Will we do it perfectly? Of course not. Friends, let’s set perfection aside. We are on our way, we are being transformed, but the moment we insist on total perfection we set ourselves up for bitter disappointment. Sin shall not be our master, because we are under grace. Grace. So it might be more helpful for us to talk about what to do when we blow it.
Repent quickly. The sooner the better. For one thing, you do not want to lose your intimacy with God. For another, you know the enemy is going jump all over you when you blow it, and you don’t want to get hammered by that for days, weeks, months, years. Also, you are after freedom; the longer you wait to repent, the deeper a hold the sin gets in you. Repent quickly; it looks something like this:
First, run to God.
Father, forgive me. I’m sorry. I ask your forgiveness for [fill in the blank—this envy, that comment, the lust, my cowardice]. O forgive me, father.
Second, RENOUNCE it. If you intend to repeat it, your repentance is a fraud. By renouncing it you summon your soul to the posture that you do not intend to repeat it. Furthermore, when you sin, you give way to forces that you do not want running pell-mell around your soul. Sin is what gives the evil one a place in our life: “Do not sin, and do not give the devil a foothold” (Ephesians 4:26-27). You do not want him taking advantage of your fall. Renounce it quickly.
And Father, I renounce this. I renounce [the envy, comment, lust, cowardice]. I renounce choosing this; I renounce giving it a place in my heart and soul. I renounce every claim I’ve given to the enemy through my sin. I reject this, in Jesus’ name. I banish this from me. I am dead to sin, and alive to God.
If you don’t really renounce it, you’re not really breaking with it; which means, you’re allowing for the possibility that you’ll repeat it again. And what kind of repentance is that? If you ignore the enemy’s role in this (many Christians just want to ask forgiveness but not resist the devil) then you are being naive; you are giving him the opportunity to hang around and use this against you – either through further accusation, or, by urging you to do it again. Did Satan take advantage of Adam and Eve’s sin? You bet he did. Don’t let him take advantage of yours.
Third, cleansing and renewal. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) and “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).
Father, cleanse me with the blood of Jesus; wash me right here, from all of this. I plead the blood of Christ over this sin. Wash me clean; renew me. O father, sanctify me through and through right here, in this. I ask you for your holiness here, in this.
It took me longer to explain it and longer for your to read it than it actually takes in practice. Really—you can jump straight to this in your car, in the elevator, as soon as you step out of the meeting (or why wait; do this silently in your heart in the meeting). If you will practice this—instead of, say, just going to self-loathing for several hours, or giving way to resignation – you are going to love the freedom it brings. Absolutely love it. Friends, holiness is ours, if we will ask for it, seek it, pursue it. “For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again” (Proverbs 24:16).