The Moment When You Truly Confess to God, “I Have Sinned”

 

Today, I will begin a new series that will perhaps be, more candid than any, I have ever posted. While I have posted portions of this particular series, I have never posted it in its entirety. Over the next few days I will share with you thoughts on the importance of honestly facing your sins. NO ONE EVER gets right with God until they have done this. In fact, most of us lie before we finally face the truth. I believe we see this exemplified in the Bible.

David said, “I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing.” (I Chronicles 21:8)

The Prodigal son said, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight.” (Luke 15:21)

Job said, “I have sinned.” (Job 7:20)

Deception is at the heart of all tragedies. If we say we do not sin, we deceive ourselves according to the Bible. Soon we become masters at deceiving others as well.

The Bible tells us that once we are saved, we should not lie. ” Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds. ” (Colossians 3:9). So why do we do it?

When a man feels incapable of being everything he thinks he ought to be, and everything he thinks everyone expects him to be, there is a tendency for that man to begin to deceive people. He becomes an expert at saying what he thinks people want to hear, and pretending to be everything he thinks he is supposed to be. In other words, he becomes a liar or a deceiver. That is one of the things that happened to me. I lost my integrity in the area of my honesty.

Somehow, in the effort to be everything people thought I was, I became good at being dishonest. This is important, because I feel that this is one of the greatest sins in all of Christianity. It took control of me. I came to the place where I could lie without thinking. I was lying. For a long time after my fall, certain people would call me a liar and I would not understand why they thought that of me. The Holy Spirit really had to convict me, of the fact that in many cases, they were right. And they were. I had successfully deceived even my own self.

Over these next few days I will examine this matter of being honest before God. Tomorrow I will discuss some of the characteristics of lying.

Lying is a choice we make when we decide our professional honor is more important to us than our personal honesty. It’s also called losing your integrity. Proverbs reminds us to buy the truth, and sell it not (Proverbs 23:23). Much heartache could be avoided, if we would follow that injunctive, but proud men seldom listen and they suffer immensely for it: Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18).

Lying is an inexcusable sin, whether it is done by a criminal or a preacher. There is no good reason for anyone to allow themselves to get entangled in the trap of lying. It will destroy you just like any other sin, because your lies will drive you further and further from being open to others, as you are constantly aware of the fact that you must continually cover for your lies. Preachers that lie to other people, lie to themselves, which causes a tragic loss of credibility to all who know them, especially their own children.

Lying is an ill-fated, short-sighted solution to a deep-seeded problem. I lied because I could not, or would not face up to my own fears, inadequacies, and weaknesses. Lying is a blanket under which we hide from ourselves. I did not like the truth about myself, so rather than changing myself, I changed the truth. I became twisted, which is what the word wicked actually means. I became twisted in my lies. I lied to do more, rather than doing more. Lying was my cover for the fact, that I had things in my life that I knew should not be there. It was my way of being everything I needed to be, without paying the price I needed to pay, to be everything I needed to be.

Lying in the ministry is a worse destroyer of ministries, than moral failures, although lying certainly is in and of itself a moral failure. Lying becomes the way we escape scrutiny in our lives, that otherwise might have helped to purify our lives. We lie to cover. We lie to excuse. We lie to impress. When things in my life were questioned, I lied rather than dealing with them honestly. So many failures in my life could have been prevented, if I had not discovered that lying gave me a temporary reprieve from scrutiny, and for a time saved what was left of a broken life and ministry. But, all the lying I had done to keep me from hitting a wall, eventually became the wall that broke my world into a million pieces.

Lying is a device that requires little education in the art of mastering it. When you learn to lie, you learn how to temporarily get away with sin. You can use the lying to cover those sins. That is what I did. Lying is so deceitful, because lying is a method of salesmanship. A liar begins to sell himself on his lies. He lies so much, and so well, that he can do wrong and lie himself to a clear conscience. It is tough to have a contrite spirit when you are a liar because you lie yourself to callousness.

Lying often is a way of convincing others that you are going to do something that you do not have the character to do. We lie when we say we are going to do something, but allow other things to get in the way of following up on those promises. Then we lie to excuse ourselves for not doing what we said we would do. The lie begins, when we make a promise without a plan.

Those who are skilled at thinking on their feet, are able to make promises that sound good, and buy time, but which really hold no substance due to a character flaw. That was me! I learned how to use lies to get my way. I learned to use lies to cover for my failures. I learned to use lies to convince people that I was going to do things that I would never actually do.

Here is one of the most dangerous motives for lying as a Christian. In the zeal to make others believe the truth, Christians often embellish the truth to make it more believable to others. Why? It is because we do not have the power of God in our lives. Why? It is because of sin.

This is one of the quickest ways to become addicted to lying. The results appear to be success, yet that success is often counterfeit because it came as a result of embellishing or twisting truth. Anytime you do anything with the truth, other than telling it as it is, it becomes twisted or wicked. The desire to make truth be received, is no excuse to lie. If we truly desire truth to be received for the right reason, we must seek more power from God which demands more commitment to Christ, and more cleansing and purity in our lives. The problem with that is, that it requires honesty as well.

Too often we want to take a shortcut to success, so we take the truth and make it a little more humanly convincing or believable, and then feel justified because we see the results we want. They may be shallow results that yield only temporary success, but those temporary results satisfy our flesh. Eternal results come only from eternal truths presented purely and truthfully.

Often I have bought orange juice at the grocery store that was advertised as being 100% pure orange juice, only to look at the ingredients on the carton, and see things that have been added to, “make the orange juice better.” What the advertisement meant was that 100% orange juice was in the carton along with those things the company added to make it easier to market to the public. Selling 100% orange juice with nothing added, is not an easy thing to do.

The same thing is true about the truth. Many Christians, especially preachers, become addicted to lying because they are adding ingredients to the truth in order to make it easier to sell to the public. That is how they become liars and lose their power with God. They may even recognize that their power is gone, but have no idea how they lost it, so they continue to lie to fill the void.

I know that I was guilty of this. I had a burning desire to persuade people to accept my words as truth, so I became careless about the way I packaged the truth. As long as it produced the results I desired, I was content. Lying lost its venom to me. I was no longer afraid of it. It seemed as innocent as an earthworm, but it was a deadly as a poisonous snake. Please accept my testimony as a warning to yourself. Never allow yourself to accept lying, as an innocent sin.

