Lie 3: Sin Defines You

(A series on lies sin tells us to tempt us and trick us. Join me in exposing sin’s lies to God’s Word in this 8 part series.)

We more or less have a Sunday School answer memorized to counteract this lie: Christ defines who I am.

But when it comes it to living it- predisposition often wins.

Predisposition is a subtle form of deceit. It preys on our tendencies, including the tendency to believe that what is is all that will be. Not only do we fear change, we reject the notion it’s really possible.

So the lie forms and we believe it: my sin defines me.

Meanwhile, God says we have the option to be transformed.

Take back the truth.

We are born into sin, but through Christ we can be born again- out of sin.

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There’s no need to keep reliving old sins as if they are more powerful than the salvation Christ has given you.

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Case Study: Shame

The consequences David faced for His sin were dire-a beloved son died. A nation saw their king’s shame.  His circumstances were (publicly!) defined by a sinful choice he had made.

But David knew he still had a choice. He took control over what he still had control: his next choice. To sin or not to sin. To continue in his shame, allowing it to define Him, or turn to God for renewal and restoration.

Choosing to turn to God, David responded with the words of Psalm 51:10:

“Create in me a pure heart, O God,
     and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

You and I can’t get clean on our own. We can’t redefine ourselves using our own sin-stained hands. 

Sin will continue to follow us around, slinging mud, calling us dirty, claiming us as its own. When we make a mess trying to “redefine” ourselves, sin only seems all the more irremovable.

But God.

Who can cleanse us from our sin?

Who can make us whole again?

Who can clothe us, dressing us in white?

None but Christ.

Asking God to define our identities for us means telling sin it doesn’t have the authority to make our next choices for us. Exposing the lie that sin defines us requires immovable faith in a Sunday School answer:

Christ alone has the power to not only wash our hearts clean, but give us new hearts. Christ alone redefines us, predisposing us to stainlessness instead of sin.   

Interested in guest posting on First And Second? Click HERE…looking for your thoughts to add to the Sin Lies Series!

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Peace With Who I Am Not

When Lisa Murray asked me to be a part of her book launch team for Peace For a Lifetime, I didn’t know what to expect. It didn’t seem like fiction –but was it a textbook? A self-help guide? A lengthy theological statement?

Peace for a Lifetime is written by a counselor. A friend. A believer. A woman who knows what unpeace is like- and who is well-acquainted with the many dimensions of peace as God created it. This book is a gift that exhorts and encourages. It knows too much about me…and it set out to prove that today.

I’m working in autistic support as a compliment to my freelance writing. I love it! And I heard for the umpteenth times five time today that I ought to get certified as a Special Ed teacher. While the suggestion is truly encouraging to me, I also have a problem with it.

When I wrote papers for everyday college courses, I was told I ought to conduct research professionally and was invited on trips and into internships. When I excelled in biology in high school, I was told to become a doctor or at least a veterinarian. I’ve heard that if I tried, it wouldn’t take much for me to get certified in…this. And that. And the other thing.

The fact of the matter for not just me, but for all of us is that we’re capable of a lot. We are capable of more than we can actually do in one lifetime.  

We have one life to operate from: one budget, one pair of hands, one cycle of twenty four hours per day. We only get one set of however many years the Lord blesses us with.

These capabilities He gives each of us are gifts, not to be wasted. But they aren’t all to be invested in, honed in on, and exploited until there’s nothing left to do. That we’re capable of something doesn’t mean that we’re also called to it.

But isn’t it tempting? Isn’t it tempting to get prideful? Or overwhelmed? Or bitter about what we could be doing but aren’t?

It’s hard to hear that you could run something…while someone else does. While you know that if you obey the Lord, you won’t. Because He’s got you somewhere else and His plans aren’t the same as other people think they ought to be. And if we’re honest, His plans aren’t the same as we think they ought to be.

We find ourselves telling God how to use us best. Telling God who we are and what we’re good for. Defending our causes and running the “busy” mill to prove our worth…ironically, to the only one in whom we can actually find our worth.

I came home frustrated because of the compliments and the turmoil they stir up as I feel that maybe I am wasted or wasting, though I’m assured I’m exactly where He wants me. In the course of the evening, I picked up Peace for a Lifetime.

Guess which chapter lay before me? Fostering Authenticity. An entire chapter about our counterfeit selves, the lies that tell us we ought to be someone other than ourselves, and the truth:

Nothing fake will ever satisfy our souls like a true connection with a friend, a genuine encounter with God, or an authentic understanding of ourselves.

The whole book is worth a read, but this chapter met me today right where I was. Only the Lord can do that.

“Somehow, in our efforts to be what everyone else thought we should be, we miss out on discovering ourselves, whom God has created us to be.”

What words! Thanking the Lord today for this lesson and this book. Praising Him that just as I start to question who I am in the face of who others want me to be, He reminds me that He has created me. And you. Just as we are. For the good, good purposes He has called us into.

What peace we find when we accept the purposes He gives us as gratefully and humbly as we accept the capabilities He gives us to fulfill them.

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