Give me a word, Lord: CUT IT OUT

1 John 1:9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

Psalm 51:10-12 Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and make me willing to obey you.

As I write these words today, I am riding along side my ride or die partner–my sweet husband, Jeff. We have taken some amazing rides together over the past few years, but today isn’t an exciting, fun filled journey. We are actually en route to the dermatology clinic to have a basal cell carcinoma removed from Jeff’s face just below his nose. This isn’t a new thing for him. Jeff is a fair skinned, red head who has worked outdoors farming and in the oil field most of his life. That Mississippi, Gulf of Mexico, and Middle East sun is no friend to a fair skinned, red head! Because of this, my dear, sweet hubby gets to see a dermatologist every six months to eliminate the sun damaged areas. Every once in a while, the spot turns out to be a cancer, and it has to be excised. The doctor told him to expect to be in surgery for two hours today. They will excise the cancer, take the specimen to the pathologist to examine to see if they cleared all the margins (got all of the cancer out). If not, they will excise a little more, examine the specimen, and repeat until the cancer is totally excised. In a couple of weeks, we will return to have a second cancer removed from his temple.

The spot is a tiny little spot, and it seems that it would be easy to excise looking at it from the outside. But we don’t yet know what lies beneath the surface. That is the way sin looks to us sometimes. On the surface, something doesn’t look so bad. We decide it’s okay to let the sin into our lives because it isn’t really going to hurt us. It’s just a tiny little thing that can’t do too much damage. It may even be something that no one else can see. No one else knows about this sin that we’ve allowed to creep into our lives…but God knows.

That is how sin consumes us. We give it an inch, and it takes a mile. For the most part, we don’t intentionally set out to fall into the trap of sin. We don’t wake up one morning and decide that this is the day we are going to fall into this great big sin. No, we are all born sinners, and we unfortunately have ongoing sin in our lives. Some examples of chronic, intentional or perhaps unintentional sins, include refusing to forgive someone, being a chronic complainer or “pot stirrer”, disobedience in tithing, using foul language, or even substance abuse. We may be indulging in those “little” sins, but we aren’t participating in “big” sins like murder, theft, or adultery so we feel like we are doing good. We tend to put our sins on the scales and weigh them out. We get rid of the big sins, but the little ones won’t hurt us, right? Wrong! Sin, all sin, separates us from a relationship with the Father. Christ didn’t bear our sins on the cross so that we could keep on sinning, but He did do this so that He could intercede for us with the Father.

Christ wants us to cut sin out of our lives. He doesn’t want us to just shave it off at the surface. No, Christ wants to excise those sins from our hearts and minds with the precision of the greatest surgeon. How do we cut sin out? First and foremost, we must repent. We must recognize the sin, ask for forgiveness, and turn away from it. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. (1 John 1:9)

After repentance, we must ask God to help us to see the sin as a sin. For, “Who can know the Lord’s thoughts?  Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16) Next, we need to ask God to give us a desire of the heart and mind to remove that sin from our lives and keep it out. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence,  and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation,  and make me willing to obey you. (Psalm 51:10-12) Finally, confess that sin to God and grab a hold of the forgiveness which the Father is ready to deliver.

It’s time to cut it out, y’all! If we want that loving relationship with our Lord that we crave, we have to cut sin out of our lives!

(And if you don’t mind, say a prayer for my husband today! I know he’s in the hands of the Great Physician.)

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