I’m no expert on this topic, but I do have a non-academic interest in it! I’ve been reflecting recently that the attempt to overcome sin often involves the need to ‘de-normalize’ sin. Somehow, whether through cultural acceptance or personal habit, particular sins can be come ‘normal’ to us – that’s just something I do… or… everyone does that. At the cultural level here in Western Australia, greed is an obvious one – it’s something culturally normal. At the personal level, we can develop patterns and habits that might once have shocked us, but which have now settled into semi-comfortable familiarity.
So how do we de-normalize? Again, I’m no expert, but I’m struck by some words of Paul to the Corinthians:
This is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God (1 Cor 6:11)
Keep in mind that the Corinthians were presently practising the things that he was forbidding – including greed. But Paul’s approach is to remind them that they have been redefined.
So perhaps I need to consciously counteract that tendency to define myself as someone who just does that sin. No; that’s who I used to be – but I was washed, sanctified, justified…
But I suspect it’s not enough to distance myself from who I ‘used to be’… I should also look to who I want to be: I need to look to Jesus Christ, as he’s presented to us in the Word. After all, I can only see the ‘me’ I want to be when I look to him.