Monday, May 23, 2016

Stained with smoke, Stained with Sin

Many of you saw my earlier post about our house fire.  A number of things have caused me to think deeply recently, and most of my thoughts can be attributed to the fire that took place three weeks ago.  As I have played back all the details in my head, there was one in particular that lingered.  Not just in my mind, but in its effect.

The smoke.  The fire itself was destructive, but it was the smoke that is causing us to be out of our house for multiple months.  The fire was the most threatening, but the smoke was ever-reaching into all the crevices of our home.  The smoke blinded my eyes and stained my skin the day I fought the fire, and three weeks later it still resides in the air, bringing me back to the moment of where it all began.

It was the smoke that destroyed our food, clogged the electrical motors, and stained clothes and filled our books.  It was the smoke that infested our couches and mattresses, that covered Shane and JJ's toys and ruined our painted walls.  Who knew that smoke could carry so much power?

On the surface, you wouldn't think it did anything.  Everything (aside from the kitchen) looked normal.  But it was tainted, stained, and infested with smoke.  It will take months to restore everything back to normal.

It's a modern parable of the "private sins" we hold close.  When we take one extra lustful glance, excuse a little slander or gossip, or cling a bit more to our anxiety, we often think it won't hurt us.  We think justifying our fear of men or our anger is ok because it has no lasting effect.  But it's like the smoke of a raging fire.  It stains, infests, and destroys our lives, but we often don't see it until it's too late.  Just like smoke is evidence of fire, our "private" or "small" sins reveal that our hearts are on fire with sin.  And our sinful hearts leave smoke damage everywhere.

It's why temptation increases as you train your mind every time you glance where you shouldn't.

It's why we become more easily angered and agitated as we age.

It's why our relationships deteriorate each time as we normalize gossip.

It's why we are often on the fast track towards depression as we make it a routine to sin in our thoughts.

The Apostle Paul captures this in his letter to the Romans:  "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23)

The wages of sin is DEATH!  We must take sin seriously!  And not just "big" sins, not just "public" sins, but all sin!  We must see that the "smoke" of our sin is slowly killing us.  And we must see how we are restored, which is the Gospel:  Jesus Christ died so that we might live forever in heaven with Him!

Life is found in Christ, death is found in sin.  It's why the author of Hebrews says:  "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."  (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Sin clings closely, so we must throw it off to run the race set before us.  And as we do it, we look to Jesus Christ and run towards Him.  

We have a restoration agent and he has guaranteed me that there will be no remnants of smoke left in our home.  As we look to Jesus, He promises to cleanse us to the point where there will be no remnant of sin left in our hearts.  Are you running towards Jesus so that He might cleanse you of all your sin and wickedness?