It may come as a shock to you, but I still struggle in sin. I do. Me. A Preacher, Teacher and Evangelist, I struggle with sin. I’d like to say it’s because at one point I was walking outside of the church, and did so for a long while, but coming to Jesus didn’t make me less of a sinner, it made me cleverer at hiding it. I’d lose my temper, I’d get angry, I’d seek after things I shouldn’t. I’d hate myself each time I fell, but there it is: I’m still a sinner. And I’d run to (and sometimes still do) various sins whenever I felt stressed, alone, anxious, like my life is out of order. I’d say I was giving in, but really, these sins (and all sin) give me a false sense of being in control. “I’m just blowing off steam” whenever I’d vent my anger, or throw something, or slip and fall. I’d excuse myself, without realizing I was sinning further in my excuses.
That's the very nature of sin itself: rebellion against God, trying to be in control of my own life, without realizing how out of control I actually am. When I realized that I was so very much out of control, I'd hate myself every time I fell. I'd weep, I'd mourn, I'd curse (well, not like curse words, but like Peter denying Christ). I'd hate myself, and swear I'd do better next time. This was the problem though: *I* could control it, *I* would do better next time. *I* would set up safety nets to protect myself from it. *I* wouldn't fail God again. And over and again, *I* would stumble and fall. Brothers and sisters, the nature of sin is control. We desire to "be like God," so to speak, and we stumble, we fall, and we fail, because we do it apart from Him. There is complete freedom in Christ. It only comes, however, as we give complete control by submission to Him. This is the only reason for my success. This is the only reason I've made it as far as I have. I've given up. I've handed control to the One who designed me, who made me, and sent His Son to die for me. His Holy Spirit reigns in me (not perfectly, I am still rebellious in many ways, but He's working on that too), and I seek and strive, and strain towards Him. Surrender. Submit. It's the only place of freedom Ephesians 5:1-21 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.