How can I overcome sin if I don’t feel like it?
We need to learn to see sin through God’s eyes, and hate it in the same way that He does, regardless of our feelings.
(Click to listen to an audio recording of this article:To make a decision to turn away from sin and darkness, from the power of the devil to the living God. We repent from our former sins, cast off our old life – a life which enjoyed living in the passing pleasures of sin – ... -space"> How can I overcome sin if I don’t feel like it? )
Sin came into the world through Satan’s pride and desire to be equal with God and forever left its ugly mark on God’s perfect creation. For God, there are no grey areas when it concerns sin. All sin is exceedingly sinful. He hated it so much that He sent His only Son to earth so that we could be saved from it. In other words, it is that important for us to become completely free from it, and that isn’t possible unless we also really hate sin, and see it for what it really is.
The truth about sin
However, that hatred doesn’t come naturally.
Temptation is always going to feel like something that you want to do; that’s what makes it a temptation. But God spoke to you in your heart and you made a decision to follow Jesus and give up your own will, which is the lust to sin that dwells in your human nature. With your spirit and your mind you chose the good. But then, even though you’ve chosen to do the good, you find the evil is still present, or – simply put – you’re still tempted to sin. (Romans 7:21) And it can be hard to see the evil for what it really is. Instead your feelings tell you that to choose to sin would feel good and bring you happiness and fulfillment. For example, in the moment you are tempted and you really feel like you would like to be irritated, because it serves the other person right. Or you really feel like you would like to dwell on a certain lust, even though you know it isn’t right. Then it can be hard to feel like you hate sin.
But here’s the truth: your feelings lie to you. That can’t be underlined enough. Those feelings come from your flesh, which is that body of sin you were born with that wants to control you. But the real you is your mind and spirit which made that decision to live wholly for Jesus, and that is who is going to battle against your flesh despite what you feel like.
Power from God
So to begin with, you may not feel like you hate sin when it comes up, and Satan will push you to give in to your feelings. But when you believe that the real you is the one that truly wants to overcome sin in order to be well-pleasing to God, then what you need to do is battle in faith in the time of temptation, against all of your feelings and the lusts and desires of your flesh. That is going to require that you go to the throne of grace and cry out for help from God. And Jesus, who knows the battles and temptations that you face so well, because He faced the same thing while He was here on earth, also intercedes on your behalf. When They see that your spirit is so willing and ready to overcome, but the feelings are so weak, then They give you all the power and grace you need to overcome.
People who do this are extremely precious to God. He sees when you overcome, contrary to what you feel. He sees that you are obedient because of your desire for the good. There is a powerful blessing over that. And that is hating sin, regardless of what your feelings are saying.
Nothing good dwells in your flesh
When you first start to follow Jesus on the way, it can happen that you fall and you sin in spite of your best intentions. Then you experience that sin only brings with it a host of trouble. The result is a bad conscience, damaged relationships with people, and not least of all with God, and more. When you see how ugly it actually is to sin, it begins to have a horrible stench to it. It becomes disgusting to you. You see the results of sin. In contrast, hating sin, and overcoming it, leads to goodness, peace, love, and all of these other virtues, which last for a lifetime. The “pleasure” of giving in to sin lasts for only a moment before you start to feel the guilt and the wretchedness that comes from it. Experiencing this only reconfirms your decision to have nothing more to do with sin.
The wages of sin is death. Satan only comes to kill, steal, and destroy. (John 10:10) That is the truth about sin. There is nothing to be gained from it outside of a moment’s satisfaction that quickly fades away, and the end result is death.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23.
Jesus loved us so much that He left heaven to come to earth to defeat sin so that we don’t have to be bound to commit it any longer. Because of this sacrifice we can now have life in abundance. (John 10:10) If we are true Christians and disciples who love Jesus, this should inspire us to have the same mindset. How can we honor Him for what He’s done for us? By doing the same for Him. Overcoming sin so that one day we can stand before Him without spot or wrinkle, and hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of your Lord.” (Ephesians 5:27; Matthew 25:21)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.