Today, I downloaded a bunch of files, (PDF, Word, and JPEG’s) for teaching Kids Church. As the files downloaded, they came in a file set that did not make any sense to me, so as any crazy person such as myself would do, I moved each file (probably about 125 files) our from their original places and redistributed them into a file system that makes sense to me.
As I was working on this, every once in a while, for some unknown reason, the empty folder would not delete. Every time I tried to delete it, I would get an error message saying something like: “This file cannot be removed because it is being used by another user or program.” How strange. It is an empty, orphaned file and it can not be removed. Eventually I came up with the solution, after going through each folder (about 10 different folders) to ensure it was empty, I rebooted my computer and tried again: Success!
As I began to reflect on the experience (I seriously reflected on this, how lame), I thought about sin in our lives. No matter where you are in your spiritual journey (ranging from Atheist to Billy Graham or Mother Theresa), I am fairly sure you would agree that sin is bad. What is sin and what is not could be debated and vary widely from your prospective on this spectrum. Perhaps I’ll tackle this in another blog.
So many times as Christ followers, we try and try to give up sin certain sins that plague us. I remember as a high school student in youth group going down to the altar week after week after week “repenting” (repent technically means to turn away from your sin, so to continually “repent” is not so much of a repentance after all) of the same sins. As an adult, it seems that the pattern has not changed much, rather than going down to the altar at youth group, it is more like waking up every morning, to seek God’s forgiveness. I’m not repenting of the same sins that I was in high school, thank God, but I still “repent” seemingly daily for the same sins.
The problem is that we are trying on our strength to work the sins out our life. Just like I was trying to force the computer to delete the files by dragging it to the recycle bin time after time; so we also try to get rid of the sin in our lives on our own power. I am reminded of Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
You see if our battle was against flesh and blood, we could just grit our teeth, and keep fighting the sinful nature until we win. Unfortunately, our battle with sin is a spiritual battle, and seeing as how our spirit is by nature sinful, we are inclined to continue the patterns of sin until we give up and allow God to fight our battle for us. Complete surrender to God is not to give up our freedom, but to gain freedom from all that we are without Him. In case you missed it, we are sinful without Him.
I want to leave you today with a cheesy analogy that I heard when I was in youth group, but it has stuck with me all these years. Imagine that you have 2 dogs, and only enough food to feed one. If you try to feed them both, they will both starve and consequently die. You must choose which dog will eat and which dog will starve. The two dogs represent our sinful nature and our desire to serve God. Choosing to serve God means you must put your sinful nature to death and not allow it to survive.