There is almost always a sin that is lurking in the back of my mind or just underneath the surface of my heart that has the potential to rip my life apart. And I would imagine I’m not alone in that. Bitterness, hopelessness, lust, rage, love of money, envy; they lurk in the shadows. They crouch at the door.
It’s why you see so many warnings and statements like these in God’s Word:
“In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”
“Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.”
“See that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused Him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject Him who warns from Heaven.”
From Hebrews 12
I got angry a couple of times yesterday. Each time I knew it was sin, and yet I let myself slip under it anyway. And at the end of the night when I tried to pray and confess it, only a few sentences would come out of my mouth and my mind. I still felt so slighted, bitter. My own evil hatred and malice had changed my heart and warped my prayers. I was hollow and tired and anxious instead of worshipful and hopeful. And I’m still wrestling with it this morning.
But I will wrestle.
I have warred with my sins, and sometimes I have lost. But I know I must not and cannot give up the fight. Lust and fury and deceit and pride and unforgiveness and despair and idolatry and greed will kill my family and my ministry and my soul if I throw in the towel. So I’ll nurse my bloody knuckles and throw steaks on my blackened eyes and spit out a few more teeth and then I’ll prepare for another brawl. Because what can be lost if I don’t is far too valuable.
But I don’t fight alone.
All who have been born again of the Spirit and not of the flesh have the grace and power of God working within us to will and to work for His glory and pleasure. We who have been changed by faith have the promise of Him who is faithful. We fight not only against flesh and blood, but we also fight not only with flesh and blood. We war against spirits but we are helped by a greater Spirit.
And where our sin abounds and would condemn us, we have an advocate, and brother, His grace abounds all the more.
I write this because I know firsthand what sin can do to a life. So I’m exhorting. I’m pleading.
Two truths for the Christian: We must fight sin. And we do not fight alone.
Join me in killing what would kill us. And join me in dying to our selves that we might live to the One who has the power to raise the dead.