- 'Winging It - Diagnosing Sin

''Winging It' with Stan Smith
Originally posted on 07/29/2020

Diagnosing Sin

All Christians are "repeat offenders." In general, none of us in this life are free of the sin from which we are saved (1 John 1:10; 1 John 2:1). And each of us have what we call "besetting sins," those particular sins that just keep coming back. We commit them, we repent, we confess, we turn, we call out for help ... and a day or a week or a month later we find ourselves right there again. It is true for all of us. Paul wrote what we all feel. "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" (Romans 7:24)

We all have it, but why? It's a part of being a human with a sin nature. We won't be free from that this side of heaven. We all suffer from precisely Adam and Eve suffered in the Garden. We all hear in our ears, "You can be like God." (Genesis 3:5) We are overgrown children telling our Authority, "You're not the boss of me!"

As believers, while we may recognize it, we don't like it. We long to please the Savior rather than contradict Him. We want to be obedient children of our Father. So it pains us. It goes against our new nature (1 John 3:9). What's a brother to do?

Jesus offered His own insight on the matter. He offered an outstanding diagnostic tool. He told His disciples, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." (John 14:15) How is that a diagnostic tool? Well, according to Jesus, if we love Him, we will obey Him. So ... if I am failing to obey Him "here" or "over there," what is the root problem? A failure to love Him. It's as simple as that.

You see, when you love, you love to please the one you love. You don't do it as duty; you do it because it pleases you to do it. When we fail to obey, it's because we love something more than we love Him. Humans always act according to their strongest inclination, and in those moments that we sin, our strongest inclination is not to love Christ. It is to love lust or fame or money or pride or ... any of the hundreds of things we fall into. It is, in the end, nothing more or less than idolatry. We love a substitute for Jesus.

We are told to flee sin (1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Corinthians 10:14; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22). Right choice. But we need a direction. We need not merely to run from, but to run to. And Jesus gave us that direction. If we fail to obey, it is because we failed to love Him. Correct that. Run from our sin to His arms. An excellent remedy for sin. Who do you love? If you're sinning, it is currently not Christ. Recognize it and change.

Little children, keep yourselves from idols (1 John 5:21)
Meet the Author:
Born and raised in a Christian home, I've been treated to immersion in the Word and squandered it. "But God ..." I love the phrase. God has been faithful when I was unfaithful. At every turn He has crowded me to Him.

I'm married with four grown children and (currently) four grandchildren. My wife and I live in sunny Phoenix by choice. I hope to encourage people with my words and to share with others what God has shared with me.

For more writings you can see my blog at

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