Thinking about sin and the issue of our struggle with it in this life as believers.
What is at the root of our sin? Are the things we as believers struggle with just on the surface or is there a deeper problem? For instance, do we covet because that which we covet for is attractive or do we have a deep underlining dissatisfaction with God? This is a very important thing to explore because if our problem is so deep that we can’t detect it apart from God peeling back our heart layers and revealing the issue, we will be ever trying to deal with the “warning light” rather than the real problem.
I have found this to be the case in my own struggle and through conversation with an accountability partner the real issues, by Gods grace, came to the surface. Sometimes we can think that just putting away the sin that we do will fix everything, but there may be more we have to deal with. An example would be a man who struggles with looking at internet pornography and in his desire to be free, throws out his computer. That is good and all but does it deal with his heart,which the Bibles tells us is deceitfully wicked. James in the first chapter tells us that when we are tempted it is because we are lured and enticed by our own desires. It is the sinful desire in us that is the problem, not the temptations outside of us. Both Martin Luther and John Wesley learned this by trying to escape the corruption of society thinking they would be escaping sin. Luther went into the monastery and Wesley went to Georgia. Wesley thought that if he could get away from the sinful temptations of society and go to a land where the corruption of modern day things and ideas couldn’t reach him, that he would be finally free to be holy and he even thought that the women would no longer be a problem for him because they were of another “race, or culture” being so unlike himself that there would be not attraction that would cause him to lust. Both Luther and Wesley found that it wasn’t society at all that was the problem, but their own sinful hearts that needed to be changed.
We must get to the root, and this is a practice that I am still trying to work through myself. The point is to not give up and let the guilt of failure over whelm us to the point of just giving up or giving in to the sins that so easily entangle us. Sin must be fought against, and the battle is over the gospel. Throwing away the computer or getting rid of your cable is a start, but that sinful thing that festers in us will not be easily slain.
A few things to remember:
- We must remember, and preach the gospel to ourselves daily. In daily preaching the gospel to ourselves we are constantly putting into our minds and hearts the truths of God’s grace for underserving sinners who deserve Hell, but received mercy instead.
- We must go to God in prayer and to His word every day. It isn’t so much that your sin is the root, but the fruit of a deep backsliden heart that lost joy in Christ and satisfaction. Rev 2:4-5 …”thou hast left thy first love. 5Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works;”
- The one thing I could not over emphasize is accountability. I know that is stressed continually and I admit that it was just another word to me until God graciously provided a real accountability partner, or rather a true brother in Christ to come along side of me and walk me through some very hard things and treated my sin more serious than I was at the time. So my personal experience with having someone in my life to hold me accountable is why I stress its importance, not just because it makes sense.
- Another thing to remember is to not let yourself fall into the trap of believing the lies about God that develops from having a sin you can’t get free of yet. The lie is that God can’t or won’t forgive you this time so that you lose your confidence before the throne of grace and shrink back, but God is not pleased with those who shrink back, but blesses those who hope in His mercy.
Jesus Christ came t0 save sinners. It is the one qualification that we all have, our sin. So while it is easy to despair over our battle with sin, remember the gospel, that Jesus nailed our sin to the cross, which gives us hope to fight another day. Our acceptance is based on the perfect life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, not our own righteousness.