"I pray and pray and pray, but I just can't overcome this sin!" Yeah, I've said that a billion times. Today on my way to work, I was listening to the Reconstruction message by Andy Stanley in his Character Under Construction series. He said something like, "I've never heard someone say they just prayed and the sin problem went away."
He went on to explain that prayer is a great tool, but it's not the cure for sin. He explains it much more clearly than I could ever retell, but I'm just trying to get my thoughts out to remind myself.
He said, the truth will set you free. The Bible is truth. Just as Christ used Scripture deny temptation, so should we. We have to renew our minds. Yeah, I know---What the heck does that even mean?
Stanley said when we're tempted, we often say, "Well, I know I shouldn't..." but suggested we instead say, "It is written..." Seriously, if I was quoting Scripture to myself in the midst of temptation, I'd probably avoid a lot of mistakes. But the bottom line is that I don't. I absolutely say, "Well, I know I shouldn't, but..." and justify my sin. We tell ourselves all kinds of lies.
The whole series has been good, but this message really pricked my heart. I'm not going to overcome sin by praying, or by listening to more sermons. It's the renewing of my mind with truth that will set me free. I've got to stop lying to myself.
You can listen to the sermons here.