Do we take God’s grace and mercy for granted?
I have been thinking a lot about this since I recently found myself in a difficult situation. If we knew we’d instantly receive the consequences for our sin, would there be any sinners? Have we fooled ourselves into thinking that there will always be time to repent?
Putting things off is a bad habit in many of our lives, but if we put off spiritual maturity, aren’t we saying that our will trumps His? I do believe intentions play a part, that for the most part, we don’t wake up looking to commit sin. But, how long is the “I’m human” argument going to hold up?
Many debate whether or not living sin-free is even possible. The Bible says in 1 John 1:8 that, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” However, Romans 6:2 says “Certainly not, how shall we who died to sin live in it any longer?”, and verse 6 says, “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” Verse 18 says, “And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness”.
Christ’s work on the cross has made us free, we have the power to defeat sin by dying to ourselves and accepting righteousness by faith. You might ask, “Well, how do we do that?” I think it can be summed up with Proverbs 3:6, “Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will direct your path”.
Why do Christians sin?
We have the Holy Spirit, His word, community (the Church), so what’s the deal? I would propose we redefine the battle with sin and start to understand that it’s actually a battle to surrender our will to His.
To look at abstaining from sin simply as self-denial is a bit short-sighted. Walking in righteousness is about more than discipline, although we need discipline. When you’re only denying yourself, it’s easy to sometimes rationalize your desires and think you’ll just repent afterward and move on – but that’s not godly. We don’t get to vacillate between His will and ours. Complete surrender means doing everything God’s way. I speak Gods way, I react Gods way, I treat people Gods way – I live Gods way!
So, is there hope for the repeat offender? As long as we live, there is an opportunity to turn things around and walk upright. But, Matthew 24:42 says, “Watch, therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.” Thank God that His mercy endures forever (Psalm 136:1), but what a waste it would be to live a life in and out of bondage to sin (Romans 6:20).
Neverending cycles of freedom-sin-repentance-repeat, that’s not what He died for. We can truly have the mind of Christ if we surrender our will. We can live in peace and fullness of joy – we don’t have to just visit there. God created us for so much more than this. Think of where you might be if you had done things God’s way?
Surrender requires self-awareness.
Self-awareness and discernment is also a key in this. If you recognize and accept the truth about yourself, it makes it easier to surrender.
Maybe you’re mean because you’re scared of relationships. Maybe you’re angry and curse people out because you don’t feel heard or validated. Maybe you sleep around because you’re seeking love in the wrong places. This doesn’t mean you should play the victim – you are still more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37)! I’m saying there’s a reason, a root to all our sin. We have to dig it up and give it to God.
Disobedience Costs, Jesus Paid it All
Life is full of ups and downs, but many of the downs are the consequences of our disobedience. It is a lot harder to go through rough times when you know you only have yourself to blame (1 Peter 2:20)! Most often the consequences are internal agony, feelings of guilt and shame that can follow you around like a dark cloud. This can lead to depression and cause further damage, difficulty praying or even going to church, for example.
It’s not hard for God to forgive us, but it’s often hard for us to forgive ourselves. Working through the emotional trauma of sin is often a lot more difficult than just calling on God when we’re tempted. It’s one thing to avoid a situation, but it takes a certain strength to be faced with it and say NO.
Know that we’re all in this together – we’ll fall down, but we have to get back up. We have to love and support each other and pray for one another to walk in liberty. I heard Bishop T.D. Jakes say that no matter what mistakes we make, God can and will reroute us to our expected end – and that’s good news, Team!
God is not surprised by our actions and He can still fulfill His purpose in us, so be encouraged.
So, What’s the Play Call?
- Don’t focus on sin, focus on surrender to righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ. Commit to living God’s way.
- Confide in your community – James 5:16 “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other that you might be healed. The prayer of the righteous person is powerful and effective.”
- Forgive yourself, God already has! “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ.” Romans 8:1