Romans 7:23, “I see another law in my members, … bringing me into captivity to the law of sin”
Hebrews 3:13, “Exhort one another daily, … lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin”
A popular concept today is the idea that individuals can’t be blamed for what they do or fail to do. Blame heredity, environment, parents, teachers, or the government, but don’t blame the individual. While writing this I was reminded about the monk who had a quick temper and who was known to “pass the buck” for his fits of anger, by always blaming his fellow monastery residents. Well he decided to move to the desert, a place of absolute solitude, thinking if he got away from the others he could be victorious. However, one morning he accidentally knocked over a pitcher of water. Then a few minutes later, he bumped the pitcher again, and once more, it fell on its side and spilled its contents. Losing his temper, he picked up the pitcher and hurled it to the ground breaking it into smithereens. Then the truth hit him … he couldn't blame others for his flare-ups because the trouble was within himself.
My friend, the Bible tells us “our hearts" are “deceitfully wicked” and that "man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart". As believers in Christ, we need to do some spring-cleaning within our own heart and lives in order to rid ourselves of the clutter that draws us away from the Lord. Just as household clutter occupies space, saps our energy, and creates frustration, so does spiritual clutter in our life. Those unresolved conflicts that pile up in our heart; unconfessed sin gathers a thick layer of guilt, and unspoken prayers litter our minds. As believers in Christ, we must clean out the clutter from our jumbled lives as we do with our spring house cleaning. For unresolved conflicts, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault” (Matthew 18:15); for unconfessed sin, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins” (1 John 1:9), and for unspoken prayers, “Let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). The prayer in Psalm 139:23-24 can be a wonderful beginning as we ask God to search us, point out our wicked ways, and then lead us.
(1) Are you like the Monk … putting the blame on others?
(2) Do you have unresolved conflicts you need to deal with?
(3) Maybe you have unconfessed sin in your life?
To avoid the clutter … daily open your heart and life to God’s examination, and ask Him to forgive you for the sin He exposes. As believers in Christ we can triumph over “the law of sin” right now, because Jesus “condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3) through His death on the cross. All who believe in Him are given new life. As we endeavor to do God’s will, with the guidance and help of the Holy Spirit, we increasingly overcome the trouble within. Lord, help us to be good; yet, never lose sight of our inherent sinfulness and our unworthiness of Your favor. Thank You for the forgiveness You offer us through the shed blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ.