I had lunch with a friend awhile back and during the conversation we talked about how sin often starts out as something small, barely crossing the line. Picture it like this, hold your hands as far apart as possible. Look at your right hand and envision that is you, look at your left hand and envision that is the result of sin. If we knew what the end result of our sin was and how far it would take us, most of us would never go there. Now, place your hands over one another and slowly start to pull them apart. That is where sin usually begins, close to what you already know, just a slight movement here and slight movement there and suddenly you look up and sin has taken you to places you never wanted to journey. Therein lies the issue, rarely does someone wake up and say,
‘today I want to go out and blatantly engage in sexual immorality..’
‘today I want to drink until I’m delirious and get high..’
‘today I want to look at porn..’
‘today I want to gossip profusely..’
‘today I want to be dishonest with others on a ridiculously continual basis..’
‘today I want to offend others with my words..’
‘today I want to lust like it is going out of style..’
‘today I want to be angry, rude, crude, and evil toward all those around me..’
‘today I want to be a glutton and eat everything in my sight..’
‘today I want to blatantly deny Christ with my mouth, heart, actions..’
‘today I want to judge and slander everyone I come into contact with..’
You get the point, none of us start there. In fact, most of us, wake up and think, ‘today I want to honor God..” and then desire, convenience, poor choices, temptation begin to creep in, slowly pulling down our walls and taking us farther away from our hearts desire to do right, into a place where our heart chooses wrong. During the slow creep, habits are formed, black and white turns grey, barriers come down and over time sin leads you down paths you never dreamed you would go. The battle, the tension, the pull, and the draw of sin begin to overtake us.
We all have sin issues, struggles, failures…..so, why not look our sin in the face, admit it, share it with others, and ask God to redeem it? Because, often times we fear the shame and disappointment worse than we do carrying our sin or carrying on with our sin. We’ve grown to find comfort in our sin. We have learned to enjoy it and the way it makes us feel. It has taken ahold of us and it doesn’t want to let go. We determine we will never be better, we will never defeat it, and we will never shake it, so, we give in over and over.
I am no different. I have struggled with this cycle most of my life; wake up, ‘I want to live for God today’. Sin entices, ‘well maybe just a little’. Sin fully consumes, ‘gosh I’m the worst person ever’. Sin wins, ‘I’ll never get it right, I just can’t honor God, I suck!’ Shame, disappointment, and lies creep in. Like Adam and Eve in the garden, I hide in the bushes avoiding God completely, because after all, why would He want anything to do with me?? Such lies, such brokenness, such an awful cycle.
We never start out far off, we start off nearby and slowly make choices that lead us far off. Our struggle is nothing new, just listen to Paul,
” I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am…..” Romans 7:15-23
This passage finishes with hope, “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”. The hope is this, Christ can and will redeem. That is truth and freedom. Temptation will always be there, sin will always entice, but Christ promises freedom. Put Him to the test and see what he can do with your sin, brokenness, habits, and choices…..and, if you ever think, ‘I can’t get it right..’ You are right, you can’t, just like Paul couldn’t, I couldn’t and others before us couldn’t. But, God can…….I’m still learning this everyday, some days are better than others, but I believe God is still working.
But for grace….