Monday, 29 February 2016

Leaning Into Lent: Day 17—Repent or Perish


Jesus said, “Repent…or perish!” twice within three verses of the gospel at church yesterday. He was commenting on the fate of some unfortunates who had been killed by Pilate, and eighteen others killed by a falling tower in Siloam, before going on to talk about giving a fruitless fig tree a load of manure and another year to produce some fruit, or else (Luke 13.1-9).

Before that we heard one of the Apostle Paul’s typically trenchant warnings to the wayward Corinthian flock (1 Cor 10.1-13). God was “not pleased” with most of the Children of Israel, he wrote, “all” of whom had enjoyed the wonders of the spiritual food and drink that came from Jesus, the rock that followed them. Despite those great blessings, most of them “desired evil” anyway and treacherously indulged in idolatry, sexual immorality, putting Christ to the test and complaining.  “These things,” he added, “occurred as an example” to the Corinthians—and to us.

Sobering words causing me to check to see if I am guilty of any evil-desiring leanings. For example and in particular:

  1. Idolatry usually has to do with attractive, even good, things. The tree in the middle of the garden of Eden was “good for food” and “a delight to the eyes” (Gen 3.6).  Idolatry “means turning a good thing into an ultimate thing.”  (Timothy Keller, Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God's Plan for the World) It means turning a good thing into something I want and depend on more than God. 
  2. Are any thoughts or actions leaning me away from sound biblical sexual morality? 
  3. Am I leaning on any wilful behaviour or belief which puts the grace of Jesus to the test?
  4. Am I grumbling about my lot and thinking that God has short changed me in any way?  

It’s Lent; an excellent God-given time to watch out to see whether I’m actually standing anywhere near upright, straight and true, or whether I'm teetering perilously close to a fall because of my disordered appetites, evil desires and leanings (1 Cor 10.12).