We’ve pictured our desired future—at 70, I want to be healthy enough to play golf. And we’ve determined the actions it will take to get there—complete physical therapy for my knee pain. So we’re all set, right? Let’s grit our teeth and get going.
Not so fast.
There’s an obstacle in our way that we can’t grit our teeth or white-knuckle our way through: sin. It’s attractive, desirable, pleasurable, deceitful, and deadly all at the same time. And no one is spared.
Sin disguises itself in hundreds of temptations, but we’ll tackle one that’s nearly universal.
Our question for today is: What about women?
Fulfilling the short-term desires of sin undermines your ability to fulfill your long-term desires. You can’t have that neighbor, flight attendant, or coworker and have the kind of marriage you want in your golden years.
Our response to sin’s temptation is typically a refrain of “Don’t look. Don’t lust. Don’t eat. Don’t drink.” We mentally double down on our promise to try to be a better man. Yet this never works, does it? Today’s reading in Romans reminds us why: no matter how much we want to do better, evil—sin—is at work within us.
Luckily, as Galatians tells us, we can have freedom from sin by swapping a single word in our vocabulary. Don’t say, “Don’t!” Say, “Help!” The only way to control sin is by the power of the Holy Spirit. All you have to do is ask.
When tempted by sin, replace the word “Don’t” with the word “Help.” “Holy Spirit, help me look away and remind me that my ultimate goal is a happy relationship with my wife.”