The most exhausting race we will ever run is the one from our sin.
I call it the race of retreat.
I experience this all the time it seems. Every time I try to run from my sin, I find myself bent over, breathless, and puking in a garbage can from exhaustion. Running from our sin is the true case study for the definition of insanity, which says, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.”
The Bible does have a proactive approach of running from sin.
“Now flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” -2 Tim 2:22
God’s design is for us never to have to run from sin because He’d rather have us not sin in the first place! In order to run from something there has to be something to run from. No sin = No running needed.
But the reality is that we do sin and what I see most commonly are people who, instead of deciding to deal with it, run from it. Some examples are:
- Self-Justification – These are the creatively designed reasons we come up with to say why our sin is ok. The “yeah, buts…” will come into play here. “Yeah, but Johnny sleeps with is girlfriend and nothing bad has happened to him” or “Yeah, but I can always get remarried.”
- Denial – By denying our sin we are pretending it isn’t there or affecting us. This may including laughing about it, changing the subject, or downplaying the effects it’s having. We refuse to get help and place blame on other people who are “judging us” instead of dealing with the true cause of our pain.
- Acceptance – Sin acceptance is a rising epidemic. This is where we believe lies like “This is how God designed me,” “That’s just how our family deals with things,” and “It’s not that big of a deal.” Instead of fighting back against the sin we give in and accept it.
All of these are forms of running from our sin and they leave our souls absolutely depleted of life. By believing these lies we are literally running from the water station our soul so desperately needs.
There is another race though. It’s the race of repentance. Repentance literally means to “change one’s mind” to change the course we are running. It’s our decision to stop running FROM our sin and start running TO God.
In Acts 3 Peter and John healed a beggar crippled from birth. When the people who gathered saw this they were “astonished and came running to them” (3:11). Peter asked them a simple question “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you?” (v. 12).
Peter goes on to preach to the people about Jesus as he reminds them that they “killed the Author of life” (v 15), Jesus Christ. However, after laying open their sinful wounds Peter preaches these words,
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,” (v. 19)
This is amazing! Despite the fact they murdered God, they were offered to have their sin wiped out and to receive forgiveness through repentance. They are offered to be refreshed and clean by the same Christ they killed.
Sin never offers that.
As we run from our sin we are offered guilt, shame, hate, anger, and pain as our comfort. Never once will sin offer you rest, refreshment, and new beginnings. It always lives in the past and will make you feel trapped.
God’s desire is for us to repent of our sin and not run from it because this is where true freedom is found. By running to God it frees us from the 3-walled prison cell of sin we live in. The door to freedom is always open its just whether we want to leave.
The race of repentance may mean admitting you are wrong, asking forgiveness, going to counseling, or checking into rehab, but one step toward God is better than a 1,000 trying to run from Him.