Monday, March 8, 2010

Unholy Weeds - Devo for Monday, March 8, 2010

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own” (Philippians 3:12, ESV).

Several years ago I spoke at a youth retreat where I struck up a conversation with a small group of youth leaders, one of whom flatly informed me that they had acheived "sinless perfection". They were alarmed because the youth group had not yet acquired this status.

"Oh, your problem is much bigger than that", I replied.

"What do you mean?", they asked.

"You're bigger problem is that your speaker hasn't achieved it yet, and has no real plans of doing so anytime soon".

That ended the conversation.

I've never understood the logic of those claiming to have acheived a sinless existence. If there ever was a modern day spirit of Pharisee'ism this would certainly be it.  Certainly I believe God grants us victory over sin, but I also firmly believe Scripture teaches we will continue to struggle with sin throughout this life. Scripture commands us to "fight the good fight" (1 Tim 6:12), to "walk by the Spirit" so that we "will not gratify the desires of the flesh" (Gal 5:16), and to "take care, lest there be in you an evil heart leading you away from the living God" (Hebrews 3:12-13). It urges us "as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul" (1 Peter 2:11). Believers continue to struggle with sin. To deny this is to deny both the Word of God and current reality.

We are only able to deny sin when we have redefined it.  Many view sin simply as the external acts of things like murder, adultery, or lying. Yet sin goes much deeper than that. Like a weed it wraps itself around even good and healthy things, slowly and silently chocking out holiness. It springs up from the depths of our heart, attitude, and will. Do we really think we can be free, in this life, from lust, selfishness, pride, or resentment? Romans 14:23 goes so far as to say that "whatever does not proceed from faith is sin".

Until our Lord returns, we are in the awkward state of being sinful beings redeemed by a holy Lord. Yet the great promise of Scripture is "that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil 1:6). Did you know when this work would be completed?  Not until His return.  We need him--not only for our salvation, but for our continued growth.

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