I have been struck with a convicting thought these past two weeks as I examine my life. Like David I pray, Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, each day.
Like Jeremiah I know that, the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? and I must rely on God to give me a true revelation, “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”
It is my heart’s desire to become more like Christ and more free from sin. I know that it is a life-long journey. Sometimes the victories pile up as my faith grows stronger, yet only to find myself sinking into the “slough of despair” as sin once again takes root into the hidden, dark passages of my heart.
Like Paul I cry out, O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? as I experience those dark nights of the soul when my cries do not seem to get past my throat.
In my desire to fight sin I realize that I have not taken the exhortation of the writer of Hebrews to heart when he writes that, In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. I realize that many times I am spending more energy managing my sin rather than killing it! Like ancient Israel we have put our sin to tribute rather than totally defeat it!
How about you? Does this sound familiar to you? Are you a sin-manager or a sin-killer?
“… the choicest believers, who are assuredly freed from the condemning power of sin, ought yet to make it their business all their days to mortify the indwelling power of sin… Do you mortify; do you make it your daily work; be always at it whilst you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you. Your being dead with Christ virtually, your being quickened with him, will not excuse you from this work.”
From Mortification of Sin, by John Owen.
For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Romans 8:13 (ESV)