Our On-Going Repentance
“Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
1 Peter 5:8 (NKJV UK)
I was watching Spike. He’s the cat from two doors down, a striking animal, beautiful—and he knows it! A big cat with a white bib and a facial flash, and with two white front paws, he’s hardly inconspicuous, and yet he still tries all the time to catch the birds. My garden has a bird bath and he unsuccessfully tries to hide underneath it.
But then there’s his patience. He’s quite prepared to stand there, waiting, watching, ready to pounce, for an hour or more. In fact, I grew impatient in watching him and left to do other things.
Nonetheless, although he’s just a domestic cat, he has all the instincts of a giant cat. We may not fear a cat, but we do a lion. And the apostle Peter tells us that the devil is likened to a lion. No doubt he has the patience of Spike, and that patience also exhibits persistence. He is reluctant to give up, is our Spike—and so too is the devil.
That passage, quoted above, comes as a warning that the devil is ready, willing and capable of waging war against us if we permit him. Not that we should fear the devil. Our Lord and Master defeated him once and for all, thanks to his death on our behalf. The only power that Satan has over us now is when we let him. As long as we stay close to our elder brother, Jesus, spiritually speaking, his wings cover us and protect us (Psalm 91:4). Yes, he took from us our past sins at our repentance and baptism, but he’s just as capable of continuing to annul our on-going sins, if we continue the repentance process we were called to in the first place.
I find that all very encouraging. More than that, it leaves me free to get on with doing what God wants me to do, living the life he’s called me to, rather than having to worry all the time about my sins. They are presented humbly to Christ, and he, as my high priest, deals with them. He will do no less for all other Christians. My sins now don’t get in the way of living the Christian life. There’s more to it than just that, of course, but it’s a good start.
So I can watch Spike in the garden and enjoy his antics, and smile at his singular lack of success in catching the canny birds flying all around him, just out of reach, like us from Satan.
Holy Father, thank you for dealing with our sins through Jesus Christ and his sacrifice on the cross. Help us, however, as we seek to overcome those sins which still catch us out. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Study by John Stettaford
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6th Form Common Room
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