Soooo, back to that there Sin Challenge. (Nope, I haven't let go of it yet, folks.)
A friend wrote me back on my last challenge post to tell me she was participating. She talked about how she always strives to do this and is always increasingly aware of her sinfulness. Made me smile because this friend has always struck me as such a godly woman. I've said before: the most godly people in my life are the ones most aware of their own sinfulness.
Something in her response triggered a small alarm in me. She sounded a bit like she might be a fellow wallower. Probably not -- but it made me think that I should probably address that here.
I tend to wallow. You know, look at all the mud and gunk in my life, hate it with a passion, and then lay myself right down in it and roll around luxuriously. A "confession session" with God turns into a laundry list of all my failings and expressions of gratitude for his forgiveness . . . Hallelujah, thank you Jesus . . . and then moving on to requests. Almost as if I glory in my miserable state because it gives me more opportunity to experience his grace. ("Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means!" Romans 6)
It's one thing to say: Lord, I know I fail you in so many ways. I'm so sorry. Please forgive me and help me do better. Blah-bl-blah-blaaah. Safety and comfort in vagueness.
It's quite another to say: This thing -- THIS sin -- it's done. This yelling at my children -- by your grace, it's over. It is no longer acceptable to me to continue to behave this way and then come back asking for forgiveness over and over. Thank you for the forgiveness -- now give me the freedom and the victory. Confession must include repentence -- a turning away -- or it's nothing but a self-gratifying wallow. (Read that whole Romans 6 chapter, friends.)
Have you noticed in Luke 4, when Jesus starts his ministry in the synagogue in Nazareth, he quotes Isaiah to indicate the tasks he has come to accomplish. There's no direct reference to forgiveness of sins there (although we know he did that). But from day one, he says the Lord has sent him "to proclaim freedom for the prisoners."
Freedom. Victory over sin. For sin shall no longer be your master. That's God's goal. Why do we settle for less?