Journal Entry ~ 11/19/17

1 Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD! 
2 Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, 
3 who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways!  - Psalm 119:1-3

Blessed are those whose way is blameless...I am far from blameless. This verse can be defeating if we stop only on the blameless part. None of us are blameless, nor could we ever be blameless in our own power. We're made blameless by confessing our sin and accepting Jesus as our Savior.  He made us blameless so that we can be happy, or blessed. We are not made blameless by attending church or by serving the poor and needy, we are not made blameless by saying we believe in Jesus, or doing other things Christians do. We are made blameless when we surrender our lives to Him, and that surrender is demonstrated in the fruit our lives bear as we live for Him. It’s can be easy to say the words, to check a box, but we are only made blameless when our hearts are truly sold out for Jesus and that is evidenced in how we live our lives. 

But, it doesn't stop there - God doesn't simply desire our salvation, He desires our sanctification.  In other words, all sin is not eradicated from our lives the moment we accept Jesus.  He wants to continue to grow us.  We will still battle the flesh and we will still be tempted to sin.  So, when we have sin in our lives, we need to go make it right if we are to walk in his way and remain happy.  I have found when my heart is heavy, when I'm in my most difficult trials, I need to search my heart for unconfessed sin. If you are unhappy in some aspect of your life, perhaps you need to do the same.  The problem is there are layers of sin in our lives that we can’t always recognize on our own - we are blind to it until He turns the pressure up. God has allowed me to walk through some consequences of my sins and let me get to a very broken place all so that I can confess the underlying sin.

For many of us, we see our behaviors, and we confess them. We act impatient, we use harsh or angry words, we are consumed by fear and anxiety, so we confess the behaviors. But confessing behaviors alone will do little to change our hearts. We must dig deeper and figure out the root issue that needs to be confessed - that’s hard work. We don’t see the roots until we’re hard-pressed. God sees the root - He knows what lives deep inside our hearts, and He is all about trying to reveal it to us, but we are masters at disguising it and covering it up. We confess the sin and move on because it’s easier to look at the behavior than it is to dig down and uncover the root. 

Here’s a trap many of us get caught in - it can be incredibly challenging to dig up the root when we’ve buried it underneath a desire that is actually God-honoring. We want to be loved and respected, we want to feel safe and secure, we want our children to grow to know the love of Jesus and devote their lives to service, we want marriages that are supportive and sacrificial, we want friendships that are encouraging and understanding. Those are all God honoring desires.  We want them because they are right - He created us to want them.  The problem enters when our desires turn to expectations - that’s when our desires become temptations to sin. 

For example, I have a desire to live in a loving marriage.  When my desire for a loving marriage turns into an expectation that my husband behaves in a certain way in order to demonstrate that love, I’m on a slippery slope. For some, that means he participates equally in housework, for some that means he speaks lovingly and understandingly when I’ve had a difficult day (despite how he’s feeling), for some that means he spends energy and money on me to celebrate important holidays. None of those, in and of themselves, are wrong desires, but when they become expectations, my temptation to sin increases. I begin to demand that He does those things that I think he should do. When he fails to respond as I feel he should, I am disappointed and I judge his heart. If he really loved me, then he would —-.  Suddenly, I’m punishing his failed attempts at fulfilling my desires with angry words or the silent treatment. My desire has led me to sin. If I’m living my life as a Christian, hopefully the Spirit has pricked me enough to know I need to confess those angry words or that silent treatment because that’s never God’s plan for my marriage, even if do I try to justify my actions with his insensitive comments. The problem with this scenario is I’m only confessing my behavior. God will allow trials into our lives to reveal the roots - to find the reason why we justify our sin and continue walking into temptation - until He breaks that cycle. What is at the root of the behavior you continue to justify in your life? In this marriage example, it may be an issue of unforgiveness, it may be an unhealthy fear of abandonment, it may be an inflated sense of pride.  I want what I want and I think I deserve it.  Regardless of what you’re dealing with or going through right now, my needs are most important. Confessing the angry words will not change the behavior, but confessing the pride at the root and seeking God to develop a heart of humility in your marriage will transform you. 

My own sin always begins with not putting Him first - there have been many gods before Him in my life: myself, my children, my home, my career, even my ministry. There has been fear and anxiety, which caused angry outbursts and hurtful speech, there has been pride and self-righteousness, which damaged relationships and diminished others...I didn't see any of it initially. I would see some of the surface sin and confess that - I would apologize when I was hurtful to others, but the patterns wouldn't change until I recognized the underlying cause of my sinful actions and confessed those sins - to God and the people in my life who I hurt. It's so hard to see our sin as He does, and to be broken enough to confess it, but the beautiful part is that He allows it to change us. The repeated patterns of sin-confess can be broken in our lives, and true transformation will take place, but not without us surrendering our wills to His and allowing us to see our sin as He does. 

Blessed are those who are blameless - we are happy when we are blameless. If we desire to be happy, or blessed, we need to keep our hearts blameless by walking in His ways - and that includes confessing our sin when we have wronged Him and others in our lives. If you are unhappy in your life, search your heart for where you have unconfessed sin and you will find the source of your unhappiness because we know...blessed are those who are blameless. 

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

Many of you know I have been trying to raise money to replace the uncomfortable caregiver's chairs in the infusion center at Illinois Cancer Specialists.  It is important to me that our caregivers are able to sit comfortably for hours while we receive our chemo treatments ~ we need our caregivers to be at their best so they can care for us at our worst.  Please consider donating ~ every little bit helps!  Here is the link:

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