The moment before

I’ve been thinking a lot about sin in recent days. For years and years I’ve considered sin to be the activity of making a wrong choice. In recent months I’ve come to understand that it is so much more. It in fact is our enemy.

We’ve, those of us brought up within the culture of the church have come to understand that sin is something to be avoided at all costs. Sin is shameful. Sin is this horrid act that is to not be found out or touched. Sin is something we do that causes us to be separate from God.

While, sin is horrid and it does separate us from God, I think in part we’ve missed the point.

Some how in some way we’ve become confused. We’ve missed the point. We’ve concluded that the result is the cause. We do good works that causes us to be a “christian” We do bad works that causes us to think poorly about ourselves.

Our actions cause a change on the inside.

True?

I believe that sin is much more powerful. Just as I believe that being a follower of Jesus is the beginning to doing good works.

How much of our actions are rooted in a way of thinking. Paul writes about the sin that so easily entangles us. I wonder if that sin might begin with the way about which we think of ourselves, God and others. When I picture sin that so easily entangles, I imagine a person wrapped in the middle of a knitting yarn gone horribly array. One can’t seem to find the end to be begin the process of detanglement. Think of it. If sin is making a choice that is in direct opposition to God’s best, some of the most powerful choices we make that are in complete opposition to God take place in the choices we make to believe lies. We hold our lies tightly. We wrap ourselves in them. They begin to suffocate us and then we act. Our actions come as a result of our imperfect, very much NON-Christ centered thinking. The fruit of our thinking.

When we’re told that we will experience freedom to do what is right, that freedom comes from the freedom of fully believing and living in the truth of who God is, who we are in light of who He is and who others are as well.

Right thinking, true thinking, is freedom. It leads to freedom. Anything else is death. Death that suffocates, destroys, steals and kills.

We’ve for so many years made lists of things that are right to do, things that are wrong to do. We create a system of behavior modification and actually never deal with the true sin that is so easily entangling us. We may deal with our addiction, but we don’t actually take time to look at the cause. The cause, is the root sin and it is something for which we need to repent. Repent: to turn and walk in a new direction.

Sin, for years and years has been an activity list for me. If you stay away from the Big sins then you’re okay, and you’re okay in the eyes of God. But anyone can modify his/her behavior for a certain period of time. God is truly the only one who can free us from the bondage and pain of sin as it entangles us to believe and walk in mistruths about self, God and others.

Galations 5 speaks to the fruit of the spirit. These are the qualities of one who is freed by the Spirit, to live out of His breath. We become like the one within us. The one who dwells in our hearts and minds and modifies our behaviors and choices.

The fruit of self, well that fruit may look good for a moment, but it sure becomes rotten quickly. Even the greatest, most kind acts that come from self will rot. Fruit that has been stapled on the tree, rather than grown only lasts so long.

The fruit of our humanity goes all the way back to a distrust in God’s word. Eve may have sinned first, but I don’t believe the sin was partaking of the fruit. Yes that was a pretty horrific choice, but the sin came when she chose to believe that God has sold out, He was holding out on her. He didn’t really love her and have her best in mind and heart. She believed God to selfish. She believed in a god who looked out for his best interest, who was cruel and who actually made a mistake. So she took that bite, the bite that changed everything. She believed and it was credited to her as unrighteous.

The act was a result of a misguided belief.

I wonder how much we do to deter ourselves from acting on a sinful desire, to modify our behavior and just survive, while we are entangled in a great sin. The heavy burden of misguided truth about self, God and others. Anything less than loving the Lord your God with all of yourself and just like that, loving your neighbor as yourself is sin and leaves us to take a bite of the forbidden fruit in front of us.

This understanding of sin has been so incredibly profound for me that it has given me a new passion to see people set free from sin. Sin that kills, steals and destroys. Sin that always leads to death. Sin that saps the life out of our very being without discrimination.

I urge you my friends, repent and believe. Repent of thinking of yourself as less than, of questioning God’s goodness. Repent of believing you are worthless and will never be loved. Repent of thinking less of God than He truly is. Repent of seeing your neighbor and hating. Repent of your thinking! Repent!

Repent.

You will be made

FREE

Free to be, the purposeful creation of an all mighty God who is good and faithful. Free to be loved and to love. Free of self loathing. Free of shame. Free of the heavy burden that you carry. Free of making choices out of shame or to hide or to lie or to keep an image. Free to be the image of God, He has designed you to be.

Will we, while the enemy is prowling around, experience a life completely isolated from lies and misguided truths about self, God and others, no I do not believe so. But I do believe that as we seek truth and freedom that the hang time of the lie decreases and it is much easier to grasp on to that which is true.

God has come to seek and save that which was lost.

He came to set us free, by the truth.

He came to shake up the lies of our ancestors. The lies deeply embedded into our heart, mind, soul and strength and breathe life into the death the lies have brought.

These musings I have a feeling will continue as I continue to walk with people. I see the power of sin’s dark hold on the lives and hearts of men and women a like and it so angers me. It causes me to hate sin with a passion. I hate how it destroys and how the evil one twists it to look so beautiful. Act on your shame and you’ll feel better, knowing all along the action itself will heap on more shame. It is a spiral only leading to death.

A death that Jesus died on the cross so that we might live free of this horrific, incomplete, misguided, “truth” that we so easily believe.

The whole gospel changes everything. Sin entered with one thought that led to a bite that altered history. LIFE entered through one life that reframed the thought, proving He is Good and His love endures forever.

Amen.

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