Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: If you feel weighed down by the things you’ve done, Mary Kassian wants to give you hope.

Mary Kassian: It’s not just the sin; it’s the guilt and the shame that accompany the sin. Just the whole burden of it is so dark and so oppressive and so heavy. Those are things that we are not to carry around. We’re to rid ourselves of that by running to the cross and dealing with our sin and our shame and our guilt through the discipline of confession. 

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Woglemuth along with Dannah Gresh for August 6, 2019. 

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Dannah, you and I sometimes have had the privilege of traveling together. We went around the world to South Africa. We’ve been in a number of situations where we have had to pack. Have you noticed that I don’t pack very light? 

Dannah Gresh: Yeah, I saw you pulling a copy machine out of your hotel room once! 

Nancy: I mean, I am not going to get stuck in a situation of not having anything I need. My husband laughs at how many pairs of shoes I take and a lot of things I am not going to wear or use, but if I need them, I have them. 

Dannah: Are you saying you have a lot of baggage, Nancy? 

Nancy: I have a lot of baggage when I travel, but when we travel through life, we want to travel light.

Dannah: Yes. 

Nancy: We don’t want a lot of baggage.

Dannah: Right.

Nancy: I have heard you share from the ridiculous to the sublime. I’ve heard you share how some things in your past became some baggage that weighed you down, and how God brought you to a turning point where you realized you had to get rid of some of that heavy baggage. 

Dannah: I was maybe about twenty-six years old when I was driving down the highway listening to a program like this, a session like this. The topic was talking to your children about purity. Of course, that is not the story I had written in my teen years. I had asked God to forgive me; I had gotten out of a sinful relationship. I stood before God and said God teach me to live a life of purity. 

But I never really realized that that sin was still baggage. It was still on me until that day I was listening to this program. I heard a man ask the question: What is the number one question on a teen girl’s mind when she is talking to her mom about sex?” Without hesitation, a woman’s voice said the number one question on that girl's mind is, “Mom, did you wait?” 

That was the crashing point for me. I pulled to the side of the road. I had allowed ten years of grief to really engulf me. Mind you, I had confessed my sin. I knew I was forgiven. I was forgiven, but the baggage was still on me. 

Nancy: And you were not walking in that past pattern—that was years behind you.

Dannah: No, not at all, but there was resistance. I felt like God wasn’t really using me, and I wanted to be used. I felt like my marriage was a struggle. I felt like I didn’t know how to talk to my husband. All of this weight—there was weight, there was baggage. 

Nancy: Sometimes we want better thinking. We want better habits. We want to have spiritually fruitful and vital lives, but the baggage of our past is weighing us down. 

Today we want to talk about how to ditch some of that baggage, to quote my friend Mary Kassian. Mary, thank you so much for being apart of this conversation and for pressing us through this new book you have written to think about the things of our past and how they are weighing us down. 

You’re a mom; you’re a grandmom; you’re a conference speaker. You do so many things, but what I really love is that you love Christ, and you love His Word, and you take us to His Word.

You have written a book called The Right Kind of Strong. So thank you for joining us on this conversation again. I feel like we’re three sisters, three really close friends. In fact, after the last session, the best conversations happen between people who are friends, and we have a lot of history here. 

Mary: We do. It’s like inviting people to our kitchen table. This is the kind of conversation we would have around the kitchen table. The three of us just enjoy each other and enjoy speaking about truth and enjoy speaking truth that we have seen has been so transformational in the lives of women all around the world. 

Nancy: Let me just give a little context to the subtitle of your book, which is: Surprisingly Simple Habits. They may be simple, but they take a lifetime to practice, let me say. 

Mary: Of a Spiritually Strong Woman

Nancy: We have been unpacking some of those habits—what are the bad habits that we need to put off and what are the good habits that we need to put on. We’re going to talk about the third habit today which has to do with this thing of baggage. 

Mary: Ditching the baggage . . . and we are spending time unpacking Second Timothy. 

Nancy: Speaking of baggage, we’re unpacking. 

Mary: Yes we are unpacking 2 Timothy chapter 3, verses 6 and 7, where the apostle Paul mentions these weak women that were in the church in Ephesus.

Nancy: In fact, let’s just read that passage because it talks about some kind of people we are supposed to avoid. They’re dangerous. Stay away from them. Don’t get tangled up with them. That’s a warning that they needed back then in that church in Ephesus, but we really need it today too. 

