In our house group at the moment we’re watching a video of the TIDE course (Training In Discipleship and Evangelism) that is really really good. We’re only the second session, but already we feel that God has spoken to us and challenged us through it.
In particulary, session 2 was about holiness, and transparency, and I felt God saying that He wants us to have a “zero tolerance” approach to our own sin. It’s easy to adopt lots of little compromises, or think that historical sins can just be forgotten – but God rather wants his people to be absolutely pure, no skeletons in our closets!
Of course, we can’t go back and change the past, but what we can do is first and foremost confess it to God (and we know this only has to be done once – after that it’s dealt with and forgotten by God!), but we also, I believe, should make amends if possible. This might mean seeking out a person we’ve wronged and apologising, returning an item we borrowed but never returned. Rather awkwardly, it probably needs to be confessed to another person (be that the wronged party, or someone you know and trust).
In one sense none of this is new – but I think the thing that really struck me was that everything matters to God, even the stuff that seems really trivial. The three that the Holy Spirit brought to my mind were apparantly very small things from 16, 11, and 3 years ago respectively, but which never-the-less God had prompted me about many times, but I’d either waved away as silly, or delibrately ignored as I didn’t want to face the consequences.
And you know what – I’m deeply ashamed to say that it’s taken a serious illness of someone close to me that really stop and think about my priorities, and the holiness God is calling us, as Christians too. I think that zero sin is an inattainable goal for this life, but zero tolerance of sin needs to be taken on-board by everyone who would follow the Holy One.
Incidently, the TIDE course is produced by an organisation called Firelighters – find out more at www.firelighters.org.uk