How Messed Up?

Do you do wrong? Obviously, different people are going to use different lists and scales of “wrong” across the board, but I do think that everyone would be willing to admit that at least sometimes, they do wrong. I can hit you with Bible verses that attest to this, but we’ll just say even outside of the Bible, people can agree to this. So, the next question is this: If you do believe you do wrong, and you believe in God, how much wrong is too much? Or, how messed up do you have to be before God gives up on you? We could look at this from a perspective of how much is too much for me to get to heaven or how much is too much for God to say He’s not going to use me to do things for Him. I’ll add that this is actually a very unhealthy perspective because if you believe, “I’m going to heaven,” that implies you have a relationship with Jesus and that you follow him. But, that’s another sermon altogether. Back to topic. Let’s look at this from the perspective that you believe you know God. You’re “saved.” You’re going to heaven when you die. Maybe you genuinely believe that God’s grace is big enough to save your soul. BUT, you also know that you’ve done some things that would make your grandparents blush. Maybe you’ve done things or you’re actively doing things that the police would frown on—well, arrest you for. Maybe you have habits or addictions that are putting so much pressure on your life, the guilt you have inside is almost as overwhelming as the sin you’re trapped in. And THAT, you say, is what makes you think that God can’t use you. Well, as you’re saying that, I’m going to quote our current president, “WRONG.” Look, I’m not claiming that Jesus is saying, “Hey, go ahead and continue down your destructive path…I love that.” No, Jesus is clear in many places that he desires our path OUT of sin. And this isn’t because Jesus is all, “Eww, sin.” This is because Jesus, being God in the flesh, having been tempted himself, knows just how much sin destroys our lives. He knows what it feels like to be pulled in the direction of something that might give temporary satisfaction and to push it away. And for what? For more suffering? NO! For the type of fulfillment that only God can give. And even if that does involve physical suffering, we find ourselves more fulfilled than ever. As we see in Paul’s letter to the Philippians, God will give us a peace that surpasses all understanding to guard our hearts. And if that doesn’t make sense, well, it’s kind of not supposed to. It surpasses our understanding.

Jesus gives deliverance from the sins of this life by offering something far better: life in Him. However, let me reiterate what was said last week: this doesn’t mean that everything is going to be cupcakes and rainbows. Sometimes, the cupcakes rot and the rainbows disappear among more storm clouds. Sometimes the sin is difficult to abstain from. Sometimes we find ourselves becoming something we didn’t want to become. But, Jesus NEVER stops extending his hand saying, “Find your strength in me and let go of these things that are holding you down because I’ve got a job for you.” And you might be thinking, “But, how can God use me with the past I have? You don’t know what I’ve done.” Nope, I don’t. But, God knows, and you might be just the person he’s ready to use to reach people who are struggling with the very things you’ve struggled with and still struggle with. You might be the one who reaches the person that the preacher can’t because of your story. Don’t give up because you think your past sin disqualifies you. It can’t because Jesus is greater than our sin.