Turning away from sin can be very difficult, even sacrificial.
I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…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. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! (Rom 7:14, 20- 24).
I, like Paul, have continued to struggle with sin, but have found that I cannot defeat it myself – Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Rom 7:25).
It is not God’s will for us, that we would stay…stuck…helpless. Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:7-10).
Conquering these “difficulties” is easier than we think…because we do not need to defeat the devil. Jesus already did that! We must resist him by turning toward the Lord. So my revelation, my realization, my conviction is this: While it is wonderful to give the Lord our very best, sometimes it is better to give Him our very worst, because these are the things we hold most dear.
In an unexpected twist, getting your own way leads you astray. Freedom to sin is bondage to sin. True freedom is found in obedience.
Picture yourself wandering into a dark alley. Wrong place, wrong time. You are overpowered, helpless to even scream. The thought of it seems to suffocate. You are pulling against the grasp of your attacker, twisting to run, but unable to get free. Suddenly, Someone has subdued the attacker and is holding him down, telling you to run for your life. The next time you walk down that street, you will avoid that alley. If you see that shady character stalking you, you will look for your Protector immediately. When He gives you advice about how to be safe, you will be willing to listen:
Ephesians 4:22-24. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life:
to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires
to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Some of us struggle with a stubborn sin that we give to God, and then take back again. Is it a grudge, some lingering bitterness over an old hurt? Is it a bad habit: gossip, “little white lies”? Gluttony? Have trouble with your temper? You may identify these or it could be something else entirely.
These sins, that are so troublesome to us,
can also become very dear to us.
We don’t want to give them up.
We hide them away like a treasure.
So when I lay my bitterness down on the altar and abandon an old grudge, I am giving the Lord something very precious indeed. It is not a spotless and blameless offering; it is quite the opposite. It is not the same as offering my service to the Lord or my thanksgiving or my praise ‘“ these are all beautiful to Him, no doubt.
But the cost of our burdensome sins is very high, because Jesus paid the ultimate price for those. And to relinquish our sin and truly repent, does humble us, really does make us more Christ-like, and so this is a sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto Him.