A Spiritual Challenge for this Week – and a Potential Preaching and Teaching Illustration

My doctoral students will tell you that I usually return their dissertation chapters many times before I finally approve them. And, I suspect some of them will tell you that the process can be frustrating to them. 

Here’s why. When I grade a chapter for the first time, I try to catch as many errors/needed revisions as I can—but I don’t always catch them all. Some of the more egregious problems are usually more apparent, and they grab my attention first. It’s the student’s job then to correct anything I’ve noted and send me a revised copy. 

But here’s what happens. Sometimes the revisions aren’t always the best. In fact, sometimes they create even more problems. So, I grade the chapter again, highlight other needed revisions, and send it back to the student for more work. 

In more cases, though, I simply miss some problems when reading the chapter the first few times. Those errors aren’t as readily apparent in the midst of more obvious errors – but they become even more apparent as the student submits stronger revisions. 

That is, the cleaner the chapter becomes, the more the few remaining errors become obvious. The student’s job then is to keep addressing the problems so the final presentation is as error-free as possible. 

My point is this: we believers will not become “error-free” this side of heaven, but we still must continually work at confession, repentance, and obedience. And, the closer we get to God, the more apparent our remaining sin becomes. The smallest disobedience becomes even more convicting – and we cry out even more for God to cleanse us daily. 

Here’s my challenge this week: ask God to help you see where you need to repent . . . and then keep repenting as He makes your sin ever more apparent in the cleansing process. In His grace, grow closer to Him each day. 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.