Before I get started, I need to be clear about something. What I am writing today was put on my heart while spending time in Scripture this morning. I am far to consumed with my own faults and failures to point out what anyone else may or may not be doing. However, if something you read today offends you, I hope it leads to you spending time reflecting on the words of the Bible and not the gibberish I am going to write about the comfort of sin.
Furthermore, I am well aware of the fact that as Christians, Jesus saves us through grace. There is not a prize to be won through obedience or anything to be proven. Our salvation is completed by what Jesus was able to accomplish on the cross alone. But, I think this fact is something far too many Christians, especially myself, have grown comfortable with taking advantage of. We have allowed it to become our excuse.
Hearing God’s Voice Through His Word
I have been spending a lot of time studying the Psalms over the last few weeks. This time in Scripture has led to an experience of God’s presence in my life unlike I have ever felt before. There has been a great deal of both confession and repentance on a daily basis. There is still much more I need to do. Yes, sanctification is a process that lasts throughout the entirety of our lives. And again, too many of us are quick to use this as a defense.
While studying this morning, I came across a verse that people love to quote and proclaim to the world.
“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Many of us read this and rush off to worship at church every Sunday morning. We bow our heads at night before going to sleep, just to remind him of what our hearts want. As Christians, we open our Bibles just to read Scriptures like the one above and recite the Prayer of Jabez. Then we quickly place them out of sight where they are unable to burden our conscious.
What Has Gone Wrong
We hurry about our day, taking the time to do what we want, with whom we want, when we choose to do it. And yet, every night, we make sure God is completely aware of the desires that we have.
I think the worst thing that has ever happened to the Bible is the fact that it now has verses. What was intended to simplify things plants a false idea in our head that it is ok to look at Psalm 37:4 instead of focusing our attention on Psalm 37 as a whole. We become so caught up in what we think our heart desires that we miss out on Psalm 37:34.
“Wait for the Lord, and keep to his way.”
Notice the wording here. It doesn’t tell us to wait on the Lord and do the best that we can to follow what he commands, but we are sinners by nature, so it’s ok that we allow the same repeating sin to control us, day after day. Or, we miss out on what is written a couple of pages later in Psalm 38 when David is crying out to God to forgive him for his trespasses and iniquities, feeling anguish and torment because of his sin.
I think that is the difference between the majority of us and the man after God’s own heart. We sin and go out of our way to remind ourselves of why it is ok. We choose to forget the torture and hell that sin put Jesus through on the cross. Not the sin of the people in his day, our sin.
While Forgiven, Our Sin Has a Price
The thoughts that run through my mind and the words that come out of my mouth are the hammers that were used to drive the steaks a little deeper into his hands. Events from my past have been part of the weight that caused him fatigue while carrying the cross to the hill that day.
And we tell ourselves, “It’s ok. Jesus knew I was going to be a sinner, and he decided to give his life for me anyway.” I think we forget that Jesus knelt down in the garden before being arrested, crying out to God for another option. The only difference is he was obedient while we choose not to be.
I get it. A lot of people are going to say, “Yes, what you are saying is true, but that is Old Testament stuff. Jesus loved us so much that he gave his life to nullify all that.” While thinking this may provide a false sense of comfort for a few minutes, Jesus tells us himself:
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
You see, there are a few things about our heart we need to understand before we can begin proclaiming what it is our heart desires. As we grow in our faith and start developing into more of Christ’s image, our hearts begin to change through the work of the Holy Spirit. Experiencing this change simply will not happen while we are allowing ourselves to seek the comfort of sin.
How Does This Change?
Until we begin to feel and experience pain over our sins, we’ll never be able to feel the heart inside of us producing the desires that Jesus wants to grant us. Only when we are willing to say, “Yes, I am a sinner, and Jesus loves and accepts me anyway. And because of this, I choose to be obedient to the best of my ability in all that I do,” are we able to desire what our hearts truly long for.
Like I mentioned earlier, this was intended for me. I know that I am going to fail. I am going to fall short of what God commands and asks of me. However, I will no longer look for peace when it comes to the comfort of sin.