A Travel Guide for Life, Faith, and Relationships!
Most of us do not leap into devastating sin; we crawl into it bit by bit.
In fact, it’s fairly rare to stumble into a significant failure by accident or in one giant explosion of idiocy. A major compromise almost always is the result of many minor compromises made along the way.
Sadly, I know this from firsthand experience. As I have confessed before, my past is littered with a thousand examples of what not to do.
I’m not saying this for pity. I’m not trying to be self-deprecating either. Neither am I throwing my hands up in defeat and surrender to my humanness. I will and must continue to grow and be molded into the image of Jesus. (Christians call this the process of sanctification.)
But if sin is defined as missing the mark through words, actions, or thoughts, then I fail on a regular basis. If sin is knowing what good I am to do and yet not doing it, then I have blown it many, many times.
Someone once asked me, “How do I know—really know—if I’m sinning.” Here’s my simple answer:
- If you don’t want to tell anyone and you do want to keep it a secret, then it is probably a sin.
- If you are investing an extraordinary amount of time and energy trying to rationalize or justify your actions, then it is probably a sin.
- If something you’ve done has you bound in fear—like the fear of getting caught or exposed—then it’s definitely a sin.
- If the Word says it's sin, it's sin.
In my experience, every time I forget who I am, Whom I belong to, and what God has done for me, then I begin to decline into darkness.
By the way, James the brother of Jesus also made it clear that our failures are the result of one poor choice made after another.
14 Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1:14-15 (NIV)
As I said, lots of poor decisions are made along the path to devastation and death.
We all fail. Often. Hopefully, less than we used to, but more than we want to or should.
That’s the bad news. Is there anything good I can offer you in this blog?
Yup. Here are some profound truths we must always remember:
- If we own our sin and confess it to God, He is faithful and always ready to forgive us.
- God knows us better than we know ourselves, but absolutely nothing we do will make Him love us any more or any less than He already does.
- Sin consumes us with guilt, shame, and fear, but God’s specialty is restoration. That is why David prayed, “restore to me the joy of Your salvation” (Psalm 51). He knew God could restore him.
- God promises us that He will sweep away our sin like morning mist.
- God says His mercies toward us are inexhaustible (i.e., new every morning).
Trust me; I could go on and on. The Word of God is full of this truth: We fail. We sin. We go our own way. Yet God forgives. He is good, merciful, kind, and gracious. He knows that we are but dust and still a work in progress.
Does this mean that what we do doesn’t truly matter all that much? Of course not. (Paul addressed this here.) You and I need to grow. Without question, we need to learn to walk in holiness.
A woman caught in adultery was dragged before Jesus by men ready to stone her to death (John 8). She was embarrassed, ashamed, and afraid for her life. Her encounter with Jesus, however, was another example of the mercy of God. Jesus didn’t condemn her, but He also said, “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Jesus loved, accepted, and forgave this woman, and then He challenged her to change and to grow. That is the way of Jesus and the path He calls us to follow.
When we fail—and we will—we must remember that God is bigger than our mistakes. And because He can restore, renew, and redeem any life surrendered to Him, our sin does not need to be the end of our story. Our failures and weaknesses are never beyond God’s faithfulness.
That’s good news. Very good news for all of us and the reason why I’m still thankful for His amazing and epic grace.
So, my friend, whatever you’ve done, always run to God, not from Him.
He’s got this.
He’s got you.
7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me—now let me rejoice.
9 Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.