By Leonard Lauriault
We’ve done a lot of snow shoveling and frost or ice scraping lately. Recently, while I was scraping my wife’s car windows (good boy that I am), my neighbor came over and said, “I thought you did that yesterday.”
I replied, “Yep, but some things are like devotions, needing to be done every day.” After I finished scraping my wife’s car, I started on my pickup, which caused me to remember the conversation with my neighbor and my previous day’s experience.
I’d kept my wife’s SUV clean over the weekend because it’s used for weekend activities, including traveling to church. My pickup, on the other hand, just sat there accumulating a thicker coat of ice and frozen snow.
When it came time to clean off my truck on Monday morning, it was a miserable job (probably not as bad as scraping and painting the house; but, the thought did occur to me). I’d have been much better off scraping the truck every day whether I needed to use it or not. Anyway, I thought about similarities between devotions and icy frost scraping.
It’s much easier to continue a habit once it’s started than to get into the habit. Whether we realize it or not – whether or not we consciously use what we’re reminded of, or learned in daily devotions, they’re good for us because that’s how God works (Romans 8: 28). Part of showing our love to God and being called to his purpose (yes, Romans 8: 28 does include those prerequisites for good things working out) is gaining his approval by being diligent in his word (2 Timothy 2: 15).
There’s also a difference between personal Bible study and ice scraping, at least in the events described above. Although we have to form the habit of daily devotions, if we’re not already doing it, there’s no backlog of accumulated work that must be done first.
Just make a daily appointment at a time that’s consistently convenient for you and keep the appointment. You’re the one who decides when to do it each day. Start slow; don’t push things by trying to catch up with those who’ve already formed the habit. Set realistic goals for the time you’ve allotted and give yourself time to reflect on what you’ve read.
Remember, the time you allot is yours; you can tweak the appointment as you grow. You already do this with your other daily activities. Starting back to church also is one of those habits that can be formed just by showing up again regularly.
As I scraped, I noticed that tinted glass was harder to scrape, and the darker the tint, the more effort was required. This turned my thoughts to sin – not that I wanted to sin at that point by breaking the window – but about how we categorize sin. Whether it’s true or not, sometimes it seems that God views some sins as being more despicable than others (Proverbs 6: 16-19; Ezekiel 8: 9-13; 1 John 5: 16, 17).
The wages for all sin is death – meaning hell, the second death, eternal fire and darkness (Romans 6: 23; Revelation 20: 11-15; Matthew 25: 30, 41, 46).
Consequently, I don’t see how the punishment of hell could be any worse for those committing “cardinal sins” compared to those who don’t commit the God hates more (Jude :12, 13).
Scraping those more difficult windows, caused me to realize that sin is deceitful, easy to get into and hard to get out of (Hebrews 3: 12). Hebrews 12: 1 warns us to throw off the sin that so easily entangles. Rather than being related to punishment, it may be that some sins are more despicable to God because they’re much harder for us to get out of, especially if we don’t heed the warnings by God’s Spirit (John 16: 8; Psalm 81: 8-12; Hebrews 3: 7, 8; 12: 25; 1 Corinthians 10: 11; 1 Thessalonians 5: 19). Although God promises to forgive Christians (that’s who 1 John 1: 5-9 is written to) when we repent and seek forgiveness, we’re to avoid sinning again to begin with because we may become enslaved to the sin again (John 8: 34-36; Romans 6: 16-18; Hebrews 10: 26-31; 2 Peter 2: 20, 21; 1 Thessalonians 5: 22).
Have you answered God’s call to love him, finding out what pleases him by diligently studying his word and actually doing those things out of faith, including abstinence from sin? Form the good habit of daily personal Bible study and beware that any sin you commit may be the one that easily entangles you bringing about eternal consequences (Hebrews 11: 6; Ephesians 5: 8-17; James 1: 21-25; 2: 14-26; John 14: 15-21; Acts 2: 38, 39; Romans 8: 9-11, 5-8).
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the church of Christ