I have a lot of experience with sin, in fact, all of us do. And in truth, I still deal with it every day. And as I look back over my life, I can see how God has liberated me from many of the sins that I used to commit but in all honesty, I can’t say that there aren’t still more to be overcome.
One of the biggest problems with sin is that a lot of times we aren’t even aware of how we are sinning because sin, the transgression of God’s ways, is cloaked behind many seemingly positive things such as our presumed happiness or fulfillment.
There is one verse in scripture that summarizes for me, what sin is. Romans 14:23 NIV reads “But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.” It’s the latter part of that verse that caught my eye where Paul states “…. everything that does not come from faith is sin.”
There are a lot of things that I used to do that I no longer do. However, as I go through my day, I am continually encountering instances where my own selfishness raises its head or I encounter my own apathy or a host of other short sighted deficiencies where God’s will comes in conflict with my will. I use the “onion skin” example when discussing this reality because the onion has numerous layers and I have found that over time, God is continually bringing to my awareness, different layers within me, that hinder my closeness to Him. And, I have also discovered, again, over time, that the onion that represents me is a heck of a lot bigger than I ever imagined. When I was much younger, I literally had no idea of just how big it was or how many different layers were contained within the singular onion that is me.
We all know that sin comes in many different colours and varieties and we all are conversant with the various means of justification that we use to validate our continuance of sinning, regardless of what particular area we are looking at. But, over time, I have found a common thread about sin that seems, at least as it applies to my experience, the difference between keeping my revealed area of sin and letting it go.
I mentioned previously how we make decisions based on our presumption of what we presume makes us happy or fulfills us. And, ultimately, as God’s Word brings to our awareness an area where our will clashes with God’s, we have to come to a decision where we make a choice to what we truly value or what truly makes us fulfilled.
I believe that God is continually stretching our faith in Him, helping us come to the realization that His presence, His fellowship, His guidance is of the ultimate value. I think this concept is relatively easy to understand. If we value our wives or husbands then we learn that it pays dividends to listen, consider and feed that relationship on a number of different levels. And, our relationship with God is no different. If we sincerely value what we have discovered in our heavenly Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, we are going to take steps to strengthen that relationship.
When my will clashes with God’s will, He basically asks me to trust Him or have faith in Him. My perception of happiness or fulfillment then encounters an opposing perspective that says, “My will for you will bring you greater happiness or fulfillment that your will.” “If you value our relationship, if you are learning how My ways differ from your ways, then you will trust Me or have faith in Me over your own will.”
Each layer of myself that God reveals to me, seems to work in this fashion, where I ultimately have to question my own understanding or perception of happiness or fulfillment and trust in Him. Some layers are relatively easy to abandon and some layers are more difficult. In James 1:14-15 NIV we read “ but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
This is where the rubber hits the road. John 3:6 KJV says “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” This is where my will clashes with God’s will or my ways clash with God’s ways.
Ultimately, over time, in our walk with God, we come to the place or places, where we make decisions based on what we believe, have faith in, trust or value. And ultimately, as we know in our spirit, because His Spirit lives within us, our response is with God’s perspective, God’s will, simply because we are learning that His ways ARE best.
Ultimately, sin in this life we now live is not defeated through the power of self-denial but through the power of a greater desire, a greater trust, a greater belief or faith in God’s ways versus our own.
I am aware that through Christ’s death on the cross, we have been set free from the power of sin, like the Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 6:5-7 NIV which reads “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
This post is focused on the “good fight of faith” that Paul speaks of and we all encounter in 1 Timothy 6:12 .
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!