SIN IS FUN – at least some of it, for a while. The problem is that it doesn’t last. We constantly seek more: bigger fun, higher highs, greater thrills, until satisfying ourselves becomes an impossibility. Eventually everything in our life becomes boring and meaningless. Hopefully, before we get to that point, we figure out that living for self has some serious limits and we start to think about some of the things that really matter. As we progress in our understanding, we discover that we do so much better when we remove sin from our lives. However, most of us have discovered that it can be very difficult to discard certain sins. For some of us, it may be eating in an unhealthy way, or having a sharp tongue, or some guilty pleasure. We all seem to struggle with something that we just cannot overcome.
Those among us who have a high degree of willpower can just grit their teeth and make it happen. I used to think these individuals were fortunate. Then I came to realize that this is really just a form of self-righteousness – relying on ourselves to make the changes in our lives. Perhaps they’re not as fortunate as I had imagined. No, God didn’t say we need to change ourselves. He wants to do that for us (Hebrews 10:16). He wants to make a change from the inside out; one that is so real that we become a new person altogether (2 Corinthians 5:17)! But how? How do we access that?
I’ll be perfectly open with you – I’ve prayed, begged and pleaded with God to remove certain sins from my life. I’ve tried all the common sense tactics: avoided putting myself in situations that are tempting, set up a reward system, studied the science of habits and of willpower, etc. None of this has help in a lasting way. I began to think that I just needed to be patient, to allow God to work within His timetable. But as I continued to struggle, I knew that these sins were not healthy for my relationship with God and I knew that God wanted to have them out of my life.
Then I happen to read something amazing – 2 Peter 1:3 in The Message, “Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God.” And it hit me! This is the answer! “Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God” is a description of overcoming sin! And how do we get that? “By getting to know, personally and intimately,” Jesus. This is the secret I’ve been looking for.
But that’s not all! Peter goes on to tell us in verse 4 that when we do this, certain promises are given to us. What are those promises – what becomes available to us? According to 2 Peter 1:5 – 7 through our personal and intimate relationship with Jesus, we will add goodness (good character), knowledge (spiritual understanding), self-control (alert discipline), perseverance (passionate patience), godliness (reverent wonder), mutual affection (warm friendliness), and love. These are all the things we need to overcome sin in our lives.
I recently had a conversation with a friend in which she told me, “As I draw closer and closer to Jesus, as I get to know Him better and better, sin loses its appeal. It gets to the point where sin is no longer attractive.” Am I there yet? No, but now I know what I need to do – commit myself totally to getting to know, personally and intimately, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. By spending time with Him, I will become more and more like Him.
Doug Drake’s father was a Seventh-day Adventist pastor. Doug is a web developer in San Antonio, TX and developed the Laurel Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church website. He also co-leads a Sabbath School discussion group with Zvonka Jakopovic.