One of the biggest problems and discouragements for the Christian is: why do I keep sinning?
Here are several thoughts on the subject:
- We sin because we’re still in the flesh.
Although we have been given the Holy Spirit and have been raised up to newness of life, we still have a flesh body. The flesh body doesn’t want to die. It is selfish and wants to satisfy it’s appetites no matter the cost. Although the believer can grow and can see victory over sin, sin remains persistent and temptation will always rear its head as long as we’re in this flesh body in this fallen world.
- Sin is a problem.
If the fact that you still sin doesn’t bother you, you’re doing doctrine wrong. I’ve been around Christianity long enough to know all the “doctrinal” reasons why sin is OK. But sin isn’t OK, never has been, never will be. Sin is bad. We’re not supposed to do it. If the fact that you continue to sin does not make you feel guilty, occasionally doubt your faith, make you weep and fast, etc., then I think you need to read larger portions of the Bible. There are even righteous people in the Bible who were disturbed to the point of tears by observing sin around them. Sin should bother you; that’s actually a good sign if it does.
- God knows our frame.
Our sin does not take God by surprise. He knows our frame. He knows we are dust. He knows the temptations of the flesh (remember He was in the flesh being tempted before). God has made many beautiful, wonderful, and tasty things down here. Our flesh really enjoys them. Our flesh goes crazy and turns the beautiful and the good into ugly sin. God is aware of the struggle and the pull. He is also a faithful and sympathetic High Priest.
- God is gracious.
God is slow to anger, merciful, and willing to forgive. This is a blessed thing. If God is not these things, then there’s really no point to feeling any given way about sin, because it matters none at all if God doesn’t forgive. We’d all be condemned and done with. If God is not good, He’s the last place you’d go with your guilt, shame, and sin. But God is good, this is what leads us to repentance.
- Confess your sin.
Many evangelicals shy away from this idea to avoid the Catholic notion of confession. Confession is a rather simple thing. To “confess” means to “say the same thing as.” It’s to see your sin the way God sees it. To acknowledge that it’s there, that it’s a problem, and that only God can truly deal with it through Christ. To not confess your sin is to say you don’t have sin. And he who says he has no sin is a liar. Deal with reality. When you sin, admit it. Deal with it. Talk to God about it. He already knows it anyway; He’s waiting for you to wake up about it.
- Your good aint all that good.
Paul says, “When I do good, evil is present with me.” All our goodness, while being truly good, gives our flesh opportunity to sin. We get pride, self-righteousness, judgmentalism and comparison going. We can truly do good things. But doing good creates it’s own pitfalls. Our flesh is so messed up, it can even turn righteousness into evil. Let not your good be evil spoken of. Be aware of your flesh and it’s power to taint.
- Sin is a bigger problem than we’ll ever know.
There are times the Holy Spirit gives us a glimpse of who we truly are. It’s ugly. Often one or two big sins in our lives will capture our attention. It’s not until we deal with those that our eyes are clear enough to be able to see other sin in us. The older I get, the more I realize how much of my habits and natural responses are actually sin. I had no idea. I can only assume that the more I progress in the faith, the more clarity I will have about my sin.
- Be humbled.
We sin. We sin even when we don’t know we’re sinning. We can sin even while we are doing good. Sin is ugly. It put Christ on the cross. Humility is huge. God knows you. He sees you for who you are. Nothing is hidden from Him. Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and let Him lift you up. Humility brings peace. I don’t have to defend myself, or protect my stuff, or maintain an image or reputation. I can rest in the humble knowledge that I’m nothing without Christ. Be humbled by sin. Humility is a virtue our world despises, but one our Lord and Savior fully embraced when He humbled Himself in the form of a servant to become obedient unto death on the cross. Sin even humbled our Savior, and He didn’t even do any of it! How much more should we, who actually sin, be humbled?
If you are a Christian and still sin and this doesn’t bother you, make sure you’re actually more than a Christian by name. If you are in Christ, sin will bother you. If sin is not a problem in your mind, then you have bigger problems than you know.
Face the problem. Deal with the problem. Be humbled by the problem. Look forward to the day when we will be released from the problem of sin and will be made like Him when we see Him as He is.
Even so, come quickly.