Contagious Sin?

“Fear Sin!” said Jesus, never.

Christians can have an unhealthy tendency to cut people off in their lives who aren’t living right with God. There’s this unspoken fear that bad company corrupts good character. Actually I just quoted Scripture, but it’s important to remember that throughout the Bible, love is notorious for making exceptions—we just need to ask whether our relationships with others are motivated out of need, or love.

While the Bible teaches us to run from sin, the parallel pursuit of holiness must be grounded in our love for God instead of our fear of failure. In love, there is plenty of room to walk in faith as those who live by the Spirit and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. Again, I’m quoting Paul.

I understand that people are afraid of compromising their walk with the Lord, but when your own personal spirituality is prioritized at the cost of others, it inherently becomes a self-centered focus. I would dare to say that in this scenario, whatever you’re growing in, it’s not God. In contrast, the heart postured in love is always in pursuit of the prodigals. Remember, Paul is the same guy that said he would gladly go to hell if it meant his Jewish brothers could taste of the Lord’s salvation.

We are never called to condone sin, simply for the fact that sin inevitably destroys those that we love. However, we cannot exercise our God-given authority as ministers of reconciliation if we believe we are called to remove our witness from the lives of those who have missed the mark. Reconciliation never comes through isolation—that is the devil’s domain where fear, shame, and despair fester in the darkness. As Christ’s representatives we are called to provide a light in the darkness and a path to the Father. We are meant to open doors, not leave them shut.

So are we to fear sin? Absolutely not. We should be much more concerned about the  souls hidden in the dark should we selfishly choose to withhold our light. We must ask ourselves when we will we start believing that our freedom is greater than their bondage. “Whom the Son sets free is free indeed!” Now that was Jesus.

Finding Freedom

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV)

Let me ask you a question—what do you do with all your free time? To clarify, I’m not wondering about those couple of hours at the end of the day when you frantically catch up on emails, to-do lists, and that load of laundry that really can’t wait any longer. What would occupy your time if you found yourself free from all your work responsibilities, family commitments, and social obligations? After all that pressure you’ve been put under is finally lifted, you might just need a holiday—you know, a vacation.

Here’s a little fun fact for the day: the word holiday evolved from two other words in the English language. Can you guess which two they are? Holy Day. The word “holiday” is a direct allusion to the Sabbath, the Jewish holy day that conveniently occurs every Saturday. Another fun fact: God instituted the Sabbath for the Jewish people right after they were freed from slavery, probably because after 400 years of indentured servitude the Lord thought that they might need a break. Maybe you do too.

Although, sometimes deliverance looks a lot different from what you might have envisioned. As the Israelites marched out of Egypt a free people for the first time in centuries, they thought they were being led to paradise—instead, they got a desert. Disappointment is a common theme surrounding God’s people in Scripture.

Fast-forward a few thousand years, and another excited bunch of oppressed Jews thought they were being liberated from the evil Romans by the long-awaited Messiah. Instead, their leader got nailed to a tree. There was plenty of reasons to be disappointed with that outcome—but what they actually received was a freedom that they didn’t know to ask for.

The angelic heralds of the new liberation movement announced that what the people could expect was “good news that will bring great joy to all” (Luke 2:10 NLT). Instead of freeing the people from their oppressors, Christ came to free people from themselves. He brought with him an upside-down kingdom, and he wasn’t at all concerned with sweeping social reforms or violent revolutions—he was dead-set on changing people from the inside-out.

This is the remarkable truth of Christian transformation—the Gospel has brought us great joy, and the uniqueness of our Christian joy is that it is the inward response from having our hearts made new—and the best news is that joy is here to stay.

So you might need a break, but quite possibly what you need most is to find relief from the bondage that’s made you a slave in your own mind. Take a holiday with Jesus and ask him what it looks like to be free from the weight of all those obligations. I promise you’ll enjoy his answers more than you know.

Discover what it means to invite the Spirit into every aspect of your day-to-day life. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” Yes, but we need to understand that it’s not only freedom from something, it’s freedom for something—and that something is the ability to play, laugh, and love in his presence as we are invited on an inward adventure with God.