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The Christian life is like chutes and ladders

22 Jun

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity…so that everyone may see your progress” (I Timothy 4)

A student (background: Assemblies of God) in one of my on-line classes says on the discussion boards:

“I’m ashamed to say that being good is such hard work. Why is being bad so easy? Obviously we all know the answer to that, Satan makes that so easy for us. I wish it was just a little easier to be good. I feel like I do a pretty good job in the majority of my life but there are still some specific things I struggle with every day. Fortunately for us, we keep getting second chances or do-overs and can redeem ourselves.”

I reply: “What a wonderful comment!  Yes, all of us have our own “pet sins” that we struggle against.  As you say, we continue to get mercy from our heavenly Father though – second, third, fourth, fifth chances (70 x 7, didn’t Jesus say?).  When we hear His words of mercy for us poor sinners (He is, after all, only the friend of sinners!), we are strengthened in faith and want to live for Him.  This is not something that we need only when we are initially turned from darkness to light, but consistently, throughout our lives…”

The student continues: “We are all a work in progress and some in different spots along the way and often I feel like I’m living “Chutes and Ladders” taking 3 steps forward and 1 step back.”

Me: “This is a great illustration, and I am now going to start using this.  It is true that we make progress in the Christian life – Paul even writes to the young pastor Timothy to tell him its good when people “see his progress”.  That said, many have observed that as Christians grow, they only see more and more of their sin (for the great infection of original sin permeates us from head to toe)!  Even if we get “victory” in one area, it seems like God opens up more and more doors in our house with skeletons! (and this goes down to the deepest level: our basic motivations, conscious or not).  And here is the real kicker: we don’t finish “Chutes and Ladders” completely until either our deaths, or His return… (see I John 1: “if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves….truth is not in us”).”

It’s not perfect – and I think that we need to be careful about underestimating the sin that dwells within us.  Even if we take steps forward (and sometimes it might be 1 forward and then many backwards!) all of the works God enables us to do are still tainted with our sin.  He provides all the good, we provide all the evil – the unbelief, the selfishness, the disregard for His words…  Yet He still reaches down and brings us up… that we may, like Him, descend to our neighbors into the mud and muck of the fallen world…

UPDATE: if you enjoyed this post, you may like this one as well

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Posted by on June 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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