Romans 7:8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead.
Believe it or not, I struggle with sin every day. I constantly do stupid things or say hurtful words; I forget to keep promises or neglect to do good deeds. I waste opportunities for the Lord and let my life slip carelessly by. Sin is a constant struggle and some days I feel as though I’ve failed the Lord entirely.
But then I remember that I am not perfect and cannot always do everything right, perfect, or holy to save my soul. I have the potential to be better than I am, but never reach the high bar that I set myself. Like Paul writes elsewhere, I constantly fall short of what God expects, which means I am a sinner in need of salvation. I recognize that I need a Redeemer. I know that I need Jesus to save me.
Sadly, some folks never reach this level of self-awareness. They don’t believe in sin, so they have no need of grace. They go through life making both good and bad choices, but they never seem to understand that, as each day passes, they are piling up more sinful, selfish, self-centered stuff that will ultimately separate them from God. Maybe if I was a better witness or better teacher or better preacher, or even a better Christian, I might be able to help them change ….but then I would be sinfully guilty of trying to perfect their lives by pointing out their sins, rather than dealing with the huge sins in my own life!
Being a Christian is never easy. It requires constant attention. If I’m too busy pointing out others’ mistakes, then I’m missing the point about sin: we all do it! It doesn’t excuse it, which is what Paul is actually trying to express in Romans 7. When I become aware of my own sinfulness, then I know that I need to change something in me, which is why I desperately need Christ’s grace to transform me. I can only begin to become what He wants when I give everything of me over to Him.
Questions for personal reflection
Be honest, what’s the biggest sin I am dealing with in my life? Have I given it over to Jesus yet? If not, why not?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, sometimes we can’t see our own sinful ways because we mask it with the sins of others. Grant us true self-awareness, even though that may be ugly and unholy. Help us to reach out to You for help and the strength to overcome. In Your Holy Name, we earnestly pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment or ask a question about today’s message, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s image is John’s latest crayon drawing called “Island in the Sun.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link: http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2813/9442299728_eeaec950ac_b.jpg