I can’t count the number of times I have prayed and told God, “I will never do (whatever) again,” only to reenact my old errors not long after my prayer.

Luckily God has helped me to find freedom from the sins of my youth, but now new sins are fighting to find their way into my life, and I face the same battles I did early in my faith: fighting to live a life of freedom?

All of us have sworn never to commit the same error again in the middle of paying the price for our current mistake, but after the dust settles and the crisis has been averted we slide back into our old habits and patterns. Why do we do that?

Often we stay active in our habits and sins because we’re not truly sorry for our sin, we’re sorry for the consequences of our sin. There is a difference between regret and repentance, but in the middle of our sorrow it’s hard to know my true intentions, Do I truly intend to turn away from my sin and embrace God’s ways for my life, or do I just want God to intervene with a drastic rescue to get me past my current sorrow? It’s only when I look back that I can identify my true feelings about my sin.

2 Corinthians 7:10
“For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.”

We experience sorrow when our choices cause us pain. It may be a lost relationship, public humiliation, or a season of misery, but sorrow is the indicator that our ways were not better than God ways, and our “idols” did not save us, they only let us down. But according to 2 Corinthians 7, there is a form of Godly sorrow that “leads us away from sin and results in salvation.”

Here are 2 questions to help you identify if you hate your sin and want to embrace God’s ways for living, or if you just hate the consequences of your sin and want to continue living life according to your ways.

1. Am repeating the same sins, at the same speed, with the same regularity?

Sin will always be in your life or lurking right around the corner of your life, so I’m not implying that you will arrive at a place of complete “sin free” living, but if you find yourself repeating the same sins, at the same speed, with the same regularity, it may be an indicator you still believe ________ is better than Jesus. As long as we believe that our way is the best way to be happy, we may repent out of guilt or hopes to avoid lightning bolts from the sky, but we can’t truly turn from our sin because we believe it holds our satisfaction and joy. It’s only when we are convinced that God’s way is the best way for the best life that we can let go of the sin we have gripped so tightly and embrace God’s ways because we count “everything as a loss” to know God.

Philippians 3:8
“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake, I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ”

2. Am I willing to do whatever it takes to remove this sin from my life?

As a pastor, I have the opportunity to counsel and talk with people often who are facing challenging situations because of the circumstances of their sin. I can never no for sure, but there are times when you can hear in someone’s voice they want a drastic miracle to avoid consequence more than they want freedom from their sin. One of the biggest ways we can tell in our life if we are ready to repent and turn away from our sin is if we are willing to whatever it takes to find freedom. Am I willing to change jobs, get rid of my tv or cell phone, cut up the credit cards, forgive someone who hurt me, or end a relationship? If we find ourselves claiming to want freedom but aren’t willing to sever the attachments that draw us back to our sin, it may be an indicator that we aren’t convinced that Jesus is better than_______.

Mark 9:43
“If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell…”

When we sin, we’re just admitting that we aren’t sure Jesus is better than whatever we think we’ll make us happy. We won’t be able to find freedom until whether through misery or revelation we become convinced that God’s way is the best way for the best life, and our ways only lead to spiritual death.

Let’s put down our sin and our idols to embrace the incredible freedom and plans God has for us.

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