Monday, March 30, 2009


Struggling With sin

Q. I struggle with a particular sin that seems to have a stronghold on me. I commit this particular sin because I like it. I know it is wrong but I do it anyway… because I like it After I commit this sin I feel guilty and remorseful. I repent and ask God to forgive me only to go right back and do it again. It’s as if there are two of me warring against each other. It has become a vicious cycle.

How does one stop doing something that is wrong when, if we are honest with ourselves, we like it. I like to use the analogy of pizza because I love pizza. If pizza became a sin tomorrow I would have trouble because I like it…a lot. So then, it seems to me that until I stop liking some thing I wont stop doing it. If so , then how do you stop liking something that you truly like…do you see the frustration that I’m experiencing.

Another way to look at it might be that we will always like sin and it will always be a struggle. When Jesus said we have to pick up our cross and deny ourselves daily does this mean the denial of the pleasures of sin. I just want to stop doing certain things. As Christian I feel like such a hypocrite. Sometimes it seems like I’m fighting a losing battle. I’m so frustrated!

A. First of all, stop beating yourself up. We all sin, and we all commit the same sins over and over. Even the mighty Paul had this problem. “For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” (Romans 7:18-19)

The only hypocrites among us are those who deny they have problems similar to yours. For some it’s over eating, or drinking too much. Others can’t control their tempers, or their lusts, or their envy, or their pride. Still others have idols they can’t lay down, like their possessions, their bank accounts, or their leisure activities. If sin wasn’t pleasurable we’d have no trouble denying it. You make it sound like yours might be less socially acceptable than some others, but that’s just man’s opinion. In God’s view all sins are unacceptable.

The guilt you obviously feel is the devil trying to steal your joy. It sounds counter-intuitive, but the best way to get rid of a recurring sin is to stop giving it so much importance. The devil exploits the importance we give to our sins by heaping on extra guilt for committing them, which actually has the effect of making a repeat offense more likely. Pretty soon we feel so bad that we’re hiding from God, like Adam in the garden, and that’s just what the devil wants.

When you sin, confess and receive your forgiveness. (1 John 1:9) For God, that’s the end of it and He forgets it ever happened. You do the same. Repeat the verse from James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Guilt does not come from God. You resist the devil by seeing the guilt for what it is, his effort to drive a wedge between you and God, and rejecting it.

Pretty soon you’ll find you’re not doing it as much anymore and you’ll have deprived the devil of one more weak spot to probe. Stay focused on James 4:7, keep your guard up, and when you stumble forgive and forget, just like God does. Eventually you’ll achieve the victory you desire.

The most important thing for all of us to remember is that this life isn’t about pleasing ourselves. It’s about thanking God for saving us. We do it by adopting behavior that pleases Him.


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