Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What is sin anyway?

Happy Wednesday, and welcome to my blog! I am so happy you stopped by today for a visit.

Todays Proverbs 31 devotion talked about the fact that God sees our sin. Not just the big kahuna sins, but even the every day little sins that we commit purposefully, inadvertently, or even without knowing.

I also mentioned in the devotion that as we come to the understanding that God can see right through us, read our thoughts, and know every sinful behavior of our past, present and future, that we can begin to feel fearful of Gods judgement and hopeless for ever being the type of Christian that we want to be.

To give us all a little reassurance today, lets dont forget that God keeps no records of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:5 says "It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs." (NIV). The "it" referred to in this verse, is love... and what is love, but God. So regardless of whether our sin is small or big, God loves us and He forgives when we ask. He does not keep an eternal file folder of our every wrong doing. Once we repent and seek His face, He not only forgives, but forgets. Thank goodness!

The tricky part about sin is when we dont think what we are doing is really sinful, or worthy of being called sin. If its just a little sin, does it really matter? Is it sin if it feels good? Is it sin if it doesnt hurt anyone else? Is it sin if it doesnt violate any laws or covenants? Is it sin if nobody finds out?

Regardless of what the sinful action or thought is, the devil will try to convince us that whatever it is we are doing is okay, even if it goes against Gods laws. Have you ever convinced yourself that what you are doing is nothing compared to what someone else is doing, so God is probably more worried about fixing them, than you? I know I have! Wouldnt it be nice if that were actually how things worked?!

The devil is the culprit for that line of thinking. He wants us to believe that we are justified in feeling the way that we do, that we deserve what we are doing, and that life is all about getting our own wants and desires met. He wants us to think that we are fully capable of living perfectly good lives even though we continue with that sin, and that the sin in question will even help us get further in life. But the real purpose of his game, is to slowly tear us apart, and then have fun condemning us when we fall prey to his tactics.

In todays culture, there is very fine line between right and wrong. In fact, that line has become nearly invisible. Although Gods laws have not changed, the laws of the world have. So how do we know what is right and wrong? Do we just leave it up to each individual to make a determination for themselves, or do we just "do as the Romans do", thinking that if everyone else is doing something, then it must be okay.

If we follow any of these courses of thinking, we may soon find that our moral standard changes depending on what the current opinion is.

If we want be sure that we are living by Gods laws and not our own or those of the world, we have to be willing to follow Godly standards, even if/when they do not line up with how we feel or what we want to do. God provided the law, but we always have the free will to choose to follow it or not.

The main thing I believe we need to remember as we consider things in our life that we may need to work on, is that God sees the heart. He is not searching for impurities or sinful thoughts or behaviors on purpose, but He sees them because He looks at the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7 says "The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." Even if we manage to keep our sins a secret - we will always still have an audience - an audience of One.

Christ died to take the burden of sin from us and so that our eternal lives would be secure despite our nature to sin. All He asks in return, is that we try to live a life that would be pleasing to Him, by following Gods laws and repenting when we do sin.

Temptations lurk around every corner, and no sooner than we fight off one temptation, another one will follow along right behind it,and facing this truth about temptations can actually be very discouraging.

What a friend we have in Jesus though! He understands our weaknesses and our temptations (Psalm 103:14), but He loves us just the same. Although the Bible makes no allowances for excuses for sin, it does clearly say that if we repent of those sins, that we will be forgiven. Just as we would forgive our own child a million times for their wrong doings, we receive that same grace from Christ.

I want to encourage you to make today a day of 3 R's: recognition, redemption, and restoration.

1. R - Recognition of our sins - admit to God, and to ourselves, what our sins are - the public ones and the secret ones - and be honest about struggles.

2. R - Redemption from Christ - bask in the forgiveness that He will reign upon you the moment you ask for it; and forgive yourself for not being perfect

3. R - Restoration of your soul - allow God to restore your soul, strengthen your faith, rekindle your desire to follow His laws, and be infused with His power to fight off the temptations to backslide.

Remember - God loves you despite your sin - God forgives you despite the severity of your sin - and God has more grace available for you than you will ever even need.

Psalm 103:14 for he knows how we are formed,he remembers that we are dust.

Jeremiah 10:23 I know, O LORD, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.

James 4:6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."

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Angie said...

I was so encouraged from this Tracie.

The 3 R's. Although I have heard of each one, I have never realized, or had someone present them to me in this order as a means of healing.

I am in the Restoration area. Needing and praying for much restoration so old habits don't creep back in.

Thank you for sharing such powerful words and meanings.

Gretchen said...

Thank you for your straightforward and compassionate blog today. I get dejected knowing and hearing that I am doing or thinking something wrong and I should do it right. But the right way to think and do is usually left out of sermons and devotions. I appreciate your acknowledging the struggles we have, then bringing in the truth of God's word and love, as illustrated when you put God into the I Cor 13 love definition, and finishing with the 3R's. I finished your entry feeling encouraged by someone who sees beyond the facade, loves me anyway and really believes I can do better. That truth is more empowering to change than feeling like nothing I do will ever be good enough. Thank you for connecting all the dots! Thank you for taking the fear out of my relationship with God because I'm being found out in my deepest innermost thoughts. Thank you for defining God as a parent who loves, forgives, patiently retrains and doesn't hold record of HOW MANY TIMES SO I NEED TO TELL YOU? Thank you for pointing out Jesus' love for us not just because he did the unimaginable,hard to relate to ability to, sacrifice himself, but also because he did live through the same temptations we live through in our daily lives. Thank you for using God's gifting in your life to effectively communicate God's love into our lives. Clearly it's not everyone's gift since I pray that you understand my response to your blog today because I can't seem to capture it in words.

heather u said...

Thank you for a vvery timely reminder! This is truly encouraging and I am hoping to draw from it to help a friend struggling with feelings of hoplessness because of his past. Thank you for sharing what God has laid on your heart.

Ruth said...

Thank you so much Tracie for your encouragement and reminder of God's unconditional love to us no matter what we do.
May God continue to use you, encourage you, and guide you in everything you do.
~ Ruth

Colleen said...

Your words flowed through my brain and right to my heart. Your P31 devotional and your blog were just the words and thoughts I needed to help me as I close the door on my secret sin for good and fix my eyes and my heart only on God for hope and courage to go forward. Natalie Grant's song 'Be changed... by a perfect God" is playing, right now. Only He has that power to transform us. I am in awe of the power of God to change me and my situation. A new beginning is always available in Christ. Thank you for the encouragement, Tracie!

Tracie Miles said...

Ladies - thank you all for your encouraging comments today. When I read my blog post again, I hardly even know where all those words came from, so it truly was a God thing, as it always is. I needed your encouraging and reassuring words today, and am so blessed to see how God is working in your lives. Thank you friends!