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The Itty Bitty Flesh Eating Sin

 

Women behind mask.

Clarksville, TN – When I started blogging about my life and “spiritual journey” a few years ago, writing came easily for me. I had just come through a huge awakening and period of major change in my life. I had come a long way in my attitudes and behavior in a short period of time, and I needed an outlet to share my recovery and new-found happiness.

As the years have gone on, I have noticed 2 things: the first is that my writing, and the topics of my blogs have matured quite a bit. The second thing I have noticed is that I write less often and struggle to refine my thoughts more.

So what happened?

Last night, after a conversation with my husband, in which he shared quite honestly about his spiritual “walk”, I realized that the more “Christian” that I become, the harder it is to shake my sin.

I know this is converse to what we normally believe about Christianity, but I will explain.

When I first became enamored with my church, and when I first began taking steps to become more Christ like, I had some obvious sins that I could, and did, put behind me. In other words, I was a bit of a hot mess. So trying to figure out where to make some cuts in my life didn’t take a lot of thought. I could wield a sword and a large hunk of sin was eradicated.

But the pruning process gets harder with time.

I have cleared away large sections of disease and death (metaphorically speaking) from my life. I had loads of rubbish to discard and it was easy to find and invigorating to cart off, even for a new Christian like I was at the time.

I am thankful for what I gave up. Looking back, it wasn’t that much of a sacrifice. I still enjoy life, laugh a lot, and am “myself” in all the best ways, but I am able to love and respect myself more because of the choices I make.

The problem remains: I still sin. And my sin is harder to find, and so much harder to cut away. It is the sin that hides itself in our core, as deep as our bowels. I can feel my sin tucked away, and I daily suffer from the consequences of it. But I am incapable of removing it, no matter now hard I try.

And the reality is if I could do it by myself, I would’ve done it already. If I could do it by promising myself that I would do better next time, it would be a done deal. If I had the power to remove my sin, especially sin that hurts others, I would have cut it all away by now, and burned it to ashes. But that hasn’t happened.

The sin that hides inside of us is the worst kind. While some people seem to run a muck as a billboard for a sinful life (I might have had a billboard or two of my own), those of us who have given up the obvious “bad behaviors” are still struggling with our own hidden diseases.

And the worst part is this: now that we have “conquered” our old bad behaviors, we might be convinced that we can conquer the deeply rooted secret sin too. I mean, after all, we are Christians now, and our lives look so much cleaner and healthier, so doesn’t that make us capable surgeons of sin?

As Christians we have a testimony to share with those who want more out of life. And we often show them how to have “more” by showing them how to live with less: less substance abuse, less sexual sin, fewer money problems, fewer curse words or words of anger. But for some of us, this process of attaining “less” is not the most difficult pruning away that we will encounter or endure.

For many of us, when it’s all cleaned up and the bulk of our outward sin has been removed, there is an aching and a toxicity that still must be cured. I for one am powerless to do it.

So I am going to do better next time. I am going to start letting God know that I am powerless to do better at all. I am telling Him the truth He already knows. I have tried. I have tried thousands of times to do better, to be better, and thousands of times I have failed. And even though I have prayed to God and said, “Lord help me be better at…or God, please help me stop doing this…,” I am still sinning in the same painful ways, and others suffer because of it.

And I am going to do one more thing: let it go. No this isn’t a Disney plug. I am going to stop holding myself to a standard of perfection, not so I can justify holding onto my sin, but so I can live in the peace that knows that God is taking care of it. I am inviting the Holy Spirit into my everything: into friendships, in my marriage, and into my motherhood.

I am not praying for God to fix the things I can’t. I am praying for God to take full charge of it all. I am praying that I will let Him lead me in every possible way in every possible situation. I am praying that when I am weak that I am faithful in knowing that He is strong. I might fail, but He never will.

Oddly, I am not even doing this so I can sin less. I am doing this so I can enjoy the fruits of my relationship with God more. Because when we aim for perfection, and fall short perpetually, we begin to doubt ourselves, and we may even begin to doubt God. But if we are leaning on our own understanding and our own power to be better, we will stay disappointed.

Sometimes it’s the “big” sin that we struggle the most to overcome; sometimes it’s the “small” sin, the one that hides so well that even a trained eye struggles to uncover it. What sin is too small for you to tame alone?


About Kris Wolfe

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