I’m not usually in the habit of talking about my health issues in public form, but there is, what I consider, a very good reason for sharing this story…please read until you get past my ramblings to the end. 🙂
I recently took a “Heart Smart” test. This is basically an MRI used to check the plaque build up around ones heart. I have a history of high cholesterol and high blood pressure, as well as an irregular heart beat that sometimes wakes me up at night. My family doctor recommended I see a cardiologist, just to be sure. The cardiologist recommended I get the “Heart Smart” test done to see if it was necessary to treat my high cholesterol at this time. Basically if I have plaque then we need to treat the cholesterol. Well, as you can imagine all of this has created some stress and worry about my heart. I know at least one person personally who is younger than me, but also very active, that has had to have a quadruple bipass, so the human mind starts to worry.
Now this test is quite painless and very inexpensive ($50 is what I paid, no insurance, just $50). As a side note you do not need a doctors order to get this test, so if you have any questions about your heart and you have $50, I would check into it. But any way, the stress and worry about this type of thing can make one very uneasy. So after years of wondering if my high cholesterol has caused blockage over the years, I finally have an answer. We got my results back (they send them to you and your doctor). They rate the blockage on a scale form zero (being no blockage) to 400 (which I have to assume means you better get to the hospital ASAP). My results came back ZERO, the letter actually says ” Zero percent of people have less plaque than you, and 99% of people have more plaque than you. So needless to say that is quite a relief. It’s very hard to describe the feeling of freedom that accompanies this type of news. I have not been slowly killing myself, I still need to get the irregular heart beat figured out…but what a relief that there is almost no probability of a heart attack from blockage.
Now the real reason I share this story:
I’ve been listening recently to a lot of pod casts from Steve Brown: http://stevebrownetc.com/ If you’re not familiar with Steve Brown his big thing is Grace, and I highly recommend you visit his site and listen to his stuff. You may not agree with everything you hear, but it’s good stuff. Anyway to get back on track. I was thinking about my heart situation this morning and it hit me. What if you could take a “sin scan”? What if you could take a test and it would give you a grade on just how bad you are? Let’s say you could take such a test, what would your score be? Let’s say the rating was the same as my “heart smart” test. Zero being no sin what so ever and 400 being as bad a you could possibly be (this is where you would put people like Hitler). Where would you rate yourself? I think I would put myself in the 50 to 150 range, I’m not as bad as a lot of people, but I’m not perfect, obviously. So really this should create some stress and worry in my life right? Am I good enough? Am I pleasing God? Is God mad at me?
Well here is where this gets really exciting for me. If you could take such a test and if you are a Christian, I think you’ve already guessed what your score would be. If you have a relationship with Christ your score will always be a big fat ZERO.
Christ took your sins and threw them as far as the east is from the west, he threw them into the sea of forgetfulness. When he died on the cross, he took ALL of your sins with him. You are free. You are free from the stress of “am I good enough?” “Is God mad at me?” NO HE IS NOT. He loves you, He sees you as his perfect creation. This is why the Bible say’s we are “Free” from sin. It does not mean that we are never going to sin again (we will continue on with that until we are with him) but we are free from the bondage and worry of sin. Not only did He wash your sins away, He gave you a heart transplant, and He was the donor.
Now I could be way off here but, I don’t know about you but, if you tell me I am not allowed to do something, I want nothing more than to do that thing. I think this is human nature. But if you tell me it doesn’t matter if I do it or not, it’s much easier for me to make the right decision. I think this is part of the “Freedom from sin”.
We as Christians have a habit of condemning ourselves (as well as others) because of our sins. If Christ does not even remember our sins, why do we need to hold onto them? This is very like saying “my feelings on the matter of my sin are more important than Christ’s” this I believe, is making an idol of myself.
I believe we all have massive struggles with sin. We constantly are taking steps backwards as we try and get “better”. I think we all would be embarrassed and humiliated if everyone knew all of our secrets. I could list them all here, but you know what yours are, and if you’re really honest with yourself I’m sure the list is long. If you don’t believe you struggle that much with sin, just ask those who have to spend time with you on a regular basis, they will tell you what you struggle with. 🙂 Now, here I’m going to get on my soap box, just for a bit. Stop condemning others for their sin when you can not control yours. Sin is sin, our best efforts are like dirty rags. Love the ones your are condemning, Love them, that is all, show them God’s love, not your piety. (Jumping off the soapbox). Even though our best efforts are like dirty rags, WE ARE FREE from condemnation.
How many times have you prayed that God will take away a certain sin? Just please lord, cleanse me from this sin, take it out of my life. I’ve prayed that prayer countless times over my life, and very often the answer is no, you will have to continue to struggle with this sin. “My Grace is sufficient”. “My Grace is sufficient” that is awesome. We are FREE not from our current temptation, but ultimately, we are free. My test results are ZERO. No points against me.
Now am I saying you should just do whatever you feel like and who cares what anyone thinks? No of course not. Please reference my last post “My father owns this place” for more on having a relationship with Christ.
Disclaimer: As usual, I am not a theologian, I am not a pastor, I might be completely wrong in everything I say. But I hope you enjoy it. 🙂 And remember you’re a Zero. No sin plaque around your heart. Christ took your heart with him to the cross and brought you back his.