Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Proper Christian Posture

If I were to describe the posture most evangelical Christians take toward their sin, I would say it is defiant. Or, at least, that is the stance they feel they should have: braced, ready with sword, shield, breastplate, and helm to ward off all attacks.
We are taught to fight the sin that acts as a nefarious insurgent in our flesh. I have employed this posture - it was the only way early in my life of faith, when I had been redeemed and therefore needed to purge all of the vestiges of the old life.

After years of fighting sin, can I just say how much I failed? I know too well what the Apostle Paul was saying; for the things I wanted to do, I didn't do, but the things I didn't want to do, these things were the very things that I did do.

How many times did I go to the Lord, apologizing for my failures, knowing that it was my weakness, that I needed the power of His Holy Spirit, and I must not be employing the Holy Spirit properly.

Maybe, maybe I really enjoyed my sin and wasn't willing to let it go. Oh, but I am dead to sin, it no longer reigns in my life! Yet, the evidence was overwhelming, it was still alive and seemed to control me often.

There were times of success as well, but they didn't hold out. Quite frankly, it doesn't matter if you stay sober for five years. Just one drop and you are back to day one. Granted, at least you had those years of sobriety, but the count of how long you've been good starts over. Be good and not cuss for five years, but let one word slip out, it's all over.

What is needed in the Christian's life is constant vigilance!

Or, maybe, a different posture?

Instead of facing our sin, why don't we just turn our backs on it? Instead of a fighting posture of defiance, why not an ignoring posture of indifference?

Ooh, that doesn't sound good, does it? Indifferent about sin? How dare you!

Not indifferent about, but indifferent toward.

Our struggle with sin often comes across as Hercules fighting the Hydra. But, why do we struggle for that which Jesus already conquered? Why do we fight a battle He already won?

I believe we should acknowledge that Jesus already defeated our sin. In our faith, we are alive to Christ but dead to sin.

If we are dead to sin, why do we spend so much time thinking about it and fighting it? I'm not suggesting we sin with impunity - oh, wait, yes I am.

Well, no, not exactly. I'm not saying we sin (actively) with impunity; but I am saying that we should sin (reflexively) with impunity. What I mean is that we stop fighting and start living.

Paul suggests this very thing in Romans 8 when he says that "those who are according to the Spirit (set their minds) on the things of the Spirit." (Romans 8:5)

The general evangelical posture, the one that is ready to fight, is closer in description to the "mind set on the flesh." (Romans 8:6)

When we struggle with sin, when we try to fight it in our own abilities, we are working in the flesh, and our minds are set on the flesh. It is not about what God has done or is doing, it is about what I am doing or have not done.

Rightly do we need to "let go and let God." The victorious life we find in Jesus is not victory in our own abilities, but security in His victory. Go in your own power at the main gate if you want to, but I'll take the grace at the lepers' gate.

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