I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Yodit Kifle Smith
For whomever the Son sets free is free indeed. (John 8:36)
Some of the most freeing truths about being in Christ is that we don’t have to be ashamed of admitting that we are sinners. We don’t have to pretend that we have it all together. And we don’t have to hide from others when we sin. Yet, so many of us are consumed by shame. We feel like we have to put on a façade with others about how our relationship with the Lord is really going. And we are quick to run and hide because of our sin instead of being open with them. Why? Because Satan’s tactic is for us to diminish the power of Christ’s finished work and saving work in us. His goal is to keep us from living out the freedom we have because of the gospel.
Christ’s finished work on the cross means that for us who repent and profess His name, we are justified by faith (Romans 5:1). This is the good news: we deserved death for our rebelliousness towards a Holy God but because of His love and grace, He chose to reconcile us into sweet fellowship with Him through Christ’s death and resurrection. Christ bore the penalty that we should have. That’s not a decision that God can rescind. It has been done once and for all. In this, we are given an invitation to rest in that finished work because the power of death no longer has a hold on us.
I used to think that professing Christ meant that I no longer would sin. I thought that all the “bad” I did would cease. I quickly realized the foolishness of those thoughts. The salvation we receive in Christ isn’t a magic wand that automatically takes away our sinful desires and actions. No, it’s the promise that we are rescued from the dominion of darkness into His marvelous Light (1 Peter 2:9), given the Holy Spirit to live in Christ and anchored in the hope that we will be with God after death. However, the finished work of Christ begins in us a journey towards becoming like Christ-a journey of sanctification.
Many of us may believe that this journey means that we are to be perfect like Christ. That deception keeps us from experiencing the freedom of a journey that is not about perfection but about authenticity.
We aren’t called to be perfect. Christ is the only Perfect One. We are called to trust in the promise that in Christ, we are being transformed daily to reflect His likeness. To pretend that we have it all together is to say that we don’t need God’s grace. It’s to deny the witness for ourselves and others to see the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us (Galatians 2:21). In essence, we are, in pride, saying to God, “thank you, but I can take it from here.”
We are called to be authentic. Authenticity lives in humility. Authenticity is convinced that we are sinners in desperate need of His grace, strength and wisdom and all that He offers to walk this faith out. It is to let go of the idea of finding any trace of good within ourselves outside of Christ. It is to invite others gladly into our messy lives so we can sharpen one another regardless of how painful and uncomfortable it may be. It is to rejoice that though we stumble, we are not consumed. Though we are tempted, we are not condemned (Romans 8:1). To be authentic is not to be weak. It's to be carried by His strength. Nonetheless, to be authentic is not to take advantage of God’s grace by staying in sin or being comfortable by sin (Romans 6). It’s to rejoice that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are given a growing desire to not choose sin but to choose righteousness, over and over again (Philippians 3:9).
Imagine if unbelievers saw us Christians admitting our sins against each other rather than trying to hiding behind self-righteousness. Unfortunately, unbelievers don’t see that often enough. Rather, they see us as hypocrites because we don’t confess or admit we are sinners in need of grace. But they see us sin and are confused. Paul spoke of this in Romans 2 when he chastised the Jews for putting on a façade in front of the Gentiles as if they didn’t sin but they were steeped in it. Paul said something very convicting. He told the Jews, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you” (Romans 2:24).
Ladies, we don’t want to misrepresent the gospel to the unbelieving world nor to the believing family we are a part of in the local church. We have the privilege of pointing people to Christ when we live out the gospel that frees us to be authentic and vulnerable in our walk. Shame no longer has dominion over us so we can confess our sins to one another and carry each other's burdens. We don’t have to run and hide. If we are going to run, let it be with our brothers and sisters towards the foot of the cross where we find forgiveness for our sins. If we are going to hide, let it be in His overwhelming grace and truth that He helps us in our weakness.
Decide to no longer live in the bondage of perfection but in the freedom of authenticity.
For whomever the Son sets free is free indeed (John 8:36).
We are free ladies.
The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
Romans 5 & 6 (read the whole chapters during the week)
1 Peter 2:9
Questions to Reflect on: