There is something I have been struggling with for quite some time. No need to get into the details of it just something I haven’t been able to kick. I’d surrender, then take it back, and then re-surrender—it was a vicious cycle. I’d pray and ask God for forgiveness tell Him I’d never do it again and then do it again. At best, I reduced the frequency of the infraction, but I never stopped; there is a difference between stopping and reducing. If a liar lies less but still lies, he or she is still a liar. If a person steals less but still steals, he or she is still a thief. If a person is a habitual cheater but cheats less, he or she is still a cheater. You get the point.
Maybe there was a part of me that didn’t want to completely surrender that part of my life. You know what I am talking about. The stuff we like to hold on to. We feel bad about it but feeling bad doesn’t make us stop. Since I never actually put in the work to stop, I made excuses for it. I lied to myself. I said things like, “it’s not that bad”, or “it’s unreasonable to think I’ll never do this again,” or “there is always forgiveness.” And there is forgiveness. But like Paul said in Romans 6:1-2, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?”
I’ve decided it’s time. It’s time to give it up. To put in the work. To truly surrender this part of my life to God. His word says in Luke 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” How can I say that I love the Lord and continue to live in disobedience? I can’t.
It starts with God’s Word. Understanding what His word says concerning a particular faculty of life and applying it accordingly. I’ve moved forward with memorizing scripture that speaks to the area of disobedience. Every day over the past few weeks, I’ve gotten down on my knees and prayed the scriptures. I have had serious conversations with the Lord. I have emptied myself before Him and been filled. What a difference it has made. Letting it go has not been as difficult as I thought it would be. I just needed to put in the work.
One of the things that used to overwhelm me was the time. Then there is that every other time I have committed this, I’ve failed. What makes this time different? This time I’m taking it one day at a time, and I’ve decided I love the Lord more than I love my sin. Will I fail, maybe. It is that that keeps me close, keeps me vigilant. Knowing that at any time I can fail. Now I attack at the onset. I don’t wait.
Leaving sin behind is a battle no matter what the sin is. The enemy does not want to see you get better. He does not want you to grow closer to Christ. Remember Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” And there is no blaming God. James 1:13-14 says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.” It has helped me to remember that Jesus set me free, and I am no longer a slave to sin. There is a quote by Aristotle I like that says, “What lies in our power to do, it lies also in our power not to do.” The problem for the believer is a matter of choice.
I encourage you to choose Christ. To follow Him fully. To offer your body as a living sacrifice holy and pleasing as this is your spiritual act of worship.
I desire that my sacrifice be fragrant in the nostrils of my Lord. And that means denial. Denial of self. Denial of the flesh. Denial of sin. But it is not only denial. It is also acceptance. Acceptance of God’s sovereignty. Acceptance of God’s majesty. Acceptance of His Lordship. It is choice. Choosing to love God with all my heart, soul, and mind.
How are you loving the Lord? Is it with your whole self? Or have you settled for mediocrity? The decreasing of habitual sin rather than the elimination of it. Are you determined to put sin to death?
I’ll keep you posted on my progress. In the meantime, keep me in prayer. And let me know how I can be praying for you.