I once heard a story of a man who applied for a job at the zoo to play the part of a monkey. A lot of children would be coming and since the zoo had no monkeys, they needed someone to impersonate one. He needed work, so he took the job. He arrived early, got into the monkey suit, and slipped into his cage. His job was to pace the floor, swing between trees, eat peanuts and bananas. After ten hours, he was exhausted and the bananas and peanuts were starting to make him sick. As he swung from one tree to another, he slipped and fell into the Lion's Den next door. Terrified, he started shouting, "Help! Help! Somebody help me!" The lion leaned over and whispered, “Shhhh! If you don't shut up, we'll both lose our jobs!” Have you ever felt like everybody else is better at being a Christian than you are and you’re the one faking it? Guess what—none of us are very good at it! Today, let’s drop in on one of Jesus’ disciples many years after the resurrection and read what he had to say about faking it:
This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. (1 John 1:5-9)
Wow! The Bible can be so direct. John tells us in this passage that if we say we are living in fellowship with God but choose to continue living a disobedient lifestyle we are lying. If we claim that we are not sinners, we are liars. But, if we are “living in the light” by being open and honest with God and others, confessing our sinfulness and seeking to live faithfully, Jesus’ blood cleanses us from all sin. John also says that if we confess our sin God will forgive us and cleanse us, not from some of our wickedness but from ALL of our wickedness. Do you want to be cleansed from all of your sin and wickedness? Today’s passage tells us how to do it! You and I don’t have to fake it and we don’t have to live in our sin. I invite you today to live out in the open, both with other people and with God. Be honest about yourself; hiding your sin will only give it more power over you. When we drag our sin into the light, that sin loses its power.
You and I can be forgiven and cleansed from all of our sins today. Right now, right where we are...and that's such very Good News!