If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. - 1 John 1:8
Have you ever heard religious people say things like:
"If you’re not willing to stop sinning, you shouldn’t even call yourself a Yeshua follower.”
“The answer to habitual sin is to just stop it.”
“If you’re stuck in habitual sin, you should question whether or not you’re really saved.”
People who say things like this have either never faced a real struggle in life or they have a low view of sin for themselves and a high view of sin for everyone else. The real problem with these statement and the people who make them is that at some level it will make you second guess God’s work in your life. You will second guess if He is actually for you in a positive way, you will second guess if He still loves you, you will second guess His caring nature and fatherhood. Then your spiritual life will feel like a roller-coaster. You will hit spiritual highs and lows based on how well you manufacture obedience but that is the point: you will be up and down and not set free.
So what do you do when people say things like, “If you’re stuck in habitual sin, you should question whether or not you’re really saved.” First, you should know this person is just projecting their poor spiritual understanding onto you. This is how they feel about their spiritual world. Second, realize this person does not care about you they are just criticizing you to feel better about themselves. Third, look deeper than the sin to the heart. One of the ways Yeshua changes us is to give us wisdom about what’s driving us to that sin in the first place. For example, maybe for some people, their sin of habit is cursing—and they feel really guilty about it. But very few of them have ever thought and prayed on the question, “What’s driving me to talk like this in the first place?” A big motivator for some is that it is a stress release for others it makes them feel powerful. Well, now, if you want to move past this habitual sin, you’d need to learn how to live a lower-stress life and learn what godly, healthy stress relievers look like. But you’d never come to that point if you’d white knuckled your fist and tried to “just stop it” in your own strength. What is the root issue of your sin of habit? Last, hear the words of Micah, “ He has told you, humanity, what is good, and what Adonai is seeking from you: Only to practice justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (6:8). He says here are God’s three bare minimums for you (1) don’t overlook evil (2) love letting yourself and others off the hook and (3) be deliberate about staying in relationship with God.
When facing habitual sin, rather than beating yourself up or being beaten up by the comments of other people. Start with love and end on love. Love always demands that we call sin, sin. It demands this because sin is what keeps us from experiencing God’s love, self-love and other people’s love. It is also what prevents us form loving God rightly, ourselves rightly and other people rightly. Love lets you off the hook. Love pays the price for us so that we can go free. We don’t deserve it, we have not earned it yet love gives itself away for your benefit. Last, end on love. It is the after-effects of sin that are the most devastating. The tsunami of guilt. The high tide of feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy. These things will wash you to sea and leave you there to drown. God is love and He does not want you drowning in the dark abyss. He wants you, wants to embrace you, wants to walk this thing out with you.
So what do you do today? Start with love and end with love. Start with this one thought, “Messiah’s love paid the price and continues to pay the price for my sin. He gave it all for me and still gives all for me.” Second, realize you are not stuck. You are on a trajectory that will end in victory because God is at work in you. Third, let yourself off the hook because God has already let you off the hook. Last, re-connect through prayer with your heavenly father. Don’t keep yourself from the presence of the best, most loving Father in all the universe.
May the God of Israel give you strength today. May He strengthen your heart by His amazing love and grace. May you start with love and with love and find the power to overcome sin.
For the Feed
What do you do when people say things like, "If you’re not willing to stop sinning, you shouldn’t even call yourself a Yeshua follower.” Or, “The answer to habitual sin is to just stop it.” Or, “If you’re stuck in habitual sin, you should question whether or not you’re really saved.” Read today’s blog to get a few pointers that will help.