To Simply Sin Less
Sin is serious. God hates it. But do our lives reflect God’s heart when it comes to the sin in our lives?
One of our pastors presented an engaging thought at church last Sunday. As he led the congregation in prayer, he prompted us to not merely to ask God for what we needed this week, but also to ask God that he would enable us to avoid doing things that would grieve his heart.
As a congregation, we asked God to enable us to simply sin less.
It was not the first time I had heard someone mention this idea, but it certainly was the first time I really spent some time marinating in the realization of two things:
- How I often ask God for things because they are a priority to me.
- How infrequently I ask God for things because they are a priority to him.
Even though the request might be the same, I was convicted that my heart posture is often not geared around remembering how much God really, really hates my sin, and how much it grieves him when I sin.
A friend recently posted this brief article from pastor and evangelist Ray Comfort about how our culture tends to minimize the gravity of sin:
A sin-loving world has relegated the word "sin" to a mere figure of speech. In some sports, transgressors are sent to the "sin bin" and get out after ten minutes. Tourists get their heart’s desire with guilt-free abandonment in "Sin City," because what they do in Vegas stays in Vegas. Language has even evolved to further the belief that it’s no big deal to violate the voice of conscience. A brothel is now an "escort service", a strip club is a respectable "gentlemen's club", adultery is an "affair", fornication is "sleeping’ together", and homosexuality is a "gay" lifestyle. They may call sin what they will, but its wage hasn’t changed. It’s still death, and its full payment will be eternal damnation in a terrible place called Hell. Sin is more serious than a heart attack. The attempt to soften it is the fruit of idolatry, and that ugly tree found its root in the contemporary pulpits of compromise.
I want to learn to view sin the way God sees it, not how my culture sees it. I want to be like-minded with God about it and learn to hate it as he does. If I truly believe that sin is death, why would I not want to beg God to help me avoid it at all costs?
And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell (Matthew 5: 30).
Jesus uses hyperbole in the above verse to illustrate how serious he is about sin, but the point remains: He is very, very serious about it.
And I must be serious about it, too.
Lord, forgive me for minimizing my sin to make myself appear better than I really am. I confess my idol of self-righteousness. Forgive me for not seeing my sin for the awful, grievous offense that it is, and thank you for your grace that covers it so completely. I pray that a deeper realization of my sin would lead to a greater realization of who you are, and that it may move my heart to worship you more deeply. Amen.