Life is war. At least it is for the Christian:
“I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is agains tthe Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want.”
If there is a conflict raging inside of us and we want to take seriously the fighting of sin, maybe we need to have a better battle plan. Part of such a plan involves knowing the enemy. Perhaps we have fallen short in this respect.
We tend to think of sin in a very isolated, small view kind of way. We look at porn. We gossip. We cheat on our taxes. We use foul language. We eat too much. These are all actions, and usually we try and battle these sins in the realm of action. But what about the sin behind the sin?
What about the “why” behind the action? That’s taking the battle to another level. If we start to look deeper, we find that there is indeed sin lurking behind the physical manifestation of that sin. Many more times than not, the sin behind the sin isn’t about the will; it’s about our belief system.
What fuels the physical manifestation of looking at pornography? It’s the belief that our satisfaction cannot ultimately be found in Jesus. So we turn to pictures.
What fuels cheating on your taxes? It’s the belief that God is not, or will not, supply what we need. So we turn to financial gain.
What fuels overeating and gluttony? It’s the belief that only physical, sensory pleasure can make us happy. So we turn to cake.
What fuels bitterness and harsh words and strife? It’s the belief that we deserve better and if we don’t stick for ourselves then no one else will. So we turn to backbiting.
I’m broken. And so are you. We see the evidence of that brokenness in our actions, but it goes way deeper than that. So if we want to go on the offensive against sin, then let’s attack it at the root. That’s why the gospel, rather than the will, is the only means by which sin might be overcome.
The gospel fixes what is broken. It changes us at a deep level – it informs and refashions what we believe and that belief informs and refashions those actions.
Do we fight sin at a physical level? Without question, we do. But we do not stop there. We go for the sin behind the sin and cut off the head rather than the tail.