It had been way too long since I’d set aside a significant chunk of time for reflection and prayer, so this morning I went to Vasquez Rocks. I have some messages and decisions coming up so the timing was perfect, and I want to share some of the fruit of my time up there. I’ve been thinking lots lately about sin and idolatry and that sort of thing. (It’s made me extra cheery and fun to be around, I’m sure!) I think that a clear understanding of how sin works both personally and societally, and specifically the dynamics of idolatry, will go a long way in helping us understand the mess our world is in and hopefully how to move towards healing it. Today I’ll write about the five stages or steps of the downward spiral we call “sin” and tomorrow I’ll write about how Jesus overcomes this problem piece by piece.
1. We refuse to trustfully acknowledge God as superior, and so we set up ourselves as competition. This is clearly the issue in Genesis 3 – we want to be like God, knowing all the things that he did. Or as Paul puts it in Romans 1, we refused to thank him and glorify him as God. The root of this is fear that God can’t be trusted; we don’t think he really has our best interests in mind; we think he’s holding out on us. It is rooted in a denial of God’s love for us. I’d call this first step rebellion. Continue reading