What's Holding You Back: Sin
Sin has a way of draining the life straight out of us, doesn't it? No matter where we go or what we do, our sin follows us around like an annoying kid brother, it's relentless! It doesn't leave us alone! The shame and guilt from our wrongdoings overwhelm us. Soon, we find ourselves falling at the feet of Jesus, seeking that forgiveness that was available to us all along.
Though bought with a great price, forgiveness from sin comes easily. It's as easy to receive as opening our eyes and taking in the sunlight. Forgiveness brings a spring to our step, a lightness to our hearts, and freedom to our souls. Forgiveness and a right relationship with Jesus make all the difference, doesn't it?
Sin has been around since the beginning of the human story (or close to the beginning). Man and woman are made and it doesn't seem to take very long before they are enticed by its alluring words. But hey, before we get into these alluring words and the devastating consequences, let's back up a bit.
Let's consider what life was like before sin even entered the equation.
They knew PERFECTION. They knew what it was like to have a perfect relationship with God. They knew what it was like to have the perfect relationship with each other. They knew what life was like before sin and evil entered into our world. Can you imagine? No evil human beings? No murders. None of the horrific crimes we see on the news every single day. In fact, there were no crimes at all. What would it be like to only know Love without any hint of hate? Everything was the very image of perfection. Not just on the outside, but also on the inside. Everything was genuinely perfect!
They had only ever known GOOD. They never experienced Good versus Evil. They only knew GOOD. They hadn't ever experienced hurtful words. They hadn't ever experienced sickness. They hadn't ever experienced depression. They hadn't ever even experienced loss. They had never experienced heartache. Can you imagine such a life?
They had never experienced SHAME. My favorite verse on the subject of the first sin has always been "And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed." (Genesis 2:25) This reminds me of Hebrews 4:13, "And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account." Can you imagine? Every part of you (including your sin, your thoughts, etc) is laid bare before the eyes of God. We would feel pretty ashamed watching God examine our deepest and darkest places. But Adam and Eve experienced the same examination and felt no shame. Why? Because they had never sinned. Sin brings shame.
So let's move on to three truths behind sin.
First, sin invites us to believe or question untruths about God and His character. (Genesis 3:4-5) What strikes me the most is that Eve believed that God was holding out on her. Did she ever measure what the serpent said to the God she knew? I mean, Adam and Eve would walk with God in the cool of the day. She had a relationship with God. A PERFECT relationship with God. She could talk to God about anything and everything and get immediate answers. I've always wondered why she didn't at least choose patience and talk to God about it. The god that the serpent presented to her didn't quite match up with the God that she knew. The serpent made God out to be greedy, a liar, and someone who didn't have the absolute best planned for Adam and Eve. Measure that against the God of the Bible. You'll discover that the serpent was a complete liar.
Second, Sin invites shame. Remember that beautiful life that Adam and Eve enjoyed? Remember how everything was laid out before God and they felt no shame? Such a beautiful existence was shattered the second that Adam and Eve ate the fruit! (Genesis 3:7) They were ashamed of their naked bodies. They were so ashamed of themselves that they sewed together clothes for themselves. No matter what we put on, God can see it all. We can't hide our sin from Him. We can't hide our inmost thoughts from Him. It's all laid bare, no matter what we're wearing.
Third, Sin drives us away from God and not TO God. Did you notice? Adam and Eve didn't immediately seek God when they disobeyed Him. They ran away from him. They hid from him. God comes around looking to go for their usual walk through the garden in the cool of the day and his beloved creation is hiding. You know what I noticed? God's mere presence invited Adam and Eve to confess their sin. Yes, they had run away from God, but His presence (and the relationship they had enjoyed before sin entered the picture) beckoned them to Him.
I would love to point out how quickly Adam and Eve turn to God. Part of me views this humorously, thinking that Adam and Eve would be the worst hiders in the history of Hide-and-Seek. But there's a real truth here that I think we all need to grasp. Adam and Eve chose to acknowledge their sin, confess their sin, and quickly experience their consequences for their sin, and move on to God's forgiveness. Nothing would ever be the same for them. But notice THEY QUICKLY TURNED TO GOD. When we're considering following God and His call on our lives, sin can make us feel "stuck." There's no going forward when we have unresolved sin in our lives. We can hang onto the sin, the guilt, and the shame, or we can follow Adam and Eve's lead and acknowledge our sin, confess our sin, move on to experiencing God's forgiveness. The consequences of our sin pale in comparison to the gift of God's forgiveness.
Here are three truths about forgiveness to keep in our minds:
God's forgiveness brings peace. (Luke 7:36-50)
Forgiveness shows us who God really is. (Acts 9:1-19)
Forgiveness reminds us that we are God's children. (Ephesians 1:5)
Is sin holding you back from following God and His call on your life? Be like Adam and Eve. Seek God's face and confess your sins. He is faithful to forgive you of your sins!