To embrace a genuinely human existence, we must live along the contours of the kingdom. When we give ourselves to sin, we are not simply doing bad things; we are becoming lighter beings. The fallout from the power of sin is a decrease in weightiness and an ever-pervasive superficiality. We lack a sturdiness of person and instead are easily “tossed to and fro by the waves” (Eph. 4:14). When we give ourselves to sin, our hearts and souls are being conformed to that reality, so that the ways of the world become foreign and God’s kingdom becomes increasingly clear.
Everything we do taps into a deeper reality of power: power from below for control, or power from God for love. Power for control gets things done quickly and is the easiest way to “make something of yourself.” Even the way we respond to our sin, such as pornography, illustrates our turn to self-power. We feel shame, and so turn to self-help, self-condemnation, or willpower to defeat it, but it doesn’t work. If we turn against ourselves, our prayers of self-condemnation become an attempt to lessen the judgment of God, rather than seeking his mercy and power. We quickly forget that it was in our sin that Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8) and that for those in him there is now no condemnation (Rom. 8:1). We think that a worldly sort of grief will make up for our sin, but in doing so we become more enslaved to it. As Paul says, “Godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death” (2 Cor. 7:10). Becoming weighty, becoming a substantial and genuinely human person, requires that we take another path entirely. . .
When we as Christians embrace the way from below, we reject not only the way of Christ but also the truth of ourselves. We are warping our souls and rewiring our hearts to a world that isn’t real. In doing so we embrace fantasy, and our hearts, souls, and minds recalibrate for a world that doesn’t exist.
Lord, please help me to keep my focus on your kingdom and your way. Please remind me to abide in you so that I can reject the enslavement that comes with the way from below. Amen.