Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin.Psalm 19:13 (NLT)
I can certainly relate to this verse. You probably can as well. Sin has a way of taking over if left unchecked. Something that we thought was so innocent becomes so vile – controlling even. It’s what I call a “sin-cycle.”
Satan is a master at what he does. Don’t be fooled, he is infinitely smarter and craftier than any of us. So, how does he work? In many ways. But, the sin-cycle seems to be one of his favorite ploys. Essentially, a sin cycle works like this. Satan convinces us to do something contrary to God’s commands. It’s usually something small. He convinces us that we will just try it to see what it is all about. After that, we can go back to God. He’ll forgive after all. So, we do it, and we find pleasure in it. Satan then, usually a little later down the road, convinces us to try it again. It’s not so bad. So, we do it again. This time there’s a little less pleasure. Now, he really presses us – “Do it again. Maybe it was a fluke. I’m sure it’ll be better this time.” So, we foolishly do it again. Now we’ve begun to form a habit. Then, boom! Satan immediately throws guilt and shame at us because we sinned. This feeling is often overwhelming. So, what does Satan do to help us get out of the dumps? That’s right. He convinces us to do the same thing again. He somehow gets us to believe that it will make it better. And so, the sin-cycle is begun.
So, how do we get out of a sin-cycle? I want to focus in on one particular word from our verse today, because it is, perhaps, the most important piece of it. It’s the word “servant.” David realized that it is only through serving God, in every aspect of life, that freedom would come. (Not perfection, but freedom from the control of sin.) So, what did David do? He focused on serving God and serving the kingdom that he had been entrusted.
When we focus on Jesus, and not our problems, He begins to strip away that layers of shame and guilt that are surrounding us. This can take time. As He gets rid of the filth and waste, He works on our heart. He turns it from serving sin, to serving Him. As Jesus works to restore us, the sin-cycle gradually loses hold, and we find freedom in Christ.