Thursday, June 22, 2006

110 Pound Sin

My sister’s boyfriend bought her a Weimaraner puppy for Valentines Day this year. This puppy started out weighing around five pounds and was small enough to be held in two hands. No matter how hard he tried, there was no way he could overpower anyone. Now, around two and a half months later, this dog—who is still considered a puppy—is just under fifty pounds and can easily walk my sister instead of her walking him. It won’t be long before my sister’s dog, whose name is ironically Maverick, will weigh in excess of 110 pounds.

About a month and half after my sister received Maverick, he had become such a handful that she knew it was time for him to realize she was in charge, not him. To do this, my sister enrolled Maverick in obedience classes so she could learn how to control him. After a couple of weeks of obedience classes, Maverick had definitely improved. He would sit when asked to and he would even shake your hand. However, there were still many times when Maverick chose to ignore my sister’s commands. Because of this, my sister has continued Maverick’s obedience classes so that one day he will be an obedient dog.

The experience that my sister has had with Maverick is similar to the experience many of us have with sin. When a certain sin is new to us, it is easy for us to turn our backs on it. But, if we continue to fall into this sin, it becomes bigger and bigger until we finally cannot escape it.

Sadly, it is human nature to continue on sinning instead of being obedient to God (Psalm 51:5). As Christians, when we find ourselves about to fall into a sin that has a hold on us, we must put ourselves through obedience classes. What do I mean by that? I mean that we need to meditate on the word of God (which will show us what is expected of us as Christians and how to live) and allow the Holy Spirit to help us overcome our unruly sins (Psalm 139:23-24). This must be a constant practice (Joshua 1:8) so that we will become better and better at defending ourselves from sin.

Do you find yourself constantly committing the same sin over and over again? Have you put yourself through obedience classes? It is crucial that we all realize that the fight against sin cannot be won by ourselves alone. We must utilize the power of the Holy Spirit within us (Ephesians 3:20) and allow Him to train us to be more obedient. If we wait too long to do so though, the sins that were once only five pound sins will become 110 pound sins and they will “walk us” instead of us controlling them. Throughout your day, take time to put yourself through obedience classes and allow the Holy Spirit to teach you (John 14:26) how to show your sin who’s boss.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Satisfied Outside From The Inside

When I was in the seventh grade, one of the “cool” things the “popular” kids did when they got a headache was put a bandaid on their head. They would prance around the hallways sporting their skin-toned bandaids thinking that 1) the bandaid would really cure them from their headache or 2) everyone else would catch on with the latest trend and they wouldn’t be the only one that looked silly. Using a bandaid to cure a headache is like putting on lotion in order to stop internal bleeding—it just doesn’t work! The “popular” kids were trying to use an external solution for an internal problem.

Many times, the same is true for our spiritual lives. We ask God to provide for us things that will make us seem healthier, happier or more Christ-like on the outside instead of asking Him to help us work on who we are on the inside—which will then affect who we are on the outside. We ask for temporary outward things like new cars, more money, more friends or fame instead of asking for things that will strengthen our relationship with Christ like wisdom, discernment, contentedness, or the passion to seek Him and to do His will.

Luke 16:15 says, “Then He said to [the Pharisees], ‘You like to look good in public, but God knows your evil hearts. What this world honors is an abomination in the sight of God.’” In this verse, Jesus is telling the Pharisees that, although they seem to be good on the outside, God knows who they are on the inside and that the approval of the world is an outrage to God.

Because we live in a world where the way someone looks, dresses, talks, and who they hang out with come across as being the methods for hapiness, I’d argue that this generation has grown up believing that, in order to achieve happiness, one must appease the outside in order for the inside to be satisfied. However, just the opposite is true. In order for us to have a true and meaningful relationship with Christ, we can’t just look like we have that relationship (although, living the life is important), we must also allow God to work on us from the inside.

Do you find yourself asking God to provide for you things that only affect who you are on the outside? While God does definitely provide things for us that are temporary, if we really want to put up a defense against temptation and strengthen our relationship with Christ, we must allow Him to fix who we are on the inside. Sadly, just like the popular kids were trying to use an external solution for an internal problem, many of us focus our energy on satisfying our outward self with temporary solutions. When the outward solution wares off, we wonder and complain to God because we are left feeling empty and misled by the world’s promises. Throughout your day, ask God to help purify who you are on the inside and you will find that the outside will become satisfied.