Spilled Water Glass

The Wrestle With Sin

Nestled in the quaint heart of Ada’s Main Street, a gem of a restaurant beckons, echoing the charm of a bygone era. Its historical allure comes from a building standing since 1918. This establishment once echoed with the whispers of a bustling telephone company. Now, it transforms into a space where time pauses. Guests are invited to relish moments, surrounded by vintage elegance and culinary delight. Fancy, right? This is the common view of Brickhouse. It’s a restaurant in Ada, Oklahoma, offering steak, seafood, and burgers. It boasts an old-timey flair!

But this is not what my wife and I think about when we think of Brickhouse. I’ve visited Brickhouse around 10 times with my children. Every visit results in a spill. Invariably, one child drops a whole glass of water. It has become comical; We prepare the kids with a laugh before dining out. “Keep glasses away from the edge,” we say. Despite our advice, spills happen, baptizing the table anew. Next, we attempted a clever approach with the staff. “Do you guys have lids for these cups?” we inquired. Cups with lids, however, failed to break this comical curse of spilled water. Once, after warning our waiter about our bad luck, an incident occurred. We were nearly done with our meal. Suddenly, I know you will think I’m joking, but the waiter dropped a glass, spilling water all over the table.

The staff and their cups are fine. So are my kids, for that matter. That being said, we still find ourselves in the same situation over and over again. We have all been there before. Not at Brickhouse, perhaps, but we’ve all been where we wonder, “How did I end up here again?” Alcoholics, porn addicts, and even rageful parents find themselves back here, despite doing “all the right things.” The one with rage tries breathing techniques. The alcoholic turns to exercise looking for an outlet. The porn addict installs accountability apps. Yet, somehow, we keep finding ourselves back in the same pit, wallowing in sin that we can’t seem to get free from.

If this describes you, let me give three words of encouragement. First, you are not alone. Many Christians do things they don’t want and can’t seem to do things they know they should. I say that because you need to know that you’re not alone. The Apostle Paul admitted his struggle to perfectly follow God’s commandments (Romans 7:13-20). Paul struggled with sins of commission, such as pride, as noted in 2 Corinthians 12. He also grappled with sins of omission, failing to perfectly fulfill God’s law, by not loving his neighbor perfectly in Acts 15:36-41.

This encouragement alone is not “good news.” What born-again believer wants to make friends with their sin? Christians hate their sin and can be discouraged from hearing that we all fall. This first encouragement is only to offer a therapeutic soothing for those with a sensitive conscience, those who think, “I must be specially broken since I don’t walk in freedom.” For that dear brother and sister, we must remind them: “He knew what he was getting into when he called you.”

Secondly, and hopefully more encouraging, is the promise of sanctification. The doctrine of sanctification means that every Christian is being transformed more and more into the image of Jesus. When we are Jesus’ disciples, we receive and abide in His word; this process of abiding in His word sets believers free (John 8:31-32). Jesus washes His church in the sanctifying power of the word (Ephesians 5:25-26). Jesus sanctifies us in His truth because His word is truth (John 17:17). Why does the word of God work this way? Because the word is living and active, dividing our thoughts and intentions, and exposing them to God’s perfect will (Hebrews 4:12). This exposure and illumination of our heart, in comparison to God’s perfect standards, cleanses us from what we have done, but it also changes our life moving forward (Psalm 119:105). This washing, this sanctifying, is a process, it takes time.

Thirdly, and absolutely the most encouraging, is the promise of glorification. As you and I stare into the scriptures and are washed by the word, we are sanctified. However, one day, we will not be looking into a mirror darkly. One day you and I will stand face to face with Jesus, and when that happens, we will be like Him (1 John 3:2). In our salvation, He saved us from the penalty of sin. In our sanctification, He is continually saving us from the power of sin. But one day, when He comes, He will save us from the presence of sin. The wrestle with sin will be no more; you and I will be perfectly holy as He is holy.

With this hope in mind, can I ask you to live in the light? Beloved, Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay. Don’t play with sin, find a believer, confess your sin, and live in the light. There is freedom in Christ and in his church, but too often the shame of sin keeps us in darkness. Friend, do not live in shame, we have all been there. Just like I tell my kids: “There is nothing wrong with you. You are learning and growing. As you get older and better at the table, you will spill less and less. One day you might not spill at all.

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