Sin, particularly habitual sin, can seem like quicksand. It’s as if we make one step in the wrong direction and we are sinking lower than we imagined. Soon, the light diminishes, and we cannot find our way out of the trap. Does it seem like you are always confessing the same sins? Perhaps you have experienced times where you question if God even continues to forgive you.
“What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I concur that the law is good. So now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh. The willing is ready at hand but doing the good is not. For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.” (Romans 7:15-20)
St. Paul experienced the same struggles as many do today. He fought with committing sins when he did not want to and neglecting to do the things he knew he should do. Paul understood that to follow Christ was a struggle. It was a fight not only on a spiritual level, but on a physical and mental level as well. Although he acknowledged his struggles, Paul reminded the Romans there was a way out and one did not have to succumb to the sandpit of sin.
“Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)
“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh” (Romans 13:14)
To live a life pleasing to the Lord is to live against the norms. It’s a life that goes against the stream of sin and waves of death. It’s a life of humility over pride, generosity over greed, gentleness over anger, and forgiveness over resentment.
It’s a life that is only sustained with the sacraments and a daily walk with Christ.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. All of us, gazing with unveiled face the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:17-18)
St. Paul reminds us that even in our struggles with sin, freedom awaits. There is freedom from the chains of sin with Christ. Each time we say no to sin we take a step out of that quicksand. How do you conquer sin? One step at a time. Each step you take closer to Christ is one step further from sin.