Updated: Mar 24, 2021
Yesterday in The Truth About Sin, I exposed the dirty truth (and lie) of sin. I suspect there are some reading who do not believe in sin, God, the Bible, Satan, etc. 1 Corinthians 1:18 tells us, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” I get it. I sat where you are once. I too thought that this was a bit too much to believe. But then God opened my eyes.
I was 18 years old, sitting in a church pew, considering all of the things that God said I should never do. Much like Adam and Eve, I too was listening to the lies of the enemy telling me things like, “Oh Eve, God doesn’t want you to live your best life.” I fell hook, line and sinker and walked away from God. It wasn’t too long before the weight of sin pushed me into the abyss of depression, isolation, anxiety and fear. I was confused over the difference between right and wrong. My eyes were shut in pride to the idea of loving God and others as myself. The further I walked away from God, the less I could see.
You see, that is what “missing the mark” does. I begin with a keen target, Jesus. But then, the enemy dangles appealing snares designed to distract. Once I give in to temptation, my eyes move further away until I am blind to God’s truth. Sin may become a friend or a comfort even until I begin to experience death to peace, discernment, humility, relationships, integrity, hope, and yes death to life. These “little deaths” can actually become red flags to heart issues. And the tragedy is that death becomes eternal if these red flags are ignored and God is dismissed completely.
Let’s take a walk down memory lane, shall we? The enemy’s MO is to:
1- To separate us from God.
2- To create confusion and doubt.
3- To twist the truth.
And today, we will add these to the list:
4- To steal, kill and destroy.
5- To divide and conquer.
Time for transparency. A specific temptation that I fall into is insecurity. Here is how it plays out:
Someone says something that hurts my feelings.
THE TRUTH: I am a child of God, His daughter, fearfully and wonderfully made in His image with a purpose and a plan to give me hope and a future.
THE LIE: This person thinks that I am bad at “X”; therefore, I must be bad.
FALSE BELIEFS begin to cloud my thoughts and judgement leading me to doubt who God is and who He called me to be. I can choose to respond by:
A- Striking out in pain and anger,
B- Stuffing the unresolved pain which becomes a rock wedged in my heart. Rocks become walls as the heart struggles from the weight of indifference, bitterness and resentment.
C- Listening to the still small voice of Holy Spirit reminding me of the truth of who I am in Christ, share with the person that their words hurt me, grieve any loss experienced, and forgive the person who caused me pain.
Can you pinpoint the sin? Is it my insecurity? Is it the hurt? Is it the subsequent emotion sparked by the hurt? Or perhaps it is the response? I cannot control other's actions and I may not can control the pain, but sin is a choice. You see, I can choose to process the emotion or allow it to process me. The enemy tempts me immediately to respond with A and when that doesn’t work, then B will work just fine. By allowing negative thoughts to ruminate over unresolved pain, he knows that it's only a matter of time before the pot will boil over. But C- now the enemy has no control over C, only I do. In fact, the enemy will leave when I choose C. He knows what I may not YET know. I can blindly respond to pain in such a way that behaviors lead me away from the Father and subsequently into a stronghold, OR I can look up and release my pain into my Father’s Hands while allowing the healing balm of Jesus to set me free. How many relationships could be saved by knowing this truth? Forgiveness doesn’t let the other person off of the hook, but it releases my heart from the lies of the enemy while leading me into a response which is healing vs destructive. Oh, and the more that I practice C, the more my insecurity begins to dissipate as I find my identity in Him and His faithfulness.
Blindness to sin is actually quite prevalent. If left to fester, sin will lead to strongholds which become impossible to break on our own power. Strongholds are a whole other message, but if interested, Max Lucado shares an excellent visual of them here. In simple terms, a stronghold refers to a fortress with difficult access. What’s interesting is that the Psalmist declares God our Fortress in Psalm 91, yet the enemy once again uses a lie to counterfeit us into believing that we are safe within our sin. But our Fortress- well can I just share that His Light helped me to see every rock the enemy was using to enslave me within the stronghold of insecurity.
The moment I met Jesus, I was overwhelmed by His love, convicted of sin and given an opportunity to confess, repent (turn away from sin) and turn back to Him. For God so loved me that He gave his Son . . . You see, 2 Corinthians 5:21 says that “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” God’s Son, Jesus, came to this earth and lived 33 perfect years, blameless from sin. Yet, He willingly carried a cross that belonged to me. He allowed Himself to be placed on that Cross where He willingly shed His blood and died for me. All so His perfect blood could turn my sins white as snow. God is more aware of my sin than I am, yet He wanted me anyway! After His death, the veil in the temple that separated me from God was torn, and I was given the right to be fully restored to the Father. Jesus rose from the dead three days later and ascended to the Father where His sacrifice was given and He was named High Priest. As my High Priest, the Father now sees me through His Son. Hebrews 10:10-12 says, “we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all. ”Forgiveness and redemption are mine. My Savior has paid the price that I could never pay with His blood. This is the gospel, this is the good news, this is the gift of grace. And this gift is for YOU TOO!
Jesus’ gift of grace begins the personal restoration of a heart back to the Father. My eyes were opened as God’s heart and holiness once again became clear. It wasn’t an immediate transformation (although for some it may be.) A red-carpet rollout of the Father's grace, as I walked with my Savior, began the work of transformation in my heart. His love would dig out the rocks harbored from unresolved pain. Holy Spirit worked to heal the damage from sin while restoring the broken pieces of my heart. And the deposits of His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness and faithfulness would begin the tear down of strongholds that isolated for so long. Talk about good news!
Friend, I am here to tell you that we don’t have to be slaves to sin or to the enemy! God gave us victory over sin in Christ! Jesus nailed our sins to the cross and gave the gift of repentance to return what sin takes away. Where sin takes our eyes off of our Savior and leaves death in its wake, repentance places them back on Him who gives us life. The things the enemy attempted to steal, kill and destroy are found once again through the redemption and restoration of Christ.
Good news, right? The best is yet to come! Join me tomorrow as I share what to do when you’re stuck.