Lie 6: Some Sin Doesn’t Count

(A series on lies sin tells us to tempt us and trick us. Read the whole series here.)

We like to restrict God’s definition of sin to make it more manageable.

God doesn’t define sin manageable as just “doing bad stuff,” or “making mistakes.” God says sin is a condition we’re born into. Scripture uses words like infection and impurity to describe how sin permeates not only us, but the world we live in (Isaiah 64:6, Romans 8:22.)

We minimize sin when we act like it’s a condition we can keep under control.

The lie goes like this:

This particular sin isn’t that bad, it doesn’t count.

But in truth, all sin is an offense to God, which damages, if nothing else, our walk with Him.

Often the sins we don’t really “count” are those with subtle or unseen consequences. We figure sin is only really bad if someone gets hurt.

On the flipside of that logic, we believe avoiding the temptation to sin should be profitable for us.

We end up repeating the words Elihu warns against in Job 35:3:

“You ask him, ‘What profit is it to me,

and what do I gain by not sinning?’”

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When we think like this about sin and what counts as sin, we put a price on righteousness. We value honoring God based on the scales of self.

Case Study: Little White Lies

God says we never have to sin and never ought to.

Yet we are all tempted to tell white lies. They smooth things over, make people feel good, and prevent discomfort.

Essentially, telling a little white lie tends to gain us a whole lot more than being honest appears to.  So we value the self-benefit over the God-honoring truth.

Along the way, we often figure white lies hardly count. After all, we’ve appraised them as such.

Honoring God isn’t about our gain, but His. His appraisal of sin is more important than our valuation of the benefits of doing right or wrong. 

Imagine if Jesus acted as we do! It’s sobering to imagine Jesus diminishing “little sins” and “not counting them” because their consequences aren’t “that bad.”

1 John 1:9 shows us Jesus did not have an attitude of belittling sin.

Rather, Jesus addressed sin head on and with complete assurance:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness…

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.png

Would we want Jesus to “miss a spot” when He cleanses us? Would we want to settle for “only” the important parts being redeemed?

Jesus takes stock of our every sin, even the ones we wish didn’t count. He appraises them with just a glance: sin = needs cleansing. Then He turns them all white as snow.

Jesus isn’t satisfied to get us mostly clean. He isn’t one to “miss a spot.”

We have no reason to think He ought to. His cleansing is more than enough, and His grace is sufficient.

Even the “little” sins that hardly seem to count are important enough to Christ for Him to save us from them. He transforms the worst and the “not so bad” into the best for God’s glory.

Let your sin, glaring and subtle, be seen by the One eager to forgive and redeem.

This post may also be shared on: #MomentsofHope #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #TellHisStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #Heart Ecnouragement, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup, Faith-Filled Friday, Sitting Among Friends, and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

 

Just For Me

As the speaker in the video wraps up her lesson, she prays. All of us in the room grow quiet, listening in. The screen grows dark and before anyone launches the discussion questions, a friend speaks up.

“Sorry you all had to sit through that,” she grins, “because that was just for me.

I know what she means.

One of the amazing abilities of our Lord is reaching out to us individually while reaching out to us all.

His sweet love and unique relationship with each of His children involves personal gifts and private moments. There are inside jokes and memories that hold us warmly, tucked into his care.

One of the kindest, more precious things the Lord has taught me is this: He doesn’t just care for me, He cares about me.


Sometimes the sunrise’s streak of gold peeking over the trees is just for me.

The weather isn’t what everyone wanted, but He did it for me. I asked last night.

Whoever donated those exact boots to the thrift store didn’t know it, but they were just for me, an unexpected gift from the Lord.

My husband’s shoulder, though not his own selection, isn’t too large or too small. It’s just right- made, I believe, just for me and my heavy head.

As I speak to God on a matter, asking a specific question, He rephrases it back to me with an answer through the song on the radio proclaiming truth I need in that moment. The lyrics are familiar, but that time, He played it just for me.

At the end of one Saturday, I am tired of struggling to surrender something to Him and I’ve grown weary from the humbling that’s been happening. The reason I press on is the commitment I’ve made to obey Him in this matter. Settling into bed, I open a book I’ve been struggling to enjoy, one I’ve grown weary of plodding through. I’m reading it only because I committed to making it all the way through.

The chapter rubs salve on my soul. Words just for me, custom shaped from an author’s keyboard to my aching heart by the Lord’s own hands.

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I open the good book, the only one I’m known to actually hug goodnight, and open to the page I left off on. This is His word, active and alive, and it quickly enfolds those feelings of fear in the triumphant embrace of the one who died just for me. Words spoken a couple thousand years ago, spoken right now to me by the same Savior.

In the words of the Isaiah 25:1, “Lord, you are my God.”

And because of Christ, I’m more than your creation. I’m your child. Do you know if you’re His child, too? As His child, do you see God’s good gifts- the just for you kind?

It’s a precious thing, that He cares so much for just me and just you.

This post may also be shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup, Faith-Filled Friday, Sitting Among Friends, and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

The Kindness Kind of Fruit

Among the many fruits listed in Galatian 5:22, kindness is one that often seems to be overlooked. Patience? We’re glad to pray for more of that. Love, joy, faithfulness? Who doesn’t need more of those in their life? But kindness…kind of seems to encompass all these.

How would you explain being kind to someone? Being nice by being patient or giving? To tell someone what kindness looks like kind of means describing all of those other fruits again.

But kindness is distinct, as each of the fruits of the Spirit are. Kindness has a quality of its own that sets it apart as a fruit with its own taste and purpose.

Not just being patient, but cheerfully so.

Not just loving, but warmly caring.

Not just joyous, but delighting beyond oneself.

Not just faithful, but concerned with others’ qualities, needs, and desires.

