Summary: Someone who sits idly without a purpose is an easy target for temptation. We are easily drawn away when we don’t have a purpose we are reaching for. When we are reaching ahead, we have to stop and change directions in order to sin.
Step Three - Pursuing Your Purpose
The final step I want to focus on in overcoming sinful habits is your purpose. Each of our lives has been created by God for a purpose. As long as we are living outside of that purpose, there will be emptiness and a desire to crowd our lives with pleasures and sin because we are searching for more. Our goal is not to get to heaven, but to love God and stand before Him on that great Day having completed our purpose in life. Our purpose is not a single act, but a lifelong journey that will never end. The Bible calls it a race of endurance. Many will start the race, but few will endure until the end. Let me reiterate that our lives are founded upon the relationship we have with Jesus Christ. That will never change. We will always struggle to find a balance so that we can cultivate our relationship with Christ. Everyone struggles to maintain that balance. Those who successfully keep the relationship with God as a top priority will be successful. Even in ministry, we can get out of balance. When ministry is so important that we don’t have time for God, we are not serving God.
God does not call you to succeed. He does not call you to accomplish anything. God calls you into a love relationship with Him and out of that relationship He produces the fruit of your labors. Busyness is the enemy of our relationship with God. When we get too busy, it is time to step back even if we have to let some important things slip. Nothing is more important than keeping your focus on the relationship you have with God. If works - even good works and deeds - stand in the way of our relationship with God, then they are not of God. We must remember that we don’t do anything for God, He works through us. God doesn’t accept the works of our hands, but the work He produces through us. This goes all the way back to the beginning. In Genesis, Cain was a gardener and presented his best works to God and it was rejected. Abel gave back to God the best of his cattle as a sacrifice. Abel gave to God the best of what God blessed and gave to him and God honored his sacrifice. The same is true today. Look at what Jesus said in John 15:
4 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5 "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
It is not what you produce, it is what He produces. It all centers around an abiding, continuous relationship with God. Notice what Jesus says in verse 5, “he who abides in Me and I in him, bears much fruit”. Can someone do good works without God? Of course they can, but they are serving only their own self-interest. God only honors what God produces. Keep this in mind as we move on into finding our purpose. It is not what you do; it is your relationship with God. Success is God’s business. Obedience and faithfulness belongs to you and I.
Drawing the Line
1 “I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman?
2 For what is the allotment of God from above, And the inheritance of the Almighty from on high?
3 Is it not destruction for the wicked, And disaster for the workers of iniquity?”
4 Does He not see my ways, And count all my steps?
This is an important principle in overcoming. This covenant is something I make and reaffirm over and over again. This is an act of drawing the line so that I don’t fall into sin. The Bible says that if we lust after a woman, we have already committed adultery in our heart. The line of sin is - don’t commit adultery in our heart or in our actions. A wise man will draw a line that is not at the point of adultery, but well before it will become a temptation. If I commit to never allow my eyes to gaze at a beautiful woman, then I will never get to the point of lust. If I stumble over my commitment, I still have a lot of recovery room before I fall into sin. If I put my toes on the line of sin, I have no recovery room.
It is vital to draw the line well behind the lines of sin in our areas of weakness. I am not tempted to steal cars, so I don’t need to draw the line at looking at a car. I look at the command, ’You shall not steal’ and I know what is expected. However, because of my background with lust, I know that ’You shall not commit adultery’ is not a sufficient boundary for me. I must draw the line at looking. When I allow myself to look, I begin to feel the desire for more. It is important to draw the line at the first compromise. If I can’t resist a compromise, I will never stand against the temptation to sin.