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Managing to Fail

Unruly employees can be managed by a capable leader. Finances can be managed and made to increase with knowledge and skill. Households can be managed so as to provide a refuge for marriages and families. Lots of things, situations, and people can be managed, but it’s time to give up on one area that has plagued mankind a long time.

You can’t manage sin.

It’s not a disease you can isolate and destroy, that you can control with the right dosage of medications or the latest cure-all. It’s so fundamentally a part of our world you are going to need a supernatural source to eradicate it.

‘That’s the problem with sin-management. It treats sin lightly, as if I could control it. Grace is not soft on sin. Attempting to manage my sin is.” —The Cure, by John Lynch, Bruce McNicol, and Bill Thrall.

I sorta feel like someone should say, “Boom!” and throw a microphone down after that statement. We can falsely assume that to be “tough on sin” we have to be the strictest managers. We don’t let anything by us and we keep a tight rein because one false move and it’s a sin explosion.

May I be so bold as to say, that’s not why Jesus died.

He didn’t hang on a cross, suffering incredible pain and shame, to defeat sin. The joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2) that caused Him to endure that cross was a people reconciled to God the Father. Sin is never primary.

To be honest, whenever I fall into sin-management mode, sin becomes all I can focus on. My prayer time is a means of defeating sin before I can give in. My worship time is another discipline that will keep me from falling to sin and shame. Oh and Bible reading, don’t forget Bible reading! That’s important because I don’t want to sin and feel like a slug again.

praying_on_bibleHere’s another statement from The Cure that hit home for me,

If I don’t trust you, you can’t love me, no matter how much love you have for me.

Think about that in God’s terms. I’ve turned the very things He gave me as a gift of fellowship and communion (i.e., prayer, worship, Bible study) and I’ve turned them into tools to fight a battle He already won for me. I fail to trust God and His immense and burning love poured out on me goes unnoticed because I made too much of sin.

I believe God wants to give us an invitation to make much of Him instead.

Grace doesn’t go easy on us. It challenges, convicts, corrects, and changes us. That doesn’t mean it’s a painless process, but it will work if you’ll yield to it (unlike the alternative). Sin-management fails because you can never be on your guard at all times, but in that scenario, you’ve left it to yourself.

My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep. –Psalm 121:2-4

His fierce love will infiltrate every cell of our being if we’ll just trust Him instead of blaming Him. He never sleeps on the job and He won’t simply manage. He applies the victory of the blood to your heart and life. Fellowship restored.

Your turn! Have you ever believed lies about sin-management or about grace? What speaks to you in this?


cure2Welcome to week 1 of Chapter 4 discussion of The Cure (disclosure) by John Lynch, Bruce McNicol, and Bill Thrall. We are taking a sentence, paragraph, or passage that inspires, encourages, or challenges and writing about it. Once again, we’ll be taking 2 weeks per chapter as these are dense and thought-provoking words. If you have a response on your blog, head over to my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s blog for her thoughts and the widget to add your post. Whether you’ve read the chapter or not, please dive into the conversation!

10 Comments

  1. I love what you say Jason about sin never being primary. BAM! Yes he defeated sin but the most important thing is the reconciliation He made possible with His Father for us. Powerful stuff! Thanks
    Bill (cycelguy) recently posted..CoordinationMy Profile

    • Thanks so much, Bill!

  2. I was like “What???? Sin isn’t the primary reason Jesus choose to die?” Then I thought about it..we kinda become automated beings if we focus on the sin. That means that when a wrench is thrown at us we dissolve in flying parts, which is a rare thing, but isn’t impossible!
    Ed recently posted..How to Preserve a Halloween Jack o LanternMy Profile

    • 🙂 I don’t want my focus to be sin in any form or function. I want to fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith, who enables to let go of the sin that easily entangles us! Let it go… I hear a Frozen song coming on. 🙂 Thanks Ed!

  3. Great reminder and insight that Jesus has already taken our sins away, and there is no need to “manage” them. I pray His grace works through us all to keep us in relationship with God and focused on spending time with Him.
    Blessings, Jason!
    Martha Orlando recently posted..The Great De-TanglerMy Profile

    • Love how you stated that. If we truly begin to realize that our confessed sins are gone and covered, we won’t feel like we have to manage them! Thank you, Martha!

  4. Really thought provoking Jason. The thought I had as I read it it if we could fill our churches with this truth it might defeat our need to model the Pharisees. Imagine what it would do to the hypocrisy accusation too. Focusing on Jesus and not on sin. Perfect!
    Deb Wolf recently posted..How to Encourage Your Child’s CharacterMy Profile

    • I know! And what’s crazy is that I don’t think any of us would intentionally model ourselves after the Pharisees or legalism, but that’s what we do because it’s so subtle. Thank you, Deb.

  5. Interesting…I’ve never really thought about “sin managment” and how we often use gifts from God (time with Him in prayer, worship, service, etc) to “manage sin”. But I can see now that we all do this. Some knowingly, and some unknowingly.
    The key thing God is speaking to me is for me to learn WHO He is. To trust Him, to KNOW Him better than I know anyone. When I know His character it helps me view this world, myself and others with grace and love that I don’t normally have. I’m a sinner, I’ll never be perfect in this world, but I don’t have to live a slave to my sinful nature. I don’t have to manage my tendencies to not trust Him, through HIM I am new. I can overcome through HIS work.

    • Knowing Him. Trusting Him. That’s exactly it. Trusting the victory He won for us through the blood Jesus’ shed on the cross and His glorious resurrection--that’s what He invites us into (and not just once, but over and over). Thank you, TC. Appreciate your thoughts.

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