Do you feel trapped? Do you feel like you are bound up by things of which you are ashamed? Do you feel like particular sins have taken you by the throat and will not let you go?
The reason we wind up feeling this way (especially Christians) is because, as Paul Tripp states, we have literally “worshiped our way into bondage.” Something has grabbed our attention more than God. Something has promised us life and fulfillment, and we have given our hearts to it. What results is that this thing (or things) that we thought would give us fulfillment is now producing death, despair, and regret in our lives. Even good things when they become ultimate things can become enslaving things—things of which we are embarrassed to let others know.
Guess what? “Gutting it out” will not liberate you from the grasp of sin. It was said that Bill W., the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, truly overcame his alcoholism after he created his 12-step program. That is wonderful. The only problem is that he became a notorious womanizer. He wasn’t free from the grasp of sin; he just traded sins.
No, gutting it out will not help you. If you have worshiped your way into sin, there is only one way for lasting change. You must worship your way out of sin.
Here is a truth from Scripture—if you have been born again by the Spirit of God, no matter what sin you find yourself trapped by this very moment, your sins are gone. You have been united with Christ, and all of His righteousness has been deposited into your spiritual bank account. Therefore, every time you sin now, it is as if your sins are like flash paper. Flash paper burns instantaneously when it is ignited and vanishes. In Christ, your sins are gone. He has paid your penalty. While it is true that you feel guilty when you sin, the truth of Scripture states that Jesus never sinned but He became a sin offering for us on the Cross so that when we believe, all of his perfect sinlessness and perfect obedience to God is deposited into our spiritual bank accounts (2 Corinthians 5:21). That is why the gospel is good news!
But here’s the problem—you may be a Christian, but you don’t believe this. You believe your experience RIGHT NOW is your identity. You have “worshiped” your way into this belief. Therefore, you languish in your Christian life. You avoid worship, other Christians, and transparency about your struggles with sin because you believe your identity is your sin problem. As a result, you despair more and more and cling to your sins more and more because at least they bring some temporary relief.
Nevertheless, if you want to be free from sin’s grip on your life, you have to worship your way out of sin. That may mean that you need to come to church to WORSHIP even when you don’t FEEL like it. The Bible tells us that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).
Pastor J.D. Greear states, “God’s acceptance of you in Christ is the POWER that liberates you from sin. God’s acceptance is not the REWARD for having liberated ourselves.” If you wait to get free from specific sins before you seek the Lord in worship, will never get free. You need to worship your way out of sin, knowing that RIGHT THIS VERY MOMENT you are justified by the blood of Jesus. He is your righteousness before a holy God. Your sins are like flashpaper; they are instantaneously burned up in the holy righteousness of Jesus. Yet, if you constantly BELIEVE that your sins define you, you will rarely go to God for help. You will virtually stop coming to church because your life is a mess. You don’t worship because you don’t feel worthy.
Newsflash—you are NOT worthy. Billy Graham is not worthy in and of himself, but he would be quick to tell you that CHRIST is his righteousness. Christ is big in his life because he has worshiped his way to see that Christ is greater than the fleeting pleasures of sin. If you want to be liberated from the sins that plague you, you must worship your way out, too.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.