“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2
Thirteen year old Dancer, found years ago on a short tie-up without food or water and brought into a shelter where he was headed for euthanization but instead was sent to me back when I did dog rescue work, wasn’t just named Dancer because it’s a cute name. He actually dances, and in his earlier years, would stay up in the air doing a slow dance for minutes at a time, yawning in the middle of his dance when he grew bored. But this isn’t about Dancer’s dancing. It’s about how despite his age he has loads of energy and a habit that reminds me of something we all need to be mighty careful of. See, Dancer is ever getting himself into trouble. He does the same bad things over and again. He does them as often as he likes, and goes to extreme lengths to get away with as much as he possibly can. No matter how many times he is reminded not to do wrong, and reprimanded for doing wrong, he convinces himself it’s worth taking the risk of getting into trouble all over again. He is so incredibly focused on what he wants, and so tenacious about it, that he keeps getting himself into trouble. He enjoys every moment of his shenanigans, and must figure it’s worth getting into trouble. Every day, he starts up the same routine. He doesn’t mind paying a price for his disobedience because he must figure it’s worth the trouble to enjoy doing the wrong things. The things that displease his master. The things that displease me, his dog mommy. But Dancer’s just an adorable dog, I’m just his human mommy, and his antics really aren’t all that bad, just annoying. To Dancer, it’s all just a game. But not so with us humans. Not so when we live our lives doing wrong and trying to get away with as much as we possibly can.
Oh, how we deceive ourselves into thinking we’re getting away with anything at all. For, even when we don’t see immediate consequences of our wrongdoing, and even when we fool ourselves into thinking our sin isn’t harming anyone, how wrong we are! Sin ALWAYS has consequences, whether the consequences are immediate and visible or not. We hurt and grieve the Lord, we hurt and grieve others, and we hurt ourselves because not only is the ultimate consequence of sin for those who do not repent and give their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ death, hell, and the lake of fire forever apart from God, but the consequence of sin Christ’s followers hang onto and refuse to let go of is that we miss out on the awesome intimacy we can have with Christ as Lord even now, in this very day, in this very hour, moment by moment, for sin grieves the Lord and distances us from Him!
Dancer is just an adorable dog who dances and has fun doing the wrong thing; he’s not a human, he’s not a sinner, and I’m just his human master, not his Master and Lord as Jesus Christ is. We, my friend, are a different story. When the Spirit of God convicts us of sin, showing us our wrong, whether in our hearts like pride, worry, anger, bitterness, doubt, hurt we refuse to let go of, the refusal to forgive people, or sin in our actions, like lashing out at people, lying, stealing, cheating, pornography, homosexuality, adultery, sex outside of marriage, doing drugs, engaging in eating disorders like the sin with which I have struggled on and off for years, we have a responsibility to acknowledge our sin before God, to seek His forgiveness, and to learn in God’s strength with the support He gives us directly from Himself by His Spirit through His Word and through His followers to learn to stop trying to get away with as much as we can and to start striving daily for the glory of the Lord to do what is right and pleasing and honoring to the Lord.
Repentance from sin and turning to Christ as Lord is not a one-time deal. We are to continually repent of any sin the Lord shows us in our hearts and lives, purging ourselves of it, purifying ourselves to be pleasing to the Lord, and ever growing in the image of God as we learn day by day to leave sin behind and draw ever closer to Jesus Christ who is Lord!