What About Our Present Struggle With Sin?

“For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me” (Romans 7:19-20).

Many Christians have experienced the heartbreak of falling into sinful behavior that has caused personal and relational grief. In fact, all of us struggle with remaining sin. Some Christians feel as though other Christians have written them off, and perhaps God has too. When these feelings fill our minds, we need to consider several truths.

1. All Christians struggle with remaining sin.
We call it “remaining” because God gives each believer a measure of victory over sin that once held them in bondage. But some sin and struggles remain, and can cause us much discouragement. The young mother believes she now has the upper hand on a once out-of-control temper, but then she loses it again trying to control misbehaving children. The office worker who on balance lives for Christ slips up and laughs at an indecent joke. When such failures haunt us, we need to know that God has not given up on us. We need to acknowledge every sin before Him in confession. The Bible promises immediate forgiveness (1 John 1:7-10).

2. The battle for holiness takes time.
The biblical term “patience” means much more than not getting irritated when a spouse burns the toast. It implies a continuance in the faith in spite of all obstacles, including personal sin. God does not create “microwave” Christians. He usually takes a lifetime to form godly qualities in us, knowing that we will experience setbacks along the way. When you’ve fallen off your horse, get back on! God has more things to show you before you reach the journey’s end.

3. As we grow in Christ, we should grow more sensitive to sin.
While we turn many corners in the Christian life, we never turn a final corner on sin until we see Christ face to face. For example, a Christian may gain victory over a battle with gossip, but then God speaks to them about listening to gossip, something they have no victory as of yet. Think of a woodworker who begins to work on a fresh cut of wood. He or she first makes multiple cuts to get it to where it needs to be, but then smooths it out with several grades of sandpaper. Finally, the worker applies a coat of varnish for looks and protection.

God takes us through many stages of growth during our life, so that we yearn for more holiness and learn to shun evil practices. God uses many tools and can even use failure to teach us the blessing of staying close to Him.

Finally, we who still struggle need to extend much grace towards others, especially when we recognize how much grace God extends to us.

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