Saturday, May 8, 2010

Fighting Sin Requires Admitting You Can't Win

When I was finally at the point with sin that I desperately wanted to change, I was trying everything I could to resist temptation and avoid sin. I was proud of myself for some really long periods (months) of staying away from certain sins. But I kept giving in to sin again and again. It seemed that no matter what my motivation was, no matter how much I hated sin or was ashamed of it, no matter what tactics I tried, I just kept returning to it. Then I read a book in which the author boldly stated in the first chapter something that stunned me. He said this fight is impossible and we can't win it. He proceeded to demonstrate from the Bible two things: 1) that we are corrupted enough by an appetite for sin that we aren't able to resist it on our own; and 2) that God's standard is complete holiness, something no human being can obtain by force of will or discipline.

At first, I was wondering where he was going with that. Then he explained that as long as we are trying to "work harder" at beating sin (this goes for any sin), we are just trying to do in our own strength something that is impossible on our own. The only way to victory is to recognize and admit to God that we can't do this. We will fail. I thought this sounded like giving up, but the author made me see that God's specific plan for overcoming sin is that we trust Him to supply the power to do it. When we admit to Him we can't do it and that we have to depend entirely on Him, we are being honest about who we are and who God is. That's what God wants us to see. He wants us to recognize that He is God, and it is His power that is going to change our lives. When we ask Him to free us and we put our trust entirely in Him to overcome sin, He accomplishes far more than we ever can.

I know this is right, because I've examined these ideas against Scripture, and that's exactly what the Bible teaches. But I also know it's right because I changed my tactics and started applying this truth in practice, putting all my trust and hope in God to keep me from sin, and now instead of those occasional months of freedom I've been free for years. God's plan works. Here's how it looks in practice.

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