(Part 10 in a 11 part series based on John Piper’s booklet, “Don’t Waste You Cancer)
#10 –We waste our cancer if we treat sin as casually as before.
Sin is a word that is “politically incorrect” these days. We call some indulgences or bad choices “diseases” (alcoholism, drug abuse) and certainly they become diseases that need to be treated or they will take a life. We hesitate to call some lifestyles behaviors sin lest someone be offended. It’s a word we tip-toe around.
And we probably should, when it comes to thinking about the lives of others. Strong words are used in the Bible about judging others. It’s not for us to say what separates a person from God — that is between them and God.
But cancer (or anything that makes us pause in our rush to live) gives us the opportunity to look at our own life and sin within. Piper says, “Cancer is designed to destroy the appetite for sin.” It puts life into perspective. Things I once enjoyed that were not of God seem trivial now. He goes on to say, “Don’t just think of battling against cancer. Also think of battling with cancer…Let the presence of eternity make the sins of time look as futile as they really are. ‘What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?’” (Luke 9:25).
Since time is of the essence, so is how I spend my time. I want to spend my time on things that will last — memories and mementos of love to those who will live on; words of encouragement and hope for those who will need it; experiences in nature that reflect the nature of God; words in poetry or prose that encourages hearts. I have so much to do, I can hardly think about doing things that don’t please the Lord!
And yet, sin does creep in just like it has my whole life. I’m tempted to waste time feeling sorry for myself. I’m tempted to believe in “cures” rather than God’s timing. I’m tempted, especially when I’m tired, to watch to much TV where crimes are solved and relationships mended in an hour (how unrealistic!). Sin offers an easy way to get out of my difficulties for a moment, relieving me from facing the challenges before me.
My faith has taught me to face life head-on. I can dance around issues in my life, but why? Why should I not face them when I can, by faith, figure out the source of sin and meet that need in a way that glorifies God.
And for sins that are entrenched and ever before me? I keep taking them on one by one, bringing them to Jesus who paid for them all. He forgives me, not based on my goodness, but on his. In that truth, there is great relief. Anything I have given up in this world has been well worth it for the grace I have received.
How do your trials work with you to help defeat sin? (comment below)