I do not know that honesty is the most important Christian virtue, but it might be the most important one, to a person who desires to be used of God. Lying will take what you began in earnest, and make it a fraud. It will turn your sincerity to hypocrisy. It will turn your walk into just talk. Lying will get you what you want, without making you do what you ought to do to get it. Lying is the Devil’s shortcut to having God’s success without God. It is the counterfeiting machine of God’s blessings. It will be accepted as real for a while, but sooner or later the fact that it is not genuine will be discovered.

One compelling reason to lie is, that it usually produces the desired results without expending the necessary effort. Lying will teach you that you can have what you want, without the necessary effort. Lying originated with Satan, (John 8:44) and it is his shortcut to circumventing the Providence and Sovereignty of God. He’ll tell you that all that’s necessary to appear to be blessed by God, is simply to turn on the counterfeiting machine and begin churning out blessings disguised as the Lord’s. And while it will be accepted as real for a while, sooner or later, the fact that it is not genuine, will be discovered, and when it does, your world will suddenly crash in on you.

Generally liars don’t begin their ministries lying; it just develops as a matter of convenience. Over the course of time, as need arise, they lie to promote or protect ministry to the point where they finally believe, that the end justifies the means. They think; “if lying helps to accomplish God’s goals, it must be acceptable.” Most liars compare themselves to others of accomplishment. and assume that they too are frauds, when in reality, they probably achieved their success honestly, without the aid of deceptions.

One of the saddest corollaries of lying is that it dramatically alters a person’s character. Liars become deceitful, because they must constantly cover for their lies. They add deceitfulness to lying, which compounds their sins. When a person becomes a liar, they become distrustful of others because they judge them in the same light, they know themselves to be, even if it is on a subconscious level. So, lying destroys relationships. Most liars end up being critical of others who are successful.

There is no doubt in my mind that lying was the most damaging sin I committed. In fact, it consumed me to the point that I almost forgot how to be honest and real. My transparency had become secrecy. My trust had become suspicion. My ability to face truth about myself had become an ability to fool myself. Even when I tried to be honest, I found it difficult to remain that way. I could confess my other sins with a spin of lies, that made me feel less ashamed of what I had done. I was even able to lie to God when I prayed.

Please hear me friend: Do not take lying casually! If you find yourself beginning to lie or exaggerate truth, repent immediately and get it right. Don’t allow yourself, to go on in this sin. You are headed down a path that leads to many more sins, and that prevents other sins from being dealt with.

The biggest whopper I told myself was that God wasn’t concerned about my sin and was willing to look the other way. I almost convinced myself that I could do what I wanted, and that God would allow me to get away with it, because of all the good that I thought I was doing in the ministry. That is a gigantic lie. It is also a dangerous lie that causes many Christians to destroy their lives, and ministries. It is like convincing yourself that you can play with fire and not get burned. Lying becomes a quick fix drug that helps you feel better, about a circumstance that otherwise would make you feel bad. We lie and enjoy the respect we get from those we deceive, and we feel very good. I was definitely addicted to the sin of lying.

The root of the sin of lying is a feeling of inadequacy. We know or think we know, what God or others think we should be, so we lie to cover for the fact that we do not measure up. It is strange to be a preacher and to know that you are not what you think you ought to be. It can cause a man to begin to find ways of convincing others, and even himself that he is those things, especially if he does not know how to change those things. Christians must learn to admit failure before failure changes their character. They must learn how to allow the power of God to create in them the kind of person they ought to be. Lying shows a lack of faith in the ability of God to give you the power you need, to become that which you ought to be, rather than what lying forces you to become.

Scripture admonishes us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). While this is foundational to Christian living and ministry, most Christians give very little time to it. In looking back, my anemic prayer life is one of the things, that influenced me to lie. As I struggled with my feelings of inadequacies, I did not go to the Lord and seek His help and power in those areas. Without God’s help, I began to compensate by lying about things to cover for my weaknesses and sins. If you cannot learn to be honest with God, you certainly will not be honest with others.

There is one more observation that needs to be made, about people who lie. Often, they hide behind good intentions. Why? An intention is nothing more than intending to do something. A person with good intentions is nothing more than a person who intends to do good. That sounds good, but it means nothing. Good intentions, without good character is not a virtue. The person with the good intentions, will excuse their lies on their good intentions. A person is not what he intends to be, but what he purposes in his heart to be.

Liars intend to do certain things, but do not purpose in their heart to do them, so they lie to cover for the fact that they failed. They intend to get up early and read their Bible, but they do not have the character to do it, so they lie about it. That is one of the greatest causes for lying.

There is a big difference between motives and intentions, but many times Christians get the two mixed up. I know I did. Motives are the reasons why you do something. You can do right with a wrong motive, but you cannot do wrong with a right motive. Therefore, liars may have good intentions, but they do not have good motives because if their motives were good, they would not lie. Liars will say they have good motives, but what they are saying is they have good intentions, which means they meant to do what they said, but they did not have the character to do it. There is no virtue in that.

Please do not miss this or you may miss one of the things that caused me to fall, and it could do the same to you. If you are guilty of lying, you do not have good motives. Jesus said: O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh (Matthew 12:34). You may have begun with good intentions, but that counts as no excuse for your lies. Lying is reprehensible, and corrupt in the sight of God. It grieves the spirit (Eph. 4:30), and God hates it. It is also one of the things that I now hate. I was a liar, and it destroyed my life. It will most certainly destroy yours too.

STEPS TOWARD TRUTH

The first step to correct lying is to become brutally honest with God. That is not an easy thing to do because somehow we begin to almost believe that God does not know something if we do not admit it. No relationship can thrive in an atmosphere of deceit and lies. Coming clean with the truth, to God, is the quickest way to become honest with others.

The Bible says something very interesting that most Christians apply better to the lost, than we do to ourselves. This truth will change your life, in this area, as it did in mine if you will allow it to do so.

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32

Who was the Lord referring to in this passage? In the previous verse, He makes it very clear that He is referring to those who have become believers.

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in My Word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:31,32

The Lord Jesus was telling believers that the way to be set free, was to continue in the Word of God, in order to intimately know the truth. The word, know in this passage, is not a word that refers to head knowledge alone, but to heart knowledge as well. The way to be set free from any type of bondage, is to stay intimately involved with truth.

