You Trying to NOT Sin is Selfish

Back in elementary school, Perry was the kid who tucked in his shirt the full 360 degrees. So far down that if he wasn’t wearing long pants, his shirt might stick out the bottom of his shorts. Every mirror that had the misfortune of reflecting his perfectly proportioned face had to sustain the image as he licked his eyebrows into prim-and-proper position. Because he couldn’t just follow every rule in ultimate innocence, he had to look pretty doing it too.

 

If “Goody Two-Shoe” needed a model, they wouldn’t need applications to fill the role. They would need to apply to be worthy enough to hire Perry.

 

We all knew a Perry in elementary school.

 School Days

Today, Perry looks a lot like some Christians we know. Sundays-best even when it’s not Sunday, as close to sinless as it gets when you’re looking, scared of getting infected by your unholiness, Christians. Metal is from the devil, no homos in heaven, curse words make you go to H-E-double hockey sticks, Christians.

 

Both Perry and the super-Christian have something in common: they TRY to NOT do the wrong thing. And it’s selfish.

 

If we boil this down to the layers underneath the surface, they want to avoid shame. They’re afraid that if they mess up, others will perceive them differently. A way they don’t want to be perceived. One that embarrasses them. They care about preserving their public perception–how others see them.

 My Shame

Let’s face it: being liked by others makes ALL of us feel good. It tells us that we’re good enough for that person to like me. It tells us that it’s possible for us to be loved. And just like you and me, they want to feel that too. And so underneath it all, trying to not sin is about them trying to make themselves feel good. In this situation, sin is just the moral code they follow in order to be accepted. It doesn’t really have much to do with God.

 

And as ridiculous as this extreme category of people might seem, we all have a piece of this in us. We dress a certain way, hang around certain people, do certain things, DON’T do certain things so that we will be accepted and loved.

 

Now, this doesn’t mean we’re all horrible people. It also doesn’t mean that we should just say screw it, have orgies, stuff our veins with any substance that feels good, and party till we die. I’m not saying either of those things. In fact, I think that Perry’s discipline was admirable. And I think that the super-Christians have self-control we could all benefit from. What I’m really saying is that it’s most important to look at your heart. Why do you do what you do?

 

I believe in the same Bible that these people do. But I don’t want to live my life trying to NOT sin. Just like you, I want to have fun! I want to adventure! Experience! Live life to the FULLEST!

 

And strangely enough, that’s why I obey.

 

Let me explain…

 

Pulling back the layers again, obedience is about respect. It’s saying even when I want to do anything else besides what you’re asking me to do, I won’t do it. Because I choose to believe that you know more than I do. I choose to believe that you care more about me than even I do. I choose to believe that you have my best interests in mind even when I only have temporal ones. I choose to believe that you WANT me to have life to the fullest. And because of these things, I trust you. I respect you. And I choose to obey you. And for me, the person I choose to obey is God.

 

It might seem like semantics, but it reflects something deeper about our intentions and our heart.

 

For the non-Christian, I think it’s important for you to understand that this is where a lot of the Christians that turn you off get stuck in wrong thinking. Their intentions and their heart are in the wrong place because they’ve been trained to believe that God is more about policing our sin and bashing us with batons until we behave or break. So when the Christians that believe their God is doing this to them do it to you, I totally get why you would say screw that Christianity crap…if I have the option to not be bullied by some punk, uniform-wearing higher being and his idiotic lackies, I’ll take that as opposed to having some cosmic police brutality be forced on me.

 Police brutality in Egypt

But the thing is, the God that we believe in at HeartSupport isn’t some corrupt, religious mafia-policeman. We believe that if you were to share everything–every sin, every wrong, every thought–God wouldn’t cuff you. He would instead listen intently. He would hurt and cry with you as you explain all of the terrible things that have happened to you. The things that brought you to a place where it was easier to hurt others than to trust that they wouldn’t do that to you again. He would smile and nod with you as you explain the excuses that sound so silly when you say them out loud. He would thank you for your honesty and hug you before He chose to say another word. Because His desire is to love you–not punish you for what you did or didn’t do.

 

And when he pulled back from hugging you, I think He would smile and say something like this…

 Abrazo protector

“I know. Everything you told Me, I already know. Even before you did, I know. But son, daughter, did you know that you don’t owe Me anything? I already paid for all of that because more than anything I just want you back. And if you believe Me, none of that has to keep you from Me.”

 

THIS God wants YOU. He even wants the religious person that is stuck thinking that not sinning is the most important thing to Him.

 

Christians, you know that guy Jesus? Well, He got rid of your sin. You’re free from the burden of performance. Instead of trying harder to look like you’ve got it all figured out, you get to enjoy His love. Learn to trust that He wants nothing but the best for you. He means it when He promises you something. And He says He came to give you life to the FULLEST–abundant life. Better than you can find anywhere else. Here. Now. You don’t have to wait for heaven to have an awesome life. Because of this, He is worthy to obey. Stop wasting your life hiding out, spraying yourself with “Sin OFF” to repel the possibility of looking like a sinner cause you got bit. That doesn’t sound like life to the fullest at all. God gets joy when your life freakin’ rocks. And He wants to help you have a kick-ass life.

 

So ask yourself: are you trying to NOT sin or trying to look perfect so everyone else thinks you’re awesome?  Because if you are, you’re missing out on life to the fullest. There’s so much more for you. Be bold enough to find out.

