My morning read the other day was from James Bryan Smith in his book Hidden In Christ. It was about putting sin to death. To mortify it. He gave the example of the swimsuit addition from a very popular sports magazine. Guessing you all know that one. He talked about his guilty conscience with it as a young kid before he knew Christ. Then as he gave his life to Christ, the struggle became greater. He struggled for years whether to look or just throw it away. Finally he put the temptation to look away and walked straight to the trash bin and put that sin to death.
He also gave another example of a teacher and her struggles with gossip in the teacher’s lounge. She worked to mortify that sin by redirecting the conversations if it turned to gossip. If the redirecting didn’t work, she would leave the lounge. She was fleeing from her temptation thus putting sin’s temptation to death.
So I got to thinking about my sin as I like to self reflect and challenge myself with Jesus during my morning devotion. Quickly anger came to mind. If you know me, I’m pretty chill but every once in a while I explode and it’s usually my kids and their fighting that cause the volcano to erupt. But when they are fighting I can’t exactly throw them in the trash, I can try redirecting which rarely works and then I can’t just walk away while it escalates into something bigger. So I was stumped for a while on how to put this sin of anger to death.
Then He brought Ephesians 4:2 to mind. Humble, gentle, patient. I can flee this sin and put anger to death in this situation by putting on the armor of God - His word. By simple training myself to say a quick “breath prayer” it will slow my heart enough, fix my eyes on Jesus, and see the situation as a teaching moment to mold their hearts a little more. And you know what, most of the time this works.
Not all the time... then in those instances, I just throw them in the trash.
But think about this. We all struggle with sin in our life. But it’s how we deal with our sinful desires that form us into who we are. Do we tempt the waters? Sin a little and then ask for forgiveness and just rely on the grace of God? Or do we flee from these moments, the temptations and shift our focus and heart to God.
My challenge to you is to be honest with yourself. We are a work in progress. But we need willing hearts for the change to happen.