How and why do believers, who sincerely want to live holy lives still end up trapped in a cycle of sin and living a defeated life?
I was reading a paper this morning and came across a story of a young boy who became born again sometime last year, was fervent in the things of the Lord, commited suicide yesterday night. Reason? He committed fornication, which he was sorry about and because of his love for the Lord went to confide in his pastor to pray and counsel him. The pastor in turn took powers into his own hands, became God all of a sudden and decided to play God by judging this young boy. He told the boy he has sinned and can not be allowed to be a member of the choir. He told him he wasn’t just fit to be a born again. Told him he was a weak Christian and gullible. He dismissed the young boy like he was a nobody. The young boy became depressed, sad, felt left out and saw the only way out to end his misery was to commit suicide. He lost the courage to even pray. I would not know to what extent he felt defeated or if he had any other demons he was dealing with.
How on earth did we believers get to this point? How can we be in Christ and still be trapped? Continue to live a defeated life? I believe that it is because they receive condemnation for their failings, and do not know or believe that God himself does not condemn them because of the cross of Jesus. Show me someone who lives under constant condemnation and i will show you someone who is always struggling with sin. You see, the more believers live in condemnation the more they actually become entrenched in a vicious cycle of sin, condemnation, and defeat.
Let me portray what i mean with a simple illustration. Let’s say a believer is surfing the internet and by chance stumbles upon pornographic images and looks at them longer than he should. Before he knows it, lustful thoughts tumble across his mind. At the same time, since he is a born again Christian, he starts to feel guilty and condemned. He tells himself, “I shouldn’t have looked at the images. I shouldn’t be having all these unholy thoughts. Oh, I’m such a lousy Christian. God must be so disappointed with me.”
The more he heaps guilt and condemnation on himself, the more he reasons, ” What’s the point of resisting? I’m a terrible Christian and since I’m already guilty and fellowship with God is broken, I might as well go all the way.” What does he do? He clicks on one of the image links, which takes him to a pornographic website, and he indulges his fleshy desires. Now he feels all the more guilty and condemned, and even more convinced that God is angry with him and has distanced himself from him.
All this guilt and alienation from God just make him susceptible to fail the next time he faces a similar temptation. There is no power to overcome subsequent temptations, and his indulgences quickly develop into an addiction that imprisons him in perpetual guilt and self condemnation.
He knows he has a problem, but is just too ashamed of his secret sin to approach anyone for help.
This is basically how many sincere believers end up trapped in a cycle of sin and condemnation.
Can you see how the cycle of defeat is perpetuated? Feelings of guilt and condemnation do not empower a believer or anyone, no matter how sincere he is, to overcome his sin. Infact, they leave him more weak and vulnerable to the next prey or temptation. The truth is those under constant guilt and condemnation have no strength to overcome temptation, and ends up repeating their sins and living a painful life trapped in a cycle of defeat.
#Happy Easter, May the joy of Easter bring peace and happiness to you and your household, Amen. He’s risen!!!