Have you ever been in that place where you know what is good for you, and what is bad for you; what pleases God, what doesn’t please God, and yet you still manage to trip up and sin? Have you felt frustrated with yourself, getting yourself into a rut of self-hatred because you just can’t seem to do what you know is right? Do you find yourself in a cycle of sin that you can’t seem to break? Do you, dare I say it, enjoy some sins even though you know that God calls you to live a life free from sin that so easily entangles us?
I know I have.
Thoughts like these often lead to doubts about your identity in Christ. Countless times I have thought to myself, “I can’t stop sinning…does that mean Jesus didn’t save me? Am I not saved? Why can’t I stop sinning?” It’s a horrible place to be, and I’ve learned that it all comes down to not knowing the truth about your identity in Christ.
When we align our mind with Christ’s, and simply accept that we are flawed BUT we are in the hands of the Greatest, our whole perspective on sin and holiness changes. I’ve found that when I sin and simply accept it was wrong, bring it to God, leave it at the Cross and forget it, just like God casts our sin into the depths of the sea and no longer holds it against us, I understand that it was an action of my old life, and accept that I am still learning how to walk in the life of a daughter of the King. It is a beautiful paradox of knowing that sin is deeply wrong, but also learning to not hold onto it, instead forgetting it and not allowing feelings of guilt and self-hatred to manifest.
I recently saw a video from Pete Cabrera, in which he told the following metaphor that God had laid on his heart. From the day of hearing this metaphor, my life has changed and I am learning how to break the old mindset of ‘Help! I’m a Christian and can’t stop sinning!’ It is a process, and God knows that. He expects nothing more and nothing less. I think the metaphor that Pete shares is so powerful; I have elaborated on some points to make it more of a narrative, but essentially it is the same. I’ve linked the original video at the end of this post too.
There was a Kingdom. This Kingdom was ruled by a loving, fair, and loyal King. In this Kingdom, there was no injustice; everyone was loved, cared for, and appreciated. It was full of light, and everyone lived in the way that they were created to live. Everyone was at peace. The King and Queen had a daughter whom they adored. They showered her with love and kindness and wanted nothing more than for her to live the life that was laid out for her.
There was another kingdom. This one was full of darkness; no-one knew how to live properly, there was hate, jealousy, evil desires, wrongdoing – everything that the Kingdom of Light was not. This kingdom of darkness was ruled by a prince, one who didn’t care about the people living there, no matter what act he put on. He would pretend to care about them, but this was only to enslave them into doing what he wanted. It was all an act, and this kingdom was corrupt beyond belief. The worst part? The people living there didn’t even know that they were being deceived.
The prince of this kingdom wanted to take over the Kingdom of Light and enslave all of its inhabitants, and he knew the only way to do this was to attack what was most precious to the King: His daughter. So, one day, whilst she was still only a baby, he managed to kidnap her. He took her away to his kingdom, the kingdom full of darkness, and enslaved her. He taught her to live in darkness, made her sleep on the floor, and threw her scraps of food for her to eat from the ground. She grew up like this, and knew no different.
Meanwhile, in the Kingdom of Light, the King and Queen were distraught. They couldn’t sleep, they couldn’t eat. They hadn’t lived one day without being deeply grieved by the loss of their precious daughter. During the time that she had been missing, the Queen had given birth to a son. The son had been brought up knowing he had a sister, but that she had been missing for years. He, just like his parents, was deeply grieved, despite never meeting his sister. He pleaded with his father to allow him to go in search for his sister. The King replied, “Son, I give you everything you need to save your sister. Go, and bring her back home.”
The son went searching for his sister. He eventually found her, and told her that she had a home to go to, one governed by her loving Father who couldn’t bear to be without her. She was in total shock; she had known no different to this world of darkness. Her brother took her in his arms, battled through the kingdom of darkness, and eventually returned to the Kingdom of Light. She was home.
The King was overjoyed. Tears of happiness poured down his face, and he couldn’t stop hugging her and kissing her; his princess was home. He held a huge banquet in celebration of his daughter’s return. The food arrived on the table, and everyone started eating. The daughter, however, threw her food on the floor and began to eat with her hands, scraping at the ground.
The servants looked at her in disgust. What was she doing?! She is a daughter of the King, a princess; princesses don’t act like that. The King’s daughter soon became upset. But the King gently leaned down to her, crouched on the floor, and whispered, “It’s ok, my child. Don’t listen to the judgements of those who don’t understand. You have known no different than to live in darkness. But I will train you. I will equip you. I will teach you how to live like a daughter of the King. I have faith in you.”
Once the meal was finished, the King showed His daughter to her bedroom. There was a huge four post bed in the centre of the room, with beautiful big windows that brought in soft streams of light. He told her that this is where she would sleep, but as soon as she saw the room with the big comfy bed, she went straight to the corner and curled up on the hard floor to sleep. Instead of acting shocked and asking what she was doing, the King simply knelt beside her and said, “I understand. This is all you’ve ever known. I will show you how to live in your new identity as a princess; you’ve always been a daughter of the King, you just haven’t always known it.”
I believe that the reason we still struggle with sin as Christians is simply because we don’t know who we are. We have been trained to live second best, to enjoy sin, to believe that it is what we are here to do - but we were created for more. We sin because for our whole lives we didn’t know any different. Our mindset was trained to believe that sin is as good as it gets. But it gets better with God.
Patience is one of the qualities of love mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13. And because God is love, this means that He is also patient. It means that God understands our struggle against sin. He understands that we simply haven’t known any different.
But. BUT. God has given us a NEW life; we are a new creation in Christ! Even if you act like your old self, that doesn’t mean you aren’t new. It’s like when you get a splinter in your hand; you have a piece of wood in you, but that doesn’t mean your whole being is made of wood. It’s the same with us - we still slip up and sin, but that doesn’t mean we are sin. It doesn’t mean that we aren’t saved. It means that we don’t fully know who we are.
God saved you. It wasn’t your own doing, so that means you are secure. You are secure in His salvation, no matter how many times you mess up, because it was Him who saved you, not you or your good works.
We just have to learn how to live. We need to learn how to live the life that God has for us. We have to re-train our minds so that we can embrace the mind of Christ. Sin isn’t as good as it gets; GOD is as good as it gets. And He promises to continually show us that, to teach us that, to sit with us patiently as we embrace our new identity in Christ, no matter how many times we trip up along the way. He sees your potential in Christ, and has faith in you. And as you learn how to walk in your new identity, nothing and no-one will be able to stop you from fulfilling God’s great plan for your life; a plan that has the power to literally change the world.
See Pete Cabrera’s original video here
‘Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”’ - Matthew 19:26
Alice is 18 and from England. She gave her life to Jesus about 5 years ago, and was baptized in July 2015. She feels that she is called to creative evangelism after receiving many prophecies from various people. She's a keen musician, photographer, writer, and speaker, and she hopes to involve all of these passions when sharing the love of Jesus to the world. She looks forward to moving to a city to attend university, engrossing herself in youth culture and wider communities.