I don’t know about you, but I have sins that are precious to me. Sins that I don’t really want to give up. I lie to myself and say that they are not that harmful or dangerous, but who am I kidding? I have seen first hand how the ugliness in my heart has affected the people within my home. When I am grouchy, the kids are grouchy with each other. When my tone of voice is unkind it can easily spark tensions between my Joe and myself. When I just want to be left alone I end up hearing a lot of “leave me alone” from the others in my home.
Over and over again I delude myself into thinking I know better than God. His ways sound good, even great, but I have a different idea. I feel the need to do things my way and then I am surprised when peace disappears, fellowship is broken, and life becomes rough. What foolishness!!
Through Paul God says, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you.”
What is earthly in me? Many things, but the big one that comes to mind is selfishness. Nothing good comes out of being self-centered. Which is why Paul tells us to “do nothing out of selfish ambition”--it always turns out badly.
Paul uses strong language when it comes to how I am to deal with my sin. It cannot be tolerated because it will overtake me. I cannot allow myself to see it as little or insignificant because like a weed it grows quickly and chokes out the life that is around it. It cannot be seen as precious because it caused the bloody death of Jesus.
Sin should not be spared. It has no intent on sparing me. It does not just seek my harm, it looks to kill. Which puts me in a position of kill or be killed. (Romans 8:12-13)
What then is the killing of sin? It is the constant battle against sin which we fight daily-the refusal to allow the eye to wander, the mind to contemplate, the affections to run after anything which will draw us away from Christ. It is the deliberate rejection of any sinful thought, suggestion, desire, aspiration, deed, circumstance or provocation at the moment we become conscious of its existence.
My fight against selfishness is the constant battle against my desire to come first, or to do as I please. It is a fight to properly understand who I am in light of who God is. To see the joy and blessings in serving others, to see the crown that comes from putting God before myself. The fight against selfishness means seeking the greatest good of those around me and the glory of God with no thought of myself.
This fight to the death looks different depending on what specific sins we are dealing with, there are principles in fighting sin that remain the same. One is how we view sin itself.
We must ses sin as:
Ugly. It is an affront to the holiness and worthiness of God
An enemy. It pleases for a season but brings ruin in the end.
Infectious. It will always spread to other areas in our life and give birth to other sins.
Costly. It costs men their lives, and it ultimately cost the Son of God his life that my own might be spared.
Sin is too easily tolerated, or even prized by me. Until I see it for what it is I cannot hate it. If I do not hate it I cannot kill it.
If I had a brother who had been murdered, what would you think of me if I...daily consorted with the assassin who drove the dagger into my brother's heart; surely I too must be an accomplice in the crime. Sin murdered Christ; will you be a friend to it? Sin pierced the heart of the Incarnate God; can you love it?
- C. H. Spurgeon
Photo Credit: Hani Amir
Licensed to Kill by Brian Hedges