"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Phantom Sin

      Today's ODB challenged me to examine my conscience once again. I'm afraid I presume upon God's grace in my attitude toward disciplined, spiritual practices. My Bible study is sporadic. And while I keep myself close enough to God that I can pray at any time, I don't habitually pray "without ceasing." To many brethren, these spiritual failures may not seem like much, but they inhibit my growth in the Lord. I won't be happy with my life until the world sees only the Lord in me, rather than the people-pleaser me.
      I'll admit, that view is more Calvinistic than I'd like. Calvinists define sin as any behavior or thought that falls short of perfect obedience. That's why they claim to sin daily in thought, word or deed. Our Armenian-holiness brethren have a far more selective definition of sin: It is any willful, overt disobedience of God's direct command.
      I wish I could step into the pages of scripture, into Paul's, David's, or the prophets' minds, to know how they viewed such fine points of spiritual practice. We force our definitions on their inspired words, assuming our interpretation is just as inspired. While we must stand on our beliefs, shouldn't we hold them somewhat loosely, maintaining a willingness to learn and change with new evidence? That said, such evidence must be highly compelling to make us change our beliefs.

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