[Follow] Agree With God

Day 2 of 3 • This day’s reading

Devotional

Deal with It


How do you deal with sin in your life? 


When we start following Jesus there is always a tension between the spiritual and the physical, between our old nature and our new life in Christ. We soon discover that even though we have decided to follow Jesus, we’re still tempted to go our own way. Jesus said, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” 


Following Christ is not just about getting a ticket to heaven and a “hall pass.” Following Christ is about the good life you get to live here on earth. But to experience this good life in the here and now, we can’t just live to satisfy our appetites anymore, as powerful as they are. We discover that while we are still tempted to sin, we now have this deep desire to please Christ. All who follow Christ experience this struggle. 


You can deal with the struggle through some mental gymnastics. You can work up your own definition of right and good. Here is what I know about your definition of good: you fit in your definition of good. You never define “good” in a way that you are outside of it. 


Others opt out of the struggle by letting our shifting culture define what is good and what is right. Culture says, “If it feels good, do it. Whatever makes you happy! Do whatever you want as long as it does not affect me.” So we reason, “As long as I fit within cultural norms, I’m good.”


Some people try to minimize their sin. “It’s not that big of a deal. I need this and it’s not hurting anyone else.” When we minimize sin, we don’t confront it or deal with it. We live hiding in the darkness. This is a problem because the relationship Jesus wants with us is walking in the light with Him. 


Other people maximize their sin. They’re so overwhelmed with guilt they can’t accept grace. They can’t imagine themselves as forgiven or even worthy of forgiveness. They sabotage their walk with Jesus before it really begins. People know they can’t live up to what they believe God’s expectations are, so they give up.


The truth is our worth comes from our Creator. We are created by God and loved by God; every person is a person of infinite worth. Our worth is not found in our performance. Imagine if God said, “I’ll love you as long as you can be good all the time. I’ll love you if your performance always meets my standards.” Who could live up to that? Who likes a performance-based relationship? Who wants to live with, “I’ll only love you if you do this or that?” Eventually, you quit those relationships because you can’t keep up and even if you could, they don’t satisfy the hunger of your heart. 


There is a better way. God has demonstrated that He loves us with an unconditional love we haven’t earned. In love, He has invited you to enter a relationship with Jesus, living a new life in an intimate relationship following Him. In that life, we begin to find the spiritual power to change. This relationship with Jesus gives you the ability to say no to your flesh. 


Father, You know the battles I face. Today, as I walk with Jesus moment by moment give me the strength I need to say yes to what You want for me and no to my selfish appetites and ambitions. Jesus, as I depend on You and yield to You in every area, live out Your life in me. Amen