Seeking God’s Approval: Trusting God vs. Fixing Sin
Greetings. Welcome to my post. My hope and desire is that you will find these posts to be informative and helpful for you. Life is a journey filled with mountains and valleys in our relational life and in our personal life. Sometimes we can predict and make something happen. But sometimes we can never predict an event or relationship difficulty and we need to adjust and cope with these curve balls. At times life can be great but as you know, life can also be difficult and challenging.
As a Christian and a Christian Therapist, I often hear my clients who are believers struggle in their walk with God. They practice their Christianity by going to church, attending a Sunday school class, a small group, a Bible Study, or some type of ministry reaching out to the community. They are active in practicing their faith on the outside. But many times people find that religious activity is not meeting their needs. So they try harder. They may spend an hour a day reading the Bible, praying, reading a Christian book or some other strategy in trying to be a better Christian.
In some ways, all these strategies do make sense. But the better question is this: Is it working? Are you happier today than you were 1 year ago or 3 years ago? Are these religious activities helping or not? Far too often, these religious activities stem from this type of thinking: God has entrusted me with managing my Sin and I must do the best I can to deal with this. My role as a Christian is to make sure that I am doing all I can to manage sin, please God, please others, and keep up this appearance that I am doing all I can to be the best I can be. In other words, you approach the Christian life like a person who wants to lose 30 pounds: What do I need to do to lost 30 pounds and what do it need to do to focus on making sure I don’t have any sin affecting my life. Give me the disciplines and the activities to lose 30 pounds and give me the plan to make sure I am a good Christian who manages Sin and pleases God.
But the problem with this thinking is that my walk with God then has to be earned. To lose 30 pounds, I must earn or do something and to manage my Sin, I also must do something. I cannot be passive and think that losing 30 pounds is going to happen by me not doing something. And the same is true when it comes to my Christian walk: I have got to do something and not be passive. Being an active Christian and managing my Sin is my role and responsibility and to do this, I must make sure I am active and not passive.
So my question in all of this activity is this: What do you do with Proverbs 3:5-6? Come on now, you know those verses. “Trust in the Lord with all thy Heart and Lean Not on thy own Understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” All Christians are familiar with these versus as they are the hallmark of what or how to live the Christian life. Yes, it is me trusting in God. But when it comes to managing my sin, I shift the focus from Trusting in God to Trusting in me. Hey, I got myself in this mess and this pattern of Sin. I am the one who needs to fix or manage or change this Sin.
So when we start to think that we have to manage our Sin our way, then we began the process of putting on a mask. Instead of confessing our Sin to God and others, and pray for each other, we then falsely assume that it is my role and my way to manage my sin my way. To trust in God means to really trust that God does want to help me manage my Sin and that I can trust others with who I really am. To trust in God, and not on my own understanding, means to really trust in Him and not me. It means when I am in a community of believer’s like a church or Bible study that I can confess my faults and sins to one another so that I can be healed.
In other words, what importance to you place on James 5:16: “Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray to God for one another, so that you may be healed.” So trusting God and confessing to one another our sins really is the best approach. You see, as you go through life, trusting God and confessing our sins to God and one another is the best strategy. Trust always helps us become truth-tellers instead of mask-wearers. When we speak and be honest with who we really are, then we can take off our mask, admit that trying to manage my sin my way is not working, I then will start to experience hope and healing in my life. Choose hope and healing and not managing and fixing.
So whom do you confess your ongoing sin to? Can you trust in God and lean not on your own understanding of how to manage your sin? Can you take off your mask and be truthful and honest with who you really are?