I used to think of some sins as horrible, but others as more “acceptable.” It’s a common misperception: “Well, I may have done this, but at least I’ve never done that!” Some years ago, I realized that I viewed the issue incorrectly.
The Giant Root System
All sin is connected in some way. Sin in one area, and it poisons countless other areas in your life, until you are unable to distinguish which sin is strengthening which other sin. Even the ”small, acceptable” sins become part of the disease, and become just as destructive as the “greater” sins, because the sin takes over everything.
You can’t untangle it. You can’t work at the lesser roots until you reach the taproot. The whole thing is one gigantic taproot. The whole thing has got to go.
Facing the Impossible Task
But when you look at the project, you realize it’s impossible. How can you get rid of the whole thing at once? It’s hard enough trying to get rid of just one sin at a time; how can you get rid of Legion?
I wondered about that for a while, contemplating how I could uproot these sins in my life. The Lord finally showed me that I was looking at things backward (as usual).
Becoming Like Christ
I was preparing to face my sin and get rid of it. But, really, I could only get rid of it by turning away from it and facing Jesus. It’s a 180 degree turn. Sin is not overcome by trying to get rid of it, but by seeking to become more like Christ.
Time spent on strategizing to overcome sin is still time spent focusing on sin. Why focus on sin? Christ has died for that. When I focus on Him, praising Him for exchanging my sin for His righteousness, for making a way for me to stand before God the Father unashamed, then the power of God nullifies the power of sin in my life.
I’m finding that this concept of continually facing Christ and focusing on Him is working continual and gradual changes in my life. I’ve spent my whole life trying to strategize about how to conquer sin, trying to outscheme the devil. I lost every time. (Surprise!)
But the moment I fixed my eyes on Christ and decided that it was all or nothing, the moment I became obsessed with Christ instead of with my sin, the moment I simply desired to be like Him, that was the moment when sin’s hold in my life slipped.
Of course, I must make this choice over and over—it’s a continual decision—but the result is life-altering. The Lord takes the tiniest seed of faith, the smallest effort, and blesses it a hundred-fold.
1 John 2:1-2
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.