We all sin, but we cannot let our sin define us.
I love walking our golden retriever, Oban in the hills behind our home. Oban is almost 4 years old now but still such a puppy. Yesterday, he decided that he did not want to go for a walk after all but wanted to play tug ‘o war instead! In goes the leash into his mouth…back legs braced, front legs extended, head pulling and shaking enticing me to P L A Y! Ok, I know he was being bad, but he was so cute! We tugged. Back and forth and then running. He was so happy! I passed other dog walkers along the way who registered various states of disapproval. “Bad Mommy!” Oh well.
Then Oban and I went up into the hills where no people were walking, no dogs tempting and off came his leash. OH HAPPINESS! He loves to run and I love his boundless doggy joy! But then, Oban found something dead to roll in. What is it with dogs and dead things?
Oban plops onto his back slithering his body onto whatever gross thing he has victoriously discovered. Over and over he rolls, not wanting to miss an inch of his now stinky coat. He is savoring it, blissful as he covers his body with the scent of death. He wants to marinate in it, become one with the stench and returns to me only with the greatest of reluctance.
Rolling in dead things.
It’s easy to do.
When I sin, it is really tempting to identify with it, marinate in it, and roll around in it. It’s so easy to believe that being a sinner is the truest me and I might as well wallow in my sin and my self-pity. Having failed again, the liar speaks with such authority to my weakened heart, saying that a sinner is who I am and sinning is all I’ll ever do so go ahead and just stay here. Roll around in death.
Rolling in a dead thing.
But no, the scripture says, “The death (Christ) died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus!” (Romans 6:10,11)
Hah! I am not defined by sin! I am dead to sin and alive to God! I will not be like my dog that relishes the scent of death; I will be like my Jesus who is LIFE, LIFE, LIFE!
How will I do that? Well, in a state of God given grace, I pray to humbly and quickly repent of sin and then turn and set my mind on things above where Christ is. He is perfect. Jesus is the only perfect One. He is my savior! I am crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me! (YAY!)
When I fix my gaze on my ugly, smelly, sinful flesh, my heart spirals downward in despair. But our Jesus urges us to “Look up! Look to ME!’ I long to do that. To fix my gaze on my God, my Life, my Hope, my Love, my Jesus.
One of the ways that helps me to do that is in worship. I hope you will have more time for that as well.