Have you ever wanted heaven having grown sick of sin in this world? It may have simply inhabited the air around you, or you may have tripped over it too many times, but either way, it gave you a semi-nauseating feeling in your stomach. You see it around you, in advertising, in movies and on television, at almost any social event, and you think, "There's got to be more than this. This is just disgusting and heartbreaking." You start to hate this non-life offered as a poor substitute for real life in this convoluted world.
Or you wrestle with a certain sin (or twenty) and inside you feel sad, broken, sick, frustrated and angry because you did it, and you hoped and promised you would not, and yet you did. And maybe you start to loathe part of yourself.
Some spiritual guru who just wrote a best-selling "how to", in the back just yelled out, "Try harder! Just believe! You will overcome all sin in this world if you just believe/obey/pray more! and buy my book!" Some of the most spiritual people I know, many with their hand on death's doorknob, still struggle with sin. It remains a thorn in their side. And it's painful, sometimes so painful the only thing any of us wants is to be rid of the pain.
I don't know if anyone overcomes all sin in him or herself, but even if he does, its presence in the world still pains him, still darkens his days. It exists. You, I, all of us want something more than this fractured way of being.
We can have confidence, however, that this sickness will not last forever. We were not made for this world. This sickness we feel tells us as much as what the scriptures confirm: things are not right here. This is not our home. "E.T." told us that with his constant demand, "E.T. phone home." He wasn't there. Home is somewhere else, and part of the redemptive process we experience regarding sin is an increase in our longing for our real home.
This can happen because God remains larger than the sadness, evil and pain in our world. And he takes the bad, and he tells it that he's still in charge, and he pulls good from it. That good is this longing.
Pain will come. Sin will cripple us. It will hang in the air like a foul odor. But we are going to leave behind all sin one day, and because of that, we can hold onto hope. We can continue, confident that the status quo will not remain. Thus, we strive against sin. This very striving wars against sin in the self, and this striving wars against sin in the world.
The earth we know will never be heaven. Yet we can find in our sadness and disgust with sin a longing that makes for something good and true and right. That's redemption.
And that wanting for heaven might bring a little of heaven to us.
How does sin make you feel?
Do you respond to it with a desire for something more?
What does your longing for something better produce in your life?
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