Showing 13 comments
  • Emily Rae
    Reply

    Nate, you rock for writing this article! It’s nice to know that other people have dealt with this too.

    • Nate Hilpert
      Reply

      Thanks Emily! What happened when you dealt with this?

  • Zach
    Reply

    I agree with what your saying’ but I think this could be misinterpreted by someone that’s not strong in the roots of the Bible. It could give them the idea that its ok to keep sinning. We will all sin until the day we die, but we should be able to recognize the exact moment we make a mistake and immediately acknowledge it to God , and sometimes our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Especially if we have a constant reoccurrence with certain sins. God is a loving God, but we must also warn sinners that he is full of wrath as well. If we die without being born again we will face that wrath on judgement day.

    • Nate Hilpert
      Reply

      Thanks for writing in, Zach. If I had to highlight one of God’s characteristics, the first ones I would highlight would be His love and forgiveness. It’s more important to me to quickly point to the cross–because that’s what matters most not only to me but to God as well. Moreover, it is important to consider the demographic of HeartSupport when introducing God. Many people here have been hurt by the message that “they’re going to hell because they do this or do that”. This message first of all isn’t true and second of all makes it easy to envision God as a corrupt, brutal sin policeman. God is a loving, intimate, personal father. Yes, He also is THE King. But if I had to choose the first picture to show others of God, it would certainly be the one He displays on the cross.

      • Zach
        Reply

        I agree. People that dont know God should hear of the cross and his love first. But they need to know that sin is very serious. Pointing them to 1 Corinthians 6:9 is a great starting point for them to look at. And that ultimately leads to the purpose of the cross. To blot out those sins.

        • Nate Hilpert
          Reply

          Thanks for the suggestion! For me, the seriousness of my sin was something that God convicted me of as I began to come closer to Him. I believe He will do the same for them!

          • sinner

            Thank you for writing. It inspired me to write(i could be wrong, that is just my view on things)

            “If we boil this down to the layers underneath the surface, they want to
            avoid shame. They’re afraid that if they mess up, others will perceive them
            differently.”
            -Seems quite manipulative type to me. We are not perfect, acting like that is sinful. I can detect those „perfect look at me Christians“. It´s ironic that finding out the
            truth what is really going on is quite ugly at times.

            (you can do that by humbly asking for example-„are you a addict ?“ and see the body language response,
            even no words is needed)

            Zach you wrote:

            “but we must also warn sinners that he is full of wrath as well. If we
            die without being born again we will face that wrath on judgement day.”

            Why a person who is in pain would care about some kind of warning at first place ?

            Imagine a situation when a person is destroyd mentally, addicted to several things, miserable. Praying daily but nothing changes. Feels ignored by God. And then some guy(the “perfect Christian”) comes and says that you are going to hell.

            Why even do that ? Instead we should pray deeply with authority towards the sufferer and let the sufferer experience God love thru us.

            Without love(the feeling,experience,deepness) Christianity becomes totally worthless and church as organization turns into a business model. 1 Corinthians 13:3

            Why i´m inspired to sin less and grow in faith ? Because i feel loved by God. And that takes away the desire to sin.
            I do fail but i get up every time. Besides i have friends who support me.

            No “good ” lectures at church,condemnation(in a style-“You hurt God by that”, “You are hurting others”-when i was living in deeply sinful lifestyle, i did not cared, someone criticizing me fueled the hatred for Christianity even more).

            I see quite much how Christians trying to change someone. Well i have learned that it is not up to us. It is about love from God that will enter into person damaged heart thru praying.
            Love changes everything.

  • Nathan Mendyk
    Reply

    All true.

  • Your Friend
    Reply

    Awesome! Thank you for sharing this Nate, I have been thinking a lot about this sorta stuff lately and this helped me understand (or remember) what God really has in mind for His people. And just to kind of straighten things out for those who said this message might lead some people to believe sin Is okay, Take a look at what Nate said:
    “trying to NOT sin is selfish”. Selfishness is a sin. Sin is what separates us from God, it’s not some religious code of DO NOT’s that we need to follow, it’s any action -and mostly- any heart attitude that seperates us from God. That’s where obedience comes in
    ~Your Friend

    • Zach
      Reply

      Hello friend, I’m not disagreeing about what he’s saying. Or his overall message. I just feel some people that don’t really know their bible could look at this in the wrong light.

      • Your Friend
        Reply

        Yeah that’s a very good point Zach. I would really encourage people to read what Gpd says about any topic. Good examples for this topic are Romans 6, 1 Corinthians 6, and Romans 14.

  • Your Friend
    Reply

    Just read Romans 6:11-12 to see a little more about what God says about the topic 😀

  • PJ
    Reply

    This was an awesome post Nate. So many times I forget that God is a loving God and is not sitting up there waiting to punish us. He wants to help and wants to love us. I forget he gives us the privilege of calling Him “Dad.” Many times it is “distant, holy, god who I must bow to” or something along the lines of that and I get nervous to come to Him again with my issues and problems. Instead it is just as you say, ““I know. Everything you told Me, I already know. Even before you did, I know. But son, daughter, did you know that you don’t owe Me anything? I already paid for all of that because more than anything I just want you back. And if you believe Me, none of that has to keep you from Me.”
    Thanks for this Nate.

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