Monday, December 10, 2007

Oh Rats!

Greetings from Sunny Townsville! We are on holidays yet I still feel the need to convey a little story I heard... approximately 2710kms from here, yet just a few days ago....A family were eagerly awaiting for Grandma to arrive for the traditional decorating of the Christmas tree. Grandma was due to arrive as expected and Dad was sent to retrieve the Christmas tree from the garage. Surprisingly, the Christmas tree was not all they found in the box. Somewhere between Qld and Vic, a large rat had stowed away with the Christmas decorations and had since passed on. There wasn't that much of the visitor left, but he did leave a covering of hair over the Christmas tree.

Well that brings us to the rather foul smelling dilemma this family faced. There was no time to buy a new Christmas tree, or even adequately disinfect the current one so the tree was taken outside for a quick hose-down. The kids were slightly amused and shocked at this development, and the parents were understandably embarrassed, but Grandma was coming, what else could they do?

So with a mountain of fake spray-on snow and some lovely tinsel and pink and silver baubles, the tree was decorated and looked like it had come straight from the department store. The saving grace in this particular situation is that Grandma has no sense of smell, so while the room smelt a tad 'musty' and even though the kids were dry-reaching while decorating the tree, Grandma was happily enjoying the Christmas celebrations.

My friend who was brave enough to share this story with me, had an interesting thought about how this Christmas tree relates to us. No matter how nicely we present ourselves, we all have a sin nature which is ever present and ever intruding into the rest of our lives. "I know that nothing good lives in me, that is in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good but i cannot carry it out." (Romans 7:18). But Romans 8 goes on to explain that we are set free from this nature through forgiveness found in Jesus. When we trust in Jesus, our sin is removed "as far as the east is from the west" (Ps 103:12) and God "remembers it no more" (Is 43:25). Never. Ever!

God doesn't just cover up our sin, like the fake snow slightly covered the smell of the dead rat, it is totally taken away from us. We still have that sin nature, that tendency to go our own way, but as Christians we are now "controlled by the Spirit" (Rom 8:9) and "being renewed day by day"(2 Cor 4:16). When we become Christians, when we choose to follow Jesus, we are given a new nature. In Psalm 51, David prays "purify me from my sins and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow" (NLT) and then says "create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." (NIV)

God hasn't deoderised your sin, he has destroyed it! You have a new life, a new spirit, a new nature and a new start. And he will daily, hourly, moment by moment give you forgiveness and strength to live this new life.

Start this Christmas with a new tree... come to Him, confess your sin, accept the new life he offers and then live in connection with Him, with the Spirit he has placed in you.
Want More? Read Romans 8 and Psalm 51!

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