June 23, 2009
Power to Overcome
“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.”
2 Peter 1:3 (NLT)
Do you find yourself doing what you know you should not? Do you find it hard to stop? Yeah, I know.
I’ve had several discussions lately with people stuck in patterns of behavior they want to quit. They’re stuck in sin. What’s more, they feel completely awful about it. Guilty. Shameful. Some to the point of hating themselves. And yet they feel powerless to stop – powerless to resist.
The Bible says when we return to our vices again and again, we are like dogs returning to our vomit (Prov. 26:11).
So why do we do this? According to the Bible, Christ has conquered sin on our behalf and we have the capacity to be free from its power. Yet that is far from the reality of many Christians’ lives. Why?
Why does sin have any power over us? Why does it have any dominion in our lives? The answer is the same reason a dog returns to her vomit. She likes the taste.
Sin has power because we enjoy it. It promises something we want … pleasure, escape, wealth, etc. Sure it always has consequences we don’t want, but in many cases those don’t over power its feel-good moments or perceived benefits. In short, sin has power because we love it.
Earlier this year I quit drinking my favorite drink, a particular diet cola. Now, I’m not saying diet cola is evil or sinful - just go with me here. The first time I tasted diet cola I didn’t think it was all that yummy. BUT it promised to save me calories so I decided it was worth the slightly strange chemical taste. In short time, as it grew familiar, I began to like the taste.
Wasn’t long before I was flat out addicted – wanting, even needing to have my beloved drink every day or I grew headachy and irritable. Sad thing is it didn’t help me lose weight at all. But that didn’t matter because now I loved diet cola. Furthermore, I was convinced if I gave it up, I’d not only get headaches but I’d gain more weight. I was enslaved in a way.
It was my drink of choice. It made me smile when I had it. It also made me frown if I ran out, or if a restaurant didn’t serve it. And I’d get worried anytime a health report questioned the safety of aspartame, a main ingredient in my diet cola. But I loved it, so I returned to it day after day.
What helped me give up diet cola? I found a different drink I really liked. I developed a taste for it. I was willing to give up that because I now had this. It’s the same way with sin.
What can help us overcome the sins that we have love-hate relationships with? A surpassing love. A greater love that carries with it no hate, no guilt, and no shame. A love that actually delivers the many, many benefits it promises. A love that is full of wisdom and compassion, not vomit. A love more attractive and powerful than the allure of sin. It is the love of God displayed in Christ.
When we catch hold of that love - when we read of it regularly, drink it in, and see it at work in our lives - we cannot help but love Him back with all our heart, soul and mind. And in that state of all encompassing love, sin pales in comparison. Its power grows feeble. When we immerse ourselves in the everlasting love of God that has chosen us as its object, we’re more than willing to walk away from the vomit. We can give up that because we have this.
Dear Lord, forgive me for the sins I return to. Cleanse me with Your majestic love and grace. Reveal to me the depth of Your love, the extent of Your sacrifice, and the beauty of the mercy You grant me daily. Open my eyes to see Your love afresh and may I be empowered to walk away from sin towards Your heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
God’s Purpose for Every Woman: A P31 Devotional Gen Eds. Lysa TerKeurst & Rachel Olsen
To learn more about how to find God’s love and find freedom from sin, head to Rachel’s blog and join the discussion.
Fill your mind and heart today with the love of God. Read the power verses below, look up others in your Bible, or visit Rachel’s blog for more.
What sin do I return to? What is the benefit I feel this sin provides me?
Can I seek that benefit in Christ instead?
Proverbs 8:17, “I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me.” (NLT)
Jeremiah 31:3, “Long ago the Lord said to Israel: ’I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.’” (NLT)
John 3:16, “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (NLT)
© 2009 by Rachel Olsen. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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