January 11, 2013 - Sin at the Point of Our Strength?
By Jerry D. Scott
Most of us fear our weaknesses, well aware of the vulnerability to temptation found there. But did you ever consider it is quite possible to sin at the point of your strength?
As disciples, we may sin most in our area of spiritual gifting! I am, by God's gifting, a person who sees the way ahead and devises strategies to get people there. When those abilities are offered to the Lord, in submission for His glory, they allow me to serve His people well and to know great fulfillment. But if I allow pride to get in the way, those very gifts become sources from which sin grows in my life. It becomes more important to have my own way than to wait patiently for the will of God!
I'll give you two examples from my own life.
I once unloaded frustration on a good friend about all of the things in my life I did not think were proceeding according to plan. His gentle rebuke slapped me back to humility and reality. He said something like, "It would be so much easier and better if everyone just did what you wanted them to do, right?"
On another occasion, after two sleepless nights in the hospital from postsurgical pain and somewhat deranged by medication, I began to punch my pillow with anger I would not express in words. I despised the dependence that held me like a man in handcuffs! That night the Lord's Spirit whispered to my heart, "How can I comfort you if you will not trust Me with the details of this situation which you cannot manage?"
Let me expand this idea further. Those with gifts of compassion may find themselves refusing to "tell the truth in love" because they desire to be loved more than they want to help others change. Those who are gifted to teach may come to love ideas more than the One who is eternally Wise. Those with creative artistic gifts may prioritize creating something novel to fulfill their own goals rather than using their music or art or writing to draw people to the beauty of the Lord. Those who are gifted to serve may come to love the work more than the One served.
We live in a culture that teaches us to respect ourselves, to assert ourselves — which is a good thing, but how quickly healthy self-esteem flows into selfish pride. The wisdom of God's Holy Word urges us to a better choice. Take a look.
"God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life — your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life — and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you" (Romans 12:1,2, The Message).
— Jerry D. Scott is senior pastor at Faith Discovery Church (Assemblies of God) in Washington, N.J.