No matter what you do, birds will probably find a way into an old house’s attic. But there is no need to allow sin to roost in your heart when the Holy Spirit’s power is available? No more skeletons in the attic!
John 17:17 “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”
Who doesn’t love a mystery? From Sherlock Holmes to Matlock to Columbo some of the most mind stretching stories are ones in which you need to figure out “Who Done It.” I for one enjoy reading or watching the trench coat clad hero confront the suspects and ask them questions to help put the pieces together to solve the mystery.
When quizzing the possible defendant the detective is looking for certain things. He or she does not care how the witnesses feel; he only wants to know what they saw or observed. As Dragnet’s hero, Joe Friday, used to put it, “All we want are the facts, Ma’am.” The facts are the pieces that are true and can bring about a solution to the mystery.
As we live our Christian lives it is easy to get caught up in how we feel about things. ” I don’t feel like God is hearing my prayers” or “I feel that God must not love me because I have sinned or failed.” These are not facts but feelings and they are unreliable.
In John 17, Jesus prayed for His disciples as well as all who would believe in Him in the years to come. He asked His Father to sanctify (or set them apart) by the truth – the truth that is found in God’s Word. He desired that they would not be taken out of the world but protected from the evil one who is the father of lies. The evil one loves to have us dwell on our feelings about God rather than the truth that is found in the Bible.
When God says something it is always true because He is not a man that He should lie – what He says He will do and what He has spoken He will bring to pass. Ephesians 2:4-5 says God is rich in mercy because of the great love He has for us. Psalm 18:6 says that God hears the cries of the distressed. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.” These facts are trustworthy because the Lord has said them. No matter how you feel these things will never change.
Next time you are wondering about God and His thoughts towards you, put aside all your feelings and go straight to the Bible to find out the truth. Because as Joe Friday says, “All we want are the facts, Ma’am.” That’s what you can rely on!
Romans 8:1. “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.“
You just have to love old houses. They are full of surprises and you never know what you will find. Sometimes the surprises are fun, like when we took down our aged mantle piece and discovered some charred postcards written in the 1800’s along with an old coin from 1825, and a couple of pictures from years past. But other surprises are not so pleasant.
I ran up the stairs the other day to grab something from my room when I noticed a clump of gray fuzz on the floor underneath the pull down attic. I figured a piece of insulation fluff had fallen down the last time someone had gone up there and ran over to throw it away. Imagine my dismay when I realized the gray fluff was actually the skeleton of a dead bird. Gross! The bird probably got into the attic through the ventilation grate, got stuck and died. It must have been there a long time to have rotted down to the bare bones.
For whatever reason it had fallen down onto the carpet, completely scaring me out of my wits. Who knows how long we had been living and sleeping in our comfortable house never knowing about the dead thing up in the attic?
This is often the way we live our lives. We go about our daily business putting on a pleasant face when deep in the recesses of our soul sin has entered and taken up residence. Every human on earth struggles with this issue because we were born into a fallen world and we fight a constant battle with our sinful nature. In and of ourselves we are completely helpless in this struggle between right and wrong because it is the sin inside that controls us.
The apostle Paul describes the struggle this way, “I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn, I can’t make myself do right. I want to, but I can’t. When I want to do good, I don’t. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway. But if I am doing what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing it; the sin within me is doing it. It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another law at work within me that is at war with my mind. This law wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still in me.”
What a miserable mess this is? Is there any way to be free? Thank God! The answer to this problem is in Jesus Christ our Lord. The power of His life-giving Spirit has freed us from the power of sin that leads to death. God destroyed sin’s control over us by giving His Son as a sacrifice for our sins. When we become children of God, we receive His Spirit in our hearts. We now no longer need to follow our sinful natures, but instead can be controlled by God’s Spirit within us. We can finally be set free from this struggle that ultimately brings death. “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”
Revelation 12:10. “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.”
No one likes to be accused of things. It leaves a sinking feeling in your stomach when you start wondering if your acquaintances, friends, and those you love will change their opinion of you because of the accusation. Sometimes you may even be accused of things that are not true and that is very disheartening. How will people know the truth? This is especially difficult living in a small town. There often seems to be nowhere to escape the gossip and stories that can spread like wildfire when everybody knows everybody. My grandmother used to say, “You can’t stop people from speaking falsehoods about you, but you can live in a way so that no one will believe them.” And yet it is very hard to feel confident while wondering what everyone is thinking.
Satan is called the “accuser of the brethren.” He loves to bring charges against Christians before God, before other believers, and even into our own minds. “God, look what she did and she calls herself a Christian” or “He is only following you because of all the blessings in his life. If something difficult happens, he will surely leave you high and dry!” He is so crafty that he will try to turn believers against each other by planting seeds of doubt about another Christian’s character or intentions. Many fights and splits have taken place in churches because of Satan’s accusations against God’s children. He is even cruel enough to accuse us to our own minds. How many times have I heard the devious voice whisper, “You are not good enough! God could never use you! You will never be forgiven for that!” These are false accusations from the Father of Lies.
I know that I am not perfect. I have done things that are not what God would want from me, but I am very thankful to know that Satan does not have a chance before God. He can never tell God something He doesn’t already know. More importantly, my sins have been removed by the blood of Christ. When God looks at me, He doesn’t see my sin, no matter how bad it is. He sees the cleansing blood of Christ. Though Satan may accuse us day and night, our standing with God is firm, not because of who we are or what we have done, but because of Who Jesus Christ is and what He has done.
Satan’s defeat is sure, and there will come a day when he will be forever thrown down into the pit of fire. No more will he be able to accuse us before God, before others, or to ourselves. For now, live in a way that no one will believe his allegations, don’t believe everything you hear, and praise God that this snake has been defeated by the blood of the Lamb.