Going to the Lord after I sin is not always easy for me. The weight of the momentary pleasure weighs heavy on me as I think of how the Lord abhors sin. I forget that while He hates sin, He loves me. I am not the sin I committed, so the Lord does not hate me.
If you were to look at my time with the Lord after falling into sin, you would see me in prayer – begging and pleading for the forgiveness He gives to me freely – reading my bible – trying to study the word, hoping the Lord will speak to me – or worshiping – singing off key hoping my self condemnation would be just as tone deaf as my voice.
If you were to look at my time with the Lord after falling into sin, you would see me avoiding eye contact with my heart.
I realized after recently falling into sin, that I need to go before the Lord addressing my heart. I can avoid what is in my heart and just look at my sin but what good is that? That is equivalent to putting a band-aid on an incision instead of getting stitches. The band-aid placement is acknowledgement of being hurt and in need of attention but the lack of proper care (getting stitches) is avoidance of how deep the wound is.
I cannot move forward in forgiveness if I mildly address the wound. I cannot overcome my temptation if I avoid my heart. I cannot receive all the healing and help the Lord provides if I do not go to Him in prayer prepared to address my heart.
Sin is not a "me" problem, "Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me (Psalm 51:5 NRSV), for we were all born in sin, sin is a heart problem. I have to ask myself, what is in my heart that makes this sin attractive to me? What is in my heart that makes me feel like it is okay for me to go back to this sin? What does this sin say about what is in my heart? What do these desires say about what is in my heart? If this sin was a picture of my heart what would it be showing me?
There is something about the sin I take part in that reveals something about my heart. Maybe my desires are misplaced, maybe there was something in my past that rooted a seed of sin I have not addressed yet, maybe there is a lie about myself or the Lord I am believing, maybe I am selfish, maybe I am prideful? Whatever it is, the sin I commit says something about what is in my heart.
Sitting down and addressing that is not always easy nor is it ideal. But if I really want to be freed from sin, especially habitual sin, I must sit and do the work. When I go before the Lord after messing up, I must sit and be willing to address my heart instead of avoiding it.
In Matthew it reads, "The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks" (Matthew 12:35 NRSV). Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, what I say influences my actions. What is in my heart will manifest in my words which will manifest in my actions.
What does this mean? It means that I need to spend time with the Lord addressing the issues of my heart. Especially when it comes to sin, what leads me to it, the temptations I face and what habitual sins I fall into and wrestle with.
In order to heal and overcome sin I must address the wound. Avoiding it allows it to get worse, eventually leading to infection.
I will leave us with a prayer,
Abba, Father, I thank you for this day. I thank you for the ways you love me. I pray that as I begin to do the heart work, you would lead me. Would you increase my willingness to really look inside my heart and see what is there? Would you help me to open my eyes to the truth that I need you more today than the day before and I will need you even more tomorrow? I pray that you would begin to bring up the things that are in my heart that draw me to sin. The things in my heart that draw me to turning my face in the opposite direction of yours, would you show me? I pray that you would help me to address these things when I spend time with you and that I would no longer avoid them. Would you help me see that freedom comes when I address that I am bound or shackled in some way? Would your peace and comfort blanket me as I come before you?
I pray all of these things in Jesus' name, Amen.