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Sound the alarm

My wife and I were sitting in our living room, enjoying the quiet of having all our kids in bed. Just as the peace began to settle on our house, a car alarm suddenly went off in our neighborhood. Loud. Blaring. Don’t you hate that? At 10 p.m.? No one stopped it. It went on and on. What were they thinking?

Finally, after a few minutes, I’d had it! I got up and went to the front door to see who was responsible. Do you know whose car it was? Mine. It was my car and my car alarm. Sheepishly, I turned it off and sat back down. Somehow, I had pressed the alarm button on my car fob while I was sitting on the couch. All that racket, all that annoyance, was actually caused by me.

It’s not just that car alarm. So many things in life get our blood boiling. So many frustrations break the peaceful silence we want for our lives. Just like me on that night in our neighborhood, we think we know who’s responsible. Why are they doing that? We sound the alarm about other people.

Except, just like I learned with that car alarm, do you know who’s the biggest problem in my life? Me. Do you know who’s the biggest problem in your life? You.

Does that sound harsh? It’s what Jesus says. In Jesus’ day, people were convinced that sin and evil come from outside of them. They thought the way to avoid sin was to avoid certain people and certain foods. They didn’t realize the real problem.

When you hear alarms sounding, don’t point fingers. Look at your own heart. Then take your sins to Jesus.

So Jesus sounded the alarm: “It is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person” (Mark 7:21-23). Do you understand what Jesus is saying? Where does the sin in my life come from? From my heart.

Sound the alarm! The biggest problem in my life is me. The alarm that’s going off is mine. The worst greed in my life isn’t that of some businessman. It’s the greed in my own heart. The worst lust in my life isn’t what happens at the local strip club. It’s the lust in my own heart. The worst injustice in my life isn’t how other people treat me. It’s how I treat other people. Can you see that? The greatest problem in my life is me. The alarm sounds because of my sin.

What I need isn’t a better neighbor. It’s not a new government. That doesn’t address the real problem. I need a new heart. I need real change inside me. I need Jesus.

Do you know what Jesus has done? Listen: “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13,14). Jesus nailed our sins to the cross. He has forgiven us. For everything.

When you hear alarms sounding, don’t point fingers. Look at your own heart. Then take your sins to Jesus. He already nailed them to the cross. He’s already washed you clean in your baptism. Find a new heart—and a new life—in Jesus.

Author: Nathan Nass
Volume 109, Number 07
Issue: July 2022

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This entry is part 15 of 36 in the series editorial-comment

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