I present to some and introduce to others a three-letter word, glorified and despised, ran to by some and fled from others…the notorious S-I-N. Not to spend much time explaining what sin is, I’ll save some time by giving the most basic definition. Sin is “missing the mark”, that is, missing the mark of perfection. There is no evidence in history of man being morally perfect or experiencing uninterrupted fellowship with God besides the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus never missed the mark, because he knew we would countless times. He traded places with us. He took our punishment, and gave us his righteousness (The Great Exchange, as some may label it). Either way, it is a scandal like no other.
Be that as it may, if Jesus really did exchange his constant fellowship with God for our wickedness on the cross, why do we still feel so disconnected with God? Moreover, why do we still struggle with sin? Why hasn’t sin been wiped out completely? Why do some struggle with the same sin? Could it be that Jesus didn’t die for all sins? There are so many angles of sin that I cannot attack in this one article. (I’d love to spend time on each question eventually in future posts!) However, the purpose of this post is to come alongside all that are struggling with deep shame and guilt over a particular sin. I want to first assure you of your identity (if you are in a relationship with Jesus Christ), next encourage you to find community, then pray with you that your strength be renewed.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Keep a Mirror Near
It is so easy to believe lies when we lose sight of the truth. Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). His job is to distract us from the will of God. It’s usually very subtle and particular to our sin struggles. A parent wouldn’t bribe a child with broccoli just like the enemy wouldn’t tempt us with a sin that is easy for us to walk away from. Instead, he picks at the soft spots and pulls the strings that will physically weaken us. Sounds cruel, huh? Well not to him, like stated before, it is his duty. But Jesus came “that we may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Also in John, Jesus claims that we are truly his disciples if we abide in His Word (8:31); if we abide in Him (15:4); if we love one another (15:9). Abundant life is only found in the truth, being Jesus, and that alone will set us free (8:32). It can never be more simple. Our freedom is wrapped in our growing knowledge and ongoing fellowship with Jesus.
Once we know Jesus and accept him into our hearts, we can boldly claim the two promises in Scripture that assure us of our identity.
- “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
- “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
If these promises are found in God’s word which deems to be true from Christ himself, we no longer have to live subject to the weight of sin. SIN HAS NO DOMINION OVER OUR LIVES. As Christ was crucified, he stood in the place of all of our sins, not one was forgotten. But the greatest victory lies in the resurrection, after he took sin to death and rose with all power in his hands!
*mini praise break*
We must hide the gospel in our hearts, for it is the only pure and error-proof testament to our true identity. It’s like carrying a pocket mirror. When we need to touch-up our mascara or reapply lipgloss, we shouldn’t have to run to the bathroom every time. Likewise, we shouldn’t have to examine our instagram likes or ask our significant others to remind us of who we are! We must meditate on God’s word day and night (Psalms 1:2).
Keep a Friend Closer
We all need a friend to encourage us in God’s word when we forget its freeing impact. One of the greatest tools that the enemy uses against us during our sin struggles is isolation. If he can isolate us from our biblical community, then he can control our thoughts. Rather than dwelling in God’s grace, we sulk in our guilt. When we should be reminded of the cross, we end up replaying episodes of the sin over and over until condemnation fills our souls. The fear of being fully known stunts our relationships with others and our fellowship with our Father. Life starts to feel less enjoyable. Our salvation starts to need reassurance.
I cannot put into words how thankful I am for the body of Christ. In times of crisis, my newfound family are always around to remind me of my identity. They affirm me that I am loved, and never fail to point me back to the cross. Although vulnerability is never easy, it is always worth it. (Don’t think I am suggesting that you give every detail of your struggles. Discern what is necessary enough for you to walk in the light.) As Scripture says:
“God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do practice the truth. But if we walk in the light…we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:5-7)
Keep the Faith
Pray this with me:
Lord, I am feeling every ounce of my sin right now.
The thought of anyone finding out haunts me.
Fear, shame and guilt dominate my thoughts. But I realize more than anything, I have sinned against you and you alone.
I am sorry, Lord.
Because of you, I will no longer be burdened by guilt and shame. Scripture declares that it was defeated at Calvary.
Satan, get behind me. You no longer have a place here.
Forgive me, Father. Thank you for sending your son, Jesus Christ, for this particular sin.
Thank you, Jesus, for drinking my cup.
Thank you, Holy Spirit, for convicting me.
Thank you, Father, that you have blotted out my transgressions from East to West. Surround me with other believers to hold me accountable.
Allow me to be fully known by those around me. Let this struggle be of help to someone else.
I love you because you first loved me.