“Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.” (Jer 13:23 NIV)
There once was a snake. He was making a trek to the holy land when he came across an insurmountable problem: He couldn’t cross the river that lie between him and his destination!
Being a “born-again” snake, this problem really upset him, and he curled up on the bank of the river beside to cry his eyes out.
A few hours later, he was approached by a caring turtle: “What’s wrong?” he asked.
“I am on my way to the holy land, but I can’t find a way across this river,” cried the reformed snake. Then suddenly, his eyes brightened as a great idea came to mind: “Hey! You’re a turtle! You could carry me across the river on your back! Would you mind doing that for me?”
Now the turtle was no dummy. “You are a snake!” he replied. “You might bite me during our trek!”
“But I am no ordinary snake,” the snake assured him. “I am a “born-again” snake. I wouldn’t DREAM of hurting you in any way!”
“Promise?” asked the slow-moving turtle.
“Promise!” answered the sneaky snake.
All went well at first. The ride was a bit wobbly, but the snake hung onto the back of the compassionate turtle. He was getting greener by the minute though, as river sickness overtook him. All of a sudden, out of the blue, he bit the turtle sharply in the neck, spreading his venom throughout the turtle’s body.
“Why did you do that for?” asked the agonizing turtle. “Now we will both drown in these turbulent waters!”
“I couldn’t help myself” answered the distressed “born-again” snake. “I guess once a snake, always a snake!”
Is it true that once you become “born-again”, you are still pretty much human?
Is it true that once you accept Jesus into your life, you will still sin?
Yes, but it does not have to be, at least not habitually. Many accept Jesus as their Saviour but never acknowledge Him as the Master of their life. As long as we try to lead our own life, we will tend to sin more than we want to. Our immediate reality will look more real than the realities of God. Our inner void will not only be unsatisfactorily filled with the notion of God, but by distractions of this world as well. We will wake up on Sundays feeling depressed and we will go to church with long faces. Why? Because Jesus is not really real to us. We have never really given Him the driver’s seat of our lives.
What is the way to a victorious life? The apostle Paul has the answer:
“Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the Cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life – no longer at sin’s every beck and call! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ’s sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did.” (Rom 6:6-11 The Message)
What does this mean?
“This means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time – remember, you’ve been raised from the dead! – into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God.” (Rom 6:12-14 The Message)
The decision as to how you wish to live is yours to make. Who will you let into your driver’s seat? Who will be in control of your life?
Would you mind helping me cross this turbulent river? I’m Born-Again! I promise I won’t bite!
(To access the entire “Filling the Void” devotional series, please click here.)