How to do better at not sinning

Many of my sins aren’t really my fault, it seems to me. Most of them happen because of the people around me, or the situations I face. If any normal person lived my life, he’d probably fare worse than I do.

If Satan gets us thinking like that, he’s already won half the battle.

It helps to see how it happens, I think, and James helps us with this.

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death (James 1:13-15).

We might point the finger of accusation at God, thinking that he’s putting temptations in front of us.

While he might bring us difficulties to strengthen our faith (see Abraham and Isaac—Genesis 22), he’ll never tempt us to sin.

He hates it, and he wants more than anything for us not to give in.

Sometimes it’s easier to blame the people around us.

Have you ever blamed your spouse for some shortcoming in your life?

If you’re married, you probably have, and it all started with Adam (“It was this woman you gave me . . .”).

Hasn’t slowed down yet.

Ever lost your temper and blamed it on your kids?

Or maybe we blame our siblings, boss, or coworkers.

“I would do better, Lord, if it weren’t for _______” (put his name in the blank).

The main problem with that is that it doesn’t help. In fact, it hurts us because it keeps us from facing the real problem.

Which is where we come in.

The truth is, Satan takes advantage of things within us to lead us astray. He may use other people, or outside situations, but I don’t sin without my consent.

So if you’re struggling, ask yourself which desire Satan is using.

Think about how you can satisfy that desire within God’s will.

Pray about what barriers you might build to thwart Satan’s plan.

The last place he wants you to look is within yourself, because he knows one of our best defenses is recognizing that we’re at fault.

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