Growing up I heard a lot of sermons and had a lot of people telling me to manage my sin. There was a long list of DON’T DO’s (envy, cruelty, pride, stealing, etc) and a long list of NEED TO DO’s (pray, read the bible, go to church, give to the needy, etc.) Even as an adult, the message is often VERY loud and repetitive…if you are a Christian you wouldn’t do these things and you would do these things. And if you fail to comply, you’re failing as a Christian. Wait a second…that’s not logical at all!
I’m fortunate to have a friend and mentor who’s an amazing Pastor by the name of Paul. Paul once asked me the most beautiful question I’ve ever heard! If you or I or any of use actually had the ability to control our sin…why did Jesus come and die on the cross for us?
Think about it! If we could control our sin, Jesus never needed to come and die on the cross for our sins! Most Christians would absolutely agree, despite how hard they could EVER try…there is no way they could ever, in their own strength live a perfect, sinless life…even from just this day forward. We have a sinful nature, thus we rejoice that Jesus DID come and die to cleanse us from our sin!
But then why are so many voices in the Christian community offering lessons on sin management? We already know we CAN’T! This is NOT to say that sin doesn’t matter. I’m simply saying that Jesus is the solution to our sinful nature. We cannot stop sinning in our own strength.
If we instead focus on growing closer to Christ, learning who He is, learning how to be in REAL relationship with him (just like you would your spouse) and as we consciously pour ourselves into deepening that relationship, the side effect of that effort will be a less sinful daily life. It will be due to His strength in us, His power living in us and through us, His Grace transforming our hearts, His heart guiding our steps as we enjoy that close walk with Him.
I would like to see the Christian community focus more on helping people learn how to invest in their relationship with Christ. How to grow as they continue on their journey. Remember, God condemned Satan, the source of sin, in the garden. He conquered Satan through Jesus’ death on the cross because we couldn’t. Instead of messages encouraging people to defeat Satan themselves, we must encourage people by the reality that CHRIST conquered Satan and will do it on our behalf in our daily lives more and more as we grow closer to Him in a personal relationship!
I hope someday the entire Christian community will grasp this. Satan is far more powerful than we are on our own. As we grow closer to Jesus, as we deepen that relationship, the natural by-product will be a more “righteous” life…that is to say less sinful. It’s an inverse scale, the more we grow in that relationship, the less we sin. The less we sin, the more we enjoy life!
Be encouraged, the sin solution exists…it’s just not accomplished the way many of us were taught! Pour yourself into Christ, and the rest will take care of itself.