After you became a Christian, were you as surprised that struggling with sin was the basic problem of your Christian’s life? I was! I mean, aren’t we supposed to be free from sin?
The answer is a resounding YES!
Unfortunately, we are not free from the temptation and struggle with sin. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
The problem is this. As long as we live on this earth, we will have an external struggle. Some call it a spiritual battle. In Eph 6: 12, Paul states what we’re up against. “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the ruler, and against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
We also have an internal struggle. Our fleshly desires work to keep us from God. Consider Gal 5”17.
“The flesh sets it’s desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” So the Spirit within us and the flesh are at constant war with one another making struggling with sin the basic problem of the Christian.
Before you and I were saved, we could sin and it wouldn’t bother us because the Spirit of God was not living in us convicting us of sin. Before you believed, you could be angry at someone and let them know about it too. However, now that the Spirit of God lives in you, you can’t get away with it. Even though the flesh wants to be angry, the spirit cries out love your neighbor as yourself. So what do you do? Seriously, how do you respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit? Do you gratify your flesh and fight with that person? Or do you yield to Holy Spirit within? How you and I respond is key to our relationship with God.
Just because we are tempted to sin doesn’t mean we have sinned. Furthermore, it doesn’t mean we aren’t saved. Sin simply breaks our fellowship with God. That’s why your peace and joy seem to disappear and your prayer feel as if they bounce around the ceiling. It’s like this…
When a person sins, they often feel ‘unsaved.’ But we can’t lose what it took Christ to accomplish in the first place. What we do lose is our fellowship. Say you had a fight with your spouse. Imeddiately you feel the speparation that comes from not speaking to one another. Your peace is gone. What’s changed? Not your relationship. You’re still husband and wife. What’s changed is your fellowship is broken. It takes the guilty party to say they’re sorry and the other party to forgive before the fellowship can be restored. Then, peace and joy returns as well. The same is true in our relationship with God. when we sin, our relationship doesn’t change. We are still God’s child and He is still our heavenly Father. Our peace is gone because we need to repent. That means, we need to agree with God we have sinned and ask forgiveness. Once we do that, our fellowship is restored and our peace renewed.
When you become a Christian, you still had old habits and old ways of thinking to break. The Holy Spirit in our hearts breaks the rule of sin in our lives and gives us a new nature and new life by purifying our motives, renewing our minds to think like Christ and he gives us the desire to become like him. However, the choice is ours. We can obey the old nature, which is our flesh and exalt self, or we can obey our new nature, which is Christ in you, and allowing his life to flow through us. Whether we live in victory or not depends on us.