TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• How many times have you written the wrong year so far? We’re barely into Day 2 of 2020 so probably not much. But if you’re headed back to work today, keep count. I wrote 2019 in my prayer journal this morning… And I’m sure I’ll get it wrong again later today. And probably again after that. Sigh. It always takes a little bit to get it right.
I made a mistake. It wasn’t a sin, but it wasn’t right. Today, let’s talk about mistakes versus sin.
James 3:2a reminds us, “For we all stumble in many ways” (CSB). We’re going to make mistakes. Mistakes are errors made because of distractions or carelessness. They aren’t willful or intentional acts of disobedience or defiance. We’re all prone to mistakes, but mistakes don’t necessarily equate to sin.
Sin, on the other hand, is by choice. I had a similar conversation with my friend Lori on Tuesday. We’re all born with sin, and we all have our own personal brand of sin—the sins that are more tempting to us than others. Sticking in James, let’s go to chapter one. He wrote, “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 1:14-15 ESV).
Sin should not be considered a mistake. When we refer to our sins as mistakes, we diminish them and deflect responsibility for our choices and actions.
But we have God. And though we won’t ever be perfect, when we lean on Him, He promises to help us. He said, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10 CSB). What a tremendous promise! But there’s more…
Likely you already know 1 Corinthians 10:13, which says, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (ESV).
God gives us an out. Every time. If we fail, it’s not because we weren’t equipped. He’s offering us His righteous right hand and has personally promised to help us! He promised to never allow us in a situation for temptation where we can’t get out of it. But when we do, remember Who gets the credit (spoiler alert: it’s not you!). Our sin natures aren’t conquered by our strength, but by His.
We aren’t passive and helpless to our sin nature. We have the ultimate resource to conquer our sinful side. And though we won’t ever be sinless (at least in this life), forgiveness is a prayer away when one has a repentant heart.
Today, as you pray, thank God for always being willing to help us through temptation. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you be aware of the alternative options when you’re faced with sin. Ask Him to show you where unrecognized sin may be creating issues for you and ask Him to help you overcome your defiance through repentance.
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