The Cookie Jar
When we ask for God's forgiveness, we must be willing to let go of our sin.
A cookie jar that has a mouth large enough to put your hand into the jar, but small enough that your hand won't come out when you make a fist.
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out. Acts 3:19
When I was a boy, my mother had a cookie jar much like this one. Most of the time it was filled with cookies. My mother would sometimes tell me not to eat any cookies before dinner because it would spoil my appetite. Has your mother ever told you that? I am sure she probably has. Well, I remember on time when I didn't listen to what my mother told me. I climbed up on a stool so that I could reach the cookie jar and very slowly removed the lid, being careful not to make a sound that my mother might hear. I reached into the jar and got a hand full of cookies. Just at that moment, I heard my mother coming. I quickly tried to pull my hand out of the jar, but it was stuck. I pulled and pulled, but it was no use! My hand was stuck in the cookie jar. My mother walked into the kitchen and there I stood on the stool with my hand hopelessly stuck in the cookie jar.
"What are you doing with your hand in the cookie jar?" my mother asked.
I answered, "I know you told me not to eat any cookies before dinner, but I was so hungry and the cookies looked so good that I just couldn't resist. Now my hand is stuck in the cookie jar."
"Let go of the cookies," my mother said. When I turned loose of the cookies, my hand easily came out of the cookie jar!
That is the way it is with the sin in our lives. Sometimes we do things that we know are wrong and we want God to forgive us, but we don't want to turn loose of the sin. We want to be forgiven, but we want to keep on doing the same things we are doing. It just doesn't work that way. As long as we hold onto our sins, we are held captive and cannot receive God's forgiveness.
When Jesus was crucified, there were two men who were crucified with him. These men were robbers. They had done some terrible things and deserved to be punished. One of the men looked at Jesus and mocked him. He said, "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!"
But the other criminal said, "We are criminals and we deserve to die, but this man has done nothing." Then he turned to Jesus and said, "Remember me when you come into your kingdom."
Jesus replied, "Today you will be with me in paradise."
One man refused to let go of his sin and he died and without Jesus. The other man turned from his sin, and he went to heaven to be with Jesus. Each of us has the same choice. We can choose to remain in our sin and turn our back on God, or we can choose to turn from our sin and receive eternal life in Jesus. Which will it be?