"When your mom's gone, does she leave you a list of jobs to do?" the question I heard my daughter ask her friend not long ago. She then went on to say, "My mom always does...she has lists for everything."
It's true I'm a list maker...I have a never ending to-do list, a shopping list, a grocery list, a list of who needs to be where when and so on. I've kept a list of all I'm thankful for, but a couple of weeks ago I made a list I'd never really made before.
In my previous post, I'd made mention of being in a bit of a spiritual slump and it was during that time, the Holy Spirit put this idea on my heart. The idea of doing something that's really not fun to write about and share with others, but an activity that was pivotal in getting me back on track, so it just might be beneficial for you as well.
God led me to make a list; not one of things I need to do or ones I'm thankful for, but instead a list of my sins. You know, the things, thoughts and actions we'd rather just ignore or forget? That's what I was to put on paper. I'll admit, I didn't grab a pen and start immediately. I fought this for awhile. This list didn't come naturally like all the other ones I make, but eventually the idea didn't go away and I sat down to do it.
Like most lists, it started kind of slow, but I'm sad to say once I got going things came to mind pretty quickly. Nothing on my list is going to show up on the news or be printed in next week's paper, but they play a role in my spiritual slump.
Friend, in simple terms, sin means "to miss the mark." In Greek, it's the word they used while doing archery. If a shooter didn't hit the bull's eye the scorer would yell, "Sin!" meaning they had missed the target. It didn't matter if the arrow was an inch away or didn't even stick to the target and it's the same with sin. No matter how it compares to someone else's sin it still separates us from our holy God. It doesn't matter how the world labels it or how we try to justify it, sin is wrong and it brings consequences. Sin affects us more than we realize and it impacts others and our relationships as well. Sin can snowball and it messes with our mind. We should never minimize it.
Putting my sins on paper, naming them one by one, really was a powerful activity. One I wanted to avoid, but now actually recommend. Doing this opens our eyes and really should break our hearts.
I know this isn't an easy topic to think about and even a harder one to deal with, but if we want to grow in our relationship with God, strengthen our faith and shine a light for Christ it is something we must do.
Growing up my sister and I liked to exchange quotes with one another and she'd often say to me, "Realization is half the battle." That statement is more true than I used to like to admit and it's vital when it comes to dealing with sin. When we are in the midst of sin, we can be blind to it and Satan clearly wants us to justify it or compare it to those whose sins maybe look worse than ours. We will never deal with it until we acknowledge it, so today I encourage you to make the list I didn't want to make. No matter where you are in your walk of faith, I trust you will be blessed through it...perhaps not immediately, but long term God will use it for your good and His glory.
Once you take the first step, He will lead you to what comes next. Confession to Him, possibly confession to others, prayer and repentance all lie ahead. They are stops on the road that lead us to Him. I'll close with words from Him that speak about the list I pray you will write...
When anyone becomes aware that they are guilty in any of these matters, they must confess in what way they have sinned. Leviticus 5:5
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Proverbs 28:13
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. Psalm 32:5
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. Acts 3:19
Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8