My kids say I am the least lazy person they know. But the truth is that I tend to laziness and it scares me, so I bend hard in the opposite direction. This fact presents the paradoxical state of affairs in which a person who is lazy by propensity becomes industrious by habit.
It occurred to me that there is a parallel in the spiritual domain. As born-again, new-creation believers, you and I, for some reason, are still encumbered with a default mode to sin. But according to Scripture, the default mode does not have to be what we operate in. In fact, we are pointedly told to not operate in that mode any longer:
“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. … For sin will have no dominion over you …” (Romans 6:12, 14).
This is a very important point, because there are some who think that since our default mode is to sin, God is very understanding about persistent sin. But everything in the New Testament argues against that. It is true that He still loves us when we sin, but He is pleased as punch when we overcome persistent sin:
“… Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
“Fight the good fight of faith …” (1 Timothy 6:12).
“… let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit …” (2 Corinthians 7:1).
The wonderfully surprising thing is that, in the wisdom of God, it is precisely as we press into righteousness that we gradually diminish the power of the carnal nature, and see it shrink and shrink as a force in our lives:
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent …” (Philippians 3:14).
“… by this time you ought to be teachers. … [S]olid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice …” (Hebrews 5:12, 14).
“Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God” (1 Peter 4:1-2).
Let us lean hard in the opposite tilt of our sinful tendencies, doing the conscious “putting off” of sin patterns and “putting on” of the patterns of the new creation. For our efforts by the grace of God are not in vain.