2008-10-22 / Religion

'Watch Where You Step!'

Inspiration

(Pastor James Scarborough, Donalsonville Assembly of God)

My daily routine includes a brisk early morning walk for exercise. With the days getting shorter and the time not yet having been rolled back to Eastern Standard Time, my walks start while it is still dark. The other morning as I got to my walking spot, I took a few steps on the grass and felt a sensation under my shoe that I did not like. Having seen several dogs in the area, I knew without looking what had happened. It was disgusting, and my goal was to get it off immediately-- and I did.

I am sure that you desire no further details about my incident of walking where the neighborhood dogs had trod, so I will depart from that scene. But I borrow from it to focus on something far worse that we come into contact with, yet we are too often content to leave it clinging to our hearts. I am referring to sin. Although we might try to ignore it, call it something else, explain it away, or make excuses for ourselves, the truth is that sin is real and must be effectively removed from our lives if we expect to be found pleasing to God.

Looking back to the beginning of humankind, we find that when sin entered into the first man and woman, their response to God when He confronted them about their violation of His instructions was to try to make excuses for themselves. Genesis 3 records that "The man said, "The woman You put here with me--she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it" (verse 12, NIV). He knew that he had partaken of fruit that God had forbidden them to eat, but instead of confessing his bad choice he blamed it on his wife. But Eve was not willing to take responsibility either: "Then the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate" (verse 13).

So they both sinned, but neither was willing to take responsibility. Makes me wonder how many of us have dealt with our guilt in the very same way!

After writing about God's displeasure with sin and its consequences in Romans 1, Chapter 2 begins with these words of the apostle Paul: "You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things" (verse 1). What is he saying? Both Jews and Gentiles have been infected by sin and need to be spiritually cleaned up. He states it a bit more clearly in Romans 3:23: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

I did not just come to understand that I had something disgusting on the bottom of my shoe the other morning, I did something about it--I cleaned it off. In like manner, admitting our sin is an essential step in the right direction, but we must not stop there. We must allow the only One Who can cleanse away our sins to do so. That One is Jesus Christ.

You do not have to spend the rest of your life with the ugliness and filth of sin clinging to you. Here is the remedy: "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9). Call out to Him right now!

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