Sin, Struggle and the Holy Spirit
I’ve been wrestling with what the consequences of sin look like in my life. That's right, I'm addressing it. Sin. Smack dab in the middle of our lives, but our favorite subject to skip right over. As a christian though, I must acknowledge it's presence, throughout my life and woven into the deep recesses of my soul. When I leave my own sin untended, it threatens to take over a larger part, heading straight for my heart.
I’ve been reading Jeremiah the last week or two and, y’all it’s kind of depressing. Especially coming off of the heels of Isaiah. What’s with all of this judgement, God? But the interesting thing that is also specific to Jeremiah, is that these people are actually acting like good people. They are saying the right things, sometimes even doing the right things. Jeremiah actually describes it like this to God : “You have planted them, they have also taken root; they grow, they have even produced fruit. You are near to their lips, but far from their mind.” Jeremiah 12:2
Everything they did for God was lacking any sort of authenticity. Earlier, Jeremiah even wrote “they heal the brokenness of the daughter of my people superficially, saying ‘peace, peace’ but there is no peace.” Jeremiah 8:11
Bottom line - their actions were superficial. They were saying one thing, doing another. They are struggling with sin after sin and not ever repenting from it, which led them here. To destruction within God’s wrath.
And y’all, I struggle with this. I struggle with the superficial surrender - where I say one thing and do another. Where I ask the Lord to convict me, and when He does, I keep on going that same way.
Oh and sister, I am really good at explaining this away. There are things I just “struggle” with. Things I was born to have a bent for, things I’ve been taught or have learned along the way in life.
Yes, "the struggle is real"as the saying goes, but at what point do I actually start fighting against it instead of with it? I fear along the way I’ve accepted that I struggle with sin instead of seeing sin for the destructive force of Satan that it actually is.
And there are a lot of things I struggle with y’all.
Raising my voice
And you know what? I've noticed that I keep right on gossiping, because I struggle with it. I hold tight to the bitterness in my heart because I struggle with it. It’s like I'm acknowledging the struggle itself, but at the same time watering down the sin because it's something I struggle with.
This is the truth y’all. Sin DESTROYS lives.
When I continue to sin, excusing it away by saying "I struggle with ________”, a layer of God’s protection is undone. Because I insist on sinning, God permits it's consequences. He permits the destruction that I could have avoided - that He begged me to avoid. It’s what happened here in Jeremiah and it’s what happens today.
Do you get what I'm saying? Do you find yourself in this same boat sometimes too?
I've decided that I have to change the mindset from struggling with sin to struggling against it. I can fight this battle with the power of our good friend, the Holy Spirit. What a shame it is that we have access to the very power of the living God at any given time and yet we accept sin as just a part of our lives. Maybe you don't, friend, but I most definitely do. I throw my hands up in the air after one short prayer and turn around doing the same thing all over again.
Sister, we possess the power to fight. We might not see victory this side of heaven, but we will get it. We do get the victory!
Paul talks about the thorn in his side. He asks for God to remove it - begs for Him to intervene and take this away. There are many theories of what this thorn could be - but I like to think that it's a sin struggle. Maybe it was pride or self righteousness. Maybe it was guilt over who he used to be - not truly grabbing hold of the freedom he found in Christ. Either way, the purpose of Paul's thorn was what? To keep him on his knees before God, to keep accessing the Holy Spirit, to keep his own spirit humble.
So today, friend. Acknowledge that thing that God is convicting you of. Surrender it, knowing full well you might have to surrender it again tomorrow, but instead of accepting it, start fighting it. Because God is on our side, friend, He's on YOUR side.
But in the mean time, here on earth where sin raids our hearts on a daily basis, we get a friend in the Holy Spirit.