I tend to be overly introspective when it comes to my spiritual walk, but I'd rather be overly than not introspective at all.
Truthfully, most days I am disappointed in my ability to shepherd the kids, love my husband well, and be a good steward of my time in the secret places. I struggle with mean-spiritedness and lack of self-control at times and I absolutely hate it. I often can relate to this Psalm:
“How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults.”
Psalms 19:12 NLT
Why do I share this with you? I share because this blog is mainly about sharing the gospel. The gospel invites messy people, people that are sick and need a doctor. And my life is a perfect picture of the gospel. My struggle with my flesh, daily. Yuck. I swear... the further along I get in my walk with Jesus, the stinkier my sin gets to my nose. I see it better, clearer, and it's so ugly. I hate it. I want it gone.
I told Kalen tonight "I hate my flesh, I just want it gone. I want to be sweet all the time." And he graciously encouraged me that he sees me growing and he believes in me.
The thought hit me after I shared that statement with Kalen; "this is part of the gospel Lindsey!" God never promises the stink or the struggle with sin to be taken away from my earthly body. Though Jesus paid for my sin on the cross, the Bible is actually very clear that sin still plays a role in my mortal body. That there is a struggle. There will always be a struggle until Heaven. Paul, the great apostle says:
“And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature... I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord."
Romans 7:18, 21-25 NLT
Then it hit me again, Jesus died to take on sin Himself. Let's get this straight: There is ultimate victory over sin in a believers life, but that doesn't mean we don't struggle with sin anymore after we get saved. When Jesus died, resurrected and sent His Holy Spirit, there suddenly became a struggle with sin in our beings as believers. Before Jesus, we didn't know the power of sin or how it affects us. Because of His grace in our lives we suddenly begin to realize the sickness of sin. This is part of sanctification.
He died for me, for us, so that sin WOULDN'T be comfortable for us anymore. He paid for our sin so that we couldn't sit in it and find peace in it anymore. The sin that kills and destroys, Jesus paid for so that by the Holy Spirit, we would struggle AGAINST it!
So, the desire for my sin to be gone is definitely a holy one, but I still live in my earthly body where sin abides, so therefore the fight is going to be there whether I like it or not.
Coming to this realization can be freeing. In a sense embracing the battle is the first step. I don't think I really want to come to terms with battling sin in my mortal body for the rest of my days on earth. I want to be free from this sickness so badly. I don't want to fight. I want it to be easy. But... it's not going to be. And I think I'm finally starting to get it. It's starting to sink in.
A sweet truth that has been coming to my mind lately is this:
"Look to Jesus"
It's been a theme for my quiet times the last few weeks. And it's like little bits and pieces of what God is revealing to me is coming together like a puzzle.
Yes the struggle is real, but we have a Redeemer, a Savior. The fight has been won, so we need only to look to Jesus. As I've been meditating on this, another thought came to me as I was running the other day.
This thought has been marinating in my brain for days.
As a Christian, how do we look to Jesus and let His sweetness change us? Truthfully as Christians it can be easy to find ways to try and clean the "outside of the cup" (cleaning up our outside appearance/ actions but still harboring ugliness in our hearts like the Pharisees), only a few days later to see the ugly sin pop up again. I'm at this place in my life where I'm tired of trying to manufacture The fruit of the Spirit. I'm tired of trying to make myself be Christ-like by my own strength. Doesn't it get tiring? Does anyone know what I'm talking about? If salvation itself is a
Miracle and supernatural, then growing fruits of the Spirit will also come by supernatural means of His grace. I want His sweetness to just flow from my heart like living water.
But how do we look to Jesus?... I believe it simply begins by turning our hearts in loving faith towards Him. We rest, we trust in Him. Then as we look, We obey Him in any areas He is leading our hearts. We may sense we've been walking in self-reliance and need to repent. We own our sin. We call it what it is and look at it at face value. We lay it at the cross. We don't blame our sin on others. We take responsibility and ask forgiveness. We make amends by the Cross of Christ and the example He set for us. We beg Jesus for purity of heart and motives. We pray Psalm 139 "create in me a clean heart Oh God!" We spend time with Him seeking Him before the world, we joyfully obey Him because we love Him. We smother ourselves in His Word... we take 10 looks to Christ for every look we take at ourselves. Essentially... we don't look to ourselves, our abilities, our strength to save us or to help us be holy. We only have to Look to Jesus by faith. And by looking upon Him, we behold His glory and are changed. His sweetness changes us. As God's glory made Moses' face shine (Exodus 34) on the mountain, our faces and hearts shine Jesus to all around when we spend time with Him, and offer ourselves to Him as a living sacrifice.
“We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.”
Romans 6:6-14, 18 ESV
If you are like me and weary yourself by looking to self for security in who are in Christ - rest assured there is nothing in you that can save you. Only Christ and Him alone. You and I, we still struggle with sin. We will never be perfect on this earth. But there is hope in Jesus that our hearts and lives WILL become sweeter as we grow in Him, as we look to Him, as we behold Him in our earthly vessels. We must only continually look to Jesus and consider ourselves dead to sin even though we still feel sins LOUD tug on our hearts. This is my hope.... Looking to Jesus and letting His sweetness change me❤️️💝.
I will end with a song God brought on my pandora last week... enjoy and God bless!
Come Ye Souls by Sin Afflicted
Indelible Grace VII
Lyrics are so rich: