The quiet moments of the day most always remind me of the true condition of my natural inner self. I use the word natural intentionally as I believe it best describes the nature of sin in me – my flesh that continues to cling to me. In those moments when all is quiet and my thoughts reverberate like a church bell on Sunday morning, the evil inside of me often raises its ugly head and effectively distracts me. Try as I might to deny or simply to ignore the voices and the thoughts and the memories and the failings, I can’t. They are real and consistently remind me of who I am and who I am not. In and of myself there is no denying that I am a sinner of the worst sort. There is no denying that I am not the man I should be. I always assumed this sense of sinfulness would grow less as I grew more. That has not been the case nor was it the case with many people of faith. The Apostle Paul himself expressed a similar perception of himself as his life progressed. At least I’m in decent company.
Granted, I still pursue purity and blamelessness in my life and never intend to stop. However, I never get there in either my behavior (the outside) or in my thinking (the inside). It is quite distressing; yet, I thank God that I am distressed. In a “twisted and evil” generation like ours, sin is no longer just a “mess up” that happens every now and then. Sin (not typically known by this name in popular circles) has become a pursuit that is applauded. I want no part of that. So, I continue to confess the evil that assaults me and the temptations that assail me and “do my best” to live in purity. Yet, to give my “best effort”, if you will, is not enough.
My efforts are empty and have no value in and of themselves. My failures mount. My sins are evident (just ask my wife or my children). I rush to excuse and defend myself. Maybe you also have the tendency to defend sins or make excuses for poor behavior – I mean at least your own sins and the sins of those you love. It is our protective nature to assume the best about those we love, including ourselves, but you know as well as I do what goes on inside of us. You know your natural self just as well as I know mine. We simply do not behave every day the way we so effectively behave at church service. We just don’t think good thoughts and say kind, encouraging things all of the time. Call it what you will. Make whatever excuses you desire. Evil stalks us – from the inside. We live in a time when our culture can’t even define it or explain its source. It is simply explained away and rationalized – even denied.
There’s no denying it. I am a sinner. Period. I prove it to myself each day. I am longing for the solution to this ugly dilemma. I am certain that you are too. Don’t all of us who know Lord Jesus simply long to hear the simple promise of the gospel at this point? I won’t sell Him short as He is truly our only hope.
Today, I’m simply seeking to be held by Jesus. I want to sin less. I want to love more. I want to treat people with love and respect. I want to think good, encouraging thoughts always. I desire to be holy. I long to lean more fully on the Holy Spirit within me and allow Him to control me more completely.
“So hold me Jesus ’cause I’m shaking like a leaf.
You have been King of my glory
Won’t you be my Prince of Peace.” (Rich Mullins)
I take great joy in reminding you of well known truths…
“You have died and your life is hidden in Christ. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” Colossians 3:3,4
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works…” Ephesians 2:8-10
“Therefore, confess your sins one to another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.” James 5:16
“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sins…If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:7-9
Jesus is Life. Abundant Life. True Life. The Life of Purity, Honesty, Integrity, SinLESSness. I long to know Him more, to grow in His love, to revel in His mercy, to live as He lived, to bask in His care. “He must increase. I must decrease.” I am lost without Him.
My sin does not define me, it reminds me
Of the One who now refines me
Pure, holy, and blameless in Him.
He is Lord Jesus.
Pray for me and I’ll pray for you as we pursue Jesus together.