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“Eventually, I’ll Be above Sin, Right?”

UPDATE ABOUT MY FIRST CONFERENCE:

What an incredible time we had in Branson, MO this past weekend! I could feel the prayers of so many of you and the favor of God on our gathering. I am completely overwhelmed with the generosity and hospitality of my host, Charlie Engram from 88.1 KLFC in Branson and his willingness to allow us to use a room at the Doulos Center. We had about 30 precious ladies who joined me. We laughed and cried and shared together all that God is showing us and what He has been doing in our lives. They thanked me for coming to share my message with them and decided they wanted to pray over me and this ministry. What a blessing and joy to get to meet each of them! Join me in praying that God might use the 8 hours we shared together to bring forth much fruit for His kingdom in their lives and in the lives of those they touch. Please pray that God might continue to open doors for me to speak to other groups of women wherever and whenever He wills. (If you are interested in me speaking near you, please ask your church to reach me on my Contact page here on my blog.)

WILL I EVER BE “ABOVE SIN”?

I think it is easy to get the idea in our Christian culture that if I am spiritually “mature enough” and if I grow a lot in Christ, that I will somehow be “above sin” – or “above certain sins,” at least.

Scripture says that apart from Christ:

  • There is none who is righteous, not even one. (Romans 3:10)
  • All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
  • Our human attempts at righteousness look like filthy, bloody menstrual rags to the holy God of the universe. (Isaiah 64:6)

The Bible teaches that God alone is good (Mark 10:18).

Once I am in Christ, then these are some of the things the Bible says about my identity in Him:

  • My old sinful  self is crucified with Christ and I am now dead to sin and alive to God. (Romans 6:6,11)
  • I am no longer a slave to sin, but am now free to choose to submit myself to Christ as Lord. (John 8:34, Romans 6:18)
  • Nothing can separate me from the love of Christ. (Romans 8:31-39)
  • I am more than a conqueror over sin and this world through Christ. (Romans 8:39)
  • The mystery of Christianity is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” It is HIM working in me that gives me holiness, goodness, and victory. He is my only power source. It is His work in me that is good and that empowers me to walk in obedience to God. (Colossians 1:27)
  • If I do sin, I have an Advocate who speaks on my behalf to God – Jesus – our Great High Priest! (1 John 2:1)
  • If I know God, I cannot continue on and on in habitual sin. I cannot be comfortable living every day in anything that God hates if loving, knowing, and pleasing Him is my greatest goal. If I can be happy and unconcerned to be living in unrepentant sin, something is very wrong. It is time to forsake my sin and cling and yield to Christ! (1 John 3:6)
  • I must guard against pride or I can fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12)

Now these things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So the one who thinks he is standing firm should be careful not to fall. No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide an escape, so that you can stand up under it.… 1 Corinthians 10:11-13

MY THOUGHTS:

When I was first married, I believed I was “too good” and “too holy” to commit certain sins. I thought I was such a strong Christian that I didn’t even have to worry about some of the “really awful sins,” in my mind.

I no longer view sin in that way – as if I could somehow be good enough to personally defeat sin on my own.

Now, I know that apart from Christ, I am plenty capable, in my sinful nature, to commit any sin. I have no goodness in me on my own. 100% of any goodness in me is from Jesus working in me. It is a God thing, not an April thing.

Now, I have great respect for the fact that I can fall if I am not abiding in Christ. I know how easily I could slip if I am grieving His Spirit or cherishing sin in my heart and if I allow the flesh to be in control. I know I must guard my heart against sin and avoid things that are sinful triggers for me. I also know that I have to have my time with God in His Word and in prayer. I can’t starve myself spiritually and be filled to overflowing with Jesus.

With maturity in Christ comes humility, not pride. We see more and more how completely dependent we are on Jesus for everything!

The great news is that as we abide in Christ (John 15:1-8) and as we allow His Spirit to have full control because we yield to Him as Lord of everything in our lives – HE accomplishes victory over sin in our lives for us. But we can never forget that anything good in us is of Him, not of us! We boast and depend on Him alone.

When we are abiding in Christ, we can hear God’s voice more and more clearly and we can recognize the voice and schemes of the enemy so much more quickly. He gives us His perspective, wisdom, power, and discernment. But if we drift from God, the enemy’s voice becomes so much stronger and more convincing. It is harder to hear God. We begin to have greater darkness and it is more difficult to tell the difference between right and wrong. We begin to be able to justify sin in our hearts. We must continue to press on toward Jesus and immediately shoot down any thoughts that are not of Him! Let’s allow Him to win victory in and through us as only He can do!

28 thoughts on ““Eventually, I’ll Be above Sin, Right?”

