Sunday

the art of running away

Been awhile. I have to be honest that I have no good reason for the hiatus so I won't labor the point.

Read Psalm 60 this morning.

60:12 "Through God we shall do valiantly, and it is He who will tread down our adversaries"

I don't think I have ever claimed or even thought I was perfect. I have thought I was better than another person, more righteous, spiritually stronger. It's a subtle poison, the sin of pride. One that I take in sips, or little seasonings - amounts that are hardly noticeable yet deadly. Huge influxes (or demonstrations) of pride set off alarms in those around me. But little nibbles go unnoticed, at least by me, which is another indicator of the depth of my fallen nature and my need for grace.

So often I think we as Christians cloak our tendency to sin in battle terms to the detriment of victory. The only victory I have from sin be it pride or lust or anger or laziness or (fill in the blank from your own experience) is Christ. He is my victory. I did not fight that fight. I did not win that battle. I did not say, "It is finished". He did.

I have no power to "tread down" sin. While I am by no means passive in the fight, I have no power within myself. None. All the power is God's. My job is never to battle or engage sin. What are we commanded in the Bible regarding sexual sin? Flee. Idolatry? Flee. I should do a lot more running and less ranting.

Our neighbors have two aggressive dogs. A chow and a shar pei. The Lord told Cain that sin was crouching at his door, waiting to devour him. The shar pei has actually stood outside our door. I made a 6 foot pole with a nail on the end to poke him away. These dogs have come after the kids, but never hurt them. If one of our three little children were being attacked by these dogs, they lack the power to fight. They are simply too small. But if they ran to me, I am not too small. I posses enough power to not only fend off the dogs, but to kill them, to destroy them, to "tread them down".

Extrapolate that out to me and the Lord. He possesses all power. All knowledge. All good. Sin crouches at my door. The Law of Moses could not take it away, only reveal my weakness and need. No endless line of blood-letted innocent animals could take it away. No system. No book. No method. No hope. None could take away my sin, nothing, as says the hymn, but the blood of Jesus.

My standing and fighting sin is me bellowing and charging at an EF 5 tornado. It would destroy me. Yet God can dissipate a storm. Jesus walked on the raging waves and told the storm, "Hush up, now", and it obeyed. My "good fight" is not about honing my ability, but practicing fleeing and resting in the everlasting arms of Christ. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self control. I have no power to produce these things. I lack power to defeat sin and I lack power to produce holiness. I am utterly powerless, except in one regard: I can run to Jesus. When sin or life or fear or trouble comes charging down the street, I have but one option: run to Jesus. He who calmed the storm still intercedes for me. He who was tempted in that which He suffered is able to come to my aid. He knows my weaknesses, all of them, and sympathizes with me in the struggle. Think about that: Jesus knows our struggles and sympathizes with us in the midst of them. And then calls us to come to the throne of grace where we receive help in our time of need. "Come to me and I will help you", says Jesus. "Just come over here and I'll pick you up and together we'll laugh at that mean old dog, because remember who I AM, and rest in that."

Every failure in my life is a failure to trust in God and run to him in dependence. Through God I shall do valiantly. Man, do I need more practice.