Like the devil’s tares sown in a field of truth (Matt. 13:25), lying had become to me what weeds are to flowers. Every fall back towards those things which controlled my life, began with lies. It wasn’t until I was willing to see that is was choking out my life, that I could break free from its hold over me. I had to come to the place, in total abandonment of self, where I was willing to allow the Lord to pull the weeds of my lies, out of my life on a daily basis, so as not to allow the grip of sin to choke me again. The only way the Devil can get me back into the bondage of sin now, is if he can get me to allow for lying, to rule my life again. Frankly my friend, I am scared to death of my own intrinsic wickedness and the tendency within myself to lie, and deceive which longs for an opportunity to choke off my life again.

Pride is another sin that had its grip on me. It is pride that precedes destruction, and I was consumed by it. In fact, I was filled with so much pride that I was terrified of losing my ministry, by admitting that I needed help with some battles I was losing. My reputation meant more to me, than my relationship with the Lord, and what’s worse is, that my pride wouldn’t allow me to admit to anyone that I was in trouble.

Many men in ministry today are controlled by an egregious sin that’s causing them to experience the same failure I did. What breaks my heart is, that many of these servants of God may be too filled with pride, to even understand that they are at risk for losing their ministry. No ministry is worth keeping, at the expense of not getting right with God. I do not mean right in the sight of men, but in the sight of The Almighty God! My pride kept me from admitting to anyone, that I needed help and thus I received none.

The Bible tells us, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5). However, pride causes men like myself to have trouble submitting themselves to the authority of other men, who could help to restore them to a position of usefulness again, and help them win freedom from the bondage of a sin. After my failures were brought to light, I struggled with allowing others to restore me. I did not think, that they could do it fast enough, so I fought those who could have brought me back to God, much more quickly. The quicker a man loses his pride, the faster he will be able to be restored.

I know my reputation with men has been tarnished. However, I also know that I have made things right with God. In humble sincerity, I would rather have a bad reputation with men, and be right with God, than to have a good reputation with men, and know that I am not really right with God. If you are holding onto a sin, for fear of losing your reputation by coming clean, forget it. It is not worth it, and eventually it will cost you more, than if you confess it now.

Allow me to speak candidly. Much of my life, I allowed my father’s success to have a negative impact on me. Dad’s success in the ministry weighed heavy on my heart, and my pride made me feel that I had to prove my equality, or even superiority. I was driven to succeed at the expense of principle, which in time justified lying. People’s opinion of me became the yardstick by which I measured myself, rather than by my faithfulness to the Lord and to His Word. Since I had a low opinion of myself, I sought to improve my image, by achieving what others would perceive to be success. Pride drove me towards reaching unrealistic ministry goals, while neglecting my personal spiritual growth.

Let me share with you another point about pride. Pride is the arrogance that comes from thinking you are getting away with sin. Let me explain this further. When a Christian sins, and “gets away with it,” the Devil begins to tell him that God values him so much, that He is allowing him this indulgence into the forbidden. This leads to a subconscious pride that makes one feel immune, to the consequences of their sin. The longer you “get away with” that sin, the more pride takes hold.

The man who robs a bank for the first time is filled with a fear of getting caught, but the longer he goes without getting caught, the more confident he becomes that he can do it, again, and “get away with it.” The guy is almost surprised when he is finally caught.

The same thing happened to me. I became confident that I was “getting away with” my sins as though God were indulging me these vices. I was surprised when I got caught, and was unable at first, to even recognize the severity of my transgressions. I look back now with great sorrow, at the attitude that I had, when I finally got caught. I was arrogant in the extreme. I was not broken, I was surprised. That is pride. I was even angry at those who wanted to take “my ministry,” away from me because of what I had done. I felt they should weigh the good against the bad, and see, as I did, that I still “deserved” the right to go forward.

Let me warn you that nothing is worse than, “getting away with sin,” because of the pride, that it will put in your heart: Be sure, your sin will find you out! Solomon warned of something that more of us need to believe: Because sentence against an evil work, is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men, is fully set in them to do evil (Ecclesiastes 8:11).

It leads you to a point of being able to hear a sermon about your sin, without being convicted for it in your own life. I was more convicted about the fact, that I was not convicted, than I was about the sin in my life. Pride had hardened my heart that much, and of course the Bible tells us that pride goeth before a fall. I understand that now, because I realize that the reason pride goes before a fall is, because you cannot confess sin with pride.

In my life, I was so hardened by my pride, that the Lord was unable to convict me through preaching or through His Word. The only way to break me, was to break my pride, and that could only be accomplished through a fall. Even then, it took a long time for the hardness of the broken pieces of my life to be melted down, so that they could be molded back together again.

Sin does not cause a person to fall. Pride does. Sin left unconfessed causes pride. David sinned, but David did not fall, because David had a contrite spirit. Saul sinned and fell, because of his pride. If there is a sin in your life, that does not convict you, you are filled with pride and headed for a fall.

Now I ask that you follow me carefully, as I share something with you. There are preachers who commit moral sins yet have been restored into the ministry, in a relatively short period of time. Why? Because they confessed, before they fell. They sinned, but they did not fall. Sin is not a fal, unless it leads to pride, that keeps you from confessing.

For a long time, I was confused, and even a little bitter about men, who had committed moral sins, yet who were already back into the ministry in some way. I now realize that, they had not fallen, because of pride, as I had. They made it right, before there was any great fall. When a Christian confesses sin to make it right with God, we should not automatically consider that Christian fallen. They may be overtaken, and need to be restored, but they are not fallen, if they made things right with God out of conviction of the Holy Spirit. I did not do that. I fell, because I was not receptive to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, so my fall was one of pride.

I say this to defend those who have sinned, but who have made it right, out of the conviction of the Holy Spirit. It was long after I fell, that I finally reached that point of conviction, because my heart was severely hardened by my pride, which was incredibly increased by my sins.

If you are guilty of failing the Lord, it is much better to lose your position by confession, than by a fall. You may lose the position, but you will regain your usefulness much quicker. If you allow pride to harden your heart, to keep you from confessing, you will face a fall that will cause you much trouble and sorrow, as the Lord tries to melt down the pieces of your life. It is better to have a broken heart, than a broken life.

When a man begins in the ministry, he never dreams that he could be a prime candidate for a moral failure. It is like the man who has always participated in athletics, and one day has a heart attack. He never expected it to happen to him. I never expected it would happen to me, although in retrospect I was a likely candidate. Something inside of me never believed that I could lose control to such a degree, that I would fail over and over again. Each failure seemed like such an innocent accident, that I could just confess away, until it had become a habit.

