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Scraping Your Knees on a Sidewalk

You can murder with your words. You can sleep with her in your mind. You can gossip in your heart. Or have an affair with your eyes. You can worship your commitments. You can lust over something your neighbor has. You can rage in your car. And you can start to think that porn is worth it. You can be overtaken with arrogance. You can be greedy with things you didn’t pay for. You can harbor bitterness in the name of “not trusting her again”. You can fail and you know you have.

There are close to 7 billion people living on this planet and not a single one can boast that they’ve lived perfectly, never messed up. But what determines, if anything, whether or not something is wrong or right? Who is to say that there aren’t people out there who have lived perfectly? What is perfection? And what is not?

Most of your friends would say it’s absolutely wrong to take the life of another human. Some of your friends would say it’s wrong to sleep with whoever you want, whenever you want. But only a few of your friends would say it’s wrong to deceive someone, no matter what the circumstances. The question is then, what makes something right or wrong? Something has to, doesn’t it? Yet all of the people you walk past on the street see “good” and “bad” on different levels than everyone around them.

Welcome to 2010. This debate has been raging in the classrooms of our universities for over 30 years now. One side has all but declared victory – they say we must search out our own truth and make our own rules for living. After all, there is nothing greater than humanity, so we are god. You are god. Everybody is god. So you can make your rules for living, and I will make mine. There is no universal standard, they say, for how we should live.

It’s the middle of the night and you’re still awake. You can’t stop thinking about what you’ve done. You feel weak and tired from your own stupidity. How could you let this happen? You swore it would never come to this. You can’t shake the feeling that you’re a fraud. You can’t change the subject in your mind. You’re becoming convinced that something deep inside you is desperate to get out of this life you’ve manufactured for yourself. You know with everything in you that you are not set right – and in those moments you wish you were. You’ve heard people talk about “sin” and how humanity is flawed, but they have just been words until now.

Simply stated, the flaw in humanity is that each of us has consciously chosen to live in contrast to the words of God. And since God’s words bring life, disobeying those words brings death. The sting of coming to grips with that is like scraping your knees on the sidewalk. Every time we fall it is a blatant power play, suggesting that our philosophy on life makes more sense than following the teachings of Jesus. It’s like saying, “God, I think you are a liar. If we eat from this tree we will not surely die”. Every other philosophy on how we should live falls short because Jesus alone has the unique position of holding all things together, so He knows how everything is supposed to work and what the result of misusing His creation will be. He knows all about your struggle with addiction. He knows what went wrong in your parents’ relationship. He knows what hating someone will eventually do to your own heart. He understands the full impact your hope-filled words will have on your friends. And He knows you.

Maybe you’ve never been told this before, but you don’t have to live this way. Better yet, you were never intended to live this way. Thank God, we don’t have to anymore. 

Through what Jesus did in His death and resurrection, you can now live the way you were supposed to, the way you want to – the right way. Don’t miss out on living the most amazing existence you can imagine by accepting the free gift of redemption from the fall. In baptism, you identify yourself with the death and resurrection of Jesus. You proclaim that you want to be forgiven, you want this new way of living, you want His spirit, and you want to live for His purpose. Only after this can you help God put the world back together.  And that’s exactly the opportunity Jesus gives you. He wants you back. He wants to put His spirit inside you so you can know the best possible way to live and to work alongside Him as He makes all things new!

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