Friday, May 24, 2013

Minimizing Sin

It's easy to minimize sin, trying to convince ourselves and others (and unfortunately, often successfully, despite whatever cognitive dissonance) that sin is not really that bad.
"It's just once", "I'm not really hurting anybody", "Everybody does this", "Nobody has to know", "It's not a big deal", so on and so forth...
I think as Christians, we know it's not right to minimize sin. I think we know that everything we do and think and say is not just "to ourselves and won't harm anyone", but rather a capital (literally) offense against the most supreme God, who knows all our inner thoughts and motives and has the ultimate right and authority to judge.

As if that's no big deal.

We also know that our own sin will affect others - whether it is to turn someone else away from Christ because of our actions, to directly harm someone else even if we didn't realize it, basically to damage the relationship between us and others or others and God.

As if that's no big deal.

People are fickle though - we often sway too far to one side or to the other. Either sin is no big deal or sin is so debilitatingly great that we can't function. So to the other extreme then - is it possible to maximize/make too great a deal of sin?

I don't know if this is the right answer... But I don't think so. Sin is sin is sin, and no sin is so small that it doesn't grieve God. I think that part of what it means to really grow in Christ is to understand the weight and depth and despicableness and destructiveness and horror of sin, no matter what it looks like.

I think there is no problem with "maximizing" sin, because of Who it is ultimately against. It is maximum. But instead, the problem on this side is that we minimize the power of God. We think our sin is too great for God to bear, we think that His grace is not sufficient, that His sacrifice does not suffice, that His Words do not heal and His power does not overcome.

This can lead to despair and bitterness, and to giving up - which consequently, funny enough (haha, not), can lead to the complete other side of the pendulum. "It's too hard to deal with this", so therefore, sin is not that bad after all. Isn't it funny how cognitive dissonance works?

Oh, how completely hopeless and futile our ways are when we're left to our own devices.. it brings to mind the passage in Romans 1, where God gives up the people to their own ways because though they knew Him, they did not glorify or give thanks to Him.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Endeavour to increase spiritual appetites by meditating on spiritual objects.

Endeavour to increase spiritual appetites by meditating on spiritual objects.  
We are to restrain lustful appetites all that we can by casting away and avoiding thoughts and meditations on their objects. We are not allowed by any means to give a lease to our thoughts concerning those things, because that tends to increase lustful desires after them.  
But ‘tis our duty to be much in meditation on the objects of spiritual desire: we should often be thinking upon the glory and grace of God, the excellency and wonderful love of Christ the beauty of holiness...endeavour to promote spiritual appetites, by laying yourself in the way of allurement.”  
- Jonathan Edwards

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
- Psalm 1:1-2

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
- Joshua 1:8

Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
- Psalm 19:13-14

I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.
- Psalm 77:12

I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.
- Psalm 119:14-16

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
- Isaiah 26:3

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
- Colossians 3:16

Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
- Psalm 37:4