devotional

25DEC
2012

Struggling Together

 

     Merry Christmas from sunny central Florida! I went running today in shorts and a T-shirt! Crazy! As God continues to sanctify me in love, I’m continually reminded of just how much my sin has affected me. I desperately wish to give myself to the church and the world, and to be a loving blessing to those God sends me to each and every day, but I still fail so miserably! One thing the Holy Spirit has given me in this season of life is an acute awareness of the fact that we’re all struggling against sin together in the church. 

     Not just with “respectable sins” like covetousness or lust, but with “less respectable” sins like homosexuality, theft or even pedophilia. Yes, saints, the church is full of sinners. Rephrase: Yes, saints, the church is full of redeemed sinners. 1 Corinthians 6:11 says, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” Our justification in Christ does not remove our struggles against indwelling sin. The sins listed just before vs. 11 include ignoble offenses like fornication, idolatry, homosexuality, theft, drunkenness, and more. Such was exactly us. Such was I. God loved me enough to make me something else. We are not to continue in sin, but to repent, however, our sin does not repent of us. We will likely battle some semblance or allure of it to our graves. Onward Christian Soldiers! We need constant grace from God as we are renewed in life, Romans 12:2. That's what the gospel provides. The Holy Spirit brings us a flood of living water in our very souls! John 7:38-39. This is through the ministry of the Bible. It's from this flood that we can wet others in obedience. In a reflection on Matthew 15:19 Dr. Al Mohler said something like: “Many are convinced that they’ve got some kind of alien problem and are capable, if only taught how, of discovering an internal remedy; the fact is that we’ve got an internal problem and are in need of an alien righteousness.” Sin, in a new sense, is still our problem. We need The Savior; He came: Luke 2:11. He alone can fix this problem. Do you see the cross in its glory? Is the inviting power of a consuming grace in your heart overcoming the sins that so very much still desire a prominent place in your life? Are you presently repenting because of God? If so, then may I struggle with you as you struggle with me? That's the church.

     The church is full of sinners struggling against lusts of even the basest kind. God may deliver some of us tonight. Christianity is not just a system of do’s and don’ts. Christians can sometimes get caught up in a kind of “Performance based Christianity.” It’s easy to do because we're not fully aware of the gospel yet. We can think that God only loves us if we do well. We don’t want to talk about our sins when, how, with whom and where we should. Consequently we often only discover sin among us when it's full grown. We are made to take comfort from the fact that we’re struggling together, Christian. 1 Corinthians 10:13. I hope you find comfort in prayers on this tonight. Galatians 6:2 calls bearing such things with one another a way to literally, “…Fulfill the law of Christ.” Sin makes us not want to do that.

     Whatever grace, whatever patience, whatever love you would have for yourself from others is that we should not settle for less of in our hearts as we do life with them. This doesn’t mean we will not at times have to rebuke or make people upset with us (2 Timothy 4:2; Matthew 10:36) but it does mean that our own hearts will not condemn us as we do it because even our motives will become more godly. Look to the meaning of Christmas. Look to the cross-

     “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another,” 1 John 4:11.

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