“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.”Proverbs 25:2
Heavenly Father, King above all kings, you know my sinful heart and yet you love me. You know my sinful ways yet you love me. You know my idolatries that I struggle to get out from under yet somehow you forgive me and love me. I reach out to you Lord in all your mystery and glory and thank you for the mercy only you can give. Amen
I was asked in a study to write down all the reasons why I pray. I listed thankfulness, requests, intercession, praise and repentance. I was then asked to circle the reason that comes up most in my prayer life. I have to admit “repentance” wasn’t one of them. Thankfulness is probably the most frequent expression I find in my prayer life. And it’s usually related to blessings – not for keeping me from the fires of my sinful ways.
A few years ago, I finally grasped the concept of God’s mercy with this helpful saying, “Mercy is when you don’t get what you deserve and grace is when you get something you don’t deserve.” Boy, should I be constantly thanking God for His mercy!
"Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions." Psalms 51:1
The problem is we sometimes lack of awareness of our destructive swaths we create through sin. Realizing that, we should find it even more amazing that God gives us believers His mercy. He doesn’t always save us from earthly consequences but we know that when Jesus returns to judge the earth we won’t be thrown into the fire. What a glorious and loving God!
God has not asked us to wander bewildered by our transgressions and consequences. From beginning to end He has set the stage for our success. Through first giving us the Law, therefore defining sin, then sending Christ to teach us about God, how to live the Christian life and best of all, cleansing us of eternal punishment, He has taught us how to align ourselves with His ways. The Holy Spirit, which He left to dwell in us, provides us a daily conduit to keep us on track.
Friend, He thought of everything because He is our Glorious God! His mercy is our safety net. He knew we would struggle, and boy do we ever! Maybe you, like me need to tune in better to the Holy Spirit before we pray today. Ask Him to search our hearts and minds, like only the King of Kings can do. Have Him show us those corners of our life that seem blind to us. Let His glorious light shine to cleanse you.
A year ago I decided to take my weight gain seriously. My middle-aged hormones were wreaking havoc on my body. I had gained 35 pounds. And I was two months away from my daughter’s wedding. God wants us to take care of ourselves. 1 Corinthians 6 says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit?” And so, along with the help of a weight loss app I finally decided to really do something about it. I was diligent. By the time my daughter’s wedding came around the dress that I had tailored a few weeks prior didn’t really fit me – it hung loosely in a number of places. About six months in I was 10 pounds away from my goal weight and decided I didn’t need the app anymore. Around that same time the Covid19 crisis struck. And here I am another seven months later with 15 pounds to lose. You got that – I, of course, gained more weight. So, at lunch today I sat across from my friend who also tries to watch her weight. I told her about a great dish the restaurant has that is low calorie. I knew exactly what to order and what not to order. And as the waitress took our order, I did exactly what I shouldn’t. I gave into my cravings. Not only that, I convinced my friend to do the same.
One of my favorite verses from the Bible is quite the tongue twister. When I heard a young pastor speak on these verses he could barely get it out without laughing.
And the do’s keep going for four more verses! James makes it a lot clearer:
We’ve probably all been there with the diet issue. But how many times do we not do what we know we should do? For some of us that might be every, single day. Sinning is our very nature. We Christians have allowed other people to use the word “sin” against us. They say it makes us judgmental. It makes us hypocrites. It shows we don’t love people. But sin is everyone’s nature – whether you are a Christian or not. You can thank Adam and Eve for that. Unlike atheists, Christians just recognize that we are sinning. But the enemy wants us to be prideful and say we don’t sin – it’s those “other people.” Throughout our day we need to recognize our sinful behavior and ask God for forgiveness. When I blame someone else for “making me upset” or I accuse others of “doing worse than me” that’s pride shining through. It also gives us cover to do the exact same thing over and over. Sinning make take the form of fear over faith, worry, improper thoughts, shame or gossip.
My daily sin is being impatient and annoyed with people. I know not to do it. But I do it. Sometimes I’m so caught up in my excuses I forget to take a moment and ask for that forgiveness – to ask for that strength not to do it again. But I had a recent revelation. I was living in transgression. That, my friends, is a sin that is done over and over for a hidden reason. After one of my prayers of forgiveness Jesus shined a light on it. My lack of humility. It was the root of my everyday sinning. I was making excuses and hiding it. And until I realized, it there was no chance of me stopping my bad behavior.
You see all the accusers of this woman about to be stoned were hiding their sins, trying to sell everyone on their pious lives. But you really can’t hide from Jesus. Satan loves when we try to hide our sins. I’ve been telling my Bible Study Girls lately that living like that creates a visual of a dark, scribbly mass living inside of us – creating chaos and hatred and all things ugly. We have a hard time doing the right things for the right reason when we live with transgressions.
And then we have iniquities – where those transgressions become a bondage to our transgressions. It drives us to repeatedly and continually commit sin. It perverts all our good intentions. For example, my sin of being annoyed with cashiers. When I do it time and again it becomes about a lack of grace, love and humility on my part (transgression). If I don’t repent and ask God to help this sin can move into an iniquity – where I actually hate cashiers. I might even call them names, or think of them as lowly people for doing such “menial” jobs. It becomes a soul crusher. And satan dances.
Because, as Christians, we make it a point to live with the mind of Christ and the knowledge of God’s Word, we know what “doing good” means. We can choose to give to the poor. Or we can choose to ignore God’s call to help the needy. And in doing so we sin. And if we consistently withhold God’s treasure from His people our sin transforms into transgression – maybe a fear of losing money, a fear of not having enough money. And those constant hidden thoughts about money may lead to an iniquity – greed, hatefulness to the needy, miserly behavior. And none of those creates a loving mind and heart.
Why do we not do what we know we ought to do? Because we have a sinful nature. We want what we want, and we want it now. The closer we try to live next to Jesus and the more we fill our minds and hearts with God, the harder it is to allow room for those sins to become soul killers.
God knows His children. He knows we need constant correction. Let’s just try to keep our lives on the slightly wandering path rather than taking the full off-ramp. Ask God right now to reveal any hidden sins in you — anything that you need to recognize that negatively motivates your behavior. He loves you and will gladly honor your request in a way that He knows you need. Don’t be afraid. Just ask. And then do what He tells you.
What blessing are you hoping and waiting for today? It’s time to get serious about the strength of your faith and our willingness to make a full confession of our transgressions. . In a recent Bible study I was asked: “What are you trying to hide from God?” Well, we all chuckled because of course you can’t hide anything from God. But do we truly believe that? Is that how we live out our daily lives? Charles Spurgeon says, “Do not play with sin. Do not confess it as though it were some venial fault that would not have been noticed unless God had been too severe.” . As the apostle Paul says, God cannot be mocked. The Almighty knows our tepid faith. He knows our bold faith. He hears when we rush through a prayer and he hears when we grasp Him tightly and plead honestly with Him. We don’t reward or accept in our own children or friends a tepid or insincere apology so why should God when what we ask of Him is ten-fold? . When we plead to God we lay bare our innermost sins and cleanse them. I like the analogy of a wrestler stripping down to the bare minimum before entering the playing arena. Because when we show we have nothing left to give up, nothing left to weigh us down, that is when God performs His greatest work in us. . So grasp His hand tightly today. Lay out your sins. And plead for His love to envelop you. .