Sins keep people, those people we see and talk to every day, separated from God, in direct line of His wrath, and at risk of damnation forever if they don’t repent. Some of them, in God’s mercy and providence, may be your brethren not yet revealed. And when they are reborn and come to Christ, they will need discipleship and, very likely, encouragement and help in their struggles against the most addictive of these sins. They won’t need jokes that trivialize their sin. Sin is not funny business. Theirs nor yours nor anyone’s.
If I disregard the protection my blood pressure medication affords me or neglect the exercise of regular dosages or leave it in places where it would get lost or stolen, I am making my heart an easy target for stroke or attack because of weakened and malfunctioning systems. When we disregard the value of the graces the Lord has provided, or fail to put on the spiritual armor available to every believer, or neglect the benefits in growth and maturity accessible through the body of Christ, the church, then we make ourselves easy targets for the side-of-the-road attacks from the fiends of temptation, affliction, and sin.
I know the temptation there is to feel the drudgery or the wastefulness of life, especially in this time of stay-at-home orders, economic uncertainty, an invisible microbial enemy, the endless waiting for a positive turn in the news, the exponentially greater hazard for those in at-risk situations (whether health, abusive environment, trafficked, in poverty).
The good news of Jesus’s reconciling and restoring acts of atonement and resurrection is reflected in the tiny minutiae of stories like yours and mine.
Weights are things which “mar communion with Christ,” and we enter into communion with our Savior through contentment and obedience. As tempted as I may be to get rid of unpleasant people, projects or situations, they are often the very thing that I need to learn contentment and obedience and to progress in holiness.
This is the divine recipe for the bride’s beauty treatment: otherworldly love that compelled a King to sacrifice himself on her behalf.
We need to preach the gospel of freedom in Christ to ourselves. We need to remind ourselves daily, hourly, moment by moment, how merciful and patient the Lord is with us.
I went through all kinds of gymnastics to create what I thought Jesus would want: a perfect family, best parenting and educational choices, service and ministry to others, and so on.
But what God wanted was a vessel that is pleased with being crushable.
Opportunities come and go in our lives. Most poignantly, they happen in small slices of time. A moment’s hesitation and a job prospect is gone. One second more and that car would have sideswiped you. The phone sounds its last ring and you grab it in time to hear the apology you’ve been praying for. You crest the hill at exactly the same moment the sunset sky reaches its most glorious and spectacular release of color and light.
That hole I want to dive into when this world’s failures — when my failures — press in upon me? I can’t go there. It’s already occupied — by my burden. It tumbled off my shoulders and into that Tomb when Jesus set His mark on me and sealed me for heaven. That glorious, empty tomb was vacated when He rose to conquer the terror and finality of death that loomed over me when I resided in the City of Destruction. That hole once housed His body crushed for me under the weight of my sin, and now it buries instead for eternity my burden and those of all who believe in Him. It’s a bottomless pit.
Why do we freely tie God’s hands to fate rather than man’s free will to God’s decrees? Why would we prefer to remove God’s purposes and determinations far from what we perceive as the taint of sin rather than even question that our definition of free will is flawed?