Do your true desires match up with your prayers?
"Lord, make me chaste (sexually pure)—but not yet."
That was Augustine's prayer as a young man. Honest, isn't he? Although he was not a follower of Christ at the time, I think that those of us who are likewise honest with ourselves can confess to having experienced similar feelings toward sin at some point in our Christian lives.
We're new creations, so we do want to please God. On the other hand, sometimes we don't really want to bid farewell to sin yet either. And I'm not just talking about sexual sin here. This applies to any sinful pattern you've established in your life.
Sometimes the reason you aren't changing is not because you can't but because you don't want to.
Have you considered that possibility?
"I don't want to change just yet"—whoa. That sounds serious if you say it aloud. Not exactly the good-Christian answer you learn in Sunday school. No, much more comfortable to say that you're "really struggling." That won't alarm anyone. We all struggle, right? Someone is bound to comfort you if you use that line.
But let's use the word struggle carefully, because struggle implies an all-out, to-the-death fight. Are you fighting for holiness because you want to desire God more than you desire the fleeting pleasure of sin? Or ...
- Do you want purity later after you enjoy one or two more intense make-out sessions with your boyfriend where sexual boundaries get pushed just a little more in the passion of the moment? (You can always repent afterward. It isn't sex—what real harm will it do?)
- Do you want a heart of forgiveness later after you revel just a little while in the bitterness you feel toward your family member? (They kind of deserve it.)
- Do you want to start honoring God with your time (a bite-sized word for "life") later after you enjoy being lazy just a little while longer? (What's one more day or week? You can get serious about repentance tomorrow ... or after summer break is over.)
Those are only three examples to get you thinking. Go back to the last time you repeated that same sin you've been stuck in for months, and ask yourself the hard questions.
I'm only able to write this post because I've been here; two of those three examples above were from my own life. And I've seen God rescue me by replacing my desires for sin with a stronger desire for Jesus! If this is where you are today, know that there's hope. The first step to change is acknowledging the truth about our sin.
- Are you stuck in sin because you don't want to change just yet?
- If so, which godly mentor or friend will you confess the truth to this week?
- How does this self-honesty change the way you are going to start praying?
- Why is "I can't change" a lie from the enemy?
- What promises has God given you in His Word about overcoming sin?
- What lie about God are you believing when you don't desire to stop sinning?