Generation Cedar

“But the inside must be continually maintained, through the process of confessing sins. Not so Jesus can forgive me again–he’s already done that–but so a right relationship can be maintained with Him and those around me, and I can experience JOY.”

I was reading “Reforming Marriage” by Douglas Wilson. Incredible book. The Lord so convicted me through the reading! (And I had already read it before.)

Wilson asks about the aroma of our homes…what do others “smell” when they come in?

When we invite company over for dinner, we can (and do) focus on picking up the visible area of the house; it’s pretty easy to pick up the toys, dust off the shelves, light some candles and make things look nice on the surface.

But what about the closets, the drawers, the deepest parts of our house? Would I be comfortable letting our guests inspect the nooks and crannies?

Spiritually speaking, Jesus spoke to the Pharisees about this. He said all the washing and decorating on the outside can’t change the “dead bones” on the inside.

But take note: He did not rebuke them for their “acts” of obedience–tithing, etc. He said, “this you ought to do, and not neglect the other” (love, mercy, justice).

We should be diligent in “cleaning up the outside.”  But only after we have made sure the inside is clean.

One thing I was convicted of pondering this lesson is my definition of having the inside clean. I’ve been prone to think that this simply means being saved. Once I’m saved, that’s it for the inside.

But the inside must be continually maintained, through the process of confessing sins. Not so Jesus can forgive me again–he’s already done that–but so a right relationship can be maintained with Him and those around me, and I can experience JOY.

Wilson described how easily sin robs us of the joy of our salvation and breaks relationships with God and those around us. And listen up…IT’S NOT JUST THE BIG SINS. (“Restore unto me the joy of Your salvation!”, cried David, finally.)

It’s the “little” ones (or what we call little) that are so harmful, that we tend to not even call sin, and therefore leave unrepented.

A bad attitude, a disrespectful quip at my husband, a selfish act…left unconfessed, these sins rob us of everything! The aroma of our home begins to be overtaken with a stench, no matter how hard we clean up the surface.

How many Christians have no joy because of unconfessed sin? And the more the contemporary culture tells us “Jesus didn’t really hate sin so much”, the more we lose that joy he intended.

Our first step is to call sin “sin.” Just because we’re having a bad day, or our hormones are not just right, does not excuse us from the sins of the flesh. (Don’t we mothers have a lot to keep in check!)

Then, we need to keep short accounts. Very short. This is where we are forced to die to our flesh daily. “I was wrong…please forgive me.” (“If you bring your alms to the altar and remember that you have sinned against your brother, go and make it right first.”) (paraphrased)

As we practice this sort of true repentance and a hatred of our own sin, we transmit true Christianity to our children.

And this is real discipleship.

3 Responses

  1. Kelli,
    God keeps the confirmation coming my way. 😉
    I was so blessed with this post, as I had finished reading “The Pursuit of Holiness” by Jerry Bridges some weeks ago (I might have posted about it, I don’t remember at this moment), and God kept hammering me with confessing my “little” sins to Him, which are big in His eyes.
    He kept urging me to see that loving Him means obedience, not what I want to think obedience is, but what His Word calls us to, plainly and simply.
    God placed in my heart that I must confess my sin to Him, but also to my brothers and sisters in Christ. I must be held accountable to those around me that love me.

    For the first time in years and years, I have been struggling with gossip – over the last couple of weeks. If you would pray for me, that I continue to seek God and His strength in this issue… to some it might not seem like a “big” sin, but to me, I know that God sees my heart and knows it’s wickedness. I am pursuing it, stopping myself from speaking gossip when I think before I speak, but I always need His strength. How weak and pathetic we are without Him.

    God’s blessings to you Kelli, and thank you.

  2. Keli:

    You sure do give us girls ALOT to think about, don’t you (smiles)?

    I really appreciate your comment about “being continually maintained.” I know that there are people out in the world who think that once they are saved, that’s it! But there is so much MORE to it than being saved. It’s like you put it, a lifestyle – you have to continue reforming yourself in the ways of Christ. Without reformation, we can’t grow into the mature Christians Christ wants us to be.

    I also enjoyed what you shared from the book “Reformed Marriage” about the aroma of our homes. You are SO right that we can make everything look clean and organized on the outside, but the inside can still be full of “dead bones.” I know that I constantly need to work on repenting of those “little sins” that I just let “slip by.” To God, sin is sin – it doesn’t matter to Him if it’s big or little. I often forget that.

    As one blogger quoted here, “How weak and pathetic we are without Him (God).”

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