Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Avoid Being Burned

“Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.  Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:21-22 NIV)

When I first moved to North Carolina, I brought mini-van with me that had a lot of miles and mounting problems.  I hesitated to get rid of it because I already had car payments on another vehicle.  When the water pump went out, I decided it was still worth hanging onto.  Big mistake.  Just a few weeks later, the radiator blew out.  I decided to repair it and then sell it.  I could have done better just junking it.  

My approach to sin in my younger years sometimes mirrored the way I hung onto my mini-van: Even though it didn’t work well and the costs mounted, I convinced myself it worked well enough to stick with it.  I often see that same flaw in the students with whom I work.  They just can’t seem to let go of certain sins because, while not working very well for them, they’re determined to stick with it just a little longer.  And, like me, they end up paying the price.

A month ago, I was told my truck had blown a head gasket, the second one in its life.  I paid dearly for the first repair, but I learned my lesson with my mini-van—I was done paying the price and would not be burned again.  

We often have to learn lessons the hard way.  In a recent conversation with a student, he told me he often dismissed what I taught about dating relationships when he was a freshman, but now several years later is seeing the truth in what I said based on his own experience.  Often, this is how we approach the Word of God—we hear it but then we go ahead and do what we want.  Yet, as James points out, there is a reason for us to pay attention and to obey—doing so will save us.

The temptation we face is attempting to maintain our sinful ways because we think they can still work for us.  But the truth is we will get burned by them.  The longer we hang on, the greater the cost.  This is why James is very blunt—get rid all the moral filth and evil in your life and humbly accept the truth that life will be better following God’s will than your own.  

Today, if you are trying to maintain a life (or an aspect of it) that is broken, recognize it’s time to get rid of it because it is only going to cost you more if you keep holding onto it.  Rid yourself of it and humbly accept what the Lord wants you to do.  It will save not only your life, but also a lot of pain and heartache along the way.  

© Jim Musser 2016

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