Paul warned: Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed, lest he fall (1 Corinthians 10:12). Things, bad things, can happen that we never expected. I’m reminded of author and runner James F. Fixx who wrote, “The Complete Book of Running,” in 1977 that quickly shot to a best-selling nonfiction status. In the book, Fixx ballyhooed all the blessing and benefits of running, which he began to do at age thirty-five, even quitting smoking and dropping fifty pounds in the process. The world was surprised and shocked by news that the health guru had been discovered beside the road, dead of a heart attack at age fifty-two.

I never thought of my sins as being evil. I considered them to be small slips into sin as a result of weaknesses which were beyond my control. I was a victim of unfortunate circumstances. Confess them and they would go away, but the scars did not go away, and eventually they became calluses. Those calluses were my character. Christian character is tender, but sinful character is covered by calluses.

There is something that needs to be said here. I beg your indulgence, as I become very personal. My marriage was not a good one, but it was my own fault. Had I been all that I should have been, things perhaps could have been different. Though, we both made some mistakes, it was my unwillingness to be what I should have been, that created many of the problems in the marriage. Marriages can work, if the individuals will get their hearts right with God, and deal with their problems. I did not do that. I would not do that.

I used excuses at the time that seemed desperately logical to me. I was a self made martyr to the unhappiness I had created. I was selfish and more concerned with my ministry, (career) than with the responsibility God had given me to be a good husband, which was actually my foremost ministry responsibility. I failed to be like Christ in my home, (Eph. 5:22-33), even though I held a position of pastor in the church. That is such a dangerous thing for any man to do. My failure as a husband, which was diffused by lies, created problems in my marriage that I blamed on my wife. I expected her to tolerate my lack of commitment to her, for the sake of the ministry. I excused my lack of commitment to her as being a result of my commitment to my ministry, but in truth, it was my selfish motives that kept me from making the kind of commitment I should have made as a husband.

Allow me to give a word of warning to every man who plans to go into the ministry. Be a committed Christian at home, and the rest will work out as a result. If you are not proud of your walk at home, you ought to be ashamed, of your walk every other place, because you are being hypocritical. Do not let it continue. Get your heart right with your family, and take the responsibility for the failures in your marriage. Do not force your wife to make all the sacrifices, for the sake of your ministry ego. Be the kind of husband you ought to be.

I was not. I sinned against my wife and against God. I sinned against two little girls who called me daddy, and who grew up without their daddy at home. I cannot gloss that over. It took a long time for me to deal with the fact, that I was a failure as a husband, but I had to face it, to get my heart pure before God. I lied to my wife, and refused to admit that I needed help, until it was too late. The same pride that destroyed my ministry, destroyed my marriage.

I think it’s fair to say that much of my moral failure came as a result of my failure as a husband. If a man stays right with his wife, he will avoid almost any moral failure. That would have spared me from many sins, and from hurting many innocent people. A man who wants to be right with his wife, will seek to avoid any situation that would allow him the chance to slip. Had I allowed God to work through my wife, in my life, there is no doubt, that I would have avoided many of my failures. A commitment to a wife, is an insurance policy against moral failure.

Paul admonished: Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it (Ephesians 5:25). One of the greatest causes of marriage and moral problems is selfishness. A man who seeks what he can get out of his marriage, is selfish and will not be a good husband. Love seeketh not her own. A man who loves his wife is living to care for her, and to meet her needs, rather than his own. Much moral failure comes from a man who is not satisfied with what his wife does for him, and begins to feel sorry for himself while looking for satisfaction elsewhere. He reasons that her failures to him, give him the right to seek companionship with others, and thus the end returns, to justify the means. That companionship leads to seeking pleasure, because that is what selfishness always does.

It is impossible for a man to fill the emptiness he has with another woman, without it leading to a compromise of righteousness, because he would not be seeking for what he needed, if he were right in the first place. The reason he is looking, is founded on carnal reasons, so there will be carnal results. If he fails, and does not make right the selfishness of his motives, he will repeat the cycle again and again. I will not go into all of the subsequent things that happen with his ego, but the man is headed down a road of destruction. The only end to it is repentance.

Another danger lies at the door. No unholy relationship can be spiritual, although those involved in it can deceive themselves into thinking that it is. If it is not spiritual, it is carnal. Scripture teaches us to walk in the Spirit, “and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16). The flesh of course is carnal; it carries with it the added fact that it is prone to the emotional and the erotic. Suddenly, the person involved in these relationships is introduced to the erotic which not only appeals to the flesh, it creates more lust for it. Their sin nature begins to burn within them for more, more, more. The flesh cannot be satisfied, so the craving begins to fulfill that which has been awakened in sin. The slip becomes a slide, and then a deep fall. Tragedy follows.

Please hear my heart dear friend, because this is exactly how it happens. In very careful terminology, I have described the dangers of allowing oneself to taste the sins of the flesh.

It may begin with simple selfish loneliness, but it always leads to sensual cravings that captivate one’s life. It is simple, but the results are very complicated. You do not need a psychologist to figure out how it happens, and it does not take one to figure out how to conquer it. It takes full confession to God of all the sin involved, including the failures all the way back to the kind of husband one has been. To get clean of the boulders, I had to confess the things that started those boulders being built.

The victory over the sins in my life eluded me, until I confessed those things that started me on that road into sin. Every destination has a starting point, and that starting point must be dealt with, if a person wants to get their life right with God.

Perversion is the deviation from the intended purpose or use of a matter. Perversion is much simpler than we think, because it begins very innocently. It begins morally by perverting the intended purpose of the role of a husband in a marriage, and his expectations of his wife. Get the foundation right, and a great deal of the problem of perversion will be corrected. The intended role of a husband to his wife is to love her as Christ loved the church, and to give himself for her. That is a love, that places no conditions or demands on her. We are to love her, because it is right, and not because she fulfills all of the things we think a wife ought to be.

We live in a society filled with perversions, because we are living in a society whose foundations are built on what makes me happy, and makes me feel good. Until we are willing to be responsible in our relationships, to be what we are supposed to be for the sake of the other, we will remain perverted. The role of a husband needs to be defined Scripturally, and practiced faithfully. Being faithful to one’s spouse, is not a matter of not being unfaithful. Not being unfaithful is a byproduct of being faithful. Being faithful means that you are faithful in being to that spouse what is your responsibility to be for their sake and not your own.

