Written by “Pastor Chai” in his pastor’s column (Aug 9, 2009)
I received Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and Lord when I was 30. I remember after that happened, I felt like I was walking on a cloud. I felt like I could love everybody and that I wouldn’t commit a single sin ever again.
A year later, after the excitement faded, I found myself being the same person I was before my conversion. Sinful desires still lurked in me and old sinful habits were still at work, so much so that I even doubted my salvation. I kept asking myself, “Am I really saved? Am I really a child of God?” I was so discouraged that I became physically ill.
When a mature Christian friend came to visit me, I told him about my disillusionments and doubt. After hearing me out, he opened his Bible and directed me to passages that command us to grow: to grow in love, grow in faith, grow in hope and more. He explained that the fact that the Bible tells us to grow indicates that Christians are not yet perfect. We don’t love people the way we should, we occasionally doubt, and sometimes our hope wavers.
Talking with him helped me realize that I had held unrealistic expectations of becoming a perfect saint as soon as I became a Christian.
Ever since then, I’ve been fighting with my sins and sinful habits. My winning percentage in my battles has gotten better but I still lose often. And when I fail, I sometimes feel so miserable that I still wonder if I’m a Christian at all. During times like these, God Himself comforts and encourages me so that I can stand up and fight again.
Why doesn’t the omnipotent God choose to instantly and completely free me from my sins? I think He wants to keep me humble. If I had succeeded in overcoming my every sin, I would have become a proud, arrogant, pompous fool. My failures make me humbly depend on God for His grace and have compassion for – instead of judging – others who fail in their Christian walks.
Losing our battles with sin helps make us humble. But this doesn’t mean we should intend to lose this fight. We must fight to win. Otherwise, we become insensitive to sin and start thinking of a sinful life as normal. We experience neither the joy of overcoming sin through God’s help nor the happiness of being forgiven by a gracious God. Our lives will never be free as long as we are under sin’s dominion.
Of the many sins, pride is the most offensive to God. God seems to prefer that we sometimes fail in our fight against sin and be humble rather than always win and be proud.