A deep dread of opening up my laptop this morning (sermon prep for Sunday is already behind schedule) took me to Azi's Cafe
for M/P and caffeine instead of directly to my office. It was there that I read the epistle for today, part of which reads:
Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called 'today,' that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (Heb. 3.12-13)
So, it occurs to me to ask, seeing as how it's Lent and all: If I'm struggling to sustain effort toward forming Christlike character (and I am, and so are you, so don't say you're not), what is it that I don't
believe, and what deceit is it that I do
believe instead? For the "deceitfulness of sin" part, these jump readily to mind:
- "I'll make you reeeeally happy"
- "Who're you kidding? You can't really ever get free from me; you know that, right?"
- "C'mon, just this one time . . . ."
- "Look, my ultimate agenda is not to kill you. I swear. I don't know where you got that idea from."
And what is it that I don't
believe, @ least not deeply enough? The gospel. God loves me. He loves me when I'm good; he loves me when I'm not so good. Jesus died for us when we were still rebels, and dead rebels @ that. Somebody, I don't remember who, said to me once that Luther carved into his desk (monks have desks?) these words: "I am baptized." Well, so am I. And being baptized, being in Christ, means I've been born of water and the Spirit, born from above, from outside myself, and I've been given to see the kingdom of God all around me. Part of life in that kingdom is sanctification, progressively getting free from the sin that so easily entangles. I know I can see that from here; I just need to keep walking in that direction.
Somebody exhort me, would you?