Safe Sins

“Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” 1 Timothy 4:16.

It isn’t easy to be a mature follower of Jesus.

In the beginning of the faith, our spiritual struggles are so visible and visceral. The path to humility and faithful obedience is easy to discern because our pride is towering, our thoughts are selfish, and our desires go unchecked.

After time, the struggles become more subtle–often to the point of shrinking from view. In my opinion, this is primarily because we learn how to play a new game. We know how to put up an impenetrable facade and fake our spiritual maturity to the world. As fallen, broken people, we can forget any lesson taught to us by God’s Spirit. We can justify nearly any action and even tell ourselves lies we are quick to believe.

And when our flaws become undeniable, we can respond with, “that’s just the way I am.”

Thanks to Duffy Robbins, I was exposed to a great blog post but Tim Keller here. In this article, Tim examines a particularly useful list of safe Christian blemishes in Christian character.

If you are looking to surrender the next thing to God, I urge you to check out Tim’s post.

broken or crushed

Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed. (Luke 20:18)

The stone is Jesus. And his use of the words everyone and anyone makes this simple teaching apply to all humans.

This promise from Jesus makes it clear that we have a choice, to either be broken by Jesus, or crushed by him.

Faith in Jesus–God’s only Son, the one who died for the sins of the world and defeated death– means surrender. When we enter his family, we lay down our rebellion, we must break open our hard hearts and shatter our towering egos. The other option is to be crushed, to spend eternity without him.

The experience of surrender is on-going. Every one who has followed Jesus for a significant amount of time can tell you the many stories of their surrender. To be mature is to be repeatedly broken and humbled before Jesus.

It is easy to forget this, especially once we take a few steps of faith and begin to see the fruits of our obedience. We are quick to take back credit from God. Success often takes us off our knees. In the beginning, it is slow. We compare our strength to the weakness of others. In the times that we are weak, we make excuses, rationalizing our disobedience. Ultimately, we stop glorifying God. We rarely confess our sins, and with this mindset, we stop trusting in God for strength and guidance. At this point in the journey, we are able to fake an outward appearance of spirituality. And while we may be praised by others, we quietly know the truth. Self sufficiency leads to great emptiness.

We must watch our lives closely, always ready to surrender the next thing to be broken and not crushed by Jesus.

What was it like, the first time you were broken by Jesus? When was the last time you were surrendered, has it been too long?
When do you compare yourself to others so that your own life looks good?
When was the last time you struggled in your faith, the kind of struggle with God that you lost?
How well can you fake your faith to others? With whom can you be real and authentic and share your struggles?