We know the difference between the passion which is the grit found deep within us that keeps us moving when we don’t feel like it. That not feeling like it is your natural emotion that is ugly and needs to be nailed to the cross.
We also see the difference between the ugly emotions and the emotions God gave us that are beautiful. We are not throwing the baby out with the bath water. This is not to say that we are keeping some of our sin as we daily get rid of the ugly emotions within us. No, what I am saying is that the joyfulness, the contentment, the sorrow, compassion, and righteous anger are staying. The unrighteous anger, the selfish ambitions, the propensity to promiscuity, drunkedness, anything and everything listed in Galatians 5:19-21 get nailed to the cross everyday.
Like we said last week, there are some that are not a struggle for us – but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a struggle for others. A lot of my friends from college once they tasted some of the things listed above they were addicted and could not let go. No matter how often or how hard we tried, they would return to it like a dog to its vomit. They would come back miserable and rightly so and be fine for a while, then BAM. Right back. And that is not to say they were bad people but to put it into perspective they didn’t struggle with some of the things I struggle with, or that you may struggle with.
You see, it doesn’t matter which sin you choose – it is still SIN! And sin leads to death. Plain and simple. But it is easier for us to cleanse daily than for them to start over from scratch. In John 13: 1-11 we see Jesus washing the disciples’ feet and Peter flips out. Well Jesus explains to him that those who have already bathed – meaning cleansed their whole body, AKA showered – need only wash their hands and feet cause they were nasty before eating. It is easier for us to cleanse the little things once we have done the full body exfoliation scrub of repentance.
Wash is Strong’s #3538 is washing your hands and feet. Bath is Strong’s #3068 is bathing the whole body.
What I’m getting at, is that when dealing with believers and non-believers we have to realize a couple things about them and ourselves. Believers: they have their own struggles, instead of kicking them while their down, let us be encouragers loving one another as disciples of Christ as he admonishes us to. Nonbelievers: love them, not their sin. All of them, regardless of their sin – they need to see Jesus’ love being lived out through your life.
There are a lot of unsaved people at work, each with their own unique set of sins. Lots of live-in unmarried couples, lots of colorful words to match ugly attitudes, lots of atheists, other wacko religions, and a same-sex couple. As a Christ follower, I am to (and y’all are too, by the way) love each of them and have compassion on them. Jesus didn’t turn away from any unclean person who had leprosy or an issue of blood, he did not turn from thieving tax collectors, he didn’t turn from demon-possessed people, nor did he turn away from prostitutes.
So we can see from his life, that he loved everyone and he wanted everyone to “sin no more” so that they may be saved. To follow His example, means I must love each of those lovely people regardless of their death-bound sinful lifestyle. Some of them, are very nasty towards to me while some love me. But it doesn’t matter, Jesus is being shone through me because of my passion for Him that pushes me through those times when my ugly emotions have not yet been nailed to the cross. Also because I use the emotions that He gave me to give praise to Him, even if they don’t realize it.
I’m not gloating, really I’m not. It is hard to get past my natural response of “Oh my gosh…that is so not Godly, in any way” and to operate in God’s love. I cannot do it in and of myself. If I try, eventually by the end of the day, I’m a monster when I come in the door. Because I was operating in my own power and not out of faith. I was trying to use my emotion alone versus passion and emotion together.
There are a couple of really great passion-emotion combination events that ended in miracles. Other than Jesus – we already know His example. (I love Jesus’ story, He shows us the only way to live. But I am aware that sometimes it is hard for us to identify with Him, knowing He was fully God. For those of us brave enough to admit that, I like to see other examples. Not that they are better but they help us identify with Jesus better)