The minute we decide to live our relationships for our own pleasure, all types of sin begin to wait at the door. So many failures could be avoided, if we knew what our roles are to be. Every deviation from righteousness is a deviation from Biblical responsibility. You must deviate from something, in order to deviate towards something else. A deviate is a person who has deviated away from an intended purpose, and towards a purpose that is not intended.

I have been called a pervert and a deviate by many people. We throw those words around like they were demons or monsters. In fact, these words describe the result of leaving the intended purpose of God. Yes, in that sense those words described me. I had to deal with that by going back to the fact, that I was not fulfilling the intended role God had for me, as a husband. I confessed that and sought the Lord’s help in filling me with His Spirit, so that I could be to my wife what God had intended for me to be.

I allowed myself to accept the world’s idea of what makes a great marriage instead of God’s idea. I was the macho man who expected my wife to be everything I needed, and demanded and my love and commitment to her was her reward for a “job well done.” That is perverted. That is exactly how I saw it and how I lived. How could I have expected anything but tragedy, when my entire concept of what I was supposed to be was of the flesh.

Allow me to take this concept a step further, in application to me, and probably to many others. The purpose of the ministry is not to please ourselves, it is to please the Lord. When we deviate from that purpose, and begin to do the ministry for our own goals and agendas, we become deviates in the ministry. If we use the ministry to fulfill our pleasures, we are perverting the role God gave to us in that ministry, and become a ministry pervert.

That is the reason it is often difficult for a man to give up a ministry, even when his life is warped by some sin. People often wonder why men will fight to keep a ministry, after they have been discovered to have committed a moral failure. They are fighting for what they perceive to be theirs. Somewhere along the line, they began to lose sight of whose ministry it was, and began to try to fulfill their own goals. The ministry became a tool for satisfying their own need for fulfillment, rather than being the place they serve the Lord for His honor and glory. Call it ego, pride, lust for power, or whatever you want.

This is not an uncommon thing, in situations where a failed preacher refuses to leave his ministry. He feels that he is protecting his own interest and assumes, that since God blessed his ministry before his failings were discovered, it is a stamp of approval on him. He tries to find a way to stay, rather than straighten out his situation, and in so doing causes even more difficulty to the ministry. I know the feeling, because I went through the same things in my life. I could not let go of my ministry, and could not understand why everyone was so harsh on me.

Remember, the failed preacher has been living with the knowledge of the sin in his life, long enough to have justified it to himself. What once would have seemed terrible to him, has been made acceptable by the delusion he has brought upon himself. His perception of himself and his ministry are all warped, and he cannot understand why others see everything so differently than he does. He fights for his “ministry” because he sees it as being his own possession. Sin will always cause us to see things in light of what is best for us.

Let me again try to explain what happens in a person’s relationship with the Lord, that makes them think that they can do whatever they want. It is the same thing that causes a marriage to have problems. When a man sees a marriage for what he can get out of it, the marriage is already in trouble. When a man sees his relationship with God, and his ministry for what he can get out of it, that relationship and that ministry are likewise in trouble. I went from seeing my life as an instrument for His glory, to seeing it as a way to satisfy my own desires and goals.

Here is another thing that enters into the problem. I was driven to success. When I started in the ministry, I was driven to do as much for God as I could do, so I was willing to make incredible “sacrifices” for Him. When my motives changed, my commitment to give my best did not. I was still giving as much of myself, but I was doing it more for me than I was for the Lord. The problem was that I did not know I was doing it for me, so I still perceived myself as paying a great price for the Lord, allowing me a little more tolerance for my sins than others would be allowed. In other words I justified my sins as almost being perks for the value I perceived I had to God.

Think about that for a moment, and you will see why so many preachers become deceived into thinking, that they can sin, and get away with it. They see themselves as being more important to God, than they really are. That is why we are warned in the Bible not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. There is the danger to think that we are indispensable to God, therefore He will allow us to do things that He would otherwise punish us for doing. No man would say that he believes that, but I guarantee you that on a subconscious level, that is in many men, who fail the Lord. I believe that it was in me.

I also became somewhat of a martyr of my own making. I saw the “sacrifice” I was making, but I did not see that I was doing it for myself, and not the Lord. I began to feel sorry for myself, again allowing myself the luxury of sins that I felt I had the right to overlook. As warped as all of this sounds, it is exactly what happens to preachers when they allow sin into their lives, and lose sight of the right motive for their ministry.

Allow me now to get down to the heart of a major problem many people face . Lust is the craving for the satisfaction or fulfillment of one’s own desires. It takes many forms, but is always destructive to those who do not conquer it. How does lust begin? James gives the sequence: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death (James 1:14-15).

Lust is a byproduct of a distorted view of something. A man sees power as something to fulfill himself, and bring gratification. Can it do that? Absolutely not. Power in and of itself never brings fulfillment. It brings the lust for more power. Power is a tool for the accomplishment of a noble purpose. As a means to a noble end, it can be used for fulfillment when a man uses that power for an intended good. It is the distorted view of power that causes a man to lust for power, and once that lust has begun, it continues to increase, because it is never fulfilled.

I sought fulfillment from success, so I developed a lust for success. My lust for success distorted or perverted my understanding of success. Remember, lust is the misuse of something’s intended purpose. Success is not a tool but it is a by-product. The same is true of prosperity. By-products are not to be used for fulfillment. They are things that will come as a result of fulfillment, but they will not bring fulfillment. Look at what the Bible says about these by-products.

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. ” Joshua 1:8

The end is not prosperity or success, so they are not what bring about fulfillment. The other things bring the fulfillment which in turn gives us the ability to enjoy by-products of prosperity, and success properly, and without distortion. Lust comes, when any of these things is moved out of its intended purpose, and we try to find fulfillment in them. Those who lust after them, do so because they are seeking them for their own fulfillment.

Every lust is caused by that same thing. Sexual lust is a byproduct of a distorted view of sex. Please follow this very carefully. Sex is not an end. It is a means to an end, which is satisfied by unjustifiable vehicles. Sex is a God ordained mode of intimacy, whereby we are able to physically express our love towards our spouse. Sex in and of itself will not fulfill someone, but will only create a greater lust for sex. If sex is seen as a tool of pure expression, it will be fulfilling, because it was used for its intended good. If sex is seen as a way of fulfillment, as it most often is, it will not fulfill, which will lead to a greater lust for sex. It is the distorted view of sex, that causes a man to lust for it, and once that lust has begun, it continues to increase, because it is never fulfilled.

