By Alicia Purdy, Crosswalk.com
If you’re reading this article, it’s not by mistake.
Every Christian, at one point or another, struggles with the idea that they’re not living according to how they know the Lord desires for them. When you’re giving into to sin or struggling with temptations while living a “double life” around other Christians, you live in a state of constant turmoil and fear of being found out.
This is for those who want to just give up and those who have given up the fight; Christians who have lived with sin for so long that they can’t even remember their salvation anymore… and Christians who want to come back.
The fear of discovery is oppressive and difficult to live under and if you’re finally done with it and ready to put it all behind you, the fear of revealing the mess you’ve made creeps in and keeps you trapped.
What would everyone think if they knew what I’ve been doing? Am I going to be judged, punished or rejected?
How can I ever come back from this?
Can God ever truly restore me? Will people ever trust me again? These are probably just some of the questions you wrestle with.
But if you’re ready to move forward in Christ, He will give you the courage to face it all with His grace.
1. Let Go of the Pressure to Be Perfect
Your sin doesn’t separate you from God’s love, but it does separate you from His presence because, “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).
However, Jesus never said you had to be perfect. In fact, Psalm 138:8 says that the Lord will ‘perfect’ that which concerns you and that He who began a good will in you will be faithful to bring it to ‘perfection’ (Philippians 1:6).
The process of “perfection” doesn’t mean mistake-free. It means completion. The Lord will complete what He has started in you if you will allow Him to. It’s a process that will take the rest of your life.
If you’ve wandered away, you can always come back to the Lord and He will always accept and forgive you, however, that doesn’t mean there won’t be a mess to unravel in your life when others find out how you’ve been living.
Unfortunately, it’s entirely possible that people will judge, condemn, reject or punish you. However, it is equally as possible that people will embrace, accept, restore and cry with you.
Don’t let how others may respond motivate you.
Your desire to return to the Lord has to come from within, so that nothing outside of you can get in your way emotionally, mentally or spiritually.
2. Confess to Yourself, to God, and to Your Brothers/Sisters
Scripturally speaking, the restoration process starts with confession to three people. First, holding nothing back, confess to yourself what you have done. Admit it. Speak it out loud so your spirit can heart it.
If you’re able to, write yourself a letter of confession and detail how you have been living. This is for no one but yourself. Therapeutically speaking, this exercise can be revealing and healing for your soul.
Next, confess to the Lord. Although it may feel like you “can’t” approach God in worship, that’s a lie!
Put on worship music and set a spiritual atmosphere for your conversation. Read your letter out loud. Speak to the Lord. Yes, He can hear your heart, but speak it out loud. This helps reinforce to your mind that you’ve reached a firm turning point.
All of your sin was forgiven at the cross, but the confession of sin is an acknowledgement of your actions, taking responsibility before the Lord who already knew and loves you anyway. His promise is, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Finally, you’ll need to ask for the Lord’s help and approach a brother or sister in Christ who you know you can trust and who will help you face others, and walk through the process of reconciliation and restoration.
James wrote, “Confess your sins onto another and pray for each other so you can be healed” (James 5:16). You may need therapy, counseling or additional resources to help you move ahead, while the body of Christ needs to part of your spiritual healing.
This is not an easy process, but it is necessary if you truly want to stop living a double life and get right with God. Satan would love nothing more than to isolate you in fear, shame and regret.
Drag all that darkness into the light, humble yourself and ask for help.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Lorenzo Antonucc
3. Get in the Continual Habit of Exposing Yourself
Never forget this powerful truth about addressing sin in your life: Satan wants to expose you so he can ruin you; God wants to expose you so He can restore you.
The fear of exposure and “what if” will always hold you back. But being exposed isn’t a bad thing--depending on who does it. Remember, all sin will eventually be brought to light.
Ephesians 5:11-13 says, “…do not have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness; instead, expose them… all things are exposed when they are revealed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.” John wrote, “…everyone who does evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3:20).
You know who else hates the light? Satan. The best thing you can do when you’ve been living a double life is shine the light of Christ into your darkness and expose your own sin to yourself, the Lord and trusted believers who will walk with you out of the darkness.
It will take time and it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.
“Run away!” Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:22. 1 Peter 2:9 says “You’ve been chosen by God to walk with Him in the light. You were called out of darkness. You do not have to stay there if you don’t want to.
4. Embrace Your Metamorphosis Process
Did you know that when a caterpillar turns into a butterfly through the process of metamorphosis, it digests its old body while in the cocoon?
Then, the “soup” of cells left over after digestion of the caterpillar’s body are the ones used to construction an entirely new creation and there’s no trace of the former creature, not even in the DNA (see 2 Corinthians 5:17).
Metamorphosis is hideous, bloody and violent, but on the other side of it all is something totally new and different. It’s the same in Christ. If you want to stop living a double life and get right with God, now is the time.
You can’t walk in darkness forever because God has a plan for your life!
He will fight for you with as much passion as Satan will--including exposing you because He loves you. One way or the other “be sure your sins will find you out” (Numbers 32:23), so you may as well bite the bullet and start the process now.
“…So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).
Run to your loving Father!
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Tero Vesalainen
Alicia Purdy is a full-time writer, musician, and speaker with an M.A. in Journalism. She is the host of “Living Out Loud!”, a weekly radio show broadcast at the ALIVE Radio Network in upstate NY. You can learn more about Alicia’s work including her book, The Way of the Worshipper, catch up on “Living Out Loud” episodes and subscribe to free devotionals at her blog: TheWayoftheWorshipper.com. Her passion is to write about real life and a real faith in a real Jesus to inspire, encourage and entertain people from all walks of life. Alicia and her husband have 5 kids ranging from 20 years old all the way down to 4 - and 1 cat, named Chester. You can find and follow Alicia on Facebook and Instagram. She welcomes questions and discussion. You can reach out via email at The Way of the Worshipper. If you meet her in person, she will most likely try and wipe you down with essential oils and then ask if you want to grab a coffee.