Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Really Bad Stuff

Usually, when the word sin is mentioned, really "bad" things come to mind. Baby killing, genocide, spousal abuse, stuff like that. Usually, when the word sin is mentioned, a list of "what not to do" comes to mind. 

In a fairly conservative setting, most of those things aren't prevalent issues. Generally, people who have either grown up in the church or who currently belong to it aren't really struggling with why God would call them to give up their practice of serial murder or infanticide, for example. The sad result is that many "church people" thus conclude that God has already saved them from "the really bad stuff." When they worship God on Sunday morning and praise Him for saving them from sin, they think, "Thank you that I don't struggle with those bad things."  

It's true, that to be a Christian-- a follower of Jesus Christ-- is to have been saved from sin. But it's also true that to be a Christian-- a follower of Jesus Christ-- is to experience God's ongoing salvation, and to realize that sin no longer fits into a little black box of things we consider "really bad stuff" that can be tucked neatly away in a closet full of past memories. 

I used to think my obsession with productivity was just my personality. I used to tell myself, "I just do better with structure," or, "I'm just really high strung, I'm just type A, I'm just..." When I praised God for saving me from sin, I would think of the "really bad stuff" I used to do and thank Him for helping me grow out of those patterns. 

In the last few months, I've come to realize that my refusal to trust God with my life is not something to laugh off with a comment about being Type A. It is, in fact, really bad stuff. I've come to realize that when I'm so bent out of shape over which night of the week we should go out to dinner and which night we should stay home to study that I have a hissy-fit in the waiting room of the dentist's office (not like that's ever happened, today...), it's not just a preference for structure. It's idolatry. 

Right now when I praise God for saving me from sin, I think of my anxiety on the way to church. I think of how rude I was to my husband last night when he offered to help me with a project. I think of my fear of the future and my obsession with others' opinions about me. Right now when I praise God for saving me from sin, I think of His ongoing work of uncovering fear, distrust, and idolatry in my life, and for His incredible patience in teaching me, as a Kind and Loving Father, how to live free. 

I'm still thanking Him for saving me from really bad stuff. I'm just learning that His rescue from it goes even deeper than I knew I needed. 

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