Are You Comfortable with Your Enemy?
I received a great devotional this morning. It is from Jerry Bridges Day by Day Holiness through the Navigators Ministry. If you are looking for a great discipleship ministry, you cannot beat Navigators. They do biblically sound teaching and hands-on discipleship all over the world.
Here is their site Navigators.
“How often they rebelled against him . . . and grieved him!” Psalm 78:40
The verb mortify, or put to death, is used eleven times in the New Testament. In nine of those instances it refers to a literal putting to death of a person; each of those is in the context of an underlying hostility toward what that person stood for. For example, in Matthew 10:21: “Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death” (NIV). The hostility is not only toward the parents but also toward their authority. Likewise Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was put to death because of his bold, uncompromising witness for Jesus Christ (Acts 7).
Now apply that sense of hostility toward the sin you wish to mortify. See your sin for what it is and what it stands for—a rebellion against God, a breaking of his law, a despising of his authority, a grieving of his heart. This is where mortification actually begins, with a right attitude toward sin. It begins with the realization that sin is wrong, not because of what it does to me or my spouse or child or neighbor, but because it is an act of rebellion against the infinitely holy and majestic God who sent his Son to be the propitiation for my sins.
Think of an unusually persistent sin in your life—perhaps some secret lust that lies in your heart that only you know about. You say you cannot overcome it. Why not? Is it because you exalt your secret desire above the will of God? If we are to succeed in putting sin to death, we must realize that the sin we are dealing with is none other than a continual exalting of our desire over God’s known will.
Picture the crowd that gathers to stone Stephen in Acts 7. It describes them as almost insanely angry. They gnash at him with their teeth, yell and scream and attack him as one. They stop their ears so they cannot hear anything that would prevent them from going further. They hate Stephen and his message. This is obviously a terrible act against a man and God. Yet, it cannot be denied they are committed and clear on who they think is their enemy. They will do anything they have to in order to put Stephen to death. There is no gray area here.
This is a bad version of putting something to death. But the question posed is are we as committed to putting our sin to death? God gives us a clear enemy and simple instructions.
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
Are You For Us or Against Us
Do we treat our sin as a mortal enemy or as an old valued friend?
The problem is we often get this confused. We treasure our sin and despise holiness. We hold onto sin and think of it when we are separated. We fondly remember the days we spent together. We long to be reunited and get angry with anything that keeps us apart. Things like the Bible, Church, Jesus, our spouses, our kids, and loving other people are turned into impediments to our reunion with what is killing us. A good test is seeing what we turn to in our times of struggle. If it is a long-standing sin, we may be collaborating with our enemy.
Let this no more be the case!
Jesus tells us we can only serve one master. Whoever we choose naturally gets our love, respect, and allegiance. Whoever we don’t choose gets our enmity. We will hate the other.
Do we have hatred toward our sin? Is it our enemy? Are we treating it as such and waging daily war against it?