  1. April:
    I am so thankful for the way God is using you in the lives of women and I congratulate you on your first conference! I am sure those women learned a lot from the word of God through your teaching. I pray with you that God will open doors for you to speak to more and more women. There is such a need for all you have to share… so many of us wish we knew all these things early in life.

      1. April
        I’m so thankful to God for your ministry too. I soooo wish I’d known this 20 years ago too but am so thankful I can help to guide my children through their lives and relationships. I know we will all always be learning but am greatful beyond words for the time and love and care you give each of us here.
        Bel.

        1. Bel,
          I wish I had known this stuff over 20 years ago myself. But I am thankful that God has opened our eyes now! I pray He will empower you to be the woman, wife, and mom He calls you to be in the midst of the trial. And I pray you will abide in Him and seek Him far more than anything, being on the lookout constantly for the treasures He has hidden for you to find as you journey with Him in the valley.

          Much love to you! I am honored and blessed that God allows me to be here and that Greg is so supportive of this ministry and the time and sacrifice involved in it. Any sacrifices we have made are more than worth it!

  2. I gave your conference info to my church leadership. I dont know if you would be willing to come to mn or not, but i sure would love to have you here! Im sure we could make it worth your while!!!

  3. April,

    What advice/resources would you recommend for a woman whose husband has a spending addiction?

    Our credit has gone from excellent to fair. We use the cards at the end of the month, when we can’t make ends meet anymore. Thousands of dollars in debt, and I have been trying to save off to the side for special things for the family (family trip, Christmas) & now he has asked me to use it to use on groceries, etc. He said it’d be paid back later (No idea what he means, other than income tax time).

    He loves to collect, which I don’t mind, except that he sees lots of deals that expire soon, so instead of saving, he wants it right away. If I get upset by how he’s spending (I try not to say anything, but he reads me like a book), he gets really mad& says it’s “just (this much money)!” He becomes passive-aggressive, blaming it on me “You’re always like this with money!” and basically makes me miserable until I cave. We’re not tithing faithfully and I feel we are bad stewards of God’s money.

    We have a bad roof, a huge tree that needs to be trimmed, and other important stuff around the house that needs our attention. When we make extra money, it’s gone quick.

    He wants me to pay the bills and take care of finances, but then he gets mad if I say we can’t afford extra stuff. I have tried to give them back to him, but it just makes him angrier. He says he doesn’t understand how to (he does have some learning disabilities, but I am pretty sure that he could do it if he wanted to. It’s simple addition and subtraction, but if he prefers I do it, I can. I just don’t like butting heads about it).

    I feel like I am at my wit’s end. I have tried telling him we can’t, and he gets very angry. I have tried just letting it go, but then we end up in so much debt. When I have tried to show him our spending, he either gets mad or says, “That’s the past. Let’s start over. ”

    I hate to say this, because my husband is an amazing man who loves God and his family, but I really feel that it is a sin and addiction. I think he is very materialistic at times, focusing on new electronics and games. He doesn’t see anything wrong with it, from what I can tell.

    I don’t know how to address him (&it) respectfully. I don’t know what to do as far as the family. I don’t want to end up on the streets due to this. If it was just me, it’d be different, but it affects our 3 kids as well.

    Thank you in advance for your time and advice.

    1. Blessed Out,

      That would be really frustrating!

      Would he be willing to check out some of Dave Ramsey’s resources on godly financial stewardship? I think they may be super helpful. It is a difficult position for the wife to be “in charge” of the finances and to have a husband who wants to overspend because it puts a wife in the unenviable position of being “the bad guy” or “the mom” who is telling her husband “no, we can’t afford that.”

      Does he see that he is overspending? What are his feelings about being in debt? How did his family handle money?

      If he does truly have some learning disabilities, it may be helpful to involve a 3rd party mentor of some type who may be able to help hold him accountable.

      Here are some posts that may be helpful:
      http://www.daveramsey.com/blog/the-truth-about-money-and-relationships/
      http://www.garythomas.com/what-you-need-to-change-when-your-spouse-doesnt/
      http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/money-and-finances/money-management-in-marriage/why-does-my-spouse-spend-so-much

      I hope to get to respond in more detail a bit later today!

      Much love!
      April

      1. Ok, thanks. I’ll check it out. 🙂

        My heart is hurting this morning. Last night, he brought up something that has always been a painful subject for me, talking about it pretty aggressively (though I figure he doesn’t see it that way) and becoming more angry with me. I did my best to keep my tone and facial expressions under control. I’m sure that I did slip up a few times, but I was really trying. I didn’t raise my voice.

        The subject was alcohol. My mom was an alcoholic, and as a child, I was acutely aware that I was less of a priority to her because of it. She chose it over me and my siblings constantly. She finally gave it up, after years of pain for everyone involved.

        As a result, I hate alcohol. I am aware that there are people who can have just one sip or just one glass, but I don’t like it one bit. I won’t take a sip because I am too much like my mother: I know for a FACT that I would go down that road if I allow even a bit into my life.

        He brought it up and said that he wishes I trusted him more. He takes it as a trust issue. It isn’t. I told him I don’t trust anyone at all to drink without the potential to become an alcoholic. He says I am lumping him in with everyone else. I said I hold him to a higher standard, and it would break my heart if he took just a sip. He said that he would do it away from me, which worries and scares me more. He said he was upset because I said I would be angry if he took a sip of alcohol. I was answering him honestly. I realize that it might be extreme, but having it almost totally destroy your family will do that.

        My thought is that, if consumption of something so unnecessary can cause someone to sin greatly and practically become a different person, why do it?

        His brother’s wife grew up drinking alcohol every so often and is fine with it. She introduced it to her husband (his brother) and he became an alcoholic. He looks up to his brother, and they are a lot alike. His brother is no longer drinking. My husband talked to him once at a party for taking a shot, telling him it was wrong.

        He is upset that I don’t trust him to try it. I don’t trust my Pastor to try it, honestly. I just don’t think it is necessary.

        It’s really hurtful to me that he would insist on wanting a taste after knowing what I have been through. I told him I am the weaker brother in this case.

        1. Blessed Out,

          Greg and I each have one parent who had a parent who struggled with alcoholism. We never met them – both of those grandparents died before Greg or I were born. But I can see the effects of alcoholism on my family to this day.

          I can totally understand why you hate alcohol and don’t want to let one drop near you. I feel the same way. Why even mess with something that is expensive and smells and tastes nasty and that could make me throw up, not remember what I did, destroy my liver, and turn me into an alcoholic who doesn’t care about anything but my addiction?

          As a pharmacist, I have read many studies on addictions. Scientists often used mice to study addictions to cocaine, heroin, and meth, for example. The mice can become addicted. All of them. Just like people. In the right circumstances, we all have the ability to become addicted to things.

          I understand that he may feel that he is being treated like a teenage boy by you and that he feels he should be a free adult to make his own decisions. I get that men don’t like to be mothered or ordered around or told what they can or can’t do. But I also get what a huge issue this is for you.

          Would be become an alcoholic if he had a sip or one drink per week? I don’t know. Maybe not. Is it a possibility that he could become an alcoholic? Yes. Obviously – that would be a possibility.

          I completely agree with your argument. And I really hope he will respect your wishes on this important issue. And yet, at this same time, I know that you cannot control him. And I think it is possible that if you try to pressure or control him or if he feels mothered by you – that he may rebel against that approach.

          I pray for God’s wisdom for you both. Ultimately, I believe this issue is a matter of personal conviction. Here is a post about that.

          I’m really glad you shared with your husband your reasoning, concerns, and fears.

          Now, my prayer is that you may be able to lay this at Jesus’ feet and allow Him and your husband to hash through it from here. Is that something you think you may be ready to do?

          Much love to you!

          1. Thanks so much. I prayed a lot about it the other night (& on from there) and yesterday, he apologized for his frustration about my thoughts on alcohol. We had a wonderful day afterward. Neither of us had brought it up that morning and then he went to an interview for a second job… which, by the way, he got to try and pay down our credit card debt. Afterward, he came home and apologized. It was such a relief that I teared up. I couldn’t help myself… I had been trying to keep it together and remain calm and after he said that, the flood of relief brought tears with it.

            I am so thankful that my husband listens to the Lord’s leading. I am incredibly blessed. I don’t have him on a pedestal, but I do admire him far more than any other man (except Jesus, of course… who was both God and man).

            🙂

    2. Blessed Out,

      I’m in a similar situation with my husband and finances as well. I wish I had more time to comment, but I want to let you know that I am praying for you and your situation.

      My husband has struggled with other addictions in his life, which lead me to start attending Celebrate Recovery (for Codependency). God has been working a ton on me and teaching me to trust him even when circumstances look so uncertain, but I still have times of complete confusion on how to deal with things like our finances / his spending addiction, etc.

      I look forward to April’s comment about this as well.

      -Beth

      1. Beth,

        Thank you so much for sharing. If you do have time later, I am sure your perspective may be a blessing to Blessed Out. 🙂

        Thank you for sharing about Celebrate Recovery. I have heard very good things about that program!

        Some posts that may be a blessing that you and Blessed Out may want to search:

        – healthy vs unhealthy relationships
        – enmeshed
        – oneness
        – closeness
        – fear
        – control

        IF you have a spouse who is truly extremely irresponsible or who has a mental health issue or learning disorder that impacts his spending – please reach out for help from a support group for that particular issue or reach out to a trusted pastor or godly counselor. If a husband has mania, for example, he may not be in his right mind at times about spending – if the couple could work together with a counselor or even with a psychologist or psychiatrist or financial counselor about how to handle these times ahead of time – that could be very helpful. It may be that they decide that the wife will be in charge of the financial decisions when certain symptoms are in place with the husband – that the husband would agree to when he is thinking clearly.

        Praying for God’s wisdom for you both!

  4. I am fluctuating… slowly finding my way… One day, I am resting in Christ steadily and firmly rooted in God’s arms – the next, I am trying to do everything in my own power and failing miserably. It’s still an improvement from where I was just a few short months ago. I was grumpy, rude, irritable, short-tempered – in general, not a very nice person. I lived in my feelings; my pride was the scale that weighed every thought and conversation. I blamed everyone around me for my irritability. I can only imagine what my husband and children must have felt… Realizing what an awful person I had become was not easy for me – I doubt it’s ever easy for anyone. Finding God has blessed my life more than words can express, and He has made so many changes to my heart and mind. Now, I am conscientiously happy – I choose to be excited, joyful, and appreciative. It takes a little effort to tell my pride-driven “feelings” to get lost and embrace happiness, oh, but it’s worth it – to rest in the peace the my God has given me , to play with my kids like I’m 8 years old again, to see my husband light up because something he said made me laugh…
    I just had a wonderful weekend with my family. We didn’t do anything special, but it was so peaceful and relaxing. It’s true that our responses as wives and mothers set the tone in our homes. There were little issues that popped up, but I have been so peaceful because of my growing faith that the little blips were just smoothed over, instead of creating a storm. It seems like when I find these peaceful moments, I say “Thanks, God”, get back behind the wheel, and crash the car, again. I am so thankful for His grace (and I pray my husband has a huge supply for me, too). But, I have to have grace for myself as well. If God has forgiven me, then I HAVE TO forgive me, too. Psalm 103:11-12 tells me that God has removed my sins and failures from me as far as the east is from the west. What a relief! So, I dust myself off, pray for clarity to see where I went off course, and I continue living in his grace.
    I’ve read other women’s accounts of growing into a spiritually mature, virtuous woman; I was warned that it is a slow process. I am finally beginning to realize that MY process is slow because of me. If I just placed all control in God’s hands and rested entirely in him (without taking over after a great week- thinking that I finally crossed the spiritual maturity finish line), then I wouldn’t have such a bumpy road. I’m not under the illusion that I will ever be without sin; my hope is to mature to a place where my responses are deliberate rather than reactive. I’ve learned so many truths about God, His word, and myself from scripture and from more experienced women, and I know it’s possible. The trick (at least for me) is to apply those truths to my life without making a bunch of rules for me to follow to be a “Good Wife”. That also means keeping my motives pure – not making changes to become closer to my family or to get people to see me in a new light. These changes have only been successful and fruitful once they came from my desire to be closer to God, to please HIM – with an added bonus of peace in my home and improved relationships with my family. When I try to abide in His will by my own power, my efforts fall short EVERY TIME. I have read those words one hundred times all from different people, but until I attempted it on my own I didn’t understand.
    I still have a long way to go – I stumble more than I like. It was me giving up control (or trying to control) every detail in our lives that allowed God’s peace to come into my heart. Focusing on Jeremiah 17:7-8 helped guide me in letting go of my need to control. When you think about it… trees don’t chase water and sunshine around. They are steady, peaceful, and still. They take their nourishment from where they are planted. To grow, they dig their roots in deeper – those same roots that nourish them keep them firmly planted in storms. God is blessing me with these “tree-like” characteristics. I am growing a strong foundation in my relationship with Christ. I have stopped chasing things to make me or others happy . I am content and growing where He wants me to be. I am learning to thank Him for every circumstance – especially those that show me any sins I am holding in my heart…

    1. AIM,

      WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      What God is showing you and the way you are responding to His Spirit puts such joy in my heart and the biggest smile on my face! If you would consider praying about allowing me to share this anonymously as a post, I would be honored!

      Thank you SO MUCH for sharing! What an encouragement to everyone who reads your words. 🙂

      With much love,
      April

          1. AIM,

            I believe you are completely right about “my process is slow because of me.” We are the ones that hold ourselves back by not trusting God or cherishing some sinful motive. Yep! The more we trust and are willing to fully surrender and obey no matter what – the more we grow. 🙂

          2. Your ministry has been a tremendous encouragement to me! I am so thankful that God placed the burden in your heart to share His wisdom with other wives facing the same obstacles that you faced. When you’re a controlling person, it’s hard to let go of that entirely. It’s taken every single failure for me to realize how completely I need Him to be in control.

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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