Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ways We Hide or Deflect our Sin and the only Solution

Oh how sin is so deceitful.  One way this is expressed in how we minimize it in our lives.  Helpful post from the Good Book Blog.

The starting point of the Christian life (conversion) comes when we first become aware of the gap between God’s holiness and our sinfulness. At conversion we trust and hope in Jesus who has accomplished what we ourselves could never do: He has bridged the gap between our sinfulness and God’s holiness.

At the point of conversion, however, we have a very limited view of God’s holiness and of our sin. The more we grow in the Christian life, the more we grow in both our awareness of God’s holiness and of our brokenness and sinfulness. It is not that God is becoming more holy or that we are becoming more sinful, rather an awareness of both is growing.
As an understanding of sin and of God’s holiness grows, something else also grows: an appreciation and love for Jesus. His mediation, His sacrifice, His righteousness, and His gracious work on my behalf become increasingly sweet and powerful. The cross looms larger and more central in the Christian life as we rejoice in the Savior who died upon it.
But here’s the rub. Because sanctification—growth in holiness or transformation—doesn’t work quite as neatly as we’d like, because of the indwelling sin that remains in us, we have an ongoing tendency to minimize the gospel or “shrink the cross.” This happens when we either (a) minimize God’s perfect holiness, thinking of Him as something less than His Word declares Him to be, or (b) elevate our own righteousness, thinking of ourselves as better than we actually are. The cross becomes smaller and Christ’s importance in our lives is diminished.
Because we forget to walk in step with the gospel—especially as Christians—we have a tendency to minimize our brokenness and sin. Here are a few ways believers often hide or deflect sin:
I find it difficult to receive feedback about weaknesses or sin. When confronted, my tendency is to explain things away, talk about my successes, or justify my decisions. As a result, people are hesitant to approach me and I rarely have conversations about difficult things in my life.
I strive to keep up appearances and maintain a respectable image. My behavior, to some degree, is driven by what I think others think of me. I also do not like to think reflectively about my life. As a result, not many people know the real me. (I may not even know the real me.)
I tend to conceal as much as I can about my life, especially the “bad stuff.” This is different from faking, in that faking is about impressing. Hiding is more about shame. I don’t think people will accept or love the real me.
I tend to think (and talk) more highly of myself than I ought. I make things (good and bad) out to be much bigger than they are (usually to get attention). As a result, things often get more attention than they deserve and have a way of making me stressed or anxious.
I am quick to blame others for sin or circumstances. I have a difficult time “owning” my contributions to sin or conflict. There is an element of pride that assumes it’s not my fault and/or an element of fear of rejection if it is my fault.
I tend to give little weight to sin or circumstances in my life, as if they are “normal” or “not that bad.” As a result, things often don’t get the attention they deserve. They have a way of mounting up to the point of being overwhelming (these categories come from World Harvest Mission's, Gospel-Centered Life material).
To counteract our sinful tendency to shrink the gospel, we must constantly nourish our minds on the truth of Scripture. We need to know, see, and savor the holy, righteous character of God. And we need to identify, admit, and feel the depth of our brokenness and sinfulness. These are the two legs a Christian walks on—faith (God’s holiness) and repentance (admitting our sin).  Walking in both lead to a life marked by transforming joy, hope, and love.
Growing in the gospel means seeing more of God’s holiness and more of our sin. And because of what Jesus has done for us on the cross, we need not fear seeing God as He really is or admitting how broken we really are. Our hope is not in our own goodness, nor in the vain expectation that God will compromise His standards and “grade on a curve.” Rather, we rest in Jesus as our perfect Redeemer—the One who is “our righteousness, holiness and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30). The gospel is the key to enduring transformation.

by Darian Lockett; see article here.

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