Podcast Episode 6 - Help with sin

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Welcome to Jen’s New Song

My name is Jennifer Holmes and this is a podcast for those struggling with their mental health.  Whether that means you have bipolar like I do, or you’re struggling with depression, or you’re just going through a difficult season and need some help remembering who God is, this podcast is for you.  

Right now we are working our way through a series on the Psalms and looking at how the psalmists weren’t afraid to tell God exactly how they felt, but at the end of the psalm, they reminded themselves of what they knew to be true about God.  Even if they didn’t feel that way at that moment, they still reminded themselves of the truth.  That’s exactly what I need to do in my life today, and maybe you do too.

My goals for this podcast are for you to feel as though you’re not alone, for us to be able to talk about the hard things, and to be able to honestly cry out to God with our difficult emotions.  But I don’t want us to stay there.  We don’t have to live in defeat.  We can begin to renew our minds through the word of God.

Join me for today’s look at Psalm 32

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.

My sin life is sneaky.  Its not often that showy.  It doesn’t often pop up and embarrass me - although I’m not totally immune to that either.  But I’ve gotten pretty good at keeping my sins secret.  

The place where sin runs rampant is in my head.

They say we have more than 50 thousand thoughts per day, so it makes sense that some of those would be wrong, or defeatist, or something we struggle with.  For me, they can often be sinful.  But I like to excuse myself.  Because of my mental illness, I’m sure I have more like 100 thousand some days.  And so I tell myself that I just can’t help it.  Sinful thoughts are going to come whether I like it or not.

And in a certain sense, that’s true.  The problem is I like to dwell on them some days.  So instead of confessing them and moving on, I stop there and sit with them.  And then they grow.  God has been convicting me of this lately.  Especially the past few days.  And then I was going through my list of podcast episode ideas and this one on sin was just sitting there.  I actually smiled in the starbucks that I was writing in.  Ok, God, I thought, I get it.

Those two verses I read at the beginning are familiar and comforting.  They remind us that Jesus died to pay for our sins and we are no longer responsible to pay the debt - praise the Lord!  And no matter how many times we sin, how many thoughts we stop and dwell on when we shouldn’t, we never have to pay for them.  But should we stop there?  When asked if we should continue in sin just because grace abounds, Paul answers, God forbid!  David continues in this psalm.

When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.

For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.

I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.

When David starts this psalm, he had felt he needed to hide his sins from God.  He had kept silent and secret.  But when he did, he felt it all the way to his bones.  So he gives up living secret.  He decides instead to do what he knows to be right - to run to the God he knows, to acknowledge his sin, to trust his God with his most secret sins. Because the next verses tell us what he knows to be true about his God - 

Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.

And God’s response was beautiful.

 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.

Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.

Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about.

Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.

A few weeks ago I was challenged in my thoughts of God.  I wish I could tell you where this thought originated from, because it wasn’t from me, but I’ve searched and I can’t find it or remember!  But I was challenged on how I view God in a sin crisis.

Do I feel like God is a judge, a severe figure, just waiting for me to acknowledge my sin so he can punish me, or send down lightening from heaven or laugh at me living in my consequences? 

Or can I see him as the loving father who sees his child struggling and is just waiting for them to come to him for help?

What a picture!  I’ve found myself praying just this simple prayer - God, I’m in trouble.

That’s it.  Just an acknowledgement of my sin and my inability to deal with it on my own.  A reminding myself of who God is and what I know to be true about him.  And I have this picture of running to him like a little girl, laying my head on his chest, and him putting his arms around me and saying, let me help.

The price has already been paid.  The help is there waiting.  And God’s arms are open and ready.

When our sin is lying to us, telling us to keep it secret so it doesn’t get us in trouble, when we feel ashamed, when we feel overwhelmed, when we can’t conquer our sin ourselves, when we feel as though we can’t approach God, it’s exactly then that we need to remind ourselves of what we know.

That those times are exactly the times we need to stop listening to the lies and run to our father.  The one who has his arms open wide, waiting, with love and the help we need.  That he never turns us away.  That He will instruct us and teach us in the way we need to go.  That his guidance is just waiting for us.  That his mercy is waiting to surround us.  That he is our hiding place and deliverance.

Thank you for joining me today.  I wanted to let you know that I made something new for you!  I have a free mini course available called Elijah and his God.  I’ve learned a lot about God and mental illness by studying Elijah and would love to share that with you!  Head to jensnewsong.com/join to get the free course delivered right to your inbox.  If you would like more daily encouragement, follow me on Instagram or Facebook @jensnewsong.  If you hit the subscribe button on your listening app, you won’t miss an episode of this podcast.  While you’re there, would you consider rating and reviewing?  It really helps other people find the podcast since iTunes loves that sort of thing.  

I wrote this prayer, maybe you would like to adopt it as your own?

Dear God

I thank you that you are not just a judge waiting for us to mess up, but that you are our father who is waiting for us each and every time we’re in trouble.  That you welcome us with open arms and a love that we could never comprehend.  Help us to run to you every time we’re in trouble and rest in your love and receive the help that we desperately need to deal with our sin.  We love you Father.