It’s a Love Problem

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10

The topic of sin is something Christians enjoy discussing – at length from a third person’s point of view and I feel you. Christians have values to uphold and we testify not just to the people around us but to God Himself (Hebrews 12:1). In a perfectly transparent world, we would all write and publish our Psalms 51 as David did but many of us have neither the gall nor integrity for public admissions. There was a recent episode that followed the death of a famous Christian apologetic; scenes of sexual misconduct from the bedroom to the cell phone were revealed after an in-depth probe into his life was carried out. Hence, I write with regards to the unseen influence of sin and where we stand in all of this. The world watches and the importance of purity are prevalent more than ever before. Make no mistake, my dear Brothers and Sisters the potential for sin lurks in every corner of our lives. The changing times have increased the height of the hill on which we fight our spiritual battles. Most of us have been Christians for a long time and I think it is good for us to recall the source from which our power comes from.

We live in a period where self-emphasis has never been greater (i.e. we justify our own actions [2 Tim 3:2]). Concepts of sin and its consequences have been retired to a bygone era. The root of such ideals lies in a prideful man’s desire to have his own autonomy. Man does not enjoy the idea of having to account for his actions to parties other than himself.

The difficulty of our fight is further compounded by the increased accessibility and exposure our generation has to sin. Social media, among many examples, is an inevitable cog in our day-to-day life, connecting millions of people. However, these platforms are also breeding grounds for discontentment, pride, and lust. Social media projects on to us the image of the life the natural man wants to have. The constant bombardment of drunkenness, partying and sexualisation desensitises the Christian to the debauchery of these lifestyles.

The shame of sin no longer holds the stink it once had. With no morals to stop it and technology to encourage it, sin metastasizes in our community. Where does the Christian stand in all this? Should we pack our bags and make like nomads to the mountains? We can’t seem to turn the corner without being tried. As aforementioned, many of these functions are integral parts of our lives and we cannot make do without them; even as the Spirit convicts us, let us remove the things in our lives that cause us to damage our relationship with God. In our Lord Jesus’ priestly prayer (John 17:15-17) to the Father, He petitioned not to take us out of the world but to take the world out of us. It is in this prayer that we can find the malady to the ailment that plagues us all.

While discussing this topic with a friend of mine he told me to remember that we fight on finished grounds (Rom 6:7, 8:37). Often, when we look at the incline of the hill we forget that the result of the battle has already been determined. How then do we combat sin that consistently persists in our lives? The deeper our relationship with God from whence our strength comes from, the greater our strength is to battle the things that so easily beset us (Hebrews 12:1). Beating yourselves up over it accomplishes nothing. Instead, we ought to sanctify ourselves through God’s truth (John 17:17). Sin will cling to us so long as we love the world more than the Father. Our weakness lies in our superficial relationship with God. This leads to an inability to love Him more than ourselves. To feel and know God’s love is the mightiest weapon we can wield.

There is no shortage of ways through which we can cultivate our love relationship with God (we’ve all been to Sunday School class).  The method is not the problem here but rather the motivation behind it. Devotion and cultivation ought to come from a place of love instead of duty. It should be spontaneous, not mechanical. A dutiful* and mechanical spiritual life will make spending time with God a chore. However, if we love Him we will want to spend time with Him in spite of our busy schedule. People who struggle to spend time with God may not have a scheduling problem; but rather have a love problem. However, a heart that loves God is unachievable by human standards. We are naturally at enmity with God and, try as we might, we will never invoke a deep love for God by our own efforts. Unless the Lord hearkens, we will never love Him as we ought.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ let us pray that the Lord will teach us to love Him more than sin and to circumcise our hearts with the word of God that we may achieve victory through Christ.

*Dutiful here means borne out of duty alone