We as Christians sometimes make the same mistakes, again and again. It comes as part of the package, having our heart of stone replaced with a heart of flesh, warring against our still fallen nature in a fallen world. We have, by his grace, moved from ‘not able not to sin’ to ‘able not to sin,’ yet sanctification is an ongoing battle (Romans 7).
We all have those moments where we do something that in retrospect leaves us shaking our heads. We discipline the children in anger or we lash out at our spouses, we mishandle our finances or we find ourselves, often unknowingly, in the middle of some sort of gossip or slander of one our brothers or sisters in Christ. The list goes on. None of these are intentional, and we all are hopefully, through the help of the Spirit, mortifying more and more our wretched flesh (Rom. 8:13). Yet in retrospect, looking at our foolishness, we can choose to do only one of two things, and its a dire necessity that you choose the latter:
1. Bask In Our Shameful Sins
It is real easy to take this road. We often discipline our children for sulking or pouting, yet we as adults do the same thing, it just manifests itself differently. We feel ashamed and begin to formulate all kinds of question and disappointments in our minds. This is a dangerous place to remain in or visit often, and reminds me of the scene in Pilgrims’s Progress when Christian is shown the image of the iron cage in the House of the Interpreter (chapter 2). As I recalled in another post:
“The iron cage is a warning to all who would make light of God’s promises. This man has made an idol of remorse, despair, and bitterness, never truly crying out to the Lord for mercy because he has decided that God will not hear him or respond to him favorably. He worships his sorrow and has elevated his unbelief above the promises of God.”
This is not at all the ideal road to go down and you should make it a point to recall this in such circumstances and flee from it.
2. Look To Jesus
This is the other route and is immensely more profitable. This is the gospel. When you are in despair from your sins, stop looking at yourself and look to Jesus. Let your wretchedness not cause you to cower, but let it fill you will awe that he has taken all of your sin and has given you in exchange, his righteousness!! Of course, this is not a license to continue to sin so that grace should abound, but a reminder that apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). So repent and stand up Christian, He saves to the uttermost (Heb. 7:25)! He is faithful and just to forgive your sins upon your confession of them (1 John 1:9). Put on the armor of God and get back in the battle.