I thought I would never get better. Ever been so sick that you thought it would go on forever? I spent the last week and a half lying on the couch with the flu. I have to admit that I was a moaner and grumbler. It actually felt like I was sick for so long that I wondered when I was going to get better. I was getting bed sores from laying around and waiting for relief. Ever feel like that? I knew that it was temporary and if I held on and rested I would get back on my feet, but it was a long time in coming.
That expectation of healing isn’t always the case in our spiritual lives. Though we may understand that Christ came and died to free us from sin, we can find ourselves spiritually sick because of our choice to continue to sin and feel the consequences of that choice: indifference to the Lord and His Word, a general apathy and discouragement, and a loss of hope and expectation. A particular struggle with sin can overtake any Christian at times, just like the flu that we can catch and can’t seem to get past.
What is more ominous is the mentality that we can develop that an area of sin in our lives is something that we will never get over and will have to accept as the new norm. Sadly, some Christians can fall into that mentality. They have gotten to the point where they accept defeat as part of their Christian life, just as someone could view himself or herself as permanently flu-stricken.
Maybe you have been struggling in an area of your spiritual life for a long time. I know that there have been issues I have had to face in my own life and I have to break from the numbed acceptance of an area of sin. Sometimes it can seem easier to accept the spiritual illness, especially if you have tried to overcome it and have repeatedly failed. It’s not that a Christian doesn’t want to be spiritually healthy. But after a long time of laying on the couch it becomes comfortable and we can forget that we can actually recover.
There are some keys to overcoming a spiritual bug. You have to realize that it recovery involves more than what you may have tried already. Actually, it’s obviously beyond what you have tried, because whatever you have tried has not worked. So how do we become “overwhelming conquerors” through Christ? (Romans 8:37)
I think part of it comes down to confession. You think, “Confession. I’ve done that, been there, and it hasn’t worked!” I’m not sure if you really have. Not really. We often confess our sins when we talk to God and admit to Him what we have done wrong. And yet we continue to go back to that sin time after time. Why is that? I think it is because we really don’t see our sin the way that God does. We need to understand what confession is biblically. To confess literally means “to say the same thing.” It isn’t just about admitting what we did wrong and telling that to God. God already knows that we have sinned even before we admit it to ourselves. Confession has the idea of “saying the same thing” about sin that God does. It suggests aligning our thinking and our convictions with God’s about the area of sin. One of the main reasons we repeatedly fall into the same sin is because we don’t see that sin the way that God does. We are masters at excusing and justifying our sin. We may say with our mouth that it is wrong to God, but we don’t really believe it. And there is the problem. Only when we really begin to believe the same thing that God does about our sin will we begin to have victory over it.
Here is a great exercise to help: use a concordance and study all the Bible verses you can find on the area of sin in your life. Write them down in your journal and read each of them out loud every day for a month. That’s right, a whole month. Everyday. Really. And as you read them, pray and ask God to help you see the sin the way He sees it. You will find your thinking changing about that area of sin. You will be aligning your thinking with God’s. And when your thinking about that sin changes, so will your behavior!