I was having a conversation with a parent who was upset at teens in a Christian school for their promiscuity and said, “Don’t they know the 6th commandment?” Of course they know it. Lack of information is not the problem.
Everyone has a conscience. Moreover, Christians know God’s commandments. We pray for God’s help to say “no” to sin but too often we still say “yes.” We know it’s wrong, but we do it anyway. Why? Lack of information is not the problem.
Here’s the problem, “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts” (Ephesians 4:18).
So we’re darkened in understanding—that’s not the problem, that’s a symptom of the problem. Okay, we’re separated from the life of God—that’s not the problem either, that’s the outcome of the problem. Okay, here it is, the cause of the problem is ignorance—actually, there’s a deeper, root problem. See it? Where does the ignorance come from? Not the head.
The heart. Hardened. Closed off to God’s ways.
When you repent, confessing to God that you’ve sinned, tell him about the sin. Tell him from your head that you understand it was wrong. Then also tell him from your heart that you really wanted to do it, you anticipated the pleasure and fulfillment of that sin, you loved that sin more than you loved God in that moment. You couldn’t help it. You’re not in control of yourself.
You can’t juggle God and sinful decisions, words, and behavior without leaving God up in the air, or dropping him altogether.
The solution is a heart transplant by a skillful, caring, perfectly wise, unconditionally forgiving God. Here’s what he says about you, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26).
This is it. It’s not more information. It’s a resurrection. Death to the old. Birth to the new. A miracle of God. A gift. He gives it. You live it.
You can say “no” to sin. You may not be sinless, but you can sin less.
PRAYER: Holy Spirit, divine giver of life, thank you for my heart transplant. For my new life that puts the old away. Give me the faith and courage to say “no” to sin and “yes” to you. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Read Psalm 51 today. Read it slowly, enjoy it leading you through repentance. Keep it close to your heart.