There is a question that has existed in the world since the moment that the serpent slithered down and tempted Eve in the garden. That question is: why do we keep sinning when we know that it goes against God’s desire for our lives? You can pretty much pick any person in the Bible and find someone who struggled with sin. This even includes those whom we have deemed as the most faithful. That list includes heroes of the faith such as Moses, Noah, Abraham, David, Peter, Paul, and many more. Also, that list includes you and me. Paul had this to say about the struggle of sin in Romans 7:19, “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” This is the exact same fight that all of God’s people fight every day. We want to live good and holy lives and avoid sin, but we seem to keep choosing the opposite of that which we desire. Why is that?
I think that answer is summed up in Hebrews 3:13. That verse talks about “sin’s deception.” The real question is, what is the deception that sin presents to us? In my opinion, sin’s deception is that it promises to instantly fulfill whatever it is that we deeply desire. Maybe someone is looking for love and acceptance, so they live a promiscuous life. Maybe someone wants to feel financially safe and secure, so they become greedy and abuse people to gain wealth. Maybe someone wants to feel better about themselves, so they put others down thinking that it will prop themselves up. Maybe someone wants to escape the emotional pain that they feel, so they numb themselves with drugs or excessive alcohol. The list could go on and on. We all are deeply seeking something in our souls, and sin promises to give that desire to us. The problem is that it never lasts. We exchange eternal joy for temporary happiness when we choose sin over God’s plan for our lives.
Here is the story that sparked my idea for this post. I was walking my dog, Samson, a couple days ago. He likes to think of himself as a mighty hunter; he is not. As we were walking, he became fixated on a rabbit that was about 50 feet from us. There was nothing that I could do to draw his attention away from it. Of course, he was on a leash. Even if he wasn’t, there is no way that he would ever catch his desired prey. He simply is not fast enough. As his eyes were locked on this one rabbit, there was a group of three of them about 20 feet from us. They were just sitting there. He would have had a much better chance at catching one of them (although I would never allow him to do it). They eventually slowly walked across the street without him ever noticing that they were there because he was still focused on the one that he had no chance of catching. Eventually, all the rabbits got away without him coming close to any of them.
I thought to myself, “This is what we do when we choose sin over God.” There was something much greater just a few steps ahead of Samson, but he chose the lesser because that’s what he saw first. That is the deception of sin; it tells us that the lesser that we first see is better for us than the greater that is a few steps ahead. All sin is rooted in not trusting that God has something greater in store for us. We choose fifty cents today over fifty dollars tomorrow. Ephesians 3:20 tells us that God will do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” When we choose sin, we forfeit the “immeasurably more” for something far less. Thanks be to God that he keeps offering the more to us despite how often we make the wrong choice.
You are going to struggle with sin today, tomorrow, and forevermore. That is simply life as fallen people in the fallen world. The good news is that we do have a choice. We get to choose each and every day, each and every moment if we are going to choose God or if we are going to choose something far, far lesser. In order to win the battle over sin in our lives, we must trust that God will fulfill those deepest longings of our hearts and souls. It may not happen as quickly as we would like or in the way that we think is best, but it will happen in the time and way that is perfect for us. Sin will only ever bring momentary happiness. It will be fleeting. Not long after the sin, you will be right back to where you started— still hurting and broken. However, if you wait on the Lord to provide for you, you will receive unspeakable joy that will last through this lifetime all the way into eternity. The choice is yours.