VICTORY OVER LUST

In today’s post I am going to be very candid. The key to victory over any type of lust, is correcting the understanding of the intended purpose of a thing. That is why the word, repentance is often misunderstood. I repented of my sin the day I changed the way I thought about it. Until I was willing to believe that sex was a tool of expression of love to my wife, I could not get right with God. Before I repented, or changed my mind, I treated sex as something which was to fulfill me, but it could not, because that was not its intended purpose.

Lust is the increase in intensity of desire for the misuse of a given thing. That is why lust is addicting. Withdrawal from lust is impossible, because it is not the acts that are addicting, but the search for fulfillment. The only way for true victory over lust, is to have a change of mind or to repent. You can conquer the results of lust by human means, but you cannot conquer the lust itself, and God wants His children to have victory over the lust itself. Why? Because we cannot enjoy the thing for its intended purpose, until we see it as God intended it to be. The lust of the flesh keeps us from doing the things that we would, Paul said.

Lust, like a habit forming narcotic, leads to excess because it demands more to satisfy it. That which is fulfilling can be satisfying, but that which is sought for fulfillment demands more for satisfaction. That is what causes sin to lead to more and more of that sin. The temporary satisfaction of a sin fails to fulfill and eventually fails to satisfy. The lust has increased, but the satisfaction has decreased leading to a search for more and more of the sin. Again, repentance is the only way of escape from these excesses, as the Word teaches us: ” I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3).

Many have the wrong concept of repentance; it is not merely being sorry for sin. Repentance is seeing the sin for what it is, and changing your mind about it. The reason people get right with God, but do not change, is because they did not repent. The Bible says that if we do not repent, we will perish. Why? Because the lust brings forth sin, and sin when it is finished brings forth death. Lust is the destroyer of life, because it causes greater search for fulfillment, which leads to further excursions into sin. Nothing is ever enough, to fulfill the lust.

Sorrow for sin comes as a result of repentance, as we see what we have caused as a result of our sins. The prodigal showed no sorrow for what he had done to the father, yet he did show an understanding of the fact that he had sinned against him. That was evidenced after we see that he had a change of mind.

I battled with this matter of lust, because I battled with the matter of God’s intended purpose for sex. In this sex crazed society, I became brainwashed with the idea that sex is a tool for self fulfillment, rather than for the purpose of expressing love within the boundaries of marriage. I did not get that fulfillment, so it created exponentially stronger lusts. My self control was taken over by my desire for self fulfillment. I tried to conquer it without repenting, and I failed. I thought the guilt and shame I felt were repentance, and that deceived me even further. I told God that I was sorry over and over again, but that was not repentance. I made God promises, and tried to get it right, but my mind was not changed. I was even sorry for what I had done, but that did me no good.

I had to allow God to do a work on my mind, before I could repent and change my life. As a broken man, God began to teach me about His intended purpose for sex, and how I had violated it. That caused me to change my opinion of what sex was to be to me, as well as how I would approach it in the future. I began to use it as a means within my marriage to express my love to my wife. It was fulfilling for the first time, because both my wife and I were now experiencing it as God intended. I had finally learned that sex is not a tool to make each other feel good, but a method of pure expression of love. Only when it is used for that intended purpose, can it be fulfilling. In and of itself it cannot.

Sex is like a spice. Consumed by itself it can seem bitter and unfulfilling. When it is used in the context of a recipe, it can add flavor to other ingredients that will make a fulfilling dish. What an incredible lesson, and one Satan kept from me for a long time, knowing that I could not conquer my lusts, until I repented or changed my mind.

That leads to another problem that helped to destroy me. Sex is an expression of pure love within the marriage relationship. A Christian must fully understand what love is, which means we must be consumed by the love of God, so that we can love like God. Love conquers lust by causing us to use things for their intended purpose. That is what James was teaching in James 4. We must be filled with the fullness of God’s love so that we are not filled with lust.

I believe that I fell prey to something that affects many Christians. Please do not take this to an extreme, because this is a tough balance to find. We must be careful, that we do not base the way we live, on the wrath of God, more than on the love of God. The wrath may scare you from fulfilling your lust, but only the love can conquer the lust. I became a preacher of anger, rather than love. I was filled with God’s judgment, but short on God’s love. It caused me to try and conquer lust with self discipline rather than with pure motives.

Please follow this closely, because this is what happens to many preachers. As a preacher, I preached for response. That is not all bad, but sometimes the effort to get the result, made me compromise on the completeness of the message. I was preaching against sin for partial reasons. I was preaching the dangers of sin, without preaching the love of God. In other words, I used the fear of sin, instead of the love of God, as a reason to avoid sin. I needed to preach both, with an emphasis on the love, but I got more results by just preaching the fear part.

Without the love, we lose sight of the intent of all other matters. To preach on purity, because of the bad results of impurity, is not enough. We must also teach on the love of God, so that people will understand what sex is, inside the marriage as an expression of love, while outside it is lust. We preach against the results of fulfilling the lusts, but fail to address the reason for the lust. We preach against television because it will cause people to lose their morality. That is true, but for a different reason. Television lies about sex being fulfilling in lust. It is the misinformation it gives, that is so damaging. The answer is, to give the proper information which is to teach the love of God.

The greatest danger is not that Satan convinces us that sin is pleasurable, but that it is fulfilling. People are unfulfilled in their Christian lives, because they have allowed their relationship to the Lord to be so poor. We have convinced ourselves, that serving the Lord with certain actions and living a disciplined lifestyle fulfills, rather than the fact that the Lord fulfills. These other things are done to please Him and not to fulfill ourselves. Service is an expression of the fulfillment, we have in Christ.

We convince people that God wants to keep them away from sex, as some type of test of their spirituality. That is not true. God wants us to avoid using sex to fulfill us, because He knows that it won’t, because it can’t! He wants us to know that to be fulfilled, we must love as He loves, and then we can use sex as a means to express that love to our marriage partner. That is fulfillment. We do a greater sales job for sin than the world does, by not telling the whole story. Sex will not fulfill the teenagers who are fooling around. It will just create more lust.

That is the way I preached, so it became the way I believed. It was not the way I was taught. I became consumed with the idea of abstinence, rather than the idea of truth. The Bible says that if we know the truth, the truth will make us free. Why? Because if we know the truth of something’s intended purpose, we will not misuse it. I know that the spice, cumin is bitter when eaten alone and that its purpose is to use it as a spice in a recipe, so I am free from the lust to eat cumin. That is the key to all lusts. Learn the truth from God’s Word, and you will be set free from the bondage of lust.

