So, what do we do with our struggle? What’s the answer?
Do you wrestle with your sin? Of course you do! You didn’t think I was just going to say, “GRACE, GRACE, GRACE, GRACE, GRACE, GRACE!” did you? All those wonderful ideas about accountability, prayer, and putting yourself in situations that don’t lend itself to being able to sin in that manner? Do it, without a doubt. But here’s a couple of other things to chew on:
Find a Pastor (hopefully you have one) that will remind you, that despite this struggle-this wrestling with sin-you are STILL forgiven, loved, and most of all, ABSOLVED, each and every time you bend a knee in teary repentance. All the plans in place mean nothing if you’re not reminded of God’s goodness! Too often, we are warned what not to do, or face the wrath of God, especially for these pet sins we like to hold up in church for all to see. But we sin daily, even in the smallest of ways. While consequences may vary from an earthly perspective, sin is sin to God. We all fall short. We all struggle and fail at times. We tend to overlook the “wrath” aspect when considering the “smaller” sins, but hold it out like a trumpet for the big ones! Truth is, Christians sin. Many times in VERY willing ways. When they do, they feel guilty (convicted), and actually hate it. So you and I need to constantly hear about forgiveness and God’s grace and that’s a wonderful aspect of absolution! To hear the words from a pastor or elder that, “You Are Forgiven!” is an incredible act of mercy and grace upon you!
Sometimes, I think it may be a greater work of the devil not to lead you into sin, but to lead you into thinking this is the one sin that God won’t forgive…
Before any work begins, and frankly during and after, you need to be reminded constantly that Christ is for you in every struggle. Knowing Christ is for you is important to the second thing to consider, that you will fail. In so many different ways, and at different times, while a Christian, you will fail. Maybe you have your addiction under control, but a fight with your wife, a bad day at work, any number of things leave you open and vulnerable. So, like the recovering drug addict or alcoholic or the binge eater, you have a bad day, week or even month. Remember, Christ is still for you. Christ’s love and acceptance of you is not dependent on your success or lack of. Christianity is not about improvement-it’s not about repair-but resurrection. It’s about Christ doing all the verbs for you. Christ has given you his righteous standing before God, so earning it is not necessary. Christ took all of those sin-riddled attempts to the cross with him. We have been taught so many times that our salvation or “proof” of it, is equated with failure or success. But the reality of grace is that He (Jesus) who knew no sin, became sin for us, so we might become the righteousness of God. We don’t lose that with every misstep, but in fact, every misstep that drives us to our knees, proves it more.
So wrestle and war against sin, but do so with the knowledge that your standing before God does not hinge upon it. Wrestle and war with it, because Christ is always for you and you are always forgiven. Wrestle and war, because there is truly a better way to live. It’s not by doing everything just right, but knowing you are right with God through Christ, Jesus. Knowing this, in the weakness of these battles, might help you discover a strength that is not your own. One that reminds you and calls you, son, redeemed, loved, whether you lose the battle or win! It’s a strength that calls you his when life overwhelms you and takes your soul through some dark nights.
We are Christians. Behind every excuse given is this simple thought, “We are sinners, this is true.” We have done wrong for no other reason but because we have given into our fleshly desires. Here is another thought, “we are saints, this is true.” Because of Christ, we still wear a clean robe of righteousness. One that never dirties, never stains or tears. We are forgiven as much for our first infraction as we are for our last. From the whitest of lies to the darkest of thoughts or actions.
Christ is for you, Christ holds you, Christ calls you his. Take that into the battle and hold onto that truth to the end.