Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Those Little Respectable Sins


Dear Friends,

The Book of Joel says that God speaks to young men through visions and to old men through their dreams. As if to confirm my advancing years, God seems to speak to me these days through my dreams! Our dreams can rise up out of our subconscious mind, or have demonic sources or be given to us by God. I have no doubt in my mind that the life-changing dream I’ll tell you about was from God. 
I had a communion chalice filled with wine that I was trying to drink through a straw. I wasn't getting anything but air. I was craving the Communion. The presence of Jesus. I was parched, dry and thirsty. But nothing. I took out the straw and put it back in again to make sure the end was in the wine. I pulled hard on the straw but not a drop could I bring up. I took out the straw and put it in another full chalice and still got nothing but air. I was beginning to feel panic. I needed the Holy Communion. It was more than quenching a thirst. I knew that my very survival depended now on receiving the Presence of Jesus, but all I was drawing through the straw was just ordinary air. I looked at the straw more closely and found why I couldn't take in the wine that had become the Blood of Jesus. My straw had a hole in the side of it. I put my thumb over the hole to seal it off and began to drink deeply of His Presence.
I immediately awoke and lay there while every detail of the dream replayed in my mind. I began to think of all the times I have so craved the Presence of Jesus in my life and found myself spiritually parched, dry and thirsty. During those times, I am profoundly conscious of my spiritual need for Him and try to draw Him in through the things I know how to do: Worship.. Reading Scripture.. Prayer. And while I thirst to drink deeply of His Presence through those straws of the spiritual disciplines, I wind up just sucking air.
  
During those times when I’m spiritually dry and discouraged and maybe even lacking in fath, I roll up my sleeves and get to work. I’ve read the books, heard and given the sermons. I know what to do! I pull hard against the “straws” of the spiritual disciplines but I’m unable to draw up even a single drop of what I seek. And God had showed me in the dream that I need to check my spiritual life for holes! 

Now fully awake, I asked God to show me the meaning of the hole and the Holy Spirit revealed to me that the hole in the straw had been made by my sins. Our minor sins are like the steady drip of water that can erode and create a hole in the hardest rock. It’s those little, seemingly unimportant sins – the ones I can too easily ignore – that can erode my spiritual life and become the barrier to receiving the fullness of God’s presence that I so desire in my life. 

God was showing me that whenever my relationship with Him doesn’t feel quite right – during those spiritual dry times when His presence seems far away – I need to do a “Sin Check” to see if there is something(s) that I need to confess and repent. A wise, old monk once said, “..on the pathway to purity and spiritual growth you can't afford a reckless attitude toward even the smallest sin.” Even the tiniest of holes made in our straws by the tiniest of sins can prevent us from drawing up the Presence of the Lord Jesus from His well of Living Water. 

Many of us today have become so fixated on the sins of our Nation and that other political party that we hate so much, that we have (conveniently) forgotten about our own sins. We rant about those “big” sins that others do and minimize the “little” sins that infect our own life. But it is those little “unimportant” sins that God is concerned about in your life. Because it’s those tiny, little “respectable” sins-the ones we so easily tolerate-that can keep us from God’s presence. 

You know those little “minor” sins I’m talking about. Being discontent with the life that God has given you. Being fearful of your future by not trusting that God has everything in control. Hating those who believe today what you believed yesterday before you became politically correct. Being unthankful to God and forgetting that all you have is a gift from Him. Grumbling. Giving into anger. Nursing a grudge. The debilitating sin of unforgiveness. Pride. Being impatient and unkind to others. Engaging in new age or pagan practices that are specifically forbidden by God. Having time for TV and being online but no time for the Bible. Being self-centered and not other-centered. The sins of the tongue: gossip, slander, critical speech, harsh words, insults, sarcasm, ridicule, quarreling etc. And then there’s the little sin of when we fail to love others like Jesus does. 

The little “respectable” sins. They’re really no big deal. Right? Everyone does them! Problem is that those tiny, little sins are eating those tiny, little holes in our straws..
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