Through this ministry, I frequently engage in conversations with Christians who struggle with some area of constantly recurring sin. Despite many attempts to change, they seem unable to break free from their sinful bondage. Do you have an area of sin like this in your life? Most of us do. Unfortunately, too many Christians become disheartened, hopeless, or even despairing because they fear they are losing the battle to this one broken area of their life. Let me offer some encouragement. Please read more……
As Christians we should constantly ask ourselves this hard question, “Do I really believe, with all of my being, that Jesus died on the cross for my salvation?” Assuming our answer is yes, then we should examine ourselves to see if our thoughts reflect our belief. Even though we profess a belief in Jesus as our Savior, too often we set about trying to save ourselves. When we fall short, and sin again, we torture ourselves with negative, critical, and self-defeating thoughts.
Either Jesus is or He is not our Savior! Long before we were born, and before the earth was created, God already knew of all of our sins. Look what Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 1:15 “This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am the foremost.” Of course, we all know John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”
André Louf, a Belgian author and Cistercian monk wrote, “This means that my weakness can be a doorway to one of the most intense and beautiful experiences of God’s love in my life; and so, holiness itself is not on the opposite extreme from temptation, but within the heart of temptation itself. We will not find it beyond our own weakness, but within weakness itself.”
My friends, Satan loves nothing more than when we doubt God’s mercy or when we try to save ourselves. Think about it. Essentially when we put the emphasis on saving ourselves or achieving perfection by ridding ourselves of every vestige of sin, we are in essence de-emphasizing the salvific plan of the cross.
God loves you before you sin, when you are sinning, and after you sin. He never stops loving us! His mercy exceeds our greatest sin. If we believe in Jesus, then we must have ruthless trust in His mercy and forgiveness.
Let me try to make a point. On any given day, do you beat yourself up because you didn’t visit the imprisoned, help the sick or homeless, clothe the naked, or comfort the downtrodden? All too often we beat ourselves up mercilessly after a fall to our “favorite sin,” while giving ourselves a pass on these sins of omission. Matthew 25:31-46 is one of the few places where Jesus was specific about who gets into Heaven and who does not. Does He specifically mention the sin you most struggle with? I suspect not. What He says is that we won’t get into Heaven if we fail to help those in need. Those of us who struggle with recurring sin, usually place way too much emphasis on this one area of our life.
Sin is part and parcel of the Christian experience. Yes, we strive to eliminate it from our lives, but we must always rejoice in knowing that when we fall short, our faith in Jesus has assured our salvation. Be careful not to fall prey to Satan’s trap. Don’t lose heart. Don’t despair. Rejoice and be saved!!!
Re-read the quote above by Andre Louf, and give it time to sink in. I believe that one of the greatest mysteries of our faith, is the reality that we have a personal encounter with God and the mercy of His Son, Jesus, both in and through our sin.
Finally, never stop reminding yourself of this fact. Fear not! is the most repeated command in the Bible. Never doubt your salvation. Rid yourself of fear. Rejoice in your Savior. Do your best. If you are Catholic, I encourage you to seek out Confession often. If your faith doesn’t offer the opportunity for confession, then ask God to forgive you every time you fall. In either case, we must never forget, God loves a contrite heart.
I spent too much of my life allowing negative thoughts to impact me. I now know that I am the sum composite of the following. I am a child of God, a Christian, a son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, friend to many, lay evangelist, and oh yes, someone who struggles with sin. All of these things, rolled up together, is who I am, and I know God loves me and His Son died to assure my salvation! He did the same for you too!!!!!
Heavenly Father please take this burden from me, yet should it be a means of my salvation, help me to carry my cross, for alone I can do nothing! My faith, hope and assurance are in Jesus my Savior. Amen!
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