Nurturing Sin

Journal Entry // April 26, 2021

During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him,

John 13:2 ESV

Even after the heart of Judas had been deceived and he was committed to betraying Jesus, Judas spent intimate moments with Jesus. Many close fellowship times with the Lord and his fellow disciples. Known active sin being nurtured in his heart all the while spending time outwardly playing the part of follower. So much so, that the other disciples could not even conceive of the betrayal to come.

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Unwilling Brood

Journal Entry // March 25, 2022

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!

Luke 13:34 ESV

The unwillingness of a stubborn and prideful heart to embrace the very thing that it desires. This is the picture Jesus paints for me as I read his lament over Jerusalem. The very people of the city who thought they were doing the will of God by punishing those they felt were false prophets and teachers. The very people who would adamantly defend their actions as holy and just and righteous. These are the very ones that were putting down and killing the messengers from the God they wanted to serve and honor. The very thing they were seeking, to be obedient to God and find his favor, is the one thing they were rejecting in their pride and arrogance. The question naturally arises in my mind, “Are you not just like Jerusalem?” Yes. A lot of the time I am just as hypocritical and ignorant to the Spirit of God moving in my life.

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And Peter

Journal Entry // March 5, 2022

But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”

Mark 16:7 ESV

As I read and remember the moments of Jesus final hours, my mind is drawn to Peter. I can identify with Peter in these final hours of Jesus’ life. Beginning with his great statement of faith proclaiming Jesus to be the Christ. A statement that Jesus honors him for in front of all the disciples. A statement that could only come from the revelation of God in Peter’s heart. To the next moment opposing the crucifixion of Christ and being compared to Satan. To abandoning Jesus during his arrest, the very moment he needed his friend. To denying Jesus three times, claiming that he did not even know the man. This is me. This is my heart. I feel those same highs and lows in my journey.

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Good Intentions

Journal Entry // March 3, 2022

But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same.

Mark 14:31 ESV

The path to failure is paved with good intentions – my good intentions. For I am truly much like the disciples and their emphatic declaration of fidelity and solidarity. My mouth speaks utterances of faith and loyalty that my heart fails to fulfill. There is no lack of good intention in this statement by the disciples and I believe they truly meant what they said. In the moment, when there was no inclination that adversity would arise, the disciples were truly willing to die for Jesus. But when the crowd came to take him and the mob was angry and Jesus did not fight against them, the hearts of the disciples melted away in fear. And so they fled.

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A Wasting Silence

Journal Entry / February 7, 2021

For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.

Psalm 32:3 ESV

The beginning of Psalm 32 was a reflection about secret sin that is harbored in our heart and goes unacknowledged before the Lord. It’s that sin that we know about that resides deep within us and we both hate and love it at the same time. We have a double-minded relationship with this secret sin. David tells us that this harboring of secret sin in our heart is killing us, both in our spiritual walk and in our physical bodies. He tells us that his silence before the Lord about this sin was causing his bones to waste away. He could feel his physical body responding and reacting negatively to this cover up happening in his heart.

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Heart of Forgiveness

Journal Entry // January 27, 2021

So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

Matthew 18:35 ESV

Forgiveness is not just a recommendation from the Lord because it is a healthy choice for good mental health in this modern world. No, forgiveness is required because the Lord Jesus has purchased forgiveness for me with his very precious blood. The cost of this purchase was tremendous in that Jesus humbled himself by being made like a man, suffering temptation, being despised and hated, betrayed, deserted, convicted, and killed. The one who should have been celebrated at his arrival was mistreated and delivered up for death. His mercy is boundless. His mercy is free. His mercy has covered over a multitude of sin in my heart.

With so great a foundation of forgiveness in my own life, I am thankful that I am allowed the opportunity to participate in this forgiveness as I extend it to others. Jesus doesn’t want me to just forgive when it’s easy and makes sense. He wants me to forgive even in the midst of the hurt and pain. Even when your friend betrays you with a kiss. Even when your friend deserts you in the greatest moment of need. Even when your friend denies that he knows you. Even in the midst of your world being turned upside down. Jesus wants me to forgive. To look upon the cross and see the full measure of his forgiveness and truly understand the importance of extending mercy and forgiveness to those around me, even when they don’t ask for it or provide an opportunity to say the words. Forgiveness starts in my heart and extends out to those who have hurt me.

I need to forgive myself. This is actually the one that I am struggling with the most. I can understand and extend forgiveness outward to the ones I feel that have hurt me, but I struggle with extending forgiveness inwardly to my own heart. I know and understand all the logic I previously stated about the forgiveness of Christ and how it applies even to myself. More so to myself to be accurate. I struggle with repentance being real because the temptation does not go away. The desires that led me down that wrong path are still present. There are times where I don’t see or feel the necessary change that I want to see and have in my life. There are times when I feel the pull and weight of sin calling out to me. It feels like sin is seducing my heart. A quiet small whisper in my mind that encourages me to engage my senses and indulge in the fruit of sin. And with all my understanding and all my desire to seek Christ, I still want that rotten fruit. I still keep wanting to go back to wickedness. Because it is comfortable. Isn’t that odd? As much as I understand about  the nature of sin and what it’s doing to me, the pull that causes me to stumble most is familiarity.

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16:11 ESV

I need to Cultivate Delight in my heart. God has revealed his true and right path to me, I need to trust and obey. Fullness of joy is only found in him. Not temporary fleeting joy, but true joy. And pleasure? Eternal pleasure is found in him alone. Life – Joy – Pleasure. The three things sin promises and fails to deliver are only found in Christ. He is my true delight. If I will cultivate my relationship with him and dive into the deep water of his love and mercy and grace, I will find that all that my heart desires will be there in abundance. For in his presence is the fullness of joy.