“In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” Heb. 12:4
My life really isn’t hard. I generally get to wake up when I want to. I grab a cup of coffee and have dozens of choices about what kinds of creamers or sugars I might add. I hop into my car, drive to my office or a client appointment, and go about my day. I’m not forced to denounce my faith or engage in activities that clearly defy God’s Word. And yet, I have moments and seasons in which I think this thing called “life” is unbearable. It’s sad, really.
Before you think that I am minimizing the struggles we do face in America or shaming those who get panicky when their “check engine” light comes on, let me assure you I am not saying these are not real burdens. But when we open our lives to the light of Scripture, we find some really convicting and revealing truth regarding our inner battle with sin and obedience to God. I would guess that a majority of my American friends reading this post have never “shed blood” in their struggle against sin. And that’s OK. But God has a whole other view of the intensity by which we should resist sin.
In my comfortable life it can be easy to become just as comfortable with the sinful temptations that surround me each day. Temptations such as laziness, greed, selfishness, slander, gossip, unkindness, lust, and the list goes on (probably fairly similar to your list…). But God doesn’t want me to be “comfortable” with such things. He wants me (and you), in obedience to Him, to RESIST these influences, even to the point of shedding my blood.
It is just as easy for me to become comfortable with only the commands God gives that I like or feel confident accomplishing.
“Pray for one another.” Got it. I can do that.
“Give.” Okay, a little more difficult, but I can still do that (even on a full-time minister’s salary).
“Love your enemies.” Ouch! Are you sure about that one?
“Turn the other cheek.” Hold on a second.
As the commands cut into my comfort, I am left with a choice: obey or give in to sin.
You may be thinking, “Wait just a minute, Jonathan. Isn’t that a little dramatic, saying our only choice in responding to God’s commands is to obey or sin?!” It may sound overly dramatic, but it is still true. On any point in which God instructs us to do something and we choose not to do it, we are disobeying and therefore sinning against God. I know it’s an uncomfortable thought, mostly because I know I can disobey in such ways multiple times a day. But if we don’t embrace the truth, we cannot be changed by it.
What sins are crouching at your door, enticing you to ignore the good and loving commands of the Savior? Don’t be afraid to let the Sword of the Spirit, God’s Word, pierce your heart so that you might become better at resisting sin. Jesus set the example of “resisting to the point of shedding blood.” May we be willing to follow His lead…