2 Corinthians 11:3
3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.2
Now that we got out of the way let us talk about why I am writing today. I recently wrote a post about my disappointment with the results of the UMC special conference. You can read it here. As I expected I received some differing opinions on the Facebook post with the link. These kinds of comments are always welcome! As I read them I noticed a subtle suggestion in these differing opinions that really bothered me. I noticed that in my view that many saw redemption in Christ as some magical cure for sin. This greatly bothered me.
There seems to be some kind of view out there that once a person is saved in Christ that sin is no longer an issue. That we magically stop sinning and stop wanting to sin. That temptation just disappears and any sin that does happen was just completely innocent and by accident. This type of thought reminded me of a short story I once wrote. It was written as a commercial for Jesus pills. Take Jesus pills and your life will become perfect! It had person after person saying how wonderful Jesus pills were and how their life got so much better. Then like any medication commercial, you might see at the end was a list of side effects such as estrangement from the father, lack of faith, judgmental mind, a feeling of superiority, and others.
Here is the thing. Yes, once we accept Jesus in our hearts we are indeed redeemed. We are supposed to go and sin no more. The scripture is clear on this, but the scripture also shows how we always fail to live up to this expectation time and time again. Just because we find Jesus doesn’t mean the temptation to sin goes away and nor does it mean that we suddenly will never fall short and sin again. Sin still happens. If anything Satan comes after you with double the effort to lead you astray and convince you to sin in such a way you don’t even realize your doing it.
If you think about the Old Testament in an outline format like you are a writer outlining the major points of a book you are about to write you may notice a pattern in the Old Testament. The Israelite’s were God’s chosen people. They were set apart and meant to be holy. God has a relationship with them. This relationship followed a very distinct pattern. First things would be great, the Israelite’s were in a good place and obedient for the most part, and God blessed them. Then inevitably the Israelite’s would begin to drift in their faith and begin to commit many sins including worshiping other Gods. Then God would be displeased, punish them, and after they learned their lesson he would reach out and save them. Then the cycle would begin again. This happens over and over in the Old testament. The Israelite’s always fell back into their sinful patterns. Does this make their faith any less genuine? Does this make the lessons they taught any less real? Does it disqualify all the good they have done? Does it make that relationship they had with God any less true?
Being saved and accepting Christ is just a first step. A true relationship with Christ is full hardships and screw ups just like any relationship in your life. It’s a bit like a rollar coaster with ups, downs, and loop de loos. It’s a wild ride full of an array of emotions. You will have your good times, but you will have your hard times where you may curse God’s name and wonder why he isn’t there. Rest assured he’s there it’s just he so busy trying to carry you or trying to prepare you for something that he may seem distant. In reality he’s always right by your side.
Other times we are the ones to walk away. We go and do what we want because what he may be asking us to do is uncomfortable and we simply don’t want to do that thing. It may seem risky and scary. We may think we aren’t qualified to do that thing. We may think we are unable to do that thing so we walk away. Often the path we choose for ourselves is filled with hurts and screw-ups that we could have avoided.
Then are the times we are caught up in some sort of emotional high and we act rashly without thinking. This is when we may sin and in those moments we enjoy it. It felt good and sometimes it takes a great deal of time before we realize we have done anything wrong. We may even do this wrong thing many times before we realize what we have done. One can go years without realizing their wrong. People may even try and confront them on it, but they just can’t see it. Maybe they aren’t ready to see it. This doesn’t mean their faith is any less real than yours. It doesn’t mean their heart is any less worthy than your own when it comes to God. It just means they are human and they screw up. Just like all of us.
If you believe that your acceptance of Christ suddenly makes sin not a problem then you just might be on Jesus pills. If however you find this relationship hard and always find yourself screwing up then chances are you have got the real thing. If faith comes easy I challenge you to take a hard look at relationship with God. Are you engaging with him? Why hasn’t he challenged you? Have you been keeping him in a box for Sunday Mornings?
Maybe even find yourself a faith partner. Someone you trust and can help lead you into a stronger relationship with Christ. A relationship were you both hold each other accountable and check in with each other regularly. Maybe even get together regularly to pray for each other.
In this life, we must be willing to admit this Jesus faith thing is no cake walk. There is no magic cure for sin. We are all going to screw up. We are all going to sin and enjoy it. We are all going to do wrong and never realize it. This is why God giving us his only son is so huge. He knew we couldn’t do it so he built that bridge. All he asks is we try our best. You may sin again but as long as you made a real effort not to, it’s okay. He’ll forgive you and wipe that slate clean. Give yourself some grace for those screw ups. Give others some grace for
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