Meanderings of a Minister

What’s Holding Back Your Joy?
April 29, 2010, 7:54 pm
Filed under: Articles

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Sin.  It is that word that makes many people not want to go to church or be around Christians.  It is that thing that Christians either think they don’t do anymore or are so fixated about, it is what they spend their time and effort avoiding.  It is the number one thing that steals the joy for the Christian.  It is warned about, provided for and is known to cause pain and suffering.  It is the first place John goes in his book that is aimed at ensuring “our joy may be made complete” in the Christian life.  But what is it about sin, in the life of a believer, that causes such havoc? Let’s look and see so we can avoid the pain.

First, sin causes the loss of joy for believers in Jesus Christ most often in that they misunderstand its seriousness.  Most people think, like the little boy that thought getting his new Easter clothes a little dirty would only get him in a little trouble, that sin is something that can be played with, skirted around, flirted with, approached or even controlled.  They fail to remember Paul told young Timothy to “flee temptation” (1 Timothy 6:11, 2 Timothy 2:22), and that all sin is lawlessness and an offense to a holy God, which we will see as we move further through the book of 1John.

The problem with dancing around sin is that we fail to realize the pull it exerts over our old nature.  Paul understood this in Romans 7, but we somehow think, “It won’t happen to me.”  Many battles have been lost over that mentality.  Having lost the battle a few times, we become calloused to sin and its effects and fail to realize the damage it has done to our fellowship with God.  While I certainly believe from John 10:28 and others that a person that is truly saved will remain that way, we can and do hurt our fellowship, sharing with and closeness to God when we sin.  The problem is that, when we are callous to sin, we hurt that relationship carelessly and further without really even realizing it. 

How do you know if you are calloused to sin?  When was the last time your soul was pricked over a sin you committed?  When was the last time you felt frustrated because you failed again?  Do you ever have feelings that you are the only person at work that follows God?  Do you sometimes feel that you wish you could just go one day without sinning?  Does it bother you when you fail to glorify God?  How often are you drawn to periods of fasting for the purpose of overcoming some sin that has a hold on you?  If you were unable to answer these questions, or were dissatisfied with the answers, you might be developing a callous on your soul to that sin.

So, what do I do about it?  Very simple.  Repent.  Metanoeo.  Turn away.  Stop, turn, walk away.  Take specific concrete action to stop doing what you are doing.  Confess the sin to God and ask His forgiveness.  If the sin if particularly pernicious, you might consider getting an accountability partner to help you by checking with you regularly to see if you have changed or not.  Finally, run after God with all your heart, knowing you are forgiven.  We’ll talk more about that next week.  Hope this helps.  By the way, one final suggestion.  Make certain you worship and serve regularly with other believers so that you are focused on the right way of living, are held accountable for your life, are corrected when needed, are encouraged when needed, and can help others with the same things.


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