Last week I revealed in my post that I desire a greater level of abiding in 2016, which means experiencing union and communion. Several desires were listed, but abiding with God was #1.
This week I started a new study, Walking as Jesus Walked by Dan Spader. I settled in to do my FIRST day of homework and this is the FIRST verse of the ENTIRE study.
Whoever ABIDES in Him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (1 John 2:6).
God is going to answer my prayers about this abiding issue.
(Did I tell you it was the FIRST verse of the ENTIRE study?)
Later in the study that morning I was challenged to read 1 John 2:1-10 to understand the context in which this verse is tucked.
The FIRST verse of that entire section was this:
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. [gulp] But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. [oh, yay!] (1 John 2:1)
Christians cannot ABIDE unless we deal RUTHLESSLY with sin.
Run from it,
Keep it out,
Address it with lightning speed.
Run to our Savior
And confess our sins,
Run to those we have hurt
And confess our sins.
Only THEN can we be clean. Only THEN can we abide.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. (James 5:16)
This whole topic of sin is something we all run from.
No one wants to talk about it or hear a sermon about it. No one enjoys confessing to God or the people we hurt. In fact, confessing can be downright embarrassing.
But without addressing sin we can’t ABIDE in Jesus.
And if we can’t abide in Jesus, we can’t walk in the same way in which he walked.
Last week, prior to beginning this study, I wrote a letter to all people not addressing their sin.
It just poured out of me,
probably because I have written the same letter to myself.
Lately, it feels like I am watching unaddressed sin everywhere I turn, both in the lives of those who don’t know Christ and in those that do. For those of us who know Christ, our unaddressed sin destroys our ability to walk as Jesus walked, which then destroys our ability to be a light for Christ in the world.
May I use what I observe as motivation to deal ruthlessly with my own sin and pray fervently for those still in its clutches…
because they won’t let go.
Dear Hurting Person (remember, I have been this person too),
I have been watching you. You are everywhere. I see you in my family, workplace, church and neighborhood.
You are sinning and not dealing with it.
I watch you spew awful words and greet those you harmed the next day as if nothing ever happened.
Something did happen.
I watch you try so hard to
Switch to something new,
But there is no such thing as “fresh” or “new” when garbage fills your heart.
You can’t go forward in life until you first go back,
Back to the root of the issue.
For those that have been hurt by others…
Can’t move on unless you acknowledge the pain of someone sinning toward you,
Unless the vice-grip of unforgiveness — under which your heart is struggling to beat — is released.
For those that have hurt others…
Can’t move on unless you ask forgiveness from those you hurt, slighted, injured, offended.
Can’t move on unless you confess your sins to both God and the people who saw the sin.
In those rare times I do hear you talk about your sin, it can sound flippant.
I hear you reference your sin with words like “weakness,” “mistakes,” “human nature.”
I see you brush your behavior aside with excuses and justification.
You hesitate to use the word “sin.”
Instead you say, “People are being so over-sensitive or judgmental.”
Take my advice. Please.
Best to call it what it is…SIN.
Because our Savior died for sin, not mistakes. That is fabulous news! **
You can do something about sin. You can confess it and be cleansed.
But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
Oh, dear person,
You think you are hiding, but everyone can see the garbage.
For out of the heart a person speaks. (Luke 6:45)
The garbage is leaking out of your pores…
every sentence, every tone, every overreaction, every skewed perspective.
You are not hiding anything.
It’s not working.
It’s not working with us, and it’s not working with you.
Stop trying to seek happiness in circumstances.
Stop striving to be loved.
Stop grappling, grabbing, pursuing, working so hard.
The heart was designed to be the wellspring of life. (Proverbs 4:23)
Let it be what God intended.
Aren’t you miserable enough?
Come clean with God and with those who know about the sin.
It is the road to freedom.
** The idea of calling sin “sin” being a good thing because sin is what Jesus died for came from a three-sermon series on divorce taught by my friend, Steve Estes who quoted that thought. (sermon archives, Nov-Dec 2015)
The photos this week are from last February when our city was shut down and I had an extra delicious week of winter break. Not so this year. I have been reminiscing.
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