There is another sin I wanna confess.

Before I confess, I have to tell you some background information about me.

Ever since I can remember I have had this deep sense of justice.

God has wired me in this way where I can see the right and wrong in a situation very easily at times.  I think we all have that to varying degrees.

However for me there is this need for justice when I see it lacking.  This would cause me as a child to argue in defense of my siblings to my parents at times.  (hopefully I ususally did it in a honoring way, but probably didn’t always do it that way).

Or to tell random people I don’t know not to mock some poor kid.

So I have this deep sense of justice. And there is nothing wrong with that.

Except when I use it to fight for myself.

That is my confession.  Too often I want to use this sense of justice to make me look better, to make me look right.

Or when I am told about how I am wronging someone, I try and convince that person they have wronged me worse.

And that is not okay.

I realized a few months back, that God has given me a deep sense of justice.  But that he has given me that to benefit others. Not myself.

God, thank you for this sense of justice. Help me to use it for others benefit and not my own, so that I can be a living sacrifice.  Forgive me for using it wrongly and selfishly at times to benefit myself, or make me look better when I am told about how I have sinned against someone.

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There is this story in Joshua, about a guy named Achan.

Basically the Israelites were told to utterly destroy a town called Ai.  And not take anything from it.  So about three thousand guys go up to Ai and get whooped. God told them to only send 3000, because there are only a few people of Ai.  God was saying this was going to be an easy fight. The Bible even says the town of Ai was only a few. But Ai whoops up on Israel.

Joshua doesn’t know what happened.  He asks God what happened here.  God told Joshua that someone took from that which was devoted to Him.  They had a word in Hebrew for that.

This word comes up in these couple chapters of Joshua(6,7).  That word is kherem.  The word means to set apart or devote as an offering to the Lord.  I don’t know why this is necessary, but it was.  It basically meant that every thing had to be destroyed.  Everything.  No matter what.  Or everything had to be put in the tabernacle for the Lord.  So either this stuff had to be completely separated from God’s people or be completely destroyed.

It is more commonly translated as “things devoted for destruction”.  So I am pretty sure these items were on the way to being destroyed.

Now our boy Achan, ends up seeing a cloak, 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold.  Achan knew about this kherem word.  He knew that he wasn’t supposed to take those things.  He convinced himself it was okay though.  He knew he was intentionally sinning and he did it anyways.  He sees the wealth, and decides it would be better for him to have it, then to obey God.

That’s what I think the third problem with my heart and sin is.  Because of the allure, the pleasure, or fame that I think the sin can bring I will do it anyways.  I imagine Achan had some time to sit there and think about taking those things. He convinced himself that it was okay anyways.

Don’t we do that?  Sometimes we just don’t care what the consequences are, we just want to sin, because of whatever we think that sin will bring us.

But even if that sin brings us a multitude of pleasure, it’s not worth taking one step away from God.

Isn’t that what sin does?  Even as Christians, I think every time we sin, we are moving away from God, and maybe that’s not the case, but we can agree that sin hurts our relationship with God.  God doesn’t think less of us.  Sin just makes it harder to be in relationship with Him.

So what are you doing in your life right now?  What is that cloak in your life that you take, even though you know you shouldn’t?  What are you convincing yourself that it’s okay for you to keep doing?  Don’t make the mistake Achan did, don’t convince yourself that it’s okay.  Or that the wealth, or pleasure, or whatever that sin will bring will be worth it.  No sin is worth hurting our relationship with God. None.  You might think it’s worth it.  You might convince yourself it’s worth it.  Or even convince yourself doing that sin necessary.  But it is not.

Sin and My Heart, Part Two

October 27, 2009

There is another issue I have with sin and my heart.  It’s an issue I see in my heart, and in many others.  It’s when we let sin win the battle.

Basically it’s giving up.  There are so many reasons for this.

Our flesh is weak.

Sin brings pleasure.

We have been tricked.

Or we just don’t care.

I can’t tell you how many times I will be talking with someone who has given up on ceasing a particular sin.  Or talks about the sin like it is just another part of their life that they can’t get rid of.  People who claim to be Children of God.  People who I have thought and still think are Children of God.

What has happened?

Why do we do this?

It’s because we can’t win the battle. We cannot conquer sin.  We cannot overcome it.

This idea bothers me. I would like to have credit for when I don’t sin, or for when I resist a temptation.  But when I look at the points in my life where I have resisted sin and temptation, I can see that it was only by God working in and through me.

