A nicotine-tinged dog and spiritual progress

Being aware of your flaws can make you feel bad about your spiritual progress. But what if this awareness was actually a good thing?

Let me explain.

When Tim Chester was growing up he had a small, white dog.

One day it snowed and the dog went outside. That’s when Tim noticed that his dog wasn’t really white anymore. He would normally have blended in to his surroundings because of his white fur, but that was no longer the case. His parents both smoked. As a result, the dog’s white fur had become a nicotine-tinged yellow!

With that unpleasant story in mind, let me make a comparison.

After becoming a Christian, you start to fall in love with the pure beauty of Jesus’ teachings. The more this happens, the more you become aware of the sin and stain in your own life. You start to notice what you hadn’t noticed before. (Fortunately, our salvation and standing before God isn’t based on how good (or bad) we are; it’s based on our faith in Christ and on what he has done for us.)

But falling in love with the pure beauty of Jesus’ teachings can highlight how “stained” we all are and how far each of us has to go to become more like him.

In this sense, being aware of the sin and stain in your own life is actually a good thing. It’s always been there. But now you are seeing it more clearly. You are also seeing the pure beauty of Jesus’ teachings more clearly. As a result, you know what you have to work on with God’s help.

In Psalm 51:10 David prays: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” He said that because (a) he knew that sin was a real problem for him, and (b) he knew he had a lot of things to work on!

Being aware of the sin and stain in your life can make you feel bad about your spiritual progress. But that awareness can actually be a good thing: The more concerned you are with sin, the more captivated you are by a Saviour.

True spiritual progress can happen when your eyes are truly open.

By Matthew Ruttan

–Bible quotes are from the NIV.
–“Up!” is published 5 days a week and returns on July 8th.
–Today’s story is from “Who on earth is the Holy Spirit?” by Tim Chester and Christopher de la Hoyde

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