Walking and talking with friends. I love it! There’s no better way to spend a couple of hours with a friend than getting fresh air, sunshine, and a good old heart to heart!
As my walking buddy and I ventured on a 5 mile “excer-talk” (I’m trademarking this phrase BTW!) this week, the topic of our discussion made its way to sin. Sin is an uncomfortable and not very Politically Correct 2021 word, but it’s not something we should ignore, or sugar coat.
Sin is something that we don’t like to admit. We tend to gather with friends and talk about life, and family, fun things, and even the good things that God is doing in our lives. And there is NOTHING wrong with that. It’s all part of building relationships and connecting with others. Something I feel very strongly about and encourage.
But, if we’re honest, we don’t often talk about sin in our lives. We shy away from the truth of it to protect what we think should be our image as a believer in Jesus. But sister, we ALL have sin in our lives. We are humans, living in a broken world, waiting for Jesus to take us home. And until He does, sin will be part of our existence.
So, what is sin?
Sin, by definition, is anything we think, say, or do that displeases God. Well, alrightythen! When you put it that way, I guess it’s easy to admit that we’re all guilty of sin. I know I am. Every day.
I wish it weren’t true, I wish I was able to please God all the time, every day, and never hurt the Lord again with my sin. Romans 3:23 tells us “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Did you catch it? Everyone.
Scripture is FULL of verses that lead us as to what to do about our sin. The theme is always the same, no matter the verse. Confession. Confession is the answer to breaking the power of sin over us.
Imagine this for a moment if you will. Imagine you have gone to bed for the night, you are cozy and comfortable in bed, the lights are out, and you are ready to really relax. And then you hear it. In the dark you hear something scratching across the floor in your room (ok, you also have to imagine that you have a wood floor if you have carpet but stick with me here). You don’t know what “it” is really, but you can hear something scratching and crawling its way toward you. In the dark, you can’t deal with or understand what “it” is. Is it a bug, a snake, or a dragon (*wink*) coming at you? There, in the dark, alone with your thoughts, the fear and power in your head just grows stronger.
You have two choices here. You can lay there in the dark, hoping that you are wrong about whatever it is, hoping that it will crawl OUT of your room, and not into your bed. You can continue to lay there, paralyzed by the thing that is holding you prisoner to your own fears, and letting it rule over you there in the dark.
You can do the brave thing, pull back the covers, find the lamp by your bed, and switch on the light! Only then will you be able to really deal with whatever “it” is.
Shining light onto whatever is holding you hostage has a way of breaking the power of darkness.
Think of it this way.
I have sin. You have sin. Sin is not something we are proud of, so we hide it. We don’t talk about it with anyone.
We keep telling ourselves that “today is the day that I will get a handle on my sin. I can do it. I need to do it. I will beat it, so that I don’t have to admit it or tell anyone else about it. I need to continue to hide it so that I don’t disappoint people by letting them know the truth about me. I will be a better witness of faith when I fix it, and THEN I can share my faith. I am different than other Christians because of my sin. I don’t see them struggling with this sin; therefore, I need to handle this myself. Then I will fit in with them. I am only good enough once I have this is under control.”
LIES. LIES. LIES.
Straight from the enemy.
Let’s not forget what 1 Peter 5:8 says. “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” The best way for the enemy to keep power over us as believers is to keep us in the dark. And there we are afraid to admit our sin, even to God and especially to each other. The enemy wants to keep us believing the lie that we need to live this way and be ashamed. He wants us to think that we need to fix our sin before God or people will love us. In this way, he can continue to hold power over our lives.
The truth of sin and forgiveness is all over God’s word. Scripture is loaded with the solution to our struggles if we will just read and follow what it says. I submit to you that in order to win the battle going on inside our minds and hearts about sin, that we must bring it into the light! If we will bravely admit our struggles to one another, (a trusted friend or a spouse or a pastor, whomever you feel is most deserving of your trust) sin immediately begins to lose its power over you. Immediately.
James 5:16 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed…”
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
And this one. Proverbs 28:13 “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”
Confession is like shining a light on that thing crawling in your bedroom at night in the dark. The light causes it to lose the power and stronghold of fear that the darkness creates. Are you with me yet?
Sin loses its power over us when we confess and let it into the light.
What is your struggle? What is your sin?
Is it overspending? Overindulging? Lying? A sexual sin? An addiction? A critical spirit? A bad temper? A foul mouth? Constant fear? Continual worry?
Sin is anything we think, say, or do that displeases God.
Keeping it exclusively to yourself is only furthering the power it holds on your life. I encourage you to talk to someone about it. Not everyone, but someone.
I hope that you have a trusted someone in your life, with whom you can be honest about your struggle. You will want to pray about this for a while before you choose that someone. Naturally, you will want to share only with someone whom you feel will love unconditionally and who will keep you accountable. Someone who has your best interest in mind. Someone who will pray for you. Someone spiritually mature.
And it’s scary. It’s scary to admit your sin and your struggle to another. Keeping it secret feels safer, but it isn’t always. Only when the secret is out, does it lose its power.
I encourage you to confess it first to God, and then pray, pray, pray about who you will trust with your struggle.
I hope that you will choose to be free of the power of sin in your life! Listen, we will not be able to completely stop sinning this side of heaven, but we do not have to live under the power of darkness. Romans 8:1 reminds us, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Christ did not save us to leave us the way we were. He came to give us salvation through Him and a full life! John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full!”
One of the many steps to living a full life is confession. First to God and then in honesty to another Christ follower. Sin most often loses its power when we bring it into the light of the love of the Lord. There, He can begin the healing and strengthening process. There, He can work with us on the freedom we have in Christ. We do not have to be trapped and powerless. We can be FREE!
Heavenly Father, I am sick of my sin. I am sick of hiding it and letting it rule over me. I was foolish to think that, on my own, I can stop. That alone I can somehow win this battle. Father, I confess I need your help. I also know that being honest about it with another will help break the chain. Lord, show me who I may be able to trust with my struggle. I know that in You and through confession, sin will lose the power it holds on me in the darkness. Thank you that because of Jesus in my life, I do not have to live this way any longer. Amen.