We actively rob God.
Every time we sanitize our stories and minimize our sins, we steal glory that is due God in exchange for a “more acceptable to others” version of our lives. To hear people talk about coming to faith, one would think that most came to know Christ after a season where they by themselves had cleaned up their lives and really were living right and it just seemed like the next logical step to take. NOT TRUE. We have lost the ability to be ashamed and ache of any sin.
We have exchanged a true snapshot of our stories for a public relation acceptable version.
We describe our rejection of the true gospel as “struggling.”
We say “bad choices” when we should say things like liar, thief, manipulator, adulterer, unrepentant, etc.
The great prayers of Nehemiah 9, Ezra 9, and Daniel 9 all have these components. The people of God so feared Him in reverence that they tell of their own rejection with precise detail and recount the faithfulness of God throughout the generations.
I ache that we have lost our way in this. I am praying for each of us.
Hear Paul describe His story of rejecting God and God choosing and calling Paul out. This is what July 2009 felt and looked like in my life, painful and yet so so beautiful.
Acts 26:9-18 ESV
I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the saints in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. In my obsession against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them.
“On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. About noon, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’“Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’
“‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’