Stinky Critters and the Gospel

I have written about the fact that I have begun training for my first 5K event in August, and last week I ran a full 5K route for the first time since my youth. I’ve lost quite a bit of weight in the past few months, and I’ve always wanted to run a 5K. I’m hoping to improve my time between now and August.

From time to time, the unexpected crosses my path as I hit the streets. A few mornings ago, it was a dead critter. I’m not sure what kind of critter. Frankly, a dead critter in your path doesn’t need a species verification.

It smelled bad. It made me, well, get introspective real quick. I did not look forward to getting another glimpse on my way back home.

In the days to come, the varmint was still there (does not speak well of the road crews around here, but I briefly digress). I knew its approximate location, so I knew when to look away. The second or third day passing it was not nearly as bad. It still smelled a little. it was still gross. But I, for lack of a better word, started to get used to it being there, gore and all. In fact, a few days later, it was joined by yet another room-temperature friend. But I had become so accustomed to the first carcass that the second one didn’t bother me nearly as much.

After a while, we as believers are able to stomach our sin pretty well.

If sin in our lives isn’t quickly dealt with, we can get accustomed to its presence, and even justify it to some extent. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says…

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

“If” is an interesting word in this context. Confession of sin is not a given. It is necessary, but not a given. If we are followers of Christ, our sins have been paid in full. But we are still called upon to acknowledge them before our perfect Creator and confess them (1 John 1:9).

But if we do not make confession of sin a practice in our lives, sin becomes easier to stomach. And just as the companion critter was easier for me to stomach after exposure to the first little guy, new sins are easier to stomach if we do not deal with things in a timely fashion.

If we desire the mercy of God, we should be in a constant state of confession and acknowledgement of our failings. A firm knowledge of how wretched we are is a blessed thing, because it bespeaks our need for Jesus and the Gospel.

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