Oops, you did it again. You had done so well at the confession, repentance and purification part. You even passed through a complicated deliverance procedure and promised never to sin that way again. But this time, you did not just sin, you failed at staying pure, you broke the fresh promises you made to God and you regressed the process of sanctification. You doofus! – And by doofus I mean me, Carlos. For this is my story, as much as it is yours.
Everyday we seem to find multiple ways to do the wrong thing again. For some, it is lies and gossip. For a lot of people, it is sexual. It does not have to be an adulterous relationship – it could be the thought that transformed into a porn scene in our heads or the dirty website that found its way back into our lives. For the rest, it could be the pills, the cuts, or the fingers down the throat again. And, to crown the list of offences, most of us like to judge everybody else on their issues and their misbehavior. Nevertheless, we really want to stop. But, we confess, repent and purify, just to steal and hate and curse again. And, as the vicious cycle goes on, it all gets more entangled – even more so than the paragraph you just read.
Jesus declared in John 15, “You are already clean.” (Really? Cuz I’m feeling pretty nasty). So the question is, how do we start to manifest that spiritual reality? When will that truth be seen as a fact in our life, here on earth? Yes, we are clean, but we want to stay clean!
While I gave a lecture at our School of Revival, a student asked me, “How do I stop? Just tell me how to stop sinning.” I had been teaching about the Law, the Prophets and the message of Grace. We had gone back and forth on the value of the Law and I had challenged religious views that usually keep us in slavery. But, the student’s question gave me an opportunity to share, not on how to stop sinning, but on what to do after we sin.
Most of us have been taught, that after we sin, we need to react with repentance, which is a good idea. The problem is, that we have also been taught that repentance needs to last a long time, which is a bad idea. The logic seems to be that the longer we torture ourselves with shame and regret, the better we will behave afterwards. However, the word in Hebrew for repentance means “to change direction.” If you are walking down the road and suddenly realize that you are heading down into a ditch full of nasty frogs that want to attack you like a plague, certainly you would turn in the opposite direction and run, as fast as you could. (I know I would!)
Correspondingly, the word repentance in Greek means to “change your mind and leave the previous thought behind.” Both, the Greek and the Hebrew version of the same word, imply an immediate reaction that changes the course of the journey, and the thought process.
So how do we stop sinning? A good start is to change direction right after we fall.
Look up. Walk humbly. And move towards God.
Satan’s job is to point out our faults and celebrate how well we missed the mark. Whenever we waste our time with feelings of shame and accusation, we might think we are speaking with God about our issues, but we are unknowingly talking with the enemy. We could find ourselves kneeling before his accusatory finger instead of running towards the Father who already made a way for us to be free.
“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:1
The best response, right after sin, is worship – and I’m not talking about putting Christian music on and trying to feel better kind of worship – what I mean is to react to our lack of holiness by setting our eyes on the one who is Holy, Holy, Holy.
To actually recognise our dependency. To know that He’s good, even when we are not.
On the other hand, when we find relief by feeling guilty, we expose the ungodly belief that we can beat sin on our own. But, you cannot beat sin my friend; so stop trying! Worship Jesus who already did. Return to the Father without hesitation, because when He sees you coming, He always sees Christ and He will always make a way for your deliverance.
Yes you did it again, but Jesus paid for that sin 2,000 years ago, so really… He wins.
Like I said before on The Secret to Dealing with Secret Sin, “This is how the sons and daughters of God deal with sin: they don’t! We have proven ourselves incapable of managing our sinful nature. We need to bring it to the feet of the sinless one, for He has dealt with it already.”
[bctt tweet=”Yes, we are good at sinning, but God is better at forgiving. Much, much better.”]
Enjoy His Grace (and stop trying to pay him back).
*X3watch – Accountability Software X3watch makes it easier to enjoy the good stuff without worrying about the rest:
If you want to continue the journey of sanctification I recommended, “Who You Are When No One’s Looking: Choosing Consistency, Resisting Compromise” by Bill Hybels
Also, download & listen: