Let me start by saying we cannot save ourselves. That was pretty evident when we tried it on our own. Some of us tried to just run away from our lives and escape into drugs, alcohol, sex, our jobs, hobbies, etc. It never works because at the end of the day, we still are who we are. It was only the sinless, pure love of God that could save us. He loves us so much that He paid the price to cleanse us of our sin. He has given us a new nature, a new heart and a new vision.
I John 1:1-3 NKJV “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
God is Holy. There is and never has been, nor will ever be any un-pure thing in Him. He tells us to be Holy as He is Holy. (Lev. 11:45 and I Peter 1:16). Unfortunately, there is still some things in us that aren’t exactly pure. In several places in His word, God tells us to purify, cleanse ourselves. (I Corinthians 7:1, James 4:8, Ephesians 5;25-26 just a few). Yes, He cleansed us of all unrighteousness when we accepted Him as Savior, but we still continue to live in a corrupted world. We have been saved, but we are still being saved. It’s a process. We tend to go back to our old nature, to resurrect the “old man.” To put it plainly-we sin. So we have to be diligent to “purify” ourselves.
The Holy Spirit is faithful! He will not only convince us of our righteousness, our right standing with the Father, thru the shed blood of Jesus, He also convicts us, shows us, points out our sin. Allow Him to pinpoint the areas in our lives that are less than pure. Then ask God to forgive you. Ask for His strength and help to do it, then get out the scrub bucket. We have to take responsibility. You do not teach your children to be responsible by doing all their chores and homework for them. In the same way, God, who is the best parent ever, expects us to do something.
How do I purify myself? That ultimately depends on what your mess was made of. Let’s look at a few types of sin. First of all there are the obvious things like adultery, lying, drunkenness, homosexuality, drug addictions, fornication, hatred, strife and all those so called “big ones.” Our society likes to call a lot of those things “diseases” or “sickness”. But God is clear, those are all choices. Don’t be deceived what you sow you also reap. When we sow to the flesh, we reap corruption. Let’s call it like it is, these are sin. So the first step, after having asked God to forgive you, and to help you, is to STOP! I know it sounds too simple, and too easy, and I know from first hand experience that it isn’t either one of these things. But your only choice is to either admit it is sin and stop the sinning, or continue on the path to hell. You can’t walk towards God and walk toward hell at the same time. They are two completely opposite directions. As soon as you turn from own you are headed for the other. That’s what repentance means, turning away from our sin.
Now, moving on, as most of us have more subtle sin in our lives, though not any less sinful to God. If we lack faith, that is sin. Sounds drastic I know. But the Word is clear, without faith it is impossible to please God. So worry, anxiety, and fear are all sins. Now there is a Godly fear of the Lord, and there is a healthy fear, such as the fear of getting burned keeps us from laying our hands on a not surface. That is not what I am talking about here. Fear of failure, fear of sickness, fear of rejection, phobias, irrational fears, those are all sin. I had to face all of the above! So I know it is hard to overcome. We do it by repenting first, always. Then again asking God to help us. Then what does God say about fear? Use His word. “Perfect love casts out fear” or “I have not given you the spirit of fear.” There is another clue. Fear is a spirit. Cast it out, rebuke it harshly. Then take hold of the love and peace of God. Most of this stuff begins in an ungodly thought pattern. Line up your thoughts with the Word. Use the truth.
For any sin, ask the Holy Spirit to show you what triggers your sin, what feeds the lust? You may have to put down that book. Turn off that movie. Shut off the computer. Stop hanging around with certain friends. Shut your mouth. What ever the case may be, He will show you areas where you have to work. Don’t get me wrong, God can and will in His sovereignty, deliver people from all kinds of stuff, but He then expects you to work at staying delivered. Again, remember the kid and the chores. It’s for our own good. We tend to value things more if we put some effort into it. When you are going through the process and after you have come out of the other end, Glorify Him! You may have been a co-laborer with Christ, but God gave you the strength and the knowledge to get it done. He showed you were to build and where to tear down. He deserves the praise.
When dealing with sin in our lives it is important to remember that God is not an angry dictator waiting to catch us doing something on His “don’t do list” or failing to do something on His “do do list.” He is a loving Father who wants our lives to flow with His goodness, His blessings, His anointing and the only way that is going to happen is by trusting Him. We have to believe what He says. He watches over His word to perform it. To make sure it comes to pass just the way He said it would. He says we are healed. He says we have been delivered, that our lives should be abundantly blessed. He says we are accepted, loved, treasured, and His children. Do what you know to do, do what God says to do. Then leave the rest up to Him. You may not see fast results, but you will see results.
It’s time to get ourselves lined up so that we can do the work of winning souls. If we are all messed up, who would want a life like ours. So we can’t spend years “purifying” ourselves. We keep an open communication with God. We stay sensitive to His voice. When He says, “stop doing that” or “do this” we need to not waste any time. The time is short. The only thing delaying Jesus’ return is that He is giving us more opportunity to reach the lost. He wants a huge family. So let’s get out messes taken care of quickly, and when we stumble or fall, get up and get going again. Don’t dwell on it. God says the righteous may fall seven times, but they get back up!
Trust God and do your part. Then move forward. Shine that light, be the salt. Point people to God. Let them see you come through your problems. Tell them how God helped you.
It may be scary to face our sin. To put your trust fully in Him. But that is the leap of faith we are always hearing about. You might not see the path clearly ahead of you. The end of the path may be completely out of your sight. But God sees it! He knows where you are going and the best way for you to get there. Just take that first knee knocking step. He’s there with you. In fact He said He would never leave us not forsake us, and “lo I am with you always, even unto the end.” Now that should instill some hope.
God wants you free. Free from sin and the bondages they create. Free to receive. Free to do His work.
Won’t you break those chains?
For more inspiration read all of I John.