The Sin That Sticks

                     

“If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away,
         And do not let wickedness dwell in your tents.”  NASB

“And give up your sins– even those you do in secret.” CEV

Job 11:14  [in two versions]

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“When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, people’s hearts are filled with schemes to do wrong.”

Eccl. 8:11, NIV

 

We know it, deep inside of us.  Our sin and iniquity, those things that stick to us, must be renounced and stripped away.  I think it’s interesting that Job is working from the assumption that each of us has sin issues.  I don’t think scripture is ever really shocked by the depth of our iniquity.  We are sinners, and we will sin, but the Holy Spirit is never surprised or caught off guard by our sin and deceit.  But we are, most certainly guilty.

This verse in Job emphasizes “renunciation”.  That means relinquishing or repudiating the evil that we love doing.  I think that in Job’s thinking it means abandoning our sinfulness.  We are to let it go, releasing it to the grace of God.  We are not to sin in secret.

We privatize our favorite sins to make ourselves acceptable.  I think that this is a truism:  “We care more for what people think of us, then what God thinks of us.”  Our sin thrives in solitude, its like a warm and humid greenhouse for our evil.  Secretiveness just causes it to grow, our hiddenness is “Miracle Grow” for our darkness and ugliness.

Job is very much concerned I think, by the contagiousness that sin has.  We transmit the sin virus to our brothers and sisters in Christ.  If we have a hidden darkness, we will most certainly sicken those we touch.  Our Churches have been decimated by private and hidden sin.  I’m thing of Achan in Joshua 7.  He secretly desired nice things, and it destroyed him and his family.

What judgement will you bring on to your loved ones, and your church?  What are you hiding?  Often, I have heard questions like that, and it temporarily moves me.  But it seems the change is not permanent (I desperately wish it was.)  But I suggest that you go into your “tent” and bring your deceitfulness out into the full light of day.  And then, put it to a merciless death.

Pride on Rollerskates

 

  Our foolish pride comes from this world, and so do our selfish desires and our desire to have everything we see. None of this comes from the Father.

1 John 2:16, CEV

 

You and me– We are trying very hard to escape from the evil found everywhere in this world system.  Satan’s access point is our own ‘built-in’ pride.  He can reach right into our hearts using that particular spot.  We all have this thirst for recognition and worship (of course, with a small ‘w’).  John calls this ‘foolish’.  And we are fools!  And yet it is so hard for us to be small.

‘Our selfish desires’ are very difficult to unplug.  We have a thirst for things and we will spend a great deal of time and effort to get the ‘item of the moment’.  We see something new or novel, and we must get one for ourselves.  It’s like a compulsion.  When we get our prize, it starts to collect dust in our closet.  It rarely lives up to our lofty expectations.  Funny thing, is we feel deprived if we can’t possess it.  Even though the consistent pattern is to lose interest in our ‘prize’ once we have it.

‘Our desire to have everything we see’ is John’s evaluation of people in general.  It’s been thousands of years, but John is timeless.  He ‘zaps’ us and lifts the curtain to what is really inside our hearts.  WE WANT IT ALL!  Everything that ‘tickles’ our fancy, is to become ours.  I want all of it!  If I see it, desire it, it is mine.  Step back, and think about the wickedness of this.  If we ‘x-ray’ pride, do a CAT scan on it, we will discover 1 John 2:16 opened up and wiggling right there in front of us.

We must come to the place were we want to look at who we are, deep down.  We can so easily avoid truth.  ‘Just keep moving’, and don’t think about it.  And then we run right smack dab into this solid marble pillar of 1 John 2:16.  We pick ourselves up, check for broken bones, and start to wonder about this thing that can’t be eroded away.  It stands, untouched through time.  That stands before us as eternal truth.  It causes us to come to the point of making a real decision.

Is John making sense?  Is he communicating clearly?  I believe he is.  I have no significant reason to set aside his observations.  As a matter of fact, he confirms my suspicions and gives me some intelligence and guidance on how life unfolds.  This verse, all that it is contains, is the property of the Holy Spirit.  It is a completely saturated ‘sponge’, that is overfilled with the presence of the Lord.  I must encourage you, the reader, to look again at John.  Let that book press into your very being.

Get the Nail Gun: Understanding Your Guilt

But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. –Jude 1:21

 

The world does not know what to do with all our guilt.  It affects every person and what we think about.  Guilt is much more destructive then Hurricane Katrina ever was. People talk about being crippled by guilt.  Psychiatrists have come out and said that 80% of their patients could be healed if people could resolve their guilt and their remorse for their past sins.  So much drinking and drug abuse is simply trying to numb yourself, if just for a little while.  Forgiving yourself is not an easy thing.  We must remember that all sin committed ultimately is against Jesus, and we must put our hearts in position for grace and mercy to fill us.  The Holy Spirit hovers over us, and yet He does not condemn.  He is not the accuser; He is the Helper and the Comforter.  The Holy Spirit convicts but He will not condemn.

Satan has a ministry–it is to accuse you before the Father.  He is malicious and savage.  He delights in reminding you of your sin and evil. He unceasingly pounds you.  The devil has an evil plan for your life, and works continuously to implement it.  Guilt and remorse are just two weapons at his disposal.

We honor God when we accept our sin, and His forgiveness.  Our verse from Jude declares that we must keep ourselves in the love that God has for us.  It takes intentional effort.  Our guilt is heavy, so we must put it down.  And then we must deliberately stand and purposefully open our outstretched arms to His forgiveness.  We need to “keep ourselves in the love of God”.  I get out my “spiritual nail gun” and fix myself in His love.

Guilt is like wounding ourselves.  Satan pokes our wound in order irritate it.  We learn to hide it from God, and others.  But these things are killing us. It’s like having gangrene. And the brutal sorrow and regret consume us.  I guess that is why we have Jude 1:21 in the first place.

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