Last Sunday I was visiting with another lady as we watched the kids in creche at church (nursery for you Americans out there). Anyway, she was telling a conversation with her husband (not a Christian) and how he was offended by something she said illustrated that he was not a believer. He was offended because he said "I never said I don't believe." And she made this most profound statement. She had told him, "I never said you don't believe. But you don't act on that belief or commit to that belief so you are not a believer." How true. Our pastor often says, "If what you believe doesn't change what you do, you don't really believe it." I agree. Ok, I want to agree.
Fast forward a few days. I'm having tea with a friend. We are discussing the sin topic from Bible Study. She was saying that it a hard subject because what is sin to one person may not be to another. I had to disagree. I know that there are behaviors that are considered "grey areas." But, as I told her, God defines sin as missing the mark of His Holiness as He reveals that in our lives and we don't have any need to compare ourselves with anyone else. It is a sin for me to be impatient with my kids, to take my husband for granted, to abuse my body. The specifics of how I do that may be different from how someone else does that. But I think it is a sin for anyone to mistreat the people in their lives and the temple of God . And, I said, the purpose of talking about sin is not to make a list of "this is sin and this is not", it is to be aware of what God is saying to us each individually about the sin in our life. So then we were talking about being honest about the sin in our life. And she says, "I think that just admitting it is sin is what we have to do." I want to agree, because that is easy. But I can't. So I paraphrase what I had heard on Sunday. I can believe that an action is sin for me, but if I do nothing to change that behavior and give it to God, I am not a believer that sin matters. I want to be a believer that sin matters. I want to agree intellectually with God that sin matters. But I also want to agree by changing my behavior. It is difficult, very difficult. It hurts to change, to be refined. But the reward after is more than I can imagine. So how do I change?
Part of that answer came in this week's Life in the Spirit study. Last night we were discussing our responsibilities in a life in the Spirit. We focused on three concepts: we are to grow in knowledge (i.e. know Who God is and what He expects), to yield to His authority in our life and to trust Him. As I apply this to the area of sin in my life I realise I must know what God is naming sin and name it the same, I must yield to His authority to call it sin and to punish the sin, and I must trust that as I give Him those behaviors He will transform me and give me the power to overcome. I don't have to get rid of the sin in my life. He does the transforming. I have to yield to Him and trust Him. The closer I walk with Him, the less enticing walking in my own path becomes. So I see the last couple of weeks as growing in knowledge as He has revealed His position on sin to me. But the coming weeks and months will be the difficult task of yielding and trusting. We'll see what transformations take place.