The Things I don’t Want in Life… I Have.

“He was pierced for our transgressions
He was crushed for our sins
The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him
And by His wounds, by His wounds we are healed
-“By His Wounds” by Steve Curtis Chapman

I looked up a few things today about a certain skin condition afflicting millions upon millions of people on Earth: acne. “Acne is a disease that involves the oil glands of the skin… The word acne comes from the word acme meaning “the highest point”, which comes from the Greek akme meaning “point” or “spot” [1]. How common is it? Approximately 3/4 of 11 to 30 year-olds will be affected by it; it can affect people of all races and ages; no one really knows for certain what causes it- either hormones or possibly genetic [1].

I’ve been dealing with it for so long. I tried every possible medication, going to the dermatologist, and hoping. Hoping that one day my face would become clear. I still remember the first time I actually saw a pimple- it was sometime in fifth grade, and I tried so hard to scratch it off, feeling frustration at my failure because I had no idea what this strange intrusion was doing on my face. As the years passed, I kept tending to it with different products, but little problems tend to pop back up once things appeared deceptively calm. I hated looking at my face, wondering why I had such a condition so many others were either blissfully unaware of or had already happily passed. For me, the battle’s still not over.

And I realized something.

It’s the same with sin.

Now don’t get me wrong. There aren’t perfect parallels, but the issues of acne and sin are quite similar. The difference? There is a perfect solution for the latter, one that will never fail.

THE CONDITION:

Acne affects billions of people. It might be genetic, it might not. Some people are blessed with perfect skin, while others need to work a little (or a lot) more on their complexions. Every single person, on the other hand, is a sinner. We are born sinners. Romans 3:23 says “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” explicitly declaring this fact. No one is immune to this spiritual condition. Sin is anything that takes us away from God, whether it be actions/words/thoughts we commit or actions/words/thoughts we fail to carry out. And because we cannot ever attain God’s standard of perfection on our own, we all deserve eternal condemnation and an eternity separated from our heavenly Father.

Not only this, but both are undesirable. They’re ugly. Acne often makes people feel unattractive and lowers self-esteem. I can say this from my experience and hearing it from girls all around me. The good thing is, it only works on the surface level and not much else. Sin, however, works from the inside out. It comes from our self-deceived, sickly heart that is so detestable that God, the perfect being, cannot tolerate. It is His nature. Sin makes even the most physically attractive man or woman ugly. It warps our thinking in a way that we feel it is only proper that life goes exactly according to our plan – or else. God becomes pushed from the picture, and what a waste of a life that is! We were created to love, have a relationship with, and worship our Creator; if we cannot do that, how pointless is our existence?

So now, maybe we acknowledge some similarities, some differences. Now, on to…

THE PROBLEM:

Both acne and sin are stubborn! So many people can testify for both! I have tried so many different things trying to get rid of acne, from grating radishes and cleaning my face with that stinging solution to using Pro-Active to … whatever you think of, I probably (might) have tried it! However, it was so frustrating to me to have to constantly hope in finding that perfect product that would finally make all of my problems go away. They always seem to come back! In the same way, sin persistently causes us to fall even shorter, each and every day, of the infinite perfection and holiness of God. However much we try to be “good people,” everyone ultimately lapses into some form of sin- lust, greed, envy, etc. Of course, once saved, the frequency of those sins should decrease as we strive to emulate Christ, but sanctification is a life-long process.

What a hopeless situation it seems to be, doesn’t it? Thankfully, by God’s grace, He provides…

THE SOLUTION: (Notice it says “THE” solution, not “A” solution. There’s only one solution.)

Acne can become less of a problem later on in life, or a person must find some means or some product to control and cure it. Sin is similar in the sense that we need a solution for this issue. However, we cannot “cure” sin, especially by trying to eradicate it ourselves. How might this show up in every day life? We rely on our “good works” and our life-that’s-so-much-holier-than-that-other-person mentalities. Ephesians 2:8-9 proclaims: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” No one can get into heaven based on the “good, moral” things we do in our lives. In fact, we could not even do these things if God did not enable us to do so. Since that’s the case, how can we ever foolishly try claiming credit for something we ultimately could not have done on our own? “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God” [2 Corinthians 3:5-6].

How can we possibly find a solution to solve for the sin we have committed, are committing, and will commit in order to achieve God’s demand for perfection [“‘Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect'”- Matthew 5:48]? If not works, then what? By faith. Read Ephesians 2:8-9 once more, and really reflect on it. There is only one solution for taking away our sins and allowing us to have eternal life rejoicing with our heavenly Father: Christ. Christ lived the perfect life and died (when He had absolutely no obligation to!), rising up from the dead after 3 days so that He could pay our ransom, rescuing us from our slavery to sin and death. And not only that, but He allows us the amazing privilege of being slaves for Him! What an incredible blessing! Read this amazing news for yourselves! “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgression, made us alive together with Christ “- Ephesians 2:4-5. Is that not incredible?! It just makes me stare at the cross in wonder and amazement, just showing me just how much I don’t deserve His grace, but also making me rejoice in the assurance of my salvation.

I still struggle with acne. You can see it for yourself (hardy har har). I definitely still struggle with sin, especially as the Holy Spirit keeps uncovering hidden iniquities in my deceitful heart. Thankfully, God provides me the strength to keep pressing on to relinquish my life to Christ and fight the evil within me. What a joy and peace He continually provides in my times of trouble! God is good, and I am eager to accept everything that comes my way because everything He does for me is for my own good (whether I think so or not!). Acne is something I can live with- everything in this world is so fleeting, and how short this time is compared to the eternity in heaven I am looking forward to! Living a life pleasing to my Savior seems the obviously superior choice compared to looking at myself and trying to conform to the world’s standards. We are not here to serve ourselves, but to magnify Christ in our lives in everything we do! “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” – Colossians 3:23-24. Hallelujah!

Until next time! Have a blessed day,

-Jessica

[1] Medical News Today. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/107146.php%5D

A note: Emphasis on the Bible verses were made by me for… emphasis 🙂

Written: Saturday, 12 March, 2011

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This entry was published on March 22, 2011 at 1:51 am and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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