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Why is it that, when we mess up, we want to beat ourselves up over and over and over again? Then, when we do get up, how do we solve the problem? Maybe we decide to “get more serious about our faith,” or go to church more often, perhaps reading the bible more frequently or praying more. We set up this list of rules to follow, in order to avoid sinning again.
Know what? I think that’s actually the majority of the problem. We’re focusing on the sin and not the Savior.
You see praying, reading the bible, and going to church are all very good things. But, you don’t do those things to remove sin. You do those things because your sin has already been removed. You do those things in response to a loving God Who took our sin upon Himself. We love Him because He loved us.
The bible tells us that “the goodness of God leads to repentance”(Romans 2:4) and that “the love of Christ constrains us” (2 Corinthians 5:14). We want to do good because He was good to us. We love Him because He loved us first. We can’t combat sin in our lives by focusing on rules. We can only be victorious in our walks by focusing on the goodness of God and what He has already accomplished in and for us. Focusing on sin leads to guilt, shame and condemnation. But Romans 8:1 declares that there is “no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” You can’t will yourself to conquer the flesh. You have to recognize that Someone has already conquered it for you. All you can do is accept his gift and walk in the Spirit in a continuous state of grace.
When you’re walking in the Spirit and have a momentary stumble in the flesh, you don’t create a list of ten ways to avoid doing that again. You get up and start walking again. Satan wants to keep you at the point of the fall but Jesus says, “Hey, what are you doing? I’m not over there. I’m over here.”
Ruminating on failure is detrimental to your walk. Yes, you fell. Get up. Repent. And move on. You are no longer defined by your sin, in Adam, but your presence in Christ.
Lot’s wife looked back toward Sodom and turned into a pillar of salt. The application is not that if you look back, you’re going to turn into a salt shaker. The point is that God doesn’t want you to look back! That is who you were, not who you are. There is nothing back there for you. And when you sin, as a Christian, it is a fleshly reminder of who you were, not who God has newly created you to be.
THIS IS WHO YOU WERE:
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
1 Corinthians 6:9-10
BUT THIS IS WHO YOU ARE:
“And such WERE some of you: but ye are washed, but ye ARE sanctified, but ye ARE justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
1 Corinthians 6:11
As a Christian, you may not always FEEL sanctified, but you are. You may not always FEEL justified, but you are. In your life before Christ, you sinned because you were a sinner. You did what was according to your nature. But now that you have been justified, you are no longer identified by your sin status but by your SON status.
When you sin today, it bothers you. It doesn’t feel natural–because it isn’t. It’s contrary to your new nature in Christ Jesus. God doesn’t want you to feel comfortable in sin. Consider that uncomfortable feeling like an alarm going off to let you know that you’ve strayed off course. So when you realize that you have gotten off course, what do you do? Wallow in the fact that you made such a stupid error? No! What good is that going to do? You just get back on the path!
Your flesh reminds you of who you were but your spirit, alive in Christ, reminds you of who you are. Who are you going to believe? Stop looking back. Your future is in front of you. Just set your eyes on Jesus and start walking. Going towards Him will automatically get you moving on from sin.
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