Last night I had a thought that is a little undefined maybe even wrong (so if I don't explain this clearly please ask for more). The basic words of it are "The only thing I know how to do perfectly is sin." I know how so well I could do it in my sleep, and I don't even know if that's possible. I had this thought and it got me to thinking, "What exactly is 'wrong'?" I know that the translation of sin "hamartia" in the Greek is "missing the mark." If you were an archer it would be equivalent to not hitting the target with your arrow. So doing wrong can be equated to sinning when it relates to God. We can do wrong by sinning, falling short of the mark that God has set up for us.
First of all, because of what Adam and Eve did, we are born with a "sin-nature" a predilection, a proclivity, a bent, almost a need to sin, and because of this we will, without God's help, always sin. And most of my life, because I've grown up in a Christian home, I've been perplexed by the fact that I can't make myself not sin. I can't, through my own will power, want the same things that God wants all the time.
Last night this thought, that I'm perfect sinner, hit me so solidly and I finally had it, something that made sense. This is it, I'm not somehow defective or created wrong or even hopeless. I'm exactly as perfect as I can be. I'm just following my nature, who I am without God, when I sin. The only reason that I feel guilty or convicted for doing the things in my nature is because, even though I am a fallen human, I also have a spirit in me that knows what is right and wrong. Because Adam and Eve ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, I have inherited that knowledge, it's written on my heart. I know that what I've done when I sin doesn't meet up to God's standards. So my conscience speaks loud and clear that I've sinned.
So what's boy to do? Although I'm doing what comes natural and I'm actually really good at what comes natural, I still feel guilty for it. How can I stop doing what I'm pretty much programmed to do? Call on the Lord. Call on my father and repent. Turn away from the sin and ask for Jesus to pull me out of that muck and mire. There's no way, on my own, I can get out of sin. It's like a man in quicksand, he can't escape from it and the more he tries the deeper he sinks in. But if he would just call out, reach out his hand someone else, who is on solid ground, can pull him out slowly and surely. Once he's out (to continue the analogy) he may be covered in mud but he's no longer sinking.
God sets a very high standard, a very small mark that is very far away, for us to hit. "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:13-14) We can't enter through the narrow gate without help. Jesus has made a way and only through belief and surrender to him can we enter in and commune with the father.
This knowledge is useful for everyone, even those who have been Christians since they were young. Jesus will always be there to pull us out. His spirit will always be available to change us if we are willing to surrender to it. Just call out, hold out your hand and be made clean.