Monday, March 1, 2010

Lie No. 17: I Cannot Walk In Consistent Victory Over Sin

"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." Romans 7:15

A bit of a tongue twister, and sadly, so so true. I think Paul managed to sum up the human race with this one sentence. How many times have we all been in this situation? We catch ourselves doing or saying something that we have stumbled over a thousand times before, each time vowing that we would know better the next time, and each time coming back to God with our tail between our legs, embarrassed and ashamed to be asking for forgiveness AGAIN for the same thing.

I realized yesterday that I fell miserably victim once again to my flesh in this recent debate with my friend. Discernment is high in my spiritual gifting, and as a result, it is very easy for me to see truth and error, and once I recognize the error of a situation, it becomes so blatantly obvious to me, that to ignore or deny it becomes not only painful but impossible. And it is often beyond my understanding to watch a brother or sister in Christ choose a path that to me is so clearly wrong. And here is where the stumbling happens. As I was reminded by yesterday's sermon, God's timing is imperative. However, my eagerness to make the truth known often precedes a patient spirit, leading me to speak before God has fully prepared the person's heart to hear it. While the words that were spoken were entirely truthful and necessary, perhaps they would have been better received, had this person been confronted with them at a later time, when she was at a place spiritually where she was ready to hear them.

I will admit that this lie is one I greatly struggle with and am learning to battle along side all of you. I know the words promised to us in Scripture:

"So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death... But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you." Romans 8:1-2,9

I guess maybe where the confusion comes in is differentiating between sinning and living in sin. We all sin. We will always sin. That can never change this side of eternity. So when does it become living in sin? When does it become a way of life? If we struggle with laziness, bad eating habits, pessimism, worry, doubt, fear, spiritual stagnation... We all are guilty of these or similar sins occasionally, but if we allow those sins to become commonplace in our lives, something we find ourselves doing daily, I think we could say that we are living in sin in that area. And that is something that we do not have to do. We have the power to change those things about ourselves through the power of the Spirit living in us.

This is, of course, easier said than done, because, as Paul noted, the things we want to do, we do not do, and the things we hate, we do. I will quote the teaching of one of my pastors by telling you that the only thing that will get us on the right track is regular, reflective, consistent time in the Word and on our knees. I may continue to fail miserably at times, probably much more often than I would like, but I will keep coming back to the one place that sets me right again. May you do the same.

"Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God's grace." Romans 6:14

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