Too often we choose to do things that are contrary to what we know Christ would have us to do. A wayward glance, an unkind word, a condescending sneer; every day we engage in behavior that is opposed to the Word of God. Yet I believe we fail to weigh the gravity of our actions. Everybody sins, nobody’s perfect, so what else should we expect? We fail to recognize the power of Christ within us; we do have the power to overcome our failures and live as a true follower of Jesus. Ours is not a destiny resigned to defeat. Victory is a prayer away if we would only choose to invoke God’s power in our lives.
Another reason I believe I falter is that I do not consider the pain I cause my Lord. If we truly recognized and understood how much God hates sin, we would be hard pressed to willingly engage in it. Our sin caused God to turn away from His own Son while He hung on a cross for us. God despises sin and demands obedience. We deserve death and punishment, but by the grace of the shed blood of Jesus we receive love and pardon. I don’t want to cause pain for my Savior; I don’t want to fall short of the mark He has set for me.
If only we would keep these thoughts before us, I think we would be much less likely to sin. We need to develop the habit of quickly taking a mental step back at every decision. By pausing a moment to think through the situation and the choices presented, we allow ourselves to affirm who we are in Christ. When we focus on the person we want to be, it becomes far easier to make the right decision. Instead of blurting out a rash word, we can instead temper our speech with patience and love. When faced with temptation we will be able to turn the other way and remove ourselves from the situation. When we choose Christ over our own selfish desires, we learn to walk in the way that He did. Our steps may be small, but they are steps nonetheless.
It’s so simple, yet we make it so difficult. We love Jesus and wish to do things that would please Him. That choice is always up to us. Outside of very rare and extraordinary circumstances, no one is ever forced to sin. You and I both choose to sin; we are not coerced but are rather acting with selfish motives. Somehow we have become convinced that a moment of satisfaction on earth is worth more than choosing to remain faithful to the One who gave His life for us.
The question really comes down to “Do we really love Him?” No one intentionally hurts the one they love. If we find ourselves consistently choosing to sin, then the validity of our love for Jesus must be called into question. We cannot love Him and work against Him at the same time. Each of us must personally ask where our loyalty lies. Will we side with our Creator and Savior, or will we indulge our selfish desires? Our answer will have eternal consequences. Jesus told us plainly that we cannot serve two masters; we will hate the one and love the other (Matthew 6:24). I would much rather be accused of hating life on this earth than despising Jesus Christ. He is our hope and without Him we are lost.
When you are tempted to sin, remember that you know the right thing to do; you know the choice you should make. Whether or not you choose correctly is a reflection on who and what you value. We will either live for Christ or live for ourselves. Live life with your eyes wide open; walk slowly and speak even slower. It is imperative that we give ourselves the opportunity to turn away from temptation and to respond to every situation in a manner that will bring a smile to the face of Jesus. We know the right thing to do and the choice is up to us. Don’t live your life for things that at best bring temporal pleasure. Live for the One who can free your soul and give you eternal peace. Choose the right way, the way that leads to life. Love Jesus and serve others; choose to walk His way.