By Klaire Smith
It hit me in the wee hours of the morning as I tossed and turned in my attempt to entice a few more hours of sleep. My sin separates me from God. I was struck by the weight of asking the Lord’s forgiveness for my sins. I do not know when I stopped taking this seriously. Repentance is a big deal, and I don’t think about it or tend to it nearly as much as I should. Had I been deceived, believing myself scot-free from my sin? The Holy Spirit had my full attention now. I know God has forgiven me for all my past, present, and future sins. But the pure goodness of this undeserved pardon is lost on me every moment I do not acknowledge how much it truly means and how much I desperately need it!
Updated> It’s not just that God saved me from sin all those years ago when I first placed my faith in Him. It’s that His grace has permeated my life ever since. None of my sins will be held against me. I am completely forgiven, but I rarely acknowledge that fact daily when I wake up. Or worse, do not think I don’t need God’s forgiveness?
As I lay awake in quiet contemplation, I began to see sides of myself I had never seen. All delusions were gone! Instinctively, I pulled the blankets over my head to hide myself from shame. But I don’t believe the Lord was showing me my sins to have me wallow in my guilt. The lesson seemed clear; repentance and grace came instantly. Because of my sin, I cannot represent the perfect nature of God. I can only reflect the goodness of His grace. <end update.
It is dangerous for believers not to take our sins seriously. So many of us want to be Jesus to our world, yet we are incapable because we are imperfect. When we strive to be Jesus instead of His disciples, we not only misrepresent the Christ we proclaim but also ignore our very real, continual propensity to sin, seemingly suggesting no need for Christ.
As I reflected on my shameful, complete disregard for my sin, a prayer of David came to mind.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,Psalm 139:23-24
And lead me in the way everlasting.
The Holy Spirit brought this prayer to me about a year ago. At that time, I was too afraid to pray it. I did not want to face the offenses I knew God would find. It was so much easier to stay in my season of self-righteous ignorance. I had just come through a season of growing pains and wasn’t ready to dive head-first into more. My pride was high, and, quite frankly, the thought of it exhausted me.
As I ran from this prayer, I struggled with the concept of God’s perfect love—specifically, His love for me. How could I not? I was running from the very thing I needed to be confident in. That is God’s unwavering love for me. As I have slowly opened myself up to this prayer of David, the Lord has not been idle. To my delight, there has not been a gotcha moment! Nor have I felt alone.
Instead, like a gracious father guiding a small child, God has walked with me to the parts of myself I despise and opened my eyes to the way everlasting.
It has been a joy, though difficult. However, I have never been more confident, not in myself, but in a God who loves and works in me. I did not expect feelings of comfort and safety to accompany such a vulnerable prayer. I am being made new in front of my own eyes. I can do nothing in this season but believe that God loves me deeply and praise Him endlessly for His mercy and grace.
I will need Christ’s confidence for the rest of my life. For the rest of my life, it will be there.
All Scripture quotes from New King James Version.