There are few things in the Christian life that cause more trouble than that nasty three-letter word sin. We can get emotionally drained and misplace that cheerful disposition everyone is fond of seeing. We can get out of sorts on our schedule and fall woefully behind in our service to others. We can stumble in our daily routine and miss a day or two of personal devotions. But there’s nothing quite as detrimental as that nasty three-letter word sin and the havoc it can cause in our lives.
This could be a repeat so please bear with me. Several years ago, when I was racing bicycles, I spent a year planning for one specific time trial. It was one I’d done many times before, but those 25 miles seemed to be a big obstacle. I was always falling short of my goal to do the race in under an hour. I knew I was capable, I’d done 167 miles in just over 8 hours in a different race so I was certain my training would pay off and I could break that magic barrier.
The day of the race the weather was great and the course was in superb condition. Once I got the starters signal I moved quickly to my planned speed and heart rate then settled in the saddle. I was moving well above my target speed and picking off guys that had started several minutes before me. As I came to a junction point, one that was familiar, for whatever reason there were no obvious markers. I began to question which way to go. The more I questioned it the less certain I became. I made my choice and soon learned I’d made the wrong choice. I had to go back almost a half mile to get back on course. When I crossed the finish line and looked back at my time I was heartbroken. That misstep cost me precious time and I was short of my goal by almost five minutes. The bad part…I knew the right direction but I questioned myself and let that little voice in my head cheat me out of “victory”.
That nasty three-letter word sin often does the same thing to me in my spiritual life. It’s not unlike those days back in the garden when the deceiver asks Eve, “Did God really say..?” Once the seed was planted, the deed was done. Once the distraction was offered the wrong turn was made.
The fact of the matter is simple. We will never become sinless this side of the pearly gates. But growth in our relationship to Christ and a life that reflects that relationship should result in our sinning less. If you don’t mind, making fewer wrong turns.
I may be only a six on the scale of sinning less, but my desire is to be a seven. The problem is—you guessed it—sin. It could be, as the writer of Hebrews points out, a sin that weighs me down and hinders my ability to move forward. Or, it could be a sin that “clings so closely” that it’s a constant distraction. Something I can’t seem to escape. A sin that is more than a nuisance. It’s a shadow that cannot be shaken. The more I don’t want to think about it the more I think about it. The more I think about it the bigger the distraction. The bigger the distraction the more susceptible I become to simply succumbing to the sheer weight of it all.
I’d like to say when the deceiver comes I immediately cast all my anxiety on Christ knowing that he cares for me—but I often don’t.
I’d like to say when the weight gets too heavy I fall to my knees and cry out, “Create in me a clean heart O God and renew a right spirit within me.” But I often don’t.
I’d like to say I remind myself that greater is he that is in me then he that is in the world. But I often don’t. Maybe I will someday, but right now I often don’t.
Perhaps if I were raised in a Christian home, this whole process would be easier. But I wasn’t. Perhaps if I had come to Christ as a young boy, I would have learned the skills necessary to live more obediently, but I didn’t. So I’m stuck with what I’ve got.
I need a savior! Not just a savior for that time when I gave my life to Christ, but a savior every day the deceiver comes; every day I get weighed down; every day I get easily distracted. I need a savior. I need to cry out like Peter did as the waves beat against his hesitant heart, “Lord save me!”
Yep, I need a savior.