Ansell: No one plays Monopoly and says 'I hope I land in jail'

KEN ANSELL

The songs we sing on Sunday morning and the lives we live don’t really line up, do they? For example, “Jesus is all the world to me.” Maybe we should shy away from songs like that and sing, “How great Thou art” more often. It’s kind of like that old football cheer, “We are the Tigers, the mighty, mighty Tigers (or what ever team you cheer for).”  If we are not “mighty” maybe we should not say we are?

Grace (God’s unmerited favor) is good, and we have to have it, but too often we cheapen it when we rely on it like a get out of jail free card in a game of Monopoly.  My favorite barista (youngest son Jack) loves to play Monopoly, and every Christmas he brings his Monopoly board to the house and we play - I’m not a big board game person, but it brings him so much joy so I always play.  When I get an out of jail free card, I always tuck it under the edge of the game board just in case I land in jail - I don’t plan on landing in jail - but if I do I have a get out of jail free card (grace).  

Ken Ansell

Why don’t we as Christians have the same approach to sin?  No one plays Monopoly and says, “I hope I land in jail.” The Apostle Paul talks about the proper attitude towards sin in our lives when he wrote, “What then?  Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace?  By no means! (Romans 6:15)”  In other words grace is not a license to sin, it’s not a free pass to do whatever we want to do.  

We should struggle with the sin in our life. We should hate it when we fail. Sin should be painful. It hurts us, because it hurts God. Paul mentions this when he says, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.  I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is my flesh.  For I have a desire to do what is right, … Wretched man … Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 7:15, 18, 25).” We should understand that there is nothing good in us except God and that grace must be a constant and we don’t flaunt our sin, boast about it or even just do it and think, “Oh well, it’s okay - God will forgive me.” Just like no one in Monopoly goes to jail and says, “Oh cool.”  

Last time I checked, there are penalties for landing in jail, and we risk God’s discipline (Hebrews 12:7 - 11) when we sin repeatedly. I’m not saying we are under condemnation (Romans 8:1), our salvation is not in jeopardy. But still, God’s discipline is not fun, just like it was no fun when my actions served as the catalyst for my parents to say, “Kenny, enough.” Our parents and our Heavenly Father disciplines us to turn us from disobedience to obedience.  All good parents do this, right?!  If they don't, they are not good parents (go to Walmart and you will see the good parents and the not so good parents - convince me I’m wrong).    

If we are going to sing that we are mighty or we are consistently faithful, let’s make sure we are or that we are least aiming towards a faithful life. He told me to tell you that.