Originally posted Jan. 13, 2013 at The Heart of a Pastor. Republished with permission of the author.
John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits worthy of repentance. (Luke 3:7-8).
This influenza season has gotten me more nervous than any other I can remember. The number of people being hospitalized and/or dying is alarming. People young and healthy are succumbing to this illness — and quickly. So I have started taking precautions:
- I’m washing my hands more.
- I’m using hand sanitizer more.
- I am suspending hand shaking during worship.
- We are wiping down and disinfecting commonly touched surface areas around the church building.
- I am being very diligent, more so than any other year.
When I hear of a friend or someone I know getting sick my heart skips a beat or two. Recently, someone I know was hospitalized with influenza A and pneumonia. I am praying hard for healing.
And I know I am not the only one concerned about this flu season. I know I am not the only one taking extra precautions. I know I am not the only one changing my life and routines.
Bear fruits worthy of repentance.
And why doesn’t the epidemic of sin cause people to be just as diligent (or even more) about their lives? I mean sin is a lot more deadly than any influenza strain nature can devise. Yet we often take sin for granted. We come to worship; confess our sins, and then go home feeling some emotion or sense of satisfaction.
is there any life change?
is there any repentance?
is there any running away from that confessed sin?
do we continue in our illness, embracing the symptoms, and running to our death? Sounds dramatic, I know, but sin needs to be taken seriously because God takes it seriously.
Look to the cross, that wooden instrument of death that Jesus was nailed to, suffered upon, and died upon. Jesus died on that cross, taking our sin with him and announcing forgiveness and giving us hope. But more than that, God gave us the cure to this deadly disease. God gave us life.
Through confession we expose our disease to God and receive the cure. But what next? Sanitize/repent and bear fruits worthy of repentance.
Why? Because of fear of retaliation from God?
Because God has given us an amazing gift. Because God has shown us amazing grace. Because God has given us an amazing future. Because God is worthy.
Be healthy and bear fruits worthy of repentance. Sanitize your life. Run away from sin. Embrace the love of God. AND praise God always and forever. Sin is deadly, but Jesus is for us.
Find a link to Eric Hullstrom’s entry on the blog The Heart of a Pastor at Lutheran Blogs.