Managing Sin and Having Faith

I think we got it backwards when I was growing up.

We were told relationship with Jesus depended on us managing our sin well—sincerely trying to abstain from it, meeting with accountability groups, and when we failed, we had to make sure we confessed by telling God how sorry we were and (nobly, though falsely) promising we’d never give in again. The only problem was none of that worked.

Now I know it wasn’t meant to.

I also learned that my relationship with God depended on me trusting him completely. I had as much success with that as I did managing my sin. Certainly, I wanted to trust him that way but every day demonstrated that I was incapable of doing so.

That made the Christian journey either exhausting game of pretending to be better than I was, or a frustrating, self-condemning slog through

The part we missed was, “Apart from me you can do nothing.”

We were never meant to conquer our sin or convince ourselves of a faith we didn’t have. That’s how the New Covenant flipped everything on its head. Instead of managing our sin or trying to trust more, he only wants us to learn how to live alongside him in the reality of his love. I now know that as I learn to live in his love, the power of sin loses its grip on me and my trust in him grows by his power instead of by my effort.

Christianity is afraid to give that freedom to people for fear that they will simply use grace as an excuse to indulge their flesh and serve themselves. We keep twisting up the gift of redemption by trying to find Scriptures that will scare people back into self-effort. I addressed that problem in Chapter 18 of He Loves Me.

We make a fatal mistake when we try to force Scripture to offer redemption to those who only want to go to heaven, but who do not want a relationship with the Living God. By trying to offer them some minimal standard of conduct that will also allow them to qualify for salvation while continuing to pursue their own agenda, we distort the gospel and destroy its power, and we concoct legalistic games to give them a false sense of security.

In fact the New Testament has nothing to say to people who want God’s salvation without wanting him. The Scriptures are an unabashed invitation to live as a child of the most incredible Father in the universe. As you do, you will yearn to be like him. You will discover that God’s way is better than anything you can imagine and you’ll lay down your agenda to embrace his.


Righteousness doesn’t produce relationship. Relationship produces righteousness.

We’ll be talking about all of this at our next gathering of the He Loves Me Book Club, which will meet this Saturday, March 16, at 1:00 pm Pacific Standard Time.  We will be focusing on chapters 18 and 19—how living loved gives us a different approach to sin than human effort could ever achieve, and a real grasp on trust that we can’t muster on our own. Even if you have not joined us before, you’re welcome to join us tomorrow and process how you can live more freely in love as well.

If you want to join us in this Zoom conversation, you can get details and the link by liking the Facebook Group Page, or if you are not a member of Facebook, you can write me for a link to be sent each time we meet. For those who just want to watch, we stream them live now on my Lifestream Ministry Page, since a new glitch in Zoom is not allowing us to post them to my Facebook Author Page. I will, however, post it to the Author page once the conversation has ended. You can see it there as well as all the previous discussions we’ve had about He Loves Me.

2 thoughts on “Managing Sin and Having Faith”

  1. I was speaking to the Lord this past week and I said, “Lord, all these years you’ve been with me and gotten me through all of the ‘stuff’ and I’ve seen your gloriousness everywhere I look, but I don’t have the faith that I would really like to have.” His response was that it was no problem. He is faithful (faith Full) and he has enough faith for both of us. He will share. No worries.

    So I let go of feeling bad that I don’t have the faith I’d like to have, and I’m just waiting on the Lord, seeking His face, letting the rest follow after.

    Love to you all.

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