We all have that sin. The one we thought was long conquered, long forgotten, and long paid for by Christ's precious blood. Then one day it emerges, reminding us that we are not yet perfected, and riddling us with guilt. It's the sin we don't speak of. It's the sin that we are certain would cause friends to shun us, strangers to mock us, and God to turn his back on us. Everyone's is different, but the effects on us are the same. And when it rears its ugly head we are undone.
The other night as my head hit the pillow I felt weighed down by a lingering cloud of guilt. I couldn't shake the sense that I was doing something terribly wrong, or at least not doing enough. Either by commission or omission, I was failing. But what I couldn't understand was why I felt this way on that particular evening. There were no catastrophic accidents with the twins that day. No one had a meltdown that was out of the ordinary.
I've talked about why I need this exercise in thinking through how I speak. I've also talked about who we are addressing when we use our words for good or for evil. But I've also been convicted lately about the need to restrain my speech. I'm a talker. I like to use my words. When I'm happy, that's a good thing. When I'm angry, not so much. In the heat of an argument or when my feelings are hurt, words fly like fiery daggers. I even would go so far as to say that I feel as if it's my duty to throw words in a moment of rage. If I don't, who will?
Whenever I hear someone talk about Hannah from 1 Samuel it is usually because of her great trust in the midst of her barrenness. She is the test case for infertility, really. Barren in a culture that gave women their worth by the fruit of their womb. Reviled by the second wife who bore her husband the multitude of children she so desperately wanted, yet couldn't have.
I don't know anyone who enjoys being confronted in their sin. I know I don't. Sometimes the confrontation comes from a trusted friend, sometimes a sermon, or sometimes it comes from God's word. Depending on how it is delivered to us, our reaction to it varies.
Our church is doing a women's bible study on Galatians. So far, we are two weeks in and every week I have been so helped in my daily desire to know more of Christ. Last week we looked at Galatians 1:10-24 and how Paul was living to please God rather than man. As long as I have been a Christian, fear of man has been a struggle for me. And I don't think I am alone. With each season of my life I find new areas where it is a daily battle to live for God rather than my peers. When I was single, I wanted to look like I was perfectly content in my singleness so those around me would praise me for my trust in God.
People often use Galatians in the fight against legalism, and rightfully so. In the letter, Paul is combating legalism in the lives of the Galatian Christians. Many of them are abandoning the true gospel of Jesus Christ for Judaism. They would rather work to earn their salvation than trust in the grace of Christ’s atoning work. But these days it seems the legalism label gets slapped on anything that smells of telling someone else what God requires of them. As one who tends towards legalism, I understand the dangers of believing your good works can save you.
I really don't like asking for help. Maybe it's the oldest child in me (i.e. pride and self-sufficiency). Or maybe I just feel bad inconveniencing people (again, pride). But I really don't like having to ask for help, especially on a regular basis. And lately, it seems like that is all I am doing.
I wrote this post last Christmas, but I think it's relevant for this one as well. It's easy to get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of Christmas and miss the fact that many people feel very alone and forgotten during the Christmas season. If that is you this Christmas, I pray that this post is an encouragement to you.
I've been slowly reading through The Gospel Primer the last few weeks. The first part of my pregnancy was so rough that I often struggled to read anything. But lately I have been able to pick it up again. I have heard nothing but good things about this book, so when Daniel bought it a few months ago I couldn't wait to read it. I'm not quite finished with it yet, but here are a couple of quotes that really ministered to me when I read them: