Families, as microcosms of community, show us regularly that we are imperfect people who need a Savior. We cannot hide our selfishness when it shows itself regularly in our intimate interactions. We regularly fail to live up to the standards that God’s holiness requires. Children and parents all fall into the messiness of sinfulness. We argue, we seek our own way, we deceive, and hurt those we love. Our motives betray the selfishness of our heart. We feel guilty and ashamed as we routinely find ourselves tripping over the same sinful habits we repented of last week and wondering how to uproot these behaviors from our lives.
No one is perfect--we all struggle to love each other with the compassion that Christ asks of us. There are sinful behaviors that we should not allow to take root in lives and in our homes. Galatians 5:19-21 cautions us,
“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Sinfulness is dangerous and not something that we should cultivate. We should submit to the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit to uproot the sinful habits in our life.
2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that now that we are a new creation, the old things are supposed to be behind us and we are to become a new creation. As new creatures, God's Spirit empowers us to put aside the sinful practices which trip us up. Let us allow God's Spirit to continue to transform us into his likeness, even while we are still imperfect people in a sinful world. Time spent dwelling with God aligns us with his plan and purpose for our life. The Spirit convicts us and strengthens us to stand up to temptation and navigate the path God has set before us.
In AD 590, the pope consolidated a list of sins down to seven root vices that he saw as stumbling blocks to living the Christian life. His list comprised the attitudes that so often lead to sinful actions. This list is referred to as the seven deadly sins, and it serves as a reminder of the attitudes that so easily entangle us. This list helps us see how the rotten uncleanness of our heart leads to sinfulness in our actions. So what are some of these sinful attitudes that trip us up?
So how do we uproot this sinfulness in our lives and the lives of our families?
It begins with understanding God’s holy standard. Scripture shows us that we have a holy God and that we have all sinned and fallen short of his glory. We may think our sinfulness is not so bad and maybe even better than that of our neighbor, but God tells us in his word that we are broken and in need of his restoration.
When we acknowledge our sin we see our need for a Savior. We humbly approach God with repentance of where we have fallen short of what God desires for us. We cannot heal what we do not acknowledge. Only when sin has been brought out of the darkness and into the light can we repent and find forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." We have assurance that we are pardoned.
Next we invite the Holy Spirit to do its work in our lives. The Spirit produces fruit in our lives when we stay connected to him. Galatians 5 follows the works of the flesh with the work of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law”(Gal 5:22-23). Ask God to set his Spirit loose in your life to cultivate these holy virtues. God can transform our lives and our families by uprooting the sinful attitudes that draw us into sin. Trust him to uproot sinfulness and to cultivate his fruit in the life of your family.
Rev. Dr. Rob Toornstra
Dr. Robert Ritzema