We’ve asked the Lord to show us any hidden sin so that He will create in us a clean heart. Now we ask him to keep us from deliberately sinning. “Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; Let them not rule over me; Then I will be blameless, and I shall be acquitted of great transgression.” (Ps 19:13) Here, David prays the Lord will restrain him from committing willful sins, called “presumptuous sins”, which are committed with our eyes wide open.
Committed often enough, willful sins can become addictive and enslave their victim. “Establish my footsteps in Your Word, and do not let any iniquity have dominion over me.” (Ps 119:133) If we allow anything in our lives to take precedence over our relationship with God, it has become an idol for us, and has dominion over us.
Jesus paid the ultimate price to free us from sin, and we are encouraged not to slip back into our former ways. “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Gal 5:13)
One of the things to consider when asking ourselves if we should be doing something is to pose the question prayerfully asking if it will take our heart away from the Lord or if it is already taking our heart away from God? “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.” (James 1:14-15)
Instead of backsliding as described here, we are encouraged to “flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Tim 2:22). We are to always be aware of who it is we are to serve: “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” (1 Pet 2:16)
When we live as servants of God, we will not allow willful sin to rule over us, because we aren’t our first thought! A good check is to look at the deeds of the flesh listed (Gal 5:19-21), and if this is our normal behavior, then we are deliberately sinning. Have I “crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal 5:24)? And if not, have I truly given my life to Christ? Will he say He knows me (2 Tim 2:19) or that He never knew me (Matt 7:23)?
Instead of only thinking about not willfully sinning, I’m drawn to ask myself what my life produces for God’s kingdom? “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.” (Matt 7:18-20)
Am I first seeking His righteousness and seeking to serve others, or am I seeking to serve myself? He gives us yet another promise if we seek to become bondservants to the Lord: “But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.” (Rom 6:22) Thank You, Lord, for all your countless blessings You have already prepared for me in heavenly place. In the precious name of Jesus, amen.