In the history of mankind, only one person has never sinned. There are over seven billion people on Earth and every last one of them has sinned. I have sinned and so have you. Why do we sin? We sin because perfection is impossible unless you are God. Jesus is God in flesh, so he was able to accomplish what no other man or woman has or will accomplish. No matter how we try, no matter how nice and kind we are, sin is still inevitable.
Succumbing to some temptation is inevitable. Does that mean we should give up and say, since I know I will never be perfect, why should I try? The answer is both simple and complex. If you stop trying, you will inevitably lower the bar and your level of sin will increase, which will also mean your rate of failure, unhappiness and depression will also increase.
Inside all of us is a consciousness of what is right or wrong; it is built-in. That consciousness lets us know when we are going off the rail and nudges us back. We need that consciousness, otherwise we could all end up doing some pretty heinous things. Thank God for a conscience.
In my mind, it is obvious that we live in conflict. Jesus spoke of something called the “world” and he was not referring to geographic locations. We were told to be in the world and not of the world. The “world” actually refers to a system of thought and governance and not a physical place. The system is what we are fighting. If we allow ourselves to be a part of the system, we can fall into the patterns of the system. The Bible also tells us to not be conformed to this world. So, we have to fight the pattern of this world by continually operating according to a different pattern or system.
The Bible further states that there is a god of this “world” – a god who influences the system that fights against us. The Apostle Paul spoke about doing the things he did not want to do, and even made the statement, “Oh wretched man that I am” in reference to desiring to do one thing and succumbing to the things not desired. This is the human struggle. We know what is right and wrong. We want to do right but the pull of wrong (the system of the “world”) prevents us from being what we truly desire. Everyone goes through this process, this struggle.
Have you ever wondered why someone in a position of power or influence would lie, cheat, steal, rape or commit other misdeeds? Have you ever wondered why a politician, lawyer, doctor or pastor would take a kickback or bribe? It is because we live in a world where evil is present, and the pull of evil is strong. We have to fight to do the right thing every day. It is a fight we must all commit to, or the consequences will take their toll on our lives. I am thankful that the ledger in my life has shifted dramatically in favor of doing good and doing the right thing – but that does not mean the struggle is not real. The struggle is very real and very present.
How do we deal with the struggle? The most powerful tool in our arsenal is something called renewal. In the book of Romans, it states that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. This means that you are made new by reminding yourself of what you should be doing and what kind of person you should be. If you see yourself going off course, remind and renew yourself in order to get back on track. If you do it enough, it becomes a practice and a tool for your survival. The one thing that will ensure failure is if you pretend the struggle is not real. The struggle is real and the pathway to success is predictable even if hard to achieve. I am thankful for the tools available to me that I have continued to use to overcome. I encourage you today to continue to struggle and continue to succeed in the fight for your best future.
• Pastor Dave Burrows is senior pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Feel free to email comments, whether you agree or disagree, to email@example.com. I appreciate your input and dialogue. We become better when we discuss, examine and exchange.