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::Devotional:: ‘Taking Action Against Our Sin’

December 10, 2009

Forgiveness is a pillar in the Christian life.  We have been forgiven our trespasses in sin through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and we are called to forgive others in the same way as well.  Continually through our lives we will face a struggle with sin and 1 John 1:9, will become our anchor point.  Yet it is often very tempting to think that our constant struggle with certain sins, over and over again, is something that is just part of life.  We sin, we are sorrowful and we confess, we ask forgiveness, and then right around the corner we are back in it again.  Well, to a certain degree I think that can be chalked up to the power sin holds on us but then the rest of the responsibility falls on us.  Sometimes we fall right back into those sins because although we have confessed our sins and have been forgiven for them, we have not taken action against our sin.

We saw yesterday that Ezra came face to face with one of the great and repeated sins of Israel and it brought him to a deep repentance before the Lord.  Their sin was intermarriage with other people groups who did not worship God.  This would eventually cause them to forsake the Lord as it had time and time again in the history of the nation.  It was one of their biggest struggles.  However, this time the nation took action against their sins.

Ezra humbly prayed before the Lord that day.

O LORD, God of Israel, you are righteous!  We are left this day as a remnant.  Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in your presence.  Ezra 9:15

As he prayed, many of the guilty came and surrounded him to listen to his prayers and his weeping.  When they heard his prayer they repented and confessed their sin in sorrow.

We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the peoples around us.  But in spite of this, there is still hope for Israel.  Ezra 10:2

Up to this point, all of this sounds very familiar doesn’t it?  Maybe not the story and details of Ezra but the situation with the sin definitely hits close to home for me.  It’s the struggle we often have with that same sin over and over again.  It has been confessed and forgiven more times than we can count, yet it seems like it is always just around the corner waiting to come frustrate us again right?  Why is that?  Well, the easy answer is – that’s the way sin is.  Can we do anything about it?  Absolutely, we can take action against our sin.  Look at what the Israelites did next.

Now let us make a covenant before our God to send away all these women and their children, in accordance with the counsel of my lord and of those who fear the commands of our God.  Ezra 10:3

Repentance, confession, forgiveness, and action or change are absolutely necessary in our struggle with sin.  If the Israelites had stopped with their confession of guilt in Ezra 10:2, chances are nothing would have really changed. However, they took the next step and actually took action against their sin by sending away the foreign women and children so that even if they wanted to continue in that sin, they couldn’t.  We can all learn a lesson from that situation.

I don’t know what sins you deal with on a regular basis, but I know my own.  Although I don’t have a perfect batting average, I’ve taking action against certain sins in my life to stifle their constant and consistent attacks on me.  One of the biggest has been my choice to avoid cable/satellite television because of the content and the loss of precious time that I would spend watching it.  My wife and I have a digital antenna and get a few channels here and there and even the content and loss of time is very tempting with that.  We are dedicated members of Netflix so that we can filter the content of what we watch and we do our best to make sure it is something worth our time and our attention.  

Maybe your struggle isn’t with the television but maybe it is with the Internet?  Pornography? Gossip?  Whatever sin you’re thinking about right now after reading this,you need to take action on it in your life to stifle its attack on you.

-Stay Rooted Col. 2:7-

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