Reading through the Bible together
As a boy of about 9 years old, I decided one day to confront sin head on. I was tired of getting into trouble. I didn’t like being disciplined and felt bad having to seek forgiveness. So I resolved not to sin for 24 hours.
The day started out fine. For once I didn’t sound angry when Dad woke me up for breakfast. I uncomplainingly slurped down my oatmeal. But little sister didn’t help matters when she started to tease me at the table. But I quickly put her in her place by telling her, “Be mean if you want, it’s not going to work. Today I’m not going to sin.”
Two minutes later my sister, tears streaming down her cheeks, ran to find Mom. “Mommy, Mommy! Andy hit me!” What happened was that as soon as I had revealed my sin-free plan, a gleam had appeared in my sister’s eye and she had taunted me as the biggest sinner of all brothers. I had remained strong and controlled until she had walked around the table and gently poked me with an annoying finger. The physical contact had caused me to lash out with my little fist and hit her.
A spanking inevitably followed. But the physical pain hurt less than the disappointment when my mother and I knelt down to ask God to forgive me. I hadn’t even made it through breakfast before I had sinned. Why?
Jeremiah gives us the answer: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil” (13:23, NKJV).
Born with a natural inclination to sin, it is as impossible for us to do good as it is for an Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots. But the same God who created the Ethiopian and the leopard also made me, and He can change my sinful heart. “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” the Lord asked Abraham in Genesis 18:14. Of course not! “For with God nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1:37).
Prayer: “Dear God, I acknowledge that my natural inclination is to sin. That’s why I need You so badly today. Change my heart to be like Yours and align my natural inclinations with Yours. I do want to do good. Amen.”
Journalist in Russia.