I feel like too many of us have given up on a particular sin.  Do you realize that that is just the place you need to be at?

When you get to that point and realize that God is the only one who can conquer the sin in your life then that’s is when sin is going to start being conquered in your life.

That’s the place where you’ll come to God and say

I need You to protect me from this sin.  I need you to fill me so full of your spirit when temptation comes that it will be the Christ in me resisting that temptation, and conquering that sin.  I need You to be my savior.

So what are you going to do when you give up?

Are you just going to continue in that sin, because of the benefits to the flesh it brings? Are you going to just allow it to be part of your life? Are you just going let it be a part of you?

Or are you going to realize that Christ is in you? Are you going to realize that you have to ask Him to win the battle for you?

What are you going to do?

I hope that I can ask God to protect me from sin.

Because the alternative makes sin your God.  It keeps you on a path walking further from God.  Making it so hard to have a relationship with him.

Until we call upon Him.

Where do you want to be?

A place protected by the Creator of the Universe?

or

A place where you forget sin is sin? And a place where you think sin is part of you?

As for me, I need to be in a place where I ask God to protect me from sin, every day.  I need to ask God everyday.  Because even on my good days, I can’t truly conquer sin on my own.


 

Sin and My Heart, Part 1

October 19, 2009

For me personally, one of the hardest things growing up as a Christian, was recognizing the power of the Cross in my life.

When I say power of the Cross here, I mean the fact that Christ died for my sins.  The fact that he would have done it if I was the only sinner.   When someone takes hold of that truth, and gets a glimpse of the amount of Love that was in Jesus when he went to the cross, that person is forever changed.  So for me the power of the Cross is not just the fact that it happened, but the freedom and redemptive nature of the Cross.

With that said, I think the hardest thing about growing up Christian is experiencing the power of the Cross in an authentic way.

It was never hard for me to understand exactly why what Jesus did was important.  Or even to know that it had to have taken a lot of love for Jesus to do that for us.  It was always hard though, to experience that Love.  I knew God loved me, but it sometimes felt like he hadn’t said it to me yet.  That’s just how it felt at times.

I think part of why that happened was one way I viewed sin in my life.  In fact I think even now that if I am struggling, or feeling dry in my relationship with God, that this particular view of sin in my life is sometimes the cause of that dryness.

That particular view is that I am not that bad.  Or even more accurately that I don’t sin that much.  Or when I do, its not the worst offenses.  Growing up I didn’t get drunk, I didn’t do drugs, I didn’t have sex. And even now I don’t do those things  So it was hard for me to realize that I did sin.

Not only that but it was hard for me to realize that I sinned a lot.  In all honesty I had.  But I was a pretty good kid.  So it didn’t seem like I had sinned a lot.  That comparison comes from comparing myself to other humans.  When looking at the sin in my life I should never get my overview from that comparison.

I needed to recognize how much I had sinned.  A lot.  I wonder how many times the average 14 year old has sinned in their life.

If the average fourteen year old sinned once a week since they were three years old it would be 572 times. That’s a pretty dang good kid though.  Only once a week is a regular John the baptist.  I imagine for me it was more like once a day, which would have been 4,015 times by the time I was fourteen.

The point I’m trying to make here is everyone sins a lot.  Or at least I sinned (and sin) a lot  Unfortunately we don’t always recognize that.  We compare ourselves to others or justify sin, or ignore sin(which will be topics for part two of this blog).

When we don’t see how much we sin, we blind ourselves from seeing the full glory and power and Love that was there on the Cross.

This wasn’t just an issue for me when I was growing up.  It’s an issue for me now.  Sometimes in my everyday life I forget this profound truth that has been revealed to me.  It usually happens after I have not sinned for a while.  Which really means, it happens when God has protected me from sin, and given me the strength to resist it.  This idea isn’t just a problem I have, in Hebrews chapter two this idea of forgetting is warned about.

Do you sometimes feel dry in your relationship with God?  Could it be that you forgot just how much he’s forgiven you? Have you forgotten how much sin you contributed to the Cross?  Have you forgotten what was done

there on the Cross

for

you?

I know that I constantly forget.

I don’t want us to be a people that constantly remember all the sin that we have done.

But I do want us to be a people that remembers how much He has forgiven. And it’s lot for me. The days I acknowledge this are the days I feel closest to God.  The days that I remember all of that forgiveness are the days I really experience His love for me.