Everyone struggles with sin. Everyone desires forgiveness. Isn’t it awesome that God gives us forgiveness? I’m thankful.
I am no different than anyone else. I struggle with sin. I struggle with my temper, with my attitude, with so many other things. Every day, I have to apologize to God for my sins. In order to feel like I can overcome them, I have to confess my sins to God, as many as I can. King David went even further than that – he asked God to save him from his “secret sins” – the ones he committed that he didn’t even realize he’d done.
“Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.”
As I was getting ready to write this post and reading over the verses I wanted to use, I realized that David also asked God to keep him from other sins:
“Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent of the great transgression.”
Presumptuous sins… what might those be? Assumption, perhaps. What could be more presumptuous than that? But I think it goes deeper than that. So, I looked it up. According to BlueLetterBible.org, in this verse, the original word is zed, and it’s literal translation is:
So presumptuous sins refers to arrogance, coupled with insolence and impiety. This got me thinking: how have I been arrogant in my walk with God? I tried to be really and truly honest with myself, and I was very sobered by the realization that I am extremely arrogant with God. I have the tendency to assume (there’s that presumption again) that something is or is not from God. I have the habit of deciding that, if I don’t feel forgiven for a sin, it’s because God didn’t forgive me yet, when in actuality, He forgave me the moment I asked; I simply hadn’t forgiven my self (I John 1:9).
I’m pretty arrogant, aren’t I? I take upon myself the power to decide when and if a sin has been or will be forgiven, even though I can ‘t forgive anyone – least of all myself – of any sins. This is a problem.
So how to overcome arrogance like that? By remembering that Someone perfect had to die for my sins, I am reminded that I am far from perfect, far from knowing the future, far from the power that decides life or death. Only God holds that power, and as talked about in a recent church service, I don’t want to take over God’s job! The message was actually about vengeance and bitterness, and how God said that vengeance is His and He will repay (Romans 12:9). When we take over the job of getting back at someone, we are taking over God’s job. We are saying that we are on the same level as God, since we can do His job. And, correct me if I’m wrong, but putting himself on the same level as God is what got Lucifer kicked out of Heaven. Yeah. Don’t want to do that. But as I write this, I’m struck with the idea that I have been getting revenge on myself for my sins, by constantly beating myself up over them instead of making every conscious effort not to commit them again. I’m talking about some specific sins that I struggle with – temper issues, attitude, apathy, some others. And when I realize that I’ve committed a sin again, I get angry with myself. I ask God to forgive me, sure, but then I tell myself that I’m such a horrible person for committing the same sins again that there is no way I can be forgiven and to just give up. Way to play Job’s friends and wife, right?
So, instead of giving up, I should stop giving myself power and authority that I don’t have. I need to remember that God is sovereign, and He will forgive me if I simply ask. That doesn’t mean I should commit sins with the intention of asking forgiveness, however; this kind of behavior sorrows God, maybe even angers Him. Woah. Do NOT want to anger God, or sorrow Him, or anything else.
A recent Sunday School lesson for the class I teach covered what repentance is. I told the kids, “Repentance doesn’t mean you say you’re sorry, do the sin again, say you’re sorry, do the sin again, and so on. It means you say you’re sorry, and lean on God for the strength to resist committing that sin again.” Conviction! Practice what ya teach, teacher :).
All in all, it’s easy to sin. But, thank the Lord, it’s also easy to find forgiveness for those sins, and even easier to ask God for help. That’s not to say that you will never commit those sins again, or that you will have no problem resisting the temptation to sin; but rather, that if you rely on God as your strength, you can and will stand against all sorts of temptation.
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
I Chronicles 10:13
Remember the saying, “Practice makes perfect”? Well, it applies here, as well. The more you resist sin, the easier it gets to resist sin. Pray daily for the strength to resist and for the courage to take the straight and narrow path in each situation. Spend time daily in the Word, finding and reading – and memorizing – verses that will help you in your walk with God. That whole, “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee” and “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” thing, ya know (Psalms 119:11, Psalms 119:105). A little illumination is good, but the more, the better, right?
Here’s the really, truly, incredibly awesome part – God has promised that he will break the bonds of sin – and therefore, the punishment for them – from off of us!
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”