Hey Church Family!
Follow Jesus long enough, and sooner or later he will bring up the conversation of sin.
Sin isn't something we like to talk about. We'd rather talk about our mistakes. Well, we don't really talk about those either, but it's a little easier to talk about our mistakes than our sins. Why? Because mistakes imply insufficient knowledge. We can claim, "I didn't know I wasn't supposed to do that!"
The problem is when we make mistakes on purpose. You know what I'm talking about, right? It's those time when you've planned out your "mistake." You knew exactly what you were doing, you knew it was wrong—and you did it anyway. Is there really such a thing as premeditated mistakes?
See, the problem with mistakes is that it's not sufficient. We need to talk about a deeper issue. Once you admit you've sinned, you are also admitting something much bigger. Something deeper—that you are, in fact, a sinner. And that's the problem—real sin isn't just an act, it's a condition.
All of us struggle with this sin condition. And at the root of this sin condition is a bent inward—to prefer ourselves and our own agenda over anything else. We'd rather do things our way, than God's way.
If you've tried really hard your entire life to be a rule-follower, this can be a hard thing to admit because you've been so good for so long. You've followed all the rules—maybe even your entire life. You've avoided all the wrong stuff. You've done all the right stuff. And all the "bad" people who do all the "bad" stuff just need to start doing the "right" stuff to be good.
But that thinking fails to recognize that there is a sin condition that even the rule follower must admit. One of the biggest problems for those who follow all the rules is that they can become completely blind to this sin condition. It's what happened to the Pharisees—the group of people who were natural born rule followers. The group of people Jesus had the hardest time with. It's why in Matthew 23, Jesus calls the Pharisees blind. He basically says you can't even see your biggest problem.
I hate to admit this, but that was my life. I was a good rule follower. I knew all the right things to do and to say that would help me stay in the category of a good person. I knew several bad people—because they didn't follow the rules. They didn't avoid all the bad things in life. But I was blind to the things going on in my heart—things like pride, lust, anger, and gossip. I overlooked the fact that I was greedy. I overlooked the fact that I was judgemental and looked down on anyone who didn't follow the rules like me.
I was a blind Pharisee.
My guess is that some of you have struggled with this issue too. Some people know how bad they are. They know they're sinners, because it's obvious to everyone—including themselves—that they've broken the rules. But for others, this is almost impossible to see because we've been so good for so long.
Until you're willing to let Jesus open your eyes to how sinful you have been, you'll never meet the real Jesus. Until Jesus reveals to you the depth of your sin, you'll never understand the depth of his love, grace and mercy, and just how far he's willing to go to demonstrate that love, grace and mercy. Until we all see ourselves as broken and in need of a Savior, we'll never see Jesus for who he really is.
My challenge for you this week is to be honest with God about this. Were you a rule follower? Or a rule breaker? Are you willing to admit that you've been a sinner in need of a savior? Unless you start there, you'll never move towards meeting the real Jesus.
Together in Christ,
Notes from the Staff @The Woods