“And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.”
Think back to a decision you made recently that didn’t honor God. Maybe in the moment, the choice felt fun, or maybe you didn’t know how to say “no.” Maybe you just felt stuck or tired, and you didn’t see any alternative. We’ve all done things that weigh us down and make us wonder, “Why do I seem to do what I know is wrong?”
The world encourages us to “follow our hearts,” but our feelings can easily trick us into doing things that don’t align with God’s will. But with God’s help, we can break the cycles that cause us to make poor decisions.
What is sin?
When Adam and Eve decided to pursue something “good” apart from God, their decision allowed evil to enter the world. In Scripture, sin is often used to describe actions that miss the target God has asked us to aim for: living a life centered around loving God and others.
While there are universal actions that dishonor God, small acts of disobedience also pull us away from Him. The apostle James wrote that “it is a sin to know what the right thing to do is, and then not do it.”
In other words, if you know what God is asking you to do, yet you still decide to disobey Him—then you’re undermining God’s authority in your life. Sin entices us because it is self-gratifying, but it results in eternal separation from God and others.
How do we change?
While we were still sinners, Jesus came and died for us. His voluntary sacrifice and separation from God led to our reconciliation with Him. None of this is because we deserve it, but because God always desired it. God wants to help us change because He knows we can’t overcome sin on our own.
So if you don’t know Jesus, the first step you can take to overcome sin is to invite Him to transform your life.
But if you already belong to Jesus—He has given you the grace, strength, and forgiveness you need to live a life that honors Him. So when you find yourself making choices you later regret, here are some practical steps you can take:
Keep drawing near to God every day.
Get connected to community.
Ask God to search your heart.
The more time you spend with God, the more you will want to honor Him and do His will, and this makes sin less appealing. Over time, God will transform your mind and change the way you think.
Try spending 15 minutes with God every day this week, and see what happens when you do. Guided Prayer is a great place to start.
We weren’t created to go through life alone—we were made to build each other up. The people who surround you will influence the choices you make. Consider asking some people you know and look up to—whether online or in person—to draw near to God with you.
Try starting a Plan with Friends.
We can only change when we allow God to change us. Consider saving the following Prayer in your YouVersion app, and each day, ask God to transform you:
I don’t want to take part in bad habits or poor decisions that don’t lead to an abundant life. So please search me, and know my heart. Test my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. I want You to renew my mind so that I can know what Your will is, and walk in it. Here I am, Lord. I surrender my heart—I am Yours.
In Jesus’ name,