Yesterday I mentioned guilt: real and false as a peace thief. Years ago I read a book by a missionary, Miss Bertha Smith, also a Carolinian. She resented forced retirement from foreign missions in China at seventy because she was in excellent health. Then Miss Bertha sensed God's call to minister to Baptists throughout America for over a decade. Many famous evangelists and pastors contribute her meetings in their churches to being the life change that significantly helped them come to their godly destiny. A great example is Dr. Charles Stanley who gives Miss Bertha much credit in his spiritual maturity.
Miss Bertha understood the Bible and mankind. She often said, "I never get over the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man." When she arrived at a church to conduct a revival she first spent several days with the staff of the church and the head of the laity. She would spend a couple of days helping them come into awareness and conviction of their sins. She especially prayed that the senior pastors would face and deal with their sins. I saw a video tape where she told Dr. Jack Taylor that if he had any trouble filling out his legal pad of sins, she would prime the pump by writing up the first page!!!
I have done this many times. I keep the lists and it is amazing when I come under conviction and repent how the Holy Spirit works in me from the inside out. I love looking at the old lists and realizing I don't battle those issues anymore.
Sin is such a politically unpopular word these days. Well, especially for the saints. I hear some folks talk and I get the notion that sin was only something they battled back before they were saved.
Ummm....didn't Peter sin in his human mercy by wanting to know that Jesus would never suffer or be harmed? Isn't this the moment Jesus Christ said "Get thee behind me Satan?" Heavy words to be saying to a saved saint. I don't think we arrive at "perfection." In Greek the word perfect means whole ... I am whole and in process of being perfected into the image of Christ. Along this way God keeps showing me where I sin. To the super holy, maybe I'm worse than you are: let's assume you have missed the mark by being overly merciful in your human tendencies. Sin in any other sense could never be tagged on you. Perhaps, like Peter, you just care too much for others and your human compassion becomes interruptive of God working in someone's life because of your overwhelming human mercy.
But I do sin; and I suspect all God's children sin. Sin...missing the mark is anything less than what God desires in my life. Yesterday I kept thinking of how I must humble myself and confess and repent of my sins if I expect to dwell in God's presence with peace of mind.
Suddenly I realized that grace through Jesus Christ's propitiation should encourage me to dare to look in the mirror (The Bible) and be bold enough to name my "stuff." When you know the solution is perfect and always works; there should be no hesitation in facing the issues, right? As a new Christian my list of sins included lying, sloth, gluttony, gossip, not tithing, etc. Today my list has items such as being inattentive to certain people, failure to spend as much time as I know I should in Bible mediation and prayer, judging when I know I can't, comparing myself to others, failure to do what I know God has called me to do. Lying has been dealt with in years past, but my sins today are also serious, and they can steal my joy and peace and rest.
Privately sit and think of anything that keeps coming up that you know is less than best for where God is calling you. A beautiful surprise could come out of this conviction, confession and prayer for the blood of Jesus to wash you white as snow.
I thank You that I don't need to shake and worry when I dare to look at myself with eyes wide open to see anything short of what You created me to be. If I had to "fix" me, I'd be up a creek with no paddle. But oh no, I can "rest" in the blessed assurance that Jesus paid it all. I just need to humble myself and face my "stuff." I do that and I write it out to seek Holy Spirit working in me to bring me to the mind of Christ and may I become Your living sacrifice. Touch each reader with Your grace, mercy and bless them with Your Rest. AMEN