Avoiding the trap — when life pushes us towards sin
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?
Our old self was crucified with Him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin…
Romans 6:1-2, 6-7
Earlier we considered Jeremiah’s dilemma, experiencing “insult and reproach all day long”. And he ponders how to respond in a God-honouring way, and the temptation to react by refusing to speaking out any more: “If I say, ‘I will not mention His word or speak any more in His name…’ “
For Jeremiah, identified by God before birth to represent him, NOT to speak out would have been apparently wise, quite understandable, a reasonable choice – and knowingly disobedient. Not have been the most obvious sin in the book — but it is the more nuanced forms of disobedience which often trip us up.
Jesus’ teaching about the persecution and conflict that would follow His disciples reveals a subtle sin that the enemy sets up for us, and then uses in accusation. It is simply lack of trust. Being constrained by fear, rather than being led by the Holy Spirit, is a reaction rather than a measured response. Jesus emphasises repeatedly: “Don’t be afraid”.
The old reactions are ingrained — getting angry, finding someone to blame, saying the wrong things — and ignoring God rather than listening and trusting. But, as Paul says, the old reactions belong to the old self.
This is an encouragement to choose to respond, with God, rather than react independently from God. That way, we avoid giving the devil a foothold, a way into our thought-life and life generally, Ephesians 4:27.