Saturday, January 27, 2018

When We're Finally Sick of Our Own Sin and Decide to Let it Go


"The craziest things happen to you," someone said recently, and they were right. Strange things do happen. An eye problem none of my physicians had seen before. A chain that broke because it mysteriously developed rust in one single link. Cane poles that had been substituted for metal fence posts. A broken knife blade left by the front door. A water pipe that froze and blew off its cap, causing a Niagara-sized flood. 

If all the odd things "meant" anything, I didn't understand it, but I'd held on to the assumption that things would settle down soon. They always have. Yesterday, I left the office at noon with plans for a productive few hours. I expected to saw down some small trees in the pasture, study a writing text, start edits, clean house, wash clothes, take out the garbage, cook a real meal instead of eat leftovers.

Very little of that was done. One thing after another happened, some of it catastrophic, some my own fault, some so disappointing I sat on the floor and wept like a baby. 

In the dark night of my soul, I saw my own heart, and the bleak vision brought even more tears. I faced my sin, and I was horrified by the pride, critical spirit, and sense of perfectionism in me. God had removed it all, but I'd allowed a seedling of sin to blossom into a vile, choking weed. Again.

I want all the wickedness gone. You may wonder if attitudes that don't manifest in significant actions are "wickedness," but the answer is yes. Sin is always wickedness. There's nothing sweet or charming about it. 

I want to be perfect, even as my Father in Heaven is perfect, but I have a long way to go. Part of the job of disciples includes quick repentance and progressive growth toward a Christ-like heart. I know none of us will be perfect this side of heaven, but I'd like to be a good bit closer than I am. Wouldn't you? 

I repented. I wept before the Lord, confessed my sin, and asked for forgiveness.

He forgave me.

It was that simple, but it didn't seem like enough. I repented some more. I wept some more. I apologized over and over again. Maybe you've never had one of those "come to Jesus" moments, but they are soul-cleansing hard, and white-as-snow beautiful. 

This morning, I still felt bad about the darkness I'd found in my heart. "I don't feel forgiven, Lord. I feel far away. Snuggle me again, Shepherd of My Heart." 

Have you ever felt this before? 

I opened my Bible to John, and reviewed the verses I'm planting in my heart. Those beautiful words washed over me like the balm of Gilead.

"For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace." John 1:16 nasb

Read those lovely words again, and ponder them with me. 

Forgiveness isn't given because of our feelings. It comes from the mercy and grace of God. He mercifully doesn't give us what we deserve. Instead, through grace, He gives us the forgiveness and cleaning we don't deserve. "And grace upon grace." He continues to give, every single time we need forgiveness. 

There was another passage that spoke to me in my despair and filled me with hope. 

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses." (2 Corinthians 10:3-4 nasb)

The weapon God has given us is powerful enough to demolish even the strongholds and fortresses in our own hearts. Our only offensive weapon is the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, and it's more than enough. 

The word of God can demolish all the lies we've embraced, all the strongholds we've allowed the enemy to claim. I saw that truth again this morning. It's only effective, however, if we know what it says and allow it to do it's beautiful work in our hearts. 

If we're tired of the load of sin we've been carrying, let's do something about it. Today, let's confess our sin and embrace the forgiveness only our loving, merciful, grace-filled Savior can give. Allow our faith to dictate to our feelings. We are loved, bought with a price, and washed white as snow. 

Let's live clean, because we are. 

"For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." Hebrews 4:12
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In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: Why My Borders Need to Expand

You might also like: Demolishing Strongholds and Choosing to be Free

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash