TRUTH– we all have sin in our lives. Romans 3:23 affirms this,
‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,’
With that sting reminder telling us we are not perfect, we find hope when we read Acts 3:19
‘Repent then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,’
And when thoughts of doubt on whether or not you can overcome sin, in order to experience those times of refreshing, take to heart the words we find in 2 Corinthians 12:9 ‘
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.’
Confession – I have sinned – more than once.
Acknowledging the sin in my life, I find there is one that I feel trumps them all. One that for a time I foolishly tried to pretend didn’t exist, and still to this day don’t desire to talk of yet no longer experience shame when it comes up in conversation. A sin that took me a long time to come to terms with – to admit faults, confess fears, and choose to rise above. As time has drawn on, and I have allowed God to work in my life I have come to realize that God seems to be magnifying it, and in doing so teaching me the truth in Genesis 50:20
‘But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good…’
Have you ever found that the thing you are most ashamed of seems to draw the most attention? I have and do; in this case I feel as though I am a magnet for people battling the same sin God has helped me to overcome. It is interesting to me the people I find myself encountering that are going through a similar situation, and are seeking advice, direction, and hope without even knowing my story…coincidence? I think not. I don’t say any of this to boast or lift myself up, I say it challenge our thinking, and encourage anyone struggling with feelings of shame and regret. I went through a time in my life and made wrong choices, experienced negativity, guilt, and shame, however, through positive influences directing me to seek help through God, and his word, I overcame my sin, and the shame I once felt over it. At one time I used to cower away from any conversation on the topic, brush them aside, and direct people to someone else, ashamed to confess that I wasn’t perfect. Yet as God has opened my understanding to Genesis 50:20, I have realized that there is greater victory over sin then just eliminating the sin in our own life. It doesn’t stop there, if we are obedient to God’s word and proclaim his saving grace to others that are bound by the same sin that once held us captive. We use our stories through painful honesty and transparency of our own faults and experiences, and in doing this we testify to God’s ability to bring a healing, joy, hope, and restoration that is unfathomable.
Psalm 107: 1-2 ‘Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble’
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so. Those words are undeniable. You can’t misinterpret them or mistake them to read ‘let the redeemed of the Lord cower and feel ashamed.’ You can’t mistake it because that’s not what it says, but it’s what we feel, and it is that feeling that allows the enemy to stop the good that the Lord meant to come to us out of the bad that the enemy has thrown at us. When we hold our testimony inside we limit the ripple effect that God intended to happen through his work. You see, the work he does in our lives is not performed just for you and me. It is purposed to serve as a testimony so others can see his hand at work, and be drawn to him through it.
Matthew 5:14 states,
‘You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.’
Realize this truth, if God has brought you through a trial, and helped you to overcome sin, there is no shame because he makes all things new, you are a new creature, and you are forgiven. You are the light of the world. In response to that, we must be obedient and stop trying to hide what cannot be hidden. We must cast all fear aside, and stop trying to hide past addictions, depression, self-absorption, financial ruin, broken homes, regret, whatever it may be – and allow God to use the power of your testimony to reach others.
I challenge you to consider for a moment the next time you encounter someone dealing with the same sin that once had you bound…what if God purposed this conversation, what if he led this individual to you…what if he is using your triumph to reach this person specifically…what if God wants to use your story in that very moment? Be the light of the world that he has called you to be…Choose him.