He says that among these people we are supposed to avoid are those who creep into households and capture [we talked about that in the last session] weak women, little women, weak-willed women. They’re not spiritually strong women. They capture “weak women burdened with sin and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.” We want to park on that phrase about these women. They have all this baggage..

Mary: They’re burdened with sin. That word burdened is really interesting because in the Greek language it has the overtones of loading up a wagon, overloading a wagon so you’re piling one thing on top of another on top of another. 

Nancy: It’s straining!

Mary: Straining. It’s so, so heavy, just so so heavy that it becomes oppressively heavy. 

Nancy: It may break. Those wheels might fall off.

Mary: When I was in Thailand, they have a habit of overloading their vehicles in Thailand. I don’t know if you have been there. They have their vehicles. They have trucks; they have bikes, and they will pile them up sky high, unbelievably high, until they are just swaying. 

I remember being fascinated by those vehicles and snapping a few pictures of them. If you go on the Internet and take a look at Thailand overloaded vehicles, you will see some unbelievable pictures! I remember being fascinated by them, but I remember wanting to stay away from them because I was certain that at any time that they would . . .

Nancy: . . . crash! They are not safe.

Mary: They are not safe. They would crash. They would tip over. They’d be precarious. I would watch this guy ride his bicycle with all of his good’s piled sky high, and he was going to tip. If he turned too quickly, or if someone cut him off quickly, or if he had to adjust his course, it would lead to catastrophe. 

Dannah: You know what terrifies me? I’ve seen that a few times. Sometimes the driver will put a child on his lap. I think, How can you put that child in that position?

Nancy: There ought to be a law.

Dannah: Yes! So it is not safe for them. It’s not safe for the ones they love. It’s not safe for the people they don’t even know that are driving by. What a picture. 

Mary: It is a picture that’s really apt to what we are talking about in this session. The Bible says that there are burdens that God enables us to carry. When we are burdened by circumstances in life, by illnesses, by circumstances that are beyond our control, by things that are really difficult, He gives us strength to bear those burdens. That’s a wonderful thing that we are able to bear the burdens, that we need to bear as we go through life. But there is some unauthorized baggage that we ought not to bear and that we don’t need to be piling upon our wagons. 

Nancy: I’m just thinking of Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress and how comes out of the City of Destruction and he's heading towards the Celestial City. He's got this burden on his back and he's stooped down, and he's bowed down. He just wants to get rid of it. Until he gets to the cross, until he gets to Christ, this is just something that weighs him down. He can never be free, and when it rolls off at the cross, he is just so free. 

I think that sometimes we think, Well, I became a Christian back in whatever year so I am free from my sin. But then we let sin and the burden of sin pile back up on us when we are supposed to be free from it. 

Mary: We wonder if that is the situation here with the women in Ephesus. They were burdened with sin, and the reason they were weak was because they were not dealing with sin on an ongoing basis. 

Nancy: It’s not just for non-Christians; it is for believers. Think of in Hebrews chapter 12 the writer to the Hebrews says you’re running a race, and you can’t run a race (I’m paraphrasing here) with extra clothing and all kinds of weights that you’re carrying. So he says that if you’re going to run this race with endurance, you have to lay aside every weight and sin that clings so closely. And then, run with endurance the race that is set before us. This is a really important thing to first realize sin does weigh us down.

Mary: It does. It’s not just the sin, it’s the guilt and the shame that accompanies the sin. The whole burden of it that’s so dark and so oppressive and so heavy. Those are things that we are to not be carrying around. We’re to rid ourselves of that by running to the cross and dealing with our sin and our shame and our guilt through the discipline of confession.

Nancy: Which we’re not going to confess until we first we realize that we do have sins. Do you feel like we do not talk a lot about sin today? 

Dannah: It is so politically incorrect. I feel like bringing the word up in church settings, not my particular church my particular church talks about it a lot, but you have to weigh out at what place of readiness are they for me to talk about how the payment of sin is death. There is blood required to pay for that sin. Those are harsh things if you don’t have a healthy theology of what sin is. 

Nancy: Well we laugh about sin in our culture.

Dannah: We do

Nancy: We think things are funny that God says are wicked, and we think the things that God says are holy are ridiculous. I think we need to get our thinking straight about sin, but then about its consequences. 

David in Psalm 32 says that when I kept silent about my sin, when I didn’t confess it, (that’s where we're heading on this conversation) when I didn’t bring it into the light, it weighed heavily upon me. My body was groaning. 

Dannah: My bones were rotting.

