Our small group has been reading and discussing the book, Outrageous Grace, by Grace Fabian Outrageous Grace by Grace L. Fabian–Book Review. One of the study questions at our last meeting was:
” In what ways do you think Christians are guilty of reading and studying God’s Word, but not applying it to their own lives and obeying it? Are we guilty of saying/singing that we love Him, but still hesitating to obey Him?”
Well, of course the answer is yes. We are all sinners, and although we may struggle to do what’s right, we often give in to our “default” position which is sin. We all know this. Somehow, though, this time the question struck me even harder or more personally than usual. I thought, it’s not so different from saying, “I know that exercise is good for me. It’s not someone else’s opinion, I truly BELIEVE that I will be healthier if I exercise; and yet for most of my life I have CHOSEN not to do it.
I can believe in God, know His Word, and still consciously and deliberately choose to sin. It’s not always just an accident or something I do when I stop thinking clearly. Sinning is sometimes a choice that I make.
For example, I know the Bible tells us to “go and make disciples.” Yet, I excuse myself by saying I’m an introvert, and evangelism isn’t my gift. I’ll just “choose” to serve in another way. I know that the Bible says we should not take God’s name in vain — and yet, I watch TV shows and read books that do just that. I tell myself that bad language is simply so pervasive that it can’t be completely avoided these days and after all, I’m not the one saying those bad words, right? (Sorry, this is known as vicarious sinning). I know the Bible says that we should respect the civil authorities God has placed over us, and yet I complain and speak badly about them. I could go on and on, and I’m sure you can make your own list if you think about it for even a minute or two.
I don’t have an answer for any of this, it’s more of an observation–an observation that is making me examine myself and realize that I come up wanting. I’ve taken God’s grace for granted, and treated it like a get our of jail free card that I can use indiscriminately. I say along with Paul,
“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Romans 7:24″
If believe in God, then I should practice true obedience to His Word, just as I say every week in the confession. I can’t stop sinning, but I can identify and work at those areas where I deliberately sin. I’m going to try to take that seriously; I’m going to pray about it; and I’m going to stop making excuses and chip away at those attractive sins I don’t want to give up. I believe that with God’s help, I can become a healthier Christian.
For more posts on sin, follow these links:
What is Sin?
Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges–Book Review