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A prayer from the penitent heart.

Dear Lord, I did, “it” again. I feel so pathetic and weak. I hate that I don’t even fight that hard against, “it.” I hate that I do, “it” over and over again. Each time I come to you in my failure, asking your forgiveness again. I don’t even think about your suffering on the cross when I do, “it.” If it does come to mind I push it out. I let the temptation take hold. Then it rushes into my mind to fill it. It becomes a compulsion. I can’t stop, “it” from being my only consuming thought. At the time, I know, “it” is not good, and I willfully choose to do, “it” anyway. I have a mortal idea of what, “it” cost you on the cross, but I disgustingly disregard it so the sinful compulsion can run its course. I know that after, I’ll come groveling to your feet again like some worm, some unreasoning beast, who has no self-control. Why don’t I have victory? Why can’t I stop, “it?” Is it because I am trying in my own power? Is there a lesson I’m supposed to be learning? Am I being humbled? Is this sin to keep me from being proud? Or am I truly saved? Am I a false convert? How can I have assurance? None of my Christian friends are dealing with, “it.” They all have it together. I never see them struggle. Lord! Help me! I’m so sick with, “it.” Sick of, “it.” I’ve prayed and prayed for you to take, “it” away from me, yet, “it” remains. I can’t take, “it” anymore. I just want to be completely obedient to you, but I can’t. “It” won’t let me. It keeps assaulting me over and over. I keep giving myself to, “it” when all I want is to be yours. Please forgive me again?

Have you ever felt like this? Replace, “it” with whatever sin it is that you are constantly being overcome by. We hear lots of things as Christians that can cause us doubt. Many different voices speak into our lives. Some of those are lying, some are accusers, some are genuine convictions. There is unhealthy shame and there is good shame. One shame leads to a legalistic self-flogging over and over again that is never good enough. One leads you to the feet of the one Who took the floggings and the wrath that you deserve. He can justify you once and for all time. He can make right every, “it” you’ve committed, and every, “it” you will commit. I it sounds weird to think about Jesus paying for sins you haven’t even thought of committing yet. He is God in the flesh. Like it says in John 1:1-14, He created everything there is and ever will be. Don’t you think that God would know everything that you would do?

Justification is a fancy theological word that means God has made your record clean for all time. He paid for all of your sins.  On judgment day, He will see His own perfect righteousness when He looks at you, instead of your, “it” that you are so ashamed of. That, “it” is gone! That is what you are free of. He has nailed it to the cross and by faith you have been crucified with Him. Your old self loved the, “it” all the time. You never gave God a single thought. You didn’t care what He thought. If you have come to a place where you do care, where you have been broken over how disgusting, “it” is, where you care about Jesus’ suffering for you on the cross, and it has caused you to hate the, “it” like the person praying that prayer above, if you have turned from your love of all the, “its” in your life, to love Jesus for His work to save you from the punishment that all the, “its” make you deserving of then through repentance and faith in the work of Jesus who loves you, you are justified! You are saved, once and for all, and Jesus will keep you saved, He will keep saving you like a cleansing rain pouring over you continuously, for the rest of your life. What He makes clean never gets dirty again. He is God and can’t loose what He has hold of. He has hold of you. Your grip might be weak, and your grip will fail, but His never will.

Sometimes we let our failures become His failures. This doubt and lack of faith usually comes from listening to the voice of the accuser and not listening to God’s word. Sanctification is another fancy theological word that just means, God is maturing you. He is separating you from your old love of the, “its” and is helping you to love Him more instead of all the sin. This process takes the rest of our lives. It is only finished when we go to Heaven. I’m not telling you to go on sinning and letting the, “its” run your life. If we love Jesus we won’t do that. We will fight against them. Some of them will fall easily and others will make us feel like an ant punching an elephant’s toe. Keep in mind when the giant, “it” squashes you, that Jesus has already won the war. Your little battle doesn’t determine who the victor is in the war. There is no power anywhere that could defeat our Savior. We fight because we love Him. Even if our efforts seem like they are pathetic and useless. We carry on, knowing that He has justified us and will keep sanctifying us. Just have faith and love Jesus more. Turn from the, “its” at all costs. Fight them with all the strength of Heaven at your disposal. When you fail, know that He has got the victory for you and cling to Him who saves you.

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