons and the Holy Spirit for bringing these things to mind. Take my swearing from me. I give it up to you. Amen.