Friday, December 21, 2007


Our hardy band of readers has finished Chapter 6 in "Overcoming Sin and Temptation: of the Mortification of Sin in Believers."

This chapter was so rich I’m not sure where to focus!

Loren, I loved your “sin as ticking time-bomb” picture. I got the same feeling but would not have been able to describe it as well.

One of my great moments in this chapter was in the chapter sub-heading, “Mortification Consists in a Habitual Weakening of Sin.”

In this section I understood why I have failed to overcome some troubling sins; seeking them out and killing them has not been a habit. Perhaps because I’ve never had a good sense of just how dangerous, destructive and sneaky even the smallest of sins are; of course any sin is abhorrent to God but I, like many, tend to compare my sins to the sins of others and think “I’m not so bad”.

I’m sure I represent a large body of believers who live our lives as if the sins which plague us are something we do not think about until one jumps up in surprise attack. I know how often I have walked through my days in a sort of “ignorant bliss” when I think I am doing well; then how hard I fall when the serpent strikes! I then feel betrayed because I have mistaken sin’s inactivity for sin’s death.

Reading this book has forced me to be thinking about sin on a daily basis. I like this! I realize how our comfortable lives in North America distract us from the important work of rooting out sin.

I appreciate war analogies when considering this subject. I have many military members in my family including my son who spent a year in one of the most dangerous places in Iraq. In war it is most important to study the enemy; the better one knows one’s enemy, the greater chance one has for success because his moves can be anticipated and crushed before he makes them. My son lived in a state of constant alertness. He and his fellow soldiers could not even go to the bathroom without donning their full body armor. Things we take for granted and pass by without thinking (such as roadside litter) were objects of danger for these soldiers; a plastic bag could kill.

I often feel like Don, as if I were the one on the cross struggling and growing weaker; at times I feel like such a failure and just want to give up the fight.

This chapter has spurred me to get back to memorizing scripture. When Satan was allowed to tempt Jesus in the desert, our Lord answered “It is written…” I’m very sure the more scripture we carry in our heads the more weapons we have in our arsenal against our particular sins. For me, because my quick tongue is a huge problem, I’m going to attempt the book of James!

I’ve loved reading everyone’s thoughts. I wish you all a wonderful Christmas.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Killing Sin: Our Own Power, Or God's Power?

My thoughts for chapter 5 of "Overcoming Sin & Temptation" are very short. The whole of Psalm 78 is filled with history of God's people rebelling, receiving punishment and returning to God. Owen quotes verses 32-37, a good summary of the Psalm.

I think the verses that follow Owen's quote (vs. 38-42) add important meaning:
    "Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity
    and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often
    and did not stir up all his wrath. He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again. How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved him in the desert! They tested God again and again and provoked the Holy One of Israel".

We will never successfully mortify any sin in our lives unless we have a good sense of the holiness of God against which to contrast our sinful nature. Without that we done as Owen's sinner;

    " his former iniquity he has added cursed hypocrisy, and is now on a safer path to hell than he was before. He has got another heart than he had, that is more cunning; not a new heart, that is more holy".

Friday, December 07, 2007

Sin and Temptation Chapter 4

I started this chapter several times before I began to get understanding of it. I was only able to complete my reading this morning after putting all my real-life distractions to rest.

As one who maintains a large garden, I appreciated Owen's gardening analogy and have used that in the past though not as richly as Owen. I think of this year in particular when I was called to my mom's home to assist her after a fall which left her with a severely broken arm. After 4 weeks away from home, I returned to a garden in which I literally could not find half of the food-bearing plants! Though my husband was applying water he was unable to attend to the unwanted plants, thus only half the job was done. Weeds grow faster than fruiting plants and move in quickly for the kill. How like the sin in our lives; it is much harder work to kill the sin than to fill ourselves on the richness of God's word to make ourselves feel spiritual. And how quickly sin will choke out true spiritual fruit.

I chose this quote as a highlight of the week's reading: "Men that are sick and wounded under the power of lust make many applications for help; they cry to God when the perplexity of their thoughts overwhelms them, even to God do they cry, but are not delivered; in vain do they use many remedies--" How often do we hear of believers crying out to God for relief of sin's consequences without doing any work to destroy the sin in themselves? They attend church and Bible studies. They read self-help books, they seek counseling, they join support groups and may even take medication; joy and peace still elude them. In Psalm 66 the writer speaks of praising God for His great deeds; in verse 18 we read, "If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened."

This week's concept seems to come back to the simple statement "Be killing sin or it will be killing you."