Why does it always seem like the sins that are the hardest to overcome are the ones we commit the most?
I asked myself this as I was laying in bed asking God to forgive me YET AGAIN for a sin that I commit (pretty often) and I felt so defeated. WHY IS IT SO HARD to get over? I felt ashamed. It’s like this cycle I go through constantly. I return to this sin, realize what I’m doing, back off, and then I replace it with a different version of the same sin because the absence of it makes me feel lonely.
Why do I look for satisfaction in sin when I should be looking for satisfaction in Jesus?
The Apostle Paul asked himself the same questions. Romans 7:15 is where he (very famously) writes that what he, “[wills] to do, [he does] not practice; but what [he hates], that [he does].” Do you ever catch yourself doing not what you know is right and want to do, but instead doing what feels good in the moment but has a lasting, negative effect? Me too.
So I wondered why this was. Why is this hard even for the strongest Christian (i.e. Paul) or even Peter who personally spent time walking, listening, and loving Jesus but still denied knowing Him THREE SEPARATE TIMES?
Honestly, I don’t have the answer as to why we do this. My best guess is that we are born into a sinful world and that sin just feels good sometimes. Let’s be honest. Sometimes you feel like a lie is a lot easier to say than to be honest with someone about something painful. Sometimes it feels right to air all our feelings about that person-who-did-us-wrong but call it “honesty” rather than “gossip”. Sometimes that person is just that attractive so we allow ourselves to fall into lustful thoughts that later can turn into actions. I don’t know why, when I know these sins can’t save my soul, I choose to commit them anyways. I wish I had that answer.
The answer I do have is how to overcome it. Just like Paul says in Romans, there is nothing good about us aside from God. We are sinners – that’s just the truth. If we don’t first realize how depraved we are without Christ, we can’t fully understand the goodness of what it is to be saved by Him.
I have to remind myself in these moments of questioning my own goodness that I, alone, am not good. Christ is the only good thing about me and that has to be okay. We don’t like being told that we aren’t inherently good people. But remember, “for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8 reminds us that though we aren’t good on our own, Christ came and made us worthy. He came and forgave us of the sins that we’ve committed and are going to commit in the future.
To overcome sin, we must realize we can never be good enough without Jesus (Romans 7:18), seek and accept His forgiveness (1 John 1:9), fill ourselves with the Word of God (Joshua 1:8, Romans 10:17), and live to obey Him (John 14:23).
I had a conversation once with an old friend of mine where I just kept saying, “God has to be mad at me. I just keep messing up. I just keep committing this one sin.” And my friend looked at me and said, “Jesus came to be like a net for all of God’s anger toward your sin. He died and took all the punishment you deserved so that you could receive love.”
This doesn’t mean we should just throw up our hands, throw in the towel, and say, “Well, that’s it. Just gonna keep sinning because I’m forgiven.” Yeah, if you’re a Christian, you are. You are forgiven. But we should continue to strive to live the life that Jesus intended us to live. We should be sorry for the sins we commit but also be so thankful for the blood that was shed at Calvary for us to be free.
When you mess up, remember “neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Remember this. Forgive yourself and accept the forgiveness that Jesus paid for with His own body.