Jesus spent much of His three years of ministry sharing word pictures with all who would listen. Some asked what the parables meant, others shook them off as crazy. We think God still speaks to us in word pictures, or metaphors as we often call them.
We’ve decided to spend some time sharing different metaphors with you. Our hope is that the pictures described will help us see ourselves in a different light. The first one we heard from our pastor in yesterday’s service.
Imagine you’re out to dinner at a really nice restaurant with your spouse. The lights are dimly lit, the food is served hot and delicious. The conversation is just beginning to deepen when it happens; you spill something on your shirt! Your first thought is you’ll never get it out! All attention is given to get the stain out as quick as possible.
Why are we so quick to remove a stain from our clothes, but tolerate stains on our hearts?
John Owen said, “Be killing sin, or it will be killing you.”
How true. Consider lust. It is never satisfied. It’s not something we can control. By God’s grace the only thing we can do to be free from its grip is to kill it. We are called to put off the old man and his ways:
- sexual immorality
- evil desire
- covetousness (idolatry)
Our culture dresses up on Easter Sunday, but God isn’t interested in how we dress on the outside. He wants us to be more concerned about what’s on the inside in our hearts. He wants us to be clothed with:
(cited from Colossians 3)
Our pastor continued, “Many times our old man and new man hang out together. They shouldn’t. Is Christ your life? Then, consider – Jesus doesn’t slander; Jesus doesn’t gossip; Jesus doesn’t harbor bitterness; Jesus doesn’t hide sin. Old ragged clothes that don’t fit us anymore should be tossed. Like “old clothes,” anger doesn’t fit us anymore, because Christ has set us free to live a new way, a new life, as a new man.”
Think of how our marriage could be changed if each of us went after the old man in our heart and put on the new man each and every day. This is Christ at work in us, our hope of glory.
We want to finish with this question–Do you excuse yourself from going after sins in your own heart because your spouse isn’t going after the sin in their heart? If so, know that you’re nursing sin, not killing it. Let us examine our own heart and be willing to go first. This is where lasting change is cultivated, one stain at a time.
I agree, in order to enjoy our walk with God, we have to travel light. Remove excess baggage of sins. Learn to forgive past mistakes and Yes, KILL the SIN! It won’t be easy but it is worth it… 🙂
All the while remembering that for those who are in Christ, God doesn’t count our sins against us. We kill our sin because of our love and gratitude for the One who has given us so much. You’re right about all the effort being worth it. I’m so glad you dropped by for a visit.
There’s no middle ground on dealing with sin, is there? So often we lull ourselves into believing it’s okay to have both the good and the bad in our lives. I’m guilty of this for sure! Thanks for this reminder to take seriously the stains on our hearts. Oh, and I loved the comparison to the stain on my shirt! I always want to get that out immediately–so I need to apply that immediacy to my heart! Genius! 🙂
We can’t take credit for the analogy of the stained shirt–that was shared by our pastor a couple of weeks ago. Such a great reminder. I don’t think I’ll ever deal with a stain again without asking myself if I’m doing this towards the sin in my heart as well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
This is really good, Deb! I remember for so many years Keith would point out to me that any time he addressed one of my shortcomings, I’d quickly point out one of his. I definitely had to work on that and thank goodness it never led us to arguing. Thank God he was so patient with me during that time until I finally understood that tit for tat isn’t always required :).
Exactly! In fact whenever someone corrects us we should purpose to listen without responding or defending our actions. It takes a mature person to be able to do this consistently. Tom does this well–I’m working on it!