Luke 17: 1-4
Many of us have heard of sin and whether we like it or not, it’s something that needs to be addressed. It needs to be addressed because sin creeps into many aspects of our lives and relationships. But what’s the big deal you may ask? Well there is a huge deal. Sin keeps us away from a relationship with God. It’s what causes death. Not just physical death but spiritual death (James 1: 14-15). For this very purpose, we should address sin for what it is. Not simply for what we want it to be.
So, what is sin? According to sources, sin has three aspects which include a breach of the law, violations of relationships with people, and rebellion against God.
In Luke 17, we see Jesus addressing the magnitude of sin. He told his disciples that temptations to sin were sure to come. That’s right. Jesus didn’t say, that temptations to sin may come or will never come. They will come for sure. No matter what we think and what we do, we are sure to face these trials in our walk. Some of us feel at times that we can never escape theses temptations. And that’s true. It feels like a never-ending battle.
In some cases, and to be honest, in my case, the temptations may be too great in my human eyes and I succumb to sin. I end up going down a path that only brings despair and shame. It makes me feel that I’m not good enough to be adopted by God. But that kind of thinking is exactly what the evil one desires. He fills our heads with lies (Genesis 3). By failing and then feeling that I’m not worthy, will keep my eyes focused on the wrong things.
Some may believe this to be true and others won’t, but I want to share something with you. As I reflected on this scripture, I decided to go for a trail run. I tend to find peace and focus during these runs. As I was out on the trails running, something happened that showed me how true this scripture is. I was towards the top of the trail where there aren’t many runners, and I crossed paths with someone who at more than one point in my life, was used by the devil, to tempt me which caused me to fall to lustful sin. As I ran pass this person, I said hi and a few meters down the road, I dropped to my knees and prayed. It’s as if the evil one didn’t want me to write about this and to remind me that I was not good enough. More lies.
Yes, sin is around us. And we will be tempted on a regular basis. It’s important for us to remember that we have a God that will help us overcome temptations (1 Corinthians 10:13). Yes temptations are there. But they are necessary to remind us who we must depend on (Matthew 18:7). We need to be ready always. It’s not that we must be out there looking for the temptations, but we do need to be ready to defend ourselves and those around us. Our loved ones, friends, family, and really anyone. We need to be strong so that we may withstand in the evil day (Ephesians 6: 10-13).
Jesus reminded his disciples that woe to the one through whom temptations to sin come. That it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause of these little ones to sin. This should give us some peace. Even if we fall and fail, we have a God who will forgive us and remind us that we shall never be abandoned (Joshua 1:5, John 14: 18-19). That even though we fall short of his Glory, we are still worth dying for. That the great shame, guilt, and resentment should not find a home in our hearts but in the hearts of those who cause us to sin.
Jesus reminds to pay attention to ourselves. As I stated earlier, brothers and sisters in Christ, we need to be aware of the dangers of sin. We should also avoid partaking in causing temptations to others. But if we see each other doing so, let’s rebuke each other. And as Jesus stated if they repent, may we forgive. That’s right forgive.
Forgiveness is hard for many of us. It’s so easy to hold onto remorse and hate for those that cause us pain. But remember this fellow people of God. If God in all his mercy and grace died for our sins while we were still sinners, why should we not forgive those who sin against us. That’s love.
Let me be clear. As C.S Lewis stated before, loving others does not mean that we have to be fond of them. Forgive them and then continue to keep your guard up. And if they continue to sin against you, and they repent, continue to forgive.
Forgiveness is the mark of a believer. It’s the mark that tells the world that we were just as guilty but thanks to God’s mercy and grace we have hope. We have been redeemed. We were made whole!
Life is hard. There are temptations and there is suffering. But as Peter reminds us, if Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.
In the face of temptation, let’s remain obedient. Let’s not be conformed to the passions of our former arrogance. The past is the past. Many people knew us, but do they know us now. As we are new creations. Do they really know that we no longer wish to be slaves to sin? Christ broke those chains for us. We were called to be holy, to be different, to stand out in a world of chaos and full of sin. We were cleansed with the blood of Jesus. We were born again of imperishable seed.
Therefore, let’s remain strong. Read the word, hear the word, and preach the word. Let’s be part of the solution. Let’s be part of the mission we were called to and stand firm in the eye of temptation and submit ourselves to God. Let’s continue to resist the devil so he may flee from us. Let’s cleanse our hands and purify our hearts so that we are not double minded. Let’s humble ourselves because we can’t do this alone (James 4: 7-10). We need Jesus and we have Jesus. There is strength and power in knowing who we are. Let’s not believe the lies and fight the good fight. God Bless.
Temptations to sins
1 And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. 3 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”Luke 17: 1-4