Larry Sheehy-071711Listen to Larry Sheehy read his Thinking of God column.
Every sincere child of God wants to live faithfully before the Lord. But Satan wants us to fail, and is constantly throwing roadblocks in our path. He is a schemer (2 Corinthians 2:11) and a liar (John 8:44), who wants to lead everyone away from the will of God (Revelation 12:9). Since the Garden of Eden, he’s been using the same basic methods to tempt men and women into following him (1 John 2:16). In spite of God’s goodness and longing for fellowship with us (Jn14:23), we – his children – often find it difficult to overcome the desires of the flesh.
But there is hope in God. Through humility and a love for the will of God – among other things – we can conquer Satan. One of the keys to defeating his efforts against us is to hate the sin that threatens us. In some rather picturesque language, one of the Lord’s brothers, Jude, indicates just how hideous spiritual contamination is: “Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear — hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.” (Jude 22, 23)
Jude is trying to encourage these Christians to help others who are facing serious temptations about their faith and lifestyles. He wants them demonstrate mercy toward them. So serious is the situation these others face, Jude seeks to motivate them by pointing out the awful nature of their temptations and sins. Figuratively, even their clothing is ruined by sin!
Now, if we’re encouraged to hate the effects of sin in others by this kind of language, how much more should we despise it in ourselves? (Notice I said we should despise the sin; not ourselves.) The nature and consequences of sin are such that the apostle John warns that we are not to “love the world or anything in the world.” (1 John 2:15)
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews commended Moses because he recognized the treasures of Egypt weren’t worth giving up his relationship with God and his place in God’s plans (Heb.10:26). And don’t forget Jesus’ brief parable of the Pharisee, whose pride blinded him to his own sinfulness (Luke18:11-12). David wrote of the wicked: “There is no fear of God before his eyes. For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin.” (Psalm 36:2)
Do we want to overcome the power of Satan, and serve the Lord faithfully? Then we must detest even the thought of sinning against God. Then we can more easily overcome temptation, and our lives can be a source of glory for the Savior who died to free us from the power of sin.