Last year I was watching an interview of a prominent figure in Jamaican politics. During her interview she briefly spoke about her Christian upbringing and her decision to get baptized as a teenager. However, I was most surprised by her assessment of her Christian journey as she could only attest to the rigours of her walk and not the Christ-given fruits of it.
I seek not to question the sincerity of her baptism, but it causes me to ponder how much we limit our journey with Christ to what we are allowed/disallowed to do. Where the fear of God is not what drives our obedience, but instead the fear of the consequences that certain sins may have on our social standing. Where our rational minds deceive us into cherry picking which sins are acceptable at a given moment.
I am not exempt from this mindset as I wrestle with it every day. Dying daily is very exhausting and sometimes I just want a break. Many times, I thought that giving in to the flesh would offer such a break but to my dismay it doesn’t.
One piece combo or all-in-one special
The works of the flesh are so interconnected that it's impossible to participate in one and not the other. We can't be greedy without being selfish and envious. Satisfying our flesh opens cans of worms that we didn’t bargain for.
Most times I think that if I only participate in “smaller” sins then I can control their consequences on my livelihood. How foolish is that thought? Don't be fooled! The desires of the flesh are to be resisted, not tamed. Our flesh often deceives us into thinking that an act of sin is just a one-piece combo when it's an all-in-one special.
But what should I do? Although I am saved, I still have the propensity to sin. In recent times, the Holy Spirit has shared some encouraging bits about how to approach my sinfulness considering Jesus’ gift of salvation. I would like to share these bits with you but before I do, I would like to address what should not be done.
Scaled eyes, weighted hearts
A prominent Christian speaker and poet in the US stated that in her struggle against sin, what hinders her from participating in a particular act is her unpreparedness to confess it if she was to indulge in it. This mindset has propelled her on the path of obedience. However, if we examine her statement closely, we can see the error which many of us grapple with daily.
Many of us weigh acts of sins based on people's perception of them. We scale them based on what is deemed acceptable/unacceptable to confess. This mindset has enslaved more than it has liberated.
Instead of people confessing and repenting of their sins, we are often led to pick our poison - where we are deceived into choosing “lesser” ways of satisfying our flesh to avoid exposure. Resulting in people choosing to stay in the closet instead of stepping into God’s marvelous light.
I struggle with porn, masturbation, and lust. I wrestle with them every single day. However, I have a good eternal father, a faithful friend in Jesus and a patient teacher in the Holy Spirit. This leads me into sharing what we should do with our sinfulness.
Do not pick your poison but be amazed by grace
Be amazed by the grace of God. His grace is sufficient for us as the Spirit’s power is perfected in our weaknesses. Our sinfulness should encourage us to seek him more and depend on our own strength less.
It is by seeking him that we understand God’s mind towards sin which propels us to resist sin a little more. As stated before, resisting sin is hard and exhausting, but the Holy Spirit is our promised comforter who gives us comfort when we are weary.
He is not only our comforter, but he is able to prevent us from stumbling. We have stumbled a lot, and we will definitely stumble some more. However, though we stumble, we are not under the control of anything, because of the power of the Spirit in our lives.
Our cumulative obedience to the Spirit produces much fruit. The work of God in our lives will take an entire lifetime, yet he promised to complete it. Our patience must be as integral as our intense desire to be like him.
Confession is good for our hearts, minds, and our walk
Our growing devotion to God is essential in our wrestle against sin but this must be complemented with confession. No sin can’t be confessed, for there is no condemnation for us who are in Christ. Confessing our sin to other believers invites them to wrestle with us.
Don't fear confessing your sins to another. Another doesn’t mean everyone or anyone but at least someone. Confession has been an integral part in my wrestle with porn, masturbation, and lust. Though confession is hard and sometimes risky, it helps, and has allowed me to make strides in my walk that I am not sure I would have made if I kept things to myself.
Confession and cumulative obedience to the Holy Spirit doesn’t guarantee sinlessness in this life but produces much fruit which gives God glory.
Akeel Henry is a prisoner of hope. He enjoys sharing the hope of Jesus Christ with all individuals. He is currently a trained biochemist who aspires to become a medical doctor and pastor in the future. He believes that the secret to contentment is a moment by moment dependence on God’s grace, power and provisions.