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The Principal Sin of Our Generation

Hello to anyone under the age of 40. This message is for you. It may seem obvious to many, but it’s something that I feel like I have to write about. I want to talk about what I think the great sin of my generation of Americans is and explain how it has the potential to be the most debilitating force to the spreading of the message of the Kingdom of Jesus Messiah across this nation and the world. The sin I speak of is my most prevalent sin and so, being intimately familiar with it, I see it everywhere. I’m sure others see it too. I’m just calling it out.

I don’t think one word is good enough to describe it. It seems more complex than any individual word in my vocabulary can capture. Sloth appears like the best single word, but there’s more to it than that. We have this sort of laziness about us. We’re always falling into frustration, despair, apathy, and sin when living the life God has called us to seems too difficult. We consider ourselves to be living the best life when things take the least amount of work and when, with or without sacrifice, the risk seems minimal. We’re content with mediocrity as long as it doesn’t take too much out of us. As long as it doesn’t take too much responsibility, work, determination, or energy. I think the evidence of this sin of consistently vacillating levels of passion, drive, and perseverance is found in what seems to most strongly irk those that care deeply and desperately about the substance of their life.

These people are desperate to stop being lethargic with their lives. They’re dying to live victoriously with deliberation and activity being an eminent aspect of their lives. A lot of songs by bands that to some degree represent our generation reflect both a strong desire to move forward actively and the difficulty of doing so(“Procrastinating” – Stellar Kart, “Sleeping In” – Nevertheless, “Where Will They Go?”- Sanctus Real, “Forward Motion” – Relient K, “Just to Get By” – Pillar, “Wake Up, Get Up” – Run Kid Run). Many more artists have songs with a very similar message that is more implicit, but still very much there. Our generation has a heart-wrenching longing to live a powerful life because it has been so lacking in our present day examples and in ourselves.

It’s not that we haven’t tried. We’ve tried. Over and over again, we’ve tried and had partial success. Then we discovered that we were right back where we were before and all the progress we thought we made was lost. And we despair. And we shut down, shut off, and settle for apathy. It sure feels better than hope deferred. It sure feels better than putting everything that we have into something and failing miserably. Some people never actually quit, but they become almost content with failure. Their hearts become hard to it and they look lightly on and are not contrite over their own sin. It’s just another way of quitting. Most of the time, we try again. Most people I know try again and again and again.

But there’s something different about the trying after continuous failure. We end up trying with a little less hope, a little less positive expectation, a little less passion, a little less desire, and a little less tenacity. We move away from our first love (see Galatians as a foundation for the discussion in this paragraph) and move away from impassioned and joyous infatuation with our Redeeming Creator that results naturally in obedient loving actions and we regress toward trying to acquire righteousness on our own using the very law that God abolished because of its inability to bring righteousness. That’s a long sentence. We engage ourselves in a circumcision-like religious activity and create a mental list of the laws we must follow. And over and over again we find that we can’t even keep our own laws, much less God’s, and we despair.

I think that our sin of failure driven sloth, hesitancy, or hardness of heart puts us in in very serious danger of talking well and living poorly (me most of all!). My problem is that I keep trying to put a heavy yolk on myself, as if by somehow having tighter rules and higher expectations of myself I will become better. But, over and over I find that there is no life in the law. Still, sometimes I’m intimidated by the Law that was rendered powerless when it was fulfilled by Jesus Messiah. I have to stop fearing my failure of these rules. I have to start being free from the Law God freed me from. God freed me that I might be free. He broke the chains so I could live without them, not so I could drape them around myself. There’s no life in goals attempted (even goals attained) with human effort. We do not receive the Imparter of Life through the observation of rules, but through faith in what He has done. And the sonship God grants because of my faith leads to a love relationship with God and others. If I cultivate my infatuation instead of gritting my teeth and following rules, I fully believe that I will discover myself not only alive and joyful, but cleansed and holy. Join me in living zealous and free, full-time without looking back, overflowing with hope and full of the Spirit of Jesus.

Categories: Miscellaneous
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