That’s a verse we all need to keep in our scriptural arsenal as we fight against the Devil’s schemes, particularly when we find ourselves on the torture rack of temptation.
Sometimes, all we have to do is get off that rack, move as far from the situation of sin as possible, and refuse to give it further attention. We may not be bound to it as tightly as we think. The fight for purity is not about trying harder to be good on our own. It is about yielding to God and asking him to conquer sin, proclaiming, “Lord, save me. I can’t save myself, but I know you can rescue me.” We’ll never make ourselves holy, and we’ll never make ourselves forgiven. Thankfully, Christ will do both. We are set free, not because of our own power, but because of God’s.
When God defeats sin in our lives, he does so in his own way. He may come sweeping in right away, guns blazing so to speak, knocking out the Enemy, and carrying us to safety. On the other hand, he might simply loosen the straps of bondage and let us duke it out with the Enemy for a while. Either way, we never fight alone.
Sometimes we will lose the fight. Never ever give up! Toddlers do plenty of falling down. Even after a dozen tumbles they get back up on those wobbly legs and try again. In the same manner, as we grow in our faith we ought not to despair after a fall into sin. Forgiveness awaits us, as does restoration. The path of holiness doesn’t disappear when we leave it. We can step right back onto that path with the help of the Holy Spirit, laying down the backpacks we have foolishly chosen to carry. The moment we recognize our sin is the right moment to confess it and repent.
Once our sins have been forgiven, they are no longer worthy of our attention. The tempter may try to tell us that our sin proves we have no life of faith after all, that we may as well give up, that a life of holiness is plainly not attainable. Our answer to these lies is a simple prayer, “Lord, I confess my sin. I hate it, but I cannot get rid of it. You can. And since you have said so, I believe that you forgive and renew me.” The whole process might take a couple of minutes. After all, the best remedy in every emergency is to depend on the Lord. If this is all we ought to do and all we are able to do, why not do so at once?
We never have to give up, because he never gives up. We can give him our packs of sin, let him destroy them, and keep on walking a holy path.
Inspired by the writings of Hannah Whitall Smith