How many of us are trapped by our sin? How many of us just accept we are sinful and hold onto the hope that in eternity we will be free? Is this truly the abundant life that Jesus has promised us?
What if there was much more to this life than we realise? What if there is a solution to our hard, deceitful hearts?
Why are we willing to suffer in silence rather than fight for our freedom?
Good girl Bad girl syndrome
For most of us who had good parents who were willing to discipline us, we quickly learnt that to get good things we needed to be good and if we were naughty then we would miss out. Depending on our personalities and the circumstances we faced growing up, for some of us we interpreted this as if I am good then I will be loved and if I am bad then no one will love me.
As an adult I have suffered from this syndrome of earning love or of qualifying to be loved. It wasn’t something I have been aware of until recently when Jesus shined his light into this area of my life. I have always known that I am a naughty girl, whether this was from a Catholic school of education or just my own high moral standard of justice but deep down I knew I wasn’t a good girl. On the outside I behaved like an angel, whenever anyone was looking but on the inside I felt rotten to the core.
My Dad and I used to have a joke I would say ‘Angel by name, angel by nature’ and my Dad would say ‘with black wings’. Even though this was our little joke, he was absolutely right. Unfortunately for me my moral compass was skewed, and I didn’t really care that I did the wrong thing I was more bothered about whether I would get caught or not. My whole focus was to get away with whatever wrong choices I made. If I did something wrong and was afraid of getting caught I would cross myself with Father, Son and Holy Spirit and sure enough I would be let off ‘scott free’! God became my lucky charm, my get out of jail free card! However this wasn’t enough to take away the guilt.
- ‘Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God’.
- ‘Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived. God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows’.
For many years I lived under the condemnation of these two verses. I knew I was unworthy of Gods love because of my sin and I knew that I would be judged for everything I did wrong and believe me there was a lot to be judged.
Rule makers, rule breakers
Many of us live in light of our inadequacies for one reason or another. We feel trapped with no escape, even as a Christian I felt God’s liberty evade me, where was the freedom He had promised. However, it wasn’t God’s promises that were lacking; I had become trapped by my own law setting. God’s purposes for his word wasn’t to condemn the world but to save it. My guilt was false guilt set by my own standards and expectations.
John 3:17 ‘For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him’.
I failed to understand God’s true character, I failed to understand why God says what he says and I failed to understand how much God loves me.
As parents we make rules for our children to follow to bring peace and harmony into the home. We want our children to have a moral compass so they know the difference from right and wrong. We want our children to learn responsibility so that they can be effective in the world.
However, because we are broken people then our rules don’t always make sense, they often don’t have effective consequences and we often break our own rules which sends mixed messages to our children.
If we’re honest as parents our rules can be there for our own benefit, to get 10 minutes break or to get some peace and quiet. Which becomes confusing to our children because if we are in a good mood then our rules become a little lax and when we are in a bad mood they become excessively strict. Or sometimes our rules stem from fear, fear of them being in danger, or fear they will become sick or fear of what other people think of us if our children aren’t well behaved.
God’s rules are different, because God is different. God’s rules/commands are holy because he is holy. God’s commands are written out of love because God is love. God’s commands are for his children’s protection because he created them and wants what’s best for them.
When we realise that God alone is the rule maker then we will put our trust in Him to show us how to live.
When we realise that God alone has plans and purposes for us that surpass any dreams we could have for ourselves then we will choose to give him everything we have and let go of the control we try and exert over our own lives and the lives of others.
When we realise that God alone is a God of love and we are created out of love then we will choose to love him back by wanting to do what is right.
Galatians 5:1 ‘It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery’.
Don’t allow your sin to define who you are or how you behave. Trust Jesus when he says he came to set you free from your sin, if we have fully given our whole life, body, mind and spirit to Him then we can learn to say no to sin and yes to the freedom Jesus has already provided.
We don’t need to earn His freedom, we don’t need to justify our behaviour, we just need to bring our sin out of the shadows and into His marvellous light.
Choose not to be ashamed of your past or allow your present to limit who you are but be willing to turn to Christ and ask him to expose what needs to be confessed, what needs to be forgiven, what needs to be healed. Then you will see the shackles being loosed and with a shout of victory you can share in the words of the apostle Paul;
Romans 7:25 ‘Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord’.