Performing Inner Maintenance

“All wrongdoing is sin,” -1 John 5:17a (NIV)

I enjoy looking at machines from the Industrial Revolution. With the advent of steam power and the need for mass production, this period spanning from the 18th to the 19th centuries produced some of the most fascinating machines to have ever been invented. Indeed in some ways they form the foundation of modern technology today. Whenever I have the privilege of going to museums where they showcase these technological wonders, I always marvel at their complexity and order. Yet it is surprising that even the smallest factor can render such intricate machines to be inoperable. Things such as rust, or a rock caught in the cogs can damage the machine and hinder its productivity. Thus, it always needs to be well-maintained to run efficiently and smoothly.

Sometimes we try to justify the seemingly “small” sins we commit in our lives. Feeling that we are essentially good people, we see our lapses into what we deem to be minor sins as excusable and harmless. But the truth is that in the eyes of God, sin is sin regardless of what it is. Even what we see as small sins can be devastating to ourselves and our relationships with others. Like rust developing in a complex machine or a rock caught in between its cogs, it can prevent others from seeing the work that Christ is doing in our lives and would cause harm to ourselves as well. How can we prevent this from happening? We cannot do so through our own efforts, but solely through Christ. When we have allowed His Spirit to enter our hearts and carry out His redemptive work in our lives, He will help us by His enabling to maintain the righteousness He has given us as we surrender our lives to Him. In Christ we are able to live life in its fullest sense as He leads us away from our bondage to sin and into the freedom which comes from knowing Him as Lord and Savior. By cleansing us of anything that is not in keeping with His holy standards in our lives, He will shine through us as He pours out His love and goodness so that others may be drawn to Him.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

It Came at a Price

“…you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” -1 Corinthians 6:20 (NIV)

Two summers ago I had the wonderful privilege of visiting Washington D.C. One of the places we visited was Arlington Cemetery; where the remains of American soldiers killed in battle are buried. Seeing rows upon rows of white gravestones was a truly sobering experience. But what left an impression on me was what our tour guide left us with. He alluded to the fact that freedom is not really free, but always comes at a price. I then remembered America’s especially vital contributions to the Second World War. Faced with the scourges of fascism and ultra-nationalism, it sent its soldiers to fight in order to preserve not only its own freedom, but the freedom of many other nations as well. Those who enjoy liberty today are indebted to those who saw and continue to see to its maintenance.

When we allow Christ’s Spirit to reside in us, we are no longer bound by our sinful nature, but are able to choose to follow Him. However, this freedom came at the cost of His blood. Since God is holy, He cannot tolerate sin and the appropriate punishment for sin is death. But He did not want His creation to suffer such a fate and wants to reconcile us with Him. For this reason, Christ became the one sacrificial Lamb for all who desire forgiveness and to be made right with God. By His death the penalty for our wickedness is paid, and through the resurrection of Christ we have conquered the power sin and death held over us. Yet why do we voluntarily return to our wickedness? Christ’s sacrifice is not a license to indulge in vice, but it is to be treated with respect knowing that our freedom came at the cost of His life. What should our response be to His selfless and unwavering love? When we submit ourselves to His Spirit and walk in obedience to Him, we will know of the joys of living in the freedom He has given to us. This means seeking to honor Christ in whatever we do, be it in mind, body, soul, or spirit; allowing Him to aid us living according to His righteousness.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Nothing Escapes His Eyes

“But Peter said, ‘Annanias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of  the proceeds of the land?'”-Acts 5:4 (ESV)
A lot of countries claim that they are democratic societies. But upon closer inspection some prove themsleves to be anything but. While the governments of these countries might point out that they have the word “democratic” in the country’s name, have a constitution that guarantees the rights and freedoms of the people, and that they even hold elections, the experiences of the popuation under them show that these are all meaningless. The constitution is thrown out the window at the government’s convenience, the elections are tampered with to solidify the government’s hold, and the “democratic” tag is void of any truth. No matter what the rhetoric or propaganda of oppressive governments may claim, they cannot hide the truth from the rest of the world for it will alaways emerge to the surface and expose their deeds.
Annanias thought that he could convince the world of his piety by selling his land claiming to have given it all to God while keeping some of the proceeds for himself. Yet his intentions could not be hidden from God, nor from Peter who knew that something was amiss. Indeed, Peter knew immediately the moment Annanias laid the money at the apostle’s feet. It was the Holy Spirit who revealed to him Annanias’true intentions. Annanias paid the consequences of his deception with his life and he became an example to all showing that no subterfuge can escape the eyes of God. We are truly fools if we think we are capable of bending the truth and getting away with it. Though it may seem convinient at the time, we will reap the consequences of our lies and they will shame us as the truth is brought to light for God is a God of truth. Is it not better then to be honest in the first place? When we have allowed Christ to enter our lives and have submitted ourselves to the work of His Spirit, He will train us to uphold the truth in both our speech and intentions. He will give us the strength to tell the truth even when it is painful so that the consequences of dishonesty will not enslave us to an enduring misery, allowing us to live in the freedom that comes from living in integrity by the power of God.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.