One reality of living is that we sin. No matter how hard we try to leave a godly and clean life, there is always an imperfection creeping in. Needless to say, we are not perfect beings. We are only human. God, alone, is perfect. However, as a person, I have always tried to be perfect. To control what I can control. I try to avoid sinning. I try not to do to others what I don’t want them to do to me. I try not to gossip, not to lose my temper, not to dishonor anyone and a whole lot more. But that’s pretty much what I can do by myself…to try.

Have you ever been frustrated with a recurring bad habit? How many times have you beaten yourself up for always “falling into a temptation”? Have you reached the point when you absolutely hated yourself because you have repeatedly failed to stand firm on your resolution to live a clean life? Were there times when you feel that you are already abusing God’s forgiveness and because of that you just don’t ask for forgiveness anymore? The reason why I am asking is that I have been there and most of the time…I still am. The fact is that the enemy is everywhere and he is present in every temptation and circumstances in our lives. He exists for a purpose: to steal, kill and destroy.

Everyone has his own “demons to battle” and it is mostly manifested by your weakest areas. It may be a blatant sin such as sexual perversion, lust, rage/temper, greed, pride or lying. It may also be subtle like cheating, gossiping, people pleasing, and procrastination. In every battle, the most important thing to know and understand is your enemy: to identify and pursue it head on. We have been given a natural alarm if something we do is wrong. Most sociologists and psychologists may identify them as the feeling you get when you act outside of the norm – when society, in general, does not accept what you do. I have a different view. Our natural alarm is that queasy feeling, that troubling whisper, that nagging and persistent feeling that bothers you every time and causes you to repeatedly ponder on what you have done. It is simply…GUILT.

Like most people, we try to justify our actions. We make logical analysis and worse, consider these “demons” as part of our human nature…our natural built. If we believe that we were made in the image and likeness of God then it should not be hard to understand that we were not designed to sin. To sin is not our natural make-up…rather; it is something that we need to conquer. This explains, then, the reason why we feel guilty…because sinning should not be natural to us. Similar to injecting a diluted or impure fuel to your car engine…sinning will not only bring troubles in your life but damage your soul as well.

I’m pretty sure you will agree with me that we can’t shake off guilt…that is why we feel the urge to recompense our misdeeds with good actions. The best way to remove guilt really is to conquer the cause. In my personal experience, the only effective way to conquer sin is to draw near to God. It is not a one-time solution. Never is. It is an unending process.

James 4:7-10 says,

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

I realized that I am most vulnerable to making wrong decisions and give in to temptations and even unintentionally sinning when I am far from God. You see, the enemy seizes every opportunity big or small to attack us and being near God (in my case through prayer and devotion) enables us to be totally dependent and guided by Him. Our battle then is not ours alone to face since God is our ally!

I would like to share the following passages which inspired this entry:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect, will of God.

Romans 12: 1-2

Romans 12 is replete with Paul’s admonition of living right but it all starts with his basic instruction (paraphrased version):

“By the mercy of God, present yourselves as a living sacrifice: a sacrifice that is holy and acceptable unto God.  This is your reasonable service to God. ”

How can we do this?

“Don’t follow the ways of this world but transform yourselves into God’s glory by renewing your mind so that you will show what is good, acceptable (by God’s standards) and perfect will of God in your lives.”

God’s Word is clear. Listen to your “gut feeling”, acknowledge that “guilt”. It is your signal that what you are doing or about to do is NOT natural…it is NOT God’s design for you and by all means…you have to end it.

I like the way how Paul ended his lesson:

Do not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.     Romans 12:20

I don’t know with you but to me, it is an assurance that yes…it is hard to break sin…to be free from your bondage but it can be certainly done!