by Pastor Tim Burt
I was one of ten children—number five for those of you that are curious. I loved being part of a big family. For mom, keeping ten growing children in adequate clothing was work. She did a great job conserving money by buying clothing from liquidators when possible. Some things she bought were irregulars. Sometimes she bought clothing that smelled like smoke because they were salvaged from stores that had burnt down. We got more than our fair share of irregular or slightly damaged ‘new’ clothing
Do you understand that because of the sin that is in the earth, we’ve all become damaged goods—either slightly damaged, slightly irregular, or worse! If you aren’t aware of your flaws, just ask those closest to you!
The stain of sin in the world has left its influence and mark on each of us. In my early walk with God, I always felt like a failure at being the person God wanted me to be. But then I came to realize something. We are all flawed. We all have quirks noticeable to others. We can be thankful for the power of the Holy Spirit within us to help transform and correct and reduce some of those flaws and irregularities. But let’s be real! Our personal transformation is slow and an ongoing work. It only happens to the degree we seek God’s help in becoming more Christlike. Though my sins have been washed away, my character is still being transformed and I haven’t gotten rid of all my quirks yet. Have you?
Though God made mankind to be beautiful and perfect, our perfection was curtailed by the sin of Adam. He sinned. Then Eve sinned. And then sin grew within them and their offspring until it spread to all mankind. Romans 5:17 NLT says, “The sin of this one man, Adam, caused death (sin) to rule over us…” Thank God He has a plan to help us through Jesus! Romans 5:18 NLT says “…but all who receive God’s wonderful, gracious gift of righteousness will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Yes, Adam’s one sin brought condemnation upon everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness makes all people right in God’s sight and gives them life.”
The gift of reconciliation or having our sins forgiven and being made right and united with God is a gift from Jesus to us. You can receive this gift by asking God to forgive you of all your sins and by asking Jesus to come into your heart to be your Savior and Lord. Upon praying that prayer, the Holy Spirit of God comes immediately to live within you. The Holy Spirit will be a new experience in your life! As you read God’s Word, the Holy Spirit speaks to your heart, shows you God’s ways, and gives you power over sin that you never before had.
As you read your Bible and learn about Jesus, your love for Jesus grows and you begin to hunger to walk in God’s ways. You learn of God’s intense love for you. You learn that your righteousness can’t be earned—it’s a gift from God. And condemnation, guilt and shame begin to fade, knowing that God has chosen to see you washed and cleansed from all sin through faith. As you continue to read the Bible, the scriptures instruct us of the path God wants us to follow and transformation of becoming more Christ-like slowly begins to happen in our life.
In that light, the Apostle Paul wrote words that lead us back to becoming more Christ-like. Colossians 3:5-10 NIV “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”
Trying to reach some unattainable measure of perfection and holiness in your life might lead to never-ending disappointment and condemnation. Condemnation is not the voice of God but of the devil. The devil wants you to think of yourself as a hopeless case, never measuring up to what God wants! Most Christians fall for that! But, you aren’t! You are God’s work in progress! God is doing a work in you! Be honest when you sin and be sincerely sorry and ask God to forgive you. He will! Your victories over sin will come one victory at a time. The booster to a more rapid change happens by becoming more selfless—giving yourself over to loving and serving God and those around you! Do that and you’ll look back and see God doing a great work of transformation in you! And then you’ll know these words are true for you! Philippians 1:6 (NKJV) “…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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