There is an ancient idea in Judaism and Christianity usually referred to as “the cycle of sin.” The basic premise is that the people of God have followed the same cycle for all of time. It goes like this:
We know what God requires for flourishing, and we follow it.
At some point, we decide we know better, and pursue what we want.
The consequences of this decision are bad, and make our lives painful.
We realize it, and cry out to God for help, admitting our failure.
God saves us, restores us and welcomes us back.
We begin again.
We see this pattern over and over in the Old Testament. And any of us who have “struggled with habitual sin” (that is the most Christiany thing to say) realize that this is exactly the cycle that plays out over and over in our personal lives.
Some people will refuse to recognize this cycle in their lives. Others will simply accept it. Both of these approaches fall short. It is my belief and experience that while this cycle is somehow “baked in” to the reality of human nature after the fall, there is yet hope that we can break these cycles in our lives and experience real change. It doesn’t mean we’ll be sinless. Nor that we won’t “struggle” – never returning to a particular sin.
But there can come a moment when the power of that cycle is broken. It no longer holds sway over your entire life, living as if you’re trapped in it. You experience real freedom and understand what that means. You find great peace, joy and depth in your life and especially in that area of your life. So if you feel caught today, don’t give up. On the one hand, you’re not alone. God’s people have wrestled with cycles forever and all of your friends do, if they’re honest. On the other, there is real freedom available. Believe it. Ask for it. Lean into it. Pursue it until it comes. It’s worth it.
Grace and Peace,