Stopping a Sin in Midair
How to Stop a Sin in Midair
Do you possess the superpower to stop a sin in midair?
While it’s only Jesus’ work on the cross that makes me ”sinless,” I’ve recently learned that suffering can help me ”sin less.”
Last year, within the span of ninety days, I underwent six back surgeries to remove hardware that pulled out and to clear residual infections. I also had to deal with blood clots, an inability to speak or eat, pneumonia, near kidney failure, and a brush with death. After a three-month recovery in the hospital, I finally returned home where I diligently worked on rehab, expecting my former physical strength to return.
Instead, this past year has only provided continued pain when walking, kidney stones, lithotripsy, sepsis, a stent insertion into an artery leading to the heart, shingles, and bouts with other viruses and infections.
These trials, however, have made me painfully aware of two things that I, unknowingly, bring with me into suffering – a subtle belief that I deserve to experience the level of health I’ve always had, and the sense that my identity is forged in the furnace of my accomplishments.
Paul David Tripp, in his book, Suffering, points out how trials, temptations, and suffering encourage us to embrace the lies of the fallen world in which we live. He dubs two of these lies as:
1) the myth of invincibility and
2) the lie of production.
When I consume these lies and make them part of my belief system, I sin.
I sin when I feel sorry for myself because I think I should bounce back after each physical failure. After all, don’t I have the right to feel as good as I did before the trauma and illnesses occurred? And I sin when I give in to feeling frustrated with God. Doesn’t He care that these continued trials put a dent in my productivity?
In Scripture, sin means ”to miss the mark.” But I can hit the bullseye of God’s will for my life, I can stop a sin in midair, when, in His power, I identify and exchange the lies of the world for the truth of His Word.
First, to challenge the myth of invincibility, I’m reminded that God doesn’t promise us a perfect, pain-free body. Instead, His Word reminds us that we live in a fallen world. Romans 8:21-23 confirms this. “…the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies” (New International Version).
Second, when tempted to find my identity and value in the amount of work I accomplish, I can exchange that lie with the truth that, in Him, I have already been made complete (Colossians 2:10). I need to also remember that my competency comes from Him, not from myself (2 Corinthians 3:5-6).
This past year of suffering has helped me realize that it’s only when, in the power of the Holy Spirit, I challenge the world’s lies with His truth that I experience the superpower to stop sin in midair. How about you?
”Oh, Lord, instead of allowing the lies of this fallen world to influence my thoughts, I ask your Holy Spirit to transform my mind into alignment with the mind of Christ. I see that suffering, trials, and temptations help expose the world’s lies that I might embrace. When they enter my life, I choose to accept them as gifts that, in your power, will produce a life-faith of endurance. The kind of faith you honor. One that produces endurance and a sure hope, continually pressing me closer to you.”
Scriptures I’m Camping On
“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.”
Psalm 19:14, King James Version
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”
Romans 12:1-3, New American Standard Bible
“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives (abides) forever.”
1 John 2:15-17, NASB
“For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
1 Corinthians 2:16, English Standard Version
“Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.”
2 Corinthians 3:5
“…and in Him you have been made complete…”.
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”
James 1:2-4, The Message Bible
“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Romans 5:3-6, NASB
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Hebrews 12:1-3, NASB
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.”
Hebrews 6:19-20, New International Version
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.”
John 15:4, NASB
“…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death…. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:10-14, NASB