regression.

I recently was watching Madea’s Big Happy Family with a friend of mine. (WARNING: SPOILERS.) The youngest son in the family, Byron (or if you prefer, BYROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN) had recently gotten out of jail and was in the process of getting his life back on track. He was working and trying to support his young son and his girlfriend. without revealing too much of the plot, I’ll just say that he’s accused of selling drugs again and is soon after arrested and goes back to jail. He tells his mom not to believe that he did it, because he didn’t.

I was really gripped by this part of the movie. I was gripped by the look in Byron’s eyes as he told his mother he didn’t do it. I was gripped by the disappointment in his mother’s demeanor.

The part that makes it so intense is that as you watch this film, you’re rooting for Byron. He’s plagued by his “baby mama” who claims he doesn’t pay his child support. He’s striving to live a good life and set an example for his son. He’s trying to be in the middle of the reconciliation of the relationships in his family by giving his brothers-in-law some advice on his sisters. He’s trying to make his current girlfriend happy even though she’s not happy with the money he makes and they way they’re living.

Going back to an earlier point, Byron is arrested and sent back to jail, although his bail is quickly posted. Also, at the end of the movie, he makes one more “drop” because he needs the money. He’s fired from his job for being late (because he was in jail) and basically, he falls apart to a point.

Byron is a good example of something that happens all the time: regression.

If you’re like me, at times you find yourself doing something you know is so unlike you and so unlike what you REALLY want to do. in fact, as I write this, I’m reminded of Romans 7–even Paul dealt with this dynamic of doing what you don’t want to do and not doing what you want to do. Sometimes that’s as simple as watching a movie instead of reading the Bible.

As a side note, not related to the main point of why I’m writing, but the Bible is a lovable book. In fact, I’m going to write about this sometime soon–the Bible is God’s book. I love when Mark Driscoll says, “God wrote a book. It’s all about Jesus.” Don’t be down on yourself because you don’t feel like reading the Bible. Instead, ask God to remind you how great His word is. 

Other times it’s doing something you thought you defeated a long time ago. for some, that’s exploding in a fit of anger because you’ve had a bad day. For others it’s manifested in the form of sexual sin. Some people have defeated an attitude of discontent and feel terrible when they complain. regardless, there’s one common result of this happening–

you look yourself in the mirror and don’t know who you are.

Sometimes that’s really drastic, like you’ve hit rock bottom. Other times it’s just frustrating and you know that in a little while you’ll be okay. Either way, the truth of the matter for people in Christ is this:

sin is no longer characteristic of who you are.

Romans 6:6 says that our old self was crucified with Jesus on the cross. So that man who was inclined to sin has been evicted by the Holy Spirit who now resides in us. That’s why sin is so painful, and downright frustrating. Isn’t it?

Our inclination is to want to be like Jesus, and to be straight, the Holy Spirit allows us to be. Not perfect, because we just can’t until the Kingdom of God is fully established and sin is completely lifted from the world.

Think of it this way: sin is like a vicious neighborhood Rottweiler that has been tied up. It’s dangerous, but it’s tied up and out of our way. To approach it is to go out of our way, or in other words, outside of our new nature in Christ. You’ll never feel brilliant for doing that. But your dad would never yell at you for doing so. He’s only trying to protect you, and teach you not to go near that thing, because it’s dangerous and there’s no need to. You know better.

For those of us in Christ, God is our Father. He hates sin, because sin destroys. He doesn’t hate people who commit sin, because that would mean that God hates the whole world. The good news is that God loves people so much that He sent Jesus to bear the burden of sin, even though He didn’t sin. Jesus, 100% sin-free, died a death worthy of a sinner. This was what had to happen if people were ever going to walk in restored relationship with God the Father again, because the law was an unachievable standard for simple men like you and I. Something far more precious than another bull or lamb had to die–the perfect Lamb of God–Jesus Christ. And He did. He abolished sin’s power, or tied up that mean Rottweiler, and invites people to follow Him and live a life free from the power of sin. That’s why it’s frustrating when we regress as previously mentioned, but the good news is that you don’t have to–that’s not who you are if you’re in Christ.

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