What Sin Does
It struck me recently that sin is both a cause and an effect of self-centeredness.
I was in a bit of a funk today. I won't give you details, but I was sure in a sour mood. I made some dumb mistakes lately that have caused undue strife in my life with my wife (go figure, that rhymes!) and was letting my awareness of my frailty absorb all my focus.
I went to the barbershop today and, while waiting for my barber to finish with her customer, all I could think about was the messed up situation I got myself into. But then I overheard their conversation. From what I heard, it sounded like he was in the middle of a break-up, and was only going to see his kid once a week.
Immediately I was snapped out of my funk. I realized that despite my own sins, there is still a hurting world out there in need of a Saviour. I realized that if I allow myself to direct all my attention inward, I'll be a pretty pathetic witness to the transformative power of Christ.
People, listen up: sin is the snare that keeps on snaring. It's like drinking salt water: you get thirstier and thirstier but all you can do is keep drinking it, until you die. Jesus came to give us Living Water, and by God, am I thirsty for it. This water satisfies infinitely; it cleanses us and washes our impurities away.
So I resolve to direct my attentions heavenward, and to those around me. This is the model of Christ on the cross - he lifted up his head to drink the sour wine, to give out a loud cry. He stretched out his arms to the world around him. John 19:30 says that he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. I think the order of those two events is important. It's not that Jesus fought against his approaching death and finally couldn't muster the strength. He didn't die, then have his head uncontrollably drop. He bowed his head - which I postulate could represent a form of inward attention - and willingly died. If sin is putting oneself first, and if Christ - sinless himself - took all our sin upon himself, then in that moment when the God-man absorbed our selfishness, we can see the effects of death.
But even in death Jesus is stronger than death. His act of dying was a willful giving up of his spirit - even the weight of all humanity's sins cannot kill him. When U.S. Navy SEAL Michael A. Monsoor threw himself on a grenade in Iraq on Sep. 29, 2006 to save his comrades, it was an act of noblest heroism and selflessness. Sadly, Monsoor was killed. [May God grant you eternal peace, sir.]
Happily, Christ gave up his spirit. He threw himself on the timebomb we had constructed ourselves, knowing that only he could overcome the consequences.
The next time you believe the lie that you can't be a good Christian because of your sinfulness, think of Christ's sacrifice. Think of how his heart burns for his lost sheep. You are his last, best hope for getting the good news of his love out there! Do not believe the lie that you're not good enough. If you and I are good enough for GOD to DIE FOR, then dammit, we're good enough for anything!