Monday, April 13, 2009

Struggling with Sin

Sometimes the changing seasons appear to engage in a tug of war with each other. Are you glad when you see a robin, the first sign of spring? Yet that robin does not necessarily mean the end of winter weather. Less than a week after I saw a robin this year, winter returned with a vengeance. Some communities in southern Ontario received the same amount of snowfall as a January storm.

I do not know how you feel, but I enjoy the opposite—a heat wave in September. It means one more chance to go canoeing or sailing before cold grips the land. In contrast, skiers rejoice when they can ski in April. Others prefer not to have to deal with shoveling more snow. Whatever your preferences, everyone must accept the fact that summer and winter do not usually end abruptly. From a human viewpoint, there is a tug of war between the seasons.

The same situation occurs spiritually. When a person is saved, he or she accepts Jesus as Lord and Saviour. No longer are we legally guilty of our sins because Jesus took the punishment, which we deserve. Nevertheless the long process of sanctification begins. The new nature in Christ struggles to eradicate and replace the old sin nature. What a tug of war spiritually!

The apostle Paul lamented, “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing” (Romans 7:18, 19 NIV).

Paul struggled with sin in his life, just as we do. Thankfully, the Lord continues the painful process of sanctification in believers. He never gave up on Paul. Likewise God will never stop working to make us more like Jesus.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

God's Hidden Handiwork

During the winter snow covers the landscape and hides the dead grass. In the spring the snow melts and reveals dormant plants waiting for warmth to grow again. Sometimes you may notice long wiggly paths imprinted in your yard—the work of voles winding their way over the frozen ground.

I have often looked out the window after a storm to admire the smooth layer of freshly fallen snow. Until recently, it never occurred to me that some animals might be busy going about their business, sight unseen.

God operates like those voles, hidden from view. If you are a believer, he is busy working in your life as well as mine. Often we do not know or understand what is happening. We likely will not fully comprehend everything the Lord has done until we get to heaven. As the hymn writer William Cowper explains, “God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform.” We are God’s handiwork. He weaves your life experiences and mine together into a beautiful tapestry.

Perhaps you are experiencing sorrow or heartache today. Take heart. If you belong to God, he is working out everything for your good and for his honour and glory.