Monday, May 5, 2008

"I am the Life..."

I like to sin. I really do. Sometimes I go out of my way to sin, and many times I try my hardest to resist but end in an eventual cave. There are sins in my life that are like a dear, old friend or a warm blanket. As I struggle to understand God and His grace, I so often paint a picture in my mind of the red-face, arms crossed, screaming, toe tapping, God. So, when I wrongfully try to serve and follow this God, I will run back home to my sin without fail. Sin takes me as I am. Sin allows me to be myself but also be in control. Sin is a good friend. 
I have been wrestling with all this like Jacob wrestled with the angel. There have been seasons in my life where self-righteousness sets in as I successfully overcome sin and become the obedient child I am meant to be. However, recently, I have realized that most of my life has been driven by guilt or by the need to be seen a certain way. Once I strip those motivations out of my soul, I am left asking, "Why obey?" If God really is love, and loves me unconditionally--If I truly am free from sin--then why beat myself up so much. Giving in here and there can't actually kill me. 
Some of my best friends can simply say, "Sin makes me feel empty. Sin hurts my walk with God. I'll stay away from that." 
I think I pull against the reigns a little more. I love God dearly, but I want to know why I can't sin. I'm the kid who always said,"How come?" when I was told to do something by parents and teachers. 
Recently, I have been trying to find the reasons not to sin. I mean, after all, sin is fun. I want to know why I need to come in and stop playing. 

I sat by the lake the other day and hashed it out with God. Based on His Word and His nature, I think I have finally gotten to the right motivation against sin. (I say the right motivation...I'm not saying that I've received the ability to perfectly resist) 

There is a system that we must follow. My generation focuses so much on the relational aspects of the Creator that we cringe whenever we hear of systems or methods in relating to Jesus. I have finally admitted, however, that there is a system to God, but it is a beautiful system.

God makes life. God is life. God promotes life. God works towards and rejuvenates and God has created the world to be a system of life. Man and Woman were created and told to reproduce. Cain was banished and roamed the world with a mark on his head when he violated this system by murdering his brother. All through the Bible, God's main work boils down to producing life and sometimes this is physical as well as spiritual (or even emotional).

I have started to realize that any sin, and I mean any sin, that I struggle with goes against this system of life. Here's one example: 

Sometimes I struggle with bitterness (I don't know WHY. I have had a great life...really...but when things don't go my way, I guess I get pouty.) This feels so innocent--to be hardened over some legitimately tough stuff. (But not really tough compared to what others have been dealt) When I took a good look at what was happening to my soul, though, I found that I had let bitterness in to where sunsets and spring faded like an old photograph. Relationships became burdens or weighed options. The quality of life grew dim. 

What sin is hindering this quality of your life (or even threatening your physical life)? Lust: Sex was meant to lead to life. When we lust, we are merely taking without producing physical life, or without showing love and bettering ones life. Language: We tear each other down, we get angry, and we put each other in confinements and cages through our speech. We cramp their life. Jealousy: We find no enjoyment in the hand we've been dealt so we never play. We wait until we get what other's have and life never happens. 

Life is now. 

"'Lord,' Martha said to Jesus, 'if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.' 
Jesus said to her, 'Your brother will rise again.'
Martha answered, 'I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.'
Jesus said to her. 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?'"

John 11:21-27


Nicole said...

thank you... i needed this.

beth baker said...

this was really great.