February 6, 2007

Jason has questions…

Heidi mentioned somewhere, I can’t seem to find it, that we have a conscious choice to sin, or not to sin. Out of that, she stated that there’s no reason to examine the sin, because it is what it is. I agree with this to a point.

I too would love to find where I said that! I think the closest I have ever come to referring to the conscious choice is where I stated “unbelievers are only doing what comes naturally to them and since they do not have the empowerment of the Holy Spirit they are lost to their flesh” to loosely paraphrase my own words. I have never believed one shouldn’t “examine sin”. If I did state that in any way I apologize for misrepresenting myself. Can I slander myself?

What I don’t find healthy or helpful is this constant revisitation of sinful behavior in order to more “fully understand the sin”. Someone explain to me why that’s helpful? I prefer to spend more time trying to define what is godly behavior and then as I evaluate my life, begin distancing myself from those things which the Holy Spirit is convicting me.

Jason, you said “I’ve dealt with this overwhelming feeling of anger and rage at times. I get irritated really fast, and blow up at my wife and kids for no reason at times. Half the time when I do, I’m mad at anything in particular. So I’d ask myself, “Why are you so mad?” “Why do I feel this way, especially when I don’t want to?”

We all know that Scripture says “be angry and sin not”. The sin is not in the anger if it is righteous anger. If it is indeed righteous anger, then the next step is to evaluate the behavior that comes from it If the anger is not righteous then that fact alone should be ample reason to repent and continue to seek G-d through His Word and through His people (ie counseling, mentoring, etc). It is a blessing for you that you are able to evaluate your life and see some of the seeds were planted a long time ago. Unfortunately all the “reasons” in the world won’t justify a personal choice if the choice is to sin instead of live righteously.

Jason, you touched a nerve in me and I simply must reply to a mindset I see so frequently in Christianity. I am not directly attacking you, so please bear with me.

There are some sins I am more predisposed to give myself over to than others. My temptations are not likely to be yours. Neither of us will have an understanding of all the pitfalls and tantalizing sins which so “easily entangle us”. Does that mean we refuse to deal responsibly, maturely and spiritually with the sins we are aware we give ourselves over to?

Sometimes there is no “why “only “obey”. Triumph over the sin begins in submitting yourself to G-d. It’s not fancy, often it’s not pretty and rarely does it feel good. I think it hurts like hell the majority of the time.

There are very few magic pills. The refining of our character and restructuring of our will comes as a result of years of hard work, buckets of tears and more humble pie than you will ever have an appetite for. That’s the reality. The sooner we all realize there is one person able to repent for your sin and only one person able to walk in your shoes the better.

We can be and often are influenced by those around us. Yet, even if someone holds a gun to my head and tells me “do this or die” I still have a choice. “Do this or die.” Depending on what “this” is may make that decision difficult or easy.

If in any way you choose to abdicate your own personal responsibility by using lifestyle, parents, friends, family as the reasons for your inability to own your own life then you are the poorer for it. When you stand before the Lord, He will evaluate your behavior as you proactively lived or passively allowed life to happen around you.

When we are aware of sin in our lives we make a decision to 1) deal with it or 2)enable it. I know dealing is not easy but enabling will just make baby philistines. And they grow up and will destroy you from within.

If “all scripture is given for godly reproof and teaching in doctrine”, then we are given all the tools necessary to deal with all that we are and all that we are capable of. The challenge lies at our own feet. Are we going to pick up the baton and run the race with all our heart, mind, soul and strength? Or are we going complain it’s too hard, we don’t have enough answers and someone else has to pay?

Someone already paid. Isn’t His sacrifice enough?