The power to defeat sin is in you but not of you
From Letters of Paul: 30-Day Bible Study
We often find ourselves in a battle between what our flesh wants and what God wants for us. So we try harder. We make more rules. We come up with harsher punishments for ourselves, so we won’t do that thing again.
Trying harder to resist sin always leaves us tired. In Philippians 3, Paul says we cannot put our hope in our ability to fight the battle against sin. And he would know. Paul grew up a rule-follower and was good at keeping the law. “If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more,” he writes (Philippians 3:4).
But when Paul met Jesus, he realized all this striving was garbage. Without a relationship with Jesus, it meant nothing. Paul stopped relying on what he could do and started relying on Jesus’ power in him.
It is Jesus who sets us free, not our hard work or ingenuity. Our relationship with Jesus is what allows us to live like Him. As we lean on Jesus more and ourselves less, we begin to think like He thinks and to desire what He desires.
The power to live like Jesus only comes from Jesus. And if we’ve trusted in Him, we already have that power available to us.
Does God want us to live a life free from sin? Yes! But our freedom from sin will not be found through our efforts. Freedom comes through our dependence on Jesus, who has the “power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” (Philippians 3:21).
- What battle are you fighting? Are you fighting battles you have fought many times before?
- How are you approaching your struggles? Are you trusting that God has already given you the power to fight it, or are you relying on your own strength?