When our mobile phone plan expired this past Christmas I could finally update to one not held together with tape. A whole new world opened up to me so I downloaded one of those free word games to stave off brain degeneration. To my shame, I quickly became addicted to it. Wanting to nip that vice in the bud, I deleted the app as a form of permanent self-control. The game was dead to me.
Until a couple of months later. I was older, wiser, more able to resist the temptation, I reasoned. I downloaded the same game and maintained self-control for a little bit longer before falling under its spell. So I deleted it again. I could walk you through the shameful details but let it suffice if I say, the app is on my phone yet again.
Why do I keep bringing back what I’ve left behind?!
Have you ever faced this struggle? The pull to return to what wasn’t even that good? The unhealthy relationship you cut ties with but you still secretly peek at on social media? The habit you publicly kicked out of your life only to privately invite back in?
I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.
Romans 7:15, 18-19 NLT
You nailed it Paul! That’s exactly how I feel!
I wonder if part of the reason I play around with sin is because I don’t see its danger. I don’t fully understand that it’s for my safety that Jesus calls me to put the sin in my life to death. I either don’t see how sin brings death or I don’t trust that Jesus wants to save me from death for life. Maybe I’m confused and think that nailing my old desires to the cross is a sad thing to mourn instead of a joyful thing to celebrate.
Jesus wants us to die to the old way of life and its desires because they will end in our death. It’s in dying to them that we’re raised to a new life of grace. Not to follow a new or different or radically amended law, but to walk in step with the Spirit so that we begin wanting what He does.
One of the desires that grows in me as I walk in step with the Spirit, is the desire to keep considering myself dead to sin. It’s not dead in me—I know it because I feel the war it wages inside of me—but I want to consider myself dead to it. I want to stop presenting myself to things that lead to death and expect them to bring me life. Instead, I want to joyfully give myself to God because He’s the One who brings me from death to life.
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.
Romans 6:12-13 ESV