Sin Makes Me Squirm
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and I am a sinner.
I don’t mind saying that one bit. I don’t just sin; I am a sinner. But I’m a redeemed sinner, thanks to Jesus, and He has saved me from the penalty of sin and the power of sin (there’s always grace to overcome sin), but He has not saved me from its presence. I live in a fallen world and you do too. We still wrestle against the flesh, the sinful nature, this body of sin and death as the book of Romans calls it, and it’s not easy. Because one of the most cunning aspects of sin is that it will try to deceive you. It wants to say to you: “Oh, you don’t lie; you only fudge the truth and that’s not so bad, everybody does that.” Sin will deceive you into thinking that you are not a prideful person when, in fact, you really do cherish inflated ideas of your own importance; you really do think you are a paragon of virtue. But sin really pulls the wool over our eyes when it convinces you it can be acceptable, that there are lots of gray areas, forget about things being black-and-white! You’re not so bad. In fact, you’re not bad at all. You’re pretty good, all things considered.
I call that an effort to housebreak sin, to domesticate it. If there’s anything that proves we are all sinners, it’s that we are always trying to tame our transgressions and make them look respectable. And it’s fair to ask, what sins have you housebroken? What secret, small transgressions have you tamed to make your own? A private fantasy that you keep replaying, a daydream you've shielded from the scrutiny of the Spirit.
I had a friend in college who enjoyed gossiping with one particular classmate. She wasn't loose with her tongue with anyone else, she was strict about that. But oh, did that classmate get an earful! My college friend thought she had housebroken her gossip, and made it respectable just because she only gossips with one person.
The major problem with our minor offenses is that we tend to whitewash them. We think that they are not all that offensive to God. If you are harboring small sins in an attempt to housebreak them, tenderize your heart, would you, with this advice from one of my favorite theologians, JC Ryle. Bishop Ryle wisely says:
“We are too apt to forget that temptation to sin will rarely present itself in its true colors. Never when we are tempted will we hear sin say to us, ‘I am your deadly enemy, I want to ruin your life.’ That's not how it works. Sin, instead, comes to us like Judas with a kiss. Sin is deceitful. It comes to us like Joab with outstretched hands and flattering words. Sin, in its beginnings, seems harmless enough—like David walking idly on his palace roof which just happened to overlook the bedroom of a woman. You and I may give wickedness smooth-sounding names, but we cannot alter its nature and character in the sight of God.”
You know, we don’t like to talk about this sort of thing nowadays. And we hardly hear many pastors preach on sin. But the book of Hebrews is clear. Sin entangles us. It hinders, it trips us up. It’s why the Bible tells us to throw off today (not tomorrow) but today any sin that entangles, or deceives, or tries to appear housebroken and respectable. Do not minimize your sin by making excuses for it. Ask God to help you see your transgressions, great or small, as things that deeply offend the Lord Jesus. For the sake of Christ, let’s disentangle ourselves from it and never get entangled again. When you have a chance today, drop by joniandfriends.org.
By: Joni Eareckson Tada
© Joni and Friends
Featured Resources From Joni Eareckson Tada: Sharing Hope
Joni loves sending Christmas cards and singing Christmas hymns! This year her new Christmas card brings the two together. Featuring Joni’s rendering of Mary cradling Jesus, set against a background of “O Holy Night” sheet music, this elegant card will bring the joy of the season to your friends and family members.