and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?"
One particular day my friend called me to confess a sin she felt toward a friend. She confessed of her jealousy over something her friend was blessed with that she could not have. She confessed of the evil thoughts that she had toward her friend. She asked me why I thought it is so easy for our minds to go so astray and think such evil thoughts. I can tell this was really bothering her. Several days prior to this conversation, I had been thinking a lot about sin and my wheels were turning. I was really seeking and praying for God to shed His light on the truth of all this. The next morning I woke up with a flood of thoughts, and when that happens, I know it is God and typically I will journal those thoughts. I do not have anything worthy of writing unless I feel the Lord pressing something on my heart. My journals pretty much consist of writings of when I am extremely frustrated about something, or it is something the Lord had revealed to me - otherwise I feel I have nothing in me. So this particular morning, since the revelation had to do with my friends question, I decided to turn my journal entry into an e-mail to her and then print it out and staple it in my journal. This is the e-mail/journal entry from
April 18, 2007:
"The Lord has brought me to a new level of realization of my sin this morning (and I know it is only the tip of the iceberg). After thinking a little about what sin is and talking a little about it with (friends) last night, my mind was really challenged. I asked (friend) what he thought the definition of sin was, and he said he heard it once said, "Anything that falls short of the holiness of God". That's exactly what I was thinking. SO then if that is our definition, why do we categorize sin the way we do? Just like you felt yesterday about the evil thoughts you had about your friend, and how you were beating yourself up over it. Why do we beat ourselves up over that, but not about witnessing to someone when given the opportunity, or not praying, or reading the Bible, or maybe even just missing an opportunity to serve someone.
I checked out the definition of sin this morning in the Greek. Do you know what it is? It says, "Missing the mark (and so not share in the prize)." You know what that means? It means ANYTHING short of perfection is sin.
I had this awareness of my sin and it brought me to tears while I was praying. I just saw the pride of my past (and my present), to think that I'm not as sinful as I am.
I was thinking about your situation that we talked about yesterday with your friend and why we feel the guilt over stuff like that, and this is what came to mind: Satan wants us to feel guilt over those types of sins because he wants us to BELIEVE we are acting holy when we are not having those thoughts - when in actuality, there is NO part of the day that we are holy, not even if we are in church with our hands lifted high and singing in awe of God - we still miss the mark even then. I talked to Dave about it this morning and his first thought was that we're not ALWAYS sinning, like those times when we are worshiping, but I disagreed. I asked him if at that time of worship, is he loving the Lord with ALL his heart (and that love means loving others as well - love is patient, kind, not self-seeking, not boastful, keeps no record of wrong, etc.). In our flesh, even in those times when we are worshiping and serving, our hearts are still not holy, therefore we have missed the mark, and are sinful.
This verse came to mind:
"For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you."
This verse came to mind months ago, and I knew there was so much more to it than I was seeing. Today, those words jump off the page to me. I see how I have thought more highly of myself than I ought. In relation to the situations like we talked about yesterday (wanting bad things for others), ,we think of ourselves too highly when we think THAT is more sinful than anything else we do. We say sin is sin to God, but we live and feel and act differently. If we had an understanding that just standing there doing nothing (even without any thoughts in our mind) is sinful, because at that moment we still fall short of the glory (holiness) of God.
Check out the surrounding verses:
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
God has given us a measure of grace (exactly what that means I do not know, but I understand in part), and I realized once again that it is only His Spirit that reveals truth. When our minds are transformed into the likeness of Christ, and not our opinions, then we will be able to understand God's will. When we understand God's will and His grace, we will not think of ourselves so highly, and understand the sinful flesh we are in. In accordance to the faith that we have at this moment, we need to sow into the Spirit and learn more. This just confirms to me how much we need to just press into God, and stop trying so hard to attain some level of holiness. We will never reach it. God brought to mind the verse in Galatians that says, "It is no longer I that lives, but Christ who lives in me." (Gal. 2:20). It was brought home a little more today than usual. It showed me how much of ME tries to live out this walk instead of Christ through me. When I recognize HOW sinful I am, I realize no matter how much effort I put forth, I will always fall short. So there is only one solution - and it is not to feel guilt - but to recognize that that is why Christ died, and if I just humble myself before Him, and sow into the Spirit, He will work through me - I cannot attain holiness in my own effort. This verse just came to mind:
I feel so humbled today - and yet I just know based on past experiences how prideful I actually still am. : ) God is so good, and I am grateful for His Word!"
Well, that ended my e-mail to my friend. As I re-type all those words again, I feel yet humbled some more, and I say again, I know I have so far to go. I want to explain, that although I know it is Christ THROUGH me that completes the work He has called me to do, I began to wonder WHY I felt the conviction to perform so much. I would read the Word and feel convicted that I was NOT living up to holiness, but felt powerless to perform the Lord's commands. The Lord reminded me once again of His precious Word.
I realized that God's laws are good, and He meant for us to follow them, but He never meant for them to put guilt on us. He never meant for us to perform them in our own strength. He gave them to us to show us HOW far we fall short, so we can see how desperate we need to be for His power to work through us to complete them. Trusting in God does not mean ignoring our sin, nor does it mean to strive harder. It means to submit to His authority and confess every area where we fall short and desperately desire the power that He so graciously gives to every one who accepts Him as Savior and Lord. When I have fallen short of God's glory, I realize that I need His power in me. When others fall short, it is that same power that THEY need. We are so foolish when we judge others for their lack of performance, or judge ourselves for OUR lacking; as if there was anything in our own power that will get us to reach the holiness of God.
My failures are so clearly before me, and as I sit at the throne of grace, I know God in His infinite wisdom and perfect timing, will empower me to perform every task He has called me to do - but He will not empower me until I humble myself and confess my sin. When we see ourselves in light of a holy God, we will not see others sin as the log, but our own. Then, and only then, can we truly see others the way Christ sees them, and love others the way Christ loves them. I am making a habit of confessing every known sin and making a choice to take myself off the throne of my heart, and place Christ back in His rightful place.
I desperately desire to know God and His will for my life, so I will do what His Word says, and seek first His Kingdom, and His righteousness. I continue to pray that the Lord will reveal the thoughts and attitudes of my heart, and I know it would be in my best interest to confess and repent and not try to act like I have it all together. I am SO far from having it all together. This is such an incredible journey and I am eternally grateful for every thing the Lord has allowed to come into my path to teach me who He really is.