How many time a day do you say something that you wish you would not have? Do you ever think something you know is wrong, but think it anyways? Is it a goal of yours to be gentle and compassionate, but it is so hard to forgive and quit being stubborn?
These are all things that go on in my life that I am constantly dealing with.
When I was in the duty free shop at the Istanbul airport, I saw this carton of cigarettes. I’m not trying to make a theological argument here, but I just want you to realize that the government in Turkey must want people to be reminded of something they already know. They must think that putting a label on the carton will stop people from purchasing duty-free cigs. This is the easy way our, and does not work.
Most of the time, people know what is right and wrong. No matter how we try to stop ourselves, no matter how large the warning, we sin. Labeling our sin does not stop us from it.
Set Yourself Up For Failure
Often I set goals, start a plan, or tell myself I am going to change the way I act to honor God and live by his Spirit, but end up doing the opposite. I work so hard to treat others right, not cut others down with my words, or be patient with my wife, and I can relate to this verse. When we try to organize our lives in this ways, and see success in Jesus as following a bunch of regulations and laws, we set ourselves up for failure. It is not possible to please God when we try to do Jesus’ plan for our lives on our own.
Paul writes in Romans 7:15 (ESV). “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”
Our goals as Christians is to honor Jesus and follow his commands, but just like Paul we choose lesser things that lead to sin. We set ourselves up for failure.
Yet, Jesus does not want us to fix our sin on our own. He has fixed it for us. He payed the price that we owe.
Most of us believe this fact, but are in denial that our sin problem is that bad. We do not want to admit that we are failures of God’s standard. We must embrace what the Bible says, and believe the truth of the message of Jesus.
No matter how many times we sin, followers of Jesus must realize their sin is not their identity. Paul later says “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1–2, ESV) We are not bound by our sin, even though sometimes it feels like it. We must realize that Jesus is our hope, and he has set us free to produce good
Set Your Mind On The Things Of The Spirit
If we really want to overcome our sin, we have to believe. We have to Trust that Jesus is King. In fact, Paul says in Romans 8:5–6, (ESV) “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” This is great to know that we have a way out, and that we can choose the Holy Spirit over our own desires.
We have to want to choose God’s ways rather than just put a warning sticker on the things we don’t want to do.