Tag Archive | patience

Sin & Forgiveness

Everyone struggles with sin.  Everyone desires forgiveness.  Isn’t it awesome that God gives us forgiveness?  I’m thankful.

I am no different than anyone else.  I struggle with sin.  I struggle with my temper, with my attitude, with so many other things.  Every day, I have to apologize to God for my sins.  In order to feel like I can overcome them, I have to confess my sins to God, as many as I can.  King David went even further than that – he asked God to save him from his “secret sins” – the ones he committed that he didn’t even realize he’d done.

“Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.”

Psalms 19:12

As I was getting ready to write this post and reading over the verses I wanted to use, I realized that David also asked God to keep him from other sins:

“Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent of the great transgression.”

Psalms 19:13

Presumptuous sins… what might those be?  Assumption, perhaps.  What could be more presumptuous than that?  But I think it goes deeper than that.  So, I looked it up.  According to BlueLetterBible.org, in this verse, the original word is zed, and it’s literal translation is:

blueletterbible.org

So presumptuous sins refers to arrogance, coupled with insolence and impiety.  This got me thinking: how have I been arrogant in my walk with God?  I tried to be really and truly honest with myself, and I was very sobered by the realization that I am extremely arrogant with God.  I have the tendency to assume (there’s that presumption again) that something is or is not from God.  I have the habit of deciding that, if I don’t feel forgiven for a sin, it’s because God didn’t forgive me yet, when in actuality, He forgave me the moment I asked; I simply hadn’t forgiven my self (I John 1:9).

Wow.

I’m pretty arrogant, aren’t I?  I take upon myself the power to decide when and if a sin has been or will be forgiven, even though I can ‘t forgive anyone – least of all myself – of any sins.  This is a problem.

So how to overcome arrogance like that?  By remembering that Someone perfect had to die for my sins, I am reminded that I am far from perfect, far from knowing the future, far from the power that decides life or death.  Only God holds that power, and as talked about in a recent church service, I don’t want to take over God’s job!  The message was actually about vengeance and bitterness, and how God said that vengeance is His and He will repay (Romans 12:9).  When we take over the job of getting back at someone, we are taking over God’s job.  We are saying that we are on the same level as God, since we can do His job.  And, correct me if I’m wrong, but putting himself on the same level as God is what got Lucifer kicked out of Heaven.  Yeah.  Don’t want to do that.  But as I write this, I’m struck with the idea that I have been getting revenge on myself for my sins, by constantly beating myself up over them instead of making every conscious effort not to commit them again.  I’m talking about some specific sins that I struggle with – temper issues, attitude, apathy, some others.  And when I realize that I’ve committed a sin again, I get angry with myself.  I ask God to forgive me, sure, but then I tell myself that I’m such a horrible person for  committing the same sins again that there is no way I can be forgiven and to just give up.  Way to play Job’s friends and wife, right?

So, instead of giving up, I should stop giving myself power and authority that I don’t have.  I need to remember that God is sovereign, and He will forgive me if I simply ask.  That doesn’t mean I should commit sins with the intention of asking forgiveness, however; this kind of behavior sorrows God, maybe even angers Him.  Woah.  Do NOT want to anger God, or sorrow Him, or anything else.

A recent Sunday School lesson for the class I teach covered what repentance is.  I told the kids, “Repentance doesn’t mean you say you’re sorry, do the sin again, say you’re sorry, do the sin again, and so on.  It means you say you’re sorry, and lean on God for the strength to resist committing that sin again.”  Conviction!  Practice what ya teach, teacher :).

All in all, it’s easy to sin.  But, thank the Lord, it’s also easy to find forgiveness for those sins, and even easier to ask God for help.  That’s not to say that you will never commit those sins again, or that you will have no problem resisting the temptation to sin; but rather, that if you rely on God as your strength, you can and will stand against all sorts of temptation.

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

I Chronicles 10:13

Remember the saying, “Practice makes perfect”?  Well, it applies here, as well.  The more you resist sin, the easier it gets to resist sin.  Pray daily for the strength to resist and for the courage to take the straight and narrow path in each situation.  Spend time daily in the Word, finding and reading – and memorizing – verses that will help you in your walk with God.  That whole, “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee” and “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” thing, ya know  (Psalms 119:11Psalms 119:105).  A little illumination is good, but the more, the better, right?

Here’s the really, truly, incredibly awesome part – God has promised that he will break the bonds of sin – and therefore, the punishment for them – from off of us!

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”  

Romans 8:2

Being Single

It can be so hard sometimes, being single.  I love my life, I love where God has me right now, I love the fact that He’s working on my heart to make me a better person and to have a closer walk with Him.

It can still be hard, being single.

There was a wedding shower at my church today for a great couple.  They are so sweet and kind!  I had to kick him out of the kitchen area – he was going to help set up the drinks, hand out food, etc.  They are both hard workers!  You can always count on them to help out wherever needed and, most of all, to do it to the best of their ability with a willing heart.  I truly love them!

But as I was standing there, helping direct games, announcing different things, etc., it hit me that I’m approaching the last year of my 20’s.  I know, I’m still young.  Many people out there wish they were my age.  I have plenty of time.  Yes, I’ve heard it all.  But, for me, right now is hard.  I have learned to be content – I am content with where God has me.  I don’t mind being single.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t hard sometimes, especially when you see others finding the soulmate God picked out for them.  I know that, if it’s His will for me to marry someday, He already has the man that is right for me all picked out, and He’s just waiting for the right time to bring the two of us together.  But it’s hard to be patient, ya know?

Then again, He might have a plan for me to remain single.  I know there’s no way I could do as much in ministry as I currently am if I were married.  And right now, I’m needed (that’s a good feeling!).  But that can be hard, too, when you can’t tell if your efforts are making a difference or not.

Even writing this blog has become an exercise in patience; I don’t even know if anyone’s really reading it.  Will they read it when they see the title?  Or the first few sentences about being single?  Maybe.  Maybe I can help someone who struggles with the same things I do, can help them to learn from my mistakes and my trials.

So what’s a gal to do?  Read my Bible.  Pray.  The only thing that helps me to get out of the “poor me, I’m single” dumps is to pray, and remember that Jesus is the Lover of my soul!  He is my Bridegroom; He is the One that will never, EVER leave me or forsake me!  Though it is nice to have friends, as long as I have my Friend that showed me true love – “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” – I can muddle on without them.  I love my friends, and I know they love me – but, sorry ya’ll, I love Jesus more :).  And if Mr. Right never makes an appearance – I’ll be okay.  My Bridegroom is jealous – He wants me to love Him better than anything else!

It’s like one of my earlier blog posts – God knows the desires of my heart.  He also knows what is best for me.  I have to surrender my will to Him, humble myself to Him and pray that His will for me becomes my desires – that is, my desires change into what is in His will for me.  As my walk with God is getting closer than it’s ever been (another thing that would be hard to do if I were in a relationship), I’m finding it easier and easier to be content with where I am, while desiring more and more of God.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle.  Because I do.  I’m  certainly not perfect.  And sometimes the struggles are hard to bear.  But the difference is – I know God is there to pick me up.  I know He will keep me from falling too far.  And I know that He has a perfect plan for me, and that His timing is perfect; I just need to be patient.

Ah, patience.  The most difficult virtue (for me, at least) to achieve.  Maybe God is trying to teach me something here… So grateful for my God – the Lover of my soul – Who cares enough about me to teach me something, even though I’ve failed Him so many times!

Maybe, just maybe, being single will help me attain a love for God so deep, a relationship with Him so strong, and a patience so real, that I will be able to help others find the same thing.

Being single?  Might be the perfect way to serve Him.