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22 February 2010

staying clean

Imagine a 10- or 11-year-old boy who does his best to stay clean. To that end, even though it's summer break he decides that he won't play outside or do anything that will cause him to get sweaty or dirty. He's very diligent about this, and for a week and a half he sticks to the plan, not venturing into the yard at all, but staying in the house without doing anything physically taxing.


But during that week and a half, he doesn't take a bath or a shower because he's been doing his best to stay dirtless and assumes that there's really no need.

How do you suppose he's going to look and smell? No matter how unsullied he's attempted to keep himself, he's still going to have accumulated some not-so-good odors, his hair will probably be greasy, and though his attempt was valiant and long-lasting, he will have been unsuccessful.

Just as the avoidance of doing dirt-collecting things isn't enough to keep a kid from stinking, the simple avoidance of wrongdoing by a Christ-follower isn't enough to live in obedience to Christ. "Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it." (James 4:17, NLT)

Paul wrote, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:21, NASB) An integral part of not being overcome by sin is to overcome evil by doing good.

3 comments:

Tony M said...

Once, in a devotional for a JV group, I realized (and wrote), based on a passage in 1st (I think) Peter (can't recall specifically at the moment) that if you spend your time and effort striving to focus on just that, doing good, being obedient - you won't even have to think about "avoiding sin" - don't concentrate on the avoidance and the "bad" - instead, concentrate on the doing and the "good" and the bad won't even have time to cross your mind.

The best way to avoid sin is by being obedient to God - I know that sounds overly simple, but the implied corollary is that focusing on the good causes the bad to fall away by default.

Wish I still had that devotional - it's probably somewhere in my myriad misplaced files on my computer at home.

Dean Lusk said...

I think I remember that one. Seems like you and I discussed it via e-mail. Honestly, that's sometimes not an easy task! The flesh wars with the spirit even when we're walking in obedience.

Christy said...

I don't have to "imagine" the 10-year old boy who doesn't do bathe for a week. :/ (Shhhh! Don't tell on me for saying this)

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