As Art Linkletter put it, kids often say the “darndest” things. A young boy had heard my father preach about how we cannot even sit down for five minutes without sinning, and he asked me how that could be true. It was easy for him to sit still for five minutes without doing anything wrong. Could my father have made a mistake in his teaching?
I explained to this perceptive, young boy that sometimes our sin is not merely something we have done, but it may be something we could have done, but failed to do. These sins are called sins of omission. When we pass up opportunities to witness, refuse to take stands on what is right, allow our minds to wander when we should be listening attentively in church, or refuse to meet another’s need when it is within our power to do so, we sin against God. This means we sin more often than we think.
With this in mind, it is no surprise the Apostle Paul (who had been a Christian for many years at this time) arrived at the conclusion, “O wretched man that I am!” He could not do what he wanted to do, nor could he avoid doing what he did not want to do — maybe you have felt this way at some time. Paul had been humbled by the awareness of his sinfulness. An honest assessment of our sinful condition should move us to genuine humility as well.
The implications of a broken, humble attitude will spill over into our public and private life. It will cause us to refrain from becoming “fruit inspectors” who judge others’ salvation on the basis of their visible spiritual fruit. It will make us mindful of our own sins and shortcomings before casting the first stone. We will rejoice at the magnitude of God’s love and forgiveness towards us and share it with others.
The puzzle is slowly coming together. Are you beginning to see the picture? Be sure to read tomorrow’s devotional, as we approach the end of the road to spiritual victory.
He that is down need fear no fall, / He that is low no pride. — John Bunyan
Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.