Today’s guest post comes from the pen of Nick Horton. Nick and his wife Amy, along with their 3.5 year old Gabriel, live in VA, where nick teaches middle and HS youth at FBC Woodstock, VA. He is also a deacon, loves to fish, works in IT, is an online student at Boyce college pursuing a call to ministry. He blogs at http://nicholashorton.wordpress.com/ and you can follow him on Twitter @NickHorton
Why do we return to our sin? I don’t mean why do we keep doing it, though we all struggle with sin like Paul in Romans 7. I mean, why do we return to the guilt and shame over and over again? We rehearse dark moments, replay old wounds, almost as if we relish pouring salt in wounds long gone. Left unchecked we can spiral in to depression, justify dark moments, and convince ourselves that God can’t love someone like us.
I have my dark days, the same as anyone else; the days when my memory is a curse, and the Accuser is hard at work. It steals my joy and robs me of any passion for life. The assault on any sense of self worth is brutal and leaves me feeling as though I can be of no use to God.
Fear. Uncertainty. Doubt. Guilt. They’re hard to share at times, as other’s natural reactions to them are attempts to fix it. People want to alleviate suffering and negative feelings, either out of compassion or perhaps because they’re ill-equipped to weep with those who weep. We become cautious to share these dark nights of the soul as we don’t want more try harder/trust more. What do we do?
When I walk through these times, there are a few things I like to remind myself. These are things we can counsel other brothers and sisters with, after we have suffered with them. We have to listen well before we can begin to lovingly speak truth into their lives. Here are four truths I try to remember:
- “It is finished.” Jesus finished on the cross what we cannot do in life. He paid for the very sins we have trouble giving up. If he paid then and there for our sins, why then do we carry that burden still? Set it down, friend. Your elder Brother can carry that load.
- Hebrews 10. Read the whole thing. If you haven’t read it in a while, stop reading this, and go read it. God says it better than we ever could. Hebrews 10:12 says “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.” Why’d He sit down? He was done. Your sins are paid for. There is no need for you to hold tightly to the shame and condemnation of them, because…
- Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” When? Now. How much condemnation for what I’ve done? None. Let that wash over you. No condemnation for you in Christ. Fully accepted by God by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Fully loved. Which means…
- Romans 8:2 “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” We are free. Free to live. Free to fail. Free to abandon ourselves to following God without fear of guilt and condemnation for our imperfections. Free from slavery to the sin we now hate and struggle with and its guilt and shame. Free.
Don’t think that you’ve done something that cannot be forgiven. David was an adulterer and murderer, yet God called him a man after His own heart. Paul persecuted the church; he was a terrorist. He murdered Christians. He penned Romans 8:1 under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, fully forgiven and used by God. Our sins are not unknown to God. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He paid for our sins, not because we deserve it, but for the praise of His glorious grace.
God knows us. He loves us and has accepted us fully through the work of Jesus Christ. We can’t clean ourselves up. We come dirty and broken to Jesus. Let go of the sin you’ve been set free from and that He has paid for. Let that weight slide off your back. Take a breath of freedom. Taste the joy that is there for you. There is freedom and love and joy for you.
Child of God; rest. Stop crushing your heart with your own hand. Breathe. Breathe again. Quiet your soul before God. Recall what He has done for you. It is finished. Christ has sat down. There is NOW no condemnation for you. You have been set free from sin and death.
Now, go live.