Ever since I became a Christian I have found myself often worrying that the life-long Christians I know, are silently looking down on my worldly past and the worldly habits that I still haven’t let go of. It is interesting that I never worry about Jesus looking down on me. I know he has forgiven me. He has wiped out the sins of my previous life just as he promises to do for all who turn to him in repentance. Also, I never doubt that when I confess my on going failures and sins, the Lord hears my cry. He is merciful, he forgives me again and again and he strengthens my resolve to sin less in future. So wise as they undoubtedly are, the opinions of those who have been brought up in atmospheres rich with faith, will never be a reliable substitute for the instructions of God himself, as recorded in his holy Word.
Colossians 2:16-23 NLT
Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels, saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud, and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it. You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.
It does seem to many non-believers and believers alike, that a truly faithful life of service must be, by definition, a life of sacrifice and fairly severe discipline. Now, I do accept that if one really does want to turn from their former sinful life, and lead a life full of the love of Jesus in fellowship with a community of other believers, then old, sinful habits and pleasures need to be given up. But as Paul says at the end of today’s passage, it is not rigorous self discipline that conquers a persons evil desires. It can only be the power of Jesus who, through the Holy Spirit flowing through the heart of the genuine believer, convicts the old sinful desires and nails them to the cross along with our old faithless lives. My goal today is to call out to Jesus for a renewed conviction in my heart against the old sinful desires that still lurk there. I pray that he might come and wash my sin in his precious blood once again. I pray that all believers, young and old, wise or completely inexperienced, might turn to each other in a new spirit of forgiveness and know that in Jesus we are all free of the spiritual powers of this world.
Jeremiah 6:16-8:7, Colossians 2:8-23, Psalms 78:1-31, Proverbs 24:26