Sinning feels great. Sinning feels awful. Sinning can feel a lot of things, and the all-encompassing factor is how addictive it can be.
Sometimes we start off slow, maybe feeling guilty afterwards and going to God about it, swearing we will not do it again. And then it comes creeping back, that same thing, and it trips us up repetitively until we become desensitized to it. It becomes normality.
Other times we get into the habit before we are even aware of it being a sin, or perhaps before we have formed a relationship with God, in which case it is natural for us to have many things in our lives that need heavy consideration—the journey of sorting them can be slightly different than for someone more along in their relationship with God.
Regardless, wherever we are in our faith, I feel like this is something that affects everyone, and can have the direst of consequences for us personally.
The dangers of habit
The Bible reminds us frequently that God is forgiving and merciful, even when we do not deserve it—and usually that is the case. This is true. The danger I want to address, however, is making a habit of the same sin, and that, I feel, is regarded slightly differently.
We cannot live a dual life of saying we love God whilst continuing to allow ourselves to wallow in the same sins as always. I do not mean slipping the occasional lie, or struggling to maintain a temper. I mean the things that we have accepted into our daily lives that we make no solid effort to try to address.
Maybe it is inflicting our anger upon others, perhaps feeling guilty at first about being mean before we become numbed by the feeling, or perhaps feeling empowered by it; convincing ourselves they deserve it or failing to acknowledge the depth of our impact.
Maybe it is being too physically involved with someone, or multiple people, perhaps starting off uncertain about our actions in accordance with God until we stop feeling guilty and stop wanting to say no; enjoying it too much to seriously contemplate stopping.
Whatever our allowed sin is, it can range across the spectrum of our emotions and have different motivators, propelling us onwards down a descent until our apologies to God after are either hollow or non-existent.
It is like what Paul talks about in Romans chapter seven about being a slave to sin and there being a disparity between what we actually do and what we want to do. Except in this case, we are often doing what we want and that is the issue.
We are sinners, born into flesh. If it were easy to resist sin, if we did not want to sin, then perhaps perfection could be reachable, but it is not.
Separation from God
The danger of habitual sinning is that it distracts us from God and can slowly consume us. If we leave open the door for it, sooner or later something else is bound to creep in, or someone will challenge us about how we do not live what we preach.
The longer we allow ourselves to dwell in sin, the more our foundations are weakened, and the more we can be tempted to delve deeper into our sins rather than our relationship with God—before we know it a rift forms.
“Choose this day whom you will serve”
We must make an active decision then: to either serve God, or our human desires. There is not room in our heart for both, for each nullifies the other.
God is forgiving; the Bible is soaked in that and it is hard to avoid. If we are in honest repentance, God will hear us. But first we need to honestly and actively decide which is more important to us, God or ourselves, and then what we want to be most important. Unless we first look into our own heart and decide what we want to do, we will falter every time that specific sin rebounds.
Will God forgive us if we trip up? Of course. We cannot expect God to miraculously rid us of our temptations because that does not happen for the vast majority of us, but we can have faith that He will not abandon us and that He will be as forgiving as He says He is.
God is patient, and He is not oblivious to the nature of humanity. He knows what tries our hearts; He knows the struggles that we face and the comfort we can find in sin. He also knows that what He has is infinitely better and more rewarding than any trifling habit we get ourselves into, which is why He tries so hard to make us see that.
I feel certain that, if we honestly decide we want to turn our lives around, we can go to God with our habits and earnestly ask for His guidance and love. I assure you though, this is not often an easy journey. It will be long, and hard, and messy, but it will be worth it.
Sabrina is a third year at university studying English and history. She has a passion for learning and creative writing with aspirations to one day become a high school teacher.
Sabrina Meyer's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressservice international.org/sabrina-meyer.html