I’ve been talking the last few days about being enslaved to the sin of worry, without even realizing I was worrying. Many, many things have been going on in the last couple of months. What I’ve realized is that instead of spending more time in God’s Word searching for His peace, I turned it all off and just allowed myself to go numb. In making that choice, I made myself vulnerable to the lies of the devil instead of searching for the truth of God. This morning I’m reminded of what my bestie Shar always said, “it’s either the truth of God or it’s the lies of the devil”. The voices we listen to come from God or from the devil, who accuses us day and night (Rev 12:10).
During the last couple of months I’ve become depressed, increasingly worried, unable to move forward; let’s face it I was chained to the sins of depression, fear, and worry. Why do I say those are sins? Because Jesus tells us not to be, but instead to stay on the vine. What kept me there? My desire to be alone instead of in community. So now here it is January and I have a daunting task in front of me that must be complete before the end of the month here at work, and I’m tired, I haven’t been sleeping well; I’ve been “used up”. Have you ever felt that way?
I’m making a new choice: I’m seeking the Lord first (Matt 6:33). I’m giving Him my worries and asking Him for His rest (Matt 11:28). I’m able to do that because Jesus has forgiven my sin and wants to work through me for His glory. When the Pharisees brought the adulteress woman before Jesus (John 8:1-11), and all had to leave one by one as they themselves weren’t without sin. “Jesus stood up, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, Lord,’ she answered. ‘Neither do I condemn you,’ said Jesus. ‘Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.'” (vv 10-11)
Jesus was able to say this to the woman because the power of sin had been broken in her, as He forgave her. This beautiful story brings us to that place in which we understand that when our sins are forgiven it is to free us so that we might begin to live a different lifestyle by the power of His indwelling Spirit; never to go back to the things that we have left behind.
Sometimes we are weak, and need again the forgiving grace of God. But forgiveness is always designed to set us free; that’s why it is given. When our Lord forgave this woman that’s what He did: He set her free to be a different kind of person than she ever was before. Today, I am free to ignore the devil’s lies, and to look to Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith. My hope has returned, I feel lighter and I am sleeping well. I still have a large task in front of me, but I know that “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13).
Lord, You have set me free from bondage to sin! Help me to hear these words a new way, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin anymore”. Lord, help me to keep my eyes on You so that the storms that blow around me do not keep me from seeing that You have power to walk on top of all of our troubles. Thank You for Your indwelling power that allows me to do all things through You. In the precious name of Jesus, amen.