I’ll just be completely honest here-there are some sins I don’t have much trouble avoiding. I’m not tempted to shoplift or physically harm others.
However, like all of us I have some pet sins I not only don’t avoid but I actually feed from time to time.
And like most folks, I justify my sin as “small” compared to the “big” sins of headline worthy wars or crimes or dastardly actions by those in power over those beneath them.
Why linger in the pain so many centuries after Christ’s resurrection? Because it was real. Perhaps we would live differently if we remembered more frequently (and more accurately) what the cross cost.
Alicia Britt Chole
The thing is, any time I choose to willfully so something God has expressly forbidden I am sinning.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus enlarged our understanding of sin to include thoughts and intentions of the heart even when our outward actions appear above board.
By this standard I fall short very often-sometimes by slipping into inadvertent sin but also sometimes by actively choosing that which momentarily satisfies my flesh but dishonors my Savior.
After Dom ran ahead to Heaven it was very, very hard to justify to my heart the benefits of continuing to walk the narrow path.
I was focused on what I thought was unfair and unkind-the death of my son-and found it difficult to focus on what I knew to be true-that God was all-loving and good.
‘It’s God who ought to suffer, not you and me,’ say those who bear a grudge against God for the unfairness of life. The curse word expresses it well: God be damned. And on that day, God was damned. The cross that held Jesus’ body, naked and marked with scars, exposed all the violence and injustice of this world. At once, the Cross revealed what kind of world we have and what kind of God we have: a world of gross unfairness, a God of sacrificial love.
Little by little, as I leaned heavily into His lovingkindness, mercy and grace, I once again could chooseWillful Obedience.
Today’s challenge is to fast from willful sin.
To lay down my tendency to arrange sin in categories ranging from “acceptable” to “hell-worthy” which makes some OK and excusable.
May I be more aware of the cost Christ paid and choose to honor that sacrifice in my daily life.
Jesus died for our sin. Why then do we work to keep it alive? What benefit do we perceive ourselves receiving? Does that benefit outweigh the cost Christ paid? This is not a simplistic call to stop sinning. No, this is a sincere call for us to start loving Jesus to a degree that compels us to walk away from sin where we can and get help where we can’t.
Yes, I live on the other side of the Resurrection-I know the end of the disciples’ vigil-I am convinced of the empty tomb, the ascended Lord and my Great High Priest’s intercession at the right hand of the Father.
But what I long for I cannot hold. What I hope for I cannot touch. What I know to be true I cannot see.
I live in the space between “it looks like everything has gone horribly wrong” and “Hallelujah!”.
It is painful. It is hard.
And it will last for a lifetime, not just a few days.