Pursuing peace requires consistent, aggressive, violent action.
Like most kids, I used to love going up the down escalator, or down the up escalator. Moving sidewalks in airports also served to pique my curiousity. If at any point I ceased in my efforts, the inevitable outcome occurred. I would end up going with the flow of the moving floor until it, rather than I, determined my ultimate destination.
How fun to walk one way faster than the energy tugging me in the other direction! Even at age 43 the temptation still exists to try this. I have a suspicion I’m not alone.
That silly child’s game becomes all too real at times. In life, I metaphorically find myself in every moment on an invisible, moving sidewalk. I could stand still and try to convince myself no movement has overtaken me. But the moment vigilance wanes, that ever present source of momentum takes over. It functions like a gravitational pull. A constant, unrelenting force.
That gravitational pull has a name: sin.
What frightens me emerges from the fact that I quickly convince myself I maintain control in such a situation. I assure myself that the driver’s wheel remains firmly in my grip. Maybe it does, but it’s like holding the controls of an airplane with failed engines. I may have my grip on the controls, but I have no control over my fate in such a situation. What good is it to pretend I’m in control when I’m clearly not? The unrelenting force overtakes me and descent becomes inevitable.
As a kid, my sins tended to be more obvious. Now in my adult years I have simply grown more sophisticated. My sins tend to be easier to hide, or more socially acceptable. And yet the result has not changed. If I cease to actively confront my capability for malevolence I have chosen to cave in to it. I allow gravity to win.
These words haunt me:
“Be killing sin, or it will be killing you.” –John Owen
Sin whispers to me, calling me to trust that it knows what I need. It offers indulgence, freedom, and immediate gratification. Do I resist, or do I relent? To relent feels like freedom at first. But sin is not my friend. It desires to be my master. It wants to make me into a slave. Then it wants to mock my enslavement.
I know I will never be perfectly free from sin in this life. And no amount of guilt or shame will cure me of my desire to sin. But I want to renew my commitment to fight. To violently and restlessly seek to kill the sin that so desperately wants to kill me first.
Am I asking the Holy Spirit to reveal areas in my life where I retain control rather than handing it over to him? Not nearly often enough.
Am I actively, continually and unrelentingly attacking the sin in my life? Honestly, my vigilance comes and goes.
Am I lazy in my pursuit of righteousness and in waging war against sin in my heart? Oftentimes, yes.
My sin ought to be far uglier to me. I ought to ponder the inevitable damage that comes to me, and my relationships with God and others, when I stop fighting.
God, I pray you would make my sin appear utterly sinful to me. Make me see it for what it is - a destructive force that keeps me from experiencing your best and from being the blessing to others that you designed me to be. Help me to see it as the enemy to be violently fought, grappled with, opposed, and destroyed with every fiber of my being.
Help me to cling to your superior promises of grace and mercy. Give my an undying love for you and may I never quit violently opposing the force of sin until the day you completely renew me in glory.
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