Where there is sin…

There are times when I roll my eyes at thought of sin.  The topic is preached over and over, and sometimes it makes sin seem less lethal, less potent.  Just another hellfire and brimstone speech: this would be the thought in my mind, so I began to picture sin as a sheep hiding behind wolves’ clothing.

The truth though, is that I never looked deeply at sin.  You see, the truth is that I knew if I looked honestly at my sin, it would reveal who I truly was: a broken, scared, and love-craved sinner hiding behind my pretty Bible and my Sunday’s best church clothes.

To some, this seems extremely harsh to say!  If we’re going to be frank though, isn’t this true for all of us?  We have these certain struggles with sin, and they kill us.  These sins take away life that God has given us, and yet we push them out of sight.  In this way, our hiding is no worse than sin’s.  In both cases, they are just deceptions that shove God’s glory out of our lives.

But tonight, I ask you to look at sin in a different way.  Yes, it is true that sin is utterly awful.  After all, it’s our sin that caused us to “kill the Author of life” (Acts 3:15).  But it’s this same sin, this record of debt, that God set aside and nailed to cross of His Son (Colossians 2:14).

Man, when will we get to point where this gives of joy?  Grace.  Only when we see the beauty of the grace that God has given us, that perfects us in His power (2 Corinthians 12:9), will we ever experience the fullness of joy found in Christ.

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It’s time for us to make a choice:  To hide behind our projected image of being “the perfect Christian”?  OR to run out from behind this fake exterior and to run to our Father in Heaven and be washed in His grace?  Which is better: to hide because of sin or to go to God and say, “God, I can’t avoid my addiction to sin.  I know that I don’t deserve it, but, God, I need you.”

Where there is sin, there is grace.

Where there is grace, there is joy.

And so…

Where there is sin…

….then there is joy.

Doing What We Hate

“We judge others by their actions and ourselves by our own intentions.”

This is one of my favorite quotes, and isn’t this so true?  I find that I see how God calls me to live, and yet I am just unable to do it.  Sometimes I feel too tired or something, so I choose to do what I want rather than what God wants.  When it comes time to judge my own self though, I see that I meant well–judging myself by my own intentions.

Paul recognized this even about himself.  In Romans 7, he writes,

“I do not understand my own actions.  For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing that I hate…For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, my flesh.  For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not what is what I keep on doing.

It is such a comfort to see that even Paul struggled with this is his life.  He was the greatest teacher of the Gospel (after Jesus, of course) and yet that did not exempt him from being weighted down and filled up with sin.

Whenever you find yourself doing something that you hate rather than doing the thing that you want, pray about it.  Remember though, that Jesus came to this earth and lived the perfect life that you and I can’t live.  He lived it, but He also gave himself up as the perfect sacrifice, so that we can now receive God’s grace that covers all that we do.

We cannot do what we want or even what we should do, but God’s grace is sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Go out and have a grace-filled day 🙂

Beautifully Broken

Let me tell you a story of a girl.  For now, we’ll call her Sissy, and her story goes something like this…

Born and raised in a nice family with a nice house in a nice neighborhood, Sissy lived in outward perfection.  But there was something different about Sissy.  She could feel it.  She looked up to her brother, wished she was funny and thin like he was.  She loved her mother, a stay-at-home mom for many years of her life.  Her lifeline, that’s what her mom was until the day she began to work.  Her father, even now as she looks back on her life, she wishes she knew him better.

But life happened.  Her nice family, her nice house, and not even her nice things could prevent her from the falling of the world.  Satan spoke lies to her, lies of her inconvenience, of being unworthy, and of being alone.  The working world had robbed her of her mother and father.  After all, money, she learned, didn’t grow on trees.  It was just an unfortunate coincidence, maybe, that she didn’t have many friends at school and the friendship with her brother that she so desired.  The glass casing around her heart–a covering like that over a brand new toy–the devil crushed it with his lies.  Trying to gain what was forever lost, Sissy clutched the shards of broken glass until the pain she felt and the tears she shed justified the torment required by the lies she accepted as truth.

This is who Sissy was: a broken girl in a broken world that, to the world, denied she was broken.  Perfection was the veneer she wore and the burden she carried.

Never did she realize that her burden had already been carried, taking the form of a cross on a despised man’s back.  Her law and justification through torment, little did she know that these also were paid in full as the same despised man was nailed to the cross he had carried.  And though He–the very Son of God–died on that cross of the world, He defeated death, and He defeated Satan, Sissy still carried her own.  With His outpouring of faith, hope, and love, Jesus Christ even defeated every lie of Satan; however, Sissy didn’t know this either, at least not yet.

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That is the beginning of my story, but it is certainly not the end.  Had God–the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit–had each of these not intervened in my life, only God knows where I’d be today.

But God came to me, and He poured words of Truth into the depths of my soul.  “There’s a crack in everything,” He said, “that’s how the Light gets in.”  He even taught me the truth of a verse that I had often heard yet simply skipped over.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.

Therefore, I will boast of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

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I live a story much different than that from my beginning.  And though I often trace the scars in my hands and even seek for the shards that left them, I stop and close my eyes.  I feel my heart beating and know that I love because He first loved me (1 John 4:10).  I remember that I am broken, yet I am beautifully broken for through this brokenness, the power of Christ rests upon me.