Kill or Be Killed
The following is a guest post by Micah Cartee.
Micah Cartee is a Biblical Studies student at Evangel University. He is married and has two children. Additionally, he works full time. It’s fair to say he is a pretty busy guy. You can follow him on Twitter here.
I greatly appreciate Micah’s passion, and I am confident you will benefit from what he has written here.
“They did not destroy the peoples,as the Lord commanded them, but they mixed with the nations and learned to do as they did.” (Psalm 106: 34-35)
Adultery does not happen in an instant; a family isn’t destroyed overnight. It starts with the “smallest” desire of lust for another, and blooms into an insatiable desire to do what was once unthinkable. It does not matter how “small” we think our sins are; even the “smallest” of sins can quickly lead to our destruction. Satan’s principal tool is deception. If he can make you think, “This is not a big deal” he has you right where he wants you. In that moment you are simultaneously lying to yourself and believing your lie.
Sin is Serious Business
The puritan pastor and theologian, John Owen, wrote, “be killing sin or it will be killing you.” Sin is serious business. We can try to ignore it or distance ourselves from it but if left undealt with, it will always come back. This is demonstrated time and time again throughout the scriptures, and it is readily apparent through the Israelite’s chronic idolatry.
God recognizes sin’s deadliness, which is why He commanded Israel to “devote them” (pagan worshipers) “to complete destruction”(Deuteronomy 7:2). This would have removed pagan influence and could have kept Israel true to God; however, Israel did not destroy the surrounding pagans. Instead, they decided they knew better. Sound familiar? We too ignore what God clearly commands, guided by what we have determined is most expedient to our personal satisfaction. Yet, as we read the Old Testament we find ourselves asking, “What are they thinking? Don’t they know that is a bad idea?”
We inhabit this same cycle. We read about the Israelites and ask, “When will they learn?”, and then we turn around and do the same things. God calls his people to holiness and a ferocious hatred for sin, yet we fool ourselves if we simply believe that God has saved us from an eternity away from him but fail to embrace God’s perspective on sin’s destructive power. Israel did not destroy their sin, so it eventually led to their destruction and exile (2 Kings 17:7-23).
So How Do We Kill Sin?
Here I return to Owen:
If we do not abide in prayer, we will abide in temptation. Let this be one aspect of our daily intercession: ‘God, preserve my soul, and keep my heart and all its ways so that I will not be entangled.’ When this is true in our lives, a passing temptation will not overcome us. We will remain free while others lie in bondage.
We kill sin in our lives by renewing our minds (reorienting) in prayer. In prayer we see the power and love of God. In prayer we make our requests to a loving Father to keep us from entanglements and we are able to do so boldly because we are his children (Romans 8:12-17). Through prayer we cultivate the habit of daily killing sin. Even as the thoughts enter our mind, we take them captive through prayer so these thoughts do not grow into unholy actions. In faith we trust that by the Spirit that God will enable us to say, “No” to sin and “Yes” to Him with greater resolve.
Where Joshua failed to faithfully lead the children of Israel to obey God by destroying those who would pull them into sin, Jesus has prevailed in setting us free from sin’s power (Romans 6:22). It is with this confidence that we take up the call to be strong and courageous.
Battle sin, and know that God is on your side! Fight in prayer and proclaim Victory. Though the conflict still rages, the war is won!