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Besetting Sins

Lent is always a welcomed and very much needed season of repentance for my soul. I’m not naturally a person who focuses on my personal sin. Now that I’ve got my sinning down to those “respectable sins,” I tend to ignore, minimize and justify any wrongs I commit. Perhaps that is the most dangerous state of sinner—neglecting the reality of sin’s sinful effect.

Psalm 51:5-6 describes the state of all sinners:

“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place."

Since that is truth, there is no reason for me or anyone not to be motivated to recognize our personal sin every day. We are born with besetting sins and with a soul that can guide us to face up to the sinful realities of our lives. It’s truly hard to hold a newborn baby and think of that precious creation as an utter sin-filled being, but that is what they are. Though we experience pure delight as we look at their sweet innocent faces, the sinful reality of their very being is a hindrance to their relationship to God. From the womb we are sinners, and from the womb we have the capacity to be drawn Godward. He has given us a guide to reconnect to Him and it is our soul.

Our soul is the place we are convicted of sin. Our soul is the place that we are drawn back to God. I do Pilates exercise on you-tube with a really cute couple who are very aware of their souls. In addition to teaching healthy eating and exercise, this couple encourages the beauty they find in life by not getting caught up in their jobs, materialism and ignorance of how their actions impact creation and animals. In other words, they are very much in touch with their souls. They make their choices in life guided by their souls. They do not connect with God as the author of the Bible and the Father of Jesus and the Gospel—that Jesus died and rose again so that we can have a relationship with God. Yet their lives demonstrate what David describes here that even from the womb, we are given wisdom in our secret place. This couple lives a wise life, but without Jesus they will not live eternally with God. I pray for them every time I do my workout.

Thomas a Kempis wrote about God: “I am accustomed to visit my elect in two ways, namely, with temptation and with consolation.” In the prayer Jesus taught us to pray He tells us to ask for our daily bread (consolation) and to lead us not to temptation (temptation). He also tells us to ask for forgiveness daily (this prayer is so helpful to remind me to confess my sins—you know the ones I don’t naturally think about).

God gave all humans souls. In these souls we are accountable for sins and able to connect to God’s love. The Lenten season draws me to pay attention to my soul in a deeper way. The facts of my sin are that I have been steeped in sin from the moment of my conception, even though I wasn’t aware of the sins I committed. Becoming more deeply aware of my sins in the Lenten season only makes the gift of eternal life through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ more necessary. It makes me value the gift of my salvation.


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