Ever wonder why you sin? What if there was a specific time that you were most likely to give in to temptation? What if you could see negative emotions, thoughts from your past, addictions you thought you were free from coming a mile away?
In his book Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You, John Ortberg shares this:
Psychologist Roy Baumeister has coined the term “ego depletion” to describe a level of fatigue that goes beyond mere physical tiredness. People living in this depleted condition report more tiredness and negative emotions, but those are not the only effects. Depleted people who watch a sad movie become extra sad. When facing temptations like eating chocolate chip cookies, they are more likely to give in. When faced with challenges like an especially difficult assignment at work, they are more likely to fail or turn in lower quality work. The brain area that’s crucial for self-control (the Anterior Cingulate Cortex) actually experiences a slowdown.
The reality is, you and I sin at specific times. Those times are most likely going to be when we are tired, worn down, exhausted. For a pastor, that is most likely on a Sunday night or on a Monday. We are tired at other times, but follow me.
When are you most tired? What time during the day do you feel the weakest in terms of your will to fight sin and temptation?
Let me apply this to pastors and help you understand why this as. I’ve learned while pastors are good at helping others fight sin in their lives, we tend to lack self-awareness.
On Sunday night you have preached hard, led worship hard, sat with people, hugged them, cried with them, counseled them, prayed with them. You have gone to battle for them and with them. You have had hard meetings with people who told you they are leaving the church, that you don’t live up to their standards of things, that you don’t preach the gospel, use too much Bible, are too deep, not deep enough and your head feels like it is spinning because you can’t please them all.
If you aren’t a pastor, you have a day of the week that simply runs you down. You come home exhausted, barely able to stand, let alone think and certainly not up for fighting sin and temptation.
This is the moment we must be aware of.
Often, the reason we fall into sin is because we don’t see it as a battle, or, once we feel tempted we feel like we have already lost the fight with sin so we simply give in to it.
When you see that moment coming, go to sleep, hand your smartphone or table to a spouse, pick up a banana, turn off the TV. Fight the sin you are facing by removing the temptation in your moment of weakness.