It is incredibly hard to break a bad habit. And it is especially devastating when our bad habit involves sin. Paul lays out the struggle well when he says that the things he doesn’t want to do, he keeps on doing. But Jesus was clear when he said to the woman caught in adultery, “go now and leave your life of sin”. How can we tame the flesh, especially when Satan has a foothold in our life? How do we avoid willfully sinning against the God we claim to love? David’s answer was to pray to God for help. It says in Psalm 19, verses 13 and 14:
"Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression."
As I’ve said before and continue to maintain, there are things we face in life that we cannot handle on our own. And that is okay. That is why Jesus sent the Holy Spirit. Please understand that it is only through him that we can defeat the evil one. Only through him can we attain blamelessness and freedom from sin. Yes, we also have to purpose it in our hearts. We have to decide that we want to be free and surrender to him, but he does all of the heavy lifting. We will only continue to struggle in our own strength, trying to “will” ourselves to obey. Jesus walked this earth and experienced the same struggles we experience. He knows how weak we are in our own strength. That is why he is, and always will be the answer.
I don’t want to minimize, or make light of the struggles of willful sin. Temptation is a strong agent. We want to sin while at the same time, we want to be blameless before God. If you are struggling with habitual, willful sin, I encourage you to do what David did… Pray. Pour out your heart to God and ask him to keep you from willful sin. Pray that it will not rule over you. If you truly want freedom, he can set you free. Your road to freedom may not be an easy one, but you do not have to walk it alone. There may be pain and struggle along the way, but that is one reason we call him the comforter.