Monday, August 4, 2014

Our Sin and God's Grace

"If we see our sin as small then we will never see God's grace as big!"

(Preface: I am so thankful for a pastor and church that challenges and spurs me on. I wanted to share what I have been learning lately and what the Lord has used, through Rodney and others, to encourage my heart and revive my senses to be more aware. Hoping this will encourage your hearts as well!)

Coming back from a mission trip is a sobering reality. I leave every summer, from a country full of wealth and prosperity, to go be submerged into a country full of hurt and poverty. My heart is broken/cut a little deeper every time I go. But the crazy thing is, that even in a country plagued by sickness, poverty, war and hurt… there is freedom. They get it. They see their sins for what they are and SPRINT from them to Jesus. They repent and worship like I have never, even on my best days, have worshipped before. We can blame the "distractions" of America. Wifi, TV/movies, iPhones, Facebook/Instagram/Twitter, Netflix, etc…. but those aren't the real issues. 

"The human heart is an idol factory that takes good things like a successful career, love, material possessions, even family, and turns them into ultimate things. Our hearts deify them as the center of our lives, because, we think, they can give us significance and security, safety and fulfillment, if we attain them." -Tim Keller

I am not saying there isn't sin in Africa. I am not saying that they are more Godly or advanced than we are. But I truly believe that we as a nation have become stagnate. We, and I am the worst offender, are so quick to see the sins of others before noticing the sins consuming our own hearts. That is one of the scariest and more dangerous things I could do. We will never see and consider God's grace if we don't see and consider our sin. Because regardless of how far our sin goes, God's grace goes farther. Apart from grace there is no sin that is out of reach. How encouraging is that?

He is faithful and for us. His Gospel is filled with ways to seek first the Kingdom and align our hearts with His. It's not teaching us that the worst of us are capable of the worst sins but that the best of us are capable of the worst sins. We are all sinners. We all fall short. We all miss the mark. We all are imperfect creations created by a perfect Creator. I am so thankful that the Lord loves me, and you, so deeply that He doesn't leave us in our sins. Yes, it can be overwhelming and yes, it can be humbling. But, before the Gospel satisfies us, it will always sober us. 

So think on this question my pastor asked the congregation yesterday. He said, "Who is the worst sinner you know?" Who is the one that when you think of sinning is like waaaay up there? It's easy to think of people who have that outward, offensive sin. That sin that everyone knows about and that is obviously wrong. However, I should be the worst sinner I know. I know the deepest parts of my heart that are consumed with lust, bitterness, hatred and envy. I know the thoughts I have when someone "offends" me and makes me feel like nothing. I know the things I say about that rude person that was a jerk to me in front of a group of people. 

Adolf Eichmann was a German Nazi who was one of the major organizers of the Holocaust and was responsible for creating and managing extermination camps, during WWII, in Eastern Europe.  When captured and put on trial years later, a Jewish Holocaust survivor, Yehiel De-Nur was brought in to testify against Eichmann in trial. While on the bench, after having to walk past and face Eichmann again, De-Nur fainted on the stand. When 60 minutes interviewed De-Nur years later they asked, "What happened up there? Why did you faint?" De-Nur's response gives me chills and humbles me to the core. This man, who faced horrible, terrifying situations and circumstances replied, "Was I overcome with hatred? Fear? Horrid memories? No; it was none of those. Rather, I realized that Eichmann was not a god-like army officer who had sent so many to their death. This Eichmann was an ordinary man. I was afraid about myself. I saw that I am capable to do this. I am... exactly like he."

::Lord, let me never lose sight of how huge my sin is. Let me not get so caught up on 'what have I done?' rather than 'what am I capable of doing?'. When I focus on my sin and how big it is, remind me of how much BIGGER Your grace is. Jesus… remove the things in my life that I have made into idols. Sift out the distractions and replacements I have used to find satisfaction. Allow my heart to be broken daily by Your goodness and grace towards me. And let me be a clear reflection of repentance… not so I can be praised or look good… but so that YOUR name can be made famous. Beloved… I do not deserve this but I am so thankful for Your blood that covers and saturates me. Use me as Your hands and feet, Lord… and forgive me when I fail You.::

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