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Monday, August 30, 2010

Dealing With Our Respectable Sins

From Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate by Jerry Bridges, pages 178-181.

So we need to be honest and humble enough to admit our subtle sins in order to experience the love that comes through the forgiveness of those sins. But we must also face them in order to deal with them. The worst sin of all, in practical terms, is the denial of the subtle sins in our lives... How can we apply the overall message of this book?

...continue to ask God to open your eyes to sins you have been tolerating or have even refused to acknowledge as being present in your life. There is no substitute for humility and honest confession of our sin as the first step in dealing with it.

...Always look to Christ and His perfect righteousness for your standing and your acceptableness to God. Remember, if you are united to Christ, God sees you clothed in His perfect righteousness. And always look to the Holy Spirit to enable you to deal with sin in your life and produce in you the fruit of the Spirit.

The world around us watches us even as it ridicules our values and rejects our message. We may think our subtle sins are hidden from their view, but in some way they see them. They pick up our self-righteousness, our anger, and our judgmentalism. They think of us as "holier-than-thou" people or else they see us as hypocrites who do not practice what we preach. Dealing with our "acceptable" sins in humility and honesty can go a long way in dispelling that image...

Jean says:

It's difficult to see ourselves correctly, Lord. Even when we stare into the mirror of Your Word we overlook our own faults. Those warts and blemishes so visible to other people manage to hide from us.

Help me, Father, to keep looking. Help me to read and mediate on Your Word with the eyes of my mind and my heart wide open. Help me to discard my preconceptions of what a Scripture passage means when I read it. Help me to read each passage as if it were brand new to me. Help me to study each passage in Your Word with new eyes and new questions, expecting You to show me a brand new message.

And help me, Father, to turn those new messages inward and see how they apply to me personally. Lord, I don't want to tolerate those petty sins (Is there such a thing as a petty sin?) that crust up around the edges of my life. Help me to search them out, to repent of them because they are offensive to You, my Most Holy God.

Lord, help me, also, to find the grain of truth that rests inside every criticism someone throws at me. Help me to dig deeper than my hurt feelings into the grit of truth that his or her words contain. And make that truth rub away on my soul, my attitude, my personality to polish me into the image of Christ.

God says:

Every time you open My Word there is a gem, a jewel for you to discover. Yes, it's been there for centuries. And, yes, others have uncovered it before you. But there are gems there waiting for you to uncover their brilliant light and shine it into your own soul.

Staying in My Word will keep you out of many troubles.

Read it. Memorize it. Study it. Meditate on it. Live it.