Encouragement for Today - Apr. 3, 2008
April 3, 2008
By Van Walton
“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves…” 1 John 1:8 (NASB)
I had been typing on the keyboard for a couple of hours when a dull pain near my fingernail distracted me. Studying my finger, I noticed a small splinter deeply imbedded in my skin. Too engrossed in my writing, I tried to ignore the discomfort.
The day’s activities consumed me, the tiny sliver forgotten, until I slowed down. “How have I survived the day with this ache in my finger?” Looking at my hand, I realized the splinter had not moved. I poked at it and mashed it to no avail. The more I thought about it, the more noticeable it became. It had to go because I could no longer ignore the throbbing pain.
I would have to dig it out, so finding a needle or a straight pin became my goal. From time to time I stopped to rub it and squeeze it. I only made matters worse.
Finally I found a straight pin and started poking around. Ouch!
Sin is like that splinter. Be it a tiny white lie or a big blatant transgression, if we are part of God’s family, it makes its presence known. Most of us choose to ignore it. Few of us deal with it. I don’t know about you, but too often I nurse my shortcomings, justifying my wrongdoings. It pains me to get rid of my indulgences and it might be time consuming. I don’t want to go digging around for fear that it’s too big or deep. Better to simply hope it will go away.
The splinter will not go away on its own. Neither will sin. Actually it is a good thing that they must be confronted. A splinter left alone might cause infection. Sin, avoided, has the power to destroy.
Consider the hold sin had on these biblical characters:
Jonah’s sin of disobedience took him straight into the belly of a fish.
David’s sin of lust drove him to plot murder.
Judas’ sin of betrayal caused him to take his own life.
One day a group of Pharisees brought an adulterous woman to Jesus. Having been caught in the act, her sin had been exposed. Jesus’ words gave clear instruction about sin. “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11). He didn’t say, “Study it.” He didn’t help her analyze her psyche, to understand her sin. He made his point, “Go and sin no more.”
The only way to deal with sin is to accept that sin exists: spot it, name it, and find an instrument to remove it. Use prayer, the Bible, a trusted friend, fasting, worship and praise. Pain may remain for a while, but a clear conscience quickly heals the surgical wound left behind by the once-harbored sin.
Father God, You desire that my life glorify You. That cannot happen as long as I continue to ignore my sin. Help me to keep a short account of my transgressions. I know the freedom and peace I experience when my sin is cast out, liberating me and bringing joy. Give me the courage to remove whatever lurks deep within my life, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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From the Pound to the Palace Children’s Story on DVD by Van Walton
The 7 Hardest Things God Asks a Woman to Do by Kathie Reimer & Lisa Whittle
The priests of the Old Testament always washed before they came before the Lord. Each day as you pray, ask God to reveal your sins and wash them away as He forgives each one.
What sin am I reluctant to remove from my life?
Am I holding on to hatred, jealousy, idols, or sexual sin?
Is my ‘splinter’ a lack of forgiveness, unbelief, a grip on my past, or a hidden habit?
Romans 7:24-25, “I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question? The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.” (MSG)
Psalm 103:8-12, “The Lord is compassionate and merciful …He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve … He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. (NLT)
© 2008 by Van Walton. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105