so a few days back i was talking to my friend jared about life and stuff God was doing and stuff He'd been teaching us. we'd been talking for a while, and the conversation had turned to the subject of struggling with sin. we were talking about how sometimes no matter how much you struggle with a sin, it just keeps coming back.
i've struggled with identifying myself by my sin struggles for years. if it's a good week, i'm a child of God. if not, i'm a liar, or a arrogant know-it-all, or someone who doesn't desire God. so often i've fallen into condemnation–basically just feelings of worthlessness, that God doesn't love me–because of these patterns of thought. since i identify with my sin, i end up losing hope. because no matter how hard i try, i will always be sinful. now there's a lot of misconception (and some truth) behind that kid of thinking, and i know this. but it's still easy for me to fall into it.
anyway, this was all on my mind as jared and i were talking. and then he throws this out there (and i'm sure i'll mess something up here): when we turn away from sin, that's not all that happens. we're not simply turning away from sin–we're turning to Christ. and this is absolutely essential, for a few reasons.
first, it replaces sin with Christ. we, as humans, are always going to be striving for something. good grades, a successful career, the perfect love, going out and partying for the weekend, or whatever. sometimes we're knowingly striving towards blatant sin. other times it's not so obvious. but when that ultimate goal, whatever we're striving for, is something besides God, we're sunk. we'll never be satisfied, and we'll never get out of that continuous cycle. when we replace [whatever] with Christ, we have something worth striving for. something that ultimately and completely and perfectly satisfies us.
second, if we're turning from one sin but not to Christ, it means we're turning to another sin or idol. i might turn away from pornography and start studying like crazy to get good grades, but when academics become the most important thing, i'm still pursuing something that is not God–an idol.
third, Christ is the only thing that will actually help us truly turn from sin. so often i fall into this mindset that i can fix everything, by myself and in my own power, as long as i ______________. fill in that blank. manage my time well… read the Bible every day… go to church… get at least eight hours of sleep. it seems kind of stupid when i write it out like that, and yet that's what i do all the time! when we accept the fact that in our own power we can do nothing, we're in the right mindset to accept Christ's gift to us: the Holy Spirit, who gives us strength.
finally, returning to a point i touched on, Jesus is the only thing that satisfies. plain and simple.
so it's essential not only to turn from sin, but turn to Jesus. i've known this, but i hadn't really know it until God used jared to speak to me like that. the best part is, we don't have to wait for Jesus to notice us when we turn to Him. He's waiting with arms open wide for us to come to Him. isn't that crazy awesome?
i mean i think so.