Someone once gave me a definition of sin—trying to fill legitimate needs in illegitimate ways. As I ponder this definition, I can’t help but wonder how often we separate the definition of sin from the consequence of sin. I also wonder how often we think of sin’s consequences only in terms of how it affects us personally, failing to understand the wider impact of personal sins.
Sin is so infectious, so viral, that it spreads through and out—damaging and sometimes killing everything in its path. The most devastating effects of sin are on relationship. All sin separates.
Sin separates us from our Father God. Sin separates us from each other. Sin separates even us—rips us apart within. And sin is why Jesus took on flesh—why Jesus, who in essence is one with the Father—was crucified, dead, and buried. He killed the deadly effect of sin on the cross because we can’t kill sin on our own. We need the supernatural to kill the super-powerful. We need the power of God to crush the head of the crafty and insidious serpent who slithers into souls and beds down with the ignorant and unsuspecting. And sometimes this serpent is given open invitation!
Who wants to sleep with venomous snakes? And yet, we keep them in our soul chambers. We refuse Jesus entrance to soul places, preferring the company of snakes. But sooner or later, snakes bite. Venom spreads. Life dies. Try to defy gravity and fall hard. Try to defy God’s word and hear His warning:
The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).
Eternal life can begin at any moment when we denounce sin and invite Christ into our dead soul places. God alone resurrects the dead. We can’t will new life. We can’t produce new life. Only God gives life. But we can take it away, can’t we? We kill life every time we depart from God and His ways—every time we rewrite His word to suit our likings—every time we say, “Did God REALLY say. . . . . ?”
Out pops the first blossom of weed. Its root grows deep. It spreads, killing good grasses around. Soon, without time and attention, weeds overrun, choking out good—taking over whole territories. And they look so pretty at first.
The first dandelion popped open yesterday, here on the farm. After a winter of drab, I often welcome the sunny yellow of even a weed. How often do I welcome the momentary delight of sunny sin into my life—a word, a deed, a thought—thinking I’ll benefit? How often do I not pay serious attention to the root growing deeper by days, spreading wider through weeks?
Soon, without intervention, pastures would be ablaze in yellow. But not here. Not on this farm. We have horses to feed. To live and thrive, they need grasses, not weeds. So we manage our pastures by ridding them of invasive, life-killing weeds. We’re intentional about such land management. If we want life, we must deal with weeds. We’ll see yellow outside fences, but few will encroach into pasture. They’re not welcome. The grasses have been treated.
Do we manage our souls as well as our lawns?
Confess daily. Admit we have sinned against God our Father, against others, and against self, in thought, word, and deed.
Repent. Turn around and feed the sin snake no more. Feed on the living word of God. Read and do.
Accept the forgiveness of Christ. He came and died so we might live fully—in free and close relationship with God the Father, and in healthy relationship with others.
Cooperate with Christ. As we walk closely with Him, read His word and DO it, He will purify us more and more.
Time to do some soul weeding?
A little each day keeps weeds at bay.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. 1 John 1:9-10