If we profess Jesus as Lord and claim to be His follower, there are certain things we probably know. We know that Jesus has saved us from our sins. We know that He has made us righteous through His perfect obedience. We know that we needed this saving work because we were born sinners. But do we know about this sin problem now and what do to about it now?
Perhaps you’re of the mind that because your sin has been covered by Jesus’ blood there’s no sin to worry about here and now today. Or perhaps you’re of the mind that you don’t really have much sin (especially compared to her or him!). But, maybe, just maybe, you’re aware enough that you see your sin and you can’t figure out why you’re still struggling with it, especially because you know Jesus has taken it upon Himself on the cross.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Am I doing something wrong here?”, “Am I the only one struggling with sin?”, “Is my faith that weak that I can’t defeat these sins?”…
If this is you and these are your thoughts, let me tell you something. The struggle with sin is real.
In “Extravagant Grace” by Barbara Duguid, the author references John Newton, who penned “Amazing Grace”, and his observations on the believer struggling with sin. Newton observed that one mark of a Christian moving from infancy to greater maturity was a work of the Holy Spirit enabling them to stop doubting their salvation when they sinned and start trusting more fully in the finished work of Christ on their behalf.
Have you ever doubted you were really saved because you kept struggling with sin?
Newton also believed that the richest fruit of God’s work in believers’ hearts would be evidence by increasing humility and dependence on Christ for everything, rather than in a “victorious Christian life.” And because of that, Newton did not point Christians to their own performance for comfort and assurance. Fruit would certainly become evident, but the Holy Spirit would be changing a soul on His own timetable and in His own way.
In other words, stop looking to yourself and begin looking to God for His sustaining power to grow you up and be more conformed into the image of Christ Jesus.
Taking my eyes off self means that I will be less discouraged when I sin like that again. (Just to clarify, this does not mean we will become comfortable or resolved to stop fighting sin)
Taking my eyes off self eliminates the blame-and the credit-when that sin persists or is conquered.
Putting my eyes on God means that I increase in trusting that He is at work in me. He is the One who started this good work and He will finish it.
Putting my eyes on God will cause me to look for ways He is changing me and producing His fruit in me rather than fixating on my problems and circumstances.
Putting my eyes on God causes me to see how my sin is against Him and takes the focus off of myself and how I might be minimalizing my sin or exalting myself.
All believers will continue to struggle with sin. If we say we don’t sin, we are deceiving ourselves. Should we identify by our sin? No! We are a new creation–stop saying, “I’m a worrier. I’m a fearful person. I’m just emotional. I have trust issues.” Take your eyes off of self and start looking for ways God is changing you as you trust HIM for that work. We should press forward for that victorious Christian life, but remember that it will only come perfectly once we’re in Heaven and our sanctification process is complete. The full victory is then. Until then, we will see God giving us victories time and again, but there will still be struggles with other sins.
Remember, the struggle is real.
And, it is in that struggle that we will be humbled, causing us to grow more and more dependent upon God and seek Him. When we seek Him, we will find Him. THAT is a glorious promise.