Not long ago, someone asked me a very tough question: “What is the longest you have gone without sinning? A week, a day, an hour?” How can we answer a question like that? If we’re truthful, we might say, “I can’t live a day without sinning.” Or if we look back over the past week, we might see that we haven’t confessed to God even one sin. But we would be fooling ourselves if we said we hadn’t sinned in our thoughts or actions for a week.
As a young man, Robert Robinson (1735–1790) enjoyed getting into trouble with his friends, so the stories go. At age 17, though, he heard a sermon by George Whitefield from Matthew 3:7, and realized his need for salvation in Christ. The Lord changed Robinson’s life, and he became a preacher. He also wrote several hymns, including his best-known “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”
Bill was a friend of mine in semi- nary who had come to Christ out of a blatantly sinful lifestyle. He described it this way: “I was driving down the street drinking a bottle of brandy with another man’s wife at my side. When I saw some Christians on the sidewalk witnessing to passersby about Christ, I drove by and shouted, ‘Fools!’ But only a few weeks later I found myself kneeling in a church and asking Christ to become my Savior and Lord.” Bill’s conversion resulted in his giving up his old ways and experiencing a new life in Christ. It was a life-changing turnaround.
I have a friend who recently underwent a laryngoscopy. I winced as he explained how his doctor took a camera with a light on the end and stuck it down his throat to try to find the cause of his pain.
While waiting at the doctor’s office, I read an article about the importance of freedom of speech. The writer suggested that producing obscene movies and pornography is good because it helps us to see our own potential for evil. He believes that naively thinking we are innocent is worse than knowing about and watching evil.
My father-in-law took a rocky, barren hilltop in Texas and transformed it into a beautiful homesite with a shaded green lawn. After removing thousands of rocks, he added topsoil, planted trees and grass, and kept it watered. Since his death, it has lacked his consistent care. Today when I visit and work around that house, battling the invading thistles, thorns, and weeds, I ponder the state of my own heart.
Little Jeff was trying his best to save money to buy his mother a present. It was a terrible struggle because he gave in so easily to the temptation to buy goodies from the ice-cream man whenever the brightly colored van came through the neighborhood.
Years ago we had a pet raccoon named Jason. One minute he would snuggle up on your lap like a perfect angel and the next he'd be engaged in the most fiendish antics. If unrestrained, he would raid the garbage can or tear up the flowerbed. Although he was a delightful pet, we became increasingly aware that his destructive actions were governed by his wild instincts. Jason would always have the nature of a raccoon, and we had to watch him closely no matter how tame he seemed to be.