You’ve been trying for a long time. Trying to get better, trying to grow, trying to move on…yet nothing seems to be changing. You still struggle, you still give in, you are still overcome. You should be over this by now. You should be beyond this, right?
Reality check: Until Christ returns, you are never going to be perfect. You will never be completely uninfluenced by the trauma you’ve experienced. You are never going to be completely free of this sin pattern that has a hold on you. But you can get better.
It’s all about an upward pattern. There will most definitely be little dips where you fall into old habits, but you should be able look over a long period time and see growth. Yes, you were recently overcome by this again, but who you are today is much better than where you were 10 years ago. Change is happening, little by little.
“The Lord your God will clear away these nations before you little by little. You may not make an end of them at once, lest the wild beasts grow too numerous for you.”-Deuteronomy 7:22
While God is a God of monumental victories and day/night transformations, He is also the God of the little by little. Perhaps so a lesson can be learned to its fullest, perhaps because you aren’t ready for the victory you seek, but most definitely to give yet another opportunity to deny yourself and trust Him.
Think about it this way: if we had it all together, if we could put away sinful behavior like the flip of a switch, why would we need a Savior? The fact that we—even after salvation—still struggle is a God-given means for us to remain dependent on the One who should be our all-in-all.
By God’s grace, you will get better. You’ll grow stronger and learn how to fight this battle so that it becomes relatively easier. Occasions when you are overcome by the past or give into sin will become farther and farther apart until the habit is completely eradicated at Christ’s return.
A Word About Loving a Sinner
One of the sweetest things is a couple who has been married for a long time and still sees the other as “perfect,” but for this to be the extent of one’s perspective would be distorted. Nothing good can come from us apart from God’s grace, and we shouldn’t love someone so much that we lose sight of that.
“This is one of the miracles of love: It gives a power of seeing through its own enchantments and yet not being disenchanted.”-C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
Perfect love, love that rounds off, won’t blind you to a person’s flaws or innate depravity but love them in spite of it. It’s not about loving a perfect person but learning how to love an imperfect person perfectly.
The right partner will know you aren’t perfect but treat you as if you are. And they will know they aren’t perfect but strive to be the best they can be. This allows two sinners to be happily married because they are committed to working it out.
Start with God. Fix your eyes on Him, not the mile marker you think you should be at. God loved us when we had nothing to offer, and guess what? We still don’t have anything to offer, yet He still loves us. Our deepest need is to rest and respond to His love.
Refuse to settle. With the culture around us and cravings within us, it is so incredibly tempting to stop at the most recent outlook, but we must keep climbing to the peak! 2 Peter 1:5-11 calls us not to settle for one spiritual virtue but to keep adding more. We must never stop growing.
Flip failures. We learn more from failure than success. When you mess up, take the uncommon perspective: you learned something very valuable. You know something you didn’t know before. You are less wrong than you were before.
It can be unbelievably discouraging to be pushing so hard for so long and not seeing the results you desire, so hear my exclamation: don’t give up! You are allowed to scream, you are allowed to cry, but do not give up. It may not be better today, and it may not be better tomorrow, but one day–in this life or the one to come—all of this struggle will be worth it.