Whereas I had not thought about my legacy, I have thought about destroying my reputation. When my dad was in his middle 70’s and we were praying together, he said “Lord, take me before I do something really stupid!” I am quite sure that all of us who knew him would agree: “He ran the only race worth running. He ran hard right to the finish, he believed all the way. All that’s left now is the shouting – God’s applause! Depend on it, he’s an honest judge.” — II Timothy 4:7-8 The Message, adapted by me
I look at the lives of King David, King Solomon, Judas, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, some pastors… all sinned, big time. Sinfulness surrounds me: sex/ pornography, love of money, ego, lying, deceit. I see people I think are solid in the Lord… and then… slowly… they seem to stop. These were not young men! They all knew better! And when they sinned, the ripple effect was huge, on their families and others who knew them or knew about them.
I Corinthians 10:13 confirms what the news media tells me. Every human being, including Adam and Eve, are tempted to disobey God. Satan is alive and well, and effectively deceives us into sinning. But, if I finish the verse, I realize that if I sin, it is my own fault! The verse continues: “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
If Chief Chuck has an affair, gets a divorce, gets caught stealing, or lying, or being deceitful – if Chief Chuck becomes an alcoholic or uses drugs, and this becomes known, the sadness, disillusionment for my family, Deerfoot campers and their families would be huge. Particularly because I frequently said at DL, live your life so it can appear on the front page of a newspaper.
The sins mentioned above are unacceptable to the Christian, and to some degree, the non-Christian world. Do them and the ripple effect is huge. But there is another group of sins that are tolerated by us Christians…because “we all do them.”, but this does not change the fact that they are sin. We can commit many of these sins in our minds – and no one else knows. These sins negatively affect our relationships with other people, and, apart from Jesus Christ, build a barrier between us and God.
I know that frequently I do not live the fruit of the spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22
I know that I do not consistently demonstrate love: “love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Yes, I live with my sinfulness. I have chosen not to ignore these sins in my own life – I want to change. But old patterns are hard to change!
Fortunately Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
On the basis of what I have experienced, I must celebrate the reality of God. I find it incredible that God continues to use me for His glory.
I serve a risen Savior!