For the past several weeks we have taken a hard, truthful look at the fact that some of us have things in our lives we have chosen over loving Christ, and others in our lives. Some here are now very aware that you have something in your life that you know is not okay with Christ—that you know is keeping you from Him—and yet, some are still lying about it, hiding it, or ignoring it. But here is where I really want to focus today: I think there are a number of us here today that are hiding our sin, or lying about it, not because we don't want to change, not because we don't trust God and His ways, but, simply because we feel that we are either just too hopelessly caught up in our sin to beat it, or that we are too far gone in our sin to come back now.
And with the attitude of rebellion and selfishness we've had, we will always be the second-class child of God anyway; always be the one who might squeeze in the Gates and stand in the corner unnoticed. This is such a miserable place to exist in life—in a state of constant self-imposed guilt, and unhappiness—never drawing close to God or fully enjoying everything He has for you in life. Listen to David, even when he was a king, express how it feels to hide these things in our hearts: Psalm 32:3-4; Psalm 51:3. You literally feel a cloud over you all of the time, when you know there are things you haven't dealt with. This can be a big source of depression and anxiety. Sometimes, I feel just like Peter when Jesus asked Him, "Do you love me?" The word used by Jesus was, agape, meaning deep chosen love. And Peter could only answer back by saying, "You know I love you, Lord." Using the word for love, phileo, meaning as an affectionate friend. Peter could not say he loved Jesus the way He wanted to be loved in the question, because of the sin and guilt he had in his heart. I’ve felt ashamed to say, "I love You" to Christ for the same reason. Have you? If you know you are in a bad place, but don't know where to begin to make it right, here is the Biblical way to start. First, stop and consider: 1) the cost of what you are doing—to your relationship with Christ; to your own well-being, emotionally and spiritually; to those around you (your attitude of guilt, lust, anger or indifference, your honesty, loyalty, and respect given to them, your influence, or lack thereof) 2) consider the ultimate destination when your struggle reaches its peak. Will your walk with Christ, and possible usefulness be wasted? Will you eventually lose your security in Christ altogether? Will you lose your ability to be honest, respectful, or loving again? Will you become a different person? Bitter? Selfish and lustful? Uncaring? Untrustworthy? Will you lose your loved ones if they know, your self-respect, your life as you know it? James 1:14.
Some of you have cleaned your whole house out—except for that one room—and your desire for one thing more than God has conceived a terrible, needy infant living in that one room, in the middle of your house. You can't do anything else, without hearing its terrible scream and cries for attention. It interrupts everything else you do, all your interaction with others, and you just can't bring yourself to go anywhere without it, so you lug it into a baby backpack and take it everywhere so it can interrupt every thought and action through the day. But that's not the worst of it—that baby is growing—and as it gets bigger, it comes out of that room when it wants to—you can't contain it anymore. It walks anywhere, anytime, and demands its way. You can't leave it at home even if you choose, because it follows you. Soon, it will be big enough that you won't stop it, and it will take what it wants from your life, bringing death to those it attacks, and death to you—all because you are not willing to clean the room out now.
My question to you is this: "When will the reality of what your sin is doing, all that pain and destruction, finally make you angry enough to fight back?" There is a line in a song by Mumford And Sons which says "And the blind man sits in the doorway of his home; If only I had an enemy bigger than my apathy I could have won." Well, you do! Satan is literally hell-bent on wrecking your mind, your love, and your life. When will you get so tired of living halfway, while he wins little by little, that you rise up and fight with all you have? Though never proven that he actually said this, a quote attributed to Marshal Admiral of the Japanese Navy, Isoroku Yamamoto said to have been in a diary or a letter to Admiralty, did indeed reflected his thoughts and fears about the attack on Pearl Harbor: "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve." When will we realize the cost of our sins and wake up with resolve? His power in us is absolutely like the power of a, "Sleeping Giant" waiting to drive Satan out of our lives, but you have to want it; you have to embrace Him over the enemy.
He will help those who truly want Him more than their sins. 1 John 4:4. The absolute first step must be to be so sick of the death in your sins that you wake up with resolve.
