How do I sin less?—#23 of the 30 day challenge to blog 

You may not believe this, but there was a brief time I used to think cussing was a sin. While I no longer believe in fairy tales, or folk lore in the Christian faith. There was a practical lesson I learned though, that has filtered deep into my heart. I once went to a mentor and said, “How do I cuss less?” And he said, you’re asking the wrong question….He said, “Be with God…abide in him…and the more you are abiding in him… what will fall off will fall off”…man, I loved that. As it turns out so many things did fall off, but cussing wasn’t one of them.

So, how do we sin less? I’d first encourage you to stop asking that question. The scripture that comes to mind have nothing to do with lists, but have everything to do with Jesus. John 15:4…Jesus said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”

That’s the recipe. That’s the list. That’s the point. So tear up your Christian “to-do” list, and just be with Jesus. And let me give you some bad news. Let’s say you are good…let’s say you’re list is working for you to “sin less”…and yet it has nothing really to do with Jesus, or intimacy, and ultimately he isn’t the WHY of your good…but you are. All of your good, is no good at all. All of your trophies of morality are hollow and empty, and not worth the ten cents you could get by selling it in a yard sale. And if we go back to the definition of sin, it’s “missing the mark”…and if the why behind your good…is about you, and not a loving response to the love of God in your life…than it may be moral, it may be clean, it may have the appearance of obedience…but, trust me folks, you’re missing the point, and your good works are missing the mark, which is sin.

You may be bearing fruit, but is it born out of you being connected to the vine, or is it merely a carbon copy of what appears to be holy. Does it now make sense why we have so many “holy” sinners that fill our churches across our land hiding in plain sight?

So don’t fret if you’ve been tossed out of church, abandoned by judgmental Christians, or branded with the scarlet letter A, or the scarlet letter of any sin you can think of…because while it’s true you do have sin, so do they. And while your, and my sin, may be obvious to everyone…don’t be fooled by the sin of the self-righteouss…it’s a fake. It’s only a sad imitation of the real thing.

So what is the real thing? In my opinion, it’s the by-product, the delicious fruit that falls off the tree of a ravenous love affair with a Holy God who is wildly in love with you. But here is the deal, the fruit becomes inconsequential to the Christian who is living in response and out of his or her love affair with God. Why inconsequential? Because the fruit is mere sawdust compared to the vine. The vine, the bread of life, the way, the truth…God himself is so much sweeter than any fruit that could fall of the tree of your life.

You wanting to sin less is not a bad thing. It may be a very moral and noble thing, but I’ll warn you…it can be a dangerous thing…especially if you have a proclivity towards self-righteousness…and while I’m not encouraging anyone to live in rebellion to God…I am encouraging you with this…Want God, more than you want to not sin.

That’s what I like about sinners, versus the religious. They want their life, their sin, and themselves more than Jesus…but they don’t pretend otherwise. And, yes, my heart breaks for anyone who doesn’t know that a life of faith in Christ can bring them the fruit of God himself, that is filled with his joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, grace, & furious unconditional love…I like that they don’t pretend otherwise. And dare I say, they may be one step ahead to finding the truth, than the millions lost by the drunkenness of their own self-righteousness, who are so drunk they have no idea they are a religious alcoholic…and can’t admit that they have a problem. Sure, they can recognize the stentch of the sinner who still has vodka on their breath, and can spot throw-up on their shirt…but they can’t smell their own pride, or see the grossness of their own condemnation for others.

As Tim Keller said, in regards to the passage of scripture about the story of two lost sons (the prodigal son) in Luke’s gospel chapter 15 verse 11…”The younger son was lost in his badness…and the elder son was lost in his goodness.”

Both are lost. Both are sinning. But one just doesn’t think he is….

So my fellow ragamuffins…and I’m talking to the ragamuffins who are the younger son…and the ragamuffins that don’t know they are ragamuffins…the elder son…listen up, and listen well…God loves you younger brother and sisters… not because you sin…and not because you think you don’t have sin, but really do…but God loves you because he is wild about you. And I know I sound repetitive, and redundant, and maybe a peace and love hippie, and mushy gushy guru about all this love of God stuff….but I think this, and it’s a hill I’m willing to die on…I think the greatest reality in the entire universe is found in the evidence found on the Cross of Christ, and it’s a vicious love, and an eternal sacrificial gut wrenching love, that God was willing to surrender his own son to the cross, because of his love for you…and I”m not talking about a group of people…I’m talking about you…yes YOU..the one reading this right now…

In that moment where God the father who is present in the analogy that Jesus is giving in the gospel of Luke chapter 15…when “The son was still a far way off …the Father saw him, was filled to compassion, and ran to him…”

So while you are asking, how do I not sin…God is ravenously running towards you with a might and a power that you can’t even fathom…because he loves you so much…and wants to be with you so much…that he died to make it happen…literally.

So as my brother and fellow ragamuffin Brennan Manning once said, “Don’t wait till you get your act together, come…” Don’t wait till you get your ducks in a row…don’t wait to clean up your act…don’t wait till you read your bible more often, or have a more discipline prayer life…don’t wait till you sin less, or obey more…come to your Abba Father, who is running full speed ahead because you have finally learned that repentance isn’t “a destination…is’t a direction”…and it’s charted course is into the arms of God…so keep looking up…and watch…much like the younger son…you won’t even get out your apology before God the father, your loving Abba clobbers you with hugs and kisses.

Feel the warmth and embrace of your loving Father’s compassion for you. Live in it, and stay a while…stay as long as you can…know that Christianity isn’t a one time decision…it’s an every day decision. It wasn’t an event, no matter how convinced you are because you have the recorded date of when you prayed the sinners prayer in your bible. I’m to the point in my walk with Jesus…when people say…”you know I don’t know when or how I ever came to know Christ…or when I got saved or born again…” I just say…”who cares.”…You either know him, or you don’t. You either believe him, and his love and what he did for you on the cross or you don’t. Tear the dates, and trophies proving to everybody that you are a christian off your wall, and strike them from your memory I say…and instead abide in him…because if you do…as Jesus said…he will abide in you.

David Leo Schultz


~ by David Leo Schultz on October 28, 2015.

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