Return to the Lord. Say to him, ‘Take away all iniquity; receive us graciously.” Hosea 14:2
What stops good people from cleaning up their act? Spiritual misconceptions.
See if you recognize any:
• Painful experiences are just the result of fate. They’re not connected to my choices.
• God’s much too forgiving to permit escalating consequences or allow me to get hurt just to motivate me to stop sinning.
• The enjoyment I get from my so-called sin outweighs the benefits of stopping. Anyway, my sins aren’t really hurting anyone.
• I can’t help myself. This problem goes back to my childhood so why wouldn’t God extend grace rather than impose discipline?
• Just because I sin doesn’t mean I can’t do something for God. Hey, God uses crooked sticks. We can’t all be Billy Graham, you know.
• It’s not a sin, it’s just part of my personality I struggle with.
If you recognize yourself in any of these misconceptions, do you see what you’re really saying? “My sin doesn’t have consequences. God won’t pursue this. I like my sin too much to give it up. I’ve convinced myself that I can’t quit. My sin won’t diminish my effectiveness. My problem isn’t even a sin.”
If this describes you, embrace the truth, discard the lies that have kept you stuck in unnecessary pain and repent. The moment you do you’ll receive God’s forgiveness and his help to live differently. You’ll also look back on your former determination to stay in the dirt and wonder how you resisted your father’s kindness for so long – and at such cost.