My wife Mary and I were sitting on the couch watching TV. I snuggled up and smelled her hair. It was like walking through flower a garden.
Then I moved a little and got a whiff of my own fragrance, or should I say stench, okay we’ll settle on smell. Woof! I was not smelling good. I told her that she smelled like the flowers and I smelled like the soil.
It was just before bed time so I chose to shower but I didn’t prepare very well. I got a towel and under garments but I didn’t grab any fresh pajamas. After I got out and dried off, I had to dress in last nights jammies. It had been warm I get sweaty at night. Sure, I had showered but all I had to wear was my used sweaty pajamas. What good did it to to shower and put on dirty clothes?
I kept thinking about how this situation and started thinking that this seemed familiar. Being clean, but having to put on unclean things. How many times have I done the same thing with my sins? I repent and confess and then go right back to my old ways. How long will it take till I’m stinky again? Or how long will it take until my patterns of life lead me back into sin?
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:1-2 – NIV
I need to break free from the patterns of this world.
In my morning reading I read Exodus 19. It is a little out of the ordinary but in it, God tells his people to wash their clothes and consecrate themselves in preparation for meeting him.
“And the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes and be ready by the third day, because on that day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. After Moses had gone down the mountain to the people, he consecrated them, and they washed their clothes. Then he said to the people, “Prepare yourselves for the third day. Abstain from sexual relations.” On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently. As the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him.”
Exodus 19:10-11,14-19 – NIV
The washed clothes, I almost missed that. Clean clothes and a consecrated heart. They even abstained from sex. They set their heart right, cleaned their external appearance and set aside marital relations just to be ready to meet God. They changed the habits of their lives.
Our sins can only be washed away in the precious blood of Jesus. His sacrifice is the only thing that can make us clean. However, we are responsible for our actions, our habits and hangouts. Jesus blood won’t necessarily change our surroundings. Repentance means a change of direction and will sometimes require a change of location and/or of activities.
2 Corinthians chapter 5 says this about our new clean life.
“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”
2 Corinthians 5:16-21,6:2 – NIV
Sometimes when I have confessed a failure and repented the desire to repeat the sin is also removed but most of the time I would say it is not. My sin nature usually continues to want what it wants. Then enters my choice. Will I choose to alter my life so that I am less likely to be tempted?
Here is an example. As a diabetic I have to be diligent with my diet. The food I put in my mouth is always my choice. If I get week and have a candy bar at home I can toss the rest of the candy out and not be tempted. However if I am in the candy aisle at the grocery store and I fail and eat one, Even if I repent and say I won’t have another I will be surrounded by temptation. My best plan of action is to leave the store(after paying for what gobbled up). So it is with life. I can’t surround myself with temptation and expect to not fail.
This has been a long post to say something short and sweet, once clean, don’t put on the stinky pajamas. Meaning, if I have been forgiven and cleansed of my sin, I can help my self by setting out new pajamas, new habits, new routines, new ways of living life that keep me away from temptation.
If I am diabetic, i should Stay out of the candy store, or at least the candy aisle. I still want the candy in the candy aisle. Change may not be overnight. It may take me years to reduce my cravings and gain control. We are all spiritually diabetic. We have a sin condition that makes us want what isn’t good for us. God will help us, but he won’t do it for us. He paid for our sins and now we must begin the journey to spiritual maturity so that we begin to be able to say no to temptation. To walk free.
My post is not intended to burden anyone with guilt or shame but to show to the way to an escape ladder out of temptation or at least make us aware of the process to find the escape.
Jesus understands our weaknesses.
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are —yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
Hebrews 4:14-16 – NIV
Another encouragement: “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
1 Corinthians 10:13 – NIV
To sum up I say this to myself; Put out fresh pajamas, don’t go down the candy aisle, don’t walk into temptation but if you are there, look for the escape.