Nancy: I think that there are physiological and mental and emotional ailments, not all of them by any means, but some of them are just the consequences of not dealing with the burden of sin. Carrying it instead of getting rid of it. So before we can confess it, confess it really implies you acknowledging that you have it. You’re not pretending it’s not there and it doesn’t matter. 

Mary: That’s why it is so important to talk about sin. All of us are sinners. We are forgiving and made righteous when we come to Jesus. So positionally, we are in good standing, we are in right standing with Him, but we deal with sin on an ongoing basis. It does weigh us down, and it does burden us. 

I think of a woman that I met, a young woman over on the east coast. She was actually on staff with a Christian organization working on campus with a group there. She came to me, and she began to share some things after a conference. She started to share about a sin that she had never told anyone about. Now, she had confessed it to God. She knew that intellectually she had been forgiven. 

Her story was that she was a pastor’s daughter. Her mom and dad when she went off to college just said be very careful who you date and don’t go out to bars. But she met this guy, and she went out. She thought that she would be able to witness to him and be able to share the gospel. 

Dannah: Missionary Dating.

Mary: Missionary dating. She ended up meeting him at a bar and unbenounced to her, during that evening he slipped a date rape drug in her drink. She woke up the next morning disoriented and didn’t know what had happened. She didn’t even know for sure that anything had happened. She woke up in her own bed, but was just totally disoriented. 

Well, fast-forward a few weeks, and she found out she was pregnant. She thought, How can I even tell my Bible study group of girls that I am discipling? I am a leader in the community here, in the Christain community. How can I even tell them what happened and what I did? So she went quietly and without telling anyone, she had an abortion. 

So when she met me, she said, “I have dealt with being sinned against.” Because that was a terrible thing that she was raped and she was sinned against in a terrible way. She had dealt with that and all the consequences and gone through some counseling. But she still had not told anyone about the abortion because, “That was my choice. The sin against me was out of my control.” 

Dannah: Had she talked to God about that? 

Mary: She had talked to God about that, and she had confessed. She said, “I have confessed every evening, every day for eight years.” 

Dannah: I know that that's where I was every day.

Mary: Heavy. Heavy. Heavy. Every day she was confessing telling God about it all the time. I said, “Let’s just spend some time . . . I know you have confessed, but I want you to confess here with me as I am listening as your witness. I want you to pray and ask the Lord for forgiveness, and I am going to fight with you.” Now, God had forgiven her. I am sure he forgave her the very first time she asked, but she had the guilt and the shame.

Dannah: He wanted to heal her.

Mary: He wanted to heal her. James 5:16 says, “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (NIV). So she had confessed to God, but she had never openly confessed. She had never gone to the community or had people fight with her for the release of that heavy, heavy burden in her life. We began to pray. It was one of those moments when I could just sense the Holy Spirit being present. She prayed. She confessed, and then I took her. When she finished, she was sobbing and looking down at the ground. I took her chin and I lifted it up, and I looked her directly in the eyes. I said, “You have been forgiven. I pronounce forgiveness over you.” 

Now, I have no power to forgive sin. It’s Jesus who forgives sin, and she had been forgiven. But she needed to hear that. She needed to bring her sin out into the light so that she could be released from the burden and the guilt of it. There's something about that open confession. I was able to pray with her. I prayed the truth of Scripture over her. I must have prayed for a least two–three hours, just praying the truth of the Word of God into her life.

Dannah: It takes time, sometimes, to have the process of repentance and confession. I think we often, or we will tell someone, “I will pray for you.” Or you go pray about it. 

Nancy: Or we will pray for a minute.

Dannah: Yet I think that if Jesus labored in the Garden of Gethsemane in prayer over our sin and the pain that He was going to go through, how much more should we be laboring in prayer over our sin? That doesn’t mean we’re agonizing over it, we’re figuring out how to be set free, how to experience this gospel that’s written in the pages of the Bible, how to experience it in our own hearts and minds. 

Nancy: Also, to realize that there is a vertical and a horizontal dimension in confession. Our sin is against God first, and foremost that’s what David said in Psalm 51. “Against you and you only have I sinned and done this great evil in your sight” (v. 4). By writing Psalm 51, he was journaling his humility, his repentance, his brokenness, for others to read and to see. 

I often talk about the old-time writer Roy Hession. He talks about confession having two directions. There’s vertical that’s roof off—that's with God. And there's horizontal—the walls down with others. I know Dannah, for you as you grappled with the sin of your teenage years some moral sin and failure you had confessed to God, there was the vertical. 

