Sin Management

Ephesians 4:17
Put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you (Colossians 3:5).

We once lived across the road from Aman
Nature Park, which was wonderful—except
for the raccoons. Oh sure, they’re fascinating
creatures. But the masklike band of black across their eyes
should have alerted us to one vital detail: Raccoons are
felons in fur. And the scene of the crime was our yard.
When we suspected raccoons of being responsible for
the “disappearance” of two of our cats, not to mention
the complete trashing of our shed, we got our neighbor
to trap them in a cage. He took them to a golf course at
a nearby university where he did landscaping work. He
then set them free in the woods next to the course.

One day he heard the groundskeeper complain about
having to trap so many raccoons. “What do you do with
them?” my neighbor asked. “I take them to Aman Park
and turn them loose,” the groundskeeper replied.
That ironic pest problem reminds me of our sin
problem. We struggle to be good, but we sense that
something is amiss. We seemingly “get rid of” a sin,
only to have it return with a vengeance. It’s like a neverending
game of Whac-a-Mole.

The apostle Paul called us to be different from those
who “live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every
kind of impurity” (Ephesians 4:19). But how do we do
that? Self-effort is doomed to fail. “Let the Spirit renew
your thoughts and attitudes,” he wrote. “Put on your new
nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy” (vv.23-24).
We can’t trap our sin in a cage and then set it free. “Those who belong to
Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His
cross and crucified them there” (Galatians 5:24). The cross of Christ is the only
genuine source of sin management.

—Tim Gustafson

What additional advice about dealing with sin do you find in Colossians 3:1?

How have you been striving to defeat your old habits in your own strength? What will happen if you nail them to the cross?


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