Sin was never meant to be our main focus. We were made for God. We were made to see and enjoy Him as we live life according to His beautiful design. When sin entered creation and marred us and our environment, it demanded a primary place in our focus through feelings of guilt and shame. Because of this, many Christians spend their lives rummaging around in their soul trying to root out every evidence of sin. This level of self-focus doesn't lead to life, but to despair. Scripture instead calls us to, yes, put our sin to death, but even more so to keep our attention on Christ and run toward the His righteousness.
Read Romans 6:12-14 and 2 Timothy 2:22.
What do these passages call us to do?
Run and pursue righteousness. This isn't a passive endeavor. This is an effortful call like Joseph choosing to run naked from Potiphar’s wife to avoid the snares of sin and temptation. We're to fight against sin’s attempts to rule in our lives. Before Christ, we were slaves to sin, but in Christ, we are set free and sin’s dominion in our lives is fundamentally broken. We need to practice living free from sin’s ruling reign in our lives. We do this life in community with others who love and are pursuing righteousness as well. We aren't called to do this alone, but rather with the help of the body of Christ
What keeps us from running after Christ?
Shame and guilt. If we give all our attention to the totality of sin in our lives it can overwhelm us and leave us in despair. When sin is central in our focus, we feel hopeless, weary. We have fought the good fight for a season, but now we feel tired and fainthearted. We need encouragement and support but find ourselves unwilling to ask for help (Hebrews 3:13). We have fallen prey to the false belief that we can do this on our own. We misunderstand repentance thinking it only means identifying and putting to death our sin. We fail to realize repentance is more than just saying you will stop doing bad things, but rather is only complete when we have turned from our sin toward Christ our righteousness. Yes, we put sin to death, but even more, we run towards righteousness in Christ.
Run toward righteousness.
We're called to run after Christ our forerunner and the perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2). Our life is about Him and knowing Him above all else, and in that process, learning who He has made us to be and how He has made us to live. What helps you run toward righteousness? What helps you keep your eyes on Christ? What's slowing you down in running toward righteousness? What do you need to let go of to be able to move forward?