Thursday, December 9, 2010

Clipping weeds or digging out roots?

I ran across Gen. 18:15 this morning and noticed that it was another case of "the sin beneath the sin."
The LORD said, "I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son." And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him.  Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah.  So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, "After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?"  The LORD said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh and say, 'Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?'  Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son."  But Sarah denied it, saying, "I did not laugh," for she was afraid. He said, "No, but you did laugh." (Genesis 18:10-15, ESV, emphasis mine)
Some sins tend to be pregnant, frequently giving birth to other sinful progeny.  In Sarah's case, fear gave birth to denial (i.e. a lie).  Fear was the sin beneath the sin (of lying).  Take away: Strike at the root and the weeds die above ground.
Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God. (John 12:42-43, ESV, emphasis mine)
It looks on the surface like fear of man was their issue.  But Jesus got underneath their fear and showed that their loves determined their fears.  Why did they fear the Pharisees and fear being put out of the synagogue?  Because they loved the glory (i.e. praise, approval, acceptance) that comes from man.  What they loved determined what they feared.  And don't miss that it works both ways.  If we love the glory that comes from God, then we will fear displeasing him more than displeasing people.

In your fight against sin, are you clipping dandelions or digging out roots?

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