“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
A few months ago I attended a conference in Georgia that Jim Richards and Clint Byars were doing on “Worth”. That Sunday Jim preached at Clint’s church (Forward Church) and made a statement I had never heard before from a pulpit.
He said something to the nature of…
“Sin has no power over you because you are not under the law but under grace (Rom 6:14), and there is no condemnation in Christ (Rom 8:1), so approach God with boldness to receive grace when in need (Heb 4:16)…Be honest with God…Sometimes when caught deep in a sin, I will say…Father I have got myself into a mess, and I even like doing this sin, but it is leading to destruction. I have tried, but I can’t overcome it on my own. I need your help! I need grace to overcome this sin. I trust your Holy Spirit to take the sinful desire away and give me wisdom to see a better way!”
Man this hit home with me! You mean to tell me that you tell God you like doing that sin Jim! That is a little too honest. He probably doesn’t want to hear that…Then I started to think about it some more. First…You cant hide anything from God. Second…If Jesus truly bore that sin on the cross, there truly is no condemnation from God for it, because Jesus was condemned for it. So I can approach God with boldness!
So this was my prayer…
“Father I have tried to quit smoking for a long time now. I will quit, then start back up…quit again, and start right back up. I feel so much guilt and shame from this. I am tired and frustrated, and feel defeated. And to be completely honest, I like the feeling I get when smoking, but I know it is destroying my body. I give up! I am in need of grace to overcome this sin. I trust your Holy Spirit to take the desire away from me, and show me a better way!”
I cant believe I just told God I liked smoking…but soon as I said amen something clicked in my heart. I remember thinking this is not on me anymore, it is on you God. For the first time, I did not put the burden on myself to quit cold turkey, but I trusted that He would take the desire away from me from the inside out (Heb 4:16). A few hours later I had a cigarette. I remember the feelings of guilt and shame creeping in…”Here we go again”…but I rejected those thoughts and said, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus!” I continued to smoke after that, but something was different, there was peace for the first time about it. As I continued to trust God and receive no condemnation from the enemy, I began smoking less and less. Then one day I realized that it had been a few days since I had last smoked. I wasn’t even conscious of it. Soon after that the taste of smoking was not as appealing as before. Then days turned into weeks. Before ya know it I didn’t even have a desire to smoke anymore. It was like it just fell right off of me!
During this time the Holy Spirit was also teaching me how to rest instead of stress! See I would always smoke at work due to the stress of my job. As I was continually proclaiming my righteousness in Christ, I became more aware of God’s hand in my work life, as well as my career. “The LORD was with Joseph, so he became a successful man” (Gen 39:2) became a go to verse for me. I just knew that he would work the things out that I was worried over. This is the wisdom I had prayed for! God dealt with the root of the problem and showed me a better way. So to put the icing on the cake, last week I was offered a promotion from my current position of project manager to an area manager at the company I work. This is a huge jump / opportunity. I would be the youngest person in that position for the company. After I settled down from all the excitement, it was like I heard God say, “Don’t worry, I got this. Son, I love you!”
Folks, that is the power of the Gospel! I remember hearing Joseph Prince say, “Holiness obtained by man’s efforts must be maintained by man’s efforts, but Holiness obtained by Christ will be maintained by Christ.” When I tired to quit on my own, my efforts always failed me. This time it was effortless on my part. I don’t even think about cigarettes anymore. Let all the praise and Glory be to God!
Struggling with a sin in your life? See the finished work! Know that your struggling self died at the cross and you have been resurrected into the victorious life of Jesus! Don’t identify with that sin anymore, your true self is Jesus (sin free, righteous, holy, and blameless). Ask yourself, “Does Jesus struggle with this sin??? then neither do I, because as He is so am I in this world” (1 John 4:17). Results may not be instantaneous, but as you keep your eye on Jesus, the Holy Spirit will transform you from glory to glory (2 Cor 3:18). Completely effortless on your part. What love He has for us!!!