I probably shouldn’t speak for everyone in saying this, but I feel like most of us have that one sin that is harder to turn from than others. Maybe you have several, or maybe you are perfect and have none. You go, Glen CoCo.
If you’ve ever spent a week or two feeling like you’ve been curb stomped by sin and left to die on the sidewalk, then you know how I’ve been feeling for a while now. It’s so weird. I will go weeks, months without falling to certain temptations, and then BAM. Sin City over here. I almost always spend time wallowing in self-pity and regret, because I simply cannot believe that a Christian would behave the way that I do. I then decide that I will do better and try harder. That’s why I have several weeks or months without any major sin explosion. But believe me, the vicious cycle continues.
I think that when I am in my periods of being a “good Christian,” I forget about grace. I don’t really need it, in my opinion, because I am doing fine. So then when I do fall to some kind of temptation, I feel worthless. I feel broken, destroyed, and beaten down. I can’t even begin to think about grace because I haven’t needed it in so long. I have fallen from this gigantic pedestal I’ve built myself.
What a skewed, awful, ignorant vision of what grace is.
Too recently, in one of my “I can’t believe I sin so much, I’m not a Christian” moods, I found myself sitting at the park trying to read my Bible. I was also at a point where no amount of Scripture was going to make me feel better (come on, you’ve felt that way too). I came across this verse again, which has already been popping up a lot lately:
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
I think the biggest misconception among both non-Christians and Christians is that once you become a Christian, you join this club of people who just don’t screw up. And the moment you do screw up, you automatically become the biggest hypocrite to ever walk down the church aisle and lightening should strike you at all angles because you’re just so nasty and stoopid.
Let me throw this disclaimer out there: I am not trying to say that everyone who walks into a church is a Christian, and I am not trying to say that we should be free to live some crazy life of sin. This blog post isn’t about those people. This blog post is about people who have fallen in love with Jesus and still can’t figure out how to be sinless. I am simply saying that there is this constant pressure to be perfect, and it’s so wrong.
Friends, brethren and sistren, we should not wake up feeling shame and regret for being complete failures. Here’s the thing about God. He knew from the beginning that he was picking up a bunch of stupid failing morons like us. And he still did it. He still gave us Jesus, “who loved me and gave himself for me.” So WHY the heck would I nullify that grace? All God is asking me to do is recognize what he did.
I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.
God is choosing to no longer remember my sins. He doesn’t forget things. He’s God. I know it’s cute to see those quotes on Pinterest that say “best friends are the sisters that God forgot to give us…” but come on people. He doesn’t forget things. Which makes grace even more amazing. He is willingly choosing to remove something from his mind forever. Because he loves me, because of what Jesus did, God is pumped to no longer remember my sin. That is ultimate grace. To quote a book I thoroughly enjoy: “He has done more than wipe the slate clean. He has thrown away the slate!”
Grace is being able to wake up in the morning, after you know you battled sin the night before and lost, and be able to recognize the fact that The Lord of all creation still looks at you and says, “yes.” We all are going to have a constant struggle with temptation. Whether it’s drinking, sex, wearing jeans with tennis shoes, whatever it is, that will never go away. And as annoying as it is to see you people with such bad style, I find comfort in the fact that God’s grace far outweighs our sinfulness.
Instead of sitting in a puddle of regret, I am going to swim in an ocean of grace. It’s time to quit trying to be good enough, because that’s not why Jesus died. Jesus did not die so that I would still have to try to be good enough. And he didn’t die so that I could be a complete rebel. He died because I cannot be good enough, and he died because I am a complete rebel. I can now live knowing that my wretchedness is washed clean. No more guilt, no more regret. Only grace.
And if that doesn’t give you a desire to jump for joy and praise his name, it’s probably because you’re still wearing jeans with tennis shoes.