“Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you.” – Hebrews 12:3-5
Is there any greater battle than the one that wages within our hearts and souls? Armed Forces go into battle and give their lives, sometimes the cost of freedom. I’m forever grateful for their sacrifice so that I can sit here comfortably in a coffee-shop and express my heart and opinions on the issues. But I think there’s a battlefront that we seldom pay attention to. It’s the war that wages on for our souls – the one that claims Heaven or Hell, Life or Death, Pure Love & Joy or minimal pleasure in the moment.
I expressed in a previous social-media post that I hate sin. Scripture clearly states that the “wage of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a) and I have learned the hard way, time and again, that we cannot outrun the Kingdom Economy of reaping what we sow. But we still try – don’t we? Thinking that we are cunning and witty, we chase our own satisfaction to the point of exhaustion, realizing that it only makes us thirsty for more. But more of what? Because does anything outside of God’s will ever truly satisfy? So we find ourselves thirsting for emptiness, even if that’s not what we label it at the time. Because at the end of the day, after the contact high of that substance, person, or simply the thrill of rebellion, we realize there are places in our heart left untouched.
Our mind wanders back to the truth that we miss intimacy and closeness with God and with the Church – with people that truly know us. The depths of our hearts – yes, even the scary, dark places. This kind of intimacy does not run from conflict and does not try to retreat when things get tough. This kind of intimacy stays close and presses through. It fights to victory without worry of defeat.
But we don’t think we deserve that anymore. We couldn’t possibly. Why would God and His Church still embrace us as we are? How could our story be redeemed. By chasing counterfeit affections, we’d said “Hey God, you’re not actually good enough to satisfy and provide for my needs on a spiritual, emotional, and physical level. I do not actually believe…”
You find yourself quite sobered when that thought makes its way across the platform of your brain. Laying there in bed, staring at the ceiling in the dark, unable to sleep – “Do I really believe? Is Jesus enough for me?”
He wasn’t when we sinned. He simply wasn’t.
I hate sin.
This is where things get messy. Because we’ve sinned, we decide that we’re not good enough for redemption. We are not good enough for His Love.
So we run.
We run away from home. Away from Heaven and toward the gates of Hell. Because we’ve allowed the enemy to seduce and trick us into thinking it’s the only option so we might as well enjoy it. (What a crafty liar…)
Friends, you have not yet outrun the love of God. He’s in constant pursuit of your affection. We feel miles away from Him at times. But if we just turn around, we’ll realize He’s right there ready to take us back and restore us to our proper destiny as heirs to the throne. The bloodline of redemption. True freedom found in submission to King Jesus’ will. Ironic that it’s found in abiding by the rules, just like our parents tried to lovingly teach us.
So you may be experiencing a great deal of pain. You may be pressing through a lot of heartache. Your world as you know it may be crumbling down. It’s possible that the Lord is disciplining you. A father disciplines the child he loves. He loves us where we’re at, but he won’t let us stay there. I’d react the same way if my *future* son were in trouble.
I hate sin, because it just isn’t worth it. Anything that promises satisfaction but is outside of God’s will for our lives will absolutely never satisfy. I hate sin because it doesn’t just affect me. Like a rock being tossed into a pond, there are ripple-effects that touch the whole pond and not just where you threw it originally. The sin of pastors has crippled churches. The sins of mothers and fathers have caused another generation of the family bloodline to pick up on their life-killing habits and love-avoidant hearts. The sins of sons and daughters have left parents feeling shamed and disheartened.
But do not lose heart! Do not be dismayed. You are not yet beyond recovery. You have not yet surpassed God’s loving will to see your life restored.
In your fight against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood. Stop giving up and start giving in to God’s overwhelming love and power to overcome.
It’s Tuesday – let’s rebel against sin and fight for love at all costs.