God loves you, and when he saves you, he saves you completely and forever, fills you with his powerful presence, and leads you into growth and maturity. But you still sin. So what happens when we fail? In this message, we learn that God invites us into a posture of repentance and he faithfully forgives and heals.
We’re all caught. We’ve all sinned. And Jesus said, “whoever sins is the slave of sin.” But because of the amazing grace of God, shown through his Son, we can be freed from sin’s penalty, power, and someday, its presence. The Apostle Paul wrote about how to be set free in his letter to the Romans.
Yesterday, I had a phone call with a young leader convinced he was no longer qualified to lead because he’d messed up in a way that pretty much every man on the planet has messed up repeatedly. This morning, I received an email from a Pastor wanting to know if he was qualified to lead when he still struggles with sins of the heart and mind.
First, a disclaimer… Paul made it clear in the pastoral epistles that those who desire to be overseers must live lives that are above reproach. Certainly, no one can actively serve as a Pastor who is secretly harboring or openly flaunting unrepentant sin, and often confession of certain sins sidelines our ability to lead with credibility.
But what about those weaknesses that are common to man? Not the scandal that brings reproach upon the cause of Jesus, but the sins which arise out of our struggle with the flesh and with humanness? I love this summary from Robert Coleman in his classic work, The Master Plan of Evanglism:
Our weaknesses need not impair discipleship when shining through them is a transparent sincerity to follow Christ.
I love the story of The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss, and one of the most impactful lines comes in an exchange between the Lorax and the Once-ler:
The Lorax: Which way does a tree fall?
The Once-ler: Uh, down?
The Lorax: A tree falls the way it leans. Be careful which way you lean.
I don’t know if Dr. Seuss read the book of Galatians before writing that line, but I wouldn’t be surprised.
We sometimes wind up in a lifestyle we never intended to be in, habitually committing the same sin and scrambling to figure out how we wound up in the destructive cycle. For some of us, it’s anger. For others, it’s lust, pornography, or an illicit relationship. It could be gossip, overeating, occult involvement, or many other things. And Paul, in Galatians, helps us to answer the question, how’d I get to this point?
In today’s world, meekness = weakness. God does not view it that way, however. The Bible says of Moses,”Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” (Numbers 12:3) And in a world where power is everything, Jesus entered the scene in a wooden manger surrounded by barnyard animals. He grew up in an humble village, the son of a carpenter, of modest means. He lived His life serving others, yet Jesus was certainly the most influential leader in all of history.