Scripture’s word for kindness, “chréstotés,” is understood as Spirit-produced goodness. It is not tainted by self-gain or the cruelty of sinful nature. Rather, kindness in its true form is something purely given by God according to His will and character. The definition of being kind as a fruit of the Spirit includes meeting “real needs, in God’s way, in God’s timing.

Little is sweeter than that. The right word at the right moment. The cheerful, caring gift that furthers the work of the Lord in someone’s heart. That’s kindness.

And its fruit we ought to ask the Lord to produce in us. More than our niceness or our own sin-hybrid versions of fruit, Sprit-produced kindness tastes sweet. Its nourishment provides energy and hydrates our thirsting souls.

Ask the Lord, as He shows you His kindness, to tend to your heart that you kindness might be something you can pass on as well.

This post is being shared on: #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup and #LifeGivingLinkup.

 

The Kindness of the Lord

When we say that God is the standard by which we know and measure goodness and righteousness, we admit that there is no definition completely suitable of these things. There is no set of words in any human language that can fully encompass the wholeness of a standard. We have nothing to correctly compare it to.

As a friend recently pointed out, “a cauliflower’s taste can’t be described in comparison to anything. It certainly doesn’t taste like chicken. It just tastes like cauliflower.”

That’s what those things which God is the standard of are like. His kindness is kindness in its purest, most whole form.

The word for the kindness of God in Scripture, transliterated “chréstotés” says as much in its definition. According to Biblos, “We have no term that quite carries this notion of kind and good.”

Ephesians 2:6-7 emphasizes:

“God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”

We the kindness of the Lord in His sending Christ to die for us and raising Him up again. His kindness is evident in redeeming us, raising up to be with Christ. As we know, grace is giving us what we don’t deserve.

Kindness is giving us what we don’t deserve richly and abundantly.

We aren’t just children He cares for. We are children He cares about. More than just redeemed, we are filled with His Spirit. The barrier isn’t just destroyed by Christ so that we have access if we need it. Instead, we are brought near. Drawn near.

God likes to have us near. He delights in blessing us. His kindness is not goodness out of obligation or goodness because more good is needed. His goodness is simply goodness.

In our corrupted nature, we cannot fathom this. Our closest comparisons fall short. The best we understanding we have is described in Matthew 7:11:

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

The kindest we can be does not compare to the kindness of Christ.

We often look at others and wish to give certain types of kindness. Closeness, not feeling alone, hope for the future, comfort. The Lord enables us to give these in a way, but not as thoroughly or intimately as He can. Time, emotions, circumstances, and thoughts do not shift at our Word as they do His. Thank the Lord that He is so kind in expressing His love for us in kindnesses like these.

And we see this in our lives, don’t we? When we ask Him and He gives so personally, so clearly. His good gifts are more than we could ever imagine: families, friends, relationships, scenery, moments, laughs….those things that help us to understand awe, wonder, and fulfilling intimacy. That wave of peace that has no explanation. The small mistake that upsets our day for the better.

Praising the Lord today for His kindness in all the good gifts- big and small that He gives. Thanking Him most for His kindness in delighting to have us near to Him.

How are you reveling in His kindness?

This post is being shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, and #TellHiStory

You Didn’t Need to Make It Right

Photo from: genius.com

“And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” –James 1:4

Gosh. You read all that Scripture has to say about being perfect, being loving, and acting like Christ. The Words are great. The aspirations are high. But you and I always fall short. We’re always lacking in something. That’s how it feels.

We mess up. We fail.

Whether in our relationships, our attitudes, our work, our hearts, or anything else, it seems we’re always having to “make it right” even when really we haven’t done anything wrong.

Do you know this feeling?

It’s the sense that maybe you ought to apologize, even though they probably didn’t notice. Or maybe that you’ve missed out because of a poopy attitude and now you’ve got to overcompensate. You try to “make it right” just because it’s clear that something that you did or said didn’t have the outcome you expected.

…Didn’t have the outcome you expected. That’s it, isn’t it? That’s a primary cause of our culture of over-apologizing and relativizing until reality is revised to suit the desires of whoever we’re dealing with.

The resulting version of “making it right” tends to have nothing to do with right or wrong after all.

So often when we attempt to make things right, we’re attempting to make things more comfortable or easier. We’re attempting to feel better. We’re not so concerned with the “right” aspect.

That’s a problem.

Instead of trying to get it right by going to the one who makes all things right, we live Romans 10:3,

Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.”

Believers know the righteous of God deep in their hearts, but we don’t always know it in our lives. We often think that things that are awkward or uncomfortable are wrong. We try to “fix” that which God broke for a purpose. Though there are times when we need to apologize and compromise, there are also many times when that works against the Lord’s will. But it doesn’t feel that way. We often feel that our feelings are the enemies we need to defeat instead of sin.

We know He saved us from sin –but He has also saved us from the need to be comfortable and feel better. Further, He has saved us from having to figure out “good” and “right” for ourselves.

God is the one who determines what “right” ultimately means. Our attempts at “making it right” are often better stated as our attempt to “make right our own.” We don’t have to. We have Jesus. We have the Bible. We have the Holy Spirit.

Yes. We fail. We mess up. We aren’t perfect. Even our best intentions can result in difficultly, mistakes, and pain. But the thing about His righteousness is that it stands in our stead. Jesus is our righteousness, making us faultless in the sight of the one who matters most.

Before we try to correct what we think is wrong in ourselves, our relationships, and more, we must ask if it’s wrong in the sight of God. If it’s not…then we need to let Christ’s righteousness be enough to make discomfort, pain, and mistakes fruitful.

Hands off “making it right” when it isn’t wrong. Instead, let’s try making it His. He can take care of the righteous part.

This post is being shared on: #LifeGivingLinkup #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, and #TellHiStory.