The boys needed to earn their merit badge for camping. So, Anthony, a devoted daddy and I, set out on a dreary December weekend to help them succeed. The boys were in good hands though, because Anthony had earned the revered rank of Eagle Scout.
Rain was predicted, so we opted for a screened-in shelter. The weatherman was on the mark. It was pouring outside the unit. But life on the inside wasn’t much better. We sat on an ice-cold concrete slab, with an arctic draft blowing through the screens – but at least we were dry.
Now as we cooked our dinner, the steam coming from a boiling pot seemed to warm things up just a bit. So, we augmented the effort. We set more water to boil in an electric skillet and in a second propane stove.
It was kinda getting cozy. In fact, we decided to play a card game while we relaxed.
And then, a droplet fell on my cards and another on my head. The other guys were getting wet as well. It was raining in our cabin. How in the world?
We looked up to see the ceiling, thick with condensation from the steaming pots. There it cooled and collected and then rained down in our shelter for the next several hours. We created on our own little weather system. I bet they didn’t teach that lesson in the Boy Scouts!
These days my shelter from the storm has been the church. The church is the assembly of those who profess faith and are loyal to Jesus. It has always been a comfort for me to worship and serve with a community of people that love Jesus and are governed by His Word.
The Greek word for church is “ekklesia”. It’s a compound word that literally means, “the ones who are called out.” The Christian is called out of the sinful world to be a part of God’s holy community. Though sin may reign in the world outside, righteousness should always be the hallmark inside of the church.
And yet, these days, sin seems to be raining within as well! Churches are becoming comfortable with the sins that we once cried against. Leaders are falling because of it. Families are imploding due to it. The church is losing its distinctive character as a result of it.
But what is the church but an assembly of individuals who daily make moral choices. You can’t have holiness in the church unless the individuals who make up the church choose to pursue it. The apostle Paul certainly understood this, which is why he penned Romans 6:12-13. There he wrote,
“Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its desires, and do not present your members to sin as instruments to be used for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead and your members to God as instruments to be used for righteousness.” NETBible.com ®
Paul was incredibly direct. He didn’t delve into the psychology of sin, or the victimization that might have led to it. Sin was not a complicated issue to Paul. He simply said, “Don’t do it!” Do not let sin reign in your mortal body!
At the same time, he was painfully aware that overcoming it was very hard. (Romans 7:21-25) It is actually impossible, apart from the empowerment that the Lord gives. Which is why he also said, “present yourselves to God.”
It seems to me that it is time to put the reign of sin back outside where it belongs.
A PRAYER: O Lord resensitize us to sin through reading Your Word and tuning our hearts to Your Spirit.
This has been Jim Johnson and pickleheavenpress.com
May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.