Be Encouraged: God loves the sinner but hates the sin.
“For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you.” (Psalm 5:4-5, ESV)
We all have things we cannot stand. Fingernails on a chalk board; yikes! Egg shells in our scrambled eggs. Gross!
With God it’s sin. God cannot stand sin. It’s not just a matter that he cannot tolerate it, but because it comes between us and him, he cannot let it remain.
At first glance our encouragement for today may not seem comforting or encouraging, scarier more than anything. But when we look at it and think about it from a spiritual and eternal point of view, we can receive it and rejoice in it. Because God cannot stand sin and will not turn a blind eye to it, we are conformed and shaped into his beautiful image more and more.
When we consider the sin in our own lives—and we all know what our sin is. As the prophet Jeremiah wrote, “No longer will anyone need to tell us about our sin because we will know what it is.” (Jer. 31:31) God has made sure, through the ministry of his Holy Spirit, that we are aware of our sin. Consequently, as we consider our sin, we don’t need to feel helpless, powerless, or bound to and by it, but encouraged that God will help us overcome whatever our sin issue is. He does not come as a butcher to cut it out but as a creative, restorative potter and visionary, to reshape us, gently working that thing which mars us and separates us from him, out of us.
On bad days or seasons where we feel weak and out of control, all we need to do is think back over our past life and see the things that are no longer a part of us. Those issues, longings, practices, or activities did not disappear or diminish because we were so good at self-fixing, but because God, in his loving and gentle manner worked with us, walked with us, strengthened us, and was patient with us, making us willing and eager—even unbeknownst to us at the time—to let go of the sin we cherished or craved.
Our sin is not the end of our story nor the determiner of our character, but as we mature in our faith, practice those spiritual disciplines that draw us closer to our Lord, live under the banner of his grace, forgiveness, and love, and as we submit to the ministry of the Holy Spirit at work in us, we will increasingly reflect God’s heart, his personality, and nature. In God, there can be a beautiful ending to our earthly story. Even if we started out one way, we do not have to end up that same way! Let’s Pray
Dear Lord, thank you for loving the sinner but hating the sin and addressing our sin in such a loving way, not to destroy us but to transform us. Because you restore us, we reflect you and sin does not separate us from you. Amen
Faith Affirming Activity:
Can you take an honest assessment of your sins without fear or denial, and ask God to come in and deliver and restore you?
How will you incorporate todays focus into your plan of self-care?