In Frank Peretti’s book The Oath, an entire town is under the curse of a terrifying, beautiful, fire-breathing dragon that is mysteriously connected to the sins of its residents. The dragon lures his victims one at a time with temptation. Once they no longer care about their sin-guilt, he consumes them. The hero attempts a quest to kill the dragon and free the town. But when he finally has his chance to slay the town’s dragon, he finds that he doesn’t really want it dead.
“…Against all logic, all common sense, he couldn’t kill it.
“He couldn’t explain it, and he couldn’t shake it, but as he looked at that long, serpentine body spread out before him, he felt he was looking at part of his own body, no different from his arm, his leg, his hand.
“Yes. That was it. As strange as it seemed, he felt like he’d be killing himself.
“I can’t kill it. It’s mine. It’s me….
“And he could sense it so clearly now as he touched it: It was a part of him; he was a part of it. He owned it. It was all his….
“He loved this beast!”
–from The Oath, page 499
Our own sin is like a fierce, consuming dragon. It lures us with its deceptive beauty. It leads us away from our loved ones. It destroys us little by little, but we can’t seem to kill it…It is part of us.
Our sin-dragons have different names. Each dragon is equally deadly and insidious.
The list can go on and on. The more we feed our dragons, the bigger they get. The bigger they get, the more they consume our lives with their fire.
“Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.” –James 1:14-15 NLT (emphasis added)
Sin gives birth to death.
Let that sink in.
Lucky for us, God knew that we would be incapable of slaying our own sin-dragons. Between their fierceness, their size, and their attractiveness, we are completely helpless to destroy them alone. Jesus Himself paid the blood-debt to free us from these dragons. When we come to God in true repentance, He slays the dragon for us and puts new life in its place.
“The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.” –2 Peter 3:9 HCSB (emphasis added)
We have the choice to repent of our sin or perish in our sin.
Repentance is calling out our sin-dragons by name. It is renouncing them. It is laying ourselves on the spiritual altar and letting God cut out the parts of us that will lead to our destruction. Yes, it is excruciatingly painful to acknowledge the ugliness in our hearts. It is difficult to let go of even the despicable parts of ourselves. But without that humiliating pain, there is no redemption, no salvation, and no freedom.
Will we summon the courage to name our sins and renounce them?
Will we bring them to God and ask him to slay our sin-dragons?
Will we risk dying to ourselves so that we can experience new life?
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” –Ephesians 2:5-6 ESV
It is not enough to mentally agree that the Bible is true. Simply being a “good church member” is not enough to save us from our sin-dragons. Begin by asking God to give you a new heart. Ask Him to help you feel the pain of your sin. Beg Him for the courage to face your sin-dragons. And then repent, allowing God to kill them once and for all.
The new life and freedom you will experience is like nothing you could ever imagine!