Ah Ha! I thought cupcakes would get your attention. No recipe here today, but every celebration deserves a little sweetness to go with the joy. Lol! This year has been filled with so many amazing things. One of those things was the opportunity to write alongside some pretty great Bible teachers in Heart Renovation: A Construction Guide to Godly Character, now available on Amazon or over at Lighthouse Bible Studies.
This Bible study compilation is a construction guide to building godly character and overcoming the hidden problems that sabotage it. It explores how God works in our lives and gives us wisdom to handle such real-life issues as unwanted change, grief, loneliness, financial debt, and difficult people. It shares God’s blueprints for a renovated heart by looking at Jesus’ character, godly people in the Bible, the Fruit of the Spirit, and the Beatitudes. It also discusses how to help our children grow in godly character.
Here is my contribution found in the section about Hidden Problems. Each devotion in the book includes a set of questions (not included here) to go deeper and/or use for discussion in a group. I hope you will consider purchasing a copy of the book for yourself. But at any rate, please celebrate with me. It’s been a good year.
What’s Eating You?
The floor in the kitchen of the small house had weakened over time. By just looking across the black and white linoleum-tiled room, there didn’t seem to be a problem. Everything looked sound, but walking on it was a completely different matter. It creaked and bowed to the point of giving way. The unseen cause? Dry rot.
Beneath the surface, dry rot had done its worst and broken down the wood in the support joists of the floor. Dry rot is a fungus that weakens wood by digesting the parts of wood that give it its rigidity and strength. It eats away at what makes the wood sturdy and solid until it becomes weak and brittle. The spores themselves can be found on the building materials, and when they are exposed to an outside source of moisture, they start to grow causing the damage.
A three-part process restores the structural integrity of house ravaged by dry rot. First, find the trouble area. Next, remove all of the rotten boards, and replace them with new ones. Finally, treat the new lumber to prevent another infection.
Quite often, Christians seem to be doing just fine as they are cruising along in life during the relatively peaceful times, but just below the surface trouble is brewing. They are like that kitchen floor that seems sound. The pictures on Zillow look great! But when pressure is applied, things start to crumble.
Our Invisible Danger
Hiding there along the foundation is a bit of unrepentant sin. Inactive, yet potentially dangerous under the right circumstances, the sin has never quite been eradicated. No need to confess it. It was under control, and no one was the wiser. Instead of repenting, it was tucked away, concealed from view.
“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13 NIV, emphasis mine).
The reasons may vary of why we would conceal our sin—embarrassment, fear of judgment, or shame. Perhaps we feel the sin is just too big for God to forgive, or we think we have to fix it on our own. Maybe it doesn’t seem like a sin really, not according to society’s standards anyway, yet in the back of our minds, we know it doesn’t quite line up with God’s truth. Or maybe we’ve grown comfortable with our little secret and are not ready to let go of it.
Whatever the reasoning, the consequences of the sin will be the same if left untreated—a weakened spiritual life. How? It eats away at our connection with God.
In Psalm 32:3 (NIV), David reveals how his sin affected his body and soul:
“When I kept silent [about my sin], my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.”
All that groaning sounds like the deteriorating floor joists in our little kitchen that are becoming weak and brittle. With any pressure, they threaten to give way. Interestingly enough, it is God who comes in as the Building Inspector to point out the trouble.
“For day and night, your hand was heavy upon me . . .”
God has a way of getting right to the source of the problem and in this case, it’s a big one. You see, God wants all of us, every bit. Even the parts of our hearts where we hide something that will only hurt ourselves. He wants us to have a sturdy foundation, a relationship that will not buckle under our weaknesses but is held firm in His strength.
Restoring Our Structural Integrity
What do we do with sin that we’ve hidden? Instead of tucking it away, we can bring out into the open. Take another look at Proverbs 28:13 (NIV, emphasis mine): “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”
As with the solution for the dry rot, we may find that there is also a step-by-step plan in this verse.
We have heard that sin grows in the dark. When it comes to fixing dry rot in our souls, we must expose the problem area. Often, we have shame and embarrassment about our sin, but we have never really voiced what the sin is. Guess what? God already knows all about it. He is never surprised. Putting it into words sometimes helps us by bringing clarity to what it really is.
Here is where it gets a little tricky. This is where we get rid of the affected area in your life. Renounce means to refuse to follow, obey, or recognize any further. When we harbor sin, it begins to own us. We become its slave. Romans 10:9 (NIV) states,
“If you declare with our mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
The ultimate form of renouncing is changing what we love. Do we love Jesus more or our hidden sin? If “Jesus is Lord” there is no room for another master in our lives.
Often, this is easy in thought, but not always indeed. This part will take practice. Each time sin shows up to take over, we need to remind ourselves who’s Lord of our lives. Jesus was raised from the dead to provide a way for us to no longer live with sin as our master. Daily we should remember the sacrifice, and live a life worthy of such a gift.
A wonderful surprise is found concealed within the wrappings of this verse. At first glance, we think we are the recipients of God’s love and compassion, which in fact we are. But the most compassionate thing God graces us with through this process is the ability to love deeply, have tender affection, and to be compassionate toward others who find themselves caught under the tyranny of sin. This is the redemption of our sins. The tender mercies of Jesus are transformed into actions in our lives as we have love and compassion for others. We know about the hope Jesus provides. We have experienced it first hand when we put our lives, warts and all, into His hands. This is what it takes to prevent future outbreaks of rot, weakness, and structural failure brought on by sin—giving our lives completely to God.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
1 John 1:9 NIV