This past spring, I made the mistake of letting my donkeys into a field in whose corner dozens of young sunflower plants were pushing heavenward.
Despite witnessing my donkeys’ taste for sunflowers in the past, I reasoned that the thick grass-weed mix filling the rest of the field would satisfy them. And even if they did snatch a nibble or two, surely they wouldn’t devour the entire sunflower bed?
Apparently, they would. By the time we rotated them to the next field, they’d mowed the sunflowers to stubs.
But slowly, ever so slowly, the stubs began to grow. Through the long summer months, the stalks inched skyward and leaves unfurled. And as summer faded to fall, even though they were only half their would-be height, buds appeared. And opened.
I’ve said before that sunflowers have a lot to teach us about hope. Now I believe they have something to show us about redemption, too.
Have you ever questioned whether you’re redeemable? Have you nourished hope for an abundant, meaningful life, only to see it decimated by your own sin or failure? Have you looked at the remains and felt sure that, even if something new were to sprout, nothing could ever bloom?
You feel you can never wear beauty or share light again. You’re sure you can never bear fruit for God again.
Dear reader, if that’s you, I have some good news: You can. And if you keep seeking, trusting, and following Jesus, you will.
A few years ago, I found myself in a place outside God’s desire for me. I’d been caught off guard at a crossroads and stumbled down the wrong path. I eventually made it onto the path I should have taken initially, but not without a burden of regret that dragged at my every step.
I felt spiritually handicapped. I knew God could still use me. But could He bring me back into full service? Could He make my life as promising and fruitful as it would have been?
From all that the Bible said, the answer was yes. In spite of my feelings, I chose to believe it. And over time, the feelings caught up.
It was hard at first. The devil loves to remind us of any and all reasons we’re not fit for a life overflowing with the presence of God.
But I knew that God’s promises are meant to be believed and embraced. And regarding sin, these are some of His promises:
- When we confess and repent, He faithfully forgives. (1 John 1:9)
- When He forgives, He remembers our sins no more. (Isaiah 43:25; Jeremiah 31:34)
- When we put our sin under Christ, His blood washes us until we’re spotless. (Isaiah 1:18; Hebrews 9:14; 1 John 1:7-9)
- When we trust Christ as our Advocate, the Judge of the Universe erases our debt certificate. (Colossians 2:14)
- When He redeems, redemption is abundant and complete. (Psalm 130:7-8)
In short, once we seek and receive God’s grace, we’re as clean, blessed, and full of holy potential as if we’d never sinned.
Those promises were for me. And they are for you.
Yes, there may be consequences to sin. But if you’ve confessed, repented, and accepted God’s forgiveness, separation from Him is no longer one of them. And as long as you’re not separated from your Source of life, you will live. As long as you’re connected to and drawing on your Source of abundance, you will thrive and bear fruit.
As long as you have a relationship with the Source of all good things, you will experience His goodness. So that even the bad things that follow your sin become opportunities to grow and showcase grace.
Does that mean sin isn’t serious? Absolutely not! Our sin cost Jesus His life. The Creator who gives us everything we have gave up everything He had to save us from our self-destruction. The Holy One who hates sin carried ours to the cross so we wouldn’t have to carry them ourselves and face an eternity without Him.
That’s how serious sin is. And that’s how much He loves us.
You may have heard that there is one unforgivable sin, and there is: ongoing rejection of Jesus as Savior and Lord. Someone who rejects Jesus essentially refuses to be saved from their sin, instead choosing to carry it themselves.
But as long as that person has life in them, even that sin can be repented of, and they can be redeemed. Completely. If you need proof, just ask the Apostle Paul.
So if you’re feeling unredeemable today, cling to God’s life-renewing promises. Claim them as your own by repenting of your sins, confessing them to Him, and asking forgiveness. If you haven’t already, ask Jesus to be your Savior and the Lord of your life.
Thank God for His all-redeeming grace. And then believe and live like you’ve received it.
Give Him any lingering guilt. Let Him speak love to you. Let Him speak hope and life to you. Dig your roots into His Word and lift your head toward His light.
Then watch the leaves unfurl.
Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.Romans 8:34-35a, 37 (NIV)