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In The Fight Against Sin, Look to Jesus

Most of the entirety of my life could be defined as a Christian self-help struggle. Typically, you could always find me with a book in my hand on how to become a better Christian, how to increase in purity, decrease in sin and become a more Godly, improved version of my inherently lacking self.

In The Fight Against Sin, Look to Jesus

I can tell you that in this flesh and spirit fight, I’ve never won the battle because I read a 5 step self-help book on conquering sin.

It’s good to be introspective at times and it’s necessary to evaluate our lives to see whether they are producing fruit, but what I’ve found is that often as we continue to look within, there’s a tendency to get stuck there, and then we stop seeing anything else.

We stop seeing others, we stop seeing God, we only see our struggles and that’s right where Satan wants us. Stuck on the sidelines of the abundant Christian life we’re meant to experience because we don’t feel worthy. Once we fix ourselves up, then we can join a Bible study, go on that mission trip, write that blog, serve in the Children’s ministry. Otherwise, won’t we be a hypocrite?

That is a lie meant to keep us believers living a discouraged life, ineffective for Christ, wholly focused on self. Every single one of us, even your seemingly perfect pastor or that softly spoken friend who never seems to struggle with anything, are all broken, sinful, pretty screwed up individuals within and of ourselves. The Bible compares our own righteousness to that of filthy rags. God looks down at us and declares that there is none righteousness, not even one us.

Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” But thankfully verse 24 goes on to say, “and we are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” God actually boasts that He chooses to use the weak things of this world to accomplish His purposes.

It’s the prostitute who protected the spies, it’s the women at the well, it’s the disciple who murdered Christians, it’s the tax collector, it’s the adulterous king. It’s in our weakness that He is made strong and it’s in our weakness that He receives all of the glory.

God convicts us of sin in His mercy, but it’s the enemy who condemns us. The difference is, in the conviction there’s light, there’s hope and in it we are drawn closer to God for His help and restoration.

When we’re experiencing condemnation, we are brought to despair and it leads us away from God, away from others, and instead, it sinks us into isolation and feelings of hopelessness.

There’s a proverb that so poetically says, “hope deferred makes the heart sick.”  The more we look within, see our hopelessness to change those besetting sins, those sins which have kept us locked up in chains for our entire lives, those struggles which we feel as if we can never be freed from, the sicker our hearts feel.

Because of the fall, in this world there will be suffering, we will always be struggling with our propensity to wander far from grace, but greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world. When God gave his only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins, and then rise again, He defeated sin, He defeated death on that hill on Calvary so long ago. The battle has already been won, my friend, your chains are broken and you can walk in freedom and victory today.

What I have found to be the most powerful in this battle, is to stop trying to struggle and strive in my own strength. To stop trying to stop. But instead, when I can’t help but sorrow when I look and see the broken parts of me, I then take my eyes off of myself and I put them on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith and of my story.

We are not meant to clean ourselves up before we go to church or serve or have Christian friends. If that were the case, we’d all stay home every day. When we read God’s Word, it changes us. When we pray, God answers. When we serve and spend time at church and in community, it’s only then that our hardened, sick hearts and affections are stirred toward Christ, not the other way around.

The enemy tells you to stay away because you’re not worthy, but God says you’re worthy because His blood cleanses, covers, and makes all things new.

When we start to add all of the good things in our lives, when we seek to know God, to know who He is, what His character is, the miracles He’s performed, the promises He’s given, and what He personally has to say to us each day through is Word, in that, the Holy Spirit begins to transform us and sanctify us. He fights the battle for us, He gives us the strength we need each day and then the good begins to take over the bad.

The old hymn, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, says it perfectly.

O soul are you weary and troubled?

No light in the darkness you see?

There’s light for a look at the Savior,

And life more abundant and free:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face;

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting

He passed, and we follow Him there;

Over us sin no more hath dominion

For more than conquerors we are!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face;

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace.

His word shall not fail you He promised;

Believe Him and all will be well.

Then go to a world that is dying,

His perfect salvation to tell!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face;

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace.

When we can stop bleakly staring into our own inner darkness and instead, stare into His glorious light, our eyes are then opened and we begin to see and feel God again. In spite of our imperfections, we become the light that we are designed to be as Christ followers. Lit up because we are free from the burdens of sin and shame, and overflowing with redemptive joy, that which we can’t help but share with a lost and hurting world, a world so desperate to hear the message of hope that we all hold within us.

1 comment… add one
  • Matt Aug 13, 2018, 1:41 pm

    I really needed this word of encouragement. I have been overcome by my struggles for a very long time, and feel increasingly defeated and constantly hurting. God bless you for sharing this!

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