I don’t know about you, but when I truly surrendered to Jesus, I had A LOT of habitual sin to overcome. I was living a very ungodly life, and therefore feeling a lot of godly sorrow. Due to abuse as a child, I have been depressed since the age of 12, and only now- 17 years later!- am I beginning to emerge from that shadow. I chose to handle my depression, shame, and anger by avoiding my emotions instead of dealing with my past. I numbed my pain through alcohol and other substances, sought love and self worth through promiscuity, and isolated myself from family and friends, refusing to open up for fear of the possibility of being hurt again. But really I was hurting myself and those I loved.
The wages of sin is death.1
All of my efforts to assuage my emotional pain were just pulling me further and further into the abyss. My sin was making my life worse, and God was calling me to let it all go and HEAL. It’s scary to learn how to live a healthy life if you were never taught how! So I started going to Christian counseling. My counselor has truly gifted me with life-giving correction. If you are in a place where you feel hopeless or overwhelmed, please reach out for help!
First, I had to believe that God loves me, right where I am.
That despite all my sin, he was reaching out to me. For most of my life, I have felt so unworthy of love and scared of rejection that I didn’t understand how God could ever love me. My counselor helped me to realize my identity in Christ. To be honest, it took more than 6 months (and A LOT of reading the Bible) for me to really feel loved and assured of my salvation- based on God’s promises instead of myself.
And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.2
Intertwined in this revelation of God’s love was my understanding of godly sorrow. I was continuing to feel sad, angry, and hopeless because I was continuing to live in sin. For a long time, I had allowed these feelings to define me and therefore paralyze me. I came to realize the Holy Spirit was trying to convict me, not condemn me! There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!3 God doesn’t want me to feel depressed all the time- those feelings are a warning signal that something I’m doing (or not doing) is not healthy. That’s why Jesus can simultaneously tell the woman she is not condemned for her sin, but to sin no more!
We don’t have to try to be “good enough” for God to love us- we work hard to please Him because He loves us!
I’ve put together a free printable of verses that helped me move towards getting rid of some major sin in my life- substance abuse and codependence on my husband. Reading these verses over and over, praying them to God desperately for months…finally the Holy Spirit answered my call when I fully surrendered. Through no power of my own, I am no longer tempted beyond what I can bear with those two HUGE idols I had been worshiping. God hears our persistence! Do not give up! I really was a slave to my sin, unable to stop even when I hated it, but God gave me the power to overcome it. He can and will do it for you, too, if you keep knocking at the door!