Power to Overcome
Rachel Olsen

"By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence." 2 Peter 1:3 (NLT)

Do you find yourself doing what you know you should not? Do you find it hard to stop? Yeah, I know.

I've had several discussions lately with people stuck in patterns of behavior they want to quit. They're stuck in sin. What's more, they feel completely awful about it. Guilty. Shameful. Some to the point of hating themselves. And yet they feel powerless to stop – powerless to resist.

The Bible says when we return to our vices again and again, we are like dogs returning to our vomit (Prov. 26:11).

Ick!

So why do we do this? According to the Bible, Christ has conquered sin on our behalf and we have the capacity to be free from its power. Yet that is far from the reality of many Christians' lives. Why?

Why does sin have any power over us? Why does it have any dominion in our lives? The answer is the same reason a dog returns to her vomit. She likes the taste.

Sin has power because we enjoy it. It promises something we want … pleasure, escape, esteem, wealth, etc. Sure it always has consequences we don't want, but in many cases those don't over power its feel-good moments or perceived benefits. In short, sin has power because we love it.

Earlier this year I quit drinking my favorite drink, a particular diet cola. Now, I'm not saying diet colas are evil or sinful, just go with me here! The first time I tasted this diet drink I didn't think it was all that yummy. BUT it promised to save me calories so I decided it was worth the slightly strange chemical taste. In short time, as it grew familiar, I began to like the taste.

Wasn't long before I was flat out addicted – wanting, even needing to have my beloved drink daily or I grew headachy and irritable. Sad thing is, it didn't help me lose weight at all. But that didn't matter because now I loved the diet drink. Furthermore, I was convinced if I gave it up, I'd not only get headaches but I'd gain more weight. I was enslaved in a way.

It was my drink of choice: I smiled when I had it and frowned when I ran out, or if a restaurant didn't serve it. And I'd get worried anytime a health report questioned the safety of aspartame, a main ingredient in my diet cola. But loving it so, I returned to it day after day. Even though I'd begun to feel guilty about that.

What helped me give up the diet cola? I found a different, healthier beverage I really liked and developed my taste for it. I was willing to give up that because I now had this. It's the same way with sin.

What can help us overcome the sins we love, but hate loving? A surpassing love. A greater love that carries with it no hate, no guilt, and no shame. A love that actually delivers the many, many benefits it promises. A love that is full of wisdom and compassion, not vomit. A love more attractive and powerful than the allure of sin. It is the love of God displayed in Christ.

When we catch hold of that love - when we read of it regularly, drink it in, and see it at work in our lives and in its glory - we cannot help but love Him back with all our heart, soul and mind. And in that state of all encompassing love, sin pales in comparison. Its power grows feeble. It no longer tastes as good.

When we immerse ourselves in the everlasting love of God that has made us its object, we're more than willing to walk away from the vomit. We can give up that because we have this.

Dear Lord, forgive me for the sins I return to. Cleanse me with Your majestic love and grace. Reveal to me the depth of Your love, the extent of Your sacrifice, and the beauty of the mercy You grant me daily. Open my eyes to see Your love afresh and may I be empowered to walk away from sin towards Your heart. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Love?

To read more about God’s love, head to Rachel’s blog and join the discussion.

God’s Purpose for Every Woman: A P31 Devotional Gen Eds. Lysa TerKeurst & Rachel Olsen

Application Steps:
Fill your mind and heart today with the love of God. Read the power verses below, look up others in your Bible, or visit Rachel’s blog for more.

Reflections:
What sin do I return to? What is the benefit I feel this sin provides me?

Can I seek that benefit in Christ instead?

Power Verses:
Proverbs 8:17, "I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me." (NLT)

Jeremiah 31:3, "Long ago the LORD said to Israel: 'I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.'" (NLT)

John 3:16, "For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." (NLT)

© 2009 by Rachel Olsen. All rights reserved.

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7 Comments:

Blogger Sue Lynn said...

Thank you so much for the devotional this morning. I've been struggling with some sin issues that have left me feeling guilty. I know that is what satan wants. I want to please God so much that when I sin, I feel like I have to start over with Him. Thank you for allowing God to speak to me through you.

Blogger kimsko said...

I have been struggling to get out of an ungodly relationship. I have often thought of the verse about a dog returning to its vomit, but I needed to hear that it's only when I recognize God's great love for me that I'll be able to walk away and no longer desire to return to my sin. Thank you for this devotion!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I so appreciate this post. I have been dealing with a sin nature in my life with regard to the anger I have been feeling towards my husband. It's all me. He is just the innocent bystander. True, he does need to pick himself up after his layoff, and get back in the saddle; however, that does not give me the right to antagonize him. I see my mom's anger coming out in me. She had a reason to be angry in her life. I do not. I have a wonderful life if I would just stop and remember all that God has done for me and is doing in my life right now. So, I boldly repent and confess that I have been an angry girl lately, and Father, as only you can do, please forgive and heal my heart. You love me, and this behavior is not pleasing to you nor do I want to behave this way. Thank you Daddy. Thank you for forgiving me this day! Amen
Tina Marie Olson

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is so true. The reason I return to my 'vomit' is because I love it. When things are going well I don't need it but once they go crazy, I turn to it for comfort. Why can't I believe in the depths of God's love for me? Why do I turn to what Always leaves me empty? God, please change me. Help me to find comfort in You alone. I'm sorry for being double-minded when push comes to shove. I wish I were not such a slave to this - there's no more beauty here, just vomit. God please help.

Anonymous Jessica said...

Great devotional. Thank you.

Blogger Rachel Olsen said...

Praying for each of you tonight!

Blessings ~ Rachel

Blogger Marilyn said...

God meets us right where we are at. I have found that by pursuing the love relationship with Him that is available, He gives us what we need but healing is not always instant. It may take years. So we must be patient with ourselves and not beat ourselves up but just go back to Him in humbleness of mind, asking His forgiveness and rejoicing that He has already forgiven us for ALL our sins.

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