Our Subtle Sins are in the Way of Our Worship
Guess what? God’s been lining things up again and if I didn’t know any better, I’d say it was a little freaky! I’ll get to how it all fits together in a little bit, but for now, I’ll start at the beginning.
A few days ago in my last post, I talked about how everything we do should be an act of worship. In every relationship, every friendship, every small little interaction at the grocery store we should be striving to worship God and bring glory to Him. Every. Single. One. That’s pretty hard. It’s easy to be sitting here reading this and thinking, ‘yeah I can be nice to people, I can show them God’s love’ until you actually get out there in the world and interact with them. How many times are you out driving and you think ‘what is that idiot doing?’ or you’re walking in the hallway and see someone head your direction so you turn to avoid talking to them? Hopefully you can see that’s a terrible way to worship God! That’s not worship at all, that’s our own selfish, impatient, judgmental behavior.
See, we’re all messed up, sinful human beings and often times, we don’t even recognize our own sins. In this study by LifeWay Research, only 1/3 of the country thinks they’re sinners and 7% of those people claim to be Christians! https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2017/august/most-americans-admit-sinners-romans-3-for-all-have-sinned.html
Here comes one of those lined up by God things I mentioned. I was right there along with you thinking I could actually worship God with all my interactions, until I started reading ‘Respectable Sins’ by Jerry Bridges. This is another book that we’re reading in my Christian Perspectives class at LBC. Coincidence? No! God? Yes! His premise for this book is that there are so many “respectable” or “subtle” sins that we tolerate or even accept as normal in our Christian lives. The problem is, we can’t worship God in our relationships when we’re constantly committing these “subtle” sins! See how that fits together? In chapter 6: Directions for Dealing with Sins, he summarizes these directions as this: “1. Apply the Gospel. 2. Depend on the Holy Spirit. 3. Recognize your responsibility. 4. Identify specific respectable sins. 5. Memorize and apply appropriate Scriptures. 6. Cultivate the practice of prayer. 7. Involve one or a few other believers with you.” I think these points are pretty straight forward. In the book, he does expand on them and includes more detail, but I’ll let that all up to him. If you want to read the whole thing, it’s pretty cheap on Amazon! https://www.amazon.com/Respectable-Sins-Jerry-Bridges/dp/1600061400
Now for the exciting part, the big part God lined up. We’ll go into a little bit of Story Time with Natalie to explain it all. So at church on Sunday, our pastor was preaching on Galatians 6:1–3. The big connection here was what he said about verse one, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.” You who are spiritual is referring to us as Christians and my pastor tied this into accountability partners and mentors. Sound familiar? (Think number 7 from Bridges.) Now jump with me to the young adult Bible study I attended Sunday night. A friend came up to me and told me that the morning’s sermon really hit her and she asked if I would be willing to act as an accountability partner for her as she is struggling to defeat a particular sin in her life. Yeah sure I’d love to help her! Except I have absolutely zero experience with the sin she’s struggling with. What now? So I thought about it and prayed about it and thought about it some more, and finally decided that I would just start with prayer. And since, CONNECTION, worshipping God in our relationships was still on my mind, I decided I would try to point her in that direction and hopefully the sin problem would sort of resolve itself as she focuses on worshipping more. Well guess what? God wasn’t quite done lining things up. Do you see where this is going? BIG CONNECTION! Directions for Dealing with Sin! The things I’m reading in this book aren’t only for me; they would be helpful for her too! Thanks to this book, I actually have a solid direction to go in helping my friend! Once again, God lined up not one, but two textbooks, a blog post, a sermon, and a friend in need. How cool is that?!
Literally every time God does that I am amazed again. He’s been teaching me that we are worshippers, created and designed by Him for the purpose of worship. But we’re also sinners in need of saving (direction 1). Even those little sins that we begin to accept as normal or just a part of life are standing in the way of our worship (direction 4). He won’t do all the work for us (direction 3) but we can’t do it without Him (direction 2). He won’t leave us alone, He will line things up in our lives and point us in the right direction to receive the words, communication, and people He already gave us to help us in this journey (directions 5, 6, and 7). “The Holy Spirit works for our transformation by bringing into our lives circumstances that are designed to cause us to grow spiritually,” aka God lines it up!