Where do you turn when you long for deep soul-level satisfaction? A little chocolate at the end of the day can be a pure gift from God – no sin attached. A whole bag of chocolate chips can turn to the life-stripping sin of gluttony. A little TV can help us decompress. Six hours of binge watching sexually charged sitcoms absolutely dishonors God. A glass of wine can be a harmless part of dinner, opening the door to conversation and cultural connection. Two bottles leads to the sin of drunkenness.
What’s the sin you can’t quit? Maybe it’s not a comfort sin. Maybe it’s something you slip into without even realizing it, like gossip, a bad attitude, or lying to make yourself look holier than you actually are.
What’s God think about the sin you can’t quit?
He wants you to turn away from it
God’s not calling you to turn from your sin to ruin your fun. He wants you to turn away so that you’ll have a fuller, healthier, more satisfied life. The sins we habitually turn to generally feel good for a moment, but they strip us of vitality and rob us of walking in the fullness of the Spirit of God. God sets boundaries in our lives for our protection, not to destroy our fun.
I don’t let my two-year-old run into the street. The rule isn’t in place to ruin his fun. It’s in place to protect him, because I love him. God’s best for you is set in place to protect you. He wants you to live according to his way for your benefit.
He loves you despite the sin you can’t quit
We tend to assume God is like us. Some of us think he’s always mad because we’re always failing. We imagine him scoffing like an angry parent, folded arms, saying, “She blew it again.”
In John 8, we see him at the side of a woman who was caught in the act of adultery. The crowd is about to stone her. Jesus looks to the crowd and tells them that whoever is without sin may cast the first stone. Everyone leaves, and Jesus is alone with the woman. He’s writing something in the dirt. He looks up from his writing, tells her he does not condemn her, and tells her to go on her way, sinning no more.
There’s no lecture. There’s no look of disdain or disgust. He directly tells her he doesn’t condemn her. He simply asks her to go and stop sin of adultery (John 8:1-11).
He does the same with us. Every time we blow it. Even if it’s not the first time for this particular sin. While he often allows natural consequences to come as a result of our sins, for those of us who are in Christ, he doesn’t condemn us.
If you are a follower of Christ who keeps messing up, there is hope. He already paid for your sin on the cross. The cross isn’t an excuse to continue in sin, but it does forgive us for all of our sins. We must remember that it was while we were still sinners that God demonstrated his love for us by sending Christ to die for us (Romans 5:8). He sees your sin, and he still loves you.
He’s fighting for you
While I wrestle with sin, Christ fights for me. There is a war I can’t see, and he’s battling principalities in spiritual realms beyond my comprehension (Ephesians 6:12). He wants to forgive me, and he waits for me to turn away from the sin and turn toward him for forgiveness. Christ died on the cross to free us from the old covenant system of making recompense for our sins. He is our advocate, defender, and the perfect sacrifice for our mistakes.
He wants you to come close to him
This one’s the most difficult for me to grasp. Maybe it’s because I’ve heard the message of the cross for so many years. Maybe it’s because it’s been a decade since I encountered him as my defender. I know he paid for what is already done, but I’m just learning that he wants me to come close to him in the midst of my failures.
I tend to eat my feelings. There’s nothing I want to do less after eating too much sugar than go close a door and spend time with Jesus. However, this is exactly what he wants from me. He promises that when I draw close to him, he will draw close to me (James 4:8).
When I draw near to Christ on the heels of my failure, his tenderness overwhelms me. He washes over me when I read the Word, and he is compassionate when I tell him how much I hate the sin I can’t get over. He’s fighting for me, like a husband who desperately wants to see his wife free from her chains. When I come to him in honesty, letting his love wash over me, that very love transforms me and fills me in a way my sin never will.
Next time you fall to that sin you can’t seem to shake, try turning to Jesus in the shadow of your failure. Turn openly, turn with a soft heart, and see if his mercy doesn’t surprise you. He is waiting.