Transformation Versus Sin Management

Bible Book: Proverbs  14 : 16
Subject: Christian Living; Repentance; Sin

There are times in life when we simply have difficulty grasping reality. It is true at every age and every season of life. Listen to this sweet story from this mother.

My six-year-old was having a tough time adjusting to first grade. At least twice a week, I received a note from his teacher outlining his latest infraction.

Finally, I sat him down and laid it on the line. "I don't want any more notes from your teacher!"

"All right, Mom," he said. Then after a pause he asked, "Are you going to tell her, or do you want me to?"

I love that story! It does point out the fact that sometimes, at every age and season of life, we simply have a difficult time grasping reality. While you may think that you are in firm grasp of reality, I think you would agree with me that there are things about our life that simply do not make sense.

I. There is the Reality of Repetitive Sin

Proverbs 14:16 says, "A wise man fears the Lord and shuns evil. But a fool is hot headed and reckless." In our series of studies on wisdom, I think it is extremely important to not only talk about wisdom, but also to talk about what it means to lack wisdom.

In thinking about what makes a wise person truly wise, sometimes it's helpful to point out the contrast - to see what makes a foolish person so obviously foolish.

There are actually three Hebrew words that translate into our English word fool. One of them - eviyl - (pronounced, ev-EEL) is used nineteen times in the book of Proverbs. This word describes a type of person who's been acting like an idiot for quite some time. A fool of long standing.

This is the kind of guy who never fears until he falls. He just sort of walks through life, never really setting a course for himself, never sensing, "Whoa, that's a little dangerous. Don't want to go over there." He never learns, never seems to remember, "Hey, the last time I went over there, I got really hurt."

You may say, "Well, we all make mistakes in our lives. We all fall." True. I mean, there's nothing that's automatically stupid about making a dumb mistake. We all do that from time to time. It's not blatantly foolish to fail. It is foolish, though, to keep choosing the wrong in exactly the same way - over and over again.

That's why we can say a fool is someone with careless feet - a man, a woman, a kid, a teenager, who just never seems to get the message that every time they walk this one particular way, they always end up in trouble, in trauma, or in some sort of mess. They keep going back. And keep going back. And keep making things worse, on themselves and everyone else they inflict along the way.

When we see this in children, we sort of understand it. We deal with them rather gently about it. Proverbs 22:15 says, "Foolishness is tangled up in the heart of a youth," so we treat them with patience and care.

Honestly, we adults should know by now from the Scriptures we've read, from all the teaching we've heard, from all our personal experience - that certain paths always lead to problems.

We could sit down and name a hundred of these scenarios without thinking hard. Like if we keep our credit cards maxed out to buy this or that thing - or just to cover other debts by moving money around - we're always going to feel like the world is falling in around us. The thrill of buying something is so brief compared to the long months of paying it off, paycheck by paycheck.

Why do some of us have to keep learning these same lessons over and over again? Why do we find this such a difficult danger to overcome? It's because of foolishness in our heart. It's because of careless feet that somehow fail to stay connected with a wise heart.

II. There is the Truth of Sin Management

Turn with me to Colossians 2:20-23. In this fascinating passage, Paul is not counseling us to be rebels, to obey the law, or to not be obedient. But he wanted us not to think that we are spiritual because we obey certain rules and regulations that pertain to the body.

Legalistically, following rules may give people a "reputation" for spirituality. But the product does not live up to the promotion. In fact, in extreme cases it can lead to "self imposed worship." This is not the true worship of God, which must be "in spirit and in truth." Those who follow this logic to the extreme have a humility, which is false and their harsh disciplines accomplish nothing for the inner person.

While it is better to exercise self-control than to yield to the physical appetites of the body, we must not think that such self-control is necessarily spiritually motivated. Many ascetics of many non- Christian religions give evidence of remarkable self-control. The stoics and their philosophy were well known in Paul's day. Their adherence could duplicate any discipline that the Gnostic teachers cared to present.

Many people in and out of church believe that they are living a successful and wise Christian life if they manage the sin of their soul. Is this where you are?

III. There is the Promise of Transformation

Look with me to Colossians 3:1-4.

The power of Christ in the life of the believer does more than merely restrain the desires of the flesh. It puts new desires within him or her. Nature determines appetite. The Christian has the very nature of God within and this means he or she has Godly ambitions and desires. He does not need law on the outside to control his appetites because he has life on the inside.

Transformation is possible! The key to wise living is found in this precious passage in Colossians 3. We are to seek the heavenly. We died with Christ, we live in Christ, we are raised with Christ, we are hidden in Christ, and we are glorified in Christ.

The key to this is found in verse 2. When the Bible says to "set your mind," this means that we are to focus our attention on things above, not on things of the earth. Our feet must be on earth, but our minds must be in heaven! This means that wise persons seek transformation by focusing on spiritual rather than temporal and earthly concerns. Remember what we saw a few weeks ago in Colossians 2:2-3 where the Bible tells us that it is in Christ where we find all wisdom and knowledge. Focus on Him! Think on the things that He has given us!


Yes, we must watch where our feet go, but we must seek God's power in wanting to walk a new way. Listen to this story that I have told before. It is entitled, "An Autobiography in 5 Short Paragraphs."

Day 1: I walk down the street; there is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in, I am lost, I am helpless. It isn't my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.

Day 2: I walk down the street; there is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don't see it, I fall in. I can't believe I am in the same place, but it isn't my fault. It still takes me a long time to get out.

Day 3: I walk down the street; there is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it there...I still fall in. It is a habit, my eyes are open, I know where I am. It is my fault.

Day 4: I walk down the street, there is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

Day 5: I walk down a different street.

Isn't it time to walk down some different roads? Isn't it time to seek wisdom in our daily living? I believe that you will agree with me that the answer is yes.