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Overcoming sin in our lives inspired by Casting Crowns - East to West lyrics


Posted 08 Sep 2015

Listening to a great song by the Christian band “Casting Crowns” called East to West.

The early lyrics read:

“Here I am Lord and I’m drowning
In Your sea of forgetfulness
The chains of yesterday surround me
I yearn for peace and rest

I don’t want to end up
Where You found me
And it echoes in my mind
Keeps me awake tonight

I know You’ve cast my sin as far as
The east is from the west
And I stand before You now
As though I’ve never sinned

But today I feel like
I’m just one mistake away
From You leaving me this way

Jesus, can You show me just how far
The east is from the west?
‘Cause I can’t bear to see the man I’ve been
Rising up in me again

In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
You know just how far
The east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other”


This isn’t all the lyrics of this Casting Crowns song, but the bit that has struck me today!

The Bible tells us that God casts our confessed sin as far away from us as the East is from the West, which is great news.

But sin that we find ourselves tempted to repeat makes us question our resolve (to overcome it in our lives), & it threatens to plunge us into the darkness of depression & despair. I think this is what is perhaps meant by the lyric line: “But today I feel like I’m just one mistake away From You leaving me this way.”

Of course the Lord ISN’T going to leave us in our sin; He is utterly dedicated to our salvation & NEVER loses patience with us & our struggle with sin. We do have to recognise the danger of sin: how devious & corrupting it is, especially sin that we have repeatedly given in to in the past – we are clearly susceptible to that particular wrong-doing.
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The Lord AND ourselves need to be in co-operative union in order to overcome our sin problem. God plays His part, & we have to play our part as well. We have to be RUTHLESS when it comes to sin. We have to root it out & be determined NOT to indulge it. It is too dangerous to hope it will just go away by itself – would we expect an enemy soldier to do that?! We have to go on the offensive & cause ourselves to grow up & overcome wrong-doing. For His part, the Holy Spirit will encourage us, point out the sin & strengthen us to overcome it, but it HAS to be our decision to turn away from anything which tempts us. We must be holy, & God encourages us & helps us to achieve that.

“Jesus, can You show me just how far
The east is from the west?
‘Cause I can’t bear to see the man I’ve been
Rising up in me again”

This is the verse that “speaks” of the struggle many Christians experience: we want to be holy, but we are tempted not to be, & to follow our own (evil) desires. That can manifest itself as a fear that we won’t have the strength to resist temptation. But we DO have the strength: we have to believe that the Holy Spirit provides that strength. The Bible promises that we will NEVER face a temptation that is beyond our strength to resist. We have to believe that, & be THAT serious in our endeavours to resist any & all temptation to sin in our lives.

Uniquely Christ shows us just how much he sympathises & identifies with us & our sin-inspired troubles. The verse:

“In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
You know just how far
The east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other.”

The scarred hands refers to Jesus’ own hands – scarred by the nails of the cross. On that wooden cross Jesus paid for ALL our sinful behaviour. It is that sacrifice which takes ALL of our sin & replaces it in us with His holiness & sinlessness. Our record is spotlessly clean because of the wounds Jesus suffered in our stead. That is how much God loves us & how seriously He regards the evil sin which separates us from Him, before we are Christians.

The song ends on a positive note, that is nevertheless easy to miss:

“I know You’ve washed me white
Turned my darkness into light
I need Your peace to get me through
To get me through this night

I can’t live by what I feel
About the truth Your word reveals
And I’m not holding onto You
But You’re holding onto me, You’re holding onto me

Jesus, You know just how far
The east is from the west
I don’t have to see the man I’ve been
Come rising up in me again.”

Remember, the lyrics read:
“I KNOW You’ve washed me white”. The next verse reads; “I can’t live by what I feel”, that’s a cause of much of our trouble! We listen too often & too much to what we FEEL, & we fail to recall what God has TOLD us is the truth, in the Bible: “About the truth Your word reveals.”

The final verse above contains the words: “I DON’T have to see the man I’ve been”. Thank goodness for that!

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