Controlling Sins; September 21, 2019

Psalm 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word;
let no sin rule over me.

Psalm 119 bears a lot in common with the book of Proverbs, because it has a lot of pithy one-liners, and this is certainly one of those. I think everyone knows at least one person who is controlled by a particular sin – and that person may be us! At the moment, one of the most visible and vocal movements in the United States is the “LGBTQ” movement, which is made up of people who choose to be defined by their devotion to a particular activity that is in clear violation of Scripture. Whether their sexual preferences are innate or not is beside the point. All sexual activity outside of monogamous natural marriage has a negative impact on us and is therefore forbidden by God. For that matter, plenty of people allow heterosexual sin to rule over them! And that is just what seems most obvious. Lots of people are controlled by greed, and Paul said that is equivalent to idolatry. (Colossians 3:5) And of course, that is closely related to gluttony and sloth, which are more “socially acceptable” sins. We all stumble at times, but there is a big difference between occasional stumbling and being ruled by sin. None of us likes to think of ourselves as being ruled by sin, but we need to take an honest look in the mirror and allow the Holy Spirit to shine His light on areas we tend to overlook. The Psalmist is quite right in asking God to make his steps certain according to His Word, because the Bible is always a sure guide when the devil is clouding our minds.

In my own experience, pride has been a sin I have allowed to control me. It wasn’t that I went around with my nose in the air, it was that I was convinced I was better in many ways than those around me, and God loved me for that reason. That twisted all sorts of things in my life, blinding me to God’s truth that was available to set me free from the traps of the devil. (John 8:32) It was subtle enough that I didn’t know I was being controlled, and that was the most dangerous part of it. External sins are a little more easy to notice! As a pastor, I need to be available for the Holy Spirit to use me in opening people’s eyes to how they are being deceived, but I must not try to do it in my own strength and wisdom, because I have none. When I condemn someone, the probability is high that I have a related weakness in my own heart and life. I am to speak the truth in love, never condoning but always extending God’s grace and mercy.

Father, thank You for this. It’s a big one! We know so many who are so badly deceived in various ways. May Your truth indeed flow through us in love to set them free, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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