One day I am going to find and invent something that makes life easier. So far others have been wiser and quicker than me in developing simple things like laundry bags that are made of net so that dirty clothes don’t smell, Post-It notes, and rolling suitcases! I am so thankful for the person who invented the Tide laundry markers. I carry one in my purse all the time. Until this marker, I never wore white. You see, I am famous for wearing what I eat and ruined white clothes so often that I stopped wearing white until the famous Tide laundry marker came along!
Recently, while changing clothes and then applying the famous marker to a white blouse about 14 times to get all the splatters of bbq sauce off my blouse, I watched the spots start to disappear before I ever put the blouse in the washing machine…it was amazing to see the deep red spots vanish from the very white blouse. I loved it!! It was such a visual to me of how God forgives sin. In Isaiah 1:18 it states, “Come now and let us reason together says the Lord, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they are red like crimson they shall be as wool.'” I love it. In Psalms 103:2 it says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” God and God alone forgives us when we mess up. I love this! He and He alone can put us on a new path and cleanse us from our mistakes.
Several years ago I was reading a great book on living a holy life. I learned something I would like to share. The writer talked about repentance and sin. The point of the book was to keep a short sin list and repent quickly and it focused on how quickly God forgives. It also pointed out that if we repeatedly commit the same sin, then maybe we aren’t truly repentant. Maybe we are giving God what I like to call a head fake.
This book really made me stop and examine my life. I began to look at areas of my life where I was constantly having to ask forgiveness for and I began to see that I thought I was fooling God……how foolish I was!!!! You cannot fool God. He knows our motives and intentions…..He judges the heart. Proverbs 16:2, “All a person’s ways seem pure to them but motives are weighed by the Lord.” I realized from reading this book that I was walking around with red spots all over me …..invisible to the human eye but very visible to a holy God because He looks at the motives. It took me to a deeper understanding of looking at sin in my life and wanting to truly turn from areas in my life that were stale from habitual sin. I am not saying that I am now free from sinning, but I realized I had habitual sin that I was making no real effort to remove…..or be free from….I was lazy and redundantly asking for forgiveness from the same old stuff…using the excuse, “I am only human!”
I started asking God for forgiveness in these areas but I also started asking Him, no begging Him, to make me keenly aware of what I was doing before I committed the sin again…… I wanted victory…..it was amazing how He honored that simple request. Sometimes when you develop a habit….you don’t even realize the behavior you are acting out….so the first thing you have to do is recognize the habit!
Habits can be good or bad…….and I came to the realization that we all have habitual sin…..that if I/we recognize and truly want to be free from, we can. It takes desire and intention. We can also replace a bad habit with a good habit. For example, sometimes I have to start my day with forgiveness. Seriously, before my feet hit the ground I have to forgive…if you have ever been wronged….and it caused great pain or even scars….I have found it is a daily cleansing and intention on my part to dump and forgive before I start my day.
What I would like to leave you with is this: habitual sin can hinder you from having a life that can soar. Undiagnosed sin…sin that you may not even be aware of because it is intricately a part of you….can be chains that keep you from moving forward in life. For me, it took coming to a real realization that you cannot keep asking God for forgiveness of the same sin and be truly serious about your repentance. You are trying to fool God and that is impossible.
I encourage you, the reader, to GET REAL WITH YOURSELF….understand God will use the “Tide marker” every time you confess. HE is quick to forgive…..We need to examine if we are truly remorseful. Do we truly have the desire to change? We cannot do this in our own strength. It is the power of the cross.
I John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”