Many Christians are stuck on the sin cycle: sin, repent, repeat. How then, does one get set free?

Unholy Motivation to Be Holy

St. Augustine pleaded with God in a similar manner that we often do, “In my misery I kept crying, “How long shall I go on saying ‘tomorrow, tomorrow’? Why not now? Why not make an end of my ugly sins at this moment?””

WHY NOT NOW!?

The more time that I spend around fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are being defeated by their sin, not struggling, but constantly succumbing to their sin with little or no success of overcoming it; I have found that the issue is not that we want to be victorious over our sin, but rather why we want to be victorious.

Our desire for holy transformation in and of itself is not a bad desire. However, when we deeply search our motivating intentions and discover why we want to conquer sin, we may find out a humbling truth and discover a sin we are committing without realizing it.

So, the question is then asked, “Why do we want to do better?”

The Sin Cycle

If we look at the general pattern most of us go through when consistently succumbing to sin, we can find the upsetting answer:

  1. We succumb to sin
  2. We feel guilty for succumbing
  3. We think that God is angry with us
  4. We want to please God
  5. We work to earn His favor through turning to Scripture and prayer
  6. We become exhausted through these endeavors
  7. Satan pleads, “Come all who are weary, I will offer rest.”
  8. We succumb to Satan’s temporary rest and pleasure, and then the cycle begins anew

Look back at steps three and four; we believe that God is angry with us and we want to please God. So naturally, we have been told that God is pleased when we turn to Him in His Word and His institution of prayer.

The Issue with the Sin Cycle

Here is the issue. If we are in Christ, then God is never angry with us. Jesus did not only die for our past sins, but He died for our present and future sins as well.

This means that steps three through eight are completely unnecessary!

This means that we do not need to try and please God because He is already pleased. This means that trying to earn God’s favor actually makes a mockery of Christ and makes it seem as though He were not enough.

It is okay to want to be free from sin, but it is not okay to want to do so in order to please God.

Christ is enough and God is pleased!

Freedom from the Sin Cycle

1 John 2:1 reads, “But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”

Therefore, the steps should look more like this:

  1. We succumb to sin
  2. We feel guilty for succumbing
  3. We remember that Jesus is the righteous One
  4. We remember that Jesus is advocating for us
  5. We become joyful for how much better He is than us
  6. We read His Word and pray to Him out of joy
  7. We realize He brings more pleasure than our sin
  8. We eventually overcome our sin by becoming overwhelmed by Jesus

Tired of the Sin Cycle?

Are you tired of the sin cycle? Then let us remember these words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 11:28, ““Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”