It’s hard to say, “Hey, guys, we need to work on getting rid of the sin in our lives,” without being accused of being a legalist or having a works-based salvation.
Yet Paul was constantly telling the church to shape up. And so was Jesus. Just look at the things He said in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).
The truth is, God wants us to get rid of our sin. The question is, “What are we going to do about it?”
The first thing we need to do is throw off the lies that get in the way of working on transformation in a helpful way.
5 Lies That Keep Us Stuck in Our Sin
1. I’m good enough.
Sometimes, we have a hard time seeing our sin. We look at ourselves and think, “I can’t see anything I really need to work on.”
The truth is, we can find plenty of sin if we go looking for it. Just think of the verses that say things like, “Don’t worry. Don’t hold a grudge. Don’t be so self-absorbed. Don’t judge.”
Our sin might not be on the current Christian no-no list, but that doesn’t mean it’s not sin.
2. It’s not a big deal.
With this approach, we do nothing other than the basics: go to church, pray, and maybe have a quiet time.
We don’t work on our sin because: 1) It doesn’t seem all that important. 2) No one is expecting us to work on it. 3) We don’t think we have time. 4) We’re planning to get to that tomorrow.
The lie that’s fueling this approach is that it’s not a big deal if we don’t work on our sin. This isn’t Scriptural. Jesus wouldn’t have given the Sermon on the Mount if He didn’t think sin was a big deal.
He would have just said, “Don’t worry, guys. I’ll be dying for you soon anyway, and then you won’t have to worry about sin anymore.”
The truth is, He wants us to be holy.
3. I need to earn God’s approval.
With this approach, we say, “Oh no! I’ll never measure up! I need to do something great for God to make up for all this sin so He’ll accept me!”
Then we try to do great things for Him. Or we just try to be perfect.
The lie of this approach is that we can do enough to make up for our sin. We can’t. That’s why Jesus died on the cross. He loves us already in our “as is” condition.
And while you would think this approach would help us get rid of our sin, it doesn’t–because we’re so busy beating ourselves up that we don’t have time to renew our mind.
4. My job is to obey.
Although technically, yes, our job is to obey, the truth is, we don’t always have enough will power to obey.
That’s why we have to abide in the Word. That’s why we have to renew our mind. That’s why we have to fight with spiritual weapons. Because we’ve tried a million times to obey and it’s not working.
“Just obey” only works in the areas we already have enough will power to obey. In those other areas, our only hope is to walk daily in the power of the Holy Spirit.
5. It’s all about grace.
With this approach, we think it’s God’s job to change us. We can’t do anything. We just have to rely on His grace. The truth is that although God is the One who transforms us, He asks us to be involved in our own transformation.
This is active, hard work. It’s not a “sit back and wait for God to change you” approach to sin.
God is the One who changes us, but He doesn’t usually do it until we get heavily involved in the process. And He expects us to be involved.
Other posts on this topic:
- Breaking a Habit
- Idolatry series
- If you’d like Scripture references for today’s post, click on the highlighted words in the post.
Question: Can you think of any other lies that keep us from working on our sin?