Reading through the Pentateuch drove home how important holiness is to God. I take sin far too lightly. Having said that, there are certain sins that seem so deeply rooted in my life, getting beyond them seems impossible. I know I’m supposed to trust the Lord and I know I’m supposed to work hard, but the sins persist. What am I to do?
Working through Leviticus reminded me that there is a process for dealing with entrenched sin. It starts with the desire to be holy. We will not overcome sin if we don’t want to be holy. There are some sins that are hard to get rid of because we cling to them – usually because they meet an emotional need. For example, for some people, insisting on getting their own way can reach sinful levels. This might be due to a fear of being out of control. Gaining victory over that sin, like every sin, involves getting at the fears or desires underneath. That is a slow, painful process. We need to want to enter that process if we are going to overcome the sin.
Once we are willing to overcome the sin, we must be willing to pay the cultural price. There might be people who misunderstand or even become angry as we move away from a sin. Seek the Lord’s strength to endure.
Then we need to receive what the Lord is doing in us. The Lord’s work in us can be uncomfortable or off-putting. He can use convicting words in Scripture or correction from a fellow believer. The Lord is changing us, growing us. He is making us holy. But it is not always a comfortable process.
The Lord’s work in our lives will include making us more and more aware of the depth of our sin. This is often where people abandon the pursuit of holiness. We don’t want our ugliness pointed out. But the response we are called to is to repent and believe. Repent: admit the ugliness of our sin to the Lord, ask for His strength to stop clinging to the sin. Believe: Trust that the Lord has forgiven you, trust that the way of holiness is the path to an abundant life.
Finally, we are to be like the Lord. That means looking at Jesus – what He valued, how He thought, how He related to others, and what He did – and seek to be like that. Again, this requires the Holy Spirit’s work in your life. So replacing the sins we repented of with the righteousness of Jesus starts with prayer.
This is not a magic formula or a checklist. It is a helpful process to address sin. I think about it as a way of actively depending on the Holy Spirit. Sin is deeply entrenched in us. It will not be completely removed this side of heaven. Some sins will be especially difficult to remove. But this gives me a practical way of joining the Holy Spirit’s work in my life.
What’s Coming this Summer?
New Series: Define the Relationship
We will start a new series in the middle of June called Define the Relationship. One of the greatest blessings God gives us is one another – the people of FBC. We will take the summer months to work through the pictures and practices the Lord has given us to strengthen and encourage us in our walk with the Lord.
The Kids are Coming, The Kids are Coming
Once again we will be joined by many of our elementary-school-aged children during the service. We will do some fun stuff in the service to help them engage with us.
Two Words to Parents: It’s Okay!!! Don’t stress when your child gets squirmy. Everyone understands. It’s part of your children learning how to worship. We all went through it as kids and as parents.
Three Words to Everyone Else: Be An Example. I recently read through 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. I was reminded of the vital role that older believers play in teaching and being an example for younger believers. Don’t just get frustrated if a child near you is distracting. Be a model of how to engage in corporate worship.