In the most recent (November 11, 2014) blog post by Thom Rainer written by Chuck Lawless, Mr. Lawless states a very important point in the “10 Ways the Enemy Gets the Upper Hand in a Church” here – http://thomrainer.com/2014/11/11/10-ways-enemy-gets-upper-hand-church/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+thomrainer%2Frss+%28thomrainer.com%29.
First of all, I try to read and digest the Thom Rainer blog every day, it is so refreshing and educating. Secondly, his posts are written to equip us Christians, believers and followers of Jesus to be on guard against sin, Satan and death as well as move forward on our growing faith journey this side of Heaven.
I am going to focus on #1 in the list of how the devil strategically attacks us. – He wants us to mess up in sin.
Mr. Lawless points out these painfully true points – The results of our sin are numerous. Our witness loses credibility. Our prayers are hindered. Our joy wanes. Relationships often suffer. The world looks at us and sees no difference– and the enemy temporarily wins. (Hopefully, I can expound on the “prayers hindered, joy wanes, relationships suffer” items at a later date).
From personal experience, I can attest, “our witness loses credibility” really does stifle you as a Believer/Follower of Jesus. Those celebrities (or people we deem celebrities) “losing face” have nothing on us body-of-Christ-folks who “talk the talk” of Christian-ese and then we, as more aware of sin and its downfalls than most, succumb to sin. What seems worse to you? 1) that someone who knows the Lord gets into sin or 2) someone who is unknowing of the Lord gets into sin. Our fellowship with Jesus is broken when we sin-that is most grievous, not just the witness to man losing credibility. As if a man losing credibility to another man is most important (it is important, just not the same importance as Christ’s fellowship). However, we are human and seemingly first think of the humans we have impacted before we think of our creator and savior. Since we live or work with the humans we have impacted it does make sense that we care what they think or how they will feel regarding our sin (whether it was directly against them or not).
The daily reminder of our sin should “sting” IF we are God’s children. That sting is the Holy Spirit pricking our hearts and imploring our soul to go back to Jesus, asking for forgiveness. If we have pleaded/begged (beseech) with Jesus to forgive our sin, that is the most important step. We certainly have this order reversed, we typically ask the human for forgiveness (perhaps only to save face) and not ask our savior for his grace first! As John 8:36 clearly states: “Therefore if the Son (JESUS) sets you free, you really will be free (HCSB).” Also, as Matthew Henry’s commentary states – “Christ in the gospel offers us freedom, he has power to do this, and those whom Christ makes free are really so.” So, in conclusion, our credibility to humans does carry weight (burden upon my back as in Pilgrim’s Progress – I am…undone by reason of a Burden that lieth hard upon me), there is no denying the weight, however, there is hope in Jesus that we can be free by his grace and forgiveness that we can step toward Him and away from that past sin. Our credibility with JESUS is far more important due to the eternal weight of not being with HIM in Heaven.