devo//i need JESUS [1 john 1:8-10]

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. [1 John 1:8-10]
The Becky Boyles Paraphrase version of this scripture is: "If we claim we don't need Christ, we are just fooling ourselves. But if we wake up to our sin, and realize we can't get ourselves out of this mess on our own, He is faithful to send the lifeline- to cleanse us and purify! But if we think we can do this on our own, then His Word hasn't really broken into our heart with truth and we call Jesus a liar."

To summarize:
I need Jesus.

There are very few things that I know for sure in my life... but this is one of them. I need Jesus.

I tried this world on my own. Growing up in the church, I should have known better... but I didn't. One compromise led to another compromise led to another compromise and by the time I finally woke up in my mid-twenties, I had a list of sin in my life that would make you blush. Idolatry, addiction, perversion, drunkenness, lying, stealing... oh, I had done it all...

Realizing what I had become, I realized I needed to clean house. I needed to purify my life. I needed to set things right so that I could have a relationship with God. And I honestly did try really, really hard. I wanted to do the right thing, but the harder I tried to be good, the more defeated I became. I just couldn't do it.

Oh, I wanted to so bad. Remembering that time in my life brings tears to my eyes. The desperation in my heart. The hopelessness. The failure.

Why can't I just quit? Why can't I just put the pot down and walk away? Why can't I stop drinking? Why in the world did I tell that lie... again? I don't even WANT this stuff anymore? Why do I keep going back?

And then... a turning point. A moment in His Word that changed everything. It was January 18, 2005 and the Lord took me to words that convinced me the Bible was written just for me...

"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." [Romans 7:15]

Never have words jumped off a page at me like those. Never. I flipped to the front of the book, I wanted to know who wrote these words... the Apostle Paul. The Apostle Paul!!!! Someone like Paul understood!? He knew!? He struggled!?

"For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out... Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it" [Romans 7:18b, 20]

Yes! I want to do the right thing... but I cannot carry it out... and now Paul is telling me that it's not really me, it's not Who I Am that keeps falling... it's the sinful nature in me. It's all those open doors to sin that I don't know how to close... Oh of course, realizing what I had become I knew I needed to clean house. I needed to purify my life. I needed to set things right so that I could have a relationship with God. And I honestly did try really, really hard. I wanted to do the right thing, but the harder I tried to be good, the more defeated I became. I just couldn't do it.

The problem was I... because I alone cannot purify, forgive, cleanse.

"Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God-through Jesus Christ our Lord!" [Romans 7:24b, 25]

Who can rescue? Who can clean house? Who can purify? Who can set things right? Who makes a way for relationship with God? Only Jesus.

And so, I turned it over to Him. I admitted the sin in my life to a spiritual leader, and slowly those things began to fall away. Things were set right. Temptations were removed. Strength came to endure the temptation that remained. I didn't wake up in perfection... but I did wake up in a state of sanctification... of being renewed by the Renewer. And when I failed, instead of being hopeless and defeated, I acknowledged that I fallen back into the old pattern of relying on me.

My friend, whatever you are struggling with in your life... you can't overcome it.. Not on your own. You need Jesus. When you find yourself in that moment of weakness... cry out to Him... He is FAITHFUL to answer.  His Word doesn't say He will cleanse you from some unrighteousness, but all of it. He doesn't offer to clean you up a little, but to purify you. 

If there is still sin in your life... stop looking the other way. Stop justifying it. Stop rationalizing and excusing it. And for goodness sake, stop trying to fix it on your own! Confess your sin, to God and to a spiritual leader (doesn't have to be your pastor, just a brother or sister you can trust, someone who can mentor you and hold you accountable). Face it head on with Jesus and watch the darkness flee. Sin wants us to hide, to keep secret, to deny... but the Light tells us that confession brings FREEDOM.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. [Romans 8:1]
For there is now... right now in this very moment... no condemnation! Set free from the law of sin and death!! Set FREE!!

I can't do that on my own, friends.

I need Jesus.

Purification... sanctification... is a process. It's not a one time event reading my Bible in 2005. It's been a constant leaning into Him ever since then. I didn't need Jesus just on that cold January day... I need Him every moment, every day. Leaning on Him, trusting His Spirit to guide... that is freedom. I needed Jesus yesterday when I was frustrated with my husband. I needed Him this morning when I wanted to sleep in rather than write this blog. I needed Him a few minutes ago when I wanted to gloss over the sin in my life rather than be transparent.

Are you letting Him shine His Light into the darkness of your heart? Into the corner you have hidden from everyone else? Are you letting Him purify your motives? Transform your mind? Guide your steps? We can't do this thing on our own. We just can't. And trying to... will just lead to frustration and disappointment and heartache.

I don't know many things for sure, but I do know this...

You need Jesus, too.

Father, thank you so much for opening my eyes to the sin nature in my life! And thank you even more for sending your Son to cleanse me, purify me, make me whole... Oh God I thank you that you aren't done with me yet! Father I thank you that you are not satisfied with anything less than holiness and that you have qualified us to live holy lives!!! Father show us where we have relied on ourselves, show us where we have tried to do it on our own, remind us this day just how much we need your Son... we love you Jesus! and it's in your name we pray...

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