Do you glorify your sin? Are you tripping STILL off of who you once was? Are you putting up barriers because you can’t get past it?
I was. I am. And I am sure that you are too.
This was revealed to me this summer. As many know, I was an intern this summer at an amazing church in Illinois. I learned so much about ministry and about myself. One of my breaking moments was when it was revealed to me that I am so caught up in who I was, that I can’t be who I am now or continue onto who I need to be in Christ.
I see this happen a lot in myself and my friends. I have friends who STILL think that they have a sin that no one else can relate to. There are girls who weren’t exactly pure in high school, and now think that they don’t deserve a good Godly man who, in their eyes, got all their cookies together. There are people who were in gangs and now feel like no one can relate to them, so they fade into the background so that no one will notice them. There are many who feel like their family life is so messy, they refuse to talk about family with people. But the truth is, we have ALL had sin and we have ALL had trials. We put up barriers so people can’t get in. Even I have been guitly of this, I who thought my life was an open book! I never would have thought that I did this! I BLOG MY LIFE for goodness sakes!
If we aren’t putting barriers up because of our sin, we are glorifying it. Oh yes. A friend of mine told me that in his first conversation with a boy he was to mentor, the boy told my friend of all the things he had done: sex, weed, alcohol, gangs, etc. He said it without my friend even asking, and afterwards seemed pleased with himself. My friend just looked at him and asked, “Are you proud of that? Are you happy you did all that? Because you sure act like it!” Sometimes, we think that our testimony is so legit and amazing, that we almost take pride in the sin that he had committed. I am guilty, again. I know many Christians that sit around and talk about what their favorite alcoholic drink was “back in the day” (ha, two years ago?!) and laugh about the times they got flat our drunk and did some stupid thing. Why is this funny? And how can you laugh about it one minute, then try to minister with it the next?
Oh man, this reminds me of a story. A few years ago on a mission trip, I was talking with the girls I was mentoring about their testimonies. I was trying to help them work through them so they could use them to minister to those on the mission trip. One girl told me of how she cheated on her boyfriend, had sex with his friend, and contracted chlamydia. Just like that. I said, “And…?” She replied, “That’s it.” I asked, “And how are you going to use this as a testimony?” She shrugged. She didn’t know. I asked her, “Where was God in all this?” She said, “He helped me through it.” Although true, I was looking for more: “Did you learn anything?” “Yeah, he’ll help me when I need him.” That was not what I’m looking for. How about learning that sin has consequences? Or knowing that God was faithful to you even when you sinned, so you should revamp your life and repent so that you aren’t committing that same sin! I suggested these things, and it discouraged her. She wasn’t ready for a change, just corporate confession to make her feel better.
Okay, scripture time. This was one of the verses this summer that really spoke and got me to really think about what I was doing to myself. Philippians 2: 1-14:
1 Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. 2 Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence.
If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Paul really was a terrible sinner. He had plenty to boast about, too! He was pretty much the best Jew, a “righteous” Pharisee, etc. He made it in the world. He even persecuted Christians. But he counted it all as loss. It wasn’t this mighty thing that he could now tell everyone he met. It was something that he could use to minister when needed. Our testimony isn’t what compels people to Christ. It’s the grace that does, as revealed through Scripture and through our testimonies. My testimony is powerful, I need to understand that. However, I need to focus not on all the bad things I did, but how powerful His grace was to me, that even while I was still a dirty rotten sinner, He died for me and I no longer need to even think about who I was. It is all behind me, and the Cross and my eternal life is ahead of me.
I know this is a long post, but here is something you should watch! It’s a song called “Make War” by Tedashii. It talks about how as Christians, we talk about our sin and glorify it SO much! But instead of glorifying it, we need to be making war with it!