About a month ago--on a bright, cloudless, sunny day in Franklin--I took to the pavement for a walk with my loyal pup, Buddy (who, for the record, is very loyal but also very mischievous..now that he is 2 years old, I hope he starts to mellow out). As I got into the groove of my walk, about half a mile from the house, I heard the Lord say, "check your senses." I pondered those weighty words for a moment and my attention moved to my chewing gum.
Prior to lacing up my shoes, in preparation for my walk, I grabbed two sticks of spearmint gum off the kitchen counter. I unwrapped them and tossed the sticks of gum into my mouth with a sense of urgency so as to get on with my walk. Without even thinking about it, I started chewing, tied my shoe laces, leashed up Buddy, and headed out the front door for what I hoped would be at least a 3 mile trek.
God's words were marinating in my mouth, literally! It was the focal point of what He was trying to speak. As I continued chewing away, now focused intently on the gum, I realized that I couldn't taste the strong spearmint flavor. I was not enjoying the benefit of what the gum had to offer me--it's flavor. Why? Because I was sick. For a little over a month, I had been dealing with allergies and sinus issues to the point where my ability to taste was diminished. My sickness was robbing me of enjoying the flavor and fullness of what the gum had to offer. Truth be told, I wasn't enjoying the taste of anything really. I had become accustomed to eating and drinking taste-free. In my sickened state, I was being robbed of a full and blessed life.
Metaphorically speaking, God was using this illustration to remind me to not only check my senses, but to also check my heart. As I continued on my walk, I felt myself confronted by and confessing Psalm 139:23-24 NLT, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life" He was moving.
In that moment, God was speaking a message for me to hear, but one that He was also wanting me to share. So, I landed here at my laptop, and I started typing. The message of sin, its consequences, and the need to repent from it doesn't make for a convenient sermon in the Western Christian Church. We've actually done a great job of circumventing that topic for fear of negative feedback. However, the Gospel is the Gospel. It's meant to make us uncomfortable; but, with it comes the hope of a future! Jesus, The Gospel, writhed in pain on that cross as a result of our filthy sin. We can't fully understand the power behind grace until we recognize and acknowledge the depths and darkness of sin. Thank God for his grace and that Jesus overcame the power and effects of sin so that "...there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" according to Romans 8:1. Grace is part of the message of The Gospel. It's the promise for redemption from sin and it's what we are offered when we confess and repent from our sin.
On that walk, my heart quickly took inventory of my life, and while no sins of commission were immediately evident, perhaps I was living in sin of omission and the Lord was clear that I needed to check my senses.
Sins of commission-doing something we shouldn't do i.e. sexual sin, theft, murder, abuse, lying, manipulating, and gossip are just to name a few.
Sins of omission-not doing something we should do i.e. failing to pray regularly, tithing, helping someone in need, fellowshipping, and reading and studying the Word to name a few.
When we open ourselves up to any sin, we distance ourselves from our Heavenly Father. Failing to acknowledge our sin and or to heed the promptings of the Holy Spirit, makes way for an insurgence of sin. Before we realize it, the invasion has spread and, if not ousted, it can overthrow our lives. The tactics of the enemy dismay us and we lose sense of the right way. The presence of active sin shrouds The Truth and leaves a hazy existence behind.
The physical sickness I was carrying caused my physical body to live impaired and so too does active sin cause similar our spiritual bodies to do the same. How many of us are still sick in the church- bound by sin? How many of us are drawn to the things of this world rather than the blessed assurance of His Word? What are we watching? What are we listening to? What are we consuming that is prohibiting us from fully tasting and seeing that He is good, that He is enough, and that He is all we need.
Please know that God convicts and the enemy condemns. My walk, on this particular day, is proof that God's gentle nudges draw us back to proper alignment with Him. Everything that God rebukes in our lives is for our benefit--it's because He is likening us unto himself. Our human nature is bent towards everything that is not Christ-like, so goes the depravity of man. However, the sanctifying work of God in our lives should cause us to sin less and less. Grace doesn't give us permission to keep on sinning, but rather to overcome sin with each passing day.
As Easter approaches, may an awareness of the "holiday" be ever present. May the weight of our sin that nailed Jesus to the cross be enough to live a life that looks so different from the world. I don't know what area of your senses need to be checked, but I would encourage you to confront, confess, and conquer that which may have a hold of you! Romans 2:4 NLT "Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?"
Thank God for His supreme kindness to us sinners.