“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, NIV 1984).
Dave and I were alone in the doctor’s lounge. We each had been called in at midnight for different reasons and were awaiting lab results to complete our work.
We were members of the same church and had teamed up for mission trips in the past.
“Are you still working too hard?” I asked him.
“I’m still working,” he said. Then looking into his cup of coffee, he added, “My problem is not the amount of work. My problem is who I am.”
“What do you mean?”
“Janice made it clear today. I think it was a wake up call. I was worn out when I got home and just wanted to relax and watch the news on television. She walked through the den dragging a chair she had been asking me to move for a few days. I could tell she was straining but I was not going to get up from my news. I couldn’t help it; I deserved to get to relax after my day. She came back in the room with tears in her eyes and flat out told me, ’You don’t think of anyone but yourself anymore.’ I looked at my life this past month and realized she was right.”
Have you ever gone to bed at night, aware of your sin? Not the bad-sin-action kind of sin, but the wide-awake realization of your self-focused, self-serving, withdrawn from acts of goodness, self-centeredness kind of sin. I have. I suspect all Christians have at times. Perhaps such moments are God’s reminder that we truly need Him when we have settled too comfortably into a passive relationship.
It is painful for those of us who really love the Lord to realize that we still fail Him over and over. For some it might lead to despair. But I am convinced that sin-consciousness does not mean that we are still trapped in our sin. As Christians, we can be confident that we have been delivered and are seen as spotless before the throne.
Our new nature in Christ, however, does not take away the power of sin to influence our lives. Though our war with sin is won, we still face pockets of resistance that the Lord needs to mop up. And He will.
As Watchman Nee wrote, “Sin is still there, but we are knowing deliverance from its power in increasing measure day by day.” (Normal Christian Life)
So, as we progress toward becoming like Christ, what do we do with these moments of sin realization?
1. Thank God again for His deliverance through Jesus Christ our Lord.
2. Examine our lives to identify these pockets of resistance and hand them over to the King.
3. Repent again.
4. Act in ways that move us away from this self-centered living even if we still feel self-centered. Our feelings will follow.
5. Sleep well, for the victory is already won.
I rest on the blood of Christ and His forgiveness. Change me, so that my life may become more like His each day.