Can I really keep doing this and honor the Lord?
The question bounced around in my mind as I slowly opened my car door and sat in my seat. It was way past my curfew, and I had made up too many excuses to my dad for why I wasn’t home from my boyfriend’s house yet. I sighed and turned on the radio. Nothing good was playing. I shut it off. Something inside of me told me to pray. It had been so long since I had cried out the the Lord. I got on the highway to my house, knowing that I had about thirty minutes before I would arrive home and find my frustrated father waiting at the door. I definitely needed to pray.
“Father, I know You are with me and that You hear me . . .”
My voice broke. Tears welled up in my eyes. I tried to shake off the emotion and keep going.
“I’ve come before You again and again on nights like this one. Lord, I haven’t honored You in my relationship. The same thing keeps happening. I feel like it won’t get better. Why do I make the same mistakes?”
At this point, tears were running down my face. Everything inside of me was coming undone. What if I never was able to live a godly life? What if I was always trapped in a cycle of wanting to follow what Jesus says but never being quite there? What if my relationship with my boyfriend would get worse and worse?
No matter what the specific sin is, our hope is the same. Sin does not have to control your life.
For some of you, this situation may be familiar. You may not have fallen into sexual sin with a boyfriend, but you could have fallen into sin in another way—pornography, gossip, dishonoring your parents, etc. No matter what the specific sin is, our hope is the same. Sin does not have to control your life. You do not have to walk in the same mistakes, repeatedly come to the Lord broken over the same sin, and start all over again a few days later. This is not the life you were created for. Christ died to set you free (Gal. 5:1)!
But do we live in freedom, or do we live as slaves to sin?
Are You Content with Bondage?
Most of us wouldn’t honestly say, “I don’t see any harm in my sin.” But the reality is that we often live this way. We tend to repeat the same sins again and again. We ignore the consequences, and we still feel like we are living a pretty “good” Christian life.
Is this enough for us?
Are we content to sit back and let our sin, slowly but surely, make us blind to our growing laziness and hindered relationship with Christ? Will we justify our sin and let people who are nonbelievers watch us live compromised lives?
Every time we go back to the same sin, we are telling Jesus that He is not enough. We may believe in our hearts and say with our lips that He is, but sweet friends, He wants our obedience to accompany our belief! Saying that He is the fulfillment of our hearts and choosing to live contrary to that truth will keep us from truly abiding in Him.
Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him (1 John 3:4–6).
Sisters, read this again and again. If you feel conviction stirring within you, praise God! When we abide in Jesus, He will not allow you to continue in your sin without conviction or grief. The fact that you are still reading this post tells me you do abide in Him and you want to obey Him. He wants you to spend each day in a close relationship with Him, uninterrupted by sin.
The Rest of the Story
Some of you may wonder how my story ended. I did not walk in obedience with the Lord for a long time. I knew I needed to end my relationship with my boyfriend, but I continued in it. As a result, my hidden sin interrupted my communication with the Lord and made me apathetic to what the Holy Spirit was trying to teach me.
Oh, how I regret all the days I could have been dwelling on the Word of God and seeking His face! It was like I was chained in a prison cell, looking at Jesus in despair, and He was patiently waiting for me to realize my bonds had been loosened. I stayed in the prison on my own accord.
However, there was hope for me! The Lord led me to end that relationship. It was painful. I spent nights on my knees asking Him why He was leading me this way. My heart was torn, but I followed in obedience.
Do you know what I found when I obeyed Jesus? The truest and deepest of freedom. Freedom that is found when we surrender our desires to Christ, and He fills us up with Himself.
Whoever says, “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word in him, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked (1 John 2:4–6).
He wants our obedience. We love Him by obeying Him, and in return we become more like Him! Our hidden sin can restrain us from becoming more like our Savior—what a tragedy!
We love Him by obeying Him, and in return we become more like Him!
What’s holding you back from freedom? You are an adopted daughter of the One who commands the waves and gives the birds their song. Freedom is already yours in Jesus!
Come back and read tomorrow as we look at how to walk in obedience to Jesus—to live the abundant life He has for us!
In the meantime, I’d love to hear how you’ve experienced deeper intimacy with Jesus by obeying Him? Tell me about it below.
Miranda Boyce is a junior at Liberty University where she studies elementary education. Her favorite things include going to used bookstores, journaling, trying new recipes, reading anything by Elisabeth Elliot, and spending time with her friends and family. She is passionate about women knowing the Word of God and hopes to someday be a Bible teacher.