Brethren and sisters in Christ, in what part of our body does sin not dwell? Is there any single faculty, or power, or propensity that we have which will not lead us astray if we will let it do so? ~Charles Spurgeon
One morning a few years ago, two cute puppies showed up on our porch. Beside cuddling, feeding, and playing, we spent a good portion of the morning searching for ticks. All I can say is gross! Ticks are terrible little creatures that literally suck the blood out of any living thing. We found about a dozen the first time around, and a couple of them were, let's just say, full!
Tick-picking is not a pleasant experience by any means, but I know the danger ticks pose if they're not removed. When removing them, you must be careful to get the most important part: the head. If not, infection and other problems can occur.
Sin sucks the lifeblood right out of us.
So, very carefully, I searched the puppies to find and remove the ticks. Some had been there awhile, which was obvious because they were easy to see and grab hold of. But some were hidden beneath layers of fur or were small and hard to identify and remove. It wasn't a comfortable time for the pups.
After destroying the ticks and washing my hands thoroughly, I kept thinking about how much the ticks reminded me of sin. Sin is everywhere. It takes root deep within us. It permeates our being; indeed, we were sinful from birth.
Just like the ticks, the more sin we root out of our lives, the more sin we seem to discover still lurking in our hearts. Sin attaches itself to us and won't let go. Unconfessed and unrepentant, sin causes us worry and depression. It hinders our relationship to the Father. It paralyzes us. It sucks the lifeblood right out of us, causing us pain and turmoil of spirit. And if it's not destroyed after being removed, it just attaches itself to us, once again, or to its next closest prey.
Because of Christ's death on the cross for our sins and His triumphant resurrection, we are now free from the death grip of sin's power and penalty.
Removing those ticks reminded me of the way the Holy Spirit gently, but firmly, takes hold of our sin. Sometimes when the Spirit is at work, it's a slow and painful process. We may have struggled with a particular sin so long that it feels like removing part of our body, not just a foreign agent.
As I released each tick's grip on the pups, I spoke soothing words and assured them that everything would be all right. I let them know that I had this thing in my grip now and wouldn't let go until it let go of them. I knew they were better off without those nasty ticks and, slowly but surely, I destroyed them.
Our precious Holy Spirit does the same.
- He convicts, corrects, and teaches us.
- He helps us in our weakness, interceding for us and doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves.
- He comforts us with the certainty of God's love for us in Christ
And when we confess our sins before our gracious and gentle Father, He has promised us forgiveness and cleansing (1 John 1:9). The paralysis and pain of our sin is no longer allowed to plague us. Rather, we are cleansed with the heavenly hyssop of Jesus' blood and washed whiter than snow (Psalm 51:7).
Are you struggling with a sin that, like the ticks, is sucking the lifeblood out of you? What are those deep-rooted sins that seem so hard to remove from your life? Go on a search and destroy mission:
- Confess your sins to your Father.
- Proclaim victory over your sin with a battle cry of repentance toward God.
- Find a trusted sister in Christ with whom you can share your struggles and learn to walk in freedom.
As long as we're in this fallen body, we'll continue to see new areas of sin that need to be battled and rooted out. But through faith in Christ, because of His death on the cross for our sins and His triumphant resurrection, we are now free from the death grip of sin's power and penalty. Every act of repentance and triumph over sin is a cry of victory because we know the One who is destroying our sin completely and soothing us with the certainty of His love.