One of the constant challenges in Christian life is our struggle with sin. For each, the sin may be different. Some seemingly small; others so big that their consequences are far-reaching and affect us profoundly. But “big sin” or “small sin”, seen or unseen, God sees all and we know He is grieved when we fall short of His standards.
In his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul made this startling confession:
“21I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.24Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?” (Rom 7:21-24 NLT).
Paul explained in the following chapter how Christians could overcome sin. Here are a few thoughts on the following verses from there:
5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. 7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. 8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. 9 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. (Rom 8:5-9a NLT)
As a born-again Christian am I not “controlled by the Holy Spirit” you ask. Answer: though the Holy Spirit is in us, the old (sinful) nature still remains in us, as Paul himself acknowledged. There is therefore a constant tug-of-war in our spiritual bodies. If we “pull’ on the sinful nature’s side, we succumb to that sin tempting us. If we “pull’ on the Spirit’s side, we overcome that temptation.
While God has given us free will, we would not have been able to choose God’s way without the Spirit. But we thank God for giving us the Spirit through Christ so that we are able to choose to love God and please Him.
So, whatever temptation you find yourself in, remember that God has enabled you through the Spirit to be able to say no sin. Therefore, let us boldly exercise that small mustard-seed sized grain of faith by saying to our Heavenly Father – I reject this temptation to sin because I love You. Let the Holy Spirit work powerfully in your life.
I pray that you will live each day with the conviction that you are being empowered by the Spirit to say no to sin. So let us reject the temptation to sin and reap the joys of living in the Spirit. And, to stay humble and recognise that even that mustard seed sized faith was also given to you by God’s mercy.
Finally, for those struggling with sins too big to cope with, feel free to approach your Small Group church leaders and our pastoral staff for assistance. We are all in this pilgrimage together – wanting to be more and more Christlike each day – and we must all help our fellow travellers along the journey.
God Bless you,
Elder Daniel John