While I am out bonding with my beautiful daughter, I have the great privilege of bringing a dear friend to the blog. Johnny Rocha has helped shape my story, as he tirelessly reminds me of our part in the story of God righting the world. Learn about him more following this post, on his blog, and in the Twittersphere @JGRocha . So without further delay, take it away, Johnny!
Growing up I had two very different church experiences. When I was in elementary and middle school, I attended a more traditional Lutheran church, and then when I was a freshman in high school I switched over to an Assemblies of God church in town. Looking back, I see how both handled the idea of sin very differently.
When I was in the Lutheran church, we didn’t talk about sin very much. We talked about church history, learned the books of the Bible, and talked a lot about loving people like Jesus did, but we didn’t spend too much time focusing on the sin and death He saved us from.
Consumed by Sin
The Assemblies church, on the other hand, talked a whole lot about sin. Anger, lust, sexual impurity, drug addiction, gossip, stealing – the list just kept going. We talked a lot about what we shouldn’t do and what we needed to stop doing. We talked about how Jesus came to save us from these things, and we lamented that we kept putting Him back on the cross by making the same wrong choice over and over again. I remember spending so much time feeling bad about the choices I made, wondering if Jesus still loved me or forgave me. If you’re in the same camp let me tell you this: He does and He has.
Healthy View of Sin
I think a lot of us make the same two mistakes when it comes to sin: We either totally ignore sin in our lives, or we focus on it night and day letting it consume our thoughts.
I’ve come to realize that both of these mindsets, though often rooted in good intentions, are dangerous and ultimately selfish. Why? Because they both revolve around me instead of Him.
Let me make this clear – sin is a cancer. We cannot tolerate it. Not even a little bit. It is pure death; the exact opposite of the abundant life Jesus intends for us. We cannot ignore it and let it fester because it will rot us from the inside out. At the same time it does us little good to let our mistakes and shortcomings consume our thoughts and energy. Instead of dwelling on our past mistakes and shortcomings we need to seek the life of freedom and joy God desires for us both now in and our future.
The mis-focus of sin is that we often look to ourselves when we should instead look to Him! Does our selfishness know no bounds? When we’re wrapped up in the shame and guilt of our pasts we are unable to live in the freedom of unencumbered love that Christ Jesus died to give us. Let us come to a place where we look at our past, at the world, at all the things that are so tempting but ultimately meaningless, and instead look onward and upward, grit our teeth, and say to ourselves, “It’s not about me, it’s about Him. Today I choose to follow Jesus.”
Johnny is a speaker, coach, and creative consultant empowering people to discover who they are, whose they are, and use their God breathed gifts and passions to change their world. He has been privileged to speak at camps and churches in California about God’s furious love for His people and what it looks like to be part of His family.