"By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence." 2 Peter 1:3 (NLT)
Do you find yourself doing what you know you should not? Do you find it hard to stop?
Yeah, I know.
I've had several discussions lately with people stuck in patterns of behavior they want to quit. They keep sinning. What's more, they feel completely awful about it. Guilty. Shameful. Some to the point of hating themselves. And yet they feel powerless to stop – powerless to resist.
The Bible says when we return to our vices again and again, we are like dogs returning to our vomit (Proverbs 26:11). Eww, ick!
So why do we do this when according to the Bible, Christ has conquered sin on our behalf so we can overcome its power? If, "by his divine power God has given us everything we need for living a godly life," why does sin have any place in our lives?
The answer is the same reason a dog returns to her vomit. Gross as it is, she gets some degree of satisfaction from it. She likes it. See what I mean:
• Lust – or its fulfillment, sexual indiscretion – feels pleasurable in the moment.
• Overeating—or its biblical term, gluttony – feels comforting in the moment.
• Power – called "lording it over someone" in the Bible – makes you feel significant.
• Lying is convenient at the time.
• Splurging and spending – compared to saving or giving -- feels fun and rewarding.
• Stomping and yelling feels cathartic and justifiable.
This list could go on ad nauseam. Sin has power because we enjoy it. It promises something we want - pleasure, escape, wealth, power, attention. Sure it always has consequences we don't want, but in many cases those don't over power its feel-good moments or perceived benefits.
In short, sin has power because we love it.
What can help us overcome the sins that we have love-hate relationships with? A surpassing love. A greater love that carries with it no hate, no guilt, and no shame. A love that actually delivers the many benefits it promises. A love that is full of beautiful grace and soul-deep compassion.
A love more attractive and more powerful than the allure of sin.
It is the love of God displayed in Christ.
When we catch hold of that love - when we read of it regularly, drink it in, pray for it and see it at work in our lives - we cannot help but love Him back with all our heart, soul and mind.
And in that state of all encompassing love, sin pales in comparison. Its power grows feeble.
Immersing ourselves in the everlasting love of God, we become willing and able to walk away from sin.
We can give up that because we have THIS.
Dear Lord, forgive me for the sins I return to. Cleanse me with Your majestic love and grace. Reveal to me the depth of Your love, the extent of Your sacrifice, and the beauty of the mercy You grant me daily. Open my eyes to see Your love afresh and may I be empowered to walk away from sin towards Your heart. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Application Steps: Fill your mind and heart today with the love of God. Read the power verses below, look up others in your Bible, or visit Rachel’s blog.
Reflections: What sin do I return to? What is the benefit I feel this sin provides me?
Proverbs 8:17, "I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me." (NLT)
Jeremiah 31:3, "Long ago the LORD said to Israel: 'I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.'" (NLT)