I am not writing to all people today, but perhaps a select few. I am not writing to strictly the legalist — you who do not seek grace because you think yourself righteous; nor am I strictly writing to the one that holds to cheap grace — you who never realized or have forgotten your need for grace and so sin uncontrollably. Rather, I am writing to the Christian who tries to cover up the desire for sin in life by intellect and logic, but has a great conviction due to the desire to sin. This being said, if anyone of the non-targeted audience grows reading this article, I am glad.
Now, you may ask, “Michael, what is the problem of a Christian who intellectually covers desire for sin, but at the same time hates the fact that there is desire to sin?” The heart remains void in this Christian’s growth. God desires that our hearts be transformed, but we avoid that process by covering the wrong desires of the heart with intellect. The problem is that we are not getting to the heart of our problem — the heart. We deal with the outer problem, rather than act on our desire, by convincing ourselves that there is no wisdom in sinning and that it is against God’s law. However, the desires from the heart are unchanged.
What does this do? Well, it suppresses all feelings from the heart. Some might say this is good because it keeps us from sinning. I suppose in some way they’re right. However, the heart is meant to be changed not covered, and the heart is where the joy in life is found; we were not meant to leave Christianity in the intellectual realm, we were meant to have Jesus in our whole life. Throughout the Christian life the heart is meant to become more and more like Christ’s. Unfortunately, by leaving Christ in only the intellectual realm the Christian will lead quite a joyless life because the whole heart will not be engaged. And that Christian will have a lot of guilt on the heart because he covers up the desire to sin and never confesses that desire honestly to God.
In Galatians Paul wants to ask the question, “Did you receive the Spirit by works of the Law, or hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:2-3). Paul is asking the question, “Why and how did you become a Christian? Did you become a Christian because you were such a good guy? Did you become a Christian by your own power or self-control?” No! We became Christians because the Spirit showed us just how bad we were! We did not become Christians by our own power, but by admitting to God that we were so weak and we needed Him! Why then would we try to become more like Christ by our own power? Why then would we not honestly confess our wrong desires to God and plead for His help? Do we think we have the ability to change our hearts? Let us then declare as the Apostle Paul, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25).
We became Christians because we knew we needed God to give us new life. This includes a renewed and transformed heart. Our needs have not changed. So let us admit the terrible desires of our heart and say, “God, I can’t change my desires; I need you to change them for me.” We won’t get rid of our sin nature in this life, but we can admit to it, confess it, and ask for help. In the words of David, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).