The next step is a true Godly repentance. 2 Corinthians 7:10. You will never get this growing destruction of sin out of your life without real repentance. If Jesus Christ walks into your house and offers to remove the monster living in that room, and you say you don't know if you're ready for it to go, He can't help you. But if you say, "I can't stand the pain that is in that room anymore, I don't want it here, please take it away!” Now, He will do something. Psalm 51:17. You have to really see why it is hurting your life so much, and truly hate the sin you've chosen. You have to stop justifying to yourself why you have a right to feel this way, why you deserve this sin, why it would be okay to continue. You have to want change, want Christ, want others at all costs—not simply feel guilty about doing wrong; not simply feel guilty for not measuring up—you have to be single minded in your desire to defeat Satan. Romans 12:9-10; Matthew 6:24. Here are some major thoughts on this stage of your journey, in repentance: When you have become so lustful, or bitter and unforgiving, or selfish, or hungry for one more drink or hit, that you have hurt, angered, and let down everyone in your life, until you are completely alone, and God Himself, has had to bring trouble on you to shake you to the core—He is still there in hope and love—you can’t make Him love you less. Psalm 38:4,6,8,10-11, 15; Psalm 27:9-10. When you have been so sinful for so long, that you can’t forgive yourself, and you don't feel you have a hope to be the Apple of God's Eye ever again, take your condemning heart to a higher courtroom. 1 John 3:20; John 3:17. When you feel like you can't do enough to ever make up for how many times you've let Him down, for how many times you've fallen—remember, you’re absolutely right—and that's why He died to pay it all. If you can accept that your good works didn't save you, only His sacrifice would, then accept the fact that your good works are not what it will take to make it right again now. Ask for his forgiveness, and glorify him in the fact that you are forgiven simply based on his love and mercy. Psalm 51:1-2; Philippians 3:3. After seeing the real death your sin is bringing and waking up to fight it with prejudice, after truly turning from it and repenting of that life, then, comes the hardest, sweetest part: resisting Satan. So many can easily have an emotional, and heart-felt moment of repentance from what they are doing, so few will follow through with whatever it takes to resist letting Satan bring them back into sin. How many times have you laid it down in private shame to pick it up again? When Jesus does come and clear that one room, will you invite the monster back in again? It will be at the window, at the door, walking with you when you come outside—it will never go away again. This place where many consider to be the worst, most terrible struggle—resisting the desire to fall into sin again—is actually the sweetest place of all! It is here in the battle to resist, that you build intimacy with Him as never before. Here is where He will prove He is real to you, if you are serious in heart. Here is where you discover the incredible joy of choosing right, one decision at a time, and you feel your mind and heart change with each choice, and you feel that bond in love grow each time. Psalm 119:1-3. Here is where you begin to experience the Presence of His Spirit, as you stop quenching Him moment by moment. Here is where you can even be glad in the struggle, because it is a chance to prove your love for Him is very real. Don't dread the struggle, "Embrace the struggle", as a chance to suffer for Him as He did for you. Philippians 3:10-11. As you resist your temptation to hate, lust, not forgive, get high, don't let Satan make you fall into a, "Pity-Party" that your sins can't be helped because of all you've been through. Don't let him make you fall into a cesspool of fear that your sinful desires are so different or unacceptable that you must just be weird, you must be broken, you must be unreachable. 1 Corinthians 10:13. Anyone is capable of anything—God is capable of healing us of it all. Trust.
Lastly, you weren't saved by the Blood of God Himself to sit on your butt and turn into a mushroom. You were saved so you could learn to experience life and joy to the fullest. John 10:10. That means finding your call from the King. That means passing on that love, servitude, forgiveness and selflessness. That means get busy doing His work. If you sit and wallow in your struggles and pain you will fall again. Psalm 51:12-15. If you learn it's not about you, and get lost in others, you will beat your sin. Get busy praising, serving, and living! Jesus says, "If you love Me, feed My sheep!" The beginning and the end to beating the sin that is controlling and hurting your life, is simply this: will you get angry enough to wake the Sleeping Giant within you? Him! Draw the line today; take up arms today; begin the fight today; take back the ground lost today. He's made you flawless—act like it.
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