Wednesday’s Word of the Day: Aberration

2 11 2011

Today’s word is aberration.  The definition means an aberrant state.  One of the many definitions of aberrant is the act of deviating from the ordinary, usual, or normal type.  While watching the Dallas Cowboys debacle, disaster, rough game against the Philadelphia Eagles, I told a friend that I hoped this performance was an aberration.  It did not help much to think that way during the game, but throughout the head coach’s post-game press conference, Jason Garrett said that the other team was simply better tonight (i.e. basically, this game was an aberration) and that he was focused on moving ahead.  I am a fan of the coach because of his consistent message: stacking good days on top of one another, being better today than we were yesterday, and learning from the past.

The word’s root is the Latin aberrare from ab- meaning away and errare meaning to wander.  The literal meaning then is to wander away.  While I hope my team recovers from the game they played on Sunday, there is an interesting parallel between the game of football, or any sport for that matter, and the aberrant nature of sin in the life of Jesus’ followers.  While we are set free in surrender to Christ, our lives change gradually overtime because surrender is a daily practice.

The Christian life is one that can be full of aberrations.  At least, the hope for me is that as Christians our poor choices are aberrations.  Of course, the Bible has a lot to say about the life of a believer.  In particular, the twelve disciples (Judas included) are examples for believers today.  I will get to why Judas would be an example to believers in a moment, but for now let’s begin with Peter.

One of  my favorite things about Peter the Apostle is his willingness to make bold (sometimes rash) statements.  For Peter to be the voice of reason (at least early in his walk with Jesus), the moment would have been an aberration.  The bible is rife with Peter’s greatest hits, i.e. walking on water, cutting off the ear of the temple guard, telling Jesus what to do!  The last story is a good example of Peter’s chutzpah.

The story is in the book of Matthew, chapter 16.  Jesus asked the disciples the question, “…who do you say that I am?”  Peter responded, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  Jesus goes on to tell Peter that he’s blessed because Jesus’ Father gave Peter that special revelation.  Jesus, also renamed him Peter, which means rock, and called him the foundation of the church with the “key to the kingdom” and the power to loose and bind in heaven and on earth!  How wonderful must it have been to hear those words.

However, following this moment,  the story takes a dark turn for Peter.  Jesus begins to lay out the path that He must follow to the Cross, and Peter interrupts Him saying, “This shall never happen to you.”  Then Jesus, not a few minutes removed from calling Simon the rock, the foundation, calls him Satan because Peter was a hindrance to Jesus and was setting his mind on things of man not the things of God. Ouch!  How much that must have stung this brash disciple.

While I could give many more examples of Peter’s audacity, it is the aberrant nature of sin in a believer’s life that I wish to discuss.  First, let’s begin by addressing the idea of nature.  As an unbeliever, people do not have Holy Spirit, and therefore, they do not have a new nature, a spirit man (or woman).  They are slaves to their flesh and its desires.  However, since believers do have Holy Spirit, they have a new life in Christ.  What happens then is believers can now grow in their new life to “go on to maturity [leaving] a foundation of repentance from dead works.”

Sin in the believer’s life is an aberration because of the struggle between the flesh and Holy Spirit.  Paul talks about this struggle in Romans, chapter 7.  He says that because of this struggle (between flesh and Holy Spirit), that at times he cannot do what he wants and at others he does want he doesn’t want. He ends this discouraging discourse by stating the fact that he’s delivered in Christ. Before Christ, we were slaves to sin, but in Christ, we can be truly free.

This is where Judas’ life can be informative.  Judas is rightly vilified by history and in scripture as a traitor, and as a matter of fact, people who betray their friends are sometimes called Judas.  However, Judas is not alone.  How many times have we turned from God to the things of this world?  We are a like God’s chosen people, Israel, wandering the desert, constantly wishing to be back in captivity.  They were given food from heaven, and they wanted meat.  They grumbled and complained.  At times, how are we any different? In both of these situations, neither Judas nor the Israelites were set free by Christ.  They held on to the things of the world and remained enemies of God.

The question of whether sin in your life is an aberration or the standard is a matter of freedom, which is found in surrender to Jesus.  Have you answered His call to surrender?  Have you asked Him what He thinks of you?  Jesus bids you come, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light.




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