I have often found that I need help or guidance as I enter into time being changed by God’s word. There have been many different tools I have used, but most recently I have been using the YouVersion Bible and ReadScripture apps on my phone. The ReadScripture app has me in the middle of Exodus where God is telling Moses the laws that He wants them to follow to help the moved from being a nation enslaved in Egypt to a nation that will image who God is to the world.
Some of these laws are incredibly weird, doling out punishment for incredibly specific situations where a bull gets loose, but the owner knew about it, or maybe the owner didn’t know about it… it is all a bit odd. But it made me think about a situation in my household earlier this week. My kids were all playing independently near each other, and one of them was swinging around a scarf and hit another one in the eye with it.
Now, I know that kids will be kids, but kids also need to know that they will be held accountable for their actions. We talked through how sometimes we hurt someone without even trying, just because we are trying to live life. Sometimes when we are trying to be helpful we even end up causing others more pain!
Sin is sneaky like that. Sometimes you don’t even realize that what you are doing is causing pain. It could be causing you pain, causing pain to another, or could be an unintentional slap in the face to God.
If we have the possibility constantly hanging over our hears, the chance that we are causing pain by our actions or inaction, how are we supposed to do anything? It can be downright paralyzing!
I want to suggest some tools that are available to all of us to help identify sin in our lives so that we can repent, or turn away from them, ask God to extend His forgiveness to us for them, and live confidently as His children, knowing that we are loved and forgiven!
The People of God
This takes time and a huge does of humility! In Matthew 7:5 Jesus said,
5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Jesus assumed that we were going to be going around helping each other by pointing out and removing issues in each other’s eyes, or rather, their lives. Therefore He gave us instructions for how we can prepare ourselves to do this: examine your own life before trying to examine another’s.
The Word of God
To pull off examining your own life, you need a tool that can be a compass guiding you in your efforts. This one takes some time and effort, but in the end, reading how God has interacted with His children in the past helps us to know how we can best interact with Him, with ourselves, and with each other today.
The Spirit of God
In both of these efforts, helping others see their sin and trying to see your own sin for what it is, all of us need help. Luckily,
13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth…
Saying out loud, “Spirit help,” is a wonderful way to start this process! Prayer doesn’t have to be much more, but only requires a simple request and then patience listening to an answer.
Lastly, it is important to recognize that sometimes the answer comes less from God’s book, or God’s people, but from the circumstances that surround you. God may speak in a red light, an unexpected bill, or in a flower the bloomed where it shouldn’t have. Understanding what God is saying in your surroundings is incredibly difficult because how we interpret what is happening can differ from moment to moment. Don’t neglect paying attention to what is happening around you, but trust the other three voices over what could be last night’s pizza, not God speaking to you…
Are you allowing sin to be identified in your life? When it is revealed to you, how do you respond? I hope that all of us put God first in our lives, allowing everything else to fall in line after Him!