Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 14, 2019
And when Israel became strong, they put the Canaanites under forced labor, but they did not drive them out completely. Judges 1:28
Though it doesn’t resolve all of the questions that arise with some of the more difficult parts of the Old Testament, I have found the way early Christians read these texts to be incredibly helpful. For example, rather than dismiss these texts as entirely irrelevant on the one hand, or on the other hand as permissive of things like genocide in our own day, they quickly saw that, for the Christian, our battle is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12), but against the very forces of sin and evil that threaten to steal our hope, joy, and peace.
As the author of Hebrews reminds us, we are meant to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles” (Hebrews 12:1). And while we hate to admit it, each of us is entangled in sins that keep us captive and inhibit us from running the race of faith with freedom and perseverance. We are entangled in our quest for power and significance in our jobs, believing a higher paycheck or position will bring greater meaning and purpose. We are entangled in our desire to be respected and admired, believing additional letters after our names somehow deepens our sense of worth. We are entangled in our love of comfort and entertainment, believing we’re entitled to a life of indulgence and excess and to deny ourselves any creature comforts is to be relegated to a cruel and intolerable existence.
As such, we rarely do the hard work to truly disentangle our hearts and lives from these worldly passions. We may cut the weeds back, but as my father taught me as a kid, unless you pull them up by the roots they’ll just come right back. This was Israel’s great failure. As they grew in strength and power, rather than driving idolatry out of their land completely and thoroughly, they “cut it back”, letting it persist. The Canaanites were placed under forced labor, but allowed to linger.
Is there sin in your life that you’ve placed under forced labor that the Lord wants you to completely drive out? Do you fear what your life will be like without that quick hit of affirmation or self-validation? Do you fear loneliness and isolation so much that the empty lies of pornography feel safer than the harder path to sexual freedom and true relational intimacy?
Before you can move forward, you have to secure the freedom the Lord won for you. You must contend with all your might to finish the job and put sin to death. Do not let it linger. Unacknowledged and unrepentant sin does not lie dormant- it always grows. By God’s grace, have the courage to kill it completely before it kills you.
“Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
Father, help me to thoroughly and completely seek to eradicate patterns of sin and brokenness in my life so that I may be truly free to pursue you with all that I have. Amen.
In your spiritual life, what job have you left half-finished that needs to be seen through to the end?
Unacknowledged and unrepentant sin does not lie dormant- it always grows. By God’s grace, have the courage to kill it completely before it kills you. #wisdomhunters #finishthejob #truth #Jesus
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