Saturday, February 8, 2014

Stop signs and green lights

The Bible provides a big stop sign for our natural, sinful human tendencies. Stop sinning! Stop worrying! Stop rebellion! Stop complaining! Stop envying! Stop immorality, jealousy, lying, cheating! The list seems to go on and on. A quick journey through the Bible provides so many commands to stop it can leave the reader seeing nothing but a field of red, hexagon signs mixed in with some bright red flashing lights just in case you missed the message. Do not go another step forward. Immediately halt the ways of man. 
1 Corinthians 15:34 puts it this way, "Come back to your sense as you ought and stop sinning" Well that makes it pretty clear, doesn't it? Put on the brakes; put it in park. Walk away from the vehicle. Leave behind the sin. But where do you go? 
Once you throw off the sinful nature of gossip, lying, complaining, envying, drinking, slandering, cheating, worrying, and (insert sin here), what do you replace it with? If these are common practices in our lives and we remove them all we are essentially a car without an engine. Existing, taking up space but at a loss of how to get anywhere. 
You have to get a new engine. 
The words and deeds that once characterized the sinful behavior must be replaced with words and deeds that are in obedience to God. The Bible provides plenty of stop signs, but it also gives us green lights, too. He demands that we cast off our acts and thoughts rooted in hatred and exchange them for unconditional love. Our immorality must be traded in for honesty and integrity. Our worries laid down at the feet of Jesus so that we can put on peace. 
Before we can go forth in obedience we have to put a stop to our sin. We will never be able to walk in the ways of the Lord if we are still operating with sinful tendencies behind the wheel. Hebrews 12:1 say, "Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles." Sin stands in our way of obedience. The two simply cannot coexist. It is as fundamental and straightforward as that. When we open our Bibles and look face-to-face with truth, we cannot escape the fact that we must first put a stop to our old ways before we can walk in His ways and truly live a life that is marked by His saving grace. 
The old life is one of selfishness and sin. God wants us to be obedient and filled with praise for Him. With our eyes fixed on the throne of God, praising His name, we silence the sinful voices in our mind that so easily entangle. Temptation to sin might sometimes sneak in but with the power of scripture we can command it, in the name of Jesus Christ, to stop. Use the stop signs of scripture to put a stop to sin in your own life. 
Then you can speak the words of praise, just as the angels in heaven do all day and night. Without ceasing they say the words, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty who was, and is, and is to come….You are worthy, our Lord and God to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being." (Revelation 4:8,11). When the proclamation of truth flows from your lips it gives a green light to surrender and throws up a stop sign in the way of the sinful tendencies that threaten do derail your walk with Christ.
Heed the stop signs and give a green light to obedience and praise to the God on High. 

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