This is one place where the world has the correct principle, even though they have misapplied it. They teach that knowledge or education, is the key to solving a problem. The problem is, that they do not have the truth. It is not knowledge, but truth that changes lives. The Bible says so. The truth WILL set us free.

The more I became absorbed into the love of God, the more I began to see how enjoyable those things I once lusted for, were as tools to express love. Power is a tool to help influence for good, those we are to love. Money is a tool by which we can meet the needs of those we love. Sex is a tool by which we can express love to our marriage partner. The key to fidelity is that we can only express that to one person, if our love is pure. I am fulfilled in expressing my love with sex to my wife, therefore I do not lust to have sex with anyone else. That is the way God made it, so it is the only way it will work, without turning into lust.

I Have Sinned (Part 15)

LOVE OVER LUST

Let me return to this matter of understanding God’s love. To be bathed in God’s love, is to be fulfilled, thus not needing to be fulfilled by other mean,s which will, in and of themselves only create lusts. People searching for love, often discover lust, until they find God. Tragically, many Christians find lust because we have such a void of the love of God in many of our Christian homes, our churches and in much of our preaching. The Bible teaches us that love is the key to fulfillment. When we know the love of God we are filled with the fullness of God or fulfilled.

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19

There is no need to seek fulfillment in something that you already have. If you are not seeking fulfillment, you will not create lusts by using things, other than for their intended purpose. I do not need power to fulfill me, if I am already fulfilled. I do not need money to fulfill me, if I am already fulfilled. I do not need sex to fulfill me, if I am already fulfilled. I do not need popularity or fame to fulfill me, if I am already fulfilled. I do not need things to fulfill me, if I am already fulfilled. Paul tells us: “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things, I am instructed both to be full, and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:12-13).

Lust is the result of that emptiness that comes from not knowing the fullness of God’s love. I grew up in a loving home. I was bathed in the truth of God’s love. So why was it so difficult for me to accept that love and be fulfilled by it? Let me give you the three stages of being fulfilled by love as found in Ephesians 3:17-19. (see above)

1. Christ must first dwell in your heart. The first step to love, is accepting Christ as one’s own Savior. I did that as a 5-year-old boy. Salvation is the first step to fulfillment , but not the final one. By simple faith, we accept his free gift of Salvation and the journey to fulfillment in love has begun.

2. We must be rooted and grounded in love. This is such an important point. The word rooted is an agricultural word , and the word grounded, is a n architectural word . After a person has been saved, their roots need to be sunk deep into the ground of God’s love, and the foundation for all their spiritual growth must be built upon the love of God. In other words, what is not seen, must be built upon the word of God. Many people look like they’re living in God’s love , but their roots were never firmly planted in God’s love , so they are unhealthy and are not bearing healthy fruit. Many people look like they are a strong structure for Christ , but their foundation is not love. We terrorize Christians by guilt ing and shaming them into conforming. The way to build strong fruitful Christians, is not by fear and intimidation. It is by love. We must show forth the love of God, in our teaching of Christians. Christian schools are filled with students, who look strong and healthy, but whose roots and foundations are not the love of God.

3. We must be able to comprehend God’s love. There are four qualities involved in comprehending God’s love. All four of these aspects lead us to comprehending the extent of God’s love. Look at them individually.

First, we must comprehend its breadth. The breadth of God’s love, is as far as the east is from the west. I believe this represents God’s forgiveness. We are told that our sins are separated, as far as the east is from the west. We comprehend the breadth of God’s love, when we realize that our sins are gone. “Gone, gone, gone, gone, yes my sins are gone.” When we recognize our sinfulness, and that our sins are removed from us, we comprehend the breadth.

Secondly, we must comprehend its length. The length of God’s love, is the extent to which God went, in order to bring his love and Salvation to us. We need to comprehend the wonders of the work of Salvation. The more we know of what he did for us, the more we will comprehend the length of His love. We should be students, of the work of Salvation.

Thirdly, we must comprehend its depth. The depth of God’s love, is that we escape hell for eternity . Oh, that we could know the truth of hell, so that we could comprehend the love of God. Without understanding the awfulness of the hell that we deserve, we cannot comprehend the depth of God’s love.

Fourthly, we must comprehend its height . The height of God’s love, is that He has gone to prepare a place for us , so that we might live with Him for eternity. Think of it. God’s love did not end with an escape, but continues with a preparing of a wondrous place, for us to enjoy for eternity.

When a Christian s understand these four principles, they will begin to comprehend God’s love. I call it the “aha!” moment. It is that moment when we recognize our, “so-great a Salvation.”

4. We must KNOW the love of God, which passes knowledge. This is the one that causes so many Christians to miss out on the fullness of God. We must know the love of God. The word know, is not just a head knowledge; it is intimacy knowledge. It is the same as a man who knows his wife, in an intimate manner. In other words, we must become intimate with our God and know him. When we have an intimacy with the God of love, we become filled with the fullness of God.

But don’t miss the little phrase, “which passeth knowledge.” You can know everything about your spouse, but there is a knowing that passes knowledge. You can know their favorite color, their favorite flower, their clothes sizes, and every detail about them, but there is a knowing that passes all of that knowledge. What is it? It’s when you know them, heart to heart. It is when you are intimate in knowing them. It is no longer, just about what you know about them, but that you know them in the depths of your heart. That is what we are to have with our God. Beyond knowing the love of God, we must know the God of that love.

That is where I missed it. My intimacy with God was not there. You see, what happens to most of us is, that we have a head knowledge of the truth of God’s love, but we have not come to know the God of love. When we know Him the final step of fulfillment takes place. Suddenly, there is no need to seek for fulfillment, in any other place, because we are fulfilled. Don’t take lightly this progression. Don’t miss the truth here. There is more to knowing, than knowing God loves you. We must go step-by-step into understanding His love, but if you are not developing an intimate relationship with your God , you will be missing something in your life, and lust will have an inroad.

1. Christ must first dwell in your heart. The first step to love, is accepting Christ as one’s own Savior. I did that as a 5-year-old boy. Salvation is the first step to fulfillment, but not the final one. By simple faith, we accept His free gift of Salvation, and the journey to fulfillment in love has begun.

2. We must be rooted and grounded in love. This is such an important point. The word rooted, is an agricultural word, and the word grounded is an architectural word. After a person has been saved, their roots need to be sunk deep into the ground of God’s love, and the foundation for all their spiritual growth, must be built upon the love of God. In other words what is not seen must be built upon the word of God. Many people look like they’re living in God’s love, but their roots were never firmly planted in God’s love, so they are unhealthy and are not bearing healthy fruit. Many people look like they are a strong structure for Christ, but their foundation is not love. We terrorize Christians by guilting and shaming them into conforming. The way to build strong fruitful Christians is not by fear and intimidation. It is by love. We must show forth the love of God in our teaching of Christians. Christian schools are filled with students who look strong and healthy, but whose roots and foundations are not the love of God.

3. We must be able to comprehend God’s love. There are four qualities involved in comprehending God’s love. All four of these aspects lead us to comprehending the extent of God’s love. Look at them individually.

First, we must comprehend its breadth. The breadth of God’s love is as far as the east is from the west. I believe this represents God’s forgiveness. We are told that our sins are separated as far as the east is from the west. We comprehend the breadth of God’s love when we realize that our sins are gone. Gone, gone, gone, yes my sins are gone. When we recognize our sinfulness and that our sins are removed from us, we comprehend the breadth.

Secondly, w e must comprehend its length. The length of God’s love is the extent to which God went in order to bring his love and Salvation to us. We need to comprehend the wonders of the work of Salvation. The more we know of what he did for us the more we will comprehend the length of his love. We should be students of the work of Salvation.

Thirdly, we must comprehend its depth. The depth of God’s love is that we escape hell for eternity. Oh that we could know the truth of hell so that we could comprehend the love of God. Without understanding the awfulness of the hell that we deserve we cannot comprehend the depth of God’s love.

Fourthly, we must comprehend its height h . The height h of God’s love is that he has gone to prepare a place for us, so that we might live with him for eternity. Think of it. God’s love did not end with an escape, but continues with a preparing of a wondrous place for us to enjoy for eternity.

When a Christian’s understand these four principles they will begin to comprehend God’s love. I call it the “aha!” moment. It is that moment when we recognize our “so-great Salvation.”

4. We must KNOW the love of God, which passes knowledge. This is the one that causes so many Christians to miss out on the fullness of God. We must know the love of God. The word know is not just a head knowledge ; it is intimacy knowledge. It is the same as a man who knows his wife in an intimate manner. In other words we must become intimate with our God and know him. When we have an intimacy with the God of love we become filled with the fullness of God.

But don’t miss the little phrase ” which passeth knowledge. ” You can know everything about your spouse , but there is a knowing that passes knowledge. You can know their favorite color, their favorite flower, their cloth sizes, and every detail about them, but there is a knowing that passes all of that knowledge. What is it? It’s when you know them heart to heart. It is when you are intimate in knowing them . It is no longer just about what you know about them , but that you know them in the depths of your heart. That is what we are to have with our God. Beyond knowing the love of God we must know the God of that love.

That is where I missed it. My intimacy with God was not there. You see , what happens to most of us is we have a head knowledge of the truth of God’s love but we have not come to know the God of love. When we know him the final step of fulfillment takes place. Suddenly there is no need to seek for fulfillment in any other place because we are fulfilled. Don’t take lightly this progression. Don’t miss the truth here. There is more to knowing than knowing God loves you. We must go step-by-step into understanding his love, but if you are not developing an intimate relationship with your God, you will be missing something in your life and lust will have an inroad.

So we see the progression. Christ dwells in our hearts by faith. Next we are rooted and grounded in His love. Next, we comprehend the aspects of love. Finally, we begin to know the One who is love. When all of this transpires, the fullness of His love controls our lives, and fills the void, where lust once lived. The challenge for every Christian, is to understand how important it is to know God’s love, beyond what you can know, and to know that love in a personal and intimate way. Understand that the intimate relationship comes, after the comprehension of truth, and not before. This is important because some people put love before truth. They want us to intimately know the love of a God, about whom we know nothing. We can only know God through truth. But, comprehending must come before the intimacy. The grounding and the rooting must come before the comprehending. Salvation must come before the rooting and the grounding .

Lust is a seed that is conceived within us, where a void exists. That lust brings sin into our lives. That sin cannot fulfill us , but only creates more lust. More lust creates more sin. More sin creates more lust. There is no progression towards fulfillment, as there is with love. There is a vicious cycle instead. Finally, sin is finished with us. Are we filled with the fullness of sin? No. We are left with death and destruction. I find it almost tragic how few Christians understand why we fall. We fall, because of lust that fills the void when we fail to know the love of God, and the God of love. (DH)

(Tomorrow I will conclude this series.)
When we began this series, we were talking about being honest. We end it by talking about love. I cannot conclude, without going back to the beginning and reminding us that we cannot possibly face our sins, and face our lusts, until we become honest with ourselves and with our God. Before you move on from this series, it might be time for you to do some serious and honest searching within. If sin is in your life, you better face it now. Stop pretending. Stop deceiving. Stop lying. Come clean before God. The greatest moment of your life will be the moment when, you say as candidly and honestly as you have ever said anything in your life , ” I have sinned. ” Until that happens, you cannot truly be right with God. Do not wait my friend. In David’s prayer of repentance he said, “Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts .” It is not a lip service repentance God is seeking. It is in the hidden and inward parts.

My ministry was over. For several years, I wandered in the wilderness of confusion, hurt, anger, bitterness and blame. My perception was so clouded over by my sin, that I could not see the ray of hope, that was still shining, off in the distance. My integrity reached an all-time low. I had become a “con-artist” Christian. I knew how to manipulate circumstances, to make everything look good to me, when in reality, it was an abomination to God. There was very little left in my life, that was not corrupted by the wickedness of my heart.

Several times, I made meager and unsuccessful attempts to come back , but each one was characterized by the same unwillingness, to submit the controls of my life to God. My parents tried everything that they could, to help me see where I needed to be, but my eyes were still blinded by my pride, which was fueled by my pain and hurt. I just kept falling, even as many tried to stop me. The lock of sin, had me tightly in its jaws.

As you’ve gathered from this chapter, I felt that my life was useless to God. Only one hope was left. I had to come to myself, but that could only happen ,when I had hit bottom, and truly confessed, before God that, “I HAVE SINNED “. Thank God, one day, I finally did. (DH)