“Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me.”Psalm 19:13 NIV
This verse is one I am adding to my list of personal prayers! It is not one I have heard often. What does doing something willfully mean to you?
I do not often think to myself, “I am about to sin and I will sin anyway.” Many times, my desire to sin and me acting on the sin comes in one punch. I don’t usually think through my sin rationally before I sin. A verse in James tells us there is a succession of events in sinning.
“Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”James 1:15 NIV
This verse tells us there is a process that happens prior to sinning and a process after sinning.
Do you set aside intentional time to map out the destination of where your specific sins will take you in your lifetime? Would you say you are good at catching yourself when desire rears its deceptive head? I am not! Let’s join together and practice some discipline in this.
Take one of my current situations as an illustration. I have an acquaintance I knew from my old church that I ran into at work. I did not know she was working for the same school I am. I gave her a warm “hello” as we had not seen each other in a few years. She was stand-offish and did not want to engage. I was offended. The next time we ran into each other, it was the opposite reaction. She was warm and I kept a distance. As time ensued, she was hired to the same department I work at and offices in the same suite. I have been very proud and give her a cold shoulder when I see her and she the same. The Lord told me I was acting like a child and so I decided to ask her to lunch. We are currently deciding on a date to have lunch together. If I chose to continue interacting with her in an un-Christlike way, what kind of witness would that be? How has my coldness affected her relationship with Christ if she responds with similar reactions?
It would be wise I think if we took the time to sit and think through the impact and the seriousness of the damaging effects of our specific sins from inception to the painful aftermath.
One of my favorite verses is: “Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.” NKJV. Saying it in the reverse, “Depart from evil. It brings sickness to your flesh and weakens your bones.” Sin, no thanks! No early onset of wasting away of my flesh and bones!
My willful sins are ones I know I am making and choose to do so anyway. Like a hurtful remark as a reaction to being hurt.
Scripture tells us the Lord helps us through these struggles with sin.
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. NIV (For further reading, check out another post about sin from a fellow contributor.)
How much self-control can we have in surrendering to the Holy Spirit to honor his name in the moment of our struggle with sin? Our Savior, Jesus Christ, resisted disobedience to the point of shedding His blood in the Garden of Gethsemane (Hebrews 12:4). Can we tell the Lord, “Yes, I choose to honor you despite the pull sin has on me. I choose to resist my sin here in this moment. I choose to believe you will satisfy me completely and that you will fight for me?”
Romans 6:16 says “Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?”
We do not want to be slaves of an evil master! This master deceptively entices us in and pulls us down to the depths of lifelessness, darkness and rampant evil. We belong to Christ who is The bread of life, The light of the world, The living water! Let’s submit to our good Master in obedience resulting in righteousness. We know the ending: Jesus has already won over evil. So why not be wise (Psalm 19:7) and submit to Him in every moment of our abundant (John 10:10) lives?
If you would like prayer for sins you are struggling with, feel free to send one to us in a message on Facebook, and we will pray for you!
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.2 Peter 1:3-4 NIV
May we believe this today. Amen.