Sin in the Life of a ChristianWritten by Stephen Kingery
We know from reading Scriptures that Christ was without sin; there was no sin in His life. It was because of this fact that He was able to carry our sin to cross so that we can have forgiveness. It was through sinless life of Christ that it became possible that He was perfect sacrifice. God would accept nothing less than a perfect sacrifice for our sin. Therefore, we can know with assurance that because of Christ's death on cross we can have forgiveness of sin and look forward to life in eternity with our Heavenly Father.
In our monograph titled "A Scriptural Look at Sin" I discussed fact that we cannot overcome sin by ourselves. We can realize a victory over sin through strength of Jesus Christ. But how should a Christian live in relation to sin?
I think it is clear in Scriptures that we are expected to live a life apart from sin. Consider what Peter tells us in this passage, "For to this you were called, because Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 'Who committed no sin, Nor was guile found in His mouth'; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten; but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness - by whose stripes you were healed." (1 Peter 2:21-24) It is clear that we are to follow in His steps; we are to live a life free of sin to best of our ability. When we fail to get rid of sin in our lives, we are not able to live in harmony with Word of God. Our relationship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit suffers because of it.
Let's explore a little further what happens to us when we become a Christian. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior we have a deep regret for sin we have committed in times past. This regret and sorrow causes us to repent of those sins. "Repenting" is not merely saying that we are sorry for those sins. It is, on other hand, a deep regret which causes us to change way we live; to stop sinning!
The Bible speaks of this repenting as being "crucified" or as being "dead to sin." Consider these passages: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me..." (Galatians 2:20); "And those who are Christ's have crucified flesh with its passions and desires." (Galatians 5:24); "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Romans 6:1,2); "Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:11). Being "dead to sin" or being "crucified with Christ" is same as saying that we have departed from sin, departed from a life of sinfulness. Paul says if quite well when he asks question, "Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?" His response is emphatic; "Certainly not!" We, as Christian, need to recognize that if we are to live kind of life which is pleasing to God, sin must not be a part of our lives.
Our Christian walk should be one which is apart from sin. The Scriptures refer to us as "new creatures" and says that we are walking in "newness of life." "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17) "Therefore we are buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from dead by glory of Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:4) "Old things have passed away" - these "old things" are sins which we committed while still outside of salvation. "Behold, all things have become new" - "newness of life", opportunity to live apart from sin.
Is this merely an opportunity to live a life of sinlessness. No! It is much more than that. It is also a command that we should live a life apart from sin. Consider these passages: "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:2); "Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in fear of God." (2 Corinthians 7:1); "Abstain from every form of evil." (1 Thessalonians 5:22). These and other Scriptures clearly tell us that we are expected to live a life of holiness. We are expected to fight against sin in our lives and to win victory over sin and consequences that it has in our lives.
Should You Have A Spiritual Director?Written by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur
I have been meeting with a spiritual director for nearly two years. Inevitably, when I return home from my monthly meeting, my husband asks me if I have found my spirit yet. He says that since I am going for "spiritual direction," obviously my spirit must be lost. It is a poor joke on his part, but it serves to illustrate some of misunderstanding that surrounds spiritual direction. I admit, even I wasn't quite sure what I was walking into when I attended my first session, and that was after doing extensive research and attending an open house at Center for Spiritual Direction in Holyoke, MA!
What exactly is spiritual direction? Spiritual direction has existed as long as there have been people who have wanted to explore and deepen their relationship with God and have sought help of others more experienced in spiritual journey to guide them. In earliest days, such a guide might have been a shaman or medicine man (or woman). The tradition was continued in both Jewish and Christian faiths. For many centuries in Christian tradition, however, formal spiritual direction was offered only to clergy and vowed religious. Laity could receive some direction through their confessor in Sacrament of Reconciliation. For most part, however, opportunity for a lay man or woman to meet with a trained spiritual director expressly for purpose of exploring his or her spiritual life is a fairly recent development.
Spiritual direction presupposes that God is at work in life of person coming for direction (the directee) and that God has been at work since moment of that person's birth. The role of director is to help directee see where God is in his or her life at this moment in time. "Direction is, in reality, nothing more than a way of leading us to see and obey real Director, Holy Spirit, hidden in depths of our soul." (1)
Margaret Guenther, a married Episcopal priest, compares role of a spiritual director to that of a midwife. "The midwife is present to another in a time of vulnerability, working in areas that are deep and intimate. It is a relationship of trust and mutual respect." (2) Ultimately, directee does hard labor, but director is there with her, to guide, to wait with, to celebrate when way becomes clear. The directee must be willing to open herself, to share any relevant details of her life. Nothing should be considered "off table" for discussion. The director, in turn, holds these life stories in complete confidentiality, asks relevant questions, and seeks to help directee find God revealed in experiences of everyday living. The director can also help in nurturing directee's relationship with God through prayer and spiritual reading. Spiritual direction provides a sacred space and a dedicated time for reflection.