By Jarod Dyess
Imagine preparing your family to attend a fancy wedding of a family member. You and your spouse are running around frantically trying to get your clothes laundered and ironed. He picking out the right tie, she finding the perfect shoes and jewelry for her outfit. You notice your children are outside playing. In all the chaos of making sure you have the gifts wrapped, you forgot to start getting the kids ready. You call for you better-half to call them inside and to begin stripping their grass stained pants and mud covered shirts. All of your own attire is on hold as you push them into the showers to get cleaned up. For a moment you have some time to yourself to continue your routine.
Now they are out of the bathrooms and you again pause getting your own self ready. You go and find the nice little suit for your boy and that cute little dress you guys picked out last week. You probably spent more than you should have, in fact you decided to work an extra shift last weekend just to make sure that they had something nice to wear, but dang it if they aren’t absolutely adorable in their miniature versions of your own getups. Comb their hair, tie their shoes and bam..all ready! You walk them down the stairs and tell them to wait in the foyer until mommy and daddy finish getting ready. Now back to your own self. You button up everything, spray on your smell-good, kiss your spouse and run down the stairs to grab the kids and the gift and throw them in the car. Only when you get to the bottom of the stairs you see the back door is now wide-open and the kids are playing again outside and are covered head to toe in dirt! – What kind of anger would you feel? How would you respond knowing that the nice clothes you just spent a small fortune on are ruined? What indignation would come out of this situation realizing that they were not only disobedient, but trampled on the things that cost you dearly?
This is what we do to our heavenly Father when we regard grace in the way we do. We trample on his gifts. The clean and pure self that he gave us, we took it, abused it and wore it while we wallowed in the filth of the world.
As the gathering of believers, we are call to be holy as God is holy (Lev. 19:2). Too often we rely on the grace of God as a ticket to sin. We find ourselves justifying our sinful habits because we understand that our heavenly Father has forgiven us through Jesus. While true, we should not use this as an excuse not to strive for righteousness. What we should see is that this attitude cheapens grace and it makes a mockery of Jesus. Romans 6:1-2 reminds us of this truth: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”. God is loving and forgiving and He is willing to reach us at any depth of degradation, however He does not expect us to remain there. God calls us to put off the old self and put on the new self. No longer can we make excuses, it’s time to put sin to death and live our lives as a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1). Yes, we will mess up – praise God, for there is grace! – But our attitude about sin has to be different, no more compromise.
Will you be willing to finally give up the sin you’ve clung to for so long? Are you ready to walk in the light as he is in the light? What has to happen for you to strive to be Holy and put sin to death in your life?