Three Things to Do When God Reveals Sin

Three Things to Do When God Reveals Sin

by: Katie Davidson

As I prune off the dying leaves of my houseplant, I can’t help but feel pain for my pothos. It’s not comfortable to be pruned; yet I am helping it grow. The concept is simple—take away the dead things so life can grow. Then why does it hurt so bad when God prunes us?


In John 15, Jesus describes Himself as a Vine and His disciples the branches. He says God will prune away any branch not producing fruit, so that it will produce more fruit. 


Right now, the pruning feels all too real. My heavenly Father is showing me sneaky sins that usually fly under the radar—like running to social media for rest rather than God or passing comments to my husband that were not kind. I am reminded of just how far my heart is from Jesus. In some moments I can almost feel the sting of the Lord pruning away what’s dead in me. But even in the sting, I am thankful.


Something beautiful happens when we see the dirtiness of our own heart—we behold Christ’s beauty. We can marvel at grace and remember, “Wow, He saves even me.” 


Suddenly, the gospel becomes fresh again. New life can grow. 


If you find that God has opened your eyes to sin in your life, just like me, here are a few action steps to take: 


Tell God 


Telling God about your sin may seem a little silly—because of course, He already knows. But when we see sin in our life, agree with God that we need pruning, and turn from our sin—this is called repentance. We will never graduate from needing God’s grace—repentance is a daily act. 

We will never graduate from needing God’s grace | TDGC


David illustrates repentance beautifully in Psalm 51, written after David is caught in sin with Bathsheba. David’s prayer for restoration says this, “For I am conscious of my rebellion, and my sin is always before me. Against you—you alone—I have sinned and done this evil in your sight. So you are right when you pass sentence; you are blameless when you judge” (verses 3–4). David acknowledges that he feels the weight of his sin heavy upon his chest. But a few verses later, David entreats the Lord, “Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Turn your face away from my sins and blot out all my guilt. God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (verses 7–10). David confesses his sin and then asks for God’s forgiveness. Because David is secure in his relationship with God, he brings his sin before God’s throne and asks for forgiveness and restoration. David knows he is loved by His Father, so he turns toward God in his sin, not away. Repentance leads us to worship.


David turns toward God in his sin, not away | TDGC

Tell Others


Not only does the Bible instruct us to tell God, Scripture teaches us to confess our sins to one another. This is hard. We fear being known as we really are. A sinner in need of help. As scary as it may feel, there’s actually great hope in confessing sin to one another. We build narratives in our mind that others don’t sin like we do, but confession reminds us that we are all broken people in need of Jesus. In fact, James 5:16 encourages us to, “confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.” Together we can bear one another’s burdens, pray, and link arms as we all take step-by-step toward Jesus. When we are tempted again to sin, we have accountability and the assurance that we are not alone in our fight against the flesh.


Tell Yourself


Perhaps you think your branch is too dead to bear fruit—that perhaps the Gardener gave up on you. When we fail to fight temptation, we need to remember that the gospel is for us too. Jesus knows what it is like to be tempted. Hebrews 4:15 teaches us that Christ is able to sympathize with us in our weakness. Yet because Jesus paid for our sins on the cross and united us to Himself, for those in Christ, we are free from sin. Jesus’s righteousness is credited to our account. We have a high priest in heaven who closed the gap between us and God. The King who sits at the right hand of the Father knows intimately what it’s like to be human. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.” We can come to God’s throne in confidence. We are children of God, beloved by the Father, on our best days and our worst. This is the beauty of the gospel. Remind yourself of the gospel and of Jesus, who came down from heaven to teach, heal, save, and befriend sinners just like you and me.


We are beloved children of God on our best and worst days | TDGC

Behold the good news of Romans 8:1: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.” God chose to save even me—wretched sinner that I am. If the exposure of my sin is what it takes for me to better know Jesus, then Father, prune away! I know whatever you prune is for my good. 


Additional Resources:

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