Friday, January 12, 2007

SIN 2007: This Time It's Personal

I'm not big on New Year's resolutions. But this year it seems that a series of God's providences have led me to declare my own personal War on Terror, the terror of sin.

What providences? Well, for one, my pastor has been preaching through the book of Hosea for the latter part of 2006 to present. The Lord really used Hosea to denounce Israel's sin. Secondly, the theme for January's edition of "Tabletalk" magazine (Ligonier Ministry's-R.C. Sproul-monthly mag)is, "Mortification of Sin". Third, and most importantly, I have truly noted in myself an insufficient hatred for my own sin. Sure, I regularly confess my sin to the Father; but honestly, I don't always feel the shame and heartbreak that sinning against a Holy, loving and good God should inspire. I genuinely want to see and despise my sin the way God does.

Am I asking for punishment? God forbid! I'm just one for putting one's money where one's mouth is. I also realize that my posts usually deal with the problems I observe in the church today. This time, I'm going introspective. This will be an attempt to remove the "plank" that is in my own eye. Do I expect to stop sinning, like a certain flight attendant turned prophetess claims to have done? No. Am I expecting a certain percentage of "sin reduction"? Not necessarily, how would I calculate that anyway? My goal is to have obedience be more natural for me than sin and to be constantly aware the fact that I do live Coram Deo, before the face of God. I believe that consistent understanding of that fact and complete dependence on the Holy Spirit will cause my sins to be fewer in number. It will also cause my hatred of sin to be greater in intensity.

So, how do I plan to wage this war? Well, borrowing from our nation's war on terror, I have named my plan: "Shock, Awe and Disclosure" (one small disclaimer: I fully understand that I cannot accomplish this goal in my own strength. I am not depending on myself or any "plan" I can conceive. Whatever success that I achieve in this endeavor rests fully on the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. I realize also that sin will not be eradicated until the Lord Jesus comes back for us!).

The "Shock" and "Awe" portions of my plan consist of my focused study of sin itself (its nature, effects, etc.). I will be focusing my Bible reading and study this year on the subject of sin. Armed with my Strong's concordance, I will dissect sin in its every appearance in Scripture. In addition, I will focus my extra-biblical reading on this topic also. To that end I have launched my first salvo with:
Jeremiah Burroughs' "The Evil of Evils", John Owens' "The Mortification of Sin", "The Enemy Within" by Kris Lundgaard and "Grow in Grace" by Sinclair Ferguson. That's two dead guys and two living guys for those of you who are keeping count! This
part of the strategy is the aerial attack. Using God's word we'll strafe the area and force sin out into the open. These bunker-bombs of truth will put the"sinsurgents" on the run.

The "Disclosure" phase of the plan is the most risky part. This is where you, my readers, come in. Your mission, Mr. Phelps should you choose to accept it, is to become my accountability partner. I intend to document the war here in my blog. I will regularly share with you from the battlefront and I invite you to hold my feet to the fire when I screw up. I promise not to be graphic (how embarrassing would that be?), but I will reveal in general terms where I've dropped the ball and I will solicit your prayers and Godly advice. I repeat, GODLY advice! I won't be doing any "hail Marys", praying toward the East or "karma" balancing acts!

I'll consider you guys my Special Forces.

At this point, I feel compelled to quote (albeit tailored to this particular situation) John Belushi's great monologue from that epic motion picture, "Animal House": ". . . Over! Over! Was it 'over' when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Nothing's 'over' until we say it is . . . Lying, he's a deadman! Stealing, dead! Cheating, dead! Lust . . ."

Otter (Tim Matheson): "Dead! Bluto is right. We've gotta take these guys. Now, a conventional war could take years and cost millions of lives. No, what this situation absolutely requires is that a stupid and futile attempt be made on someone's part. And we're just the guys to do it!"

Good luck, Jim. As always if you or your team are compromised we will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This post will self-distruct in five seconds.

B. L. B. B.
(Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!!)


Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say there are some prophecying gloom and doom, e.g. Jim Bakker, Kim Clement, and some other guy whose name I don't recall, but is very well known, whom I saw on a tv. show I don't normally watch about prophecy.
All of these folk prophesied, apparently, about Hurricane Katrina and some other things. At least that's the word.

Keith L. Tolbert said...

I believe Pat Robertson made some vague prediction about a tsunami striking the northeast in 2006. He claimed that the severe flooding in the New England area last year was the fulfillment of this prophecy. Questionable. No doubt some of the so-called prophets have made predictions of calamities in general, with less than a biblical success rate. Deuteronomy 18 requires a 100% success rate for a prophecy to be a true prophecy of God. 100% accurate, 100% of the time.

My point of this blog is that at New Years most of these guys make glowing promises of riches and well-being for folks who have been had the promises made over and over again. And said promises are never specific to anyone in particular. They are always a general predeiction, like a horoscope which can generally apply to various people. Like mud against a wall.