Break Every Chain
By Rev. Tom Tuura
Pastor of Christ Lutheran Church
We need to be honest and acknowledge the reach of this enticement via technology and media.
Pretending we don't have temptation or struggle only alienates those who do.
Let's be honest... is a statement we are hearing more often. Its even an irritating advertising campaign about a personal product. Let's be honest--about something else personal.“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us...” Hebrews 12:1
What's keeping you from running the race? What's keeping you from really getting into the game? For many, its some besetting, or entangling sin.
I've struggled to approach this subject honestly from the pulpit, not wanting to become too overly specific thus singling people out, and not wanting to disgrace the pulpit as some preachers I've heard, who get way too graphic. Also, because I am vulnerable with sins of pride as well as weakness, as is everyone else.
Sin is not out of style. There's more preaching against it than ever. There's shaming, and ostracizing of those involved in it. It has just been redefined—in fact turned upside down. Sin is now entities, pollution, waste, wealth, corporations, greed, intolerance, racism, inequality.
Still a highly emotional subject today, society is highly resistant to the “old” definitions of sin. In fact there is an all out educational reprogramming taking place. The courts and legislatures are in an all out blitz to this reprogramming.
But society never informed our consciences of the changes, because the heart is still programmed to bring guilt and shame from the old definitions. St. Paul tells us in Romans 1:19 “because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.”
The Bible also informs us that a violation of God's will has occurred and natural man is stuck. But as the contemporary song playing on the Christian Radio say, “There is power in the Name of Jesus, to BREAK EVERY CHAIN”
Here's my approach to dealing with this as pastor. Ultimate goal is to expose it to light. There are sins of pride and power, and sins of weakness. Your areas may be opposite of mine. And we eventually have both, sins of pride and weakness.
Sins of pride are often out in the open. Sins of weakness, we tend to want to hide, in secret.
Sin is always dynamic, so the minute you and I think we have it fenced in, it breaks out. Or the fence that worked so effectively up til now, suddenly is less and less effective.
All sins are deceitful. The thing about being deceived, is...you got it—you don't realize it. Before we know it, the fence we built to put around sin, sin has put around us.
With regard to sins of pride and power, James says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6 Sins of pride and power, can be busyness, success, power, and money. Sins of pride and power are also often commended as drive, motivation, self promotion etc. Also breeds hypocrisy.
Here's the thing. While the pride and power sinner may sit in the choir, the person taken by sins of weakness, lives in a cycle of despondency and away from church. Sins of weakness are just as deadly. These are the secret sins we are ashamed of, the addictions we fear. But there is a new wrinkle to consider.
We have new enticements today. They say that our interstate highway system is the largest illegal drug pipeline ever invented. But its also used to drive the family across country. Well there is another superhighway of information that has been built—the internet. This superhighway is no different. It has huge potential for good, and huge potential for catastrophe.
Are you are crushed under the weight of guilt and sin? It could be either kind, pride/power or weakness. Our church should be the ER where you want to be. As a pastor, I want to make it that way. There's power in the name of Jesus, He breaks every chain.
So here's what we do. We approach one another with this sins of power/weakness paradigm.
First, develop a plan. Lets ask each other about our personal “security procedures” against our vulnerabilities. We do this for our computers!
Second, we need to resist the temptation to reprogram our thinking about sin. The best selling book and movie “50 SHADES OF GREY” is the prime example of Hollywood making this elicit behavior acceptable. Christian singing artists Mandisa and Natalie Grant set a good example by avoiding or walking out on the Emmy's.
Third, stop pretending. We need to be honest, and acknowledge the reach of this enticement via technology into our very pockets. Pretending we don't have temptation, or struggle only alienates those who do. Every week that goes by in this cycle strengthens those chains.
Last, expose the sin to light. Sin exposed to light shrivels up. It is killed at Calvary.
But those chains can be broken. Lets be honest. The Bible talks about a cleaning product that is free. A pastor colleague recently wrote this: “You are not what you have done. You are what you have overcome.”
That’s my view from the Blackberry Patch Pulpit