Dannah: Almost every day. 

Nancy: But it was a while into your marriage before you let down the walls to share that with your husband.

Dannah: Yes, in fact, that was the night I heard a session like. It is what gave me the hope to believe I could stop being weighed down by it every single day, thinking about it every single day.

I went home and I told my husband, who bless his heart, though he married the driven snow (because my convictions for purity were so strong by the time I met him) . . . He held me. I confessed, and he held me. You know what? I think that felt like the arms of Jesus around me. 

Sometimes we need to be the hands and feet of Jesus for someone. When he said, “I don’t think I need to tell you I forgive you from me, but I think you need to hear it. I think you need to hear that you are forgiven.” 

That was revolutionary in my spiritual life. It was months until I told my mom, but she said what happened? My mom had been praying her whole life for me. She saw the sadness.

Nancy: She saw the change.

Dannah: She saw the heaviness, the burden, and now she saw a lightness and a happiness and the joy.

Mary: That was the exact same thing when I prayed for Mindy. We prayed for hours. I pronounced forgiveness over her and prayed truth to counteract the accusations. 

Last session we talked about the accuser and how to win the battle for our minds. But when I prayed truth over her, it was like something cracked in the spiritual realm. It was like it was just like this relief that was so incredible and powerful. When she came up to me the next morning, I did not recognize her. The change was so profound. There was this light and this joy and this whole change and demeanor that cannot be explained other than a supernatural blessing from God who lifted the burden off of her. It changed her dramatically. 

Nancy: That’s like Christain getting to the cross in Pilgrim’s Progress. I’m just burdened right now for us to stop and pray. Mary, I want you to pray. We’re just going to join hands here with these women. If there is a woman listening right now who is burdened, would you just pray truth over her, that God would just release her for that burden through confession.

Mary: Heavenly Father, I pray for the woman who is listening who is just feeling the weight. Even as we speak, she is feeling the weight of her sin. She is feeling guilt. She is feeling shame. 

Father, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. You have released us from the necessity to bear our sin. You have borne our sin. The weight and the shame of that You have taken that away. 

I pray for the woman now that she will understand that You forgive our sins. You are faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us, to lift that burden, to lift that weight. So Father, I pray for her that she may have the courage to bring her sin into the light with a trusted brother or sister, with her brother perhaps being her husband or a sister in Christ with whom she is able to confess to, so that she may be prayed for and may experience the freedom—the absolute freedom—that comes from understanding that our sins are gone in the name of Jesus, amen.

Nancy: Amen.

Dannah: Amen. We are praying for you sweet friend. 

Nancy: We have just touched the surface, skinned the surface of how we need to think about sin and confession and getting free from it. Mary, I’m so glad in your book The Right Kind of Strong that you’ve done a deeper dive into true confession, true repentance, how we can experience true freedom. This is a book that I know many of our listeners will want to read, need to read. We are making it available.

Dannah: Yes. We are making it available. You might need help with this the third habit of spiritually strong women which is: 

Nancy: Ditching the baggage.

Dannah: Ditching the baggage, and if you do:

Mary: Confessing on an ongoing basis. 

Dannah: Keeping your heart clean continually. Cleaning it out that one time, then keeping it clean. If you need help, we would love to send you this book. It’s called The Right Kind of Strong: Surprisingly Simple Habits of a Spiritually Strong Woman.

We’re going to send it to you when you make a gift of any amount to Revive Our Hearts so that we can help other women experience that freedom in Christ. You can make that gift by calling 1–800–569–5959, or by going to our website ReviveOurHearts.com. Be sure to ask for Mary’s book, The Right Kind of Strong. 

Nancy: As we’ve been having this conversation, I have been thinking about that old-time hymn, “Come, ye sinners poor and needy, weak and wounded, sick and sore.” That’s really a description of what the burden of sin does to us. I think of the modern setting of that hymn that Fernando Ortega has put to music. Just let these words wash over your soul as you come in humility and repentance to Christ to be free from that burden of sin. 

Fernando Ortega:

Come, ye sinners poor and needy
Weak and wounded, sick and sore.
Jesus ready, stands to save you
Full pity, love and power.

I will arise and go to Jesus
He will embrace me in His arms.
In the arms of my dear Savior
Oh, there are ten thousand charms. 1

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Woglemuth is helping you find freedom in Christ. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV unless otherwise noted.

1Fernando Ortega. "Come Ye Sinners." Storm. 2004 Word Entertainment.

 

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