1 John 1:8, Alcoholics Anonymous, all struggles are in the past, authenticity, C.S. Lewis, denial, no sin here, self deception, victorious image
I don’t know if this statement will help you or not, but all people struggle with sin. I didn’t say all people “have struggled” with sin, but all people struggle with sin. Notice how the Apostle John says in this verse;
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8)
If anyone has the audacity to say there is “no sin here” in my life, then they have lost their truth. What an indictment. When we claim that sin is no longer a problem, then we are basically divorcing ourselves from the war in which so many struggle.
We rarely witness a fellow believer testifying that their struggle with sin is finished. No, it manifests in a different way. Instead of sharing how difficult our struggle with sin is, we testify about how victorious we are right now. Others get the impression all of our struggles with sin are in the past.
What develops in Christendom are believers possessing a covering of veneer. This shell gives the appearance that all is well in our lives. There is a suggestion that the struggle with sin is now ancient history. In fact, many like to share about how difficult it used to be in their lives. The key is “used to be.”
Somewhere along the line the temptation arises to abandon our authenticity as believers. It becomes easy to give the impression that we no longer struggle with sin like we once did. In an attempt to portray a victorious image, many Christians subtly claim the very thing John is condemning. It is one of the church’s greatest deceptions.
What is really a greater encouragement to other believers? Are you more encouraged to hear of someone’s struggles or victories? The truth is most of us cannot even relate to only hearing about victories.
John tells us this type of claim of “no sin here” is the essence of self-deception. It’s not just a matter of ignorance, but it’s a refusal to face up to the facts.
Denial is not a river in Egypt. Denial becomes a deliberate refusal to face reality. Denial chooses to live in an alternative world where we personally want to look better before our peers. When we give the appearance of having no sin, the truth of God can’t live within us.
Getting Real With Ourselves Means Knowing Our Personal Struggle With Sin Will Never End
In this verse we can hear God call us to authenticity. No matter how spiritually mature we become and no matter how far we travel in our spiritual journey, the battle with sin will never cease. This is God’s diagnosis of our hearts. It’s true for every serious follower of Jesus Christ. The more we put on the image that our battle with sin has ceased, the less God’s truth will abide in us.
Every time a person speaks at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, he or she starts with the statement, “My name is so and so, and I’m a recovering alcoholic.” They don’t say that to wallow in the past, but to acknowledge the reality that they understand they will never be free from the temptation to drink. This is a realistic admission of the fact that no matter how long a person has been sober, they’re still just one choice away from bondage.
Maybe in the church we should force ourselves to say, “My name’s __________, and I’m a recovering sinner,” just to keep this reality before us.
C. S. Lewis once noted that it’s when we notice the moral filth in our lives that God is most present in our lives.