I have been dreading writing this post for about twenty four hours.
I woke up yesterday morning and already knew it was going to be written, and haven’t gotten it off my mind ever since.
I’m not quite sure why the calling the Lord gave me was to air my dirty laundry on the internet.
It’s certainly not comfortable– but needed. Goodness, it is needed.
There are too many Christians that present the Spirit in them but hide the flesh. They may speak about the sin in them but it is vague and often talked about in past tense. Through the years I have desperately, desperately needed Believers to step up and be real about their struggles- to speak to those of us who are being sanctified, who love Jesus deeply and seek Him authentically, but continue to wrestle with real, tangible, “it ain’t pretty” sin.
And really- isn’t that all of us?
I am going to warn you that for some of you, my halo is about to become a lot more tilted.
I have attempted to rationalize with myself why I shouldn’t have write this- how my witness would be tainted, how I might be seen differently to some- yet each and every reason put more weight in what man thought of me than God.
So, here we go.
Earlier in the week, I went to dinner with friends, and I point blank drank too much. Like, way too much. Not just a tinge of a headache. The kind of drinking that the Bible would signify as drunk. It was sinful, it was ugly, and it absolutely happened.
Now, don’t get me wrong. This has happened plenty of times in my life. It was a HUGE struggle of mine when I first became a Christ follower. But, it has been years and years and years since I crossed the line. I have walked through a million times why it happened- and then- I began to get more disturbed not at the sin of drinking too much but in my pride and shock of the sin itself.
The things that were running through my mind went as follows:
”A thirty-year old woman with twins with special needs who are currently battling illness? A blogger and writer in the name of Jesus that encourages others to turn from sin and turn to Him? Isn’t that a baby Christian kind of sin? Really?”
(Spoiler alert: there isn’t such thing as a baby Christian kind of sin. Sin is sin is sin.)
The Enemy was feeding me all sorts of lies- yet, hadn’t I sinned the day before, too?
Why was I taking a sin and basing its level of forgiveness on the consequences of it?
Why did I feel as if a sin that the world might name as bigger was actually greater in the kingdom of God?
The truth is- my righteousness has always been and will always be based in the name of Jesus.
No matter if I am standing in front of group of women preaching His faithfulness or drinking that extra glass of wine with friends- my standing with God is consistent.
As I look at God’s Word, turns out that most of the people He used were the broken who knew their need of a Savior; not the ones whose records appeared crystal clear.
And after all, God keeps no records of wrong anyway (1 Corinthians 13).
There will be some reading this that think, “See, this is why I don’t agree with this whole Christian thing. They feel guilty about having a good time!” – and for those of you who think that, let me let you in on something crucial:
I don’t want to stay away from sin because of some kind of moral standard. I desire to stay away from sin because the more I know God, the more I am aware of the death and pain that sin brings. The more I know God, the more He satisfies me and the less I desire to sin. It’s not a, “I shouldn’t do this”- it’s a, “I don’t want to do this because I want God more.”
But sometimes, as I recognized more than ever before, my flesh gets in the way.
There will also be some who read that have never had a drink in their life and think differently of my faith. For those of you who, if you are honest, feel this way, I want to gently ask you to think about how God would see you if suddenly tonight, you went out and drank too much. Would God see you differently? Would your righteousness be any less? If in your heart you can’t answer this with a resounding, ‘NO’… I encourage you to spend some time studying God’s Word and what He says about where our good standing with God comes from.
Friends, I’m sorry. I’m embarrassed and feel silly and I hope it never happens again. Yet- it’s His kindness that leads us to repentance, and sometimes, I think we need a good reminder of all that He has saved us from. The truth is, whether I understood it or not, that night is not what made me sinful. I have been sinful from the beginning, and until I meet Him face-to-face, this truth still stands.
“What shall we say to all this? Are we to remain in sin in order that God’s grace (favor and mercy may multiply and overflow? Certainly not! How can we who died to sin live in it any longer?”- Romans 6:1-2
Friends, I am writing this because I want to speak to those of you who might see someone like me, someone who is writing about faith in the midst of suffering, and assume that I don’t struggle with real live sins. For the person who thinks that Christians only sin through a little gossip here and there, a lack of patience every now and then- here you go. I seek Jesus daily, He is what I want my life to be about- and I am still a mess if not but for the grace of God. I am writing this for the person who feels like they have to get their own act together before they come to the throne. Forgiveness from God came before repentance- He forgave us when we were still in our sin- and being a Christ follower is all about recognizing the fact that He is the only reason we can come to God. We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Christ didn’t come to save a certain type of person- He came to save all who would come to Him in faith. He came to save us from all our sins- both the ones that feel forgivable and the ones that don’t. He is our judge- there is freedom in being able to confess our own sinfulness and still receive unconditional grace from a Holy God who has freed us from that we could not free ourselves from.
And, I refuse to care more about what my neighbor thinks than my Savior.
My prayer is that someone is reading this that desperately needed to know that you can come to Him and find forgiveness in the midst of all your junk. I pray you would be drawn more to the Love of God than the things of this world, and that when you fall short (as we all do each and every day) that you would come quickly to the throne of grace to receive full forgiveness from The Father- all in the name of Jesus.
Beloved: You are forgiven if you but ask.
All glory, and honor, and power to the One who set us free from death itself.
Only He is worthy.
“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”- 1 Timothy 1:15
“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”- Hebrews 4:16