Being stuck in sin is not anything strange to most of us. Almost every believer has had that sin that easily beset them – see Hebrews 12:1. You might be doing so well in most other areas, but every time this sin whispers in your ear you find it too enticing to turn down. It kind of just has its way with you. You’ve prayed, fasted, recited scripture, did everything else you could but it just never goes away. It feels as if it has stopped following you now and you are the one chasing after it.
For many, sexual sin is that sin. They’ve read post after post on how to overcome it but there is still no sign they ever will. Despite everything they’ve tried to do right, the sin always seems a step ahead. They may have shared with someone who walked with them for some time, but it came to a point they had to pretentiously say “I’m okay now.” How do they explain that six months or one year down the line they are still struggling with the same thing you’ve been walking them through?
They fear you will wonder if they’ll ever even learn. So they’ll assume the best thing is lie to you the struggle is gone. And with it goes the guilt of keeping you working hard for a deliverance that they feel will never come. It’s their burden to bear, not yours.
Pride of the heart
Whenever we come across people that are struggling with sin, we are often tempted to act in judgment rather than with grace. Unlike Jesus who came to save the world rather than condemn it – see John 3:17, we easily lean towards condemning rather than save. As Ernest excellently expounds on his blog Sexual Pride, it is usually pride that works in us. We feel we are ‘better’ because we ‘sin less’. We haven’t committed adultery or murdered like the other person has.
The log of pride in our eyes has to be removed if we are to clearly see and help remove the speck of sexual sin in our neighbor’s eye.
But there is another form of pride not often known to us. It’s not the pride found with the one who judges, but the one being judged. That of the individual trapped in sin. Just as it is possible to be judged by others because they think our sin is greater than theirs, it is also very possible to look at others and justify ourselves that our sin is not greater.
We know that in God’s eyes there’s no sin really greater than the other. Sin is sin. The small lie a colleague tells at the office for coming late is just as bad as the bribe another gives to unfairly win a tender. One may have minimal physical effects but both wreck the same spiritual havoc; both demanded a cost of blood and for both Jesus died.
“So why would they judge me? They have no right to!” you say. It is true that no sin is greater than another. Doesn’t James warn that “whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it”? – see James 2:10. No one should therefore judge. We are all guilty, all fallen and all dependent on God’s grace. The prostitute and the petty liar alike.
That said, no one should ever find justification for their sin in the fact that we are all sinners. It sounds crazy but most of us do and this is the one surest way of ensuring you never come out of your sin. It will cause you to not feel vexed by your sin. You will instead get comfortable with it. Your sin will become this ugly pet you find no harm in keeping. You will rise up in its defense whenever truth confronts. You will keep saying “I’ll be fine” while with every wake of indulgence you will tie another of its venomous strands round your neck.
You will give it more lifelines by saying things like “I will do it only this once,” never realizing that with every lifeline you offer you are strengthening its choke on your own life. You will suddenly lose every will to fight it. Eventually, you will find every justifiable reason to love and entertain it. When you get there, we both know that you are as good as dead in sin.
How can this be overcome? To answer that, we must go back to understanding how sin established its hold on us. There are two ways that sexual sin, and any other easily besetting sin, enslaves. One is by making itself appear too great and powerful for you to even think you could ever overcome. Each time someone prays with you, it will blind you from seeing the power in that prayer. It will remind you of the many other times you’ve fallen even after being prayed for.
It will pull sheet after sheet of accounts of your failure. It will read something like this:
- Javan prayed for you and a week later you got back to watching porn.
- You responded with faith to the altar call when the Lindseys were in town at CITAM Valley Road, then only two days later you were making out passionately.
- You read this powerful post by Ernest Wamboye on his testimony about how he overcame masturbation and began applying those truths, but no later than a month you got laid.
- Now you’ve confessed to this fellowship and asked these believers to pray and walk with you, but tell you what? Your record speaks for itself, you’ll be back to sinning before long.
Sometimes it will grow itself so huge in your sight to get you feeling like the worst sinner of all. You fear telling anyone because you can’t even begin to imagine what they will think of you. Instead of being angered by it so that you run to the arms of believers willing to help, you will at best feel so much shame and choose to remain cuddled in the laps of your sin.
The other way is through the pride we’ve mentioned. A prideful look will judge the sins of others and justify their own. With pride others will condemn your sexual sin as the worst, and with pride you will condemn yourself worse by finding comfort in the fact that they are sinners too. If the lazy classmate doesn’t lose sleep over copying an assignment, why would you cry yourself to sleep every night over a sexual addiction? You both claim to be believers and it must feel okay to know that you are not the only sinful one among believers.
Oh it gets even better when you learn of someone in church who struggles with a similar sin to yours. The pride of sin will not allow you to see them as a fellow sinner you could join together to overcome, but it will make you thankful you have a fellow believer who is just as fallen as you. You will not find strength in not being alone, you will find comfort instead and with that comfort will come more reason to sin. You’ll move from fighting it to enjoying the ugly thing.
In order to overcome
One has to acknowledge what his/her attitude towards their sin has become. It is one of leniency towards sin. The attitude in your heart is what you must overcome if you are to ever find any freedom from this sin that enslaves you. Addictions don’t happen because the flesh is too strong to overcome. It is majorly because the heart/spirit is too weak to put up a fight. Sin will only triumph over you when your heart concedes. You cannot win when you don’t have any resolve to fight left in you.
To bring a heart back to life, the solution is to look away from sin. Sin will either become too trivial or normal to give a care about, or too colossal to even attempt overcoming when our focus remains on it. To live we have to look away from our death to the one death that saves. The one on the Cross. We have to look to life, and that is Christ the Righteous One. Focusing on Him will neither bring condemnation nor justification of sin, it will point us to our redemption.
“Sin has mastered you because you are yet to truly love the One you claim to be your Master”
When you set your eyes on righteousness, you will see your sin for what it truly is. Not as a struggle you’re not the only one facing and so no need to beat yourself up about, neither as the worst sin on earth you should never let anyone know about or even feel worthy to seek for forgiveness; but as the filthiest of things you can never wish to be part of. You will rightly see it as what nailed Jesus on the cross. You will hate your sin because you love Him, and in so doing find the courage to finally walk away.
He has to be the motivation. His holiness has to be your focus. Otherwise that sin will remain your master. You have to be sincere with yourself and realize that sin has mastered you because you are yet to truly love the One you claim to be your master.
If you should wish to talk to someone, reach out to someone. It could be me (my contacts are given under my profile); it could be someone at your church. Remember, don’t be ashamed because of your sin, but hate it enough to expose it. And the Lord your God shall deliver you!