“The Lord removed your punishment; He has turned back your enemy. The King of Israel, the Lord is among you; and you need no longer fear harm.” Zephaniah 3:15 CSB
In a recent Sunday morning sermon, the pastor defined sanctification as the daily choice to follow Jesus, consistently, day after day. He focused on song lyrics from “Come Thou Fount (I Will Sing)” by Chris Tomlin:
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart Lord, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above
During the sermon, the pastor made this point, “We need to have an appropriate fear of our own ability to sin.” His words reminded me of the straight and narrow path we are to walk (Mat. 7:14 NIV) I remembered my days of riding my bike to work. I lived five miles from my job, at the time. When I worked during the day I would ride my bike along a two lane road which was narrow. On each side of the road there was a narrow gap between the edge of the road and the white line marking the side of the road. This small little pathway is where I would try to keep my bike tire. Every now and then I would swerve out of it for a passing car or debris, etc. As quickly as I could, I would get back in my little lane. Every time I swerved out of it, I would think about the straight and narrow path. I came to understand I’m incapable of staying on the narrow path all the time. The key isn’t to expect perfection, the key is to expect imperfection. When those imperfect moments happen, when the potholes of life hit you, don’t give up. Instead get back on the path as quickly as possible. Jesus knows we are all going to continue to sin, even after we have started a relationship with Him. Jesus doesn’t expect us to be perfect, He just expects us to keep finding our way back to Him.
We find our way back to Him by confessing our sins. Complete honesty can be difficult. I’m a WW member. After my recent vacation I was on the verge of quitting. I have 2 WW buddies who are my support system. I knew I had to tell them I wanted to quit, I really thought they’d be on board. They were not. In fact, we all confessed that none of us had truly been following the program. We hadn’t tracked everything we ate, none of us had. Tracking is a form of confession, it’s confessing the bag of M&M’s I ate, the glass of wine I drank, or the piece (or two) of birthday cake I enjoyed. I love food, and I hate to have to track everything. Inevitably, what happens when I honestly track, I don’t eat as much. I’m conscious of my actions. I begin to realize how much I can consume if I’m not accountable. Sin in our lives works the same way. Until we truly confess it, we can’t overcome it. We can’t see the effect sin is having in our lives, how it’s stopping us from living life to the fullest, until we become honest. Just like I have more energy the less weight I’m carrying on my bones, confessing sin lightens the load of our soul and draws us closer to God.