Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Acne of the Soul
It's truly amazing how God has made our body reflect our spirit. Before the fall, no sickness, no injury in either; after the fall, sickness and injury in both.
Sin is like a zit. The longer it goes without being addressed, the bigger and uglier and more painful it gets. When it is finally addressed, there's likely to be a good deal of pain, bodily fluids everywhere, and maybe some blood.
But sin is far more than cosmetic. It's an infection of the soul, and if left untreated it will kill every time.
Harboring and hiding sin, rolling it under the tongue, keeping our pet sins in the closet like so many Asherim- this is a spiritual cancer of our own making, a sure-fire way to break fellowship with God and with our family in Christ, to kill joy and fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds of regret.
Yet God has given us a simple antidote.
It's one of the hardest things to do, and one of the happiest things to have done.
It starts with the confession, not just of sin, but of being a sinner, and of needing Christ to save and deliver us. That, our first confession of faith, is of primary importance.
But God calls us not simply to make a general confession once and stop there. We are called to holiness (Matthew 5:48, Deuteronomy 18:13), to a long and arduous battle with the flesh that ends when it dies (Romans 7).
1 John 1:9 talks about the forgiveness and the cleansing that awaits the one who will confess his sins- not as someone who has confessed, but as someone who confesses and is confessing- a repenter.
We need accountability, too; brethren who will not allow us to walk into sin without a fight. This can happen in a Galatians 6 style, where they, uninvited, come into our lives and say "have you noticed the cancerous boil on your soul?"
How much better to invite them in?
We only have so much time on this earth; let us live in view of eternity and, like Paul, strive not to waste any time on living with a guilty conscience (Acts 24:15+16).
Get it out. Get it out. Sin is like a cockroach- it hates the light. If we don't shine the light of confession and repentance into our soul, our hearts will become harbors for creatures of the night.
I am not saying that confessing sin to another person is necessary for salvation; certainly not! Christ is our great High Priest, and is the only Confessor we will ever need. The Catholic idea of a human priest receiving our confessions and absolving us of our sins is heretical and blasphemous.
But having a fellow warrior to whom I confess my struggles and failures- especially the habitual ones- and by whom I am held accountable on the issues on which I am the very weakest- a father or mother, a brother or sister in Christ, my wife (one day, God willing)- someone who will pray for me, and someone for whom I can pray (James 5:16)- that is surely one of the greatest tools God has given us in the war on sin, and it is surely one of the best ways to forge true, deep, intimate, Christ-centered, holy friendship.
So how are you doing? What are you hiding? Is your conscience clear before God? Do you need to confess something? Who are you confessing to and praying for?
I'm not advocating "hanging out your dirty laundry." Don't go write a blog post to the world detailing all of your lustful thoughts and naming everyone you've been angry with in the past month.
But don't quench The Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19, Ephesians 4:30, 1 Timothy 4:2). If you know you are hiding sin; if you know you are walking in rebellion; if you know you have some Asherim in your closet, and you sacrifice to them often- and if this doesn't bother you- you should truly be terrified. Whom The LORD loves, He reproves. If you are truly enjoying your sin, then you need to read 1 John and work out your salvation with fear and trembling.
If you're hiding something, and it does bother you, and it is eating at your soul, and you want to be free, then first pray for God's grace to give you the strength for true repentance, and then-
You know what you need to say, and who you need to say it to.
Do it now.
Waiting never makes it easier.
Do it now.
Kill the cancer. Break the chains.
Do it now.