“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly desires, we should live soberly, righteously, and in godliness in this present world, as we await the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all lawlessness and purify for Himself a special people, zealous of good works.” – Titus 2:11-14 (MEV)
Christ’s finished work empowers all who believe to live a life freed from and not obligated to sin. Sadly, many beloved brothers and sisters find it hard to say “no” to sin and end up committing something they regret doing. Can you relate to that? If you said yes to that, I have an encouragement for you.
Why Can’t I Stop Sinning?
Many fellow believers find it hard to stop sinning and end up going back to the very thing that Christ died for. Like dogs who return to their vomit (see Proverbs 26:11), these brothers and sisters willingly return to the filth they have renounced at repentance. Peter describes these beloved people as “the sow that was washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.” (see 2 Peter 2:22)
I know that might be hard to hear or read, but we can relate to that. Many Christians find it hard to give up the very sin they used to freely enjoy. And why is this so? It’s because the heart didn’t change; they still like the sin they profess to hate.
Seeing the condition of the heart
Friends, we are told to guard our heart because from it spring the issues of life (see Proverbs 4:23). What we breed in our hearts will ultimately come out one way or another (see Luke 6:45). If we desire sin, then no matter how much we try to keep it shut up inside we will eventually sin.
Consider what James tells us:
“Let no man say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil; neither does He tempt anyone. But each man is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed. Then, when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin; and when sin is finished, it brings forth death.” (James 1:13-15)
Take responsibility for your choices
Friends, we can’t blame God for the temptations we face. We can’t blame God for not taking away all temptation in our lives. The temptations we face vary according to our personal desires, and the choice to give in to them is ours to make. Christ has already set us free, but we can still sin deliberately.
If you find yourself tempted by the same things you once renounced, ask yourself if you’ve really repented over them. If you find yourself tempted to do something wrong, then check your heart. Your desires will dictate what tempts you, and your decision to give in or not is up to you.
I hope we all guard our hearts and choose to deny ourselves in order to pursue Christ. (see Matthew 16:24)