We can all relate, as believers, to the apostle Paul when he said in Romans 7:15 “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” Once we have been born again we are a new creation in Christ; we have a new nature. Yet we still also have the sin nature as long as we are in this life, and the two natures are at war within us (Romans 7:14-25).
One of the most common complaints from a Christian is the inability to rid oneself from a besetting sin. We’ve all been there. Try as we might, we just cannot seem to be free from a particular sin that ensnares us. What is one to do? The answer to that is manifold. The best thing a Christian can do is to pray and ask the Lord to change our hearts, grant us repentance and the ability to turn and forsake the sin. Only God can change a heart.
This morning as I was drinking some coffee and perusing Twitter, I saw this meme that was tweeted by pastor and author Tim Challies:
When we find ourselves in a season of battling a besetting sin, I think the statement in the meme above is a really great place to start one’s introspection: is the sin that is ensnaring you something that you truly hate? Or is it something that you don’t actually hate, but intellectually know you need to turn from? This question will act as a barometer of the heart. If you realize that you don’t truly hate the sin you are struggling with, then it seems the first step in prayer is to ask the Lord to change the attitude of your heart toward that sin to be conformed to His heart toward sin: hating it.
After I had seen the meme above on Twitter, I then began my personal devotion and Bible study time. The first thing I do is to read a prayer from The Valley of Vision. Providentially, today’s prayer, God the Source of all Good, touched on this topic of slaying sin, which I had already been contemplating. Here is an excerpt:
Give me to feel a need of his continual saviourhood, and cry with Job, ‘I am vile’, with Peter, ‘I perish’, with the publican, ‘Be merciful to me, a sinner’. Subdue in me the love of sin,
The emphasis there is my own, highlighting the topic at hand. The puritans were skilled in articulating spiritual matters of the heart. It’s a shame, really, that no one speaks that way anymore. Subdue in me the love of sin. Doesn’t that express the battle well? We are sinners, and we love sin. It is a constant battle until we leave this body and go on to glory. Praise the Lord that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) Christian, if you are struggling today, take heart. Examine yourself to see if you love your sin, and plead with the Lord to help you turn from it. He is faithful to complete the work He begins (Philippians 1:6).
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 1:24-25)
Soli Deo Gloria!