Pastor's Pen: It's not the bolt

In my house I have two recliners that are exactly alike … almost. One works perfectly fine and I use it all the time. The other requires extra effort to raise the footrest. The problem seems easy enough to fix. A few months after having the used recliner I noticed the issue with the footrest. I wasn’t certain what the problem was until I found half a bolt under the chair. I flipped it over and found where it was to go. So I decided to fix it. I went to the hardware store, purchased the bolt and, with some effort, maneuvered the parts to fit the bolt into the hole. Good as new!

At least it was for a few more months. Then it happened again. I flipped it over, fixed the bolt and off we go. This happened several more times. Obviously there was some other issue with my recliner. I looked all over and finally discovered the real problem. The frame on the recliner is broken causing the entire chair to sit lower and a little to one side. This puts added pressure on the bolt causing it to sever in two. I can replace the bolt all I want, but to truly fix the chair I need to adjust the frame.

I find myself doing this same thing in life all the time. I discover an issue, a sin of some sort, which needs fixing. I try to discipline myself to cease from doing that anymore. In some ways, it’s successful. I avoid social embarrassment. I keep myself from breaking down too much. But then some other sin pops up or the issue at hand rears its ugly head at just the wrong time causing me to backpedal. And then I realize what Paul did in Romans 7, “What a wretched man I am!”

I am terrible. Yes, I keep myself from doing stuff that is REALLY bad and prevent social faux pas, but in reality I’m a wicked, sinful man with no hope of rescuing myself. I keep replacing that bolt, yet it continues to snap off. And, frankly, I’m tired of replacing it. Like my recliner, I no longer bother to fix those continual rising sins. They’ve just become part of me. It’s not that I want them there. I want to do good, “but nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out … Who will rescue me from this body of death?”

I haven’t the tools or the know how to fix my recliner. I would need help from someone else. I also haven’t the tools, know how or ability to fix myself. I need someone else. “Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord … if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.”

So, what about you? Do what we all need to do – hand your sin over to Christ. That is why He came – for a truly complete fix to a sin problem we can’t control – yours and mine.