I’ve been getting feedback on some of my writings that I find quite interesting. Some say I’m too hard on myself. Others say they have the same problem. What problem is that? To put it bluntly, I’m disgusted with my sin, and it’s really bothering me. I mean, we all know that beauty pageant contestants ask for world peace, right? Everyone wants that’s, right? Then why don’t we have it? We know what the problems of the world are, and we know the answers, so it would seem. But is the world any more peaceful now that before? I don’t think so.
We all know that there is more to this problem than meets the eye. It comes down to an individual level. If I know what needs to be done in order to make this world a better place to live, am I doing it? The answer is maybe to some degree but not like I could. Why not? Let’s zoom in a little closer still. Am I at peace with myself?
How would you answer that?
Long story short, I’ve come to the conclusion that I will not be able to be at peace with myself. Don’t misunderstand me. I can be at peace through Jesus, but how can I be at peace with myself when I sin? My sin is troublesome to me, as it should be. I shouldn’t feel comfortable with my sin. It should be my goal to get rid of it. Doesn’t sin interfere with my relationship with God? Of course, it does. Then why would I want to harbor it? I shouldn’t. Then why don’t I get rid of it?
That’s the million-dollar question.
It’s all tied to the question of why we don’t have peace on earth. There is far more to the story than just wishing everyone well. The longer I am at this stuff, the more and more I realize that I am just starting to get a glimpse of the true nature of sin, how bad it really is, how deep it permeates my entire being.
There are some people in my life that share the same anguish over this topic. One may think we are sour, miserable creatures, pre-occupied with morbid thoughts. On the contrary. Well, some are. Others are quite joyful. Why? Because they also are getting glimpses of the true nature of God’s mercy. They are getting glimpses of the true price Jesus paid for us on that cross. It might be tempting to feel bad because of our immense obligation for this, one we can never repay. Yet, that is exactly opposite of what he intends. Let’s take a look at something:
Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Ok, so the reason I looked to Verse 2 was to point out that Jesus died on the cross in joy of what it accomplished. He did not complain (and isn’t) about the price he paid. He was happy to pay that bill! Can we settle ourselves on that?
What’s really amazing to me is how well both verses address my whole problem lately. It addresses both sin and mercy. It provides us with hope and encouragement of a far better life, eternal life! We are in this thing together and do not have to struggle alone! Woo Hoo! I’m telling you, the more I read this verse, the more I see.
We’re in this thing together. Do me a favor to test this. Do a little survey amongst your tightest Christian friends. Ask them to name their #1 sin and what they are doing to get rid of it. You had better be willing to share yours, right? Can you? Most likely you won’t get an honest answer from your friends. They may give some vague blah, blah, blah as to their sin and more of the same as to what they are doing about it. From my own experience, very few people will share this with you. It could be they don’t even know themselves. Maybe you don’t.
To be fair, I have two: gluttony (solving my problems through ingestion) and lust (desiring that which I should not have). The short-answer solution is to desire Jesus more than anything else. Jesus is truly the only one to satisfy the sense of angst deep within my soul. Other things work for a time, but they cause more problems than they solve. Long term problems. The long answer is that it takes a great deal of walking with Jesus to uncover layer upon layer of the junk that prevents that sin from being exposed and rooted out. It’s no simple, easy process. In fact, it can be quite excruciating. Like extensive dental work, many painful trips are needed to get things fixed. But it is work that must be done. Oh, we can defer this process; but if we are truly born-again, we won’t be able to stop it. It is certain that every one of us will be completely rid of sin as we step through the gate of heaven. It would seem wise that we diligently attend to this task as much as possible while here on earth. Something about 1 Corinthians 3:15 tells me that we should.
Besides that, look at all the blessings we forgo while we harbor sin! Please don’t worry about the enormity of this task. Indeed, it is enormous, but our Jesus is extremely competent and fit for the job. Read Hebrews 12:1-2 again. Where is Jesus seated? Do you think he is not capable of ridding you of your most entrenched sin? Of course, he’s capable. That’s his job, to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). Right? Let him do just that.
Yes, I am greatly troubled by my sin, but I also am greatly comforted that I am cooperating with Jesus in removing it. I see the fruit of his work. I have great joy through this process. It’s when I don’t cooperate that I lose that joy – and other fruit, particularly self-control. It is far better for me to go with the program than it is to ignore it or, worse yet, go against it.
How about you? Am I encouraging you to make some bold moves? Do you have sin that needs to be gone, sin that you have been struggling with for years, perhaps decades? Maybe sin that has beseeched you all your life? Now is the time.
Father, thank you so much for revealing exactly what I need through scripture. All that I have been wrestling with in two verses! You amaze me! Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers