February 23, 2011
Get Serious About Sin
"But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done" (1 John 1:9, NCV).
Friend To Friend
As a little girl, I always looked forward to the first day of summer vacation because it meant two things. First, I did not have to sit in a classroom all day wasting precious brain power trying to comprehend and learn what I considered to be useless information. Second, I did not have to wear shoes except when I went to church or when my mother handed down the decree, "If you are going with me, you have to wear shoes." It had to be a really important errand for me to don even a pair of sandals or flip-flops.
Those first few days of my shoeless adventures were always a painful shock to my tender feet since my "playground" was actually nothing more than a gravel road running beside our house on the edge of town. I played for hours, climbing trees and racing friends up and down that rocky street. At the end of each day, my feet were grimy and filthy, often bruised and sometimes slightly bloody. Even now I can remember the stinging discomfort inflicted by those razor-sharp rocks during the first few weeks of summer. My pain management was firmly rooted in the knowledge that my feet would soon grow callused and tough. I took comfort in the fact that I would soon be running down that gravel road with little or no pain.
Sin works the same way. The first time we commit a sin it is painful. We are filled with remorse and mourn the fact that we have grieved the heart of God, but regret is not enough when it comes to dealing with sin. Unless we confess and turn away from that sin, we are likely to commit it again. If we allow sin to settle into our life and refuse to confess it, that sin eventually hardens our heart and builds spiritual calluses in our soul. When we become comfortable with our sin, we are walking in enemy territory and setting ourselves up for spiritual failure and discouragement.
The good news is that Jesus understands human frailty. He is well acquainted with temptation and the tactics of Satan. Jesus gave His life as a ransom for yours and mine. He paid our sin debt in full.
1 John 1:9 "But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done" (NCV).
This verse was written to believers as an encouragement to deal with sin and a promise that when we do so, God will be faithful to forgive us and clean up the mess that sin has caused. We are not perfect - just forgiven. To experience that forgiveness fully we need to keep short books on sin. That means being sensitive to sin and immediately choosing to do something about it. God is serious about sin. We need to be as well.
1. We must confess sin continually. "Confess" means to agree with and is a present tense verb meaning that we must confess sin frequently, without stopping.
2. We must confess sin completely. We commit sins one at a time. We need to confess them one by one as well.
3. We must confess our sin confidently. Once we confess and repent of our sin, we can put it behind us. God is just and fair - seeking only one payment for sin. Jesus has already made full and complete payment with His death on the cross.
One of Satan's favorite tactics is to resurrect buried sin. Wrapping that confessed transgression in his vain taunts and useless accusations, the enemy hauls it back into focus, hoping that guilt will paralyze and imprison a soul set free. Satan can hold us prisoner if we let him. But how often do we believe his empty lies - and by doing so, grant him access to that which he has no right? To break the hold of sin, we can and must stand against the enemy, trusting not in our feelings but in the facts of God's word. And those facts are unchanging and crystal clear - when we confess sin, God forgives it.
Father, do not let me ever forget the price You paid for my sin. Thank You for the forgiveness and freedom You purchased with Your death on the cross. Bring swift awareness and conviction when I sin. Give me the strength and power to deal with and turn from the sin in my life. For Your glory and in Your name I pray, Amen.
Now It's Your Turn
Set aside time each day to pray and study His Word. Ask the Holy Spirit to make you aware of every sin that stands between you and God. Confess that sin. Choose against it and walk on in His power and forgiveness. Ask yourself the following questions:
What sin do I need to confess right now?
Why have I held on to this sin?
What effect has this sin had on my life?
What changes do I need to make in order to "turn" from my sin?
Do I really believe that God can and will forgive this sin? Why? Why not?
More From The Girlfriends
The life of Eve is an encouragement to me. Maybe it's because I can relate to a woman who has really made a mess of things. I love the fact that her story is part of Scripture. I believe God uses the life of Eve to remind us that we all make mistakes and are broken and wounded people. But God takes the broken pieces, the wounded hearts and troubled souls, and makes something beautiful out of it all.
Need help? Winning the War with Temptation is one of Mary's E-Download Bible Studies that examines the life of Eve to discover five steps she could have and should have taken to win the war with temptation. The central message of this study is grace, God's unmerited favor, His unconditional love and the complete forgiveness only He can give. Temptation is a certainty of life but God has a plan that will enable us to stand firm in His strength and through the power of His Word.
It's not too late to enroll in Mary's weekly online Bible Study, Light for the Journey, and have access to all of 2011 studies. The current topic is How to Handle Hurt. We will experience pain and hurt but we can learn how to handle the hurt in a way that honors God and assures a life of victory.
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