I’m never sure exactly who reads what I post. Much of what I write is for the cathartic process of getting things off of my mind. Other pieces are things that I’ve discovered about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness–the political element. Then, there are the discoveries I make as I pursue relationship with God though Jesus Christ. This post is in that category. And while I would encourage everyone to accept Jesus’ sacrifice and join me in following him, I am not naive. Not everyone will share my my convictions. So, this is a warning! This piece is primarily for those who are following Jesus, and as you will see if you keep on reading, there are some decided advantages. Yet still we seem to desire the pleasures of sin for a season, not the pleasure of heaven with Jesus forever.
You no doubt have heard the phrase, “familiarity breeds contempt”. I have a corollary. Familiarity breeds presumptive understanding. Let me explain.
There is a concept called generational sin. In simple terms, if your grandfather was a crook, and your father was a crook, chances are you are a crook as well. This is spelled out in the Ten Commandments, “I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation” and that’s where many typically stop. However, it goes on to say, “of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands (or to the thousandth generation) of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Italics and emphasis mine.)
The distinction I’ve often missed in my rush to the blessing is that the curse of generational “iniquity” or sin is limited. Specifically, it is limited to those who hate God. That means the chain can be broken by one generation who love God and keep his commandments.
I think the problem is that we hardly believe it, and continue living in bondage to sins in the past. We allow them to take root, and run our lives as if this rule applied to us. We give up hope of the victory already won, and think the battle is lost. We allow little sins to slip by with excuses, until they become huge. Then, we think we cannot overcome them because they are too deeply entrenched.
Do not be deceived! While it is true that we reap what we sow, we have the power through the Holy Spirit to battle the enemy. We have the power to realize the awfulness of sin. And with the Spirit’s help, we can eliminate it.
Where do you start? Might I suggest with the little ones? Here’s an analogy. In our backyard, we often have squirrels bury seeds, and then forget where they buried them. Eventually those seeds become trees. Trees we don’t want, usually! We call them volunteers. If I get those trees before they’re a foot tall, they come out without much effort at all. On the other hand, if I give them a year or two to grow, I have to take a saw to them. It is much more work. If this analogy sounds realistic, that’s because I spent yesterday sawing down over 20 branches from these volunteers. I hope they are sufficiently stunted so they don’t continue to grow. But, like sin, they are stubborn things. I’ll need to stay on top of them to keep them in control. So it is with sin in our lives. Give sin an inch, and it takes a mile. So don’t give sin an inch.