Ryan is the Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Hickory, NC. He is the host of the "In The Room" podcast, and the author of 8 Hours, Or Less: Writing Faithful Sermons Faster.  

Killing What's Killing You

Killing What's Killing You

I am terrified of snakes. Not just dangerous snakes, poisonous snakes, or large snakes. I hate all snakes. Before you write this off as a mere phobia, at least part of this fear is founded in the fact that some snakes are legitimately dangerous. The Humane Society reports that hundreds of people have been attacked and at least 12 people have been killed by pet pythons since 1990.  

Here's one sad example. In June of 2010 a Nebraska man took his 9 foot long, 25 pound red-tailed boa constrictor out to show his friend. Tragically, this man’s python attacked and killed him just as he took it from its cage. Can you imagine this? He had undoubtedly done this countless times before. He had raised this snake, handled it, and fed it, but on this day it turned on him and killed him.

There’s an important lesson in this: Some things simply can’t be domesticated. Sure, they may have the appearance of being domesticated - they may appear docile, they may appear under control, but all it takes is a singular moment to be reminded that you have no control of this thing you thought you had tamed. 

This is especially true in our spiritual lives. Too many Christians are trying to domesticate the sin that dwells within them. We sadly believe we have sin locked in a cage. We mistakenly believe we can safely feed and foster it, thinking we have it under our control. All the while we fail to realize that it’s slowly killing our souls. And just like the unexpected attack of a pet python, sin can rear its head and destroy us at any moment.

This is why the Apostle Paul pleaded with Christians to “...put to death the deeds of the body...” (Romans 8:13). Sin is a subversive enemy bent on your total destruction, so Paul called us to kill it. The problem is, too many of us are trying to domesticate the sin God has called us to eradicate. You may be thinking, “I’m not doing that! I’m not trying to domesticate my sin.” Are you sure? Despite what we think, all of us are prone to domesticate sin in one of three ways.

1. We Make Light of Sin

Maybe you’re prone to downplay the destructive nature of your sin. You make light of it, telling yourself, “It’s not that bad. This is just a small sin compared to most. It could be so much worse.” But just because your sin could be worse doesn’t mean it’s not ruining your life. All sin is a soul-stealing problem. What starts “small” can quickly compound into a dominating and deadly problem. Are you making light of the sin in your heart and life? Are you minimizing it, telling yourself it’s not that bad? Understand: the sin you feel pulled to make light of now can quickly morph into a problem of devastating proportions.  

2. We Make Believe About Sin

Maybe you’ve deceived yourself into believing you have the ability to manage your sin. Maybe you live life lying to yourself, “I have this under control! I can stop whenever I want. This is the last time.” But how long can we really tell ourselves this before we face the facts? There is no such thing as mere “sin management.” You are either killing your sin or your sin is killing you. Have you fallen victim to the deceit of your sin? Sin will crush everyone who makes believe they are capable of controlling it.

3. We Make Excuses for Sin.

In my experience, the most common way we seek to domesticate our sin is by making excuses for it. We justify our sin by blaming external factors, most often directing the blame at others. We misdirect responsibility, blaming our parents, our past, or our particular circumstance. At times we even make excuses for our sin by shifting responsibility for it onto God Himself. “If God wanted me to be free from this sin He would deliver me.” The fallen man’s capacity to justify his actions is truly endless. We can blame external factors, we can shift responsibility, and we can point to any number of reasons in order to rationalize our sin, but the truth is, there is simply no excuse. 

Don’t miss this.

Though you may be content to make light, make believe, or make excuses for your sin, God has called you to make war on it.

Your sin is too dangerous to play games with. You can’t coddle what Christ has called you to kill. Aren’t you tired of making light, making believe, and making excuses for your sin? No more games. It’s time to make war. It’s time for you to kill what’s killing you.

Redemption Is Relocating!!

3 Reasons Pastors Need To Be Vulnerable...