Posts Tagged ‘repetitive sin’

Doctors and physical therapists are all too familiar with “repetitive strain injuries.” These are musculoskeletal and nervous system maladies causes by a repetition of motion, usually do to a particular lifestyle.

In my case, being a righty guitar player makes my right hip aggravates my right hip as I strain it to the left. The same motion causes my neck to be bothered because I’m looking at the neck of my guitar. I have a bothersome ailment on the sole of my right foot loosely termed “metatarsalgia” which makes hiking or long walks almost impossible without a high degree of discomfort.

I had right neck and arm problems from “IPhone-itis,” a term my doctor insists I coined.

Sin is a lot like repetitive strain injuries. It’s easy to say: “Well, just stop…” I can’t stop playing a guitar anymore than you can stop breathing. There is a Bob Newhart skit that offends some, but I see the humor in it because I see myself in the patient who just can’t stop falling into her morbid psychosis. (To see the Newhart skit, copy and paste: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow0lr63y4Mw)

I can’t seem to stop some repetitive sins and everyone I know finds some relief in St. Paul’s epistle to the Romans.

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15

Fortunately, the great saint doesn’t just lead us into a closed canyon. There’s a way through. Jesus paid for these sins once for all for those who receive His gift of salvation. As for the matter of post-salvation sin, Paul muddles his way past confession and into victory. Do we get victory every time? Ask your physical therapist.

But we can change our lifestyle to facilitate not re-aggravating the injury. So it is with sin. If television or the internet causes you to sin, cut it off, curb it, substitute a different activity, call a trusted friend. I have actually fasted from sin. You may think I’m silly, but it works. I simply don’t abide in overeating or sweets or whatever it is that repetitively takes me away from Jesus. It’s effective.

If repetition works to enslave us, then repetition of sin’s opposite activity can certainly bring freedom. “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6  There is freedom in this life. We may fail some of the time, but God does complete His work in us. Don’t give up.

For those who want to rationalize away their repetitive sin by stating that God is loving and forgiving, Paul acts like a bureaucrat who has regulated away that loophole:

Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”  Romans 6:1,2

So, while we can’t use mercy to sin, Paul realized that we still will fall into the arms of grace “repeatedly